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Kelly, Alan

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Confidence in Taoiseach and Government: Motion (Continued)

Fianna Fáil closed more post offices when it was in government.More Button

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Water Services Bill 2014: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued)

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Offshore Islands

I thank Deputy Harrington for raising this matter. I am aware that it is extremely important to him and to most of the Deputies who live in coastal constituencies. Along with Deputy McCarthy and ...More Button

My Department's local community development programme, LCDP, is the largest social inclusion intervention of its kind in the State. The most recent programme officially ended at the end of 2013,...More Button

My Department currently provides LCDP funding to Comhar na nOileán Teoranta, the company with responsibility for delivering the programme to the offshore islands. In 2014 the Department allocate...More Button

Discussions have taken place and are ongoing between my Department and the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, which has lead responsibility for the islands, in response to the issues rai...More Button

Offshore Islands (Continued)

I understand the issues facing many of these islands. I have been on them, particularly when I was an MEP or, more appropriately, when trying to become an MEP. The islands are fantastic places an...More Button

Local Authority Housing Rents

I thank the Deputy for raising this important issue. With regard to the issue he raised about the housing body, I know what he was referring to. As he is aware, discussions took place last night ...More Button

Consistency and fairness are at the heart of the new differential rent framework. Responsibility for setting local authority rents has been devolved as an executive function to individual local ...More Button

Section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 facilitates significant harmonisation of local authority rent levels while retaining the principle of having rents related to househo...More Button

Was asked: the reason all local authorities are not obliged to use An Post for the collection of local authority rent; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Household Budget facility provided by An Post is available to those local authority tenants who are paid certain social welfare benefits through An Post, and allows tenants to have their rent a...More Button

The Housing Agency issued guidance earlier this year recommending that local authorities require all new social housing tenants to sign up to the scheme as a condition of their tenancy. This advi...More Button

Local Authority Housing Rents (Continued)

Individual housing authorities are already empowered under the Housing Acts to include charges in the rent relating to the costs of works and services provided to dwellings.More Button

The Government's Social Housing Strategy 2020, published a few weeks ago, indicated that the necessary statutory instruments will be made in the first quarter of next year to commence the process...More Button

A further commencement order will be made later in 2015 introducing rent charging under section 31. On the introduction of section 31 rents, housing authorities will have a two-year transitional...More Button

Under an amendment of section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014, the new rent framework will apply also to rent contributions payable by beneficiaries under the new scheme of ...More Button

This is something on which Deputy Ellis has considered views. In fairness, we are not a million miles apart on it. We agree. The two-year interim period is the period that we will use to sort ou...More Button

We outlined the process by which we will do this. The two-year interim period will iron out any issues. I do not expect there to be many issues but that period can be used in that regard. I al...More Button

In my time, which predates my time in this role, many local authority members across all political parties and none, and many local authority housing representatives, officials and CEOs, have req...More Button

I agree with Deputy Ellis on the tenant-purchase scheme. The tenant-purchase scheme is something I am initiating as part of the social housing strategy. I want to do so because it is critically...More Button

Water Services Bill 2014: Committee Stage

I move amendment No. 1:

    In page 3, between lines 25 and 26, to insert the following:
      ""customer", "local authority",...More Button

      To clarify, this amendment is purely to address a drafting issue.More Button

        Section 1, as amended, agreed to.More Button

      SECTION 2More Button

      Water Services Bill 2014: Committee Stage (Continued)

      I did not rule out of order any of the amendments. These decisions were made beyond me. Section 2 is a very important part of the Bill as everyone is aware. The provision safeguards the public o...More Button

      The amendment tabled by Deputy Catherine Murphy refers to requiring the resolution from both Houses of the Oireachtas to be approved by two thirds of the Members. I cannot accept the amendment a...More Button

      Amendment No. 7 proposes amending the eligibility criteria for voting in the plebiscite. The Government believes the appropriate eligibility criteria to vote on ownership of such a vital nationa...More Button

      Amendment No. 8 proposes that a provision be inserted to state the Government shall not extend public moneys for the purposes of promoting a particular outcome of the plebiscite. Section 2(7) re...More Button

