Dáil Éireann - Volume 303 - 15 February, 1978

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Local Authority Letting Priorities.

21. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for the Environment if he is satisfied [1342] with the workings of the systems of letting priorities currently adopted by Dublin County Council and Dublin Corporation.

Mr. Barrett: The operation of the approved schemes of letting priorities is a matter entirely for the housing authorities themselves, and is not subject to any detailed monitoring by my Department. I am not in a position, therefore, to pass any judgement on the detailed working of the schemes which appear generally to have given reasonable satisfaction.

Mr. Quinn: Is it not true that the letting priority schemes have first to be checked and approved by the Department of the Environment before they can be implemented by any local authority? If this is the case, as it was when I was a member of the housing committee of Dublin Corporation, surely the responsibility does not end there. Surely the Minister should have some regard to monitoring how these schemes are operated.

Mr. Barrett: The Minister's approval is required for each scheme of letting priorities or for an amendment of a scheme and that requirement is intended to secure uniformity in compliance with general objectives while leaving room for local differences.

Mr. Quinn: If the Minister has the right to approve in the first instance and the right to approve amendments, how can he approve either if he does not monitor the operation of the scheme in the first place?

Mr. Barrett: Each housing authority may review its scheme of letting priorities at any time and propose amendments. At present there is no proposal before me either from Dublin County Council or from Dublin Corporation with regard to these schemes.

Mr. Quinn: Do I take it that there is nobody in the Department of the Environment looking at how the new scheme of letting priorities is working and that if any proposal for a change came before the Minister nobody in the [1343] Department would have any information on how it would function?

Mr. Barrett: That is not the position in my Department.

Mr. Quinn: Could I appeal to the Ceann Comhairle to ask the Minister to make his replies a little more clear so that we can understand them in the first instance?

An Ceann Comhairle: That is not the Chair's function.

Mr. Keating: Will the Minister accept that the information he gave in reply to the original question was seriously erroneous and that the Department of the Environment reserve the right to inspect the scheme and make amendments to it, as they certainly did in the recent case in Dublin Corporation? Therefore the Minister's information is very inaccurate and should not have been put before us in that form.

Mr. Barrett: I was not aware that my information was inaccurate.

Mr. Quinn: Perhaps the Minister should talk with Deputy Briscoe who would be better able to inform him of the situation than the people who wrote the brief.

Mr. Briscoe: I would know more about it than the people opposite.

An Ceann Comhairle: The remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.