All posts by sarah

Survey of Apartment Residents

An important proposal in the Programme for Government is “A Review of the existing Management Companies Legislation to ensure that it is fit for purpose and that it acts in the best interest of residents”.

I am very interested in participating in this work, as the number of Owner Management Companies has exploded to over 8,000 nationwide, and Dublin is the single biggest location.  There are many live issues to consider such as whether we need:

  • A dedicated regulator;
  • A better dispute resolution mechanism;
  • New obligations to have regular Fire Safety Audits, and adequacy tests for Building Investments Funds.
  • It is also an opportunity to raise wider issues about how well we plan and deliver quality living in multiple-unit developments in Dublin.

    If you would like to offer insights from your experience, or to make an input, you can complete my short survey here 

    Privacy Notice

    Richard Bruton TD

    Privacy Notice for Constituents


    Please take a few minutes to read over this notice.  Your privacy is important to me, Richard Bruton TD.  This Privacy Notice sets out what may happen to any personal information you give me.  My office is in Leinster House, Dublin 2.  My telephone number is 01 6183103, and my email address is


    I am issuing this Privacy Notice because of my duties under the General Data Protection Regulation which came into force on 25 May 2018.  I’m setting out in this Privacy Notice the grounds on which I will deal with personal information belonging to you and to other people and some common examples.  Stricter rules apply to some types of personal information which may be described as special category data [Special Category Data according to the GDPR definition means personal information about a person’s: race, ethnic background, political opinions, religion, philosophical beliefs, membership of a trade union • genes (biological inheritance) • biometric data (such as fingerprints on a passport) • health • sex life • sexual orientation] and criminal offence data [Criminal offence data means personal information about a person’s: •alleged commission of criminal offences, •criminal convictions, • being subject to security measures related to criminal offences or convictions.]

    I am also letting you know what conditions apply (often to protect your privacy) to how I can deal with personal information.  If unusual circumstances arise not covered by this Privacy Notice, I will address these when I am communicating with you.

    • Public interest and official authority.  You may ask me to make a representation on your behalf to a Department or State agency or ask a Minister a parliamentary question where the subject matter includes personal information about you.  If the representation or request you make to me is on behalf of a third person, you will need to show me that you have that third person’s consent.  This does not apply if you show to me that the third person is, because of physical or mental incapacity, or because (s)he is too young, incapable of giving the consent.

    Making representations, or asking a parliamentary question/raising a commencement matter means that personal information (including, sometimes, special category data or criminal offence data) will have to be shared with other people.  For example, if I make a representation to a State body or a Department, a limited number of people there will have to consider and deal with the information to give me an answer.  If I ask a parliamentary question, the information is transmitted to the relevant Department through civil servants in the Houses of the Oireachtas Service (parliamentary administration).

    • Maintaining contact.  It may not always be clear when an existing query requires one of us to contact the other again.  The law also allows me to send you circulars or newsletters, or to write to you about my policies or electoral activities.  This is because supporting the democratic process is in the public interest.  I have your name and home address from the electoral register which is sent to me under the Electoral Act.

    Your consent will stop being valid if I stop being a member of either House of the Oireachtas and there is no prospect of my being re-elected within a short interval of weeks after that (I will also then delete any information I have from the electoral register).  I am permitted to send you mail through the post in the course of electoral activities.

