Local Authority Funding

Questions (1536)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

1536. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the level of funding provided to Mayo County Council for green initiatives projects in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36338/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Funding is provided by my Department to Local Authorities on a range of green initiatives, including the Anti-litter and Graffiti Initiative, Anti-dumping Initiative and the Community Environment Action Fund. Funding has been provided to Mayo County Council under each of these initiatives during 2019.

In relation to the Anti-litter and Graffiti Initiative, I recently announced national funding of €771,500 for 2019. Mayo County Council has been allocated €20,000 from this fund to promote greater public awareness and education in relation to litter and graffiti, with a particular focus on voluntary initiatives by community and environmental groups, and on involving schools and young people in anti-litter and anti-graffiti action.

In August I announced €460,000 of funding for the Community Environment Action Fund, previously known as the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund. The Fund promotes sustainable development by assisting small-scale environmental projects at local level and is administered by Local Authorities. For 2019, Mayo County Council has received an allocation of €13,800 from this Fund. Applications for funding opened on 21 August and will be accepted by Local Authorities until Friday, 27 September 2019. For 2019, priority is being given to projects with a climate or biodiversity focus.

In relation to the Anti-Dumping Initiative, a national allocation of €3 million is being made available this year which will support over 280 projects across the country. The primary focus of this initiative is to identify high risk or problem areas, develop appropriate enforcement responses and carry out clean-up operations in partnership with Local Authorities and community organisations. Mayo County Council has been allocated €121,960 this year under this initiative.

Postal Codes

Questions (1537)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1537. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if an Eircode postcode will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36390/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Eircodes are assigned to new property addresses using a valid postal address and verified geo-locations. An Post collects information on new and existing buildings, as well as changes to existing addresses and Ordnance Survey Ireland provides the geo-locations for these buildings. An Post GeoDirectory issue a new release of the GeoDirectory database file on a quarterly basis to Capita Business Support Services Ireland, trading as Eircode, in accordance with their licence agreement.

Each new postal address assigned an Eircode is published on the free to use Eircode Finder website, a notification letter is issued to the property occupant containing the Eircode of that address and an updated Eircode Database is provided to licensed businesses for their use. Eircode have informed my Department that 87,700 property addresses have been assigned an Eircode since the launch in 2015

My Department has requested Eircode to contact and liaise directly with the individual in question regarding the assignment of an Eircode for this new property.

In recognition of the fact that earlier assignment of Eircodes to new builds is desirable, my officials are working with An Post, Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi), An Post GeoDirectory and Capita to improve and expedite the existing process.

Departmental Bodies Data

Question No. 1539 answered with Question No. 1502.

Questions (1538)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

1538. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of positions on the boards of agencies and commercial State companies under the remit of his Department, in tabular form; and the quorum required for a board meeting for each agency. [36400/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table.

Name of Body

Positions on Board

Quorum for a Board Meeting

An Post

15

6

Bord na Móna

12

5

Eirgrid

10

6

ESB

12

4

RTÉ

12

7

TG4

12

7

Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA)

14

6

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI)

10

5

Irish National Petroleum Corporation (INPC)

3

3

Loughs Agency

12

6

National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA)

6

2

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

12

5

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI)

9

5

Question No. 1539 answered with Question No. 1502.

North-South Interconnector

Questions (1540)

Brendan Smith

Question:

1540. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the procurement process in respect of the proposed North-South interconnector; if procurement is proceeding and planning applications not determined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36533/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

EirGrid is the designated Transmission System Operator and its role includes the operation, maintenance and development of the electricity transmission network in Ireland. The construction of the North South Interconnector, and all related procurement activities, is an operational matter for EirGrid and ESB Networks and one in which I have no function.

I am advised that due to the very long lead times that can arise in relation to projects of this nature and the benefits of a single joint procurement process to be undertaken and managed by ESB Networks, EirGrid sought approval from the regulators in Ireland and Northern Ireland to commence procurement. Following this approval, in September 2017 ESB Networks commenced a number of procurement processes in relation to the project.

