Monday 21st November at 7.00pm I will be hosting a Webinar for First Time Buyers with my colleague Senator Mary Fitzpatrick and Paul Merriman, askPaul.ie
Are you a first-time buyer? Do you know all the schemes you can avail of?
Buying your first home is one of the biggest things you can do in life, but the State is here to help.
Register below to have your questions answered.
-More than €22M approved to date for Cost Rental Homes in Fingal-
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and local Fingal TD, Darragh O’Brien, has given approval for just over €2M in funding under the Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) for 14 new cost rental homes in Donabate, North County Dublin.
The homes which will be delivered at Dunrovin, Cobbe Court, Donabate, will consist of one and two bedroom apartments and will be rented to tenants at rates which are approximately 30% below the local market rate.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “The delivery of cost rental homes is happening and it’s making a positive difference. Cost Rental is a new form of housing in Ireland. Cost Rental is State backed and the tenancies are long-term and secure. Tenants are charged a rent that covers the cost of delivering, managing, and maintaining a home only, making homes more affordable.
These 14 Cost Rental homes in Donabate represent just one development which is in the pipeline in Fingal. To date I have given approval for 209 cost rental homes in North County Dublin, backed by €22M, with the Land Development Agency (LDA) set to deliver hundreds more in our area.
This development will provide families and individuals with secure, affordable rental accommodation, and, as we deliver more of these homes at scale, will help make Ireland’s housing market more affordable overall. Under Housing for All, a healthy pipeline of cost rental housing is building up and more developments are due to come on stream shortly.
“I’d like to commend Tuath Approved Housing Body (AHB) for bringing forward this development and the many others they have in the pipeline across the country,” he concluded.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and local Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien, has signed into law revised planning exemptions for the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of houses and certain non-domestic buildings. The exemptions are aimed at increasing Ireland’s generation of solar energy and combating climate change. The changes take immediate effect.
These regulations aim to bring Ireland into line with the EU’s Solar Rooftops Initiative by making permitting procedures for installing solar on rooftops shorter and simpler. It supports a target of installing up to 380MW (approximately 1 million solar panels) of microgeneration capacity as part of Ireland’s overall solar targets under the Government’s Climate Action Plan. This would generate over 300 GWh of renewable electricity per annum, with the potential to abate 1.4 million tonnes of CO2eq over the lifetime of the installations.
Commenting on the regulations, Minister O’Brien said, “With these new exemptions we are removing barriers and ensuring that individuals, communities, businesses and farms in Fingal can generate their own electricity, reduce their own bills and play their part in creating a zero-carbon future fuelled by renewable energy. These changes will facilitate the rollout of rooftop solar panels across Fingal and, coupled with the Government-supported SEAI Solar PV grant, will see more people install solar panels across the county. This has the added benefit of increasing Ireland’s energy security, a major challenge given current energy pressures. These regulations implement an important commitment in the Programme for Government and will help Ireland meet the Government’s Climate Action Plan targets.
“Houses, regardless of location in Fingal, will now be able to have solar panels installed on their roofs without any requirement for planning permission, which I know will be very welcome to many homeowners in the county. The new exemptions for educational, community and religious buildings will also give institutions such as schools greater opportunity to reduce their energy bills. They will also provide new financial and climate-related opportunities for farmers, underpinned by available grants.
“While buildings and areas of architectural heritage significance in Fingal have a role to play in meeting our renewable energy ambition, it is important that we ensure sufficient safeguards for our protected structures and architectural conservation areas from inappropriate development. I am satisfied that these amendments as well as the existing safeguards in the Planning Act and Regulations provide the necessary safeguards. In most instances, a case-by-case assessment by the relevant planning authority will be necessary to ensure that solar development does not materially affect the character of our protected structures and Architectural Conservation Areas.”