    • Vital interests of the person referred to.  I am allowed to deal with a person’s personal information in order to protect the vital interests of the person or of some other person.  If the information is special category data or criminal offence data, I may only deal with it on this basis if the person is physically or legally incapable of giving consent.
    • Consent.  I will deal with your personal information if you consent to my doing so.  If you ask me to deal with special category data or criminal offence data, I will usually need your consent in writing.  You are allowed withdraw your consent at any time.  This won’t affect how I have already dealt with the personal information, but I won’t be able to deal with the personal information any more.  You can withdraw your consent at least as easily as the way you gave it (for example, if the personal information is neither special category data nor criminal offence data, and you gave consent orally, you may withdraw it orally). 
    • Other grounds. 
    • I will deal with (including disclosing to someone else) your personal information if the law requires me to do so.  For example, I must disclose particulars of donors to the Standards in Public Office Commission, and details of my election agent at election time.  I must make an annual return which lists anyone who has conferred certain types of benefit on me or, in some instances, on my family or close relatives.  I will need to deal with your personal information if you exercise rights under data protection law.  I will also deal with personal information if the dealing is needed so that I can obtain legal advice or if I need to take part in court or similar proceedings.
    • As an elected Member of the Houses of the Oireachtas and, I am allowed to do research into people’s political opinions or likely political opinions, for electoral purposes.  This is subject to safeguards in accordance with the law protecting personal information.
    • I am allowed to deal with special category data that has clearly been made public by the person it relates to.
    • There are particular circumstances in which sensitive personal information may be dealt with in connection with the activities of a political party.


    This depends on why I am dealing with it.  No-one will get it voluntarily who does not need to receive it for the purpose for which is being dealt with.  For example, if you ask me to make a representation involving your personal information, that information will be passed to the relevant Department or State agency and they will deal with it to decide on an answer.  If I deal with personal information to fulfil a legal duty, the relevant law will specify who receives it. For example, I must disclose particulars of donors to the Standards in Public Office Commission, and details of my election agent at election time.  I must make an annual return which lists anyone who has conferred certain types of benefit on me or, in some instances, on my family or close relatives.  I will need to deal with your personal information if you exercise rights under data protection law.  I will also deal with personal information if the dealing is needed so that I can obtain legal advice or if I need to take part in court or similar proceedings. If I need to deal with it to establish, exercise, or defend my legal rights, it will be passed to and dealt with by my legal advisers, and, on occasion, by other parties to a relevant dispute or their advisers, or to expert or other witnesses, or to the court, tribunal, arbitrator, mediator, or similar entity.  Occasionally, legal provisions or a court order may require me to deal with personal information for a purpose apart from why I got it, or was otherwise dealing with it.


    I do not believe that any personal information I am dealing with and to which this Privacy Notice applies will be transferred to a country outside the EU.


    I will keep personal information only as long as is necessary for the purposes of; fully completing your representation, including where further policy development could warrant further correspondence and where you regularly raise queries with me with different concerns.  I will not, without your express consent, specific to the particular personal information and the relevant purpose, keep it or otherwise deal with it (than to delete it) once I am no longer a member of either House of the Oireachtas and there is no prospect of my being re-elected within a short interval of weeks after that.  There may be rare exceptions to this assurance, such as where the personal information is relevant to a legal dispute ongoing at the time when I stop being a member.


    It would be very exceptional for me to deal with personal information for a purpose other than the purpose for which I received it.  The need to do so might arise because of a legal obligation.  Or it might arise in the public interest, for example, if I received personal information in relation to planned committee or other parliamentary business, but there appeared to be legitimate grounds for forwarding it to a regulatory or investigative authority.  Depending on the circumstances, I may need to tell you of the contemplated further dealing with the personal information and who is going to receive it.


    You may ask me for a copy of your personal information.  You may ask me to supplement or correct your personal information if it is incomplete or incorrect (including out of date).  You may be able to ask me to delete personal information, especially if you have withdrawn consent to my dealing with it or I no longer need it, or not to deal with it for the time being, for example, if you think it is incorrect.  If I am dealing with your personal information on the basis of your consent, you can normally require me to forward it on to some other person named by you.  You may be entitled to object to my dealing with your personal information in the public interest or in my exercise of official authority, but this entitlement is subject to many legal qualifications depending on the personal information and why I am dealing with it.  You may object at any stage to my holding on to your contact details (other than your name and address on the electoral register) and in nearly every conceivable circumstance I will respect your wishes about this.  You are entitled not to be subject to automated decision making, including profiling.


