Sports Capital & Equipment Programme
A new round of the Sports Capital and Equipment Programme is opening for applications on 11th December.
This year there is €40m available to Clubs and Organisations around the country.
The scheme is open to any not-for-profit sports club, community group or local authority. Schools may also apply jointly with a sports club.
If you are interested in applying, the first step is to register on the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media online application system - OSCAR. This can be accessed on www.gov.ie/sportscapital.
The online system will begin accepting applications from the 11th December until the 12th February 2021.
Ministers O’Brien and McConalogue launch public consultation on Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien T.D. and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., have today announced the opening of public consultation in relation to the fourth review of Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme.
Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) gives effect to the requirements of the Nitrates Directive in Ireland. The European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 605 of 2017) commonly referred to as the Nitrates regulations, contain specific measures to protect surface waters and groundwater from nutrient pollution arising from agricultural sources. The regulations expire at the end of 2021 and a new Nitrates Action programme must be published at the beginning of 2022.
In opening this public consultation Minister O’Brien said, “Protecting and maintaining water quality is a national priority and Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme plays an important role in helping us to achieve this objective. This review of the Programme also gives us an opportunity to ensure it is realising this objective in parallel with biodiversity and climate action objectives as effectively as possible.”
Minister McConalogue added, “This review is a key step in the preparation of regulations that will underpin Ireland’s fifth Nitrates Action Programme which will remain in place until 2025. I look forward to hearing from a wide range of stakeholders during this important consultation process, which will help us to focus on developing a more sustainable agricultural sector,” he concluded.
The consultation paper can be downloaded here. The closing date for receipt of responses is 15 January 2021.
Minister O’Brien welcomes extension of PUP
Local Minister Darragh O’Brien TD, has welcomed the extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
The scheme was due to close to new entrants on December 31st but Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys brought a memo to cabinet to extend the scheme to March 31st 2021.
Minister O’Brien said, “I was very glad to support this memo today as I believe we need to keep supporting businesses and their employees in these very uncertain times.
“This decision also means that any employees who return to work in the coming weeks, will be eligible to access the payment again in the future, should they need to. That’s something I hope won’t happen as I do want to see as full a return to work as possible, but we have to have protections in place just in case and to give people peace of mind.
“Those in the aviation, retail and hospitality sectors have been worst hit by the pandemic and I acknowledge that the Level 5 restrictions have been very difficult for them.
“Government have taken the hard decisions in the best interest of public health and we know that the supports we have provided are making a difference. To date, €4.3bn has been paid out in the PUP scheme,” he concluded.
Statement from Minister O’Brien on co-living
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has received a report on co-living from officials in his Department which has been published and is available here.
Upon consideration of the report and associated material Minister O’Brien has decided to amend the 2018 Planning Guidelines to seek to restrict all future commercial co-living development in Ireland.
This will require an updated guidance document that includes a Specific Planning Policy Requirement (SPPR) and guidance in respect of local authority level City or County Development Plan processes. This document is currently being finalised.
Commenting Minister O’Brien has said, “I believe this is the correct decision and it is one I have come to following careful consideration.
“I believe the number of applications and permissions to date are comparatively high in the international context. Given the unprecedented nature of these developments I have concerns that the scale of the developments is moving away from the niche quantity of units the concept originally aimed for to a significantly larger role in the housing system.
“I also believe the location of a substantial number of the potential co-living sites is not in keeping with the high density urban centres originally envisaged and that inappropriate locations away from the core city centre have undermined the concept.
“There is also a serious risk that co-living permissions will add to upward pressure on land prices. By allowing permissions to extract higher units of beds in a single development and combined with the higher than anticipated number of applications this has the potential to have negative repercussions for other development types such as affordable purchase or cost rental that the Programme for Government is committed to promoting.
Minister O’Brien acknowledged that any amendments to the planning guidelines could not be applied retrospectively but said “given the new nature of co-living developments it is appropriate that we draw lessons from the existing permissions once they are built out in keeping with the review originally attached the idea in 2018. This should be complemented by the Department’s on-going work on Housings Demand and Needs assessment that will ascertain tenure type requirements on a granular basis in each Local Authority. This should be used to inform any future decisions on these types of developments.”
He reiterated the Government’s commitment to ‘Housing for All’ saying, “Our focus is on delivering social homes, 12,750 next year with a shift towards direct build. We will roll out a new affordable purchases scheme to support home ownership and a cost rental model as well as utilising a fully operational Land Development Agency. These are the core policy goals of the government that I am directing this department towards achieving,” he concluded.
Local Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD has launched the Lusk Tidy Towns Committee Christmas Card and Calendar.
Minister O’Brien said he was delighted to be asked to launch the card by the secretary of the Committee, Pat Kelly.
Commenting he said, “It was my pleasure to join Lusk Tidy Towns committee members at Lusk Round Tower for a socially distanced Christmas card launch.
“The committee have been producing these wonderful cards and calendars for almost three decades. They all feature a scene from Lusk, and have a global reach, being sent all across the globe for Christmas.
“Cards are available in local shops and are priced at €1 each so you’re not only helping the Tidy Towns Committee but you’re also helping to shop local,” concluded Minister O’Brien.
€1.6million has been secured by Ministers Darragh O’Brien TD and Malcolm Noonan TD for the zoo sector through the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
The funding was secured by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan on Friday night. It followed a week of extraordinary public support for the sector, spearheaded by a ‘Save Dublin Zoo’ campaign.
Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in Cork are to share €1.1million of the allocation, which will help support them through some of their current difficulties.
Both Ministers O’Brien and Noonan have welcomed the funding, which will support the operations of 71 zoos and aquaria. Many in the sector have reported financial difficulties arising from being unable to open due to restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Commenting Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan said, “Earlier in the week I was glad to confirm that the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage was working on options which would offer short term financial support to help the zoo sector.
“The State does not ordinarily provide funding to the zoo sector but this has been an incredibly challenging year due to the pandemic, and our support recognises the vital role played by our zoos as networks for global conservation of biodiversity, as centres of learning and places where lifelong memories of families and children are made.
“The outpouring of public support sparked by the Dublin Zoo appeal is testament to the great love so many people have for our zoos. I am mindful too of the staff, whose primary concern has always been the animals in their care. I do hope that Government can continue to support our zoos and Aquariums until they can open their doors again and thrive,” he concluded.
Minister O’Brien added, “I joined the thousands of people all over Ireland in ‘adopting’ and animal from Dublin Zoo this week. I think the campaign, which had a global reach and was featured in the New York Times, shows just how loved our zoos are and how they are an important place for making memories. I am delighted that our Department was in a position to help.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on so many aspects of our society but it is important that we support this sector to ensure zoos do not face a welfare crisis this winter due to lack of access to funding. This will also safeguard employment and stimulate local economies in recovering by ensuring the continued operation of viable zoo establishments throughout the country,” he concluded.