Climate Change Policy

Questions (434, 435)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

434. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the implications of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, report SR15, which shows that in order to have a good chance of keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius, the EU would need to substantially increase climate action; if the Government will support proposed higher EU targets for 2030 without seeking special favours or exemptions at the European Council on 9 May 2019 in Sibiu; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52186/18]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

435. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on whether Ireland’s commitment to the Paris Agreement requires far higher emission reduction rates than acknowledged by a group (details supplied) and the long-term resilience reports; his further views on whether rapid fossil fuel phase-out would deliver greater energy security and greater economic and social resilience; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52187/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 434 and 435 together.

Addressing climate change, whether through decarbonisation of our economy, or preparing to adapt to the impacts of climate change, is one of the most significant challenges of this century. The publication on 8 October of the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 C confirms the absolute urgency of achieving deep cuts in our greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.

Ireland has fully supported the level of ambition in recent negotiations to reform the EU ETS and to put in place Member State targets for non-ETS sectors under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation. Ireland also continues to support high ambition in on-going negotiations at EU level in relation to emissions standards for both Light- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. I consider it essential that the EU seeks high ambition in all of its sectorial policies and targets for 2030, which will be essential in supporting individual Member States to achieve their respective targets under the Effort Sharing Regulation and may enable the EU as a whole to achieve emissions reductions by 2030 in excess of the 40% reduction on 1990 levels already committed to by the European Council.

Ireland supports strong EU ambition in order to contribute to the Paris Agreement objectives. It is vital that the EU long-term strategy to be adopted on foot of the European Commission’s recent proposals can be delivered collectively by the EU in the most cost-effective manner possible, with all Member States participating in this effort, balancing considerations of fairness, cost-effectiveness and solidarity. In Ireland’s case, any revision to interim targets for 2030 would also need to take into account our specific socio-economic circumstances, including our large agriculture sector, light industrial base, small ETS sector, and dispersed settlement patterns. 

I have recently secured Government approval to prepare an All of Government Plan which will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. I will work with colleagues across Government to develop new initiatives across electricity, transport, heat, agriculture and other relevant sectors. The new plan will have a strong focus on implementation, including actions with clear timelines and steps needed to achieve each action, assigning clear lines of responsibility for delivery. The new plan will also be informed by successful approaches in other countries, where such approaches could be adapted for implementation in Ireland. This Plan will build on the previous actions taken by Government, including in the National Mitigation Plan and the National Development Plan, and is to be completed by the end of February 2019.

Consultancy Contracts Expenditure

Questions (436)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

436. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount paid to a company (details supplied) for its reporting and consultancy in the context of works carried out regarding the national broadband plan, NBP, and the metropolitan area networks, MANs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52216/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In considering whether to extend the existing agreements or retender for a new concessionaire at the end of the term of the Concession Agreements, a detailed review of the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) was undertaken by my Department in 2016.  Subsequently, my Department engaged Norcontel Consultants following a procurement process to undertake an external review of the financial aspects of extending or re-tendering the Concession Agreements.  Norcontel Consultants was paid €28,228 (incl VAT) in respect of this advice.  

Norcontel Consultants was not engaged as consultants on the National Broadband Plan.

Marine Safety

Questions (437, 438, 453, 454)

Pat Casey

Question:

437. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will raise matters concerning a fishing vessel (details supplied) with his German counterpart in view of errors in a stability book issued by a German classification society; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51924/18]

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Pat Casey

Question:

438. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has raised issues concerning a fishing boat (details supplied) with his German counterpart; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51927/18]

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Pat Casey

Question:

453. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the Marine Survey Office advised the committee on safe seas of possible dangers that nine fishing boats registered under EU flags may have the same or similar stability issues as an Irish fishing boat (details supplied); if the Marine Survey Office ascertained if the member states affected had been advised of same; if so, the remedial action the member states involved took in relation to these EU-registered fishing boats; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51925/18]

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Pat Casey

Question:

454. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the Marine Survey Office did not follow up on a matter (details supplied) with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51926/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 437, 438, 453 and 454 together.

The Marine Survey Office (MSO) in my Department acts in the capacity of Safety Regulator for the maritime industry.

When the owner of the vessel in question sought to operate under the Irish Flag, the MSO became aware of serious safety issues relating to the stability of the vessel. Ireland has a national safety regime for such fishing vessels which is based on the Torremolinos Convention and EU Directive 97/70, as amended.