      Several other issues were raised by Deputies. Deputy O'Dowd raised some issues he feels need to be brought to my attention or the attention of the House. By all means he should please raise the...More Button

      Some of Deputy Donnelly's amendments were ruled out of order. The European Commission is obliged to protect national sovereignty in respect of the ownership of water services and has issued such...More Button

        Progress reported; Committee to sit again.More Button

      Irish Water Administration

      Was asked: the person to whom queries should be addressed in relation to information on individuals passed to Irish Water about their addresses, in view of the fact that they have been informed by the Data Pr...More Button

      The source of information used to compile its customer database is a matter for Irish Water, pursuant to powers given to the company under section 6 of the Water Services Act 2007 and section 26 of...More Button

      Was asked: his views on correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.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. Decisions on specific operat...More Button

      Tenant Purchase Scheme Administration

      Was asked: when the new tenant purchase scheme for local authority tenants will be introduced.More Button

      Was asked: the date on which a new tenant purchase scheme will be introduced for local authority tenants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

      Social and Affordable Housing Provision

      Was asked: the basis of the identification for the need for 35,000 additional properties for social housing as prepared by the Housing Agency on page 13 of the Government's social housing strategy; if he will...More Button

      The Social Housing Strategy 2020, approved by Government and published last month, builds on the provisions contained in Budget 2015 and sets out clear, measurable actions and targets to inc...More Button

      Was asked: the status of a lease or sale of 41 housing units at the Weir, County Kilkenny, being organised by the housing agency and the National Asset Management Agency; if his Department is funding the proj...More Button

      My Department, the Housing Agency and NAMA continue to work together with housing authorities and approved housing bodies in identifying suitable NAMA housing units and bringing them into social ho...More Button

      Was asked: if he will provide in tabular form the number of Part V social and affordable units which are available on a county basis, but which have not been as yet acquired by the relevant local authorities;...More Button

      The information requested is not available in my Department. Under the existing Part V provisions, developers are currently required to ensure that 20% of land zoned for residential, and other use...More Button

      Was asked: regarding the recent social housing strategy if he will provide a breakdown of the 35,000 homes that are planned for the period to 2020; if he will also provide a breakdown of the number of these t...More Button

      The Social Housing Strategy 2020: Support, Supply and Reform, approved by Government and published last month, builds on the provisions contained in Budget 2015 and sets out clear, measurable actio...More Button

      Was asked: regarding the approved housing bodies taking an expanded role in social housing delivery; if he will be putting in place more comprehensive transfer policies to allow for families that grow in size...More Button

      The Social Housing Strategy 2020: Support, Supply and Reform sets out clear, measurable actions and targets to increase the supply of social housing, reform delivery arrangements and meet the housi...More Button

      Was asked: if he will provide the details of new PPPs that he proposes will play a role in the new social housing strategy.More Button

      The Government's Social Housing Strategy 2020 envisages that the standard availability-based design, build, finance and maintain (DBFM) Public Private Partnership model will be used as ...More Button

      Was asked: regarding the social housing leasing initiative that he proposes will play a larger role in the delivery of social housing, if he will provide full details of this initiative; the length of these l...More Button

      The Social Housing Leasing Initiative (SHLI), introduced in 2009, is a continuation of a process commenced with the introduction of the Rental Accommodation Scheme to develop a system of flexible a...More Button

      Motor Tax Rates

      Was asked: if he will review the policy on commercial motor tax in view of the difficulties it is posing for small farmers and the variation in implementation from county to county; and if he will make a stat...More Button

      Motor tax is based on the construction and use of a vehicle. In order to qualify for the commercial rate of motor tax, a vehicle must be constructed or adapted for use as a goods vehicle and used s...More Button

      Licensing authorities have an obligation under Article 3 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing)(Amendment) Regulations 1992 to be satisfied that a vehicle is correctly taxed and it is ...More Button

      Foreshore Issues

      Was asked: the enforcement action that has been taken regarding complaints of in-fill of the foreshore (details supplied) in County Galway; if he will provide an update on the situation and its history; and i...More Button

