Meath West benefits from Fine Gael’s scheme to help move people from welfare to work – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Budget 2017, Business, Education, Jobs, Meath, Navan, Skills, Startups, Wesmeath

Participants in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) are twice as likely to be in full employment after six months than those who did not take part, a review has found.

The study compared people who had stayed on the BTWEA scheme for its full two year duration with non-participants.

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English T.D. said the review, published by Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar, was very encouraging for Meath West.

“In Meath, some 475 people are currently participating in the programme, while in Westmeath the figure is 235 people.

“Entrepreneurs are vital for local economies, our economic future and for job creation.

“I would encourage anyone who is currently unemployed in Meath and Westmeath to use this valuable State support which helps starting a new business.

“This review has shown the allowance is highly effective in getting people in Meath and Westmeath from welfare to work” the Meath West Fine Gael T.D. and Minister said.

The BTWEA helps people who are unemployed or claiming welfare to set up their own business and continue receiving State income supports for two years, while getting advice and support for running a new enterprise.

Minister English continued: “The Department of Social Protection has also made it much easier for many more people to avail of the allowance.

“The qualification period has been reduced from 12 months to just nine months for more people on welfare, not just for Jobseekers, but also reduced those on other schemes like One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseekers Transitional Payment, Disability Allowance, and Farm Assist, and other welfare payments.”


Geographic breakdown of BTWEA participants by county:

County Number Participants Percentage of Live Register for County
CARLOW 194 8.7%
CAVAN 275 11.1%
CLARE 412 12.4%
CORK 770 6.2%
DONEGAL 413 6.0%
DUBLIN 2833 8.0%
GALWAY 612 8.9%
KERRY 390 9.3%
KILDARE 425 7.3%
KILKENNY 297 11.8%
LAOIS 220 6.9%
LEITRIM 130 12.4%
LONGFORD 160 8.2%
LOUTH 509 9.1%
MAYO 384 9.3%
MEATH 475 14.0%
MONAGHAN 162 8.8%
OFFALY 198 5.7%
ROSCOMMON 158 11.3%
SLIGO 194 10.6%
TIPPERARY 406 7.3%
WATERFORD 375 8.2%
WESTMEATH 235 5.9%
WEXFORD 369 5.5%
WICKLOW 546 12.9%
Total Participants and national Percentage  





Speech to Homes of the Future Industry Day

Action Plan for Housing, Speeches

Patrick Durkan, MD Durkan Residential

Address by Mr. Damien English, T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

at the Silken Park Industry Day on Wednesday, 22 February at 11.30 a.m.

at the Silken Park Development, Citywest, Dublin 24.


  • Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be here this morning to speak at the Durkan Homes Silken Park Passive Development launch.  As a Minister of State with responsibility for building standards and regulations, I am very pleased to be here at what is an exemplar development of passive houses constructed using modern, sustainable building techniques.
  • At the outset, I would like to thank Durkan Homes for inviting me here today and for their commitment to increasing awareness of energy efficiency.
  • I am informed that informed that the development is hardwired for electric vehicle charging point. The pre-cabling of dwellings for Electric Vehicles is a proposal in an amendment to the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive currently under review and these dwelling are cutting edge by including this feature.
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy are vital to achieving Ireland’s targets under the EU 2020 Climate and Energy strategy and the Paris Agreement and the enabling of electric vehicles and renewables in buildings is a key initiative in addressing the energy system holistically and will significantly facilitate the achievement of Ireland’s Renewable Energy targets.
  • It is important that developers show leadership and innovation in raising awareness of energy efficiency and making it affordable for ordinary homeowners.

