Energy Schemes

Questions (507, 508)

John Curran

Question:

507. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the evaluation of the warmth and well-being scheme will completed by SEAI, the HSE and an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16681/19]

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John Curran

Question:

508. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to expand the warmth and well-being scheme; the number of homes expected to be upgraded in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16682/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 507 and 508 together.

The Warmth & Wellbeing Scheme is a joint policy initiative between my Department and the Department of Health under the Government’s Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty and the Healthy Ireland Framework. The main aim of the Scheme is to validate, in an Irish context, the strong international evidence that making homes warmer, drier and more energy efficient can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with chronic respiratory conditions. The Scheme is being delivered by a team comprising officials from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Health Service Executive (HSE). A total of €20m was invested between 2016 and 2018 resulting in upgrades to almost 900 homes. It is expected that 280 houses will be upgraded in 2019.

The process of evaluating the Scheme is ongoing and is being overseen by a Steering Group comprised of my Department, the Department of Health, SEAI and HSE. Initial reports from the HSE have indicated that the upgrades are delivering benefits to the health and wellbeing of participants. Results from the energy aspects of the Scheme has shown that the average Building Energy Rating of participating homes improved from a D2 to a B3 with carbon emissions reducing by on average 2.2 t CO2/year.

It is expected that the full interim evaluation of the Scheme being undertaken by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will be completed in Q3 this year with the final evaluation scheduled for completion in 2021. The interim report will inform decisions in relation to the future expansion of the Scheme.

Energy Efficiency

Questions (509, 510, 511)

John Curran

Question:

509. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of schools scheduled to benefit from the energy efficiency programme for schools as part of the major programme of retrofits scheduled to commence in 2022, as outlined in Project Ireland 2040; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16683/19]

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John Curran

Question:

510. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the criteria for schools to be chosen as part of the energy efficiency upgrade pilot programme for schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16684/19]

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John Curran

Question:

511. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the schools scheduled to benefit from the energy efficiency upgrade programme in each of the years 2020 to 2022, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16685/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 509 to 511, inclusive, together.

The aim of the Energy Efficiency Pathfinder Programme for Schools is to pilot, explore, refine and evolve approaches to upgrade the energy efficiency of existing school buildings through retrofit. The project is a partnership between my Department, the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

A total of 16 schools were retrofitted during 2017 and 2018. This resulted in energy savings totalling 1.6 GWh and a CO2 reduction of 334 tonnes. At the local level, reductions in energy usage of 30% were achieved in some buildings with improvements to the learning environment and comfort also realised.

Lessons from the 2017-18 retrofits have enabled the project approach to be refined for 2019 including the introduction of a clustering model to improve efficiencies. This approach will apply to the 19 schools selected to participate in the initiative for 2019. Schools to be retrofitted for 2020 and subsequent years have not yet been selected. The number of schools that can be accommodated in the programme annually is determined by resourcing capacity available.

The selection criteria for the Programme are determined by SEAI in consultation with the Department of Education. The current criteria requires that schools: (i) participate in the Energy in Education training programme; (ii) comply with annual Monitoring and Reporting requirements; and (iii) are suitable in terms of building location, age, type, replicability and potential retrofit approaches.

The Programme will continue to develop and refine approaches to enable the scale up of retrofit works in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) capital funding programme. A total of €2.5bn is identified in the NDP for the refurbishment and construction of schools including a commitment to undertake a “deep energy retrofit of schools built prior to 2008”. The lessons from the Partnership Pathfinder Programme will inform the retrofit approach to be taken on this larger scale. The number of schools to benefit from the Energy Efficiency Programme for Schools as part of the major programme of retrofits scheduled to commence in 2022 will be a matter for the Department of Education.

Litter Pollution Fines

Questions (512)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

512. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the full range of maximum penalties applying to different categories of littering and dumping. [16764/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Penalties for litter offences are provided for under the Litter Pollution Act, as amended, while penalties for dumping offences are provided for under the Waste Management Acts. Local Authorities are responsible for the enforcement of legislation governing litter offences and also waste legislation, including illegal dumping. The Office of Environmental Enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also has certain powers, managing environmental regulation, and prosecutions for breaches of licenses issued by them. An "on-the-spot" fine of €150 may be imposed by local authorities for littering offences. More serious offences may be prosecuted in Court and fines of up to €4,000 and up to €130,000 apply on summary conviction and conviction on indictment respectively. In addition, the fines for continuing littering offences are a maximum of €1,000 per day for summary offences and €10,000 per day for indictable offences.

A person convicted of a litter offence may also be required by the Court to pay the Local Authority’s costs and expenses in investigating the offence and bringing the prosecution, as well as the costs of remediation. Illegal dumping penalties are also substantial. Persons who are found to be responsible for, or involved in, the unauthorised disposal of waste are liable to a Class A fine (maximum €5,000) on summary conviction and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, and to a maximum fine of €15 million on conviction on indictment and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Ports Policy

Questions (513)

James Browne

Question:

513. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has discussed the ownership of Rosslare Europort with his UK counterpart. [16504/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I refer the Deputy to PQ 9439/19  Dail Number 446 which was answered on 2nd April 2019.

Disability Services Provision

Questions (514, 515, 516)

Carol Nolan

Question:

514. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures taken since 2016 to ensure that all public transport is accessible for persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16527/19]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

515. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for ensuring that accessibility to public transport for persons with disabilities is improved; and the engagement he has had with Irish Rail to ensure that all trains and train stations are accessible for persons with disabilities. [16528/19]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

516. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an audit will be carried out to assess the accessibility of train stations and trains for persons with disabilities. [16529/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 514 to 516, inclusive, together.

