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Murphy, Eoghan

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Social and Affordable Housing

Was asked: his plans to review the €2 million eligibility spending threshold for single-stage approval for local authority social housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I thank the Deputy for the question. The review of the public spending code, carried out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, was considered by the Government yesterday. The code i...More Button

The €2 million eligibility threshold for the single-stage process for social housing projects was reviewed as part of the recent review of the code. This has had regard to the level of public fu...More Button

To date, the uptake of the single-stage process has been modest, at best. Of around 660 capital-funded social housing projects since 2016, approximately 280 are within the €2 million threshold. ...More Button

The reality is that the time involved in approving projects is only a small element in the process of bringing social housing projects from initial conception all the way through to construction....More Button

The social housing approval arrangements have already been streamlined by concentrating the nine review stages of the code into just four. The Deputy can be assured that my Department will conti...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 49 of 18 September 2019, the agreed work programme for the Galway social housing task force; the reports completed to date by the task force; if the minutes of...More Button

I thank the Deputy for the question. The Galway social housing task force, which I established earlier this year, has held four meetings to date. It is working to improve and accelerate social ho...More Button

The chair of the task force provided an update on its work earlier this year and confirmed both local authorities were intensively involved in the task force's work and it is providing them with ...More Button

I expect a further report from the task force chair at the end of this year and I understand the secretariat for the task force, which is provided by Galway City Council, is arranging to have min...More Button

I thank the Deputy for the follow-up questions. She is correct that Galway needs help and that is why we put the task force in place. Those minutes will be published but the priority has been to ...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing (Continued)

I thank the Deputy for his follow-up question. To be clear, in the meetings the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, and I attended, our understanding was that there was an agreement to look at r...More Button

That is a coincidence, but it is helpful that it was concluded yesterday so I can answer him today in this way. The Minister, Deputy Donohoe, will make an address on this matter later this morning...More Button

Local authorities do not want this and the proof is in the fact that 280 projects could have gone through the first stage of the approvals process but only 45 did. They prefer the four-stage pro...More Button

We are getting back to building social housing. Next year we will build more homes for social housing than were built in any of the past 20 years, including any of the boom years. That is very im...More Button

If Deputy O'Brien were to put himself in my shoes and look at a recent project such as the children's hospital, which his party and others criticised in terms of cost overruns, he would not then,...More Button

Yes, perhaps the following one. That would be helpful. I thank Deputy O'Brien.More Button

We know the task force model works because we developed it and deployed it in Cork. Let me give an example of what happened in Cork. In 2016, 45 homes were built. In 2018, 511 were built. The t...More Button

What we expected to see this year in the two local authority areas in Galway, because of the work the task force is doing, was a fourfold increase in the build in the city. There were poor numbe...More Button

That is all available on the Rebuilding Ireland website.More Button

I have given a commitment, on which I followed through, to publish the targets for every local authority each year. Those targets are published and a follow-up is given. The task force is to try ...More Button

I understand the Land Development Agency is also examining issues concerning a master plan for Galway in terms of what public sites might be available. We are committed to public housing on publ...More Button

  Question No. 44 replied to with Written Answers.More Button

Local Authority Rates

Was asked: the engagement he has had with the eight local authorities that have seen a combined loss of revenue of €20.9 million arising from the revaluation of commercial rates to Irish Water; and if additio...More Button

Was asked: if he has had meetings with Louth County Council regarding an anomaly by which County Louth is the only local authority to have three different rateable values, given the detrimental effect this is...More Button

Local Authority Rates (Continued)

Right.More Button

Public Spending Code

Was asked: when final guidance on cost-effectiveness analysis cases will be issued to local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department provides advice to local authorities on an ongoing basis to support them in delivering social housing projects, including undertaking cost-effectiveness analyses in respect of high-va...More Button

Final observations on the draft documents have been sought from the local authorities and adjustments may be made based on that feedback, as well as to take account of the review of the public sp...More Button

Any confusion around the matter was cleared up earlier in the year. The draft documentation can be used to carry out the cost-effectiveness analyses. The reason we do such analyses rather than co...More Button

I have examined the projects the Deputy outlined but the delay is not with us. It is up to the local authorities to do the work-----More Button

Local authorities are great at pointing the finger-----More Button

-----at the Custom House, but whenever I investigate individual cases, I find that the truth lies somewhere else. They have the draft guidance to work to and know how to do the work. We have help...More Button

I have examined the projects the Deputy mentioned. We are waiting for the work to come from the local authority and will help it when it comes.More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Was asked: the status of the delivery of affordable homes to rent and buy in the Poolbeg strategic development zone, SDZ, the Clonburris SDZ and St. Michael's Estate, Inchicore, Dublin 8; the details of the f...More Button

Delivery of more affordable homes to rent or buy is a priority for the Government and my Department has developed a range of measures to assist local authorities to provide homes of this nature, wh...More Button

Was asked: the way in which he plans to address the issue of social housing for persons with mental health issues; his plans to provide additional housing in this regard; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

Was asked: the status of work within his Department and local authorities for the provision of serviced sites, particularly in rural areas, to assist with the delivery of affordable housing; and if he will ma...More Button

