137. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has reviewed the role of the Property Services Regulatory Authority to encompass a supervisory role for management owner companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20691/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Property Services Regulatory Authority Remit)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) was established on 3 April 2012 under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 to regulate, control and supervise property service providers (i.e. auctioneers/estate agents, letting agents and property management agents) and to establish and enforce standards within the property services industry. 
The statutory basis for property management companies in multi-unit developments (gene...

156. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to review the role of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in supervising management owner companies; the number of staff reviewing such companies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20690/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has no role in the supervision of management ownership companies.
The primary role of the ODCE is to ensure that company law is being respected.
There is no special body of company law which applies only to management companies or is applied differently so far as management companies are concerned. 
The legal source from which management companies derive their operat...

309. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of staff engaged in the housing delivery office per annum since its establishment; the average length of service in the office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20689/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Departmental Staff Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): In line with the commitment under Action 2.9 of Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, a dedicated Housing Delivery Office (HDO) was established within my Department, in August 2016, to support the accelerated delivery of housing across the social and private sectors, and tenure spectrum, in an integrated and timely manner. Working with the broader Housing and Planning Divisions in my Department, o...

310. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding his plans for a national deposit scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20692/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Rental Sector)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for, among other things, the establishment of a tenancy deposit protection scheme to be operated by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). 
There have been significant changes in the rental market since the 2015 scheme was first envisaged and designed. For example, the draft scheme was originally intended to be financed by the interest payable on deposits lodged; th...

311. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the criteria used to calculate homelessness figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20693/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Homeless Persons Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department currently publishes data on a monthly basis on the number of homeless persons accommodated in emergency accommodation funded and overseen by housing authorities.  These reports are based on data provided by housing authorities, produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS).  The reports are collated on a regional basis, are published on my Department’s website and can be accessed using ...

122. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to review the decision not to expand the shared apprenticeship scheme for the construction sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20367/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Apprenticeship Programmes)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Registrations on craft apprenticeships have grown strongly in recent years following a very significant collapse in the number of apprenticeship registrations between 2008-2011. SOLAS, in partnership with Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB), operated a pilot initiative in the last year to test the viability of a shared apprenticeship scheme. Following...

285. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of times the National Homelessness Consultation Committee has met per annum since its establishment to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20365/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Homelessness Strategy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 285 and 286 together.
The National Homelessness Consultative Committee (NHCC) was established in April 2007. The Committee included representatives from my Department and a number of the NGOs working in the area. It was established to provide a forum for a dialogue between the Department and NGO members in relation to policies to address homelessness. While an informal working group in...

286. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department consulted with the statistics subgroup of the National Homelessness Consultation Committee in relation to the calculation of homeless figures for March 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20366/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Homelessness Strategy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 285 and 286 together.
The National Homelessness Consultative Committee (NHCC) was established in April 2007. The Committee included representatives from my Department and a number of the NGOs working in the area. It was established to provide a forum for a dialogue between the Department and NGO members in relation to policies to address homelessness. While an informal working group in...

287. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the findings of the working group on rural housing will be published; the timeframe for the publication of new guidelines on rural housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20369/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Following engagement between the European Commission and my Department regarding the 2013 European Court of Justice ruling in the “Flemish Decree” case, a working group, comprising senior representatives from my Department and planning authorities, was established in May 2017 to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to the 2005 Planning Guidelines on Sustainable Rural Housing, issued under section 28 of the Plan...

288. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number and amount of water charge refunds paid to date; the plans of Irish Water for further repayments; the purpose to which unspent money will be put; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20370/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Water Charges Refunds)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): In keeping with the spirit of the provisions for the refund of domestic water charges under the Water Services Act 2017, and the earlier recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services on this matter, all reasonable efforts have been made to refund in full relevant domestic Irish Water customers the amounts due to them.
My Department provided funding of €177,535,103 to I...

23. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount drawn down under the local infrastructure housing activation fund per annum to date; the number of affordable homes built; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20090/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund)

Acting Chairman (Deputy Bernard J. Durkan): We will wait for the spokesperson, Deputy Darragh O’Brien.
 ...

25. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans for changes to the count mechanism for homeless numbers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20091/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Homeless Persons Data)

Deputy Eoin Ó Broin: Last Thursday, I accused the Minister of wrongly having families in emergency accommodation or who are homeless removed from the March homeless report. I spent much of Friday and early today talking to senior officials and front-line staff in local authorities and voluntary sector organisations and I am more convinced now than I was last week that the vast majority of those families are indeed homeless and still in emergency accommodation situations and they should be inclu...

38. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the income criteria for the cost of rental pilot projects being undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19849/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Rental Sector)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Against the background of the affordability pressures which currently exist in the rental market, the Government is determined to make cost rental a major part of the Irish housing system, similar to the role it plays in many other European countries. Under this approach, rents are set at levels to recover the construction costs and to facilitate the management and administration of developments, but with only a minimal...

48. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to review the administrative support given to regional assemblies in view of their role in the national planning framework; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19850/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Regional Assemblies)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 461 together.
The three Regional Assemblies were established further to the Local Government Reform Act 2014 and comprise representation from the constituent local authorities in the Eastern and Midland (Dublin, the Mid-East and Midlands), Northern and Western (North-West, West and Border) and Southern (Mid-West, South-West and South-East) regions. The requisite staffing structure ...

65. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to review and expand the rent pressure zone system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19847/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Rent Pressure Zones)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): For an area to be designated a Rent Pressure Zone, it must satisfy the following criteria set out in section 24A(4) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as inserted by section 36 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016):
(i) The annual rate of rent inflation in the area must have been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters; and 
(ii) The average rent for tenancies registered in...

73. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the working group report on short-term lettings will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19851/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Rental Sector Strategy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Under Action 18 of the Strategy for the Rental Sector, my Department established a Working Group, involving representatives of all major public stakeholders with a policy interest in short-term lettings, to develop guidance in relation to planning applications, changes of use relating to short-term lettings and to examine the need for new regulatory arrangements. 
The proposals under consideration by the Working Group,...

89. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department is collating a central database of Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme applications from each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19848/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Home Loan Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): As with the previous local authority home loan offerings, loan applications under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan are made directly to the local authority in whose area the property proposed for purchase is situated. My Department therefore does not directly collect information on the number of enquiries to local authorities regarding the loan or the number of loan applications received by local authorities.
As is curre...

270. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Health the number of staff manning the CervicalCheck helpline; his views on whether this is the necessary number of staff to deal with the level of calls to the helpline; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19694/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Cancer Screening Programmes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): A helpline has been in operation since Friday and has dealt with over 10,000 calls.  After some initial problems, calls are now being answered speedily.
I have also arranged for an additional 40 public health staff to provide timely health information and reassurance to women arising from their calls. 
 ...

461. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to review the administrative support provided to the regional assemblies in view of their role under the national planning framework; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20092/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Regional Assemblies)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 461 together.
The three Regional Assemblies were established further to the Local Government Reform Act 2014 and comprise representation from the constituent local authorities in the Eastern and Midland (Dublin, the Mid-East and Midlands), Northern and Western (North-West, West and Border) and Southern (Mid-West, South-West and South-East) regions. The requisite staffing structure ...

462. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the new tenant purchase scheme will be launched; the mortgage approval process regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20368/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Tenant Purchase Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 462 and 494 together.
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 sale under the Scheme. To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of soc...

274. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the data publication schedule of homeless figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19557/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Homeless Persons Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 272, 274 and 275 together.
My Department currently publishes data on a monthly basis on the number of homeless persons accommodated in emergency accommodation funded and overseen by housing authorities. These reports are based on data provided by housing authorities, produced through the Pathway Accommodation and Support System (PASS), and are published in the month subsequent to the rep...

275. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to change the data publication schedule of homeless figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19558/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Homeless Persons Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 272, 274 and 275 together.
My Department currently publishes data on a monthly basis on the number of homeless persons accommodated in emergency accommodation funded and overseen by housing authorities. These reports are based on data provided by housing authorities, produced through the Pathway Accommodation and Support System (PASS), and are published in the month subsequent to the rep...

276. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to extend the rent pressure zones to student accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19559/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Rent Pressure Zones)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Rent Pressure Zones have their legal basis under the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016. This legislation regulates the landlord-tenant relationship in the private rented residential sector. Pursuant to section 3(1), the Acts apply to every dwelling that is the subject of a tenancy. The provisions of the Acts, including those provisions providing for the rent pressure zone measure, does not apply where the dwelling i...

125. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding progress on a permanent school building project for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18562/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The major building project referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b (Detailed Design), which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.
The Design Team is currently completing the Stage 2b submission. Upon receipt and review of this report my Department will revert to the Board of Management with regard ...

219. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Health the status of the reimbursement of the drug Ocrevus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18587/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Medicinal Products Reimbursement)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. As Minister for Health, I do not have any statutory power or function in relation to the reimbursement of medicines. The Act specifies the criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines.
In line with the 2013 Act, if a company would like a medicine to be reimbursed by the HSE purs...