    If you are not content with how I am dealing with your personal information, you may bring your dissatisfaction to the attention of the Data Protection Commission: see

    Submission to City Development Plan

    Dublin City Development Plan Submission

    This is a vital opportunity to create a new vision for our city that meets head-on the local and the global challenges which we face. We need to reimagine our city for a period of transformative change.

    Learnings from the Covid Experience

    The experience of Covid has crystallised some elements which need to be built into the future planning of our city:

    • Enhancement of our open spaces, seafronts and natural amenities to create more opportunities for public enjoyment in a safe and secure way
    • Consolidation of the opportunity of working from home which improves lifestyle and its sustainability, by planning new supporting structures and the design of physical environments( serviced hubs, play areas, exercise areas etc.)
    • Recognition of gaps in community amenities which must be more effectively delivered for fast growing communities to be more fully integrated( sports provision, neighbourhood security, earlier delivery of amenities and services etc.)
    • The integration of active travel and sustainable transport into every public institution schools, hospitals etc. and into private enterprise
    • The capacity to repurpose our urban villages and central city areas
    • The need to balance more compact development with an enhancement of the quality of building design, of landscaping and of community spaces for integrated living.

    Tackling the Climate Crisis

    A top priority in the new plan must be to embed changes in response to the Climate Crisis. This will require transformative change: in how we build but also in planning for the repurposing of buildings; in how we travel; in how we heat our homes; in how we use resources and handle waste.

    The city must build 30,000 new homes in the next five year period, which must be built in a compact and sustainable manner. This will require better design for quality community living. Arguably, an even greater challenge will be to adapt existing homes and other buildings to break carbon dependency and to increase the efficiency of usage. At present over 80% of homes in Dublin City have an energy rating which is inconsistent with our Climate Action ambitions. The city needs to plan for a wave of retrofitting, concentrating on upgrading large swathes of the older parts of our city in a coordinated campaign.

    There is a need to hardwire low carbon dependency into every dimension of city policy and city life. This will require this plan to address adaptation in a way that has never been addressed in a previous plan, which have concentrated on the incremental change in the coming five years, not on transformative change. Speedy planning solutions must be found for challenges such as:-

    • Retrofitting an electric vehicle charging network potentially to every home and business
    • Fitting upgraded insulation for walls, windows and roofs and better heating methods in a retrofitting wave
    • Improving the environment for safe active travel
    • Ensuring every home has access to full waste segregation options
    • Considering the scope for District Heating in all new developments

    Policies in all these areas are often characterised by lengthy delays, and complex procedures. While due respect to individual difficulties is necessary, they cannot be confined to move at the pace of the slowest mover.

    Confronting the Housing Challenge

    The continuing acute shortage of homes across all types of tenancy requires the Council to be innovative in how it facilitates development, both on its own land, on other state-owned land and on private lands. The City Council has not itself had the land bank necessary to Masterplan development to the scale necessary nor with the speed necessary.

    The State and the City must forge a new partnership that sees closer integration of planning by each to ensure that communities do not face long gaps before key services are in place. The City must now actively form partnership with the new Land Development Agency, and with professional associations involved in private planning to put in place not just the policy objectives familiar to Development Plans, but also establish the regulatory standards and funded actions needed to make them a reality. There is a need to rezone lands within the M50 in order to ensure compact development. Rezoning should in future carry with it obligations to deliver sustainable and affordable obligations. This will ensure that a high proportion of any windfall gains will serve the common good.

    New Models of Compact Living

    The existence of a National Planning Framework and  the National Development Plan provides for the first time give grounds for confidence that a new partnership framework can emerge with the necessary impetus for change to bring planning objectives to life. However, that will require government Departments and their agencies delivering services to enter into closer Memoranda of Understanding with the Council  designed to confront the delays which have characterised public investment delivery by the national sectoral agencies preventing the availability of needed services in a timely manner. The model of such understandings must be part of the Development Plan.