Rebuilding Ireland

  • The Government and I have made it our number one priority to resolve the housing and homelessness crisis and under “Rebuilding Ireland” we have set out a broadly based and comprehensive set of actions to do just that.
  • In light of the topic of today’s event I should highlight that a stated core objective of “Rebuilding Ireland” is delivering quality and  energy efficient  housing in a way that meets current needs while supporting  sustainable communities and maximising the contribution of the built environment to addressing climate change

Nearly Zero Energy Buildings & Part L Review

  • The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive has set ambitious building energy performance standards which we are working hard to ensure that we achieve.
  • As you may be aware the Directive defines a Nearly Zero Energy Building or NZEB as a building that has a very high energy performance where the nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby.This definition was inserted into the Building Regulations in January of this year through the Building Regulations (Amendment) Regulations 2017.
  • My Department intend to launch a public consultation this month in order to review and amend Part L of the Building Regulations to provide for nearly zero energy performance requirements in buildings other than dwellings.
  • This upcoming review of Part L in respect of buildings other than dwellings will clearly set out NZEB performance requirement for new non-residential buildings.  The new regulations will include a requirement for renewable energy on all new buildings. This process will be replicated to amend Part L of the Building Regulations in respect of Dwellings during 2018.


  • While there are many challenges currently facing the housing and the wider construction sectors, we remain fully committed to meeting our climate change and energy efficiency commitments.  Our intentions in this regard are reinforced under “Rebuilding Ireland” which commits us to maximising the contribution of the built environment to addressing climate change.
  • We are fully committed to meeting our obligations under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and intend that all new buildings will be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings by 31 December 2020 and that new buildings owned and occupied by public authorities will be nearly zero energy after the end of December 2018.
  • Ladies and gentlemen thank you for inviting me here today and I hope you enjoy the rest of the event.
  • Thank you.

Address to the National Housing Conference 2017:

Action Plan for Housing, Rebuilding Ireland, Speeches
Address by Mr. Damien English, T.D.
Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal 
at the National Housing Conference 2017:

Rebuilding Ireland – Delivering a Sustainable Housing Recovery 


Monday, 13 February 2017 at 2:20 p.m.


Main Conference Room, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, as Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, I am delighted to be here this afternoon to open the National Housing Conference 2017

  • I wish to thank you for taking the time to travel to Dublin this afternoon to attend and take part in the conference.


  • I look forward to listening to you and to hearing your views on‘Rebuilding Ireland – Delivering a Sustainable Housing Recovery’.

  • I wish to thank the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and my own Department for organising this biennial event.  


  • I understand that as far back as 1969, long before I was born, that our two organisations identified the importance of promoting quality housing in Ireland.  


  • To that end, a joint committee was formed to arrange this biennial event – a forum where the latest developments in housing, both public and private, could be presented and discussed by those involved with their design and delivery.

  • With this in mind, it is important to reiterate that the acute shortage of homes available to those who need them is one of the greatest challenges facing this country today.  


  • It is having a profound effect on the daily lives of many individuals and families who feel they have been failed by the system and who ultimately need homes.

  • As you will all be aware, the Government, my Department, Minister Coveney and I have made it our number one priority to resolve the housing crisis.


  • Rebuilding Ireland’ is our Action Plan which sets out to resolve this societal and economic problem.


  • I am delighted that many of the core themes in our Action Plan will feature strongly in your deliberations over the next two days.


  • Because ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ cannot be implemented in isolation.


  •  Collaboration and assistance is required.


  • They are required from you here today – our partners.  They are required from everyone involved in housing provision:


  • RIAI members
  • Academics
  • Policy makers
  • Planners
  • Local Authorities
  • Approved Housing Bodies
  • Financial Institutions
  • Landowners
  • Site Owners
  • The list is endless

    Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan

  • “Rebuilding Ireland” sets out a practical and readily implementable group of actions that will increase housing supply in support of creating a functioning and sustainable housing system that is capable of: –

  • providing homes for families in emergency accommodation;

  • tackling the underlying causes of people living on our streets;

  • producing a minimum of 25,000 housing units nation-wide every year by 2020;

  • responding to meet future housing needs post-2020; and

  • delivering more social housing, much faster, in tandem with putting in place financially sustainable mechanisms to meet current and future requirements for social housing supports.
  • Since taking up my role as Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, I have seen daily the impacts that the housing shortage is having on our people and their families.  I have seen how the system is struggling to cope with, and devise solutions to, our housing problems.

