Dáil Éireann - Volume 290 - 13 May, 1976

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - House Conversion Problem.

19. Mr. Walsh asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware of the serious problem that exists in County Dublin, particularly in the Rathfarnham area, where large houses [1316] are being deliberately allowed to fall into disrepair prior to planning application for their conversion into or rebuilding as flats; and if he will indicate the steps he intends to take to prevent this process.

Mr. Tully: I am not so aware. Any problem of the nature described by the Deputy would, however, be for the local authority who have powers under the Housing Act, 1966, to secure the repair of houses which have become unfit for human habitation. They also have the power under the Housing Act, 1969, to require the owner or any person having an interest in a house which has been deliberately allowed to become uninhabitable to make it habitable within a specified period regardless of its condition or the cost of repair.

Mr. Walsh: I appreciate that it is difficult for the Minister or anybody else to be fully aware of problems such as these. I should like to remind the Minister that there are a number of appeals in his Department at present for this area which apply very much to this position, where houses have been deliberately let run into disrepair for the purpose of planning applications being submitted for flat development in a residential area. I would ask the Minister to take that point into account. At present there are one or two planning appeals with him. I would also remind the Minister that only recently he made a very controversial decision to grant planning permission for flat development in this area but that this decision was revoked at the meeting of Dublin County Council last Monday.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is a different matter.

Mr. Tully: If the Deputy wishes a recent decision to be revoked, surely the obvious thing to do, if he feels so strongly, is (a) to make recommendation to me about the ones he feels are before me now and which require special attention and (b) if he is not satisfied, to ask to have them revoked. Again, it is a question of taking advice. There are experts in the [1317] Department who advise me on those matters. If I take the advice and carry it out then the Deputy has, in his own hands, the right to deal with it in a certain way.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Question No. 20.

Mr. Walsh: I wish to inform the Minister that I have already informed his Department in relation to the present appeal.

Mr. Tully: The Deputy can be assured it will be taken full cognisance of when the appeal is being decided, as Deputy Walsh is aware it always is.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Question No. 20.

Mr. Walsh: I wonder what will the Minister say when the decision that was revoked last Monday goes back? I wonder will he listen to my advice then?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is a hypothetical question.

Mr. Tully: I might, you know. I listened to it once or twice; I do not know whether I was right in doing so.

Mr. Walsh: It was right anyway.