In June 2019 ESB Networks awarded a framework contract for the design, test and supply of steelwork in relation to the project. I am advised that the design and testing part of the contract will commence shortly. However under the framework there will be no supply of materials until the planning process in Northern Ireland is complete.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (1541)

Brendan Smith

Question:

1541. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the outcome of analyses at national and international level on the provision of high-speed 5G wireless internet and possible health implications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36534/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have policy responsibility for matters pertaining to public exposure to non-ionising radiation. Irish policy in this area is informed by a substantial volume of internationally recognised scientific research and evidence. This includes the guidelines set down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, ICNIRP.

These guidelines provide scientifically-based exposure limits that are applicable to both public and occupational exposure from electromagnetic fields (EMF), including 5G. ICNIRP guidelines apply up to a frequency of 300 gigahertz (GHz), well above the maximum frequencies being considered for 5G.

ComReg, the independent telecoms regulatory authority, ensures that licensed mobile operators comply with their licence conditions and do not exceed ICNIRP guidelines. ComReg carries out a Programme of Measurement of Non-Ionising Radiation (NIR) Emissions and details in this regard are available on the regulator’s website.

In 2015, the Irish Government commissioned a report by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands (RIVM). This was published in 2016 and is entitled “Electromagnetic Fields in the Irish Context”. It examined and synthesised existing peer-reviewed research into clear findings, with particular focus on the potential health effects of electric and magnetic fields arising from high voltage power lines, and electromagnetic fields from base stations for mobile communication. This report reaffirmed the overall conclusion of an earlier 2007 report, “Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields”, that there is insufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields and adverse health effects.

This is an area that is kept under review, and in this regard, I have recently assigned a new statutory function to the Environmental Protection Agency to provide general information to the public on matters pertaining to public exposure to non-ionising radiation, to monitor international scientific and technological developments and provide independent advice to my Department in this area.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Questions (1542)

Brendan Smith

Question:

1542. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the proposed national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36535/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every home, school and business in Ireland has access to high speed broadband. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment across the country, and a State intervention in those areas where commercial operators acting alone are unlikely to invest.

The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, over 75% of the 2.4 million premises in Ireland can access high speed broadband.

In May of this year I brought a recommendation to the Government to confer preferred bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process, and the Government agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

The Government Decision means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder subject to contract close and the finalisation of financial and legal requirements; this work is progressing. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. In the first year of roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations.

The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises at the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Work continues on finalising the contract and in parallel to this work, I am considering the recommendations of the Oireachtas Communications Committee report which was published recently. I will bring my deliberations on the report to Government in due course.

Departmental Staff

Questions (1543)

John Curran

Question:

1543. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the outcome of his considerations to provide additional staff in his Department in order to implement the Climate Action Plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36569/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I published the Climate Action Plan 2019 on 17 June last. The Plan sets out, for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also puts Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Plan requires a significant step up in ambition, with a target abatement range for each of the key sectors that contribute to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions: Electricity, Enterprise, Built Environment, Transport, Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use, Waste and the Circular Economy, and the Public Sector.

The Plan sets out 616 individual actions to be delivered by Government Departments, agencies and other bodies. My Department will be directly responsible for delivering 160 of these actions, across the climate, energy and waste policy sectors.

New governance arrangements are being put in place to provide effective oversight of implementation of the Plan, including:

- a Climate Action Delivery Board, jointly chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, holding individual Departments and agencies to account

- the publication of a quarterly report on the implementation of actions set out in the Plan

- a statutory basis for establishing carbon budgets with clear sectoral targets

- a strengthened Climate Action Council

- a strengthened Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action to hold the Government to account on the implementation of climate policy

My Department currently has a total of 84 staff assigned to the climate, energy and waste policy functions, across ten separate divisions. This staff complement has significant experience in developing and implementing policy at international, EU, national, regional and local levels. In addition to its own staff, the Department also has access to scientific and technical advice in agencies under its aegis to assist it in delivering the Government’s policy objectives.