  • “Rebuilding Ireland” is, I believe, an enabling plan that will resolve the housing problems and will solve our housing shortage in Ireland.  


  • The plan is backed up by a commitment of funding.  We have set out €5.35 billion to make a massive impact in providing much needed social housing.


  • We have provisions for a €200m infrastructure fund that will unlock the potential of key sites to deliver thousands of homes to the market.

    2016 Delivery

  • To concentrate on the challenge of delivering more social housing, in a faster manner – I believe that we have made a good start since “Rebuilding Ireland” was first published in July 2016.

  • Last year, over 18,300 social housing supports were provided across a range of delivery programmes.  


  • Preliminary data shows that around 5,280 new social houses were either purchased, leased, remediated or built by local authorities and approved housing bodies.


  • The acquisition of around 1,500 houses and apartments as part of this number, gives early delivery to meet social housing need.  


  • There are still areas in the country where it is still more affordable to buy than to build – and we support such acquisitions where this makes sense.
  • We also continued to remediate vacant social housing in 2016, with around 2,000 brought back to use.

  • The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme delivered 12,000 homes for those on the housing waiting lists in 2016.  HAP is, and will remain, an important element in supporting the provision of housing for those in acute social need.

    Reuse Strategy

  • A central element in “Rebuilding Ireland” is the development of a ‘National Vacant Houses Reuse Strategy’.  Work on this is progressing well.

  • Preliminary results from Census 2016 show 200,000 dwellings (excluding holiday homes and derelict houses) are vacant, some 9.8% of overall housing stock.  By comparison, the Netherlands has a 2.5% vacancy rate.

  • The ‘National Vacant Houses Reuse Strategy’ will be supplemented by a range of other measures including:


  • The development of new urban renewal measures
  • Projects under the Social Housing Capital Programme
  • And the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

  • I am especially pleased to see that opportunities for reuse of partially vacant premises, by delivering housing over the shop in Irish town and City centres, will be presented here tomorrow.

    Rapid Build

  • In terms of accelerating delivery, we have looked hard at the rapid delivery programme.  We now have a panel of rapid build contractors selected under the new ‘Office of Government Procurement’ contract framework.

  • Using this framework will save time on
    • design
    • procurement and
    • on the construction of social housing

  • At the end of 2016, 350 rapid build units were advancing through various stages of delivery.  Of these, 22 units are being lived in at Poppintree, Ballymun.

  • A further 650 units will be advanced in 2017, with 500 being targeted for delivery in 2018.


  • I note with interest the presentation later today on the topic of‘Off Site fabrication to assist rapid delivery’.

    Quality Housing

  • While innovation in housing design and the mechanisms to support accelerated delivery are to be welcomed, as we return to a more significant scale of housing provision, we must not lose sight of the fundamental principles of quality and sustainability.
  • The quality of our built environment profoundly affects the quality of people’s everyday lives.  In very broad terms, good quality housing, both public and private, in sustainable communities needs to be: –

  • socially & environmentally suitable in terms of density, type, affordability and mix of tenure;

  • appropriate in terms of architectural design and accessibility;

  • adaptable, durable and resource efficient;

  • located in safe, secure and integrated neighbourhoods.

  • I understand there will a number of sessions at conference tomorrow which will closely examine these themes. I will have a particular interest in hearing about your thoughts on ‘Promoting town and city centre regeneration’ in this context.

  • Vince Lombardi, the famous American footballer and coach once said “perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”.

  • And excellence is what is needed in terms of quality for Irelands housing sector.  


  • Public tolerance for poor building quality has been well and truly exhausted; the mistakes of the past will be avoided.  Together we can ensure that quality and sustainability becomes the watchwords in all we do in Housing for decades to come.


