456. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of voids that have been refurbished in Cork city and county in the past year since the end of quarter one 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18861/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Housing Regeneration)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Voids Programme, introduced in 2014 by my Department, provides additional support to local authorities in preparing vacant units for re-letting. The purpose of the Voids Programme is to ensure that vacant units are actively targeted, with a view to minimising the turnaround and re-let time of these units and return them to use in an energy efficient condition. 
During 2017, my Department provided funding to Cork Cit...

1603. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to set out the number of applications that have been processed and approved under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme since it was launched; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16347/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1603, 1604 and 1623 together.
Following a review of the two existing local authority home loan schemes, the House Purchase Loan and the Home Choice Loan, a new loan offering, known as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, was introduced on 1 February 2018.
As with the previous local authority home loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a local authority product and loan applicati...

1604. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to set out in tabular form by county the number of applications received and approved under the Rebuilding Ireland scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16348/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1603, 1604 and 1623 together.
Following a review of the two existing local authority home loan schemes, the House Purchase Loan and the Home Choice Loan, a new loan offering, known as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, was introduced on 1 February 2018.
As with the previous local authority home loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a local authority product and loan applicati...

1605. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme’s criteria to be altered or extended to allow applications from those that are not seen as first-time buyers due to having previously purchased a home, but due to separation or divorce have no entitlement to the first house and that have a housing need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16349/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Home Loan Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1536 and 1605 together.
As with the previous local authority loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is available to first-time buyers only. There is no change to this regard. This is to ensure the effective targeting of limited resources.
Applicants who are separated or divorced may be treated as first-time buyers if they meet certain conditions, including:
- They are separate...

1606. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to outline his plans to review the income thresholds under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme for couples (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16350/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Home Loan Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): It continues to be the case under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, which was introduced on 1 February 2018, as with the previous local authority House Purchase Loan, that single applicants applying for the loan must not be earning more than €50,000 gross per annum and the combined income of joint applicants must not be greater than €75,000 gross per annum. This is to ensure the effective targeting of limited resources. ...

1607. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to outline the steps being taken by his Department to ensure the opening of a facility (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16359/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Homelessness Strategy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless services rests with individual housing authorities. My Department does not fund any service directly, but provides funding to housing autho...

720. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when his officials briefed the media on the NPF and NDP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9401/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018 - National Planning Framework)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Given that Project Ireland 2040 is a Government of Ireland initiative, the Department of An Taoiseach through its Strategic Communications Unit had overall responsibility for arrangements surrounding the launch of Project Ireland 2040, including arrangements for media and other briefings. 
As part of such arrangements, my Department’s National Planning Framework team supported a number of briefing sessions with differe...

284. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he, his officials or advisers have had meetings with the strategic communication unit since it was set up; the issues that were discussed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6530/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Strategic Communications Unit)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Last October, I, together with my Department’s Secretary General and other relevant officials, met with representatives of the Strategic Communications Unit (SCU). I have also appointed an Assistant Secretary to represent my Department on the SCU Inter-Departmental Group which meets regularly.
In addition, my officials and Advisers have been engaging with the Unit on specific issues, including in relation to the Nationa...

626. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of affordable and social houses provided in the Cork city and county area; the number on the waiting list for each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2961/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I understand that the Deputy is seeking information covering the period 2011 to 2017. 
A broad range of statistics on Local Authority Housing Schemes are published on my Department’s website at the link below. 
http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.
Detail is provided on delivery of social housing supports under a number of programmes, including building an...

627. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of families being accommodated in hotels in the Cork city and county area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2962/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Homeless Persons Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Pathway Accommodation and Support System (PASS) was implemented nationally in 2014, as a national information and management system for homeless services that are overseen by housing authorities.  My Department collates PASS data from lead housing authorities on a monthly basis and these monthly homeless reports are published on my Department’s website and can be accessed using the following link: http://www.housing....

1804. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he or his Department has been informed by Mr. Donald Tusk or his offices regarding a consultation process on possible changes to European constituencies before the 2019 European elections take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1473/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - European Parliament Elections)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy John Paul Phelan): My Department has not received direct correspondence from Mr Donald Tusk or his office regarding possible changes to European constituencies.
However, on 11 November 2015, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the reform of the electoral law of the European Union.  This resolution contains a Proposal for a Council decision adopting the provisions amending the Act concerning the elec...

684. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department will allocate more funding to Mountmellick following the recent flash flooding which has caused damage to homes, businesses and roads in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50623/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Local Authority Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 684 and 685 together.
Since 2009, my Department has made financial support available to assist local authorities to cover the costs of clean-up and necessary immediate works associated with significant emergency events, including flooding. This is in recognition of the exceptional nature of activities carried out by local authorities in responding to severe wea...

685. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department will allocate funding to Laois County Council for Mountmellick and other areas in County Laois following the recent flash flooding which has caused damage to homes businesses and roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50624/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Local Authority Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 684 and 685 together.
Since 2009, my Department has made financial support available to assist local authorities to cover the costs of clean-up and necessary immediate works associated with significant emergency events, including flooding. This is in recognition of the exceptional nature of activities carried out by local authorities in responding to severe wea...

