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Coveney, Simon

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Renewable Energy Projects

Was asked: his plans to streamline the guidelines for planning the construction of solar energy farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are no specific planning guidelines in place in respect of solar farms. Proposals for individual solar farm developments are subject to the statutory requirements of the Planning and Develop...More Button

Under the Planning and Development Act, each planning authority's development plan must set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the area concerned. Sec...More Button

In making decisions on planning applications, planning authorities and the Board must consider the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, having regard to the provisions of the ...More Button

I am satisfied that the planning code is sufficiently robust to facilitate the assessment of individual planning permission applications for solar farm developments. However, the matter will be ...More Button

Local Authority Housing Mortgages

Was asked: his plans for local authority mortgages for house extensions in situations in which it would cater for overcrowding or in which it would satisfy housing needs for those on the housing waiting list;...More Button

There are currently two local authority house purchase loan offerings available to lower income first-time buyers from local authorities. Both loan offerings, the standard annuity mortgage and the...More Button

My Department does, however, fund a range of housing supports for persons with a disability, living in both privately-owned housing and local authority housing. The Disabled Person Grant Scheme ...More Button

I continue to keep all local authority mortgage lending under review.More Button

Housing Policy

Was asked: his plans for persons that purchased starter homes and have now outgrown them due to family size; the measures being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness (July 2016), which is available at the following link, More Button

Was asked: the challenges which are standing in the way of increasing the housing supply at a faster than normal rate in view of the extent of the housing crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer to the reply to Question No. 339 of 4 April, 2017.

  In addition, building on the early actions taken to make affordable housing more viable through revised apartment gui...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Was asked: the number of applicants for social housing, per dwelling type, for the four Dublin local authorities; the average waiting times to be housed; if this information will be included in the statistics...More Button

Was asked: the number of applicants on the social housing transfer list, per dwelling type, for the four Dublin local authorities; the average waiting times to be transferred; if this information will be incl...More Button

Was asked: the number of applicants with priority for social housing, per dwelling type, for the four Dublin local authorities; the average waiting times to be housed; if this information will be included in ...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 286 to 288, inclusive, together.

  The results of the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments carried out as at 21 September 2016 prov...More Button

Was asked: the number of social housing units that have been built in County Offaly over each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Details on the number of properties constructed, purchased and leased by all local authorities, to include Offaly County Council, for letting to those on their social housing waiting lists are avai...More Button

Was asked: the status of the development and delivery of housing in locations (details supplied); the amount of funding and number of units which will be provided on each site; when these units will be made a...More Button

Stage 1 (approval in principle) to the provision of 56 social housing units in Phase 1A of the first project referred to was granted in December 2016 with a budget of €17,859,976. This is the firs...More Button

  Stage 1 approval (approval in principle) was issued on 29 June, 2016 for the delivery of 72 residential units in the second project referred to, with a budget of €21,615,125. The proposed units...More Button

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Was asked: the number of housing assistance payments, HAP, tenancies per county; the length of time that each HAP tenancy has been in place; the type of dwelling; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are currently over 20,000 households being supported by the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme in 31 local authority areas. A breakdown of the number of households supported by HAP, inc...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Was asked: the number of the 750 rapid build homes targeted for on-site commencement in 2017 in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan that have been commenced.More Button

My Department is working closely with all local authorities in relation to increasing and accelerating the delivery of a range of social housing programmes and supports, including rapid build homes...More Button

Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility

Was asked: the guidelines for the qualification criteria for specific instances houses from local authorities; the cases in which a sole applicant can be considered for a special instance house; and if he wil...More Button

It is a matter for each local authority to determine the nature, location and relative priority of individual social housing projects. In submitting proposals for funding to my Department in respe...More Button

Tenant Purchase Scheme

Was asked: if he will review the tenant purchase scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme came into operation on 1 January 2016. The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sa...More Button

In line with the commitment given in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, a review of the first 12 months of the scheme’s operation has been undertaken. The review ha...More Button

The work of review is now complete and a full report setting out findings and recommendations is currently being finalised in my Department. The report will be submitted to me shortly and any ch...More Button

Irish Water

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will instruct Irish Water to review the policy inherited from Tipperary County Council in which every residence with more than two acres of land adjoining had a meter installed with a standin...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 293 and 294 together.

  Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and o...More Button

Was asked: the way he intends to honour the commitments given in Irish Water's capital plan out until 2021; the areas from which the funding for this will come from; and if it will have an impact on other cap...More Button

The Programme for a Partnership Government reflects the overall commitment to Irish Water's capital investment of €5.5 billion to end 2021, as set out in Irish Water’s Business Plan 2014-2021. The...More Button

Irish Water’s capital programme is currently funded by a mix of debt, equity and funding from operations (i.e. customer revenue including that provided by the State operational subvention which i...More Button

In December 2016, the CER made a decision on the second regulatory period 2017-2018 setting allowed revenue for this period, including proposals on operational and capital budgets. A copy of the ...More Button

The future funding of Irish Water is currently under review by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services in its consideration of the Report of the Expert Com...More Button

  Question No. 304 withdrawn.More Button

Foreshore Issues

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 190 on 1 March 2017, the details of the role, operation and membership of the MLVC in respect of a foreshore lease application (details supplied) on Galway Bay...More Button

Was asked: the reason no environmental impact statement was lodged with a 35-year foreshore lease application (details supplied) on Galway Bay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be made regarding foreshore lease application (details supplied) on Galway Bay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 295 to 297, inclusive, together.

  The Marine Licence Vetting Committee (MLVC) is a multi-disciplinary standing committee which has provided scie...More Button

Planning Issues

Was asked: if the bond that was required by the then Minister for Local Government in the context of planning permission for a facility (details supplied) remains in place; if so, if it can be called in to fu...More Button

My role, as Minister, in relation to the planning system is mainly to provide and update the legislative and policy guidance framework. The legislative framework comprises the Planning and Develop...More Button

Under planning legislation, the day-to-day operation of the planning system, including enforcement of planning control, is a matter for the relevant planning authority which can take action if a ...More Button

Under section 30 of the Act, I am specifically precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case, including an enforcement issue, with which a planning authority o...More Button

Was asked: the options available for persons in estates that cannot be taken over by county councils in view of the fact that the developer is not in a position to apply for takeover; and if he will make a st...More Button

Section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, provides that, as soon as possible following a request by the developer or by the majority of the house-owners, a planning authorit...More Button

Section 180 also provides that, following a request by the majority of the house-owners, a planning authority must initiate procedures to take an unfinished estate in charge, where the authority ...More Button

In the case of an unfinished estate, where the planning authority has commenced enforcement proceedings within seven years of the expiry of the planning permission or considers that enforcement p...More Button

My Department, by way of circular letter PD 1/2008 dated 26 February 2008, issued updated policy guidance to planning authorities on Taking in Charge of Residential Developments/Management Arrang...More Button

- Certain core facilities/infrastructure to be taken in charge on request - public roads and footpaths, unallocated surface parking areas, public lighting, public water supply, foul and storm wat...More Button

- The procedures for taking in charge to begin promptly on foot of a request by the majority of the residents in the development or by the developer, as appropriate. Protocols, including time fr...More Button

Each planning authority’s policy on taking in charge is required to be made available to the public and published on its website, and the policy is reported on to the elected members on a regular...More Button

Under the provisions of Section 30 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), I am specifically precluded from intervening in individual cases. More Button

Ministerial Meetings

Was asked: the number of times and dates he has met with the CEO or chairperson of every organisation under his remit since he took office, in tabular form.More Button

The information sought is provided in the following table. In addition to the meetings identified in the Table, certain of the individuals concerned may, as required, also have been in attendance ...More Button

Was asked: the number of times and dates he has met the chairman of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services.More Button

The Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services is currently deliberating on the findings of the Expert Commission on Domestic Public Water Services. The Committee is chaired ...More Button

