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.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and local Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien has welcomed the plans approved by Cabinet for the MetroLink preliminary business case.
Minister O’Brien said the plans for the ‘megaproject’ were exciting and will transform public transport in North County Dublin.
Details of the project which have been announced include the projected capacity, running times and number of stops along the line. It will consist of a fully segregated railway running from north of Swords to Charlemont in the south of Dublin City Centre. The route will include 16 stations including Dublin Airport, Fosterstown, Swords Central and Seatown.
The plans are for trains every three minutes during peak periods. This can rise to a service every 90 seconds by 2060 with the system capable of carrying up to 20,000 passengers per hour in each direction.
Minister O’Brien said he absolutely understood people’s weariness from previous announcements but that the project was now becoming a reality. “The MetroLink project is finally moving in the right direction. Subject to the planning and procurement processes, MetroLink could commence construction in late 2025 and then be operational in the early 2030s – something which the people of North County Dublin are very much looking forward to,” he said.
“This Government is committed to the funding and delivery of MetroLink as quickly as possible. It will be truly transformative for the people of Swords and the wider North County Dublin are,” he concluded.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Local Fingal TD, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed the announcement of significant reforms to the Community Employment (CE), Tús and the Rural Social Schemes (RSS).
As part of the reforms announced there will be greater flexibility to allow CE schemes to directly recruit eligible candidates to fill 30% of places. Eligibility for Tús will be extended to persons in receipt of Disability Payments and the six year time-limit for all participants on the Rural Social Scheme is being removed.
These measures are in addition to previous changes introduced earlier this year which allow participants on CE and RSS who are aged over 60 to remain on schemes until retirement.
The purpose of CE and Tús is to provide long term unemployed participants with work experience in their local communities to help them find employment. There are currently over 19,000 participants on CE, almost 5,000 participants on Tús and just under 3,000 participants on the Rural Social Scheme. Government investment in the three schemes will amount to over €500million in 2022. The Rural Social Scheme provides a supplementary income for low-income farmers and fishermen/women who are unable to earn an adequate living.
The application process for the ex-gratia payment for CÉ Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors has also been opened. On reaching retirement age, eligible CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors will receive a once off payment in respect of time employed by CE schemes. This ex-gratia payment will benefit around 2,500 people at a total cost of over €24 million.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “The role and the value of these schemes cannot be underestimated. These schemes support a range of vital local services here in Fingal in areas such as childcare, meals on wheels, the maintenance and upkeep of local amenities and other vital work in our communities.
“These significant and positive reforms will extend the eligibility criteria for these schemes and will also provide additional flexibility to local supervisors when it comes to the recruitment and retention of participants, something which is needed in this time of record employment,” he concluded.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and local Fingal TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the new pilot grant scheme to help boost the night time economy in Ireland will be of benefit to pubs, nightclubs and cafés in Fingal.
The new Night-Time Economy Support Scheme (NTESS) provides funding of €2.6 million to pubs, nightclubs, cafés and other suitable licenced/unlicensed premises to support the provision of entertainment during off-peak times. The aim is to promote an increase in footfall in cities, towns and villages as well as providing artists with paying gigs and customers with a more alternative, diverse and inclusive night-time offering.
Commenting he said, “This scheme aims to attract people in to our towns and cities later in the evening and night time by offering a range of cultural activities, in a variety of venues. A maximum grant of €10,000 per application will be available for events such as music, comedy, dance, literature, poetry, theatrical productions, plays, craft and art exhibitions.
“I and my Department are working alongside Minister Catherine Martin and the Department of Tourism to implement the recommendations of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce and to support and develop a thriving environment at night in our cities and rural towns. We are examining planning and development-related actions that will ultimately help our towns and cities become safer, vibrant and more attractive at night, something which we all want to see,” he concluded.