The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed and I announced on Monday that Ireland has passed a significant milestone in its negotiations with the EU on a revised Nitrates Action Programme (NAP).
The new NAP emphasises the importance of knowledge transfer to ensure that farmers fully understand how best to protect the natural waters on or close to their lands. This is consistent with the approach to be taken in Ireland’s 2nd River Basin Management Plan (covering the period to 2021) which will be published in Spring 2018 and will focus on a range of key actions including the achievement of long-term behavioural change when it comes to protecting our water environment.
“the decision is recognition by fellow EU Member States that Ireland is maintaining a balanced commitment to ongoing improvements in water quality while continuing to develop its agricultural sector. This new Programme places a particular emphasis on disrupting pollution pathways in order to prevent agricultural run-off affecting the water environment”.
Find out more here.
On Wednesday the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed T.D. and I launched an innovative collaboration between Government and industry to promote and encourage sustainable farming while meeting stringent water quality requirements.
The ‘Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme’ is a new approach to achieving improvement in water quality involving the establishment and joint funding of a resource of 30 Agricultural Sustainability Advisors.
“We are delighted to be launching the Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme today. This initiative is another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to delivering on the environmental challenges we face. It will be a further step towards putting yet more substance behind our green credentials”.
To read the full statement, go here.
Are you registered to vote?
The draft register of electors is available to view for the next few weeks. Check to make sure that you are on it and your details are correct, if not, you can rectify this with your local authority by 25th November.
If you are a Dublin Bay South constituent; send the form to: Free Post, Franchise Section, Dublin City Council, Block 4, Floor 4, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.
Yesterday we saw the worst storm to hit the country in over 50 years. Three people sadly lost their lives. The ESB and Irish Water are working hard to restore water and power to those affected.
The majority of the repair and clean up work on the ground is being done by local authorities, you can report emergencies and fallen debris etc. to them. If you are in Dublin Bay South, Dublin City Council’s details are here. To find details for other local authorities, go here.
Never touch damaged power lines or poles – report them to the ESB. Go here for more info or to report a power outage or dangerous situation.
Details of public transport services are here.
In this Budget the Government prioritised Housing & Homelessness – almost €2bn will be dedicated next year to helping people who need homes.
Just as importantly, Budget 2018 removes the remaining significant obstacles to building more homes, more quickly, and at more affordable prices.
Next year we will increase our supports for homelessness to €118m, we will continue with our hub programme, and we will provide enough resources to help 3000 people out of homelessness in to secure, sustainable homes.
Go here to continue reading.
On Friday I convened a Housing Summit at my Department. I asked the CEOs of all 31 local authorities to attend, along with the heads of their Housing Sections, to explore additional measures to help and to house families and individuals living in emergency accommodation and accessing emergency State supports. The Taoiseach also attended the meeting to discuss solutions.
At the Summit I announced the first phase of the Rebuilding Ireland Review and actions to be taken. These actions include c. 5,000 new social housing homes to be delivered in 2018, 200 additional emergency beds, an extra €10M in funding for family hubs and the establishment of an Inter-Agency Group on Homelessness.
To read my full statement, go here.
Further measures will be announced as they are finalised and agreed.
Recently I announced that refunds of domestic water charges are due to commence in the autumn. Almost all customers will be refunded the full amount they paid before the end of the year, subject to legislation being passed in the Dáil. Some 990,000 customers of Irish Water are due to receive payments under this process.
Domestic water services account holders with Irish Water will be automatically refunded by the utility, by way of a cheque. There is no application process involved. Customers only need to contact Irish Water if their details require updating. If you have moved or if your personal details have changed, call 1850 448 448 to speak to Irish Water.
To read my full statement, go here.
For more details on the process, go here.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is developing a new framework to improve and develop our Public Services. They have opened a public consultation, the first ever in this area, in order to hear your views on their general direction and the 20 actions proposed to implement across the Public Service by 2020.
Reforming the Public Service was a central part of the Government’s response to the economic challenges our country faced in recent years. This is a great chance to have your say on how you think services can be improved or made more efficient.
They want to know if you:
– agree with the direction that’s been set out;
– have other ideas about what should be done; and
– have any ideas about how they can be done better.
To find out more or to make a submission, go here.
Minister Paschal Donohoe and I recently updated Cabinet on the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the development of a sustainable long-term capital plan for investment.
We have an opportunity and responsibility to think and plan in terms of decades. In the past, too much governing has focussed on short term results. I am delighted to be able to set about real, lasting solutions that will allow the country to prosper and grow in a manageable and multi-regional way.
The NPF, which I am progressing, will be a long-term strategy to underpin a new ten year Capital Plan, which Minister Donohoe is leading. Both the NPF and Capital Plan will be prepared in tandem to ensure that public investment is co-ordinated and that infrastructure is provided where and when it is required.
Key to the NPF is that it will have a strategic, national focus. In planning for the future it is essential that Dublin can continue to be successful, while, at the same time allowing other places to experience significant growth and success too.
To keep reading about the update, go here.
To find out more about the NPF, go here.
It is an honour to be appointed Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government by our new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. The Taoiseach has said that this will be a Cabinet of purpose and a Government that delivers.
At 8am this morning I met with the Secretary General to begin work on those very important challenges for which I am now responsible. In addition to raising homelessness I raised fire safety standards following the tragedy at Grenfell.
Simon Coveney has done a huge amount of work and I am determined to build on his efforts as well as bring new ideas and a renewed energy to the many tasks at hand.
My thanks for everyone’s support and good wishes. Now, to work.
To see some more pictures, go here.