Climate Change Policy

Questions (1054)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

1054. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the draft of the integrated national energy and climate plan will be updated prior to the EU end of year deadline to reflect cross-party recommendations and commitments from the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action and include new actions from his forthcoming all-of-Government climate plan. [14177/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The preparation of a consolidated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) is a requirement under the Governance Regulation of the Energy Union and Climate Action which brings together for the first time energy and climate planning and reporting requirements into a single national reporting framework.

Member States were given a template for the Plan as part of the Regulation and had to submit a first draft of the plan to the Commission by 31 December 2018 with the final plan to be submitted by 31 December this year.

As the deputy is aware projections indicate that Ireland will be far off target for emissions in 2020. The government is determined to address this and have asked me to draw up a whole of government action plan with the aim of getting back on track.

This plan will build upon the measures set out in the National Development Plan published by Government in March 2018.

I will also take into account the important work of;

- The Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action and its deliberations on the report of the Citizens’ Assembly entitled ‘How the State can make Ireland a Leader in tackling Climate Change’;

- Input from the Climate Change Advisory Council;

- Input from the public consultation on the initial draft National Energy and Climate Plan;

- Updated analytical input from Government Departments, ESRI, CSO, SEAI, EPA, Teagasc and other Government bodies

It is intended that new commitments and initiatives will be included in the All of Government Climate Action Plan which will in turn inform the finalisation of the NECP during the course of 2019.

Postal Services

Questions (1055)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

1055. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the financial supports given to An Post in each of the years 2010 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14230/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government made €30m available in State funding to An Post in 2017 to support the renewal of the post office network (€15m) and the continued fulfilment of a 5 day per week mails delivery service (€15m). As An Post is a commercial State body, this support was provided by way of a loan.

In 2018, Government funding of €80,000 was allocated for the ‘Digital Assist’ pilot scheme, which sees postmasters in ten rural post offices assisting the public with online Government transactions.

No other financial supports have been provided in the timeframe specified by the Deputy.

Coast Guard Services

Questions (1056)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1056. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason voluntary rescue services have been informed they are unable to use blue flashing lights and sirens in emergencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12737/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

There is no change in the policy in relation to use of blue lights and sirens on Coast Guard vehicles. Under SI 694 and 695 of 2011, Coast Guard vehicles can be fitted with blue lights and warning devices. Arising from a safety review internally, the Coast Guard issued a clarification to its volunteers in relation to how these blue lights and warning devices (sirens) should be used on public roads. This instruction sets out the existing position as regards their use while driving on public roads. The IRCG is committed to providing appropriate training to its volunteers and full-time staff in the correct and safe use of Blue Lights and sirens.

Any legislative changes in relation to the use of blue lights and sirens would require a policy assessment which would have to take account, inter alia, of the need to balance the safety of staff, whether full-time or voluntary, members of the public as well as those to whom the Coast Guard is responding.

EU Directives

Questions (1057)

Robert Troy

Question:

1057. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he is taking to ensure that Ireland meets its compliance requirements under EU Directive 2015/413/EU. [13265/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Directive in question, which is commonly referred to as the Cross Border Exchange Directive, relates to sharing of vehicle registration information between EU Member States in order to address certain road traffic offences.

I transposed the necessary legislation into national law in 2017. The required technical measures to link into the EU-wide system were also put in place by my Department. It is a matter for An Garda Síochána, should they so wish, to make requests through the system for information from other Member States.

I understand that to date An Garda Síochána have not used the system, and no requests have issued to Ireland through the system for information from other Member States.

The Directive also requires Member States to report to the EU Commission on the number of outgoing requests made under the system, the types of offences involved, and the type of follow-up action taken. As there was no request made there was nothing to report. This raised a technical question as to whether a report specifying that there was nothing to report was required.

The EU Commission took the view that, even in cases where there was nothing to report, a formal report stating that fact should be provided to them. As Ireland had not provided such report within the required timeframe, the EU initiated infringement proceedings earlier this year. My Department subsequently provided the Commission with the necessary report - inevitably a simple statement that there was nothing to report - and the Commission has now indicated that it will be discontinuing the infringement proceedings.

Motor Tax

Questions (1058)

Seán Fleming

Question:

1058. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated additional revenue that would be generated if the motor tax band F increased from €1,200 to €1,360; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14150/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Based on the number of vehicles (5,770) under current taxation in CO2 Band F at the end of February 2019, the estimated additional revenue from the increase proposed would be €923,200 in a full year, based on the annual rate of motor tax.

