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.
Minister O’Brien welcomes the report of the working group examining defects in purpose-built apartments and duplexes constructed between 1991 and 2013
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and local Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien TD, has received the report of the working group he established to examine defects relating to fire safety, structural safety and water ingress in purpose-built apartment and duplex buildings constructed in Ireland between 1991 and 2013.
The report notes that of the apartments and duplexes constructed between 1991 and 2013, the number that may be affected by one or more defects is likely to range between 50% and 80%. In Fingal the number of apartments and duplexes constructed between 1991 and 2013 stands at approximately 14,000.
Welcoming the report, the Minister said, “Upon becoming Minister for Housing, one of the first things I did was start the process of establishing the independent working group. I have always believed this was a nettle we needed to grasp and that we need to help the people who are impacted, many of whom live here in North County Dublin.
“I would like to sincerely thank the working group who have conducted a significant amount of work over the past year and a half and who have provided me with a detailed report which identifies and evaluates the scope and scale of the issue and proposes recommendations.
“It's a very substantial report, at more than 230 pages, and I will consider it along with my Government colleagues. We are committed to finding a path forward and to helping the people who have been impacted by these defects.
“Many people are rightly asking how we are ensuring that issues like these never happen again. Government is committed to its Building Control Reform Agenda, which is focused on reform of the building control process, the National Building Control Management Project, and putting the Construction Industry Register Ireland on a statutory footing.
“This report is only the starting point, we have much more to do and will not delay in doing it,” he concluded.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and local Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien has approved amendments to Ireland’s 5th Nitrates Action Programme.
The amendment to the Regulations gives effect to the Commission Implementing Decision granting Ireland a derogation for some farms to stock at a higher rate subject to stricter environmental rules.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “Protecting and improving water quality, along with biodiversity, is a national priority in Ireland, and these amendments provide additional clarity to Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme in order to achieve this objective.
Following the public consultation on the draft environmental reports for the 5th Nitrates Action Programme, the Government committed to reviewing the measure requiring shallow cultivation of arable land post-harvest to ensure there are no adverse impacts on farmland birds.
Minister O'Brien added: “This amendment delivers on that commitment and it also clarifies and refines requirements around shallow cultivation of land post-harvest. I’ve understandably had a number of local tillage farmers contact me in relation to the issue of shallow cultivation and they outlined a number of issues which were particularly relevant to farmers in North County Dublin.
“Having consulted with my own Department officials and with my colleagues in the Department of Agriculture I am pleased that there is now additional flexibility for farmers who would have been otherwise under extreme pressures when it came to shallow cultivation obligations.”
He concluded, “Protection of the environment is central to guiding these amendments while providing certainty to farmers on the commitments they must undertake. All farmers have a role to play in improving water quality as well as protecting biodiversity and these amendments to the regulations deliver on this.”
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and local Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien has given approval in principle to Fingal County Council and Prosper Fingal Housing Association for a new home in Kenure Park, Rush Co. Dublin.
The new home which will be funded under the Capital Assistance Scheme will accommodate four people who have intellectual disabilities and facilitate their associated care needs. The Capital Assistance Scheme funds Approved Housing Bodies and Local Authorities to provide housing for people with specific categories of need, such as older people, people with disabilities and those experiencing homelessness.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “I am delighted to give approval for this much needed home in Rush. Prosper Fingal provides invaluable services and supports to adults with an intellectual disability in North County Dublin and I know this approval for a new home will help them greatly to continue to provide their invaluable service.
“Having recently had the pleasure of officially opening two Prosper Fingal facilities, Ballustree Lodge in Rush and The Obelisk Day Service in Skerries, I am acutely aware of the extremely valuable role Prosper Fingal play. The stories I heard from the service users and their families were hugely positive and I believe it will be the same case with this new home.
“I look forward to seeing this project progress as quickly as possible and I want to commend Prosper Fingal on the work they do and I will continue to support them in any way that I can,” he concluded.