1294. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the housing launch on 26 October 2017. (Question 46510/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Housing Policy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Voluntary Housing Association of the Royal Hospital Donnybrook, called RHD Housing, is currently working with Dublin City Council and my Department to build a complex of 19 apartments at Beech Hill, Donnybrook. 
RHD Housing has received planning permission for developing this site, which will also include a range of community facilities.  It is anticipated that the project will be completed late next year. In relati...

278. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the Citizens Assembly’s recommendation on the right to housing; and if this is being examined by one of the Departments. (Question 40678/17 asked on 25 Oct 2017 - Citizens Assembly)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The issue of the right to housing was debated in Dáil Eireann and Seanad Eireann recently. 
Arising from this, a motion to refer the Eighth Report of the Convention on the Constitution, which dealt with economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to housing, to the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach was passed by the Dáil on 28th September 2017 and by the Seanad on 11th...

282. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the national emergency co-ordination meetings that he attended prior to and during Storm Ophelia. (Question 44681/17 asked on 25 Oct 2017 - National Emergency Plan)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department is designated as the Lead Government Department for coordinating the response to severe weather emergencies. My Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) is mandated by the Secretary General to decide if and when to convene a National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) on behalf of my Department and the National Director, or his representatives, are mandated to chair any ...

628. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the role he and his Department have in the licensing of kelp; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30795/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Seaweed Harvesting Licences)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 628 to 632, inclusive, together.
The role of my Department in relation to the harvesting of seaweed is to regulate the activity in accordance with the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended. All applications, regardless of whether by an individual or a company, are assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Act and any environmental legislation in force at the given time.  In r...

629. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if the process for licensing for kelp is the same for commercial kelp as it is for smaller groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30796/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Seaweed Harvesting Licences)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 628 to 632, inclusive, together.
The role of my Department in relation to the harvesting of seaweed is to regulate the activity in accordance with the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended. All applications, regardless of whether by an individual or a company, are assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Act and any environmental legislation in force at the given time.  In r...

630. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the mechanical harvest of 1,860 acres of kelp in Bantry Bay; if the licence was properly advertised at local and national level; if public consultation took place; if an environmental impact assessment was or is to be taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30797/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Seaweed Harvesting Licences)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 628 to 632, inclusive, together.
The role of my Department in relation to the harvesting of seaweed is to regulate the activity in accordance with the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended. All applications, regardless of whether by an individual or a company, are assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Act and any environmental legislation in force at the given time.  In r...

631. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if he or his officials have policy concerns regarding the impact mechanical harvesting of over 100 acres of kelp in Bantry Bay will have on juvenile fish, lobster and other species; if a study has been taken on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30799/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Seaweed Harvesting Licences)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 628 to 632, inclusive, together.
The role of my Department in relation to the harvesting of seaweed is to regulate the activity in accordance with the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended. All applications, regardless of whether by an individual or a company, are assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Act and any environmental legislation in force at the given time.  In r...

632. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if he or his officials have concerns regarding the impact of over 1,000 acres in Bantry Bay being used for a mechanical harvest of kelp will have on angling tourism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30800/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Seaweed Harvesting Licences)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 628 to 632, inclusive, together.
The role of my Department in relation to the harvesting of seaweed is to regulate the activity in accordance with the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended. All applications, regardless of whether by an individual or a company, are assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Act and any environmental legislation in force at the given time.  In r...

640. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if the flammable cladding material used on Grenfell Tower is banned for use here in view of recent tragic events at Grenfell Tower, London; if buildings here are fitted with this or similar material; if an audit will be carried out to ensure that this cladding or similar has not been used on public or private buildings; the provisions that are in place to ensure that concerns relayed by residents of buildings are taken into account and addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30127/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Fire Safety)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 622 to 624, inclusive, and 634 and 640 together.
My Department has overall responsibility for the statutory regulatory framework governing both Building Control and Fire Services. Inspection and enforcement and the maintenance of relevant registers are a matter for  local authorities who, under the relevant legislation, are designated as Building Con...

210. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the increases in commercial rates that each county and city council has imposed in each area in 2016 and 2017; his views on the impact they are having on small and medium sized businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15042/17 asked on 28 Mar 2017 - Local Authority Rates)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority.  The annual rate on valuation (ARV), which is applied to the valuation for each property, determined by the Valuation Office, to obtain the amount payable in rates, is decided by the elected members of each local authority in the annual budget and its determination is a reserved function.
The Annual Rates on Valuation in 2015,...

153. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the detail of the announcement on allowing the Irish diaspora to vote for the presidential election by 2025; and his plans in this regard. (Question 14480/17 asked on 22 Mar 2017 - Presidential Elections)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government recently decided to hold a referendum to amend the Constitution to give the right to vote at presidential elections to Irish citizens resident outside the State, including Northern Ireland. In order to inform public discourse on the significant policy change proposed, an Options Paper is being published this week. The Options Paper will set out the range of options available to give effect to t...

124. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if he will report on the programme for Government commitment on local government reform. (Question 7054/17 asked on 22 Feb 2017 - Local Government Reform)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Programme for a Partnership Government sets out a number of requirements in relation to local government reform. This involves the submission of a report to Government and the Oireachtas by mid-2017 on potential measures to boost local government leadership and accountability, and to ensure that local government funding, structures and responsibilities strengthen local democracy. The Programme also refer...