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O'Brien, Darragh

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Fire Service

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 1193 of 3 June 2020, if the contracts of fire fighters who wish to remain in work until 60 years of age will be extended pending the implementation of the Work...More Button

As previously advised in response to Parliamentary Question No. 1193 of 3 June 2020, I have no objection, in principle, to the recommendation of the Workplace Relations Commission to increase the r...More Button

Was asked: if a review of the fire service is to be carried out by the national directorate for fire and emergency management similar to the one carried out by an external validation group in 2016; and if he ...More Button

Was asked: if the report on the fire service published in 2016 by an external validation group, entitled "Local Delivery – National Consistency", is to be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 146 and 147 together.

  Over the course of 2014/ 2015, an External Validation Group (EVG) commissioned by the Management Board of the National D...More Button

Horticulture Sector

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that since the Supreme Court judgment, Supreme Court record No. 9/19, High Court ruling 2014/342 JR, there is no valid route open to horticultural peat h...More Button

I am aware of the recent Supreme Court judgment to which the Question refers, concerning the leave to apply for substitute consent system under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, an...More Button

The judgment and its implications for the planning system are currently being examined by my Department, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General.  My Department's officials are wo...More Button

In terms of licensing, I understand that specified peat harvesting activities in the course of business may require integrated pollution control (IPC) licences from the Environmental Protection A...More Button

Housing Issues

Was asked: the progress that has been made in the roll-out of the cost rental housing model in counties Laois and Offaly. More Button

Was asked: if the cost rental model in counties Laois and Offaly will be rolled out. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 143 and 144 together.

  The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, commits to improving security and affordability for renters. To achieve ...More Button

Freedom of Information

Was asked: the number of freedom of information requests being processed by his Department; the number that have had the deadline for reply extended; the number that are at least one week, two weeks, one mont...More Button

Thirteen freedom of information requests are currently being processed in my Department. Two of these have had the deadline for reply extended; one formally, in accordance with the provisions of t...More Button

Vacant Properties

Was asked: if a list of the 2,000 void social housing units being targeted in the July stimulus package by local authorities will be provided; if the €30 million allocation is in addition to the capital alloc...More Button

Following engagement at sectoral level with local authorities regarding the nationwide voids programme under the July stimulus the call for detailed proposals will issue imminently to individual lo...More Button

Was asked: if he has invited Wexford County Council to make an application for the vacant properties voids programme; if such an application has been submitted; the amount of funding he plans to allocate to t...More Button

Since 2014, Exchequer funding has also been provided through my Department's Voids Programme to support local authorities in preparing vacant units for re-letting. This funding was initially introd...More Button

Was asked: if he has invited Cork City Council to make an application for the vacant properties voids programme; if such an application has been submitted; the amount of funding his Department plans to alloca...More Button

The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, the implementation of a planned maintenance programme and carrying out of respon...More Button

  Question No. 166 answered with Question No. 158.More Button

Irish Water

Was asked: the shovel-ready projects being funded under the announced €30 million additional funding for Irish Water as part of the July stimulus package.More Button

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels. More Button

In relation to the July Jobs Stimulus Package, the additional capital funding is to be provided to Irish Water to will allow for an acceleration of the leakage reduction programme. Funding for th...More Button

Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telepho...More Button

Housing Adaptation Grant

Was asked: the amount that has been made available for housing adaptation grants for older people in each of the years since 2016 to date; the amount that was availed of in each year by county; the amount rem...More Button

Details of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability, up to 2018, are available on my Department's website at the following link:

  More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the concerns regarding the way in which funding is being provided for private nursing home admissions rather than providing 100% home adaptation grants, which cou...More Button

The Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability currently provides up to 95% grant funding under the Scheme. The Scheme facilitates older people and people with a disabi...More Button

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Was asked: the amount of funding allocated to Wexford County Council in order to deal with the impact of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the amount of funding allocated to each local authority under the Covid-19 support scheme for local authorities; the estimated deficit expected for each local authority in 2020; and if he will make...More Button

Was asked: the funding that has been allocated to Cork City Council in order to deal with the impact of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the amount of funding allocated to each local authority under the Covid-19 support scheme for local authorities; the deficit expected for each local authority in 2020; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 152, 156, 160 and 164 together.More Button