The registration process of another State does not come under the remit of this Department. However to ensure compliance with the relevant maritime safety regime, Ireland raised a safety alert in 2013 with the Committee on Safe Seas (COSS) which  deals with EU maritime matters  and also brought it to the attention of the European Commission. The net point of that alert was that there was likely a number of other similar sister vessels across the EU which would pose similar safety based risks.  I am aware that the European Commission communicated this risk to other relevant Member States and also attempted to secure some clarification with parties involved with the initial testing of the vessel.

Rural Transport Programme Funding

Questions (439)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

439. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if rural transport programme funding will be ring-fenced after 31 December 2018 to ensure that a full service (details supplied) can continue into the future; if additional routes will be added in rural County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51691/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) which now operates under the Local Link brand.

As the Deputy will be aware, following my engagement with key stakeholders last year, I tasked the NTA to examine how to extend existing Local Link services under the Rural Transport Programme. Subsequently, the NTA approved funding for 65 new pilot evening and late night Local Link services to operate until the end of December. The results of the trial will be assessed by the NTA and the continuation of these services will be considered in the light of those results and the availability of funding in 2019. 

I welcome the Deputy’s conversion and support for my initiative, given his previous criticism.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities regarding Local Link, including the development of new services, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Cycling Facilities Provision

Questions (440, 441)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

440. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the engagement that has taken place between Cork City Council and the NTA on the expansion of the public bike scheme. [51766/18]

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Seán Sherlock

Question:

441. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to fund the expansion of the public bike scheme in County Cork in 2019. [51767/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 440 and 441 together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to cycle and public transport infrastructure. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport, including the expansion of public bike schemes. 

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Public Transport Fares

Questions (442, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459)

Bríd Smith

Question:

442. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of increases and changes in Dublin Bus cash and card including Leap fares each year since 2008, in tabular form; and the details of increases and changes in Luas cash and card including Leap card fares since 2008, in tabular form. [51770/18]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

455. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amounts by which weekly, monthly and yearly train tickets have increased in 2018 for persons travelling from Newbridge, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51933/18]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

456. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amounts by which weekly, monthly and yearly train tickets have increased in 2018 for persons travelling from Kildare town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51934/18]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

457. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amounts by which weekly, monthly and yearly train tickets have increased in 2018 for persons travelling from Monasterevin, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51935/18]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

458. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amounts by which weekly, monthly and yearly train tickets have increased in 2018 for persons travelling from Athy, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51936/18]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

459. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amounts by which weekly, monthly and yearly train tickets have increased by in 2018 for persons travelling from Portarlington, County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51937/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 442 and 455 to 459, inclusive, together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  The National Transport Authority (NTA) has the statutory responsibility for the regulation of fares in relation to public passenger transport services. I have therefore referred the Deputies questions to the NTA for reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (443)

Mary Butler

Question:

443. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the outcome of an application for funding under the sports capital programme for a club (details supplied) will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51776/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme opened for applications on Friday 7 September and the application period closed on Friday 19th October.  By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. 

I can confirm that an application has been submitted by the organisation referred to by the Deputy. 

For the first time, applicants who have submitted incorrect documentation under this round will be given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a number of months to have all applications assessed. Accordingly, I expect that it will be at least the second quarter of next year before the full set of allocations under this current round of the programme are announced.

Road Traffic Legislation

Questions (444)

Robert Troy

Question:

444. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration has been given to bringing forward legislation to clarify the legal status of scooters; and if the parameters for their safe usage will be set out. [51826/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Vehicles such as electric scooters fall within the legal definition of a mechanically propelled vehicle.  As such, they are required to comply with road traffic law and with the rules of the road.

However, I have asked my officials to engage with the various key stakeholders in order to examine whether the current legislation, which dates back to 1961, is still relevant today. 

Railway Stations

Questions (445)

Robert Troy

Question:

445. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if ongoing space issues at Dublin Connolly station will be examined; and the timeline for ameliorating these issues. [51827/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for the Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Road Traffic Legislation

Questions (446)

Robert Troy

Question:

446. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration will be given to bringing forward legislation to permit the use of cameras to enforce legislation with regard to the use of bus and cycle lanes. [51828/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

For the purposes of enforcing road traffic legislative requirements, there is already provision in the Road Traffic Acts for the use of cameras as an aid to such enforcement.  Under section 81 of the Road Traffic Act 2010, electronic apparatus, including cameras, may be used to provide evidence in relation to offences under a number of the provisions of the Road Traffic Acts.  Section 35 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 is one such provision, under which the Traffic and Parking Regulations are made and which set out the requirements governing use of bus lanes and cycle tracks. Section 81 provides the vires for the use of cameras and other electronic apparatus to be used to provide evidence in relation to these offences.

