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Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: School Meals Programme (29 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I thank the Minister of State. I am glad to have had the opportunity to raise this matter. I raised it yesterday with the Taoiseach during Questions on Policy and Legislation and I have submitted a number of parliamentary questions on it. While I welcome the expansion of DEIS schools, which is positive, I am concerned that we do not seem to have allocated any funding in the budget for...

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: School Meals Programme (29 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I am delighted to have the opportunity to discuss this issue. The school meals programme is of vital importance to the students that benefit from it. The Minister of State, Deputy Fleming, will be aware that the Minister for Education, Deputy Foley, announced a €32 million investment and expansion of DEIS schools this year, which brings another 60,000 students into that support and...

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (28 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: The Government recently announced a €32 million expansion of the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, DEIS, schools programme, bringing in about 310 schools and 60,000 students. I understand, however, that the school meals programme for those DEIS schools is not currently funded and will not be until we pass the budget in October. I ask the Taoiseach to consider how we can...

Written Answers — Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment: Energy Infrastructure (28 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: 160. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the use of infra-red heaters or storage heaters as a means of heating a home by electricity; if his Department has conducted research into the environmental merits of the use of same when compared to traditional fossil fuel boilers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34294/22]

Written Answers — Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government: Derelict Sites (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: 31. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his views on the introduction of a derelict property tax; if any research has been carried out by his Department into this proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32910/22]

Written Answers — Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government: Vacant Properties (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: 49. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his views on the introduction of a vacant property tax; if any research has been carried out by his Department into this proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32909/22]

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Passport Services (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: 295. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if a passport application by a person (details supplied) will be reviewed and expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33319/22]

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: Everybody is welcome to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The committee is meeting in public session to consider the Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022. We are joined by the following witnesses: Mica Action Group Donegal is represented by Mr. Michael Doherty, Dr. Andreas Leemann, Mr. Aidan Houton and...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I ask Dr. Cleary to finish up as soon as possible. We want to hear from her and do not want to stymy what she has to tell us, but we need to stick to the time limits.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I invite Ms Hegarty to make her opening statement.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I will open the questioning to members. There are many other Members of the Oireachtas present today who are not members of the committee, so I ask Deputies and Senators to keep to the strict time limit of six minutes. I will start with the Fianna Fáil slot. I call Deputy Cathal Crowe.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I should clarify that this is not pre-legislative scrutiny.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I ask Dr. Cleary to finish up there.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I am sorry to interrupt Ms Hegarty. She will get a chance to expand on that answer.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: I do not have time. I will be strict with everybody.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: Very briefly. In 20 seconds, please.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government: Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Discussion (23 Jun 2022)

Steven Matthews: We will come back to that detail. The next slot is mine. I will be brief with it. I wish to ask the witnesses a question about foundations. I am unclear as to what the position on foundations is at the moment. Generally, a foundation is poured concrete in a trench, and then you build up the blockwork and put in the floor. Is it the witnesses' understanding that nothing can be done to...

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