234. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding the damage to upland landscapes by the construction of onshore industrial wind turbines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2188/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Planning Issues)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála are required to take account of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines for Planning Authorities, which were issued as statutory guidance by the Minister under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, when considering planning applications or appeals in respect of proposed wind energy developments.  Chapters 3 and 6 of the Guidelines provide planning g...

235. Deputy Kevin O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to review the criteria in respect of the local authority housing loan scheme in order to take into account the difficulties facing many persons (details supplied). (Question 2144/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Local Authority Housing Mortgages)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Local authority house purchase loan finance continues to be made available to first time buyers only. The Housing (Local Authority Loans) Regulations 2012 are kept under on-going review and there are no plans, at this time, to alter the scope of the Regulations to include non-first time buyers.
The option currently available for non-first time buyers is to seek home loan facilities from one of the commercial lending ins...

236. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of sites that have been entered in every city and council vacant sites register from 1 January 2017 to 1 January 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2184/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Vacant Sites Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): 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 notices to owners of vacant sites by 1 June 2018 in respect o...

237. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will request local authorities to make documentation in respect of planning applications available online in a timely fashion; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Dublin City Council considers this a courtesy service thus resulting in documents being made available late; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2214/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Planning Issues)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Under current planning legislation, namely the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the 2000 Act) and the Planning and Development Regulations 2001-2017, the processing of planning applications is based primarily on physical documents.  While planning authorities endeavour to upload on-line as soon as possible the principal planning documents that are required to be made available in ...

238. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if local authorities have received, or are in the process of receiving, debt write offs on loans they acquired under the land aggregation scheme; the local authorities which have received debt write offs on such loans, in tabular form; and the process for the application of debt write offs under the scheme. (Question 2219/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Local Authority Finances)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Land Aggregation Scheme was introduced in 2010 as part of revised arrangements for the funding of land for housing purposes.  The primary purpose of the Scheme was to assist in the gradual unwinding of loans taken out by housing authorities to purchase land for the social and affordable housing investment programme.  
Local authorities were invited to apply to my Department to recoup the cost of outstanding loans on ...

239. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the rural cottage scheme will re-open. (Question 2279/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Departmental Schemes)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Local authorities have a number of options available to them in meeting social housing needs. These include, if they consider it appropriate, the transfer of a site from a person qualified for social housing to the local authority, and the building of a social house on the site by the local authority, to be tenanted by the person who transferred the site. I understand that the scheme referred to by the Deputy was of th...

240. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his key priorities in the forthcoming capital review; the projects submitted for priority inclusion in the review; the status of negotiations with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2293/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme Review)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department’s overall key priorities in terms of capital investment in the period to 2027 include: 
- social housing delivery and regeneration;
- output of housing generally, supported by targeted infrastructural investment;
- investment in our water services infrastructure through Irish Water and rural water programmes; 
- supporting sustainable growth in our urban areas and through our regions through urban renewal p...

241. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if bullying or sexual harassment claims have been lodged in his Department in each year since 2011; if so, the number of either complaints on an annual basis, in tabular form; if these complaints have been investigated; the outcome of each investigation; and the policies in place in his Department to combat bullying and sexual harassment. (Question 2319/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Departmental Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): There have been two complaints of bullying lodged by staff members in my Department since 2011.  There have been no sexual harassment claims in the period in question.  These cases were investigated fully under the “Positive Working Environment Policy” which was the Anti-Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Bullying Policy for the Civil Service in operation at the time.  Following the investigation neither complaint was uph...

242. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the policy of the removal of staged payments to small and medium sized developers of new social housing under Rebuilding Ireland will be reinstated or alternatively if a bridging finance scheme can be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2325/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Social and Affordable Housing)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The large majority of social housing projects initiated by local authorities are implemented through standard contracts for public works, following a competitive tendering process. Contractors in such cases are paid on a staged basis as the project advances.
Local authorities may also acquire social housing either through acquisitions of second-hand or newly completed houses, or through turnkey developments.  In these c...

243. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of the proposed provision of €25 million over 2018 and 2019 to unlock local authority owned lands specifically for affordable models such as co-operative schemes; the progress that has been made in developing models of affordable housing and co-operatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2371/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Housing Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 243 and 244 together.
Recognising that housing affordability is a major issue for some households and that while initiatives introduced to date are having an impact and will have a greater impact in time, the Government considers that a further package of targeted measures focused on addressing affordability is needed to enable low- to moderate-income households, that do not qualify for s...

244. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the advice which can be given to co-operative housing bodies such as an organisation (details supplied) that wishes to meet with local authorities and present proposals for a co-operative housing project in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area in view of the fact that as yet no process exists for such proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2372/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Housing Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 243 and 244 together.
Recognising that housing affordability is a major issue for some households and that while initiatives introduced to date are having an impact and will have a greater impact in time, the Government considers that a further package of targeted measures focused on addressing affordability is needed to enable low- to moderate-income households, that do not qualify for s...

723. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the net cost to Ervia and Irish Water from administering domestic water charges including the recent administration cost of refunds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53904/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Irish Water Administration)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The costs to support the administration of domestic water charges across printing, postage, billing and the contact centre for the period April 2015 to February 2016 were €31.65m. Advertising costs of €2.85m were also incurred, including in relation to Registration, the Water Conservation Grant and the First-Fix scheme, up to 31 December 2015.
The Water Services Act 2017 (No. 29 of 2017), which was enacted on 17 November...

724. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to dispose of the land at a location which is under the ownership of the State for the use of housing by a group (details supplied) for a nominal fee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53525/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Land Availability)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): It is crucial that the State’s housing land bank is developed as soon as possible.  To this end, details of some 1,700 hectares of land in local authority and Housing Agency ownership were published on the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map, with these lands having the potential to deliver some 42,500 homes nationally. The map also includes details of some 300 hectares of land in ownership of other State or semi-State ...

725. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Question No. 520 of 14 November 2017, if he will consider amending section 239 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 to include bike parks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53537/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Health and Safety Regulations)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I refer to the reply to Question No. 520 of 14 November 2017, which set out the position in relation to Section 239 of the Planning and Development Act 2000. This Section places a statutory duty on organisers of funfairs and owners of fairground equipment to take such care as is reasonable for ensuring that persons at a funfair do not suffer injury or damage by reason of dangers arising from the funfair or associated ac...

726. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the Acts, or parts of Acts, awaiting commencement within his area of statutory responsibility; the reason for the delay in the commencement of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53571/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Commencement of Legislation)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I refer to the reply to Question No. 157 of 2 February 2017 and the further deferred reply sent to the Deputy on 16 February 2017.  
The information provided in February has now been updated and is set out in the following table.:
 Act Sections/Chapters not in force or commenced Reason not yet commenced Electoral Act 1997 Section 79 Section 79 of the Electoral Act 1997 provides for amendments to electoral law...

727. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if funding will be provided for a group water scheme (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53602/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department’s Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2016-2018 provides funding for new group water schemes, through Measure 3, where public water supply schemes or private wells are not an option. 
Kerry County Council included the Scheme concerned in its bid under Measure 3 of the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2016-2018. 
An Expert Panel was convened by my Department to examine the 2016 bids from local authorities f...

728. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of funding given to fire services in each county in each of the years 2012 to 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53712/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Service Act, 1981.  My Department supports the fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central tr...

729. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if specific funding will be allocated to a local authority to carry out necessary improvement works in a housing estate (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53622/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Housing Estates)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The taking-in-charge of housing estates is a matter for the relevant local authority under section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).
My Department launched the National Taking-in-Charge Initiative (NTICI) in April 2016 to support and accelerate overall national and local action on the taking-in-charge process of housing estates, including estates with developer-provided water services infrastruct...

730. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of mortgage-to-rent transactions that have been fully completed to date by lender, local authority and approved housing body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53768/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Mortgage to Rent Scheme Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 730 to 732, inclusive, together.
Since the introduction of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme in 2012, a total of 3,765 cases have been submitted under the scheme to the end of September 2017.  Of the 3,765 cases submitted, 2,909 were ineligible or terminated during the process.  Of the remaining cases submitted, 282 have been completed, and the remaining 574 are actively being progressed....

731. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of mortgage-to-rent applications each month in 2017 up to when the scheme was revised; the number of applications each month since the scheme was revised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53769/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Mortgage to Rent Scheme Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 730 to 732, inclusive, together.
Since the introduction of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme in 2012, a total of 3,765 cases have been submitted under the scheme to the end of September 2017.  Of the 3,765 cases submitted, 2,909 were ineligible or terminated during the process.  Of the remaining cases submitted, 282 have been completed, and the remaining 574 are actively being progressed....

732. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of approved housing bodies here; the number that have undertaken a mortgage-to-rent scheme; the number of mortgage-to-rent transactions undertaken by each approved housing body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53770/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Mortgage to Rent Scheme Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 730 to 732, inclusive, together.
Since the introduction of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme in 2012, a total of 3,765 cases have been submitted under the scheme to the end of September 2017.  Of the 3,765 cases submitted, 2,909 were ineligible or terminated during the process.  Of the remaining cases submitted, 282 have been completed, and the remaining 574 are actively being progressed....

733. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the legislation, statutory instruments or departmental guidelines that permitted the use of rooms in hotels, guest houses and hostels for emergency accommodation for families and children in the period since 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53899/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Homeless Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Under the Housing Act 1988, housing authorities are empowered to provide assistance to persons that they regard as homeless; Section 2 of the Act sets out the requirements for a person to be regarded as homeless by a housing authority for the purposes of the Act, while Section 10 sets out additional provisions, including that any person regarded as homeless may be placed into temporary emergency accommodation, which the ...

734. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of families and children housed in emergency accommodation in rooms at hotels, guest houses and hostels in each of the years 2009 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53900/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - 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....

735. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the cost of the use of hotels and guest houses for emergency accommodation in each of the years 2009 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53901/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Homeless Accommodation Funding)

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 accommodation and related services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities. Therefore, my Department does not fund any servi...

736. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the senior counsel investigation into certain planning matters in County Donegal; the timeframe involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54140/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Planning Investigations)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): On 12  June 2017, my Department received a report from Senior Counsel regarding his Review Into Certain Planning Matters In Respect Of County Donegal.
My Department is currently reviewing and assessing the contents of Senior Counsel’s report and I have requested the advice of the Attorney General in respect of a number of points.
When I have received the Attorney’s advice, my Department will finalise a submission for me ...