The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD met with the High Level Homelessness Taskforce this morning to discuss the development of the Youth Homelessness Strategy.
The meeting also addressed the ongoing work to protect homeless people at risk of Covid-19 as the vaccine strategy is rolled out.
The High Level Homelessness Taskforce is made up of representatives from the Peter McVerry Trust, Dublin Simon Community, Focus Ireland, Threshold, DePaul, CrossCare and the Dublin Region Homelessness Executive and meet regularly by videoconference.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said. “Members of the Taskforce were asked to consider their current role in supporting young people experiencing homelessness, what services they are currently providing to young people in homeless services and what are the key challenges to address youth homelessness from a service provision viewpoint.
“I am very grateful to all members for their input which will better inform the response of my Department who will now develop the proposals and inputs into a more detailed policy document.
“Central to this will be a cross-Departmental collaboration and this paper will be informed by further engagement with the Minister and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
“I look forward to meeting with Minister Roderic O’Gorman on the matter and to reaching realisable solutions which will not only meet the specific needs of those young people who do end up experiencing homelessness but importantly, prevent young people from becoming homeless in the first place.
“Addressing the role that Task Force member organisations have played in terms of protecting vulnerable homeless individuals during the pandemic the Minister said, “relative to the wider population the rates of infection have been well managed, especially given the vulnerable nature of those in homelessness and the congregated nature of many settings. This is testament to the ongoing hard work of frontline local authority and service provider staff, including those organisations represented on the Taskforce. While vaccinations are being rolled out, there is a need for continued vigilance and I am committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that those experiencing homelessness are being provided with all the supports and protections necessary,” he concluded.
Local Minister Darragh O’Brien TD has welcomed the planned implementation of a community based initiative to address the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes.
The community based initiative will work in tandem with and complement the planned enhanced legislative provisions to provide a more coherent and rounded response to the issues connected with the anti-social use of scramblers and other vehicles.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “Back in February I strongly supported new legislative measures to give An Garda Síochána additional powers to help tackle the anti-social use of scrambler bikes, quad bikes, and similar off-road machines in spaces such as public parks. The anti-social use of scramblers and quad bikes is something we have unfortunately seen in North County Dublin, particularly in Swords, and I know it is something which Councillor Brigid Manton and Councillor Darragh Butler have campaigned on over recent years.
“We all agree we need legislation to help the communities in Fingal who have been tormented by loud, intimidating scramblers and quad bikes on public roads and parks. As well as being incredibly dangerous it is destroying the quality of life in many estates. This community based initiative will take an alternative but equally important approach by engaging with young people with an interest in motorcycles – training them in vehicle maintenance, safe use of vehicles, and opportunities for motocross, as well as relevant personal development or educational activities. A programme such as this will be invaluable in communities where it’s badly needed,” he said.
Councillor Brigid Manton added, “Residents should not have to worry about their streets and parks being turned into no-go areas by dangerous driving on scramblers. We need strong deterrents but we do also need to engage proactively with our young people who are using these vehicles. A key aspect of this community initiative will be the fact that admission will require a commitment by the young person to complete all aspects of the programme and to abstain from illegal or anti-social use of these vehicles. I think this a positive and progressive step which will be welcomed by the people of Swords,” she concluded.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD has announced that the role of Chairperson of the Land Development Agency (LDA) has been advertised on the Public Appointments Service (PAS) website.
As the LDA Bill to establish the LDA as a commercial state agency is now progressing through the Oireachtas, preparations are being made to recruit a Board for this agency. Under the Guidelines for Appointments to State Boards, these board positions are advertised and recruited through the stateboards.ie process. It is usual practice to advertise the Chairperson position first followed by the ordinary board member positions.
The LDA Chairperson role has been advertised on stateboards.ie with a closing date for applications of 29th April 2021. It is open to members of the interim board of the existing LDA entity to apply for the Chairperson and other Board positions should they wish to do so.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said “I would encourage suitably qualified candidates to apply for this post. I intend to fulfil the Programme for Government commitment to ensure that the LDA Board includes a cross-spectrum of housing, financial, governance and other independent experts needed to fulfil its remit. Oireachtas colleagues have also made some proposals for additional skillsets to be represented on the LDA Board which I am certainly open to considering.
The LDA is already progressing a number of important strategic projects which will produce significant levels of affordable homes on public lands. It is an exciting long term project, which will profoundly shape the regeneration of our urban centres over the coming years and deliver much needed homes. If you feel you have the right skillsets and want to drive housing delivery, I would encourage you to apply to serve on the LDA Board as and when the board roles are advertised.”
Minister O’Brien also confirmed that he has received notification from Mr. John Moran, who has served as interim LDA Chairperson since January 2019 that he does not intend to seek the Chairperson role for the new Land Development Agency (LDA) commercial agency. Mr Moran will continue as interim LDA Chairperson until the extension of his original term expires on 1st May 2021.
The Minister said “I would like to take this opportunity to thank John for all his work on behalf of the LDA since his appointment in January 2019. John has played a key role in setting the strategic direction of the LDA, putting in place corporate governance structures for the organisation and overseeing the initial LDA projects and strategic initiatives. He has also performed a vital communications role in highlighting the central role that the LDA will play in delivering and implementing Project Ireland 2040, the Government’s plan to create sustainable communities and help reduce urban sprawl.