Was asked: the status of the provision of affordable housing schemes nationwide and particularly in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 59 and 84 together.More Button

Land utilisation and activation, including the development of land for the delivery of more affordable private housing, is, in the first instance, a matter for the relevant local authority and it...More Button

In line with the commitments in Rebuilding Ireland to support the delivery of homes to buy or rent at prices which are discounted on market values, the Government has allocated €310 million under...More Button

To date, I have allocated SSF funding of €127 million, in support of 35 projects in 14 local authority areas, for infrastructure works that will support the delivery of almost 3,200 affordable ho...More Button

One of these projects includes a bid from Kildare County Council for the development of a site at Ardclough Road, Celbridge. This project received approval in principle in August 2019 and will f...More Button

Another project at Maynooth in County Kildare is being funded under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) at a cost of over €14.5m. This public infrastructure project will be k...More Button

These schemes complement some of the other key Government affordability initiatives, such as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have supported over 16,500 househo...More Button

In addition, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development, seeks to support ambitious and strategic projects which have ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which sites serviced or unserviced can be made available by county to assist families that may be able to provide their own houses on such sites if available; and if he will make a st...More Button

A number of options are available to local authorities in meeting social housing needs, and these include the provision of low cost sites to persons qualified for social housing support on which th...More Button

It is a matter for the local authorities to select and prioritise projects under the various programmes they implement, to meet their overall housing need.  They are responsible for the identific...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Provision (Continued)

In relation to Clonburris, which will provide 8,000 homes, the local infrastructure housing activation fund, LIHAF, and the serviced sites fund, SSF, will make more than 1,000 of these homes availa...More Button

Poolbeg West SDZ will deliver up to 3,500 homes in close proximity to the city centre. To improve access to this strategically important site, more than €15 million of LIHAF funding has already b...More Button

With the St. Michael's Estate cost rental development, land is being provided by Dublin City Council to minimise the eventual rents of the planned 375 homes, and I understand that an application ...More Button

With regard to rents in cost rental projects, in the case of the Enniskerry Road project, which is already on site, the 50 two-bedroom cost rental units will be made available for €1,200 per mont...More Button

I welcome that the Deputy has recognised that the delivery of affordable housing is coming and is welcome under Rebuilding Ireland. It is happening now and we are on sites. Obviously we want it t...More Button

Many of the fundamentals of private house building are the same for public house building, which are the construction costs and so on. When we talk about what a discount might be or a discount o...More Button

I was not quite clear about the Deputy's point on deposits. If a house is to be sold at approximately €225,000 for example, a deposit of 10% would be around €25,000. The help-to-buy incentive c...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his follow-up and clarification. The Enniskerry Road project is a very interesting example of how complicated the delivery of cost rental can be. It does not have to be. T...More Button

In what we are seeing the delivery of affordable housing for purchase, obviously I cannot overrule the Housing Agency when it comes to decisions made by it or by local credit committees under the...More Button

-----but I take the Deputy's point that people can get less than what they applied for and there is a bigger gap to fill when making up the difference. Even the 10% requirement can be structured s...More Button

Building Energy Rating Administration

Was asked: the extra funding allocated to improve the energy ratings of local authority homes in addition to that already provided under schemes that have been ongoing in recent years; the monitoring that tak...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Maintenance

Was asked: the monitoring in place to ensure that local authority homes that have received a thermal upgrade reach an improved BER rating; if a survey is carried out to measure the improvement; and if he will...More Button

Was asked: the amount spent by local authorities since 2017 on retrofitting; and the number of houses that have been retrofitted by each local authority.More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Was asked: the number of new build homes to be completed by each local authority by the end of 2019. More Button

Was asked: the number of new builds undertaken by his Department, local authorities, or both, by county in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 85 together.More Button

Earlier this year, I published the 2019 targets for social housing delivery on a local authority basis and by delivery mechanism, including build, acquisition, leasing, housing assistance payment...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Data (Continued)

All stakeholders recognise the critical need to continue to increase social housing supply through build activity. When Rebuilding Ireland was published in 2016, the construction activity base and...More Button

The social housing construction status report, which is published on a quarterly basis on the Rebuilding Ireland website, provides detailed information on build activity in each local authority, ...More Button

I am not playing with figures and there is no grand conspiracy here. We published the targets for a reason. They include local authority builds, AHB builds, what is happening on private sites wit...More Button

This year we will increase the social housing stock by 10,000 homes. More than 6,000 of those will be directly built for social housing, either by local authorities, AHBs or using the Part V proce...More Button

Some €2.4 billion was spent on housing this year. It is the largest amount a Government has ever spent in a single year on housing. That is our commitment to public housing. The Deputy does not ...More Button

We were 3% shy in the context of more than 4,000 homes. The Deputy is claiming today we are nowhere near our targets. I am telling him we are close to them and we will know by the end of the year...More Button

Tenant Purchase Scheme

Was asked: his plans to change the conditions of the tenant purchase incremental scheme 2016 due to the small take-up of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when the promised new tenant purchase scheme will be published and activated; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when the review of the tenant purchase scheme will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Constitutional Amendments

Was asked: the steps he will take to progress the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Water in Public Ownership) (No.1) Bill 2016 seeking to place the right to water in the Constitution; the reason fo...More Button