In terms of measures taken by my Department to assist local authorities with the financial challenges they are experiencing since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, as a short term measure €1...More Button

To support both the local government sector and the ratepayers impacted, €600m has been allocated by Government to fund the cost of a waiver of commercial rates for six months to the end of Septe...More Button

It is recognised that additional costs are being incurred by local authorities in relation to Covid-19. Local authorities have been advised to capture all related costs in their financial systems...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing

Was asked: the number of affordable homes built in County Wexford in each of the past five years; the amount planned for 2020; the funding allocated each year to the local authority to supply affordable housi...More Button

Under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF), €310 million has been allocated to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of more affordable homes on local authority lands. With a maximum of €50,000 ...More Button

Was asked: the average length of time spent on the social housing list in County Wexford; his plans to reduce the times; the number on the social housing list in each of the past 12 months and each month to d...More Button

Was asked: the average length of time spent on the social housing list in north central areas of County Cork; his plans to reduce these times; the number on the social housing list for each of the past 12 mon...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 154 and 162 together.

  Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area is provided in the ...More Button

Was asked: the number of affordable homes that have been built in north central areas of County Cork in each of the past five years; the amount planned for 2020; the funding allocated each year to the local a...More Button

Under the Serviced Sites Fund, €310 million has been allocated to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of more affordable homes on local authority lands.  With a maximum of €50,000 fundin...More Button

  Question No. 162 answered with Question No. 154.More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 325 of 7 July 2020, if a more proactive approach will be considered with regard to working with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to acquire an apartment b...More Button

I refer to the reply to Question No. 325 of 7 July 2020; the position remains unchanged.

  It is a matter for Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to determine, in the first in...More Button

Was asked: the measures he plans to take to ensure the timely delivery of social and affordable housing at a site (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

On Monday, 13th July, planning permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála for the development of 597 homes at Shanganagh Castle, Shankill.  It is intended to comprise 306 Cost Rental homes, 200 soc...More Button

My Department is working in support of this development with DLRCC and the LDA,  as it proceeds through detailed design, tendering and construction.More Button

Home Loan Scheme

Was asked: the number of applicants for Rebuilding Ireland home loans in County Wexford; the number that have been successful; the number that have been refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to...More Button

  Question No. 156 answered with Question No. 152.More Button

Was asked: the number of applicants for Rebuilding Ireland home loans from Cork City Council; the number that have been successful; the number refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to...More Button

  Question No. 164 answered with Question No. 152.More Button

Commercial Rates

Was asked: the number of businesses in County Wexford that have had their rates waived; the number that have requested a waiver; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of businesses in north-central areas of County Cork that have had their rates waived; the number that have requested a waiver; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 and 166 together.More Button

The levying and collection of rates are legally matters for each individual local authority. Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial p...More Button

An initial three-month waiver of rates for businesses forced to close business due to COVID-19 was announced in early May.More Button

In order to enhance the supports available for enterprise, and in recognition of the fact that not only have many ratepayers been forced to close business due to the public health requirements, b...More Button

The implementation of this waiver is a matter for local authorities and accordingly, the information sought in the question is not available in my Department.More Button

A 100% waiver will be applied to all businesses, for a six-month period to the end of September, with the exclusion of a small number of categories. The rationale for the exclusion of certain cat...More Button

To support both the local government sector and the ratepayers impacted, €600m has been allocated by Government to fund the cost of a waiver of commercial rates for six months for eligible busine...More Button

The Credit in Lieu of Commercial Rates shall be administered by Local Authorities.More Button

Credits in lieu of commercial rates applied to ratepayer accounts under this scheme shall be applied as a credit on the rate bill for 2020. Local authorities should automatically apply a 100% cre...More Button

Forestry Management

Was asked: his plans to expand the criteria to protect more trees on private and public land; if he will issue a national directive to oblige counties to develop a tree management strategy; his further plans ...More Button

Detailed provisions in relation to the preservation of trees are set out in section 205 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Under these provisions, planning authorities may - wher...More Button

Where a planning authority proposes to make a TPO, it shall serve a notice on the owner and occupier of the land affected by the proposed TPO and publish notice of the proposed TPO in a local new...More Button

The development and oversight of the implementation of TPOs are a matter for the individual planning authorities in whose functional areas relevant trees or woodland are located. I have no curre...More Button