Notwithstanding the resources currently available, my Department keeps its resourcing and staffing requirements under ongoing review, to ensure that it is effectively equipped to deliver the policy objectives that have been set for it by the Government, including the objectives and commitments set out in the Climate Action Plan.

Departmental Strategies

Questions (1544)

John Curran

Question:

1544. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the all-of-Government clean air strategy will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36570/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Clean Air Strategy will provide an overarching policy framework within which clean air policies can be formulated and given effect in a manner consistent with national priorities, and EU and other international policy considerations. The Strategy, which I intend to publish in the coming months, will provide the policy framework necessary to identify and promote integrated measures across Government that are required to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air, while delivering on wider national objectives.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (1545)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1545. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the involvement of his Department in an organisation (details supplied); the amount invested in same to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36644/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

A representative from the Heat and Transport Policy division in my Department has regularly attended meetings of Hydrogen Mobility Ireland (HMI). My Department engages with HMI as a policy stakeholder, providing policy context and input; however, the Department is not an author of any outputs from the group nor does it have any governance function.

Earlier this year, industry representatives from HMI were invited to attend and present at a meeting of Working Group 4 of the Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce. This working group, co-chaired by my Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, was tasked with examining the role of incentives and infrastructure in the transition of the transport fleet to alternative (non-electric) fuels. Deliberations from this Working Group are helping to inform policy development recommendations of the overall LEVTaskforce, a Report from which is expected in the coming weeks.

No financial investment has been provided to HMI by my Department.

Better Energy Homes Scheme

Questions (1546)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1546. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason low-income pensioners are precluded from availing of SEAI grants for wall insulation if they received support for attic insulation; the reason for same in view of the fact that wall insulation was not covered by the grant originally; his views on whether this is fair or reasonable for low income pensioners who struggle to afford to heat their homes; the reason a review of the scheme has not been published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36695/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households vulnerable to energy poverty. To date over 135,000 homes have received free upgrades under the scheme, leaving the occupants better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level.

The aim of the scheme is to deliver a range of energy efficiency measures in a way which represents the best possible use of Exchequer funding, focusing eligibility to those in receipt of certain payments from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, such as the Fuel Allowance, and limiting each home to one visit for an energy efficiency upgrade.

Last year, the measures provided under the scheme were extended to include external and internal wall insulation. Subject to survey by SEAI and assessment of potential for improved energy performance, the scheme can, in certain circumstances, include internal or external wall insulation. This permits the upgrade of more property types such as homes with solid walls, and also increases the energy savings and emissions reductions that the scheme can achieve and will also enable future fuel switching.

Demand for the scheme is extremely high, reflecting the shift to deeper measures, and is impacted by longer delivery times associated with these types of works and the available budget. The homeowners on this waiting list have never received any form of free upgrade from SEAI under the scheme.

The Climate Action Plan commits to reviewing ways to improve how current energy poverty schemes target those most in need. This review is underway and will consider the issue of revisits for additional works.

Waste Management

Questions (1547)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1547. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the funding provided in 2019 for the anti-dumping initiative. [36706/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

In recognition of the impact of illegal dumping on communities across the country, my Department developed the Anti-Dumping Initiative (ADI) to identify high risk or problem areas, develop appropriate enforcement responses and carry out clean-up operations in partnership with local authorities and community organisations. My Department has provided funding of €1.2 million and €1.8 million to the ADI in 2017 and 2018 respectively. A further allocation of €3 million is being made available this year which will support over 280 projects across the country.

Details of this year’s allocations and the projects funded by the ADI in 2017 and 2018, can be accessed on my Department's website at the following link:

https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/waste/enforcement/anti-dumping-initiative/Pages/AntiDumpingInitiative.aspx

Electric Vehicles

Questions (1548)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1548. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the funding provided to support an expanded number of electric cars and the associated infrastructure. [36707/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

A total of €200 million is provided in the National Development Plan under Project Ireland 2040 to support the uptake of electric vehicles over the period 2018-2027.

