1606. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government when a decision will issue regarding an application (details supplied) for a foreshore licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35136/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department wrote to the agent representing the applicant in this case on 18 July 2017, seeking their agreement to both the specific conditions and valuation that would attach to a licence if granted.  The applicant accepted both the specific conditions and the valuation by letter received by my Department on 25 July 2017. I expect the case to come before me for determination shortly.  
 ...

1607. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the financial supports or grants available to assist with the removal of asbestos from residential properties or outbuildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35204/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Housing Grant Payments)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department does not have any grant available specific to the removal of asbestos from homes. However, the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People and People with a Disability provide a range of grants for necessary improvement works or adaptations to houses in order to facilitate the continued independent occupancy of their own homes by older people and people with a disability. These schemes co...

1608. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the rules the EU imposes on motor tax rates; if Ireland is complying with all EU rules regarding motor tax; the reason for the discrepancy between motor tax rates here and the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35270/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Motor Tax)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Other than the provisions of EU Directive 1999/62/EC (the “Eurovignette” Directive), the EU does not impose rules on motor tax rates.  Directive 1999/62/EC provides a legal framework for charging heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain roads.  While the Directive is largely concerned with the provision of mechanisms for infrastructure charging, it also sets minimum rates for the tax rates applied by Member...

1609. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government his plans to introduce postal votes for students that are studying abroad and students who study away from their primary residence to facilitate participation in future elections. (Question 35800/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Electoral Register)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): In order to be able to vote at elections and referendums, a person’s name must be entered in the register of electors for a constituency in the State in which the person ordinarily resides.
Measures to facilitate the greater participation of students in elections have been provided for in electoral law. Section 63 of the Electoral Act 1997 provides that full-time students attending an educational institution ...

1610. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government his plans to introduce guidelines or regulations with respect to solar farm construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35892/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Renewable Energy Projects)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): 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 Development Act 2000, as amended, in the same manner as other proposed developments. Planning applications are made to the relevant local planning authority with a right of appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
Under the Planning an...

1611. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the estimated yield by increasing the vacant site levy to 5%, 7.5% and 10%, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35964/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Vacant Sites Levy)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 introduced a new measure, the vacant site levy, which is aimed at incentivising the development of vacant, under-utilised sites in urban areas.  Under the Act, planning authorities are required to establish a register of vacant sites in their areas, beginning on 1 January 2017, and to issue annual notices to owners of vacant sites by 1 June 2018 in respect of vacant ...

1612. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government his plans for refunding water charges to those that have paid same; the timeframe for same; the procedures he plans to use for the refunding of same; the way in which previous Irish Water customers that made the respective payments will be identified and repaid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36118/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Water Charges Refunds)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services was published on 12 April 2017 and approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas. The Committee recommended that in respect of the most cost efficient mechanism of adhering to the principle of equity of treatment for those who have paid and have not paid water charges, such households should be compensated in an equitabl...

1613. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if he has satisfied himself that the Government’s 35 year foreshore lease planning application to construct an offshore electricity generating station on Galway Bay embeds and fully implements the findings of the strategic environmental assessment and appropriate assessment processes relating to the State’s offshore renewable energy development plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36430/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The application by the Marine Institute to develop a 1/4 scale ocean energy test device site off the coast of Spiddal in Galway Bay was made on the basis of this site being necessary to support the attainment by Ireland of the required EU targets for renewable energy for 2020, 2030 and 2050. Ireland’s Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) published in 2014, which was subject to both SEA and AA, i...

1614. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government when works on a category 2 pyrite house will be carried out in the case of a person (details supplied). (Question 34918/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Pyrite Remediation Programme)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 provides the statutory framework for the Pyrite Remediation Scheme.  The Pyrite Resolution Board, with the support of the Housing Agency, is responsible for the implementation of the pyrite remediation scheme.  
In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Board is independent in the performance of its functions, and as Minister, I have no role in the operational matters per...

1615. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the number of builders that applied for the planning rebate scheme in each of the years 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017; and the cost of the scheme in each of these years. (Question 34926/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Development Contributions)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The development contribution rebate scheme featured as part of the Government’s housing package, entitled “Stabilising Rents, Boosting Supply”, which was announced by the previous Government in November 2015. The primary objective of the scheme was to enhance the viability of the construction and sale of residential housing units at affordable prices in the locations of greatest need. Details of the scheme ar...

1616. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government when he will publish details of the vacant homes audit and strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34936/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Housing Policy)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Pillar 5 of the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is specifically focused on Utilising Existing Housing Stock, with a key objective of ensuring that the existing vacant housing stock throughout the country and across all forms of tenure, in both the public and private sectors, is used to the optimum degree possible. In this regard, Action 5.1 of Rebuilding Ireland commi...

1617. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that local authorities operate differing approaches to ensuring that boilers are serviced and maintained correctly; his views on the apparent absence of compliance in this area from some local authorities; if he has discussed this with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment; his further views on this and the impact the serious health and safety risks associated with this; his plans for legislation in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35038/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Local Authority Housing Maintenance)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock is a matter for each individual local authority, as the statutory housing authority for its area. Responsibilities are also set by the local authorities, as landlords, for tenants of social housing which are normally set out in tenants’ handbooks.
The Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector, published in December 2016, sets out a number of act...