Was asked: when he plans to have the revised amendment wording ready to bring to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government on the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Wat...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 78 together.More Button

The Government is firmly committed to keeping public water services in public ownership, as reflected in the Water Services Acts and in the water services policy statement 2018-2025.  This positi...More Button

In consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, my Department has engaged in detailed examination of the proposals for a referendum contained in the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constit...More Button

Progress on a proposal for revised wording continues to be made by the Office of the Attorney General in conjunction with my Department but it is not a simple matter.  In a letter to the committe...More Button

I have several pages before me detailing the various engagements we have had with Deputy Joan Collins and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government on this matter.More Button

The last engagement was on 15 July, when the committee was notified of our concerns. I have spoken to Deputy Joan Collins in person since we came back after the summer recess about the work that w...More Button

I also published a series of tests that any wording will have to pass for it to have the support of the committee. It would not pass the committee if it proceeded with the current language. I k...More Button

Constitutional Amendments (Continued)

We are deadly serious about it. Where is the Deputy's wording? Where is his amendment?More Button

I gave the Deputy the 14 tests.More Button

Could I speak without interruption, please?More Button

It is always the case that when Deputies do not like the answer, they interrupt.More Button

I thank the Acting Chairman. I published 14 tests and I gave them to Deputy Ó Broin. He is aware of them. He did not come back with one change in language that would help us to address the conc...More Button

I am telling the Deputy that we are working on it. I asked him for help. I said let us try to do this by consensus. The Deputy has not bothered. We have been working hard. The Deputy knows how...More Button

Do not put this on us. The Deputy’s party has plenty of legal advice because he is always talking about it. He knows how difficult this is.More Button

If it was so simple, the Deputy would have found the wording.More Button

Homeless Persons Data

Was asked: if he has read the recent report on the effect of homelessness on the development of children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the number of families on local authority housing lists and deemed to be homeless for any reason; his plans to meet their housing requirements in the short and medium term; and ...More Button

Was asked: the average length of time families are being kept in family hubs before being accommodated in housing; the number of exits from family hubs in each year; the reason for the exits, for example, hou...More Button

Was asked: the number of children in emergency accommodation in each local authority area; the average period of time spent by children in accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the way in which he plans to respond to the deterioration in the number of children without a permanent home (details supplied).More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 47, 50, 52, 53 and 93 together.More Button

Rebuilding Ireland is designed to significantly increase the supply of social housing by 50,000 homes in the period to 2021, to double the output of overall housing to at least 25,000 homes per y...More Button

Supporting families experiencing homelessness is a priority for the Government, for me and my Department, in particular. My Department continues to work closely and proactively with the local au...More Button

In regard to family homelessness, my Department is working with the local authorities to support the introduction of family hubs, 30 of which are already in operation, providing almost 690 spaces...More Button

There are a number of questions grouped.More Button

I understood that when we grouped questions, my reply could be-----More Button

I thank the Acting Chairman.More Button

I thank Deputy Boyd Barrett. The Deputy is well able to use statistics when they suit him. Facts matter, and behind each of the numbers that I mentioned is a family, a child or an individual who ...More Button

If one is in a family hub, on average one will spend six months in emergency accommodation and the majority of people in emergency accommodation throughout the system are there for less than a ye...More Button

That is how we solve this crisis.More Button

I have to dispute the comments Deputy Boyd Barrett has made. Supply is the answer and supply is increasing. One should look at the numbers going into emergency accommodation since I came into off...More Button

Was asked: the number of homeless families and children in each county in December 2018 and each month to date in 2019.More Button

My Department publishes a monthly report on homelessness. The monthly report is based on data provided by housing authorities and produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PA...More Button

Homeless Persons Data (Continued)

That would not have been possible if we were not putting this huge amount of work into what we are doing. If we were not putting in place all these supports, such as those for the 27,000 household...More Button

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (Continued)

They are getting smaller pensions.More Button

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

We will bring the legislation to Cabinet, I hope, in the next week.More Button

Urban Regeneration and Development Fund

Was asked: if housing schemes that were listed on the original local infrastructure housing activation fund, LIHAF, scheme and submitted by the local authority can be prioritised for funding under the urban r...More Button

Was asked: when the next opportunity for applications under the urban regeneration fund will open; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 76 together.More Button

The Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) was designed to activate housing supply by putting in place the enabling public infrastructure necessary to ensure that large scale develo...More Button

The LIHAF projects are progressing, with two projects completed and almost half of all projects at construction stage. My Department is currently reviewing progress on the remaining projects and ...More Button

The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), announced in November 2018, is a flagship element of Project Ireland 2040 and is supported by funding of €2 billion over the period to 2027. Th...More Button

Although submission of funding applications and the advancement of each project is, in the first instance, a matter for each applicant, my Department is working closely and actively with them to ...More Button

  Question No. 49 answered with Question No. 45.More Button

  Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 47.More Button

Was asked: if funding will be considered for a second bridge into Newbridge, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) is a flagship element of Project Ireland 2040. Under the stewardship of my Department, the Fund was established in 2018 to support more compact a...More Button

In July 2018, bids for URDF funding support were invited from public bodies. The application process was competitive and in the event, out of a total of 189 applications received by my Departmen...More Button

As part of this first call, Kildare County Council submitted 7 proposals and was awarded URDF support for 4 of these. One of the Council’s unsuccessful proposals related to a link road from Grea...More Button

A second call for proposals under the URDF will be announced shortly. More Button

In the context of the second call it will be a matter for Kildare County Council to consider the projects it may wish to submit for consideration. In that regard, and taking account of the asses...More Button

Vacant Properties

Was asked: the steps he is taking to encourage the use of vacant housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of vacant privately owned homes that have been brought back into use through programmes, including the repair and lease and the acquisition of vacant properties, through the Housing Agen...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 95 together.

