Blog

Referendum Polling Day

Posted March 29th, 2018

Yesterday I signed the order for polling day on the referendum on repealing the 8th amendment to the constitution and allowing the Oireachtas to legislate in this area – polling will take place on Friday the 25th of May.

Polling will take place between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm. The total electorate currently stands at some 3.2 million. Whatever your views are on the proposals in the referendum, I would encourage voters to go to their polling station during this 15 hour period on 25 May and have your say in the outcome of the referendum.

To vote in the referendum you must be an Irish citizen who meets the qualifying conditions, including a requirement to be 18 years or over on polling day and ordinarily resident at the address at which you want to register.  If you are on the register and have moved address recently, you may apply to get on the supplement at your new address.

To check if you registered to vote, go here.

For more information, go here.

I had the honour of representing Ireland in Korea and Japan to mark St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

These are two hugely important markets for Ireland – trade with them is increasing all the time. It is essential that we diversify our markets after Brexit and both offer great opportunities in that regard. We also have active Irish communities there and it is important to maintain these links.

It was very useful to engage with experts on housing policy in some of the most densely populated areas on earth – I met with my counterpart in Japan and visited a regeneration project in Tokyo.

I also had the chance to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Hiroshima on behalf of the people of Ireland.

To see some pictures from the mission go here.

Referendum Commission

Posted March 12th, 2018

On Friday I announced that an order has been made under the Referendum Act 1998 establishing an independent statutory Referendum Commission for the purpose of the forthcoming referendum on the Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018.

In accordance with the 1998 Act, the Chief Justice has nominated the Hon. Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy to act as Chairperson to the Commission.

The principal function of the Commission is to prepare, publish and distribute to the electorate statements containing a general explanation of the subject matter of the referendum proposal, to promote awareness of the referendum and to encourage the electorate to vote.

To continue reading, go here.

Irish Water Supply Issues

Posted March 7th, 2018

Update – Thursday Afternoon, 8th March

Further restrictions will be in place tonight. For information on your area, go here.

***

Update – Thursday morning, 8th March 

The water supply has been restored to all areas of the Greater Dublin Area from 6am this morning. Irish Water are aware of issues in the Dublin 6 region around Rathmines, Rathgar and Milltown as a result of network leaks. There are 22 specialist leak detection crews out across the Greater Dublin Area and 26 repair crews prioritising the most significant bursts and leaks first.

Go here to find out what to do if you are still having problems with your water supply outside of the restrictions, to find out about how to help conserve water or to read the full update.

***

7th March 2018

Due to the aftermath of Storm Emma, which has had a significant impact on the water network, pressure management will apply from 8pm tonight (Wed, 8th March) to 6am tomorrow in the Greater Dublin Area.

Rathgar/Rathmines/Milltown had no restrictions last night however the area has very high leakage which is causing recovery to be slow. Teams are on the ground looking for leaks.The requirement for weekend restrictions is being kept under review.

For more information on your area, go here.

For guidance on periods of water outages, go here.

Project Ireland 2040

Posted February 21st, 2018

Project Ireland 2040 is the overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of our country. It includes a detailed capital investment plan for the period 2018 to 2027, the National Development Plan 2018-2027, and the 20-year National Planning Framework (NPF) 2040. I am very proud of the work done by my Department to produce the NPF.

By 2040 an additional one million people will live in Ireland, and an additional two-thirds of a million people will work here, and an additional half a million homes will be needed to accommodate this growth.

What we hope to achieve with Project Ireland 2040 is a shared vision and ambition for what our country could and should look like by 2040. We’ve been through a period of profound change in our recent history, with new challenges to come. We now have to plan for our future if we are to successfully navigate the challenges of population growth, demographic change and evolution in work and life practices that are on the way.

Continuing our growth and development patterns according to the status quo and without a coordinated plan is no longer an option. By aligning our spatial planning with our investment decisions – by aligning the National Planning Framework with the ten-year National Development Plan – we will for the first time have a meaningful planning framework that people can have confidence will deliver for their communities.

To find out more about Project Ireland 2040, go here.

Private Rental Standards – Report Issues

Posted February 15th, 2018

A new section has been established within Dublin City Council’s Housing Department, tasked with the inspection of private rented dwellings.

These issues may include, but are not limited to, gross overcrowding, fire safety, ventilation issues and excessive waste.

If you see any issues of concern, please report them:

Email:   privaterented@dublincity.ie

Call:      01 222 6500

 

On Monday we discussed the forthcoming 10 Year Capital Plan and National Planning Framework (NPF) with our Cabinet colleagues.

The new Capital Plan will set out a 10 year vision for the development of public capital infrastructure, grounded in the strategic investment priorities identified by each Minister.

The NPF and 10 year Capital Plan will be published, together, in the coming weeks, which will be first time that an Irish Government has prepared joined-up,  evidence based planning and investment strategies to transform our country into the place we want it to be over the next 20+ years.

To continue reading my statement, go here.

***

31 July 2017

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.

 

Yesterday I appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government. A copy of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan Status Report 2017 was presented to the members of the Committee. A copy of the report will be available at www.rebuildingireland.ie

Some of the main achievements under Rebuilding Ireland in 2017:

  • – Almost 26,000 households had their housing need met.
  • – 4,000 individuals exited homelessness into homes.
  • – 200 additional permanent beds were provided for rough sleepers.
  • – 18 family hubs are now operational providing accommodation for approximately 430 families.
  • – Over 7,000 new homes were brought into the active social housing stock through build, acquisitions, voids and leasing programmes. This is a 40% increase (almost 2,000 new homes) on what was planned for the year, and 24% of an increase over what was achieved in 2016.
  • – 100 new households had their social housing need met each working day of the week.
  • – 33% increase Construction Commencement Notices (17,500+).
  • – Extra €100 Million allocated for homelessness and housing, bringing total budget to €1.4 Billion.
  • – Held first Housing Summit with key outcomes and deliverables issued afterwards.

 

The five pillars of the plan are:

  • – Pillar 1 – Address Homelessness
  • – Pillar 2 – Accelerate Social Housing
  • – Pillar 3 – Build More Homes
  • – Pillar 4 – Improve the Rental Sector
  • – Pillar 5 – Utilise existing housing

 

To see key actions undertaken for each of the pillars and find out more, go here.

To see a video of the committee’s proceedings, go here.

 

Marine Spatial Plan for Ireland

Posted December 13th, 2017

Minister Damien English and I published a roadmap for the development of Ireland’s first marine spatial plan (MSP). Marine Spatial Planning is a way of looking at how we use the marine area and planning how best to use it into the future. The MSP will try to balance the different demands for using the sea including the need to protect the marine environment.

It’s about planning when and where human activities take place at sea.  It’s about ensuring these activities are as efficient and sustainable as possible. Maritime spatial planning involves stakeholders in a transparent way in the planning of maritime activities. The MSP for Ireland, which will be developed over the next 3 years, will provide a coherent framework in which specific sectoral policies and objectives can be realised. It is intended to become a decision making tool for regulatory authorities and policy makers into the future in a number of ways.

“Ireland is a maritime nation and we derive so much of our cultural, social and economic identity from our relationship with the seas that surround us. We are fortunate to have one of the largest and richest marine resources of all EU Member States. We aim to double the value of our ocean wealth to 2.4% of GDP by 2030 and increase the turnover from our ocean economy to exceed €6.4bn by 2020.”

For more information, go here.

Protecting Water Quality

Posted December 6th, 2017

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.

  • Join the team!