Departmental Funding

Questions (1637)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1637. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport 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. [36643/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

A representative from the Climate Change Unit 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 (WG) 4 of the Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce. This working group, co-chaired by my department and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, 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 LEV Taskforce, a Report from which is due for consideration by Government in the coming weeks.

No financial investment has been provided to HMI by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (1638)

Seán Fleming

Question:

1638. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a sports capital grant will be approved for a club (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36645/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

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. 

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents.  These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January. 

619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced to these organisations in May.

Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works, including an application from the organisation referred to by the Deputy. 

For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being 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 further number of weeks to have all applications assessed with allocations announced shortly after that.   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.   

Bus Services

Questions (1639)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1639. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will address a matter regarding a bus shelter for an area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36666/19]

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 National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the provision of bus stops, bus shelters and bus stations throughout the State.

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.

Public Service Vehicles

Questions (1640)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1640. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of plans to introduce a licensing system for rickshaw drivers in view of media and Garda reports on the involvement of some in the industry in drug dealing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36694/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As you may be aware, last year, the Cabinet gave approval for publication of a General Scheme of a Bill to amend the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 so as to provide for the regulation of rickshaws. Work is underway to advance the drafting of this Bill.

Rickshaws can be powered in a number of different ways - pedal powered, pedal-assisted and motorised. This Bill will introduce comprehensive new detention powers which will ensure effective enforcement of a ban on motorised rickshaws carrying passengers for reward. The Bill will also introduce a licensing regime for non-motorised rickshaws only.

I do share concerns that have been raised in relation to rickshaws, particularly from a public safety perspective, and this Bill will introduce measures to ensure that rickshaws drivers are vetted and licenced. I am confident that this will significantly improve safety for passengers and for all road users.

Light Rail Projects

Questions (1641)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1641. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to plans by TII to tender for an independent expert panel for MetroLink and the fact that local stakeholders (details supplied) are concerned regarding the independence of the process and have requested that his Department would be a more appropriate body to recruit the panel and ensure objectivity; and if consideration will be given to the request. [36697/19]

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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.

I think there is a potential misunderstanding as regards the role and function of this expert panel as referred to by the Deputy.

The Public Spending Code sets out the responsibilities of Government, Sanctioning Authorities and Sponsoring Agencies in relation to the oversight and delivery of individual projects such as MetroLink.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland is the Sponsoring Agency in relation to the MetroLink project and is therefore the primary responsible body for the preparation, management and delivery of this project. The Public Spending Code states that the Sponsoring Agency “has overall responsibility for the proper management of the project, including its detailed planning. .”.

It is a matter for TII to put in place such arrangements as it thinks necessary to assist it with the performance of its role as Sponsoring Agency under the Public Spending Code . Establishment of such a panel of experts, as referred to by the Deputy, by a Sponsoring Agency is not unusual for a project of the scale of MetroLink. It will act in an advisory capacity to TII at project delivery level.

The Deputy is aware that the Public Spending Code requires significant projects, such as MetroLink, to seek Government’s approval at certain decision points and I will, at the appropriate times, bring Memoranda to Government in relation to those decision points.

Public Service Obligation Services

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (1642)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1642. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the level of subsidisation of public transport here by provider in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [36709/19]

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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 in Ireland.

In Budget 2019, I secured €287m in Exchequer funding for Public Service Obligation (PSO) service delivery. Since 2010, the PSO subvention is no longer paid directly by my Department to transport operators. The award and subvention of PSO contracts now falls under the statutory remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA). The allocations to the transport companies are decided by the NTA in exercise of its statutory mandate and in accordance with the various contract arrangements that it has in place with PSO service providers. I have therefore 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.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Cycling Facilities Funding

Questions (1643)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1643. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding provided for cycling; and the percentage this represents of overall transport funding. [36710/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Deputy will acknowledge the significantly enhanced funding Project Ireland 2040 provides to improve active travel infrastructure and other supporting measures that will benefit both walkers and cyclists across the country.

Under the Climate Action Plan 2019 Government has committed to a number of important actions in relation to cycling, specifically Actions 91, 95 and 97. As part of Action 97 Government has committed to revise current transport infrastructure programmes to achieve at least 10% expenditure on facilitating cycling. That commitment is required to be fulfilled by Q4 2020 and my Department is currently examining the Action and its implementation in line with that timeline.

In relation to the current position, funding for active travel, including cycling, is provided under a number of different programmes across both my Department and indeed wider Government.

My Department supports cycling through a number of different programmes –

- The cycling/walking programme, with funding administered by the National Transport Authority (NTA);

- The sustainable urban transport programme, with funding administered by the NTA;

- BusConnects with funding administered by the NTA; 

- The greenways strategy, with funding administered by my Department; andThe roads programme, with funding administered by my Department and by Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

Funding allocated in 2019 under the cycling/walking and the sustainable urban transport programmes alone equates to approximately €48million (almost 18% of the NTA's proposed capital investment programme for the year). In 2018 funding for these two programmes equated to approximately 15% of the NTA's capital investment programme.

Beyond my Department’s funding programmes there are three additional and important funding programmes available to support active travel, and/or leisure orientated walking and cycling, -

- Project Ireland 2040’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, with funding administered by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government;

- Project Ireland 2040’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, with funding administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development; and

- The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, with funding administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development with supplementary supports available through Fáilte Ireland, an agency under the aegis of my Department.

In addition to the above, further funding is also available at a European level through the European Structural and Investment Funds Programme and the INTERREG programme which complement funding made available under these national programmes referred to above.

While finally, cycling is also supported through the fiscal incentives available through the Bike to Work Scheme which has proven very successful.

The totality of this taxpayer support for active travel, including cycling, is an important consideration and it is one my Department will be examining as part of the implementation of Action 97 of the Climate Action Plan 2019.

Vehicle Registration

Questions (1644)

Niall Collins

Question:

1644. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that vehicles can have ownership registered to persons under 17 years of age and minors and also to fake names with bogus addresses and that in many instances these vehicles are being used in criminal and illegal activity; his plans to address same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36724/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Registration of new and imported vehicles is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners and my Department have no role in that matter. My Department are however responsible for change of vehicle ownership notifications, and these are recorded on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF) at the