1. Ladies and gentlemen; returning to a sustainable and normal housing and construction sector is critical to support economic growth, social progress and environmental sustainability.

    • While the Government is acting, the challenge does not stop there.  
    • To conclude, I have one ask of you today.  

    • It is vital that, as the actions set out in “Rebuilding Ireland” are implemented, that you


  • The local authorities,
  • The approved housing bodies,
  • The architects,
  • The construction professionals,
  • The planners,
  • The builders and developers of Ireland

  • proactively respond to the housing supply challenge we face.  I have no doubt that together we will succeed.

  • I now look forward to listening to you, to what promises to be a stimulating conference.


  • I wish you every success over the course of the next two days and for your future in the Housing in Ireland.


Minister English seeks clarity from Agriculture Minister on GLAS payments

European issues, Farming, Funding, Meath, North Meath, Wesmeath

Local Fine Gael T.D. for Meath West and Minister for Housing and Urban
Renewal Damien English has recently raised the issue of GLAS payments
with the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed T.D.  He stressed the
importance of prompt payments to farmers as vital source of business
cashflow and for future planning.  He also stressed the need for any
outstanding issues to be clarified as quickly and efficiently as
possible, and that the end customer, the farmer, should not be
penalised or delayed for issues that are outside of his or her
control, like capacity in the Department.

Minister English has been advised of the following position by
Minister Creed, and felt it important to share with local media and
the local farming community:

The 2016 GLAS payments underway since December 2016 represent the
first full year payment schedule under the GLAS scheme.  To date
27,400 of the 37,500 participants in the scheme have received 85% of
their payment totalling almost €100 million.

Minister Creed is keen to provide clarity to farmers awaiting payment
at this stage. Furthermore, in order to ensure outstanding payments
are issued without delay, all resources from an I.T. and
administrative perspective are being directed towards resolving the
outstanding issues.

All GLAS applications must pass regulatory controls and validations as
is this the case with all EU co-funded schemes.  The outstanding cases
relate to applications that did not pass these checks and in the
majority of cases is due to a query on a selected GLAS action or a
land parcel on their holding.  All of these cases must be reviewed on
a case by case basis to determine if the actions involved should be
removed from the scheme or allowed to proceed to payment.

Examples of issues leading to delayed payments are as follows:

Declaration of an incompatible parcel usage for GLAS action chosen
Changes in parcel boundaries on which a GLAS action is chosen
including splitting or merging of parcels
An applicant no longer claiming parcel on BPS 2016
Incomplete documentation such as incorrect information on Low-Emission
Slurry declaration
Incomplete interim commonage management plans
Incompatible data and parcel history on Department databases

It is not yet possible to provide a definitive timeframe for the
completion of payments due to the individual nature of the outstanding
issues, however every effort is being made to process all payments as
quickly as possible.  The Minister understands and regrets the
difficulty this uncertainty will cause for farmers involved and is
being updated on a continuous basis by his officials on progress.  A
further payment run is due this week and it is expected that over
1,000 payments will issue. Further payment runs will be made on a
weekly basis as cases are cleared.  The Minister is satisfied that
every effort possible is being made to complete this process as
quickly as possible.

New funding of €327,103 for Cultúr in Meath welcomed by Minister English

Budget 2017, Funding, Meath, Navan

Local Fine Gael Meath West T.D. and Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal has welcomed €327,103 in funding for Cultúr Celebrating Diversity Ltd, which is based in Navan  and is helping the integration of migrants in Navan and Meath.

The migrant integration projects being funded across the country, like Cultúr Celebrating Diversity Ltd’s JUMP project locally will provide a range of practical supports directly to migrants including measures to promote integration, Anti-racism and cultural diversity initiatives.

“This grant will bolster the good work being carried out every day by
Cultúr Celebrating Diversity Ltd as a local community organisations in
support of migrant integration here in Meath, as well as being good
news for Navan” Minister English concluded.