      Leader Programmes Applications

      Was asked: the status of an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; if it will be expedited due to the time taken to process the application; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

      My Department has been in contact with Mayo North East Leader Partnership and I understand that they have not received any application in the name of the promoter referred to in the Question. More Button

        Question No. 419 answered with Question No. 414. More Button

      Local Authority Staff Recruitment

      Was asked: if he will lift the recruitment embargo in Cork County Council to allow them to hire outdoor staff as since the embargo was put in place in 2008 Cork County Council have lost a total of 893 staff a...More Button

      The moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the public service was introduced in March 2009 in response to the financial crisis. My Department operates a delegated sanction from the Department o...More Button

      Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executive is responsible for staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authorit...More Button

      My Department works closely with Cork County Council in relation to the Council’s overall staffing requirements. The Council’s staffing requests are examined on a case by case basis having due re...More Button

      As announced in the Budget, it is proposed that with effect from 2015, the moratorium and the Employment Control Framework for the Public Service will be lifted but recruitment or promotion will ...More Button

      Local Authority Funding

      Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Sligo County Council has been incurring revenue deficits over the past six years and that the cumulative revenue debt now stands at €19.67 million w...More Button

      It is a matter for each local authority, including Sligo County Council, to determine its own spending priorities in the context of the annual budgetary process having regard to both locally identi...More Button

      The continued deterioration of Sligo County Council’s financial position is of serious concern to me. While it is a matter for individual local authorities to manage their own day-to-day finances...More Button

      Local Authority Housing Provision

      Was asked: if he will be providing direction on the way capital funding will be allocated by local authorities to single rural cottages housing applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

      As housing authorities, local authorities are responsible for the identification of the social housing need in their area and the development of appropriate responses to the need identified. My Dep...More Button

      Local Authority Expenditure

      Was asked: if it has been brought to his attention that Sligo County Council in its budget for 2015 has included a sum of €50,000 to help fund a golf tournament; if it is the intention of his Department to pr...More Button

      It is a matter for each local authority to determine its own spending priorities in the context of the annual budgetary process having regard to both locally identified needs and available resource...More Button

      It is not the intention of my Department to provide match funding for this event as I have no function in relation to this matter. More Button

      EU Regulations

      Was asked: the consultations that took place regarding the EU standard EN 1090 regarding structural steel and aluminium which came into effect in July 2014; if pre-legislative scrutiny took place; the groups ...More Button

      Was asked: the consultations that took place here regarding the EU standard EN 1090 regarding structural steel and aluminium which came into effect in July 2014, if pre-legislative scrutiny process was entere...More Button

      I propose to take Questions Nos. 424 and 446 together.

        The development of European standards is principally a matter for the CEN (ie the European Committee for Standardisation...More Button

      Waste Management

      Was asked: if he will provide in tabular form with respect of each of the relevant local authorities, the date on which domestic refuse charges were introduced; the date on which competition was introduced; a...More Button

      Was asked: if he will provide in tabular form with respect of each of the relevant local authorities, the amount each local authority charged when domestic refuse charges were first introduced; the dates and ...More Button

      I propose to take Questions Nos. 425 and 426 together. More Button

      Local authorities have statutory responsibility, under section 33 of the Waste Management Act 1996, to collect, or arrange for the collection of, household waste within their functional areas. In...More Button

      For those authorities still active in the waste collection market, the making of a charge in respect of a waste service is a local authority executive function under section 75(8) of the Waste Ma...More Button

      Social and Affordable Housing Expenditure

      Was asked: the average rents paid by local authorities on behalf of tenants of housing associations, as compared to the average rents paid by local authorities to for-profit private landlords, that is, throug...More Button

      My Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) provides support, through the local authorities, towards the approved costs of housing bodies in providing accommodation for persons with specific ca...More Button

      Planning Issues

      Was asked: if he will initiate an inquiry into the handling of a planning case (details supplied) by a local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

      Was asked: the position regarding planning regulation; the enforcement of this regulation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

      Local Government Reform

      Was asked: the position regarding the primacy of the office of the mayor of Drogheda within the urban area of what was formerly Drogheda Borough Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