    It is now clear that building compact living for all family types in a sustainable manner requires a level of upfront planning and investment which is well beyond the capacity of first time buyers’ purchasing power. The ambition of compact living requires new funding models on the supply side. Models of high density without so much high rise which we see in some other European cities must be explored. Up to now the city has allowed the purchasing power of the marketplace alone to drive patterns of development. Now is the opportunity to develop the integrated design and the funding models, so that new developments do not spend the first decade of their existence with only take-aways, bookies and hairdressers.

    While Development Plans have traditionally focused on new building, it is clear that even a very successful building programme only adds 1-2% to housing stock each year. In view of both the pressure of new demand and the requirements of Climate Action, we need to examine policy which can promote more effective use of existing building stock. Recent statistics show that 70% of households are in homes that are larger than their needs. This is twice the proportion in the rest of Europe. Among persons over 65, this proportion rises to 92%. Combined with the expectation that the older population is set to grow far more rapidly than any other group, it is clear that the new Plan must now assess how that growing older population can be accommodated in a way that promotes independent living with good access to essential services. This should inform the mix in new developments but also the pattern of renewal of our urban villages which represent a great potential setting. While for many, staying in their existing home is their preference, it is equally the case, that many don’t see any option that preserves their links in the community. There is a need to identify policies that can assist trading down to well appointed alternatives in the heart of communities. To achieve this will require explicit policies in the Development Plan to evaluate the scale of need its location and the strategies which best meet the challenge.

    Thriving City Villages

    The concept of a “ A City of Villages” has often been advocated as the key to sustainable urban design. However policies have never been sufficiently integrated to deliver that vision. Now is the time to elevate this to be a core element of the Development Plan. There has been a consistent pattern of transformation in retail goods and services, which has seen closures and suboptimal use of space. The Covid crisis has accelerated that change, which if not addressed will see further decay. The key is to plan new hearts in our urban villages and centre city areas where people want to live and spend time. This Development Plan must commit to undertake an urgent audit of our urban centres, to develop their assets, repurpose buildings at risk of falling into disuse, enhance the public realm within. The changing face of retail must be harnessed to make these cores more attractive for living and leisure.

    Creating a Circular Economy

    A much stronger approach to Waste Management Policy and the enshrining the concept of the Circular Economy is now needed. Some communities have had to put up with an unacceptable level of illegal dumping. Excessive waste materials are being created because of an inadequate regulatory frame work. Huge volumes of waste which could be recycled or composted goes to incineration. Many are denied the full range of segregation facilities, particularly in the compact development settings. Far too many materials which cannot be recycled are still in use. Major change in these patterns must now be created through the plan. The principles of the Circular Economy must inform all Council policies, particularly those governing procurement and planning. The new regulatory obligations, new incentive structures, new facilities and new infrastructural needs of the Circular Economy should be enshrined in specific Objectives of this Development Plan.

    Submission to NDP Review

    NDP Review

    As we exit the Covid crisis, there will be a real risk that elevated levels of current spending will be difficult to roll back. The line of least resistance could be to shy away from a further step up in planned infrastructural investment. That is the opposite of what is now needed and must be explicitly confronted in the NDP Review now underway. 


    At the heart of the Review must be a recognition of the need for a major overhaul of our infrastructure to meet the challenges of the future. This entails infrastructural adaptation for Climate Action, for Public Services, for demographic growth and aging, and the facilities and policies to build Human Resource capacity and Enterprise competitiveness in our key sectors. The Ireland of 2040 must become a very different place. 


    Project 2040 was a very ambitious plan to reshape the pattern of population growth in a regionally balanced and sustainable way. However, with the new pressures of a post Covid response, a higher Climate ambition, we need to see transformative change frontloaded. This in turn requires a more ambitious NDP. To inspire the confidence of those who buy Irish Debt, there must be some very clear objectives set out of what infrastructural changes are required in these areas; how they are integral to a prosperous, sustainable, competitive, stable society; and how they can optimally be funded.

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