My Department has allocated €29.5 million capital in 2019 to fund electric vehicle purchase grants of up to €5,000; home charger grants of up to €600; and a new support for on-street chargers of up to €5,000 per charge point.

In addition, the Climate Action Fund will provide up to €10 million to support the ESB in upgrading and expanding the public charger network in Ireland.

I recently announced funding to support the rollout by local authorities of up to 1,000 on-street public charge points for electric vehicles over the next 5 years. This new scheme will support the widespread roll out of electric vehicles. This will build on the 90 new high speed chargers (which charge at three times the power of fast chargers), 50 new fast chargers and over 500 upgraded charge points which will be supported under the Climate Action Fund. This will ensure that we build a network of circa 2,000 reliable public charge points nationwide by 2025, which will be enough to support a significant increase in the number of electric vehicles on the road.

In addition, we will introduce new regulations to require non-domestic buildings with over 20 car parking spaces to install charging facilities.

National Oil Reserves Agency

Question No. 1550 answered with Question No. 1490.

Questions (1549)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1549. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the projected receipts from the National Oil Reserves Agency levy for 2019 and each of the next five years; the projected proportion that will be available in excess of the operating costs of the agency; and if all excess funds have been earmarked for the climate action fund. [36708/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The projected receipts from the NORA levy over the next five years are on average €141 million per annum. Average NORA expenses over this period are projected to be €76 million per annum, leaving an amount in excess of operating costs of c.€325 million from 2019 to 2023. Under the National Development Plan, the Government has decided that the Climate Action Fund will have an initial allocation of €100 million and an annual allocation of at least €50 million thereafter. To finance this Fund, the Government has decided to repurpose part of the NORA levy. There are no plans to use the NORA levy for any other purposes.

Question No. 1550 answered with Question No. 1490.

Prospecting Licences

Questions (1551)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

1551. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of an application for a prospecting licence by a company (details supplied) to prospect for base metals in County Galway; his plans to grant the licence; the timeframe for same; the process involved in the granting or refusal of the licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36896/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

An application was made to my Department by Gold Note Minerals Ltd on behalf of BTU Metals Corporation for the renewal of three Prospecting Licences in respect of Prospecting Licence Areas (PLAs) 1431, 2295 and 3145, which cover a number of townlands in County Galway. This application was published in the Connacht Tribune on 25th July, 2019 and was open for consultation for a period of 30 days.

In considering applications for prospecting licences, my Department undertakes environmental screening of all the prospecting activities proposed to be undertaken under the licence if granted, including screening for Appropriate Assessment and, in the case where specific locations for drilling or 'drill targets' are identified, screening for Environmental Impact Assessment.

In view of the number of submissions received and the wide range of issues raised by members of the public in the context of the application, this application is still under consideration. It is expected that it will be a number of weeks before all of the issues raised have been fully considered. Following on from this a final decision will be made on the application.

Motor Industry

Questions (1552)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

1552. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the consultations he had with motor manufacturers on his plan to ban the sale of internal combustion engine cars in 2030; if he is satisfied they will have the capacity to provide the required number of cars for the Irish market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34906/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The transition of the national fleet to alternatively fuelled vehicles, particularly in the passenger car sector, is a necessary step-change to effect a substantial reduction in transport emissions. The switch to electric vehicles (EVs) is a key mitigation measure in the recently published Climate Action Plan, with an ambitious target of 180,000 EVs on our roads by 2025 and 936,000 EVs by 2030.

While these are very challenging targets, it is expected that we will see improvements in technology, reductions in purchase prices, increased driving range and model availability, coupled with Government incentives and investment in the recharging network. Accordingly, I am convinced that we can make real progress towards the target by 2030. In fact, we have seen significant growth in the number of EVs taking to the road in recent months. This year alone there are 5,000 extra EVs on the road bringing the total to over 12,500 (plug-in hybrid and fully electric passenger cars, vans, taxi/hackneys and motorcycles).