      The Cathaoirleach of a municipal district or, in the case of the Borough District of Drogheda, the Mayor, takes precedence at all meetings and proceedings of the municipal district members in accor...More Button

      Local Authority Housing

      Was asked: his Department's policy regarding the removal of open fire back boilers in local authority houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

      Was asked: if there is discretion given to allow a back boiler being installed in a local authority house which will heat radiators in view of the fact that the applicant has an adult dependent with special n...More Button

      I propose to take Questions Nos 432 and 444  together.More Button

      The management and maintenance of the social housing stock, including the compilation and funding of on-going maintenance programmes and improvements including central heating systems, and minor ...More Button

      In the case of local authority owned properties, funding is allocated each year in respect of a range of measures to improve the standard and overall quality of their social housing stock, includ...More Button

      Housing Assistance Payments Administration

      Was asked: his plans to move 75,000 families and persons from rent allowance to the housing assistance payment scheme by 2020; if he will provide the full details of this scheme; the number of applicants per ...More Button

      Was asked: regarding the expansion of the housing assistance payment scheme, the new resources he will be providing to local authorities to deal with the increased work load this will bring.More Button

      I propose to take Questions Nos. 436 and 437 together.

        I refer to the reply to Question No. 85 of 2 December 2014.

        The implementation of the Housing Assist...More Button

      Commercial Rates

      Was asked: if there is any leeway within the law for local authorities to allow a commercial business, having fully paid all local authority rates to the moving date, move to new premises without being legall...More Button

      Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on the occupiers of rateable property in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Comm...More Button

      Under rating legislation, the person liable for payment of rates is the person in occupation of a rateable property on the date of the making of the rate by the relevant local authority. Should a...More Button

      Section 2(1) of the Poor Law (Ireland) Amendment Act 1890 provides that where an owner or occupier has not paid the rate in respect of which he or she is liable and vacates the premises before th...More Button

      As with all local charges, the invoicing and collection of due amounts is a matter for the local authority concerned to manage in the light of prevailing local circumstances and in accordance wit...More Button

      Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

      Was asked: the number of families and persons on the housing waiting list broken down by local authority and showing the same figures for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013; and the month-on-month increase in differe...More Button

      The latest summary of social housing assessments was carried out as at 7 May 2013 in accordance with section 21 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 , which provides that the Minister...More Button

      Irish Water Remit

      Was asked: if free water agreements made by local authorities will be honoured by Irish Water; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

      The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides for the transfer of responsibility for the delivery of water services from the local authorities to Irish Water and, with effect from 1 January 2014, Ir...More Button

        Question No. 444 answered with Question No. 432.More Button

      Housing Inspections

      Was asked: the reason his Department carries out audits on the contractors who work on the SEAI housing insulation grants in December, when it would be more effective to have the audits in summer and allow th...More Button

      The scheme referred to is funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, which also sets its terms and conditions, including auditing of contractors. Accordingly, my Department has no funct...More Button

        Question No. 446 answered with Question No. 424.More Button

      An Fhoireann Rannach

      Tá thart ar 27 ball foirne (4% den fhoireann) faoi láthair i mo Roinn atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí mheán na Gaeilge. Níl an fhaisnéis atá á lorg maidir le blianta roimhe se...More Button

      Táim sásta go bhfuil, ag an am seo, go leor daoine i mo Roinn le hinniúlacht sa Ghaeilge chun na riachtanais faoi Scéim Ghaeilge 2013-2016 na Roinne a chomhlíonadh. Mar chuid de phleanáil d’fhórs...More Button

      Homeless Accommodation Funding

      Was asked: the criteria used by his Department to allocate respective funding from the national homelessness budget to the eight regions in the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a sta...More Button

      Was asked: the criteria that will be used by his Department to allocate respective funding from the national homelessness budget for 2015 to the regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

      Was asked: the reason there is a clear disparity in funding allocation from the national homelessness budget between the midlands region and other regions, for example, statutory funding for the midlands regi...More Button

      I propose to take Questions Nos. 448 to 450, inclusive, together.

        Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation for homeless persons and related servic...More Button