Wednesday, 30 March 1966
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. McAuliffe, Mrs. Desmond: and Mr. M.P. Murphy asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware of the grave disappointment existing among applicants in County Cork for housing loans under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts who have had to be refused loans because no finance is available to the local authority; and when he expects to be in a position to provide finance for these loans.
Mr. P. Brennan: I understand that, in recent months, Cork County Council have approved house purchase loans on a provisional basis only, pending a decision in regard to their capital provision for that purpose in the coming financial year. They were notified last week of their allocation for payments in respect of such loans, and they have been given general guidance as to the equivalent provision for 1967-68. The council should now be in a position to plan the forward allocation of individual house purchase loans in the light of the capital provision notified to them.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the allocation to the Cork Council falls far short of their requirements and barely covers their existing commitments? Is he further aware that the Department instructed the county council that loans should not be made available, save in exceptional cases, for houses which were previously occupied and that this is a departure from the terms of the Small Dwellings Act?  Will the Parliamentary Secretary say when a further allocation of money, if any, will be made for the coming year, because people who are building houses want something definite and not the indefinite type of statements we are getting from Departments regarding such matters?
Mr. P. Brennan: That is really a separate question because this question relates to a proposal submitted by the Cork County Council to the Department. However, the allocation will be based on the amount of capital available to the Minister for Local Government for this purpose, and he has——
Mr. M.P. Murphy: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the insertion of this new clause regarding the provision of loans where houses were previously occupied will cause hardship to many applicants who are buying houses which were previously occupied and who now, if these terms are carried out, will have to be refused by the council? Surely this will cause great hardship and I would expect a statement from the Parliamentary Secretary on that position.
Mr. P. Brennan: The point is that we all know we have more proposals before us than we have money. The Minister has taken the unprecedented  step of letting local authorities know where they stand and now you are not satisfied with that when you have got it.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: I did not get an answer to my last question. I want to know if the council must refuse applications for loans in respect of houses previously occupied? I know of a number of people who would be affected.
Mr. P. Brennan: I was trying to reply to that point when I was rudely interrupted. The point I want to make is that the emphasis should be on the provision of new houses. Does the Deputy not agree with that?
Mr. Lyons: asked the Minister for Local Government what is the present position regarding the loan of  £90,000 for supplementary housing grants applied for by Mayo County Council last November; and in the event of sanction having been given when the first instalment will be made available.
The council's application for a loan of £90,000 has been under consideration in conjunction with the general question of the provision to be made for housing capital purposes in the coming financial year. The council were notified last week of a capital allocation of £65,000 in respect of supplementary housing grants in 1966-67, and arrangements are being made for the issue of sanction to a loan on this basis. I am not in a position to say when the first instalment of the loan will be available but I see no reason to anticipate any undue delay when the loan has been sanctioned.
Mr. Dillon: Would the Parliamentary Secretary be good enough to indicate does this mean that where a local authority, such as Mayo County Council, have already committed themselves for a sum as great as or greater than the sum allocated to them for the coming year the local authority can make no allocation now for old houses, or new houses, or any other kind of houses over and above that for which they are already committed?
Mr. O'Hara: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that grants have been due for the past six or nine months to people who built houses in Mayo? These people are waiting for the money and the contractors and the builders' suppliers are waiting to be paid. Can the Parliamentary Secretary not tell the House what he is going to do about it?
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Local Government if, further to a reply of 16th February on the subject of Kerry SDA Loans, he is now in a position to give a decision to Kerry County Council regarding his approval of a loan of £50,000 from the Local Loans Fund for the making of house-purchase loans by the council.
Mr. Kenny: asked the Minister for Local Government if he has received an application from Mayo County Council for a loan of £3,000 to  build four sample houses; and if he will state (i) the date of the application, (ii) if the application is in order, and (iii) if he proposes to sanction the loan, and, if so, when.
Mr. P. Brennan: An application was received on 2nd December, 1965, from Mayo County Council for sanction to the raising of a loan of £3,000 for the erection of four houses with the aid of grants under section 6 of the Housing (Loans and Grants) Act, 1962 in respect of the rehousing of elderly persons.
This application has been the subject of discussions and correspondence and the council have been advised that it might be more advantageous for them to provide this type of housing under the new provisions in the Housing Bill, 1965, whereby they would secure a higher rate of subsidy. Alternatively it was suggested that the houses might be provided by an approved charitable or philanthropic body.