  Rebuilding Ireland sets out a range of measures to assist in meeting Ireland’s housing needs by ensuring that our ex...More Button

  Questions Nos. 52 and 53 answered with Question No. 47.More Button

Credit Union Lending

Was asked: the status of the review group of establishing a special purpose vehicle to enable credit union funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Building Regulations Compliance

Was asked: if he will consider introducing a one stop shop for homeowners who discover latent defects that would provide information, advice, mediation and adjudication to ensure that, in the first instance, ...More Button

Land Development Agency

Was asked: if the land and homes on a site (details supplied) will remain in public ownership into the future in view of the possible transfer of a site to the Land Development Agency; and if he will make a s...More Button

The Land Development Agency (LDA) is currently working with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council on a delivery plan for the site referred to. This site can yield approximately 600 homes, which are...More Button

As provided for under Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001, any decision to dispose of local authority land, including to the LDA, is a reserved function of its elected members. More Button

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government recently carried out pre-legislative scrutiny of the General Scheme of the LDA Bill. It is important to note that the Gene...More Button

Water Quality

Was asked: the status of the recent large-scale boil water notice that affected over 600,000 residents in counties Meath, Kildare and Dublin; the measures undertaken to prevent such an occurrence again; the s...More Button

Fingal County Council, on behalf of Irish Water, operates the Leixlip water treatment plant. Following the recent incidents, water provided by the Leixlip plant is currently safe, and is not subjec...More Button

I remain concerned about the vulnerability of this plant. My focus is firstly, to ensure that Irish Water continues to prioritise and progress the improvement works; and secondly, that appropriat...More Button

Irish Water is undertaking improvements to the plant as recommended by EPA audits as quickly as is practical. While works are progressing on the plant, water production has been reduced by c30 m...More Button

In relation to the recent boil water notices, I and my Department have engaged with all the organisations involved to review the response to the incidents. In addition, I have in recent days, rec...More Button

While the water being produced at Leixlip is safe, the risk of further boil water notices continues until the upgrade works are finalised in the first half of next year.More Button

The EPA will continue to provide regulatory oversight of Irish Water, and work closely with Irish Water and the HSE to ensure the protection of human health.More Button

It should be noted that, overall, the additional water capacity available in the Greater Dublin Area is extremely low. Irish Water has medium and long term plans to increase the supply to the Gr...More Button

Local Authority Housing Data

Was asked: the number of direct build and new local authority houses rented to tenants in each of the past four years to date by county; the number of houses purchased by each local authority for allocation t...More Button

Rebuilding Ireland will deliver over 50,000 new social homes by the end of 2021 through a combination of Build, Acquisition and Leasing. In 2019 alone, 10,000 new social homes will be delivered uti...More Button

Was asked: the number of homes allocated by each local authority in the past 12 months, in tabular form; the number of refusals of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The allocation of social housing support is a matter for each individual local authority in accordance with the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, and associated regulations. Section 22 o...More Button

My Department does not hold information on the allocations of the specific type or the number of refusals of same requested by the Deputy.More Button

Pyrite Remediation Programme Implementation

Was asked: the status of the implementation of the mica redress scheme for affected homeowners in County Donegal; the progress made to date with regard to the implementation arrangements with Donegal County C...More Button

Local Authority Housing Eligibility

Was asked: if income limits for access to the social housing waiting lists will be examined in view of recent reports that show the difficulty of persons accessing affordable housing and the inability of many...More Button

Was asked: his plans to ensure that income eligibility for public housing is raised to ensure that those on middle incomes have access to safe and secure housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 94 together.

  Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility an...More Button

Was asked: the number of families likely to qualify for local authority houses in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provi...More Button

Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area are set out in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA). More Button

The most recently conducted SSHA details the number of households on all local authority waiting lists as at 24 June 2019 (the count date). Since the count date, the Housing Agency has been exami...More Button

The final numbers provided by the Housing Agency regarding the 2019 assessment show that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified and being in need of social housing support. This represents ...More Button

It is important to note that social housing is a demand led service and for that reason it is difficult to predict the degree to which housing lists will decrease or increase over the next 12 mon...More Button

The undertaking of the SSHA assists in providing a more strategic picture of the dynamics of the numbers applying for social housing supports and emerging trends. The purpose of the SSHA is to ca...More Button

While it is difficult to predict social housing need, it is important that Housing Authorities are aware in general terms of the potential demand when they are preparing their Housing Strategies ...More Button

Work on the development of the HNDA process has commenced in my Department and an expert advisory group is preparing guidance for local authorities to assist them in conducting a HNDA. This new e...More Button