1618. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if he will change the income assessment guidelines for housing needs assessments to disregard family income supplement on the grounds that this income support is paid to households whose own income falls below levels the Government deems acceptable and, therefore, should not be taken into account when determining a household’s housing need. (Question 35056/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, prescribe maximum net income limits for each housing authority, in different bands according to the area, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy.
The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household’s basic needs, plus a comparative ...

1619. Deputy Kevin O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if he will open the grant scheme to all eligible potential applications on the basis of reports commissioned by qualified engineers in view of the high rate of failures of domestic septic tanks functioning correctly. (Question 35064/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Septic Tank Registration Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013, a copy of which is available in the Oireachtas library, brought into operation a grant scheme to assist with the cost of remediation of septic tanks and domestic waste water treatment systems which are deemed, following inspection under the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Inspection Plan, to require repair or upgradi...

1620. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if a landlord can withhold moneys from a deposit in lieu of outstanding water charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35108/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Private Residential Tenancies Board)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 regulates the tenant-landlord relationship in the private rented residential sector.  Sections 12 and 16 of the Act state that a landlord shall return or repay promptly any deposit paid by the tenant to the landlord on entering into the agreement for the tenancy or lease, unless there is a default in the payment of rent or any other charges or taxes payable by the tenant in a...

1621. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if the €330 million in capital commitments for the action plan on housing referenced in page 21 of the summer economic statement 2017 is included in the €788 million capital ceiling for housing referenced in page 32 part II expenditure allocation 2017 to 2019 published with budget 2017. (Question 35125/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Housing Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Summer Economic Statement 2017 published by the Departments of Finance and of Public Expenditure and Reform refers (at page 21), in the context of preparations for Budget 2018, to the need to provide a further €0.33 billion to meet capital commitments in respect of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness 2016. This additional funding for housing programmes is included in the capital...

1622. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government further to page 23 of the Irish Water business plan, the amount of the €533 million capital investment plan for 2017 which was government capital expenditure. (Question 35133/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Capital Expenditure Programme)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1622 and 1623 together.
Irish Water has set out its Capital Investment Plan up to the year 2021 in its Business Plan. 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 CER’s decision is available on its website, www.cer.ie. 
Irish Wat...

1623. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government further to page 23 of the Irish Water business plan, the amount of the €595 million capital investment projection for 2018 which is government capital expenditure. (Question 35134/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Capital Expenditure Programme)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1622 and 1623 together.
Irish Water has set out its Capital Investment Plan up to the year 2021 in its Business Plan. 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 CER’s decision is available on its website, www.cer.ie. 
Irish Wat...

1624. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the spend on Traveller accommodation in each of the years 2014 to 2016, and to date in 2017; and the number of accommodation units provided in each year. (Question 35152/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Traveller Accommodation)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment and delivery of the accommodation needs of Travellers through the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas.  My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to a...

1625. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the details of his Departments capital expenditure allocation in 2016 of €534 million and in 2017 of €732 million by project or programme type; the number of housing units delivered (details supplied) in tabular form. (Question 35153/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I refer to the reply to Question No. 234 of 30 May 2017, which provided details on housing expenditure in 2016 and the allocation for housing programmes in 2017 in relation to both capital and current programmes.  The further details requested in respect of capital housing programmes in 2016 and for 2017, are provided in the following table.
 Capital    Housing Programmes      2016    Expenditure   €...

1626. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 290 of 7 February 2017, the steps being taken to locate the environmental assessment reports; if a third party investigation will be carried out in respect of the missing reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35160/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Environmental Impact Statements)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): In the reply to Question Number 198 of 8 November 2016, it was indicated that, following a search of the foreshore records, my Department had not been able to locate the environmental assessment reports requested in respect of the granting of the 2006 lease and that further enquires to include the Departments who held responsibility for the foreshore function at the time of the original application in 2005 wou...

1627. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if voluntary committees such as those that run local community halls are exempt from water charges; and his plans to introduce measures to ease the burden on such groups. (Question 35167/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Water Charges)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): With effect from 1 January 2014, Irish Water is responsible for public water services. The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides that Irish Water shall collect charges from its customers in receipt of water services provided by it. The Act also provides that responsibility for the independent economic regulation of the water sector is assigned to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and the CER has ...

1628. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the status of a proposed water scheme (details supplied) in County Mayo; the reason for the delay in establishing same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35170/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Water and Sewerage Schemes Status)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department’s new Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2016-2018 includes funding for new group water schemes, through Measure 3. This measure supports social and economic development in rural towns and villages and their hinterlands by providing new group water schemes where public water supply schemes or private wells are not an option.
Local authorities were invited in January 2016 to submit bids under the...

1629. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the procedures followed in the assessment of foreshore lease applications; the progress made to date in the consideration of the application by an institute (details supplied) based on this process; when it is expected that a decision will be made on this application; the minister which will be making a decision in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35240/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1629 and 1643 together.
My Department has developed a standard set of procedures that are followed during the application for a lease or licence and the subsequent assessment of that application. 
1. Pre-application Stage
The first stage is called the pre-application stage. This is an informal stage during which officials of my Department will engage with the potential applica...

1630. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the Minister or Ministers with responsibility for appropriate assessment in compliance with the appropriate assessment EU directive relating to foreshore lease licence applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35241/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I, as Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, have responsibility for regulating the use of the foreshore in Ireland in accordance with both the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended, and any applicable European environmental legislation, including the EIA and Birds and Habitats Directives.
During the course of assessing an application for a foreshore lease or licence a technical evaluation is...