For Written Answer on : 23/06/2020
Question Number(s): 157 Question Reference(s): 11935/20
Department: Education and Skills
Asked by: Darragh O'Brien T.D.
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the status of progress in providing additional accommodation at a school (details supplied) to cater for the increased demand for special needs education and for additional places for children to attend the ASD units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) Skerries Educate Together National School, Skerries, Co. Dublin
I am pleased to inform the Deputy that funding was approved under the Additional Accommodation Scheme to enable the school in question to build a four classroom SEN base.
The project has been devolved for delivery to Louth & Meath ETB. The next step will be for the ETB to procure a consultant. This consultant will lead the project through the various stages of architectural planning and onwards through the statutory planning process and construction.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien, has welcomed the publication of the Programme for Government.
Deputy O’Brien, a key member of the Fianna Fáil negotiation team, has been engaging alongside colleagues, with Fine Gael and Green Party negotiators since formal talks began on May 7th.
“I was honoured to be part of our party’s negotiating team and I am very happy with the finalised text. I firmly believe that this plan is a radical departure for our country that will guide Ireland through this pandemic and on to economic recovery.
“Our core policies and beliefs are strongly contained and reflected in this document. On housing we have ensured that home ownership will now be central to the new governments housing strategy. We have secured an affordable housing scheme which will give our young people a chance to own their own home at an affordable price, a policy which I have pursued on behalf of Fianna Fáil for several years now.
“This housing plan is radical and bold and has the capacity to transform our country for the greater good. It will be the largest state investment in housing in generations, led by Fianna Fáil.
“On transport, working with your councillors, I have ensured that Metro Link is included in this programme for government along with the much-needed DART expansion to Balbriggan. There’s a significant increase in funding for walking and cycling, which will help deliver the Fingal Way and Broadmeadows Way along with a national school streets programme.”
The Draft Programme for Government will play a vital role in improving the education of children with special educational needs if implemented.
“Supporting learners with special educational needs has been a key priority for Fianna Fáil in negotiations. I believe that a number of really important measures have been proposed working with Fine Gael and the Green Party which could see real improvements in educational outcomes if implemented over the next five years,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
Programme for Government: Housing
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien, has said that cases where people availing of the temporary wage subsidy scheme now encountering issues drawing down their mortgage funds needs to be examined.
Deputy O’Brien has raised the issue with the Department of Finance by way of parliamentary questions.
“I have heard cases of mortgage applicants who received approval prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and are now faced with uncertainty on whether they can draw down their mortgages. The issue arising is because the applicants are in receipt of the government’s temporary wage subsidy scheme.
“There now appears to be implications of people who have availed of the wage subsidy scheme on Mortgage Offers and their ability to draw down funds which must be examined.
“This is an issue many people are facing at present and I will continue to follow up the with Department of Finance so that it engages with mortgage lenders to see if an approach that's fair to mortgage applicants and lenders can be agreed,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
For Written Answer on : 16/06/2020
Question Number(s): 59 Question Reference(s): 10588/20
Asked by: Darragh O'Brien T.D.
To ask the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to cases in which persons are availing of the temporary wage subsidy scheme which is then having negative implications on their ability to draw down mortgage offers from banks; the actions he has taken to counteract this; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016 (CMCAR) provide that, before concluding a mortgage credit agreement, a lender must make a thorough assessment of the consumer’s creditworthiness. That assessment must take appropriate account of factors relevant to verifying the prospect of the consumer being able to meet his or her obligations under the credit agreement. The CMCAR also provide that a lender should only make credit available to a consumer where the result of the creditworthiness assessment indicates that the consumer’s obligations resulting from the credit agreement are likely to be met in the manner required under that agreement. The assessment of creditworthiness must be carried out on the basis of information on the consumer’s income and expenses and other financial and economic circumstances which is necessary, sufficient and proportionate. In addition, the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 imposes ‘Knowing the Consumer and Suitability’ requirements on lenders. Under these requirements, lenders are required to assess affordability of credit and the suitability of a product or service based on the individual circumstances of each borrower.
Within the parameters of this regulatory framework, the decision to grant or refuse an individual application for mortgage credit is a commercial decision to be made by the regulated entity. Where a formal loan offer is made by a lender, the loan offer may contain a condition that may allow the lender to withdraw or vary the offer if in the lender’s opinion there is any material change in circumstances prior to drawdown. In such cases, the decision to withdraw or vary the loan offer is also a commercial decision for the lender.
Lenders continue to process mortgage applications and have supports in place to assist customers impacted by COVID-19. The Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has published a Covid-19 Support FAQ which customers can consult, or customers can contact their lender directly, if they have any queries or concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on their mortgage application. In addition, the Central Bank has indicated that it expects all regulated firms to take a consumer-focused approach and to act in their customers’ best interests at all times, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.