Mr. Kenny: asked the Minister for Local Government if he has received an application for a loan of  £13,000 from Westport Urban Council for the purchase of building sites; and if he will state the date of such application; if he proposes to sanction the loan; and, if so, when.
Mr. P. Brennan: Westport Urban District Council submitted a proposal on 8th September, 1965, for the raising of a loan of £13,000 from the Local Loans Fund for the purchase of land for housing and other purposes. The proposal is under consideration in conjunction with the over-all position relating to availability of capital for such purposes in the coming financial year and a decision will be given as soon as possible.
Mr. Clinton: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state in respect of each housing authority the separate amounts of money notified for each housing purpose, and if this is not available the total provision for housing in each area for the financial year 1966-67.
|Administrative County||Housing Authority||Allocation for local authority housing schemes||Allocation for house-purchase loans||Allocation for supplementary grants|
|Cork||County Council (N)||70,000|
|County Council (S)||78,000||590,000||130,000|
|County Council (W)||20,000|
|Buncrana and Letterkenny U.D.Cs.||3,000||nil||nil|
|Dún Laoghaire B.C.||63,000||nil||nil|
|An Uaimh U.D.C.||5,000||3,000||nil|
|Ceanannus Mór U.D.C.||nil||nil||400|
|New Ross U.D.C.||3,000||nil||nil|
|Cork||County Boro Council||310,000||550,000||60,000|
|Dublin||County Boro Council||6,365,000||1,000,000||150,000|
|Limerick||County Boro Council||400,000||300,000||70,000|
|Waterford||County Boro Council||368,000||75,000||18,000|
|Other housing authorities||nil||nil||nil|
NOTE: Housing authorities were informed in the letter notifying the housing capital allocations that the allocation for local authority housing was decided on the basis of detailed consultations with the authorities generally regarding commitments for work in progress and in relation to tenders already before the Department. Where no allocation was made on this basis, the authorities were notified to the effect that the position will be reviewed in due course in the light of such proposals as may be submitted later for the acceptance of tenders for new works.
Mr. Clinton: asked the Minister for Local Government whether the amounts of money notified to each local authority for housing purposes represent an increase or a decrease in the current budgetary provisions.
Mr. P. Brennan: As regards the amount of the capital allocations notified to each housing authority, I would refer the Deputy to my written reply to his question today on the subject. The total amount of these allocations was slightly less than the total budgetary provision for the appropriate housing services, because it was necessary to keep a small reserve for allocation later to areas where no works are now in progress or at tender stage.
Mr. Clinton: Surely the Parliamentary Secretary knows that this answer is complete and absolute bluff? Does he not know that the amount notified to Dublin County Council is only sufficient for applications sanctioned before last December and that it represents sufficient for less than half the applications there at present? Is he further aware that of all the private houses built in Ireland last year 42 per cent were built in Dublin county? Does this mean that private house building must just sbottom for the next 12 months?
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: In his reply  the Parliamentary Secretary said the amount of these allocations was “slightly less than the total budgetary provision”. Could he give us the amount by which they are slightly less?
Mr. Clinton: Would the Parliamentary Secretary indicate to these 400 applicants in County Dublin who cannot get housing loans whether or not there is any hope for them? If there is not, they should be told.
Mr. Dillon: I know the Parliamentary Secretary's difficulty—that he might not have all the material the Minister would have—but is the Parliamentary Secretary briefed to discuss this? If a local authority have already entered into commitments for SDA loans or other housing purposes which are in excess of the total amount now provided for the year 1966-67, are they to understand that during the financial year 1966-67 they will not be in a position to make any provision for any new houses over and above those for which they are already committed? If that is so, we ought to know it and the industry ought to know it. Otherwise, you will have a very acute crisis.
Mr. Harte: The Parliamentary Secretary might like to know that the  same applies in Donegal. In view of this, I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary what the Minister for Local Government proposes to do to take Donegal County Council and the other people concerned out of their dilemma. Will he tell the truth and provide the money?
Mr. Casey: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of a letter written by the Minister to Cork Corporation last week which indicates quite clearly that the amount of money sought by the corporation for capital development in respect of their housing projects has been reduced by two-thirds and that they will get less than one-third of the money required to carry on their normal building operations without expanding at all? The Cork City Manager has the unfortunate task of sitting down and writing to these applicants: “You are out. Apply again next year or the year after, but the corporation cannot assist you to build a house this year.”
Mr. P. Brennan: He said on a number of occasions there were more proposals coming in than there would be moneys for, but at the same time, he has taken the unprecedented step of letting each local authority know the amount they will get and the sum total is that there is more money than ever before.
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