Public Transport Fares

Questions (447)

Robert Troy

Question:

447. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration has been given to introducing contactless payment methods on buses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51829/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Deputy is likely aware that consideration of fares and ticketing systems forms an integral part of the BusConnects programme as provided for in the National Development Plan and which is being implemented by the National Transport Authority (NTA), in  line with their statutory functions.

Noting their responsibility in relation to this matter, I have forwarded the Deputy's query to the NTA for their consideration and direct reply.  Please notify my office if you have not received a reply within 10 working days. 

Bus Éireann Fleet

Questions (448)

Robert Troy

Question:

448. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the percentage of Bus Éireann buses that facilitate Leap card payments. [51830/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (449)

Robert Troy

Question:

449. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the purpose of the new accessibility application that will be provided for users of public transport; and the services they will be able to access through same. [51831/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

While all new trains and new train stations are accessible from the design stage, many of the older stations on the rail network date from the 19th century and were not accessible for people with disabilities. Under the Accessibility Retro-fit programme, these stations are progressively being made accessible.

As part of this work, I provided additional funding in September of this year for the development a new accessibility app to address some of the key communication breakdowns that occur when providing assistance to persons with disabilities travelling on the Irish Rail network. The technology will allow people to pre-book a journey that confirms they will have Operative assistance at their departure and arrival stations, and provide them with support in an emergency.

Earlier this month I announced that further funding is being provided for the second phase of this project. Irish Rail intends to roll out the Accessibility App initially on DART services and then onto commuter services.

Irish Rail are currently looking for volunteers who have mobility and vision impairments and who are regular DART users, to become part of a research panel which will include live testing of a prototype of the app. Details can be found at http://www.irishrail.ie/access-dart-app or by contacting by calling (01) 703 4837 or by emailing accesspilot@irishrail.ie

I would encourage those who would benefit from this technology to volunteer for the research panel so that they can provide the necessary feedback and input to ensure the app meets their needs.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (450)

Robert Troy

Question:

450. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the percentage and number of public bus stops that are wheelchair accessible by county. [51832/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  The NTA has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure including the provision of wheelchair accessible bus stops. 

Noting the NTA's responsibility in this matter I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Bus Services

Questions (451)

Robert Troy

Question:

451. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he will take to ensure that rental tenants will be part of the new community forums being established by the National Transport Authority, NTA, to work through BusConnect proposals. [51833/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the provision of bus related infrastructure in the State, including the Bus Connects initiative.

Noting their responsibility in relation to this matter, I have forwarded your query to the NTA for their consideration and direct reply.  Please advise my office if you have not received a reply within 10 working days. 

Brexit Issues

Questions (452)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

452. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has formally met with his UK counterpart to discuss Brexit and its impact on east-west trade reciprocal arrangements and all other Brexit-related matters that fall within the remit of his Department; the number of times they have formally met to discuss Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51895/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I have met individually with my UK counterpart, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling on Brexit matters on three occasions over the past 20 months.

I met the Secretary of State at my request in London on 26 May 2017 to discuss the transport implications of Brexit. I met him, again at my request, on the margins of Transport Council in Brussels on 5 December 2017, and most recently, at the Secretary of State’s request, I met him in Dublin on 8 November 2018.

In relation to the most recent meeting, the parameters of the discussion were clearly communicated to the Secretary of State in advance, in particular the need to  fully respect the mandate of the EU’s Chief Negotiator in negotiating for the MS27 and that the discussion could not stray into the area of negotiations.

At that meeting of 8 November, the Secretary of State Grayling outlined the key areas of concern for the UK in relation to transport.  For my part, I set out the importance of continued transport connectivity between Ireland and the UK, including in relation to ports, aviation, road transport, and cross-border rail.  I stressed the importance of finalising the Withdrawal Agreement, highlighted the importance of the UK landbridge for Ireland as a route to European markets, and the need for Irish trade to move efficiently through ports.    

I stressed that as regards the future EU-UK relationship, Ireland wants to see the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK, across a range of areas including transport. At the same time, I re-iterated the importance of preserving the integrity of the EU’s Single Market and that the EU’s regulatory autonomy is respected.