Local Authority Funding

Was asked: his plans to address the funding shortfall experienced by several city and county councils following the change in Irish Water rate funding; and the way in which he plans to tackle same on a long-t...More Button

Vacant Sites Levy

Was asked: if he is satisfied with the number of sites listed on the vacant site registers of local authorities; his views on whether each site that should be on the register has been listed and is subject to...More Button

Under the vacant site levy provisions in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, planning authorities are empowered to apply a vacant site levy of 3% of the market value of relevant vacant sit...More Button

My Department does not maintain a central register of vacant sites, as each local authority administers the vacant site register in respect of their functional area. As provided for under the Act...More Button

While application of the levy provisions is a matter for individual local authorities, my Department continues to monitor implementation of the levy to ensure that it is being effectively applied...More Button

My Department will continue to engage proactively with local authorities to ensure the vacant site levy achieves its full potential. However, I have no plans to further amend the vacant site levy...More Button

Water Abstraction Regulation

Was asked: the amount of water that private bottled water companies extract here; the locations in which they extract water; the amount they pay for extraction; the person or body they pay; if they are exempt...More Button

The abstraction of water is governed by the Water Supplies Act 1942, which deals with the abstraction of water for public drinking water supply purposes only. Under this Act, there are no requirem...More Button

However, the Water Framework Directive requires that abstractions of surface water or groundwater which are likely to have a significant effect on water status must be regulated. My Department h...More Button

Following examination of those submissions and refinement of the policy approach, I will be returning to Government shortly with a revised General Scheme to give effect to our obligations under t...More Button

In advance of the primary legislation, and in order to build up a nationwide picture of abstractions, a requirement to register water abstractions in excess of 25 cubic metres per day with the En...More Button

There will be further opportunity to contribute to development of the provisions to be contained in the planned legislation when I submit the revised General Scheme of the Water Environment (Abst...More Button

I expect that a proportionate abstraction control regime will effectively manage abstraction risks and pressures without imposing an unnecessary regulatory burden. Recognising the relatively low...More Button

It should be noted that requirements in relation to the standards of bottled waters are laid out in the European Union (Natural Mineral Waters, Spring Waters and Other Waters in Bottles or Contai...More Button

Planning Guidelines

Was asked: when the new rural planning guidelines will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he plans to introduce new rural housing guidelines in view of the Flemish Decree judgment of the European Court of Justice; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 83 together.More Button

Following engagement between the European Commission and my Department regarding the European Court of Justice ruling in the "Flemish Decree" case, a working group was established to review and, ...More Button

In parallel, my Department is reviewing the Development Plan Guidelines for Planning Authorities, to update guidance in light of both legislative changes and the introduction of the National Plan...More Button

Thereafter, I propose to finalise revisions to the 2005 Rural Housing Guidelines, taking account of the engagement with the European Commission, the relevant European Court of Justice rulings an...More Button

Departmental Offices

Was asked: the status of the housing delivery office; the relationship of the office with the Land Development Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of the housing delivery office; the relationship of the office with the Land Development Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 306 together.More Button

A dedicated Housing Delivery Office (HDO) was established within my Department to support the accelerated delivery of housing across the social and private sectors, in an integrated and timely ma...More Button

Working with the broader Housing and Planning Divisions in the Department, other key agencies, local authorities and the construction sector, the HDO has supported the roll-out of complex project...More Button

In the context of the increased delivery ambition in terms of social and affordable homes, my Department has been working with the City and County Management Association (CCMA) in terms of review...More Button

The CCMA recently submitted a proposal to my Department setting out the benefits that a revamped and reconfigured HDO more closely situated within the local government sector could have in terms ...More Button

- Leasing;More Button

- Social Housing Specification and Design;More Button

- Procurement/ Contract Management/ Project Management; andMore Button

- Utilising Landbanks/ Achieving Mixed Tenure.More Button

Given the similarities between these objectives and other established Project Management Offices, I have agreed with the CCMA that the HDO will therefore transition to the Local Government Manage...More Button

Local Authority Staff

Was asked: the role of his Department in the provision of a dangerous substance officer within county councils; the role of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

My Department oversees workforce planning for the local government sector, including the monitoring of employment levels. To this end, my Department gathers aggregate quarterly data on staff whol...More Button

This information should be available directly from local authorities themselves.More Button

An Bord Pleanála

Was asked: his views on the fact that the quorum in An Bord Pleanála is only three members, which means that two members of the board are making decisions on major planning applications; and if he will make a...More Button

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, in general, the quorum of the Board of An Bord Pleanála is three persons, with an option for a two-member meeting, subject to Board approval...More Button

Separate legislative provisions apply to the divisions of the Board dealing with planning applications for strategic infrastructure development (SID) and, more recently, strategic housing develop...More Button

Both Acts provide that at any stage before a decision is made by either the Strategic Infrastructure Division or Strategic Housing Division, where a case is considered to be a matter of particula...More Button

No changes to these arrangements were recommended by the organisational review of An Bord Pleanála carried out by an independent review group in 2016. I am satisfied with the existing arrangement...More Button

Housing Policy

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the findings of a report published by an organisation (details supplied); the way in which he plans to address the concerns; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