Analysis underpinning the Climate Action Plan assumes c.10-15% of total car registrations will be electric between 2021 and 2025 with a significant ramp-up in EV registrations from the mid-2020s after Total Cost of Ownership parity has been reached. The Plan suggests that all new car registrations will be EVs in 2030. Undoubtedly, concerted efforts across several Government departments will be essential if we are to maintain a supportive environment to assist citizens in making the greener choice and moving away from conventionally fuelled vehicles.

In accordance with Action 79 of the Plan my Department will lead the development of a Roadmap identifying the optimum mix of regulatory, taxation and subsidy policies to drive significant ramp-up in passenger EVs and electric van sales from very early in the next decade. A Steering Group of key Government departments will be established before year-end to pursue this, which will be pivotal in placing Ireland on the necessary trajectory to meet our targets for EV deployment by 2030.

I expect that car manufacturers will be stepping up their production of electric and alternatively-fuelled vehicles over the next few years. A recently introduced EU Regulation sets a 2030 production benchmark of at least 37.5% of all new cars and 35% of all new vans being zero emission. This increase in manufacturing will mean that more vehicles will be available for Irish consumers to purchase.

Regarding consultation with the motoring industry, it should be noted that I receive multiple representations from the sector, and have also met with groups and stakeholders from the motor industry. Furthermore, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) and representatives from the freight transport industry (FTAI and IRHA) were invited to contribute to the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Taskforce, co-chaired by my department, which aims to consider the range of options available to Government to accelerate the take-up of low carbon technologies in the road transport sector. These meetings and representations are generally considered as important contributions to information sharing and the formation of meaningful, well-balanced policies.

My Department and I will continue to work closely with Ministers Bruton and Donohoe and their respective Departments to map out the transition pathway necessary to achieve our collective ambition to alternatively fuel our vehicles and decarbonise the transport sector.

Motor Tax

Questions (1553)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

1553. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a person (details supplied) is not allowed to tax a van commercially but is required to have commercial insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34999/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

There is a requirement under motor tax legislation to provide evidence of insurance at the time of taxation of a vehicle in any motor tax class, if requested by a licensing authority (motor tax office). However, the requirement to have an approved policy of insurance in place in respect of a vehicle being used in a public place is provided for under the Road Traffic Acts and is, in itself, separate from the motor tax code.

Motor tax is based on both the construction and use of a vehicle. To be taxed as a goods vehicle, a vehicle must be constructed or adapted as a goods vehicle and must be used solely for the carrying of goods in the course of trade or business.

Under Article 3 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 385 of 1992), a licensing authority must be satisfied that the licence (motor tax disc) being applied for is the appropriate licence for the vehicle concerned. It is open to the relevant motor tax office to seek whatever documentation it deems appropriate in support of an application for a particular rate of motor tax.

In the case of an application for the goods rate of motor tax, such documentation may include a certificate of commercial insurance, a Tax Clearance Certificate, evidence of registration for tax or registration for VAT (if turnover for VAT exceeds the relevant thresholds set down by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners) or, at the discretion of the licensing authority, any other appropriate documentation that would indicate that the applicant is in trade or business.

It is up to the individual concerned to provide whatever evidence is required by the licensing authority in order for it to be satisfied that the applicant is entitled to claim what is in effect a concessionary rate of tax.

Road Projects Status

Questions (1554)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

1554. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the funding for the proposed Narrow Water bridge between counties Louth and Down; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35985/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

A commitment to undertake a review of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge project is included in The Fresh Start Agreement with a view to identifying options for its future development. A draft options paper has been prepared and is due to be the subject of further consultation with interested stakeholders before it is finalised.

When completed the options paper is due to be submitted for consideration by the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) when that body is reconvened.

Pending future decisions on the project, there is no specific allocation of funding for a Narrow Water Bridge scheme.

