Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to

Cullen, Martin

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 Nbr. 4

Written Answers. - Urban Renewal Schemes.

Was asked: if the tax incentive scheme will be extended to towns such as Kingscourt, County Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The selection of towns under the town renewal scheme was a matter for individual county councils in accordance with a selection formula contained in the scheme guidelines and which was based on the...More Button

Written Answers. - Roads Funding.

Was asked: if he will contact Kildare County Council with a view to the provision of the necessary funding to carry out emergency repairs to the road network arising from damage caused through recent flooding...More Button

Was asked: if he has received communications from the various local authorities requesting urgent funding for the restoration of roads and footpaths following recent inclement weather conditions; and if he wi...More Button

Was asked: if he will issue the necessary instructions and funding to the various local authorities to facilitate urgent road restoration and repairs following recent bad weather; and if he will make a statem...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 386, 388 and 389 together.More Button

The maintenance and improvement of non-national roads in their areas is a matter for local authorities to be funded from their own resources supplemented by State grants. The initial selection of p...More Button

My Department's memorandum on grants for non-national roads provides that the cost of remedial works necessitated by such conditions must be met from these resources and that local authorities shou...More Button

Written Answers. - Waste Disposal.

Was asked: his policy in respect of incineration and landfill waste disposal; the alternative being pursued; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Local authorities were advised in the Government waste policy statement, Changing our Ways (1998), that achievement of national waste objectives requires, inter alia, a major reduction in re...More Button

The policy statement, Preventing and Recycling Waste: Delivering Change, published in March this year, complements the implementation of these plans. Its basic premise is that only waste material t...More Button

Questions Nos. 388 and 389 answered with Question No. 386.More Button

Written Answers. - Dual Mandate.

Was asked: if it is Government policy to abolish the dual mandate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of Government Deputies likely to be affected in the event of the abolition of the dual mandate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if it is his intention to abolish the dual mandate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the way he proposes to deal with the ongoing issue of the dual mandate in respect of membership of local authorities by Oireachtas Members; the nature of the discussions which have taken place in r...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 390 to 393, inclusive, together.More Button

As regards the issue of disqualification from local authority membership, I refer to the reply to Questions Nos. 9, 15 and 47 of 28 November. Matters relating to the dual mandate were among these r...More Button

Written Answers. - Local Authority Housing.

Was asked: the average price of a basic three bedroomed semi-detached house in each local authority area in the country; the location at which it is possible to acquire such a home through the local authority...More Button

Was asked: if he will authorise an increase in the maximum shared ownership and annuity loan through Kildare County Council to facilitate first time home buyers who cannot acquire a home under the current max...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 394 and 398 together.More Button

My Department does not have data on average prices for three bedroom semi-detached houses on the basis sought in the question. However, information on overall average house prices in respect of the...More Button

With regard to the acquisition of houses in different local authority areas through shared ownership or local authority annuity loans, I would point out that the implementation and management of th...More Button

The objective of the shared ownership scheme is to enhance housing affordability by allowing applicants to purchase part only of the equity of the dwelling (at least 40%) and to rent the remaining ...More Button

The maximum annuity loan of €130,000 also allows allow significant numbers of low income households to purchase their own homes. However, my Department is keeping the loan limits that apply to...More Button

Was asked: the likely number of housing starts in respect of family homes anticipated through the various local authorities in 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I anticipate that there will be some increase in the level of local authority housing starts next year. However, a precise estimate cannot appropriately be made at this stage pending detailed end-...More Button

Was asked: the number of persons living in rented accommodation throughout the country; if this figure corresponds with a combination of those on local authority housing waiting lists and those in rental acco...More Button

The only reliable source of data on the number of persons living in rented accommodation throughout the country is the housing module contained in the census of population conducted by the Central ...More Button

It is provisionally estimated that about 25,000 of the 48,413 households assessed as in need of local authority housing in the March 2002 local authority social housing needs assessment are residin...More Button

Was asked: his plans to address the serious housing shortage affecting first-time home seekers who are unable to access the market for a variety of reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government's strategy to increase housing supply has delivered record levels of overall housing output in successive years, enabling us to meet demand and improve affordability, particularly fo...More Button