In particular, I would like to note the major contribution that John has made in developing the LDA’s regional city strategies and the various master-planning processes underway in our cities in conjunction with the relevant local authorities. In time, these processes will bear fruit in terms of balanced regional growth in Ireland. I know John is involved in other important initiatives and I wish him well in those ventures,” he concluded.
Minister O’Brien commends Ballyboughal Community Council & Ballyboughal Covid Assist Group on distribution of food boxes
-Food Boxes provided by Rapid Relief Team-
Local Minister Darragh O’Brien TD has commended Ballyboughal Community Council and Ballyboughal Covid Assist Group on the distribution of 100 food boxes to older and more vulnerable members of the local community.
Today [April 2, 2021] 100 food boxes, provided by the Rapid Relief Team (RRT) headed by Director Murray Robinson and Ben Watson of Enquip Supplies in Balbriggan, will be delivered by Ballyboughal Community Council and Ballyboughal Covid Assist Group which was established by Vicky McGauley at the outset of the pandemic.
The boxes, which were acquired by Vicky McGauley through negotiations with the very generous Murray and Ben of the RRT, will be happily received by older and more vulnerable locals in the Ballyboughal area.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “I would just like to really thank the Rapid Relief Team for their very generous donation and Vicky and Stephanie along with the wider Ballyboughal Community Council and Ballyboughal Covid Assist Group for mobilising so swiftly and getting these boxes out to those who need them most.
“This is just one example of the magnificent community spirit we have seen throughout this pandemic in Ballyboughal and the surrounding area. Since the onset of the pandemic over a year ago, the Ballyboughal Community Council and Ballyboughal Covid Assist Group has been providing vital services to those impacted most severely by the restrictions. Whether it be delivering groceries, collecting prescriptions or simply alleviating loneliness with a chat, they have really brought meaning to the Irish word 'Meitheal',” concluded Minister O’Brien.
Local Minister Darragh O’Brien TD has welcomed the announcement of €72,000 in funding for Fingal County Council under the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) 2021.
The BHIS is one of two built heritage funding schemes run by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in association with the 31 Local Authorities. Through grants of up to €15,000, the BHIS assists owners of heritage structures – including those on the local authorities’ Record of Protected Structures and those in Architectural Conservation Areas – to meet their obligations to care for their properties.
10 built heritage projects in Fingal will share the funding which owners and custodians of historic and protected structures can use to safeguard and maintain them.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “Here in Fingal we will see a range of projects supported by this investment. From external joinery repairs to Laurel Mount in Borranstown to window glass conservation in Kenure Church of Ireland Church in Rush, this funding will not only help to safeguard our rich built heritage but it will also have a knock-on economic benefit by generating jobs, providing further employment for heritage contractors and other skilled crafts and tradespeople.
“The success of the Built Heritage Investment Scheme is testament to the close working relationship between my Department and Local Authorities including Fingal County Council. It’s very welcome to see local authorities such as Fingal placing such a strong emphasis on their rich built heritage,” he concluded.
Notes to Editor: The projects to be funded under the Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2021 include:
FINGAL COUNTY COUNCIL
Laurel Mount, Borranstown, Co. Dublin
External joinery repair
Kenure Church of Ireland Church, Skerries Road, Rush, Co. Dublin
Historic window glass conservation/protection
Corduff House, Corduff, Lusk, Co. Dublin
External joinery repair
Killossery/Rowlestown Mill, Rowlestown, Co. Dublin
External & internal wall repair (mud walls)
Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, Malahide Road, Kinsealy, Co. Dublin
Roof repair, structures & coverings including leadwork
Church of the Assumption, Main Street, Howth, Co. Dublin
Rainwater goods repair/replacement
St. David’s Church of Ireland Church, Kilsallaghan, Co. Dublin
Knockmaroon Lodge, Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod, Dublin
Rogerstown Pier, Rogerstown, Rush, Co. Dublin
External wall repair
Stonehaven, No. 32 Strand Road, Sutton, Co. Dublin
External joinery repair
-Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will support new approaches supporting outdoor dining-
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD has welcomed the announcement of a €17million scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide.
The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme announced by Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and local authorities across the country. One part of the scheme will provide funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity. Funding under a second part of the scheme will enable local authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, similar to those that exist in various European cities.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “This is a very good announcement which will help many businesses once they are in a position to reopen. I acknowledge that the hospitality sector are in a very difficult position and are looking for clarity as to when they might reopen. Unfortunately the Government are not yet in a position to provide this clarity but when we are able to do so we will ensure supports are in place to help businesses.
“My own Department is examining ways in which we can work with Local Authorities to support businesses in adapting new approaches to facilitate economic recovery and increased commercial activity in urban areas, including in relation to supporting outdoor dining at hotels, restaurants, pubs and other establishments as well as allowing restaurants to operate as takeaways for the current year without having to apply for change of use planning permission.
“We know we can’t depend on the weather here in Ireland and so local authorities will be able to apply for funding to develop permanent public dining spaces in specially zoned streets in towns and cities. This will facilitate weather-proofing to allow outdoor dining all year-round with parasols, wind breakers and electric heaters.
“This is just another small measure which Government are taking to help struggling businesses. When the time comes for the industry to reopen again we want to ensure they are supported in doing so to the fullest extent possible,” he concluded.