Sports Capital Programme

Questions (1555)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

1555. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding available for sports facilities; the way to apply for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34712/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country.

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October last. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. The assessment of these applications is nearing completion.

As soon as allocations have been made, my Department will carry out a review of all aspects of the 2018 round of the programme to include any possible improvements for the future. This review will include consideration of the timing and scale of the next round but I fully expect that the SCP will again be open for new applications before the end of this year.

In relation to larger capital projects, the National Development Plan confirmed the establishment of a new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) with at least €100m available over the coming years. The scheme is designed to provide a transparent and robust system for funding sports capital projects where the Government contribution exceeds the amount which is currently available under the SCP. Initially, the scheme has a particular focus on National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Authorities.

The LSSIF opened for applications on 19th November 2018 and the closing date for receipt of applications was 17th April 2019. 72 applications were received in total and my officials are currently assessing them. Details of all applications have been published on the Department's website.

In view of the detailed information contained in each LSSIF application, I am advised that it will take a number of months to have all of them assessed. Accordingly, I expect that it will be towards the end of this year before allocations are announced. A decision on the timing of the next call for applications under the LSSIF will be made after the announcement of these allocations.

Electric Vehicles

Questions (1556)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

1556. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of fully electrifying the national public transport bus fleet. [34714/19]

View answer

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 Deputy is aware that the national public transport bus fleet comprises publicly subvented and owned bus fleet under the Public Service Obligation (PSO) programme and also privately financed and owned bus fleet operated on a commercial basis by numerous operators across the country.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including the purchase of publicly subvented (PSO) bus fleet.

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.

Road Network

Questions (1557)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

1557. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if public lighting will be provided at a location (details supplied). [34745/19]

View answer

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 planning and design, including the provision of public lighting, 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. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Ministerial Advisers Data

Questions (1558)

Michael McGrath

Question:

1558. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the name of each person employed as an adviser or special adviser to him and the Minister of State in his Department; the salary of each in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34853/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

In 2016 I appointed a Special Adviser and a Press Adviser to my Department.

I appointed a temporary Adviser on 1st July 2019 due to the absence of my Press Adviser for an extended period of sick leave.

My advisers are remunerated on the Principal Officer standard pay scale (PPC) in accordance with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s ‘Instruction to Personnel Officers – Ministerial Appointments to the 32nd Dáil’, which provides guidelines for the appointment of Special Advisers.

Special Adviser

Salary Scale – Principal Officer PPC

Aisling Dunne

€87,325 - €107,399

Carol Hunt

€87,325 - €107,399

Richard Moore (temporary)

€87,325 - €107,399

The Minister of State in my Department does not have a Special Adviser.

Noise Pollution

Questions (1559)

Michael McGrath

Question:

1559. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if there are plans to implement noise attenuation measures along a national primary road (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34924/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Directive 2002/49/EC on the assessment and management of environmental noise was transposed into Irish law by the Environmental Noise Regulations, 2006. This legislation requires Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and local authorities to undertake strategic noise mapping every five years for all major roads carrying in excess of 8,250 annual average daily traffic (AADT). Noise maps identify and prioritise cluster areas which will require further assessment and may require mitigation measures to be put in place.

Once strategic noise maps have been produced, the results are used for each local authority to develop Noise Action Plans as required by the Environmental Noise Regulations. Under the Regulations, the Noise Action Planning Authorities are required to consult with the public when revising their current Plans. I understand that the Cork Agglomeration Noise Action Plan 2018 - 2023 has been adopted by Cork City Council. This process included a public consultation period, providing interested parties with an opportunity to engage with the local authority.

Specifically in relation to the N40 on the south side of Cork City, 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.

Fáilte Ireland

Questions (1560)

Michael McGrath

Question:

1560. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a tourist information office was moved (details supplied); if he is satisfied with the replacement office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35045/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The provision of tourist information offices are an operational matter for the Board and management of Fáilte Ireland. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to them for further information and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.