Oral Questions for Minister for Social Protection

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To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will liaise with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to initiate an investigation into the sale of commercial property in 2013/14 by the Trustees of the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme; and the implications for the pensions of the members of the scheme. – Clare Daly.

Question No: 22 Ref No: 47001/14

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will liaise with the Minister for Transport to initiate an investigation into the sale of commercial property in 2013/14 by the Trustees of the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme; and the implications for the pensions of the members of the scheme.
– Clare Daly.
* For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 10th December, 2014.
R E P L Y
The Pensions Authority has the power under section 18 of the Pensions Act to investigate the state or conduct of a pension scheme. I would ask you to bring any concerns you have in relation to the conduct of the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme to the attention of the Pensions Authority. The Authority can then consider whether or not these concerns warrant an investigation under section 18 of the Pensions Act.

ORAL question for answer on 10/12/2014 :
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will increase rent supplement levels by 25% in the areas which have experienced the sharpest rise in homelessness as a result of rising rents. – Clare Daly.

Question No: 33 Ref No: 47002-14

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will increase rent supplement levels by 25% in the areas which have experienced the sharpest rise in homelessness as a result of rising rents.
– Clare Daly.
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 10th December, 2014.
R E P L Y
There are currently approximately 71,800 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided over €344 million for 2014.
I am keeping the matter regarding rent limits under consideration and the review being undertaken by the Department will be finalised shortly.
The Department is in a position of both significant influence in the private rented market and responsibility. There is a real concern that increased rent limits may add to further rental inflation and impact, not alone on rent supplement recipients, but also on many lower income workers, their families and students. Increasing limits will yield only a very marginal increase in available supply for rent supplement recipients with the only certainty that raising limits will increase costs disproportionately for the Exchequer with little or no new housing available to new recipients.
The Department has put measures in place to ensure that the housing needs of rent supplement customers who are in danger of becoming homeless are being addressed by providing for increased flexibility within the administration of the rent supplement scheme. A notice reminding staff of their statutory discretionary power to award, on a case by case basis, a supplement for rental purposes, for example, when dealing with applicants who are at risk of losing their tenancy was circulated earlier in the year and further instruction has issued this week to ensure consistency throughout the country.
In light of a particular concentration of the homelessness problem in the Dublin area, the Department agreed a tenancy sustainment protocol with the Dublin local authorities and voluntary organisations so that families on rent supplement who are at risk of losing their accommodation can have more timely and appropriate interventions made on their behalf. Since the launch of this protocol in mid-June 2014, over 240 families have had their rent supplement payments increased by the Department.
I strongly advise that where a person in receipt of rent supplement is at risk of losing their tenancy should make contact with the Tenancy Protection Service provided by Threshold in Dublin on 1800 454 454 or their local Community Welfare Service throughout the country.