Our approach has included the major expansion of both the local authority and voluntary housing programmes. Significant progress has been made in delivering NDP social housing tar gets with local a...More Button

In addition, we remain committed to the implementation of major reforms in the private rented residential sector, arising from the recommendations of the report of the commission on the private ren...More Button

The Government remains committed to continuing with measures initiated in our previous term to increase the supply of housing and bring moderation to the rate of house price increases, including in...More Button

Question No. 398 answered with Question No. 394.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the submission lodged in his Department on 10 October 2002 by Leitrim County Council in relation to two social housing properties (details supplied); if the neces...More Button

Applications for loans for the purchase of these properties were received in my Department from Leitrim County Council on 15 October, 2002. They were examined in my Department and the local authori...More Button

Leitrim County Council was informed at the same time that officials from my Department would be willing to meet those of the local authority and the voluntary body to discuss issues regarding these...More Button

Was asked: if he will give details of the loan facilities which are available from local authorities via the shared ownership scheme and-or affordable housing initiatives for persons who are working legally h...More Button

The implementation of housing loan schemes such as the shared ownership and affordable housing schemes are matters for individual local authorities. To be eligible for either scheme applicants must...More Button

Persons working legally under a work permit may be considered for a loan under either scheme provided they meet the criteria outlined above.More Button

Written Answers. - Affordable Housing Scheme.

Was asked: in relation to an affordable housing project of 60 houses in Mullingar, County Westmeath, which is under construction for Westmeath County Council with an expected completion date of March 2003, fo...More Button

My Department has notified local authorities of the position of applicants under the affordable housing scheme following the abolition of the new house grant scheme. Approved applicants will be eli...More Button

In all cases, it will be a requirement of grant payment that the house is completed and occupied and a request for payment of a new house grant lodged with the Department within a year i.e. on or b...More Button

Written Answers. - Housing Grants.

Was asked: if a person who paid a booking deposit on 25 May 2002 and has on 21 November 2002 paid a full deposit on a dwelling house, and which contracts were finalised on the 21 November 2002, will be in a p...More Button

In the context of terminating the new house grant, the Government has sought to ensure fair treatment first by ensuring that all applications approved or pending in my Department will, subject to t...More Button

Was asked: if his Department has received a first-time buyer's grant application from a person (details supplied); if it will be processed; if he will instruct a Department official to contact the person; and...More Button

Due to the large volume of applications recently received following the termination of the first-time buyer's new house grant scheme on 14 November 2002, the information sought is not readily avail...More Button

Was asked: if, in view of application for first-time buyer's grant by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare and the comprehensive replies furnished on 20 November 2002 by this person's solicitor to qu...More Button

Some documentation and information requested from the applicant on the 9 September 2002, was received in my Department on the 2 December 2002. However, additional documentation requested from the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Inland Waterways.

Was asked: the body which has the legislative control in relation to protecting the natural courses in rivers, canals, dykes and drains as determined in ordnance survey maps; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

Was asked: the legislative control that a local authority has in relation to protecting the natural courses as determined on ordnance survey maps in relation to rivers, drains, canals and dykes; and if he wil...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 401 and 402 together.More Button

Responsibility for arterial drainage rests with the Office of Public Works. In so far as local authorities are concerned, the Planning and Development Act, 2000, specifically empowers planning auth...More Button

Under the planning and development regulations 2001, planning authorities are also obliged to give notice to certain bodies of having received certain planning applications to give the prescribed b...More Button

Written Answers. - Housing Report.

Was asked: if he will examine the profile of households accommodated report by Dublin City Council which was published recently; the steps which will follow the conclusions reached in the report; and if he wi...More Button

This report was commissioned by Dublin City Council with financial support from my Department. The research was undertaken by the housing unit in collaboration with the social inclusion unit of the...More Button

It is a matter for the city council in the first instance to assess the conclusions and bring forward proposals, if appropriate, in partnership with the other statutory agencies involved. My Depart...More Button

Written Answers. - Social Housing Projects.