Earlier this month, I received email correspondence from Social Justice Ireland which contained a link to the Videos and Papers from the 32nd Social Policy Conference - The Challenges of Success.More Button

I note the papers included the Challenges of Success conference booklet, which contains a 'Review of the Government's Housing Strategy from the perspective of young and old'. My Department keeps ...More Button

Was asked: his plans to introduce cost-to-rental housing as part of future local authority or approved housing body housing developments in counties Laois and Offaly.More Button

In order to support the delivery of discounted homes to buy or rent, this Government has committed €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund, from 2019 to 2021, to provide infrastructure to suppor...More Button

Was asked: the action he will take in terms of reform to address the issue of families having to spend more than half the family income to meet rent payments; if provision will be made by which families can c...More Button

Our private rental market is experiencing ongoing upward pressures due to strong economic and demographic growth. Ultimately the most effective way to reduce and stabilise rents in the medium to lo...More Button

Acknowledging that renters in Dublin and other major urban centres are facing significant housing access and affordability challenges, the Government is committed to the introduction of a Cost Re...More Button

The Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector recognises that rapidly increasing rental inflation is the most significant challenge to security of tenure in the rental sector and that there is ...More Button

At this stage, some 68% of the approximate 311,000 tenancies in the private rental sector are covered by RPZ designations and come under the 4% rent increase restriction. More Button

In order to support more robust enforcement of the RPZ regime, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 has provided the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) with additional powers and resourc...More Button

The Government has also introduced a number of affordability measures to support people who wish to purchase their own homes. In particular, a new loan offering, known as the Rebuilding Ireland H...More Button

Additionally, the Help To Buy (HTB) incentive, announced in Budget 2017, is designed to assist first-time buyers with the deposit required to purchase or self-build a new house or apartment to li...More Button

The incentive provides for a refund of Income Tax and DIRT paid over the previous four tax years, limited to a maximum of 5% of the purchase value. The HTB refund is capped at €20,000.More Button

As of 30 November 2019, Revenue has received 34,760 applications, and a total of 16,550 HTB claims have been made, of which 15,903 are approved. The estimated total value of approved HTB claims t...More Button

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure, Pascal Donohoe TD, extended the initiative in its current form in Budget 2020. This means that the HTB initiative will remain for another two year...More Button

Increasing the supply of new homes at affordable prices is a key pillar of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan. More Button

Under Rebuilding Ireland the Government has introduced the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund. The objective of the fund is to provide public off-site infrastructure to relieve infrastr...More Button

€310m has been made available under the Serviced Sites Fund over the period to 2021 for infrastructure works on local authority lands that will support the delivery of housing for rent or purchas...More Button

In 2018, the affordability provisions set out in Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 came into force. Regulations in relation to a number of operational matters (including s...More Button

Rent Pressure Zones

Was asked: if he will consider amendments to the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 in order that the expiry date of each deemed and designated rent pressure zone, RPZ, can be reviewed prior to 31 Dec...More Button

The Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector recognises that rapidly increasing rental inflation is the most significant challenge to security of tenure in the rental sector and that there was a...More Button

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 was enacted on 24 May 2019 following extensive debate in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Given the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis, I have no ...More Button

The Housing Agency continues to monitor the rental market and may recommend further areas for designation as Rent Pressure Zones in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2019. More Button

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

Was asked: the status of the summary of the 2019 social housing needs assessment.More Button

Was asked: the most recent figures on the housing waiting list for four Dublin councils (details supplied).More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 and 89 together.

  Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area are set out in the st...More Button

Was asked: his plans to ensure the figures of those on the RAS and HAP transfer lists are included on the list of those awaiting social housing by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Consistent with the provisions in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is considered to be a social housing support and consequently househol...More Button

Furthermore, local authorities were also directed that HAP recipients who apply to go on the transfer list should get full credit for the time they spent on the waiting list and be placed on the ...More Button

In relation to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 gives legislative recognition to rental accommodation availability agreements, which underpin...More Button

Recognising that tenants housed through RAS prior to this change might have had reasonable expectations in regard to retaining access to traditional local authority rented accommodation, guidance...More Button

All tenants allocated RAS accommodation post 1st April 2011 (and thus under the provisions of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009) were informed at the time of offer and allocation th...More Button

However, it is recommended that allocation schemes also provide a ‘transfer pathway’ for new RAS tenants, whereby households in RAS have access to the transfer list in the same way as tenants in ...More Button

The practical operation of transfer lists is a matter for each local authority to manage, on the basis of their own scheme of letting priorities. The making of such schemes is a reserved function...More Button

HAP and RAS continue to be key vehicles in meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. More Button

Seanad Reform

Was asked: his plans for the implementation of the Seanad reform group proposals; and the timeline for same.More Button

Home Loan Scheme

Was asked: the most up-to-date figures on the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; the number of loans applied for; the number of loans approved; the number drawn down; and the average loan amount in the thre...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. 76 answered with Question No. 48.More Button

Was asked: his plans to ensure that Meath County Council has sufficient funding to approve applications for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans would be approximately €200 million over three years. However, this loan pro...More Button