Under the revised regulations the following is now allowed:
Copies of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No. 3) Regulations 2022 and the supporting Planning and Development (Solar Safeguarding Zone) Regulations 2022 will be available on the Irish Statute Book website. The Solar Safeguarding Zones are also available for viewing on the myplan.ie
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has announced funding of €44,000 for local biodiversity projects in North County Dublin. Fingal County Council has been allocated €44,000 under the Local Biodiversity Action Fund (LBAF).
€15,000 has been allocated for the restoration of three acres of wetland at the St. Itas Wetlands local nature reserve near Portrane. A further €15,000 has been allocated for the installation of fencing in Turvey Nature Park to expand the area for grazing and reduce disturbance by dogs to wildlife in the park. €6,000 has been allocated for the preparation of a biodiversity plan for the Howth Golf course and €8,000 has been allocated to provide for further research on the ecology and movements of Herring gulls in Balbriggan.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “Fingal County Council are real trailblazers when it comes to biodiversity and I’m delighted that this work is being recognised through my Department’s Local Biodiversity Action Fund.
“The funding provided will have a real and tangible impact and it couldn’t come at a more crucial time. Each of these projects compliment and support the implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan, the new draft of which is currently out for public consultation. The closing date for submissions as part of the public consultation is November 9th so I would really encourage anyone who wants their voice to be heard to make a submission at: www.gov.ie/biodiversityplan,” he concluded.
Marking the anniversary, Minister O’Brien TD, said:
“When we launched Housing for All our aim was that everyone should have access to a home to purchase or rent at an affordable price, built to a high standard and in the right place. We backed that with a guaranteed over €4 billion a year in housing investment and a series of actions to deliver 300,000 new homes by 2030, including 90,000 social homes and 54,000 affordable homes. While there’s a lot of work still to do, we can see already, after the first 12 months that the plan is working in Fingal and across the country.”
Among the measures and impacts in Fingal arising from Housing for All are:
Other key measures delivered through Housing for All that benefit the people Fingal include; A new expanded Local authority Home Loan; the launch of the First Home Scheme; significant funding made available by Government to assist local authority affordable housing delivery, for purchase and rent, through the Affordable Housing Fund; the roll out of Cost Rental homes; a revised cap on any rent increase and legislation on tenancies of unlimited duration; the introduction of a Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant (through Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund) to incentivise the refurbishment of vacant homes in Fingal; a new National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability; a reformed planning process for large-scale developments in Fingal and elsewhere meaning greater certainty, clarity and public participation in our planning system.
Minister O’Brien also marked actions which are currently under way and which would greatly assist in meeting the overall objectives of Housing for All including the work underway on a new tax to activate vacant land zoned for housing, commencing in 2024. Measures to increase construction sector capacity in Fingal, including greater investment to increase the availability of apprenticeships and training, international recruitment initiatives and the new 'Future Building' initiative to spearhead activation and recruitment for the sector. A number of significant measures to accelerate research and innovation in the sector, including Enterprise Ireland's new Built to Innovate Fund, a €5m investment for the establishment of a new Construction Technology Centre, and the turning the sod on a new Modern Methods of Construction Demonstration Park.
Commenting on the role of local authorities in delivering housing in Fingal, Minister O’Brien said:
“Fingal County Council is playing a central role in delivering housing in the county. Over the past 12 months, the Government has provided resources and funding to the council to help it deliver for people in Fingal. We’ve recently issued guidelines to Fingal County Council on the making of their county development plan to ensure it takes into account projected housing need so that sufficient new homes can be built in key areas of housing demand. We have also streamlined the processes for the procurement of social housing.”
Minister O’Brien also commented on progress made in putting sustainability at the heart of housing:
“Compact growth has to be at the heart of housing provision and planning. Higher population densities will have upshots such as minimal transport demand and shorter travel distances. Since Housing for All was launched, we have made progress in developing legislation to introduce Land Value Sharing and a new concept, Urban Development Zones. These are key reforms in land management and planning, which will result in compact growth and curbs on land speculation.”
Concluding he said, “I know there are massive challenges in the area of housing and Government know that people are struggling. The initiatives and schemes which we have introduced, in less than twelve months, will work for people,” he concluded.