Business of Joint Committee

I remind members to turn off their mobile phones completely as they interfere with the recording equipment. The main business of today's proceedings will start shortly, but first the committee will deal with the minutes of the meeting on 29 May 2019, which have been circulated. As there are no matters arising, the minutes are agreed.

I turn to correspondence. No. 2019/456 is email correspondence from the office of the Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport concerning the reappointment of the chairpersons of Fáilte Ireland and the Port of Waterford. Is it agreed that we will have them before the committee ahead of the summer recess? Agreed.

No. 2019/472 (a) and (b) is email correspondence from Mr. Colm McGinty at Sport Ireland regarding the planning memorandum for module 1 of the KOSI Corporation's extensive independent audit of the Football Association of Ireland, FAI, and its planning memorandum for module 1. It is proposed that we note this correspondence, which we discussed in private session. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/473 (a) and (b) is email correspondence from Mr. Donal McAuliffe, dated 29 May 2019, attaching a submission concerning the national identity in sport and international politics. It is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/474 is email correspondence from Mr. Cormac Ó Donnchú, Cathaoirleach of CLG Na Fianna, regarding an independent social value report on what the co-ordinated volunteer efforts of the club add to the local community. It is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/475 (a) is email correspondence from Mr. Colm McGinty at Sport Ireland replying to an email from the clerk to the committee. No. 2019/475 (b) is the briefing document. It is proposed to note this correspondence, which was discussed in private session. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/476 is email correspondence from Mr. Tom Newton and Ms Caitríona McClean, dated 5 June 2019, and concerning route alterations to bus route No. 239. It is proposed to note the correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/477 (a) is email correspondence from Ms Eilis Fallon from the Committee of Public Accounts attaching three documents. No. 2019/477 (b) is a letter from Mr. Kieran Lenihan, the clerk to the Committee of Public Accounts. No. 2019/477 (c) is email correspondence from Mr. Jim Cumiskey regarding the BusConnects project. No. 2919/477 (d) is email correspondence from Mr. Rob Cumiskey regarding the core bus corridor project. It is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/478 is correspondence between Mr. Paul Kelly, clerk to the committee, and Mr. Peter Hogan, who is responsible for sports policy and the national sports campus at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, dated 30 May 2019, concerning invitations to the stakeholder meeting hosted by the Minister, Deputy Shane Ross, in the Mansion House on Friday. It is proposed to note that correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/479 is email correspondence from Mr. Barry Kenny at Irish Rail replying to an email from Mr. Donal Ó Brolcháin. It is proposed to note that correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/480 is email correspondence from Mr. Larry Larkin, dated 12 June 2019, seeking a meeting with the joint committee to discuss an anomaly regarding the representation of Irish athletes competing in international competitions. That issue was also raised by Deputy Munster and we hope to have a date for that meeting before the recess. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/481 is email correspondence to me from Mr. Kieran Reilly, with an attached document regarding concerns about electric vehicle fires. It is proposed to note that correspondence and perhaps send it to a chief fire officer to get a professional opinion. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/482 is email correspondence from Mr. Paul Allen regarding the recent Dublin Port revelations. It is proposed to note the correspondence, which we discussed in private session. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/483 is email correspondence from Deputy Ruth Coppinger, dated 18 June 2019, proposing that the joint committee have an entire session on free public transport.

Yes. We are about to discuss transport proposals but one glaring omission from the Government's recent publication is the concept of free public transport. Many cities worldwide are moving to free public transport and Luxembourg is the first country to do so in its entirety. This is vital if we are to tackle climate change and meet the demand for less carbon emissions. It would also free up the roads from congestion, which is a major issue in many cities, particularly in the Dublin suburbs where I come from. Yesterday, it took me about an hour and 15 minutes to get home to Blanchardstown and other people have a longer daily commute. The Government's proposal largely contains punitive measures such as higher car parking charges for vehicles with higher emissions, but not everyone has the money or the wherewithal to switch to lower vehicular use and we do not have the public transport to allow people to get out of their cars. That is the reality. As I have noted previously, there are 110,000 people in Blanchardstown but there is no Luas or metro connection to the area, which is bus dependent. A rail line serves some of the area but it is inaccessible for most people and the industrial areas.

We probably need more than one session on this matter if the committee is serious about contributing to tackling the global emergency that has now been recognised by young people and in the recent election. We should consider this and there are cities we can look at and expert witnesses we could invite. Tallinn in Estonia, Dunkirk in France, Luxembourg and many cities in Poland all have free public transport. I ask members to support that idea and to put together proposals.

It is a good idea and I presume members will agree. Will the Deputy speak to the clerk to the committee and arrange dates?

It may have to be after the recess as our schedule is pretty full.

On the point the Deputy raised, I spoke informally to the National Transport Authority, NTA, and suggested that a committee delegation should visit some of those cities to observe best practice in this area and to see how it works. As part of our deliberations, we can return to that next week.

It would require investment.

Of course.

If everyone was to get out of their cars tomorrow, we would not be-----

The Deputy might suggest to the clerk to the committee the witnesses she would like to appear before the committee.

We will go ahead with that and add those to the committee's work programme. Is that agreed? Agreed.

No. 2019/484 is an email from Deputy Eamon Ryan requesting that Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, be invited to appear before the committee.

This is on foot of a request from colleagues in the areas Deputy Coppinger spoke about who are suffering significantly from air and noise pollution but the air pollution issue is increasingly significant. I request that officials from TII would appear before the committee for us to investigate that issue. It would be a worthwhile use of the committee's time.

That is the TII.

That is right.

That is a specific agenda item.

That is fine.

We will add that to our list of meetings. It might be the autumn before we get to that but the Deputy would be happy with that.

Is that agreed? Agreed.