Rail Services Data

Questions (1059, 1061, 1062, 1074, 1136, 1137)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

1059. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of tenders received by the National Transport Authority for the provision of pre-owned diesel multiple unit vehicles for passenger operation on the Irish Rail network through lease or purchase by the closing date for receipt of tenders of 26 February 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12710/19]

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Robert Troy

Question:

1061. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of additional rail carriages that have been purchased in each year since 2016; and the number of additional rail carriages that will be delivered in the next ten years. [12717/19]

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Robert Troy

Question:

1062. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the date by which additional rail carriages will be delivered for the DART and Intercity services, respectively. [12718/19]

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Frank O'Rourke

Question:

1074. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the purchase of new carriages to provide additional capacity on the Kildare rail line, Hazelhatch and Sallins to Dublin and the Maynooth rail line to Dublin; if consideration has been given to leasing rail carriages in the interim period to alleviate the overcrowding situation on these commuter rail lines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13022/19]

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Robert Troy

Question:

1136. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the process to acquire, either through lease, purchase or another arrangement, additional carriages for the DART fleet; the date by which contracts will be awarded for these acquisitions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14057/19]

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Robert Troy

Question:

1137. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the process to acquire, either through lease, purchase or another arrangement, additional carriages for the Irish Rail intercity and commuter services fleet; the date by which contracts will be awarded for these acquisitions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14058/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1059, 1061, 1062, 1074, 1136 and 1137 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 responsibility for ensuring the development and delivery of public transport infrastructure including the purchase of rail fleet.

In light of the NTA's responsibility on this matter, I have referred the Deputy's questions to the NTA for a detailed direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Rail Network Maintenance

Questions Nos. 1061 and 1062 answered with Question No. 1059.

Questions (1060)

Robert Troy

Question:

1060. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the IMMAC heavy rail programme; the details of expenditure under the programme since 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12716/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the IMMAC (Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract) provides the funding framework for the maintenance and renewal of our railway infrastructure and is a requirement under both EU and Irish legislation. It is a contractual agreement between the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Iarnród Éireann, in its designated role as Infrastructure Manager of the railway.

The IMMAC is funded through two principal sources -

1. a direct Exchequer contribution, which is managed by my Department, and

2. access charges which must be paid by all railway undertakings that make use of the railway infrastructure in accordance with EU and Irish law.

The European Union (Regulation of Railways) Regulations 2015 stipulate that the Commission for Rail Regulation is the independent monitoring body responsible for monitoring the performance of the Infrastructure Manager in relation to its contractual obligations.

IMMAC expenditure levels, including the annual Exchequer contribution, in each year since 2014 are provided in the table below:

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total IMMAC Expenditure

€191.2m

€205.3m

€213.4m

€254.9m

€247.8m

Exchequer contribution

€140.5m

€144.2m

€134m

€158.8m

€160m

While a new IMMAC is currently being finalised to provide for the next multi-annual period to 2023, I can inform the Deputy that the increases I secured in Budget 2019 mean that the Exchequer contribution will increase this year to approximately €200 million.

I can also inform the Deputy that the steady state funding requirement (as measured on an annualised basis) is now met for 2019 and that represents significant, and very welcome, progress in terms of the overall funding of the network.

As part of the finalisation of the new IMMAC 2019 to 2023, a review has been completed and a report is being finalised in relation to the last contractual period (2014 to 2018). I will publish the final report in due course. It contains a detailed overview of all expenditure, outputs and outcomes over the contractual period.

Questions Nos. 1061 and 1062 answered with Question No. 1059.

Rail Network

Questions (1063)

Robert Troy

Question:

1063. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the heavy rail enhancement programme; the planned expenditure under the programme over the coming years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12719/19]

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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 development and implementation of public transport including the heavy rail enhancement programme which, as the Deputy is aware, comprises funding through the NTA to Iarnród Éireann in relation to a number of rail projects.

Noting their responsibility in relation to this matter, I have forwarded your 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.

Cycling Facilities Funding

Questions (1064)

Robert Troy

Question:

1064. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of planned investment in cycling infrastructure in each year of the next five years. [12720/19]

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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 to secure or provide cycling infrastructure in relation to cycling facilities and schemes to promote cycling.

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

Railway Stations Upgrade

Questions (1065)

Robert Troy

Question:

1065. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the commitment to reroof Pearse Station. [12721/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) including the Pearse Station re-roofing project which has already commenced.

