193. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the legal basis for charging a surcharge on those who renew their Motor Tax on a quarterly or bi-annual basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22951/16 asked on 20 Jul 2016 - Motor Tax Rates)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): Section 1(2)(b) of the Finance (Excise Duties) (Vehicles) Act, 1952 provides a vehicle licence may be taken out for such periods of the year and on payment of such rates of duty as the Minister may by regulation prescribe. The rates for licences of less than a year shall be no less than the proportion that the licence bears to a full year and, in the case of quarterly licences, the duty shall not exceed 30% of ...

326. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will allocate funding approved under the rural water programme in 2015 to a group water scheme (details supplied) in County Donegal following the suspension of the project by the local authority; if he is aware of the large number of houses, community facilities and businesses in the locality that are awaiting connection to this group water scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22021/16 asked on 19 Jul 2016 - Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): Donegal County Council has included the Group Water Scheme in question in its application to my Department for funding under the new Rural Water Multi-Annual Funding Programme for the period 2016 to 2018. My Department is currently considering local authorities’ bids for funding and allocations to authorities for funding under the new programme will be provided shortly.
 ...

333. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the amount of moneys paid to Dublin City Council in 2016 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22115/16 asked on 19 Jul 2016 - Local Authority Funding)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): My Department has a wide and diverse business agenda, including providing necessary housing supports and fostering communities in partnership with local government and other local development bodies. In order to deliver on this broad business agenda, my Department allocates significant resources to a wide range of organisations, including local authorities. The total funding provided by my Department directly...

334. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when the balance of funds will be paid to Dublin City Council for Ballymun regeneration works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22116/16 asked on 19 Jul 2016 - Regeneration Projects Funding)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): My Department is in discussions with Dublin City Council regarding the finalisation of construction and associated costs for the Ballymun regeneration programme. Once agreement is reached, outstanding amounts, if any, will be recouped to the Council.
 ...

124. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of persons who renewed their motor tax on a quarterly, bi-annual and annual basis in each of the years 2011 to 2016 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21403/16 asked on 13 Jul 2016 - Motor Tax Collection)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): The numbers of motor tax discs issued from 2011 to the end of June 2016 are set out in the following table. 
 Year Annual Half Yearly Quarterly Total 2011 1,480,747 705,846 2,436,273 4,622,866 2012 1,448,517 682,496 2,481,073 4,612,086 2013 1,460,913 684,899 2,588,493 4,734,305 2014 1,506,614 697,278 2,739,728 4,943,620 2015 1,567,264 687,030 2,738,292 4,992,5...

304. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the amount of pre-financing by programme his Department has applied for with regard to the current phase of EU funding programmes; the amount that is likely to be reimbursed to the European Commission; the reasons this money will be reimbursed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20578/16 asked on 12 Jul 2016 - EU Funding)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): Pre-financing applies in the case of the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) in my Department. SICAP rolled out in April 2015 and will run until 31 December 2017. It is the successor programme to the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP). Its aim is to tackle poverty, social exclusion and long-term unemployment through local engagement and partnership between disadvantaged i...

119. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the costs to the State to date and the likely final costs of a court case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18974/16 asked on 30 Jun 2016 - Departmental Legal Costs)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): As the Deputy will be aware, the settlement in this High Court case has only recently been agreed between the two parties. Accordingly, the legal fees have not yet been agreed and settled by the Chief State’s Solicitors Office (CSSO).
Once the fees have been agreed and settled by the CSSO, I will bring this information to the attention of the Deputy.
 ...

216. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to introduce measures to facilitate those whose occupation necessitates them to spend extended periods of time at sea or in other destinations which does not make it possible to vote at their designated polling station nor permits them to make use of the postal vote facility in relation to voting in elections and referenda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18368/16 asked on 28 Jun 2016 - Electoral Reform)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): Electoral law provides that a person who is entitled to vote at an election or referendum shall vote in person at a polling station allotted to him or her unless they are included in the postal voters list or in the special voters list for the constituency concerned. While electoral law is subject to on-going review, I have no proposals at present to amend the existing arrangements for voting by persons such as...

141. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will formally finalise the revision to the 2006 wind energy development guidelines; if the revision will be informed by recent developments abroad in terms of enhanced regulations governing the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16553/16 asked on 16 Jun 2016 - Wind Energy Guidelines)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): In December 2013, my Department published proposed “draft” revisions to the noise, setback distance and shadow flicker aspects of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines.
These draft revisions proposed:
- the setting of a more stringent day and night noise limit of 40 decibels for future wind energy developments;
- a mandatory minimum setback distance of 500 metres between a wind turbine and the nearest dwel...

232. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the competent agencies and authorities responsible for water quality monitoring are routinely testing water samples for the presence of asbestos containing materials in public water supplies; his progress in identifying and replacing sections of the water supply network which have been found to contain asbestos cement piping; if he regards the presence of such materials as posing a particular danger to public health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15327/16 asked on 14 Jun 2016 - Water Pollution)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): I have no direct role in the monitoring or supervision of water services. The European Union (Drinking Water) Regulations 2014 provide that it is a matter for water suppliers to provide clean and wholesome drinking water, in compliance with the standards set out in the Regulations. 
With effect from 1 January 2014, Irish Water is responsible for the operation of water services infrastructure and for the provisi...

116. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the net cost and savings in abolishing water charges and the water conservation grant, including its administration costs and its associated impact on the fiscal space. (Question 13892/16 asked on 01 Jun 2016 - Water Charges)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): Abolishing domestic water charges would lead to an expected additional subvention requirement of up to €1.4 billion over period 2016-2021, subject to assumptions on payment levels, allowing for some reducing in customer service costs but without reflecting any costs of dismantling contracts. Some additional funding would also arise for the group water sector. Assuming the abolition of the Water Conservation Gr...

117. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the cost of abolishing the punitive excess charge where a vehicle is taxed for less than 12 months, that is, a vehicle being more expensive when charged for six months than for 12 months. (Question 13893/16 asked on 01 Jun 2016 - Motor Tax Rates)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): Motor tax is payable on an annual, half-yearly or quarterly basis.
The rates applicable for the half-yearly and quarterly options are 55.5% and 28.25% of the annual charge respectively. These relativities have remained generally consistent since the 1960s.
The current annual cost of the surcharge is being compiled and will be forwarded as soon as possible.
 ...

362. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to amend existing eligibility requirements concerning income which is considered assessable for the purposes of the incremental tenant purchase scheme for local authority housing, in order to allow for the inclusion of additional social protection and assistance payments; if he is aware that a large number of tenants are prevented from accessing the scheme by the exclusion of these payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9422/16 asked on 17 May 2016 - Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 362, 363, 376, 382, 397 and 404 together. 
Provision was made in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 for a new Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme for existing local authority houses. Following the necessary preparatory work the new Scheme came into operation on 1 January 2016. The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority hou...

363. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if applicants will only be deemed eligible under the incremental tenant purchase scheme for local authority housing when they have paid all liabilities in respect of water charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9423/16 asked on 17 May 2016 - Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 362, 363, 376, 382, 397 and 404 together. 
Provision was made in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 for a new Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme for existing local authority houses. Following the necessary preparatory work the new Scheme came into operation on 1 January 2016. The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority hou...

314. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on the fiscal risks associated with a legally binding European Union effort sharing decision on climate change covering 2013 to 2020, which necessitates a 20% greenhouse gas reduction in certain sectors on 2005 levels (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9086/16 asked on 04 May 2016 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 314 and 315 together.
For each year between 2013 and 2020, Ireland has a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target under the 2009 Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) No. 406/2009/EC. For the year 2020 itself, the target set for Ireland is that emissions should be 20 per cent below their value in 2005. This is jointly the most demanding 2020 reduction target allocated under the ESD ...

315. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the details of the projected purchases of carbon credits that he forecasts purchasing for failure to comply with the European Union effort sharing decisions which necessitates a 20% greenhouse gas reduction in certain sectors on 2005 levels, by amount, by year, by relevant sector in tabular form. (Question 9087/16 asked on 04 May 2016 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 314 and 315 together.
For each year between 2013 and 2020, Ireland has a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target under the 2009 Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) No. 406/2009/EC. For the year 2020 itself, the target set for Ireland is that emissions should be 20 per cent below their value in 2005. This is jointly the most demanding 2020 reduction target allocated under the ESD ...

120. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if, regarding the planned infrastructural investment by Irish Water of €4 billion over the period 2016-2021, he will provide a breakdown of the annual State expenditure from the €4 billion over the relevant years and the intended source of funds for the €4 billion. (Question 7833/16 asked on 21 Apr 2016 - Irish Water Expenditure)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): Irish Water’s capital investment in the period 2016 to 2021 will be funded by a mix of debt and equity (including capital transfers from Government), with the investment programme for the period after end 2016 being subject to future review by the Commission for Energy Regulation, and Government funding being subject to future budgetary decisions. Irish Water’s detailed business plan for the period 2015 to 2021 is...

748. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the action he is taking to eradicate the practice engaged in by certain landlords whereby students and, to a lesser extent, young professionals are being actively denied the opportunity to enter into lease agreements in order to secure accommodation within the private rental sector; if she is aware of the impact which this discriminatory practice is having on this demographic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6787/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - Private Rented Accommodation)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Paudie Coffey): The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 sets out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in the private residential rented sector covering, inter alia, security of tenure and the termination of tenancies. The provisions of the Act do not extend to the circumstances under which a landlord seeks a tenant for a property.
The Equal Status Acts 2000 – 2004, which come under the remit ...

767. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he has formally finalised the membership of the expert panel established to investigate problems of concrete block work in counties Donegal and Mayo; the names of the members of the panel; when the panel will complete and publish its final report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6459/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - Building Regulations)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Paudie Coffey): Earlier this year, I announced the appointment of Mr. Denis McCarthy to chair the expert panel that is being established to investigate the problems that have emerged in the concrete blockwork of certain dwellings in Donegal and Mayo. Mr. McCarthy is a former Director of Services with Waterford County Council and has the necessary mix of skills and experience that will be required to di...

768. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to introduce a handbook or an electronic information pack to be provided to applicants by the planning authorities upon receipt of a planning application for a single dwelling or domestic extension, detailing the minimum requirements which home owners must meet to build in accordance with the building control regulations; his views of the benefit of such a publication in providing guidance to home owners and in clarifying the minimum qualifications and level of accreditation which must legally be held by the relevant professionals employed for the certifying of all building works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6462/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - Building Regulations)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Paudie Coffey): The owner of a planned new single dwelling or domestic extension has a statutory obligation to ensure that the building or works are designed and constructed in accordance with the relevant requirements of the Building Regulations which are made pursuant to the Building Control Act 1990. The performance requirements are set out in 12 parts (classified as Parts A to M) and each Part de...

551. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of vacancies which exist within his Department for candidates who must display competence in the Irish language; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5433/16 asked on 22 Mar 2016 - Departmental Staff Data)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): There are currently no vacancies within my Department for which candidates must display competence in the Irish language. 
 ...

530. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of persons on the social housing list, by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4245/16 asked on 02 Feb 2016 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 530 and 532 together. 
The report on the 2011 Housing Needs Assessment contains details on waiting list numbers for each local authority which were recorded from 1993 to 2011 under the tri-annual social housing needs assessments carried out under Section 9 of the Housing Act 1988. The report is available on my Department’s website at: http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/Developme...

531. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of persons in receipt of the housing assistance payment, by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4246/16 asked on 02 Feb 2016 - Housing Assistance Payments Data)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): The information requested on households supported by the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme on 31 January 2016 is set out in the table below. 
 Local Authority Commencement Date of HAP Scheme Active HAP Tenancies (31/01/2016) Carlow CC 29/06/2015 134 Clare CC 29/06/2015 307 Cork City Co 29/06/2015 172 Cork CC 15/09/2014 960 Donegal CC 25/05/2015 579 Dublin City Co* 18/12/2014 67 Dun- Ra...

532. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of persons on each social housing list, by county, over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4247/16 asked on 02 Feb 2016 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 530 and 532 together. 
The report on the 2011 Housing Needs Assessment contains details on waiting list numbers for each local authority which were recorded from 1993 to 2011 under the tri-annual social housing needs assessments carried out under Section 9 of the Housing Act 1988. The report is available on my Department’s website at: http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/Developme...

533. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the targets for 2015 for the provision of social housing units under the Rental Accommodation Scheme and through leasing, by local authority; how many units have been provided, by local authority, under these schemes in 2015; how much or how far under-target is the provision for 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4254/16 asked on 02 Feb 2016 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): The report Social Housing Output in 2015 contains details on the progress made under each of the social housing programmes last year and is available on my Department’s website at: http://www.environ.ie/en/DevelopmentHousing/Housing/News/MainBody,44105,en.htm. 
Under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP), a target of 3,000 units was set for delivery in 2015. To the end of November 2015, a total ...