Was asked: the number of times and dates he has met with or spoken by phone to the chair or any members of the Expert Commission on Domestic Public Water Services.More Button

The Expert Commission on Domestic Water Services was established as an independent body to make recommendations on the optimal funding method for water services in Ireland. I met with the chair of...More Button

Was asked: the number of times and dates he has met with or spoken by phone to the chief executive of Irish Water.More Button

The information requested is set out in the following table:

No. of phone ca...More Button

Register of Electors

Was asked: his plans to review the electoral register (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The preparation of the register of electors is a matter for each local registration authority. It is their duty, as far as possible and with the co-operation and engagement of the public, to ensur...More Button

Local Authority Staff Data

Was asked: the number of engineers employed in the roads department of Galway County Council; if they are allocated by geographic area or by project; and if they have the resources necessary to deliver their ...More Button

My Department gathers quarterly data on staff numbers in local authorities. The data gathered does not provide detail in respect of the number of engineers employed in the roads department of Galw...More Button

My Department works closely with Galway County Council in relation to the Council's overall staffing requirements. However, under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executiv...More Button

Development Contributions

Was asked: the amounts of development contributions which have been collected and unspent by local authorities; if arrangements remain in place that only permit local authorities to spend the equivalent of th...More Button

The charging of development contributions allows local authorities to recoup some of the costs to public funds of servicing land for private development, without which the development could not pro...More Button

It should be noted that local authorities operate on an accrual accounting basis and therefore recognise income and expenditure as incurred relating to the period, regardless of the cash transact...More Button

My Department is responsible for monitoring the local government sector’s compliance with fiscal rules set out as part of the management of the Stability and Growth Pact. These include the contr...More Button

Property Tax Administration

Was asked: the year in which the assessment of needs were done that now inform the distribution of local property tax; his plans to repeat the exercise; if so, when that will be done; and if he will make a st...More Button

Local retention of Local Property Tax (LPT) began in 2015 and is now established as an alternative and essential  source of funding for the local government sector, which reduces reliance on centra...More Button

In accordance with decisions taken by Government regarding the distribution of LPT funding, every local authority has a minimum level of funding available to it known as the LPT baseline. There ...More Button

The needs of local authorities vary significantly across the State, depending on a complex range of factors. My Department keeps the allocation mechanism under review to ensure equitable treatme...More Button

Animal Breeding Regulations

Was asked: when the final dog breeding establishment guidelines will be published following the closure of the public consultation on 28 February 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In late 2015, the then Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government agreed to begin a process of review of the current Dog Breeding Establishment Guidelines, under the auspices of ...More Button

I considered it essential to broaden the review of the Guidelines to a more formal public consultation, both for quality assurance and to address the need for openness and inclusiveness. A wide-...More Button

Water Quality

Was asked: the regulations in place with regard to car washes and disposal of related toxins.More Button

Primary responsibility for the monitoring, management, protection and improvement of water quality is assigned to local authorities under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts and related leg...More Button

Under Section 16 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 (as amended), an individual or business may not discharge a trade effluent to a sewer except in accordance with a licence issue...More Button

Trade Effluent Discharge to Sewer Licences set out conditions that must be complied with. These may include the nature, composition and volume of the trade effluent discharge; the method of trea...More Button

Water Services

Was asked: his views on whether, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015- 2040, the increased compliance with the drinking water microbiological standards from the baseline of 99.82% to 99.99% by the end...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015-2040, the removal of all boil water notices by 2021 will be achieved.More Button

Was asked: his views on whether, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015-2040, the increase in the compliance rate for trihalomethanes in drinking water from the baseline of 90.31% to 93% by 2021 and to ...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015-2040, the plan to reduce the current leakage rate of approximately 49% of treated drinking water to less than 38% by 2021, to less...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015-2040, the increase in the compliance rate for lead in drinking water which is estimated at between 85% to 95% will achieve 98% com...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015-2040, the plan to improve the standard of urban waste water treatment to meet the requirements of the urban waste water treatment ...More Button

Was asked: if, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015-2040, he will provide an appropriate level of sewage treatment for the 44 urban agglomerations currently discharging raw sewage to waters by 2021.More Button

Was asked: his views on whether, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015-2040, 100% of the operational and capital efficiency targets identified by the Commission for Energy Regulation by 2021 will be met.More Button

Was asked: his views on whether, under the Water Services Strategic Plan 2015-2040, 33% energy efficiency improvement over baseline will be achieved by 2020.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 314 to 322, inclusive, together.