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

Under the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for promoting the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Road Projects Expenditure

Questions (517)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

517. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of the expenditure on Fintra Bridge on the R263, County Donegal in 2018; the way in which the grant of €150,000 was spent in 2018; if the entire grant approved was drawn down; the way in which the grant of €150,000 for 2019 is to be spent on the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16032/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

The grant allocated for Fintra bridge in 2018 allowed for the appointment of consultants and the preparation of a preliminary project appraisal.  A total of €35,572 was drawn down.

The 2019 grant allocation for Fintra bridge will allow a detailed project appraisal to be undertaken including the examination of alternative route options.

Road Safety Authority Staff

Questions (518)

Peter Burke

Question:

518. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the case of an employee (details supplied) of the RSA will be referred to the RSA for examination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16057/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

Rural Transport Services Provision

Questions (519)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

519. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the consideration being given to proposals from the National Transport Authority for the establishment of a support scheme to provide grant aid to taxi and hackney licence holders in order to address gaps in service provision in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16066/19]

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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 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 which now operates under the Local Link brand.

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is also a matter for the NTA under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, I have referred 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.

Driver Licensing Exchange Agreements

Questions (520)

Mary Butler

Question:

520. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a person who works abroad as an aid worker can use an Ethiopian driver licence when they return here on annual leave to visit their family; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16068/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Convention on Road Traffic 1949 (Geneva Convention), allows drivers from Contracting States carrying a valid driver’s licence to drive on each other’s roads for up to a year.  Ethiopia is not a signatory to the Convention, therefore it is not possible for a person visiting Ireland to drive in Ireland on an Ethiopian driving licence.

Road Safety Authority Campaigns

Questions (521)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

521. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has liaised with the RSA about strong and pervasive road safety campaigns focusing on speeding and respect for local authority and NTA speed-limit signs in view of the level of road casualties to date in 2019; if his attention has been drawn to the key role of speed in virtually every crash; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16080/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Road Safety Authority has statutory responsibility for road safety awareness and education.  It runs public information campaigns constantly to heighten awareness of key factors in road safety, including speeding.

The Authority's current anti-speeding campaign focuses on the consequences of breaking the speed limit by lower amounts.   The advert is set in an urban area, and is designed to remind drivers that even a small increase in speed can have the most devastating of consequences. 

A pedestrian who is hit by a car travelling at 50 km/h has a 50% chance of survival; at 60 km/h that chance drops to just 10%.  In fact, regardless of the cause of a collision, it is speed which determines the outcome.

The RSA has also been active in promoting the greater implementation of 30 km/h speed limits in built up areas, and has brought a speaker from the UK's "20 is Plenty" campaign to speak to local city and county councillors on this issue.

The RSA will also continue to support an Garda Síochána in the two national slowdown days it promotes every year, in May and October, with both radio messaging and the use of social media. 

Rural Transport Services

Questions (522)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

522. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if there is a rural grant scheme in place to assist persons with a rural hackney licence service in their first year in business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16098/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

While there are a number of grant schemes in place in relation to small public service vehicles, I am not aware of a specific grant scheme for rural hackney licence services in the first year of business. 

The regulation of the small public service vehicle industry, including rural hackney licences, is a matter for the National Transport Authority under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

With this in mind, I have referred your question to the Authority for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Driver Licensing Exchange Agreements

Questions (523)

Tom Neville

Question:

523. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a person with an English driver licence who applies for conversion to an Irish driver licence will be automatically converted to drive each vehicle licensed on the English licence under the new Irish licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16137/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

There are a number of situations where a person exchanging a UK driving licence might not get all the categories carried forward to the Irish licence.

Under EU law, an application for a truck or bus licence (categories C's and D's) must be accompanied by a completed medical report. If a person with the relevant truck or bus category on their UK licence attends at a National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) Centre without the relevant medical report, they will be given the option to sign a form stating that they do not wish the categories to be exchanged. The applicant can request the categories be re-instated on their Irish licence by presenting a medical report.

Some UK categories known as ‘National Categories’ [similar to our W tractor category] only apply in the UK and they are not exchangeable. For example, in the UK if you passed your test for category B (car) before 1 January 1997, your licence would show entitlement to C1 and C1E (trucks) and D1 and D1E (bus) categories. These categories are given with restrictions identified by codes.

The C1E category with a restriction code 107 on it entitles the driver to drive a C1E vehicle provided the combined weight of the trailer and the towing vehicle does not exceed 8.25 tonnes/kg. In Ireland the combined weight of the C1E is 12 tonne/kg. Therefore we do not have an equivalent to exchange this category for. The D1 and D1E categories with a restriction code 119 on it only allows the driver to drive a vehicle not for hire or reward. We do not have the corresponding category so cannot exchange it. Code 107 and 119 are UK codes and are not available in Ireland.

Roads Maintenance Funding

Questions (524)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

524. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16192/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

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

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

Special Olympics World Games

Questions (525)

Robert Troy

Question:

525. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the level of annual funding which is provided to an organisation (details supplied); if funding will be increased in forthcoming budgets; and if a fund to help the family of athletes to travel to the Special Olympics World Games will be established. [16196/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport, increasing participation at all levels and raising standards. This includes responsibility for the allocation of funding across its various programmes.

As the Deputy's question relates to funding for a sporting organisation, I have referred it to Sport Ireland for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.