Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 13 October, 1998

Written Answers. - Housing Grants.

321. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he will review the rules governing the essential repairs grant to ensure that senior citizens can have vital sectors of their homes such as back kitchens and bath-rooms re-roofed in view of the fact that this change is vital to ensure applicants receive this particular grant. [19479/98]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Molloy): The essential repairs grant scheme is administered by the housing authorities in accordance with the Housing (Disabled Persons and Essential Repairs Grants) Regulations, 1993. Subject to these regulations, it is a matter for each authority to determine issues such as the resources which are available to the scheme and whether a grant can be paid in an individual case.

Essential repairs grants are payable for houses which cannot be made fit for human habitation in all respects at a reasonable cost in circumstances where, with the carrying out of an essential repairs, the house can continue to meet short-term accommodation needs. Authorities may pay grants up to the full approved cost of the repairs, subject to a maximum, which is adjusted in line with the house building cost index, and currently stands at £5,575. However, housing authorities generally limit the grant they pay to twice the maximum recoupment available from my Department [219] resulting, in such cases, in an effective ceiling of £1,800.

Therefore, the statutory regulations would not, in general, preclude the payment of a grant in respect of works such as partial re-roofing. If there is a query in relation to an individual case this might, in the first instance, be raised with the particular housing authority involved.