   The Water Services Strategic Plan is a statutory requirement under section 33 of the Water Services (No ...More Button

Local Authority Housing

Was asked: the number of fire and safety inspections that have been carried out in each local authority, in tabular form, on new builds in each local authority area; and if these inspections have passed appro...More Button

Was asked: the number of enforcement notices served by local authorities on construction projects entered into the building control management software since 1 March 2014, by local authority, in tabular form;...More Button

Was asked: the number of legal proceedings instigated by local authorities on construction projects entered on to the building control management software since 1 March 2014, by local authority, in tabular fo...More Button

Was asked: the number of High Court injunctions sought for non-compliance in events of a considerable and serious danger to the public by local authorities on construction projects entered on to the building ...More Button

Wind Energy Guidelines

Was asked: the steps prior to the undertaking of a strategic environment assessment in view of the revised wind energy guidelines that are necessary to take before the competition to carry out this work can b...More Button

Was asked: the steps involved in a strategic environment assessment in view of the revised wind energy policies; if such a nationwide assessment has been carried out in respect of any other situation to date;...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 324 and 325 together.

  In light of the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government to finalise the review of the 2006 Wind Energy D...More Button

Commercial Rates

Was asked: if he will consider introducing a reduction in commercial rates as an incentive for new businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independe...More Button

Commercial rates form an important element of the funding of all local authorities. However, the legislative basis for the levying of rates is spread over a number of enactments, some dating bac...More Button

My Department's work on the General Scheme of the Bill is at an advanced stage and, subject to Government approval, I hope to be able to submit proposals to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Hous...More Button

Local Elections

Was asked: if a review of local electoral area boundaries will take place ahead of the local elections scheduled for 2019; and if so, the proposed timeline for same.More Button

The most recent review of local electoral areas was carried out from November 2012 to May 2013 by a Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee established under the Local Government Act 1991.  Unlike ...More Button

The Programme for a Partnership Government sets out a number of requirements in relation to local government reform, involving a report to Government and the Oireachtas by mid-2017 on potential m...More Button

Depending on the outcome of consideration of the mid-2017 report, any review of local electoral area boundaries would be undertaken in good time before the 2019 local elections.More Button

  Questions Nos. 329 to 331, inclusive, answered with Question No. 323.More Button

Local Authority Housing Provision

Was asked: the ratio of residential to commercial to mixed use developments as per lodged valid commencement notices since 1 March 2014, by local authority, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

Was asked: the number of valid commencement notices lodged with the building control management software which relate to fast-tracked planning by local authority, in tabular form; and if he will make a statem...More Button

Fire Stations Provision

Was asked: if the extension of a fire station at Bypass Road, Killarney, County Kerry, will be prioritised; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In February 2016, my Department announced a five-year Fire Services Capital Programme with an allocation of €40 million, based on the current annual €8 million allocation, to be used for the purcha...More Button

An upgrade of Killarney fire station is provided for in the current five-year programme. Updated project documentation, including a capital appraisal and detailed cost plan, was received in my D...More Button

The projects in the capital programme are reassessed on an annual basis and priority may be adjusted to bring forward projects offering best value-for-money and to take account of the state of re...More Button

State Properties

Was asked: the amount spent across his Department over the past five years on maintaining vacant or unused State-owned properties, including security arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has spent no money maintaining vacant or unused properties over the last five years.  In general, accommodation for my Department is provided by the OPW and when my Department vacates...More Button