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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 30 Jan 2002

Vol. 547 No. 1

Written Answers. - Capital Projects.

John Bruton


197 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Public Enterprise her plans for the use of the capital allocations made to her Department of 502 million for 2002, 485 million for 2003, and 510 mill ion for 2004; the reason there is a reduction in the provision for capital expenditure in 2003 relative to 2002; if this money will be allocated to the provision of a rail link to Navan; and if not the reason therefor. [1390/02]

Capital allocations made to my Department for 2002, 2003 and 2004 are 503 million, 484 million and 511 million respectively. The following is the position in relation to capital funding in the transport, energy and communications sectors.

The capital allocation provided to this Department in respect of public transport of 424 million, £334 million, in 2002 will be used to address the public transport deficit in both Dublin and at a regional level by implementing the programme of public transport projects set out in the national development plan. The work commenced in 2002 will continue through 2003 and 2004. These projects include: developing, extending and increasing the bus network in Dublin through the purchase of additional buses to increase passenger capacity and increase frequency of services; implementing the light rail network; developing the suburban rail network including the purchase of additional DART and diesel rail cars; provision of new stations at strategic locations and resignalling work at Connolly Station to allow greater frequency of trains; mainline rail investment in safety and renewal; bus and rail development in the greater Cork area; bus development in Limerick, Galway and Waterford; regional bus improvements; and pilot measures for rural public transport to encourage local or community based initiatives to provide bus services in rural areas.

The amounts allocated for capital grant for the airports in 2002, 2003 and 2004 are 6 million, £4.73 million, 4.5 million, £3.54 million, and 4.7 million, £3.7 million, respectively. These allocations will aid in supporting the carrying out of infrastructural improvements and upgrades in safety-related equipment and facilities at the six regional airports, Donegal, Sligo, Knock, Galway, Kerry and Waterford.

Capital funding of 70,000, £55,130, has been included in the Abridged Estimates for consultancies to be undertaken by my Department concerning Aer Lingus. A similar token estimate has been included for 2003.

Funding will be provided from the capital allocation to my Department for the sustainable energy priority of the Economic and Social Infrastructure Operational Programme 2000-2006 as follows: 2002–4.5 million, £3.54 million; 2003–6.5 million, £5.12 million; 2004–6.25 million, £4.92 million.

This capital will be allocated to energy conservation research and development activities; an energy conservation initiative for pre-1980 housing-public sector buildings; facilitating the strategic reinforcement and upgrading of the elec tricity network in order to redress the weaknesses and grid constraints to accommodate connection of renewable energy projects and to support the delivery of an additional 500 Mwe of renewable energy based electricity generating plant; and research and development in the renewable energy sector.
A sum of 650,000, £511,920, has been provided in 2002 for capital expenditure for the Geological Survey of Ireland IT development. This allocation will be spent on the upgrading of GSI IT systems towards a full integrated system for GSI data management. Similar allocations of 655,000, £515,850, and 660,000, £519,790, have been provided to continue this work in 2003 and 2004. The GSI has responsibility for managing all aspects of the seabed survey. The survey involves using a variety of hydrographic, geological and geophysical techniques from specialist ships, the provision of the resulting data to clients and the exploitation of this data to maximise revenues and other major benefits to the State. A sum of 4.5 million, £3.54 million, has been allocated to this project in 2002 with allocations of 5.350 million, £4.21 million, and 4.606 million, £3.63 million, for 2003 and 2004.
A sum of 44 million, £34.65 million, has been allocated in 2002 in the area of broadband interconnectivity to facilitate projects aimed at ensuring that this technology contributes significantly to social and economic development in Ireland. The allocations for 2003 and 2004 of 26 million, £20.48 million, and 26.8 million, £21.11 million, respectively will continue to provide for the rollout of broadband infrastructure in the regions.
The capital allocation for 2002 of 28.690 million, £22.6 million, will be used for the purchase of property and provision of broadband infrastructure. An additional 1.96 million, £1.54 million, has been allocated for 2003 for the completion of this project.
The RPII's capital allocation for 2002 is 215, 000, £169,330, which will be spent on additional instrumentation for the Dosimetry Service, upgrading of equipment for the radiation monitoring network, and general upgrading of laboratory equipment and computer facilities.
The capital allocation for 2003 and 2004 is 226,000, £177,990, and 237,000, £186,650, respectively which will be generally allocated to the provision of additional equipment and instrumentation for the Institute's environmental, dosimetry and radon laboratories and the general upgrading of computer and office facilities.
Regarding the Programme for Peace and Reconciliation, included in the capital allocation for my Department in 2002 is a provision of 700,000, £551,290, towards the cost of completing an extension of the main runway at Derry Airport. In 1999, my Department and the Northern Ireland authorities each made a contribution of approximately £1.53 million, 1.94 million, towards the cost of the runway extension in Derry. The proposal that the project be grant-aided was initially put forward by the Donegal Enterprise Task Force as part of their response to the difficulties for employment in East Donegal arising from redundancies at the Fruit of the Loom factories. However the project is not yet complete and has suffered from cost increases arising from environmental issues. It is envisaged that my Department's contribution to the additional costs, that is, 700,000, £551,290, together with a matching contribution by the Northern Ireland authorities, will arise in the coming months.
There is also a capital allocation contained in the administration budget for my Department. This allocation of 1.171 million, £922,240, in 2002 will provide for the purchase of equipment and associated consumables for the technical areas of my Department, mainly Met Éireann and the geological survey and also for the purchase of computer hardware and software, telecommunications equipment, general office equipment, computer consultancies and outsourced computer project costs. The decrease in capital allocation from 2002 to 2003 is mainly due to a reduction in the capital funding required for the Digital Hub project. All related property acquisitions are expected to be completed for this project in 2002.
The Deputy also raised the issue of providing a rail link to Navan. I intend shortly to commission a strategic rail study which will provide a framework for future Government decisions on rail development over the next 20 years. It can be expected that proposals, which would include a rail link to Navan, will be examined in the course of that study.
The farm electrification grant scheme, FEGS, which forms part of my Department's capital allocation subsidises the installation of electricity supply to farms located in disadvantaged areas which are without supply or where supply is inadequate to facilitate their development and modernisation. The FEGS capital grant allocation for 2002, 2003 and 2004 is 150,000, £118,000, 216,000, £170,000, and 216,000, £170,000, respectively.