Was asked: the plans he has in place to allow persons in Respond-Cluide housing to have the option to purchase the house in view of the fact that many occupants carry out refurbishment; and if he will make a ...More Button

There are no plans to make provision in my Department's voluntary housing capital assistance and capital loan and subsidy schemes for the purchase of individual houses by tenants. A tenant purchase...More Button

Residents of more than one year's duration of houses provided under the voluntary housing schemes who wish to become owner occupiers may, on surrendering their house to the approved voluntary housi...More Button

Management and maintenance of dwellings provided under the schemes is the responsibility of the relevant voluntary housing body. In accordance with the terms and conditions for management and letti...More Button

Was asked: when he expects the Clúid Social Housing Project for Newmarket, County Cork, to begin.More Button

The project at Newmarket was reviewed recently following receipt in my Department on 8 November 2002 of further information from Cork County Council in relation to it. Following the review, the cou...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: if he will identify by location, acreage and other details, the State properties in his Department which are being considered for sale or are available for sale at present.More Button

None of the State properties for which my Department is responsible is for sale or being considered for sale.More Button

Written Answers. - Planning Regulations.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the views of a residents' group (details supplied) in Dublin 20; and if he has considered its representations.More Button

I have received a letter from the residents' group in question. It enclosed a copy of an earlier letter and enclosures addressed to Dublin City Council stating some concerns of the group in relatio...More Button

In its letter addressed to me, the residents' group made comments and offered suggestions on aspects of the Act and regulations, including provisions relating to time limits for deciding planning a...More Button

My Department is actively monitoring the overall implementation of the new Planning and Development Act and Regulations, including issues such as those raised in this case, through visits to local ...More Button

I have no proposals at present for amendment of these provisions. However, the issues raised by the group will be borne in mind in any future review. Compliance with the individual requirements of ...More Button

Written Answers. - Telecommunications Masts.

Was asked: if he intends to introduce legislation to protect communities from telephone masts, temporary or otherwise; if his attention has been drawn to growing concerns in this matter; and if he will make a...More Button

The erection of all telecommunications masts requires planning permission from the relevant planning authority unless specifically exempted under the Planning and Development Act or Regulations.More Button

In July 1996, my Department issued guidelines for planning authorities on telecommunications antennae and support structures. The purpose of the guidelines was to assist planning authorities, An Bo...More Button

A statement on health and safety aspects which the Department of Health and Children and Department of Public Enterprise, now the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, agreed ...More Button

Arising from concerns that there should be sufficient monitoring to ensure that radiation levels remain below the IRPD limits, my Department has been working with the Department of Communications, ...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Private Partnership.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Sligo Corporation, in its application of 28 November 2000 for grant aid for a feasibility study under the public private partnership fund, confirmed...More Button

The grant application to undertake a PPP feasibility study on the provision of car parking and ancillary facilities in the town, submitted by Sligo Corporation in November 2000, included a referenc...More Button

My Department has yet to receive a copy of the consultants' report, which I understand has been presented in draft form to the council. Once the study has been finalised and the report submitted to...More Button

Written Answers. - Water and Sewerage Schemes.

Was asked: the position with regard to the Belmullet sewerage scheme in County Mayo; when funding will be sanctioned; and the stage it is at.More Button

The Belmullet sewerage scheme is included in my Department's Water Services Investment Programme 2002-2004 to advance through planning. I approved a revised brief for the appointment of consultants...More Button

Was asked: if work on the extension to the Ardfert sewerage system will commence in 2003.More Button

A preliminary proposal for sewerage works in Ardfert has been submitted to my Department as part of a grouped scheme to refurbish a number of small sewerage schemes in County Kerry but has not been...More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to a sewerage scheme (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

This scheme is included in my Department's water services investment programme 2002-2004 under the rural towns and villages initiative. The preliminary report for the scheme submitted by Donegal Co...More Button

Written Answers. - Voluntary Housing Projects.