In light of the NTA's responsibility in the project referred to by the Deputy, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Projects Expenditure

Questions (1066)

Robert Troy

Question:

1066. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount that has been provided in roads funding to each county in the past four years in tabular form. [12722/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and operation of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply in relation to national roads. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Details of the regional and local road grant payments to local authorities are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Dáil Library. Details of the 2019 regional and local road grant allocations are also available in the Dáil library.

Public Transport Fares

Questions (1067)

Robert Troy

Question:

1067. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of efforts to introduce credit and debit card ticketing on State transport operators. [12723/19]

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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 planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including ticketing technology.

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

Driver Licences

Questions (1068)

Robert Troy

Question:

1068. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the Irish driver licences in Northern Ireland post Brexit; if licences issued here remain valid; and if driver insurance will remain valid while driving in Northern Ireland under an Irish licence. [12727/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

An Irish driving licence is an EU driving licence and the UK has indicated it will continue to recognise EU driving licences.

In a no-deal scenario, drivers of vehicles from Northern Ireland and the UK will be required when entering Ireland to carry with them as proof of insurance a green card and vice versa unless the UK is granted an exemption by the EU Commission.

Unless the Commission indicates that it will provide the exemption referred to above, insurance companies will soon commence the printing of green cards for customers for 2019. We will continue to raise this matter with the Commission.

Motor Tax

Questions (1069)

Joe Carey

Question:

1069. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way in which a person can retrospectively apply for a refund of road tax due to the longer than anticipated illness of an owner when the vehicle could not be used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12812/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing)(Amendment) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 385 of 1992) provide for the making of refunds of motor tax in certain limited circumstances, including where the owner of a vehicle has ceased, because of illness, injury or other physical disability to use a vehicle. However, the Regulations also provide that the vehicle licence (motor tax disc) must be surrendered to the local motor tax office not less than three months before the expiry of the licence. They do not provide for a retrospective application for a refund.

The Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Act 2013 provides that a vehicle can be declared off the road, in advance, for any number of calendar months for a minimum period of three months and a maximum period of twelve months. Accordingly, if the owner requires that the vehicle be kept off the road for a further period following the expiry of the tax disc, he or she should make a declaration of non-use in the last month of an existing tax disc, thus avoiding a liability for motor tax. The declaration can be made online at www.motortax.ie or through the local motor tax office.

Road Tolls

Questions (1070)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

1070. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether the level of tolling of the M3 motorway is excessive and discourages motorists to use the motorway; and his further views on whether the two tolls are a barrier for trade and development in north County Meath. [12823/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and operation of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Therefore, matters relating to the day to day operations regarding national roads, including toll roads and the establishment of a system of tolls, are fully under the remit of TII. More specifically, the statutory power to levy tolls, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into agreements with private investors are vested in TII under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended).

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Public Transport Fares

Questions (1071)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

1071. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if Leap cards are usable in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12843/19]

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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 development and implementation of public transport infrastructure, including development of the Leap Card.

Noting their responsibility in relation to this matter, I have forwarded your 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.

Railway Stations

Questions (1072)

Jack Chambers

Question:

1072. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the planned train station for Pelletstown and Ashington, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12859/19]

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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 in the Greater Dublin Area, including the provision of a new train station at Pelletstown/Ashington on the Maynooth rail line.

Noting the NTA's responsibilities in the matter raised, 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.

Local Authority Staff

Question No. 1074 answered with Question No. 1059.

Questions (1073)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1073. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of cycling officers in each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12906/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

In line with the objectives of the National Cycle Policy Framework my Department works closely with local authorities in relation to relevant matters, particularly in relation to cycling promotional activities such as Bike Week.

In that regard my Department works with designated officials in all 31 local authorities in co-ordinating activities and allocating funding to support the work of the local authorities in promoting Bike Week and that work is currently underway in relation to Bike Week 2019.

My Department is also exploring opportunities to bring together designated local authority officials as part of Velo City 2019, a major international cycling conference to be hosted in June by Dublin City Council with support from my Department, in order to explore international best practice examples in the area of cycling promotion and infrastructure provision.

The formal designation and/or employment of officials within local authorities is a matter for each individual local authority as the responsible employer; however, as the Deputy can see there is a network of officials across all local authorities who work with my Department on relevant matters.

Question No. 1074 answered with Question No. 1059.