Buttimer encourages Councils to apply for funding to renovate vacant houses

12 March 2014

  • €15 million in funding being made available to renovate local authority houses.

I am delighted by the announcement of Minister O’Sullivan this week and am greatly encouraged, to see that renewed importance is being applied to social housing with an aim to developing a sustained level of living standards for all people.  Given the scale of vacant local authority homes, particularly in the city, it is vital that Cork City Council and Cork County Council apply for this funding before the deadline of March 28 so that Cork can access its fair share of the money available.

Addressing the social housing problem has always been a main priority of this Government, and this is now being demonstrated. Today’s announcement of €15 million in funding will bring over 500 vacant properties into use.

This is part of a €68 million fund, which will also see the approximately 500 new homes built over the next two years, also giving a well needed boost to the construction sector within the country and getting people back to work. We need now for the local authorities to make sure they avail of this funding in order to ensure this much needed assistance is given to the most vulnerable in our society and are given the help they need.

Both Cork local authorities should submit detailed proposals that highlight the full extent of vacant properties.  This funding is to benefit the many people on the housing list and will ensure that some of the housing stock is not left unnecessarily vacant.  The Minister hopes to allocate these monies as soon as possible and timely applications by local authorities will assist in this process.

Posted under Carrigaline, Cork, Cork City, Douglas, Environment, National Work

Developing a food alleviation plan for Cork

February 7, 2014

This week’s flooding in Cork again devastated many businesses and homes in the centre of our city.  Regrettably the reaction to the 2009 floods in Cork did not prioritise a long term plan to protect our city.  While criticism of the length of time it is taking to implement a flood defence scheme is legitimate it is important to understand that the flood situation in Cork is not straightforward.  Progressing a scheme for the city involves complex and detailed preparations to ensure that the best possible long term solution is found.  However, having spoken to Minister Brian Hayes this week, I am glad that, finally, progress is being made.

On Thursday February 6 Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Brian Hayes visited the city meeting with the Lord Mayor, Councillors, City Manager and representatives of local businesses.  The Minister said that up to €100 million will be made available to carry out flood protection work for Cork.  He also stated that a possible starting date for the three-year project will be in 2015.  In the interim a forum between the OPW, City Council and local businesses is being set up to explore interim measures that can help alleviate the problem.

Last April the OPW appointed Arup Engineers to develop proposals based on the 2006 Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Study for the River Lee Catchment.  The main objectives of this work include:-

  1. A flood forecasting system to facilitate optimum decision-making on dam discharges.
  2. A viable, cost-effective and sustainable Scheme, to permit provide protection along the Lower Lee and through Cork City against residual fluvial flooding and flooding from high tides and surge levels.

On July 17, 2013 Arup held a Public Information Day to outline the study and the process involved in developing the plan. Next it is intended to bring the emerging preferred scheme before the public; 29th July 2014 has been set as the date for this Public Information Day.  Following this the scheme will be further refined, an Environmental Impact Assessment will be completed and a formal Public Exhibition will commence towards the end of the year.

It is expected that this scheme will be the largest flood relief scheme ever undertaken by the OPW, costing between €50 and €100 million.  Given the substantial investment required work must only commence we are absolutely sure that we have the right solution for the City.

Apart from the proposed scheme for the central city area, studies are also being advanced for, Douglas/Togher. A Flood Relief Scheme for Douglas and Togher is currently being advanced by Cork County Council with funding to be provided by Office of Public Works (OPW).  It is understood that Cork County Council has signed a contract for consultants in the last two weeks to take the development of a Flood Relief Scheme for Douglas and Togher.  It is hoped that proposals to deal with the problems in these areas will be brought forward for public consultation before the end of 2014.  The OPW has made provision for the costs of these schemes in its multi-annual budgets; however the funding will be subject to review depending on actual budget allocations.

Posted under Blog, Cork City, Douglas, Environment, Finance, Infastructure, South Central, South East, South West

Parliamentary Question: Deposit Protection Scheme

Question to the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. Phil Hogan, TD)

To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the progress being made regarding a tenant deposit protection scheme; if various models of such a scheme are being considered; if an insurance-based model rather than a deposit retention model has been considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter- Jerry Buttimer.

For WRITTEN response on Tuesday, 21st January, 2014

REPLY

The Programme for Government 2011 contains a commitment to establish a tenancy deposit protection scheme. On foot of this commitment I asked the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to commission research on such a scheme and to report back to me with recommendations in that regard. The subsequent report assessed a number of different options for delivery of a deposit protection scheme ranging from one where all elements are delivered by the PRTB to one where all elements are outsourced to a private operator. Each option was considered in terms of both insurance and custodial type schemes. I have considered all of the options presented in the report in order to determine how to offer the greatest protection to tenants at least cost to the Exchequer. I intend to bring proposals to Government shortly on the establishment of a tenancy deposit scheme with a view to introducing provisions for such a scheme in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment)(No. 2) Bill 2012 at Committee stage. The Bill is currently in the Seanad having completed Second stage in September 2013.

Posted under Environment, National Work, Parliamentary Questions