Was asked: when his Department will sanction the park in Charleville, County Cork.More Button

I assume that the question refers to the project at Town Park, Charleville, County Cork, which it was proposed to carry out with assistance under my Department's capital loan and subsidy scheme for...More Button

In this regard, I refer to the reply to Question No. 1561 of 9 October 2002. As no further information has been received from Cork County Council in the interim the position is unchanged.More Button

Written Answers. - Water Quality.

Was asked: his Department's plans regarding the contamination of the water supply in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo; the steps which have been taken to rectify the poor quality of water in Ballyhaunis; the number o...More Button

The extension of the Lough Mask regional water supply scheme to Ballyhaunis and the Ballyhaunis town water supply scheme are currently under construction under my Department's Water Services Invest...More Button

Local authorities are responsible for dealing with incidents that may threaten individual public drinking water supplies and my Department has issued comprehensive guidelines to assist authorities ...More Button

Written Answers. - Local Authority Meetings.

Was asked: if the principle of public access to meetings of local authorities applies to all such bodies to which local authorities nominate members; if this applies in the specific instance of the Corrib Nav...More Button

Section 45 of the Local Government Act, 2001, introduced a new right of public access to meetings of local authorities – city, county and town councils – restricting the right to meet i...More Button

These provisions do not extend to other separate statutory bodies such as the Lough Corrib Navigation Trustees. My Department understands that meetings of the trustees are governed by their own sta...More Button

My Department is not primarily involved in the administration of the Lough Corrib Navigation Act, 1945, and, consequently, cannot offer clarification on the extent of the area in which the trustees...More Button

Written Answers. - Official Language Equality.

Was asked: the additional costs which have arisen from the obligations on his Department in relation to the adoption by the Government in July 2002 of official language equality as one of the three new princi...More Button

The adoption of the official languages equality principle, as outlined in my Department's Customer Service Action Plan 2001-04, has not resulted in any significant additional costs being incurred t...More Button

Written Answers. - Penalty Points System.

Was asked: the number of penalty points accumulated to date by drivers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Responsibility in relation to the application of penalty points on a licence record of a driver rests with the Minister for Transport.More Button

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

Was asked: if he will revise the terms of the disabled persons grant in order that his Department meets in full the payments in respect of the grants; if he will increase the funding available for the disable...More Button

The disabled persons grant scheme is administered by local authorities in accordance with the legal framework laid down in section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1979, and statuto...More Button

Significant improvements have been made to the terms and conditions of the disabled persons grant scheme in recent years with a doubling of the effective maximum grant from €10,158 in 1997 to ...More Button

I have no proposals, at this stage, to change the terms and conditions of disabled persons grant scheme but these will continue to be kept under review.More Button

Written Answers. - Industrial Development.

Was asked: if he will put in place a five year programme to ensure that all new developments are accessible and all areas are repaired, renovated or upgraded; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since 1 June 1992, under part M of the building regulations, persons constructing new buildings, or extending existing buildings to which the public have access, whether publicly or privately owned...More Button

The provision of disabled access facilities to other existing buildings to which the public have access is a matter for the owners and occupiers of the buildings concerned. Departments and local au...More Button

Amendments to part M of the building regulations came into effect on 1 January 2001 and require all new dwellings to be accessible to people with disabilities. The amending regulations also impose ...More Button

Compliance with the building regulations is primarily a matter for the owners, designers and builders of the buildings involved. My Department has published updated technical guidance document M, 2...More Button

Local building control authorities are responsible for monitoring and enforcement of compliance with the regulations. The authorities are empowered to inspect buildings, issue enforcement notices f...More Button

Written Answers. - House Repossessions.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to recent comments by the director of social policy of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul regarding the increasing problem of home repossessions; if he has up-to-dat...More Button

I understand that the comments from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul related to general levels of personal credit, and not, as reported, to home repossessions. The overall level of repossessions ...More Button

According to the Irish Bankers Federation which also represents the retail banking sector, figures for repossession of homes by banks remain negligible.More Button

Written Answers. - Local Authority Funding.

Was asked: the amounts of funding allocated to Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny Borough Council under the headings of roads, housing, sanitary and so on in each of the years from 1997 to date in 2002; the...More Button

The information requested is set out in the following table in respect of the main programmes for which my Department is responsible.More Button