I engaged early as I said I would. While discussions commenced in October 2018 on additional funding, the first tranche of €200m was only fully drawn down in August of this year. My Department wr...More Button

Was asked: if the second income of a person arising from a retained firefighter role can be taken into consideration as guaranteed income as part of a Rebuilding Ireland home loan application process; and if ...More Button

Under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, single applicants applying for the loan must not be earning greater than €50,000 gross per annum and the combined income of joint applicants must not be grea...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 ...More Button

The final decision on loan approval is a matter for each local authority and its Credit Committee on a case-by-case basis. Decisions on all housing loan applications must be made in accordance wi...More Button

Each local authority must have in place a Credit Committee and it is a matter for the Committee to make the final decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, and havin...More Button

I have asked the Housing Agency how income such as in the situation of a retained firefighter is assessed. They have confirmed that it is possible for such income can be taken into account in the...More Button

  Question No. 306 answered with Question No. 67.More Button

Was asked: the number of applications for the home loan scheme received by South Dublin County Council; the number of applications approved; the number declined ; the number of applications that successfully ...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

Was asked: the number of Rebuilding Ireland home loans likely to become available to suitable applicants nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to adjust income limits for applicants for Rebuilding Ireland home loans in order to aggressively deal with the housing shortage; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to increase dramatically the number and availability of Rebuilding Ireland home loans; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 319 to 321, inclusive, together. More Button

It continues to be the case under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, which was introduced on 1 February 2018, that single applicants applying for the loan must not be earning more than €50,000 gro...More Button

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a demand led scheme and when it was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans would be approximately €200 million over three years...More Button

I engaged early as I said I would. While discussions commenced in October 2018 on additional funding, the first tranche of €200m was only fully drawn down in August of this year. My Department wr...More Button

The overall allocations incorporate loans already issued since the inception of the scheme, loans which will be drawn down on foot of approvals already issued and projected loan demand for the re...More Button

Housing Estates

Was asked: if the taking in charge of housing estates process will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The most recent amendments to the taking in charge provisions of the planning code were made in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 with a view to further strengthening and streamlini...More Button

Residential developments consisting of two or more dwellings that have been granted planning permission under section 34 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) may be eligible (dep...More Button

Under Section 180 (1) of the Act, the planning authority is obliged to initiate taking in charge procedures where requested by either the developer or by the majority of owners of the dwellings. ...More Button

Circular PD 1/08 updates the earlier policy guidance issued by the Department and replaced circular letters PD 1/06 and 5/06 which directed planning authorities to develop a policy on taking in c...More Button

Ultimately, however, progression of individual developments through the taking-in-charge process is a matter for the relevant housing developer, the residents in such developments and the relevan...More Button

I have no current plans to conduct a review of the taking-in-charge provisions of the Act.More Button

  Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 46.More Button

Legislative Measures

Was asked: the reason for progressing the housing and planning and development (amendment) Bill; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Bill adds many requirements and restrictions that will mak...More Button

The reforms set out in the General Scheme for a Housing and Planning and Development (Amendment ) Bill are part of a series of ongoing reforms to ensure that the planning system operates in a strea...More Button

The proposals in the General Scheme are not intended to inhibit actions by any person directly impacted by a proposed development who has participated in the planning process. Prior participati...More Button

I recently launched a public consultation on the General Scheme of the Bill. The consultation enables all interested parties to make submissions on the proposed legislation. This will inform the ...More Button

Local Authority Facilities

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact the CEO of Dublin City Council is proposing that depot sites be sold to facilitate the capital programme (details supplied); the reason it is not policy ...More Button

The development of major local authority residential sites, including in the Dublin City Council area, where undersupply and the greatest affordability issues are being experienced, is a major prio...More Button

In the first instance, it is a matter for each local authority and its elected members to agree the optimal approach to development and financing of its land bank, including the viability of site...More Button

In addition, the Land Development Agency have also been working with local authorities, including Dublin City Council, to ensure increased delivery of social and affordable homes on public lands. More Button

As set out in the details supplied by the Deputy, Dublin City Council's intention is to ensure that those sites whose zoning allows for residential development are to be developed for social and...More Button

Local Authority Housing Provision

Was asked: the new build targets set by Galway City Council and Galway County Councils in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number built by each local authority in each of the years; and...More Button

The Social Housing Strategy (SHS), which was the precursor to Rebuilding Ireland, set social housing delivery targets, on a local authority basis, for the period 2015 to 2017. Over this period, loc...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be in a position to meet the housing needs of those on local authority housing lists nationwide in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The 2019 Summary of Social Housing Assessments shows that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified and being in need of social housing support. This represents a decrease of 3,165 households or...More Button

  Question No. 317 answered with Question No. 315.More Button

Was asked: the amount of local authority-owned potential building lands available for local authority affordable housing in the greater Dublin area, with particular reference to those counties adjacent to Dub...More Button

The development of major local authority residential sites in Dublin and the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), where undersupply and the greatest affordability issues are being experienced, is a major pri...More Button

  Question No. 325 answered with Question No. 309.More Button

Rental Sector Strategy

Was asked: the way in which he plans to fund the affordable cost-rental project in St Michael’s Estate, Inchicore, Dublin 8; and if the rents can be brought below €900 per month.More Button

The Dublin City Council-owned land at Emmet Road, Inchicore, which is largely comprised of the former St Michael’s Estate, is a cost rental ‘pathfinder’ pilot development. It is estimated that thi...More Button

The homes at Emmet Road will be complemented by commercial, retail, community and open space, including the existing Inchicore Community Sports Centre. To facilitate community engagement, Dublin ...More Button

Based on the agreed tenure mix, it is anticipated that the funding for the 30% social housing units will be provided by my Department through existing funding programmes. The 70% of homes that wi...More Button

Cost rental is housing where the rents charged cover the cost of delivering, managing and maintaining the homes only. It is not designed to replace traditional social housing provision for low-in...More Button

While noting that the financial modelling for projects of this level is heavily influenced by the base case assumptions made, it is my understanding that initial projections by advisers engaged b...More Button

In order for this project to succeed as a cost rental development, it is important that project funds are recouped on an ongoing basis. As the rent paid by a household in a cost rental tenancy si...More Button

In relation to current progress on this project, a Development Framework Plan has been completed on behalf of Dublin City Council. Cost consultants have also completed a report on the constructio...More Button

  Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 72.More Button

Housing Assistance Payment Applications

Was asked: the waiting times for processing of HAP applications by each local authority; the additional resources he will release to ensure that waiting times are reduced down to one to two weeks; and if he w...More Button

Limerick City and County Council provide a highly effective HAP transactional-shared service on behalf of all local authorities. The HAP Shared Services Centre (HAP SSC) manages all HAP-related ren...More Button

Under the HAP scheme, eligible households source their own accommodation in the private rented sector and the tenancy agreement is between the tenant and the landlord. The HAP application form c...More Button

HAP application processing times within local authorities may vary. Once a HAP application has been received and confirmed as valid by the relevant local authority, it is entered on the system by...More Button

An analysis of data from the HAP SSC indicates that the average processing time at the end of Q3 2019 within the 31 local authorities is 34 days. My Department has recently written to all local a...More Button

To support local authorities in the implementation of the HAP scheme, my Department provides a once off administrative payment of €150 per HAP household to all local authorities. This administra...More Button

At the end of Q3 2019, there were over 50,000 households having their housing needs met via HAP and some 29,000 separate landlords and agents in receipt of monthly HAP payments. My Department con...More Button

  Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 45.More Button

Electoral Process

Was asked: his plans with regard to the regulation of political advertising on social media platforms further to the recent meeting of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News.More Button

Property Registration

Was asked: if a mapping issue (details supplied) that is currently with the Land Registry will be expedited. More Button

A service for Oireachtas members was introduced in 2006 through which information can be obtained on the current status of applications to the Property Registration Authority (PRA), such as in the ...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility

Was asked: if the income thresholds for social housing in counties Laois and Offaly will be increased to take account of the situation with wages and house prices.More Button

Was asked: if income qualification thresholds for local authority houses are likely to be increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 309 and 325 together.More Button

Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Pro...More Button

The 2011 Regulations prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standa...More Button

Under the Household Means Policy, which applies in all local authorities, net income for social housing assessment is defined as gross household income less income tax, and the universal social c...More Button

The income bands are expressed in terms of a maximum net income threshold for a single-person household, with an allowance of 5% for each additional adult household member, subject to a maximum a...More Button

The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household's basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local r...More Button

Given the cost to the State of providing social housing, it is considered prudent and fair to direct resources to those most in need of social housing support. The current income eligibility requ...More Button

However, as part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is underway. The review will also have regard...More Button

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Was asked: the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the implementation of ongoing communications strategy initiatives that highlight schemes and programmes operated under the auspices of hi...More Button

The details requested are set out in the table below:

Initiative More Button

Was asked: the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the commissioning, development, production, promotion and online sharing of a video that highlighted schemes and programmes operated by h...More Button

My Department has incurred no expenditure to date this year on the commissioning, development, production, promotion or online sharing of videos highlighting schemes and programmes it operates.More Button

My Department has produced a number of videos this year, including three published videos on the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, a scheme it operates. It did not incur expenditure as the...More Button

To limit public expenditure in the production of digital content, including videos, my Department normally develops and produces video in-house. It occasionally incurs expenditure on the advertis...More Button

My Department has not currently commissioned any videos on schemes or programmes for 2020. It is possible that it may incur expenditure on the promotion of videos next year but decisions in that ...More Button

Homeless Accommodation Provision

Was asked: his plans to meet the housing needs of those in emergency housing accommodation or who are homeless in the course of the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of houses likely to become available to homeless families by county in the course of the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 315 and 317 together.More Button

Supporting families experiencing homelessness is a priority for this Government. In 2016, the Government published the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, which contains a...More Button

Under the legal and policy framework in place, local authorities are responsible for the provision of homeless services to households experiencing homelessness. Local authorities and their servic...More Button

In the first nine months of 2018, a total of 4,389 adults and their associated dependants exited from homelessness to an independent tenancy. This is a 17% increase on the numbers recorded at th...More Button

In 2020, as we continue to increase housing output and, in particular increase the number of new social homes to 11,000, I expect to see increased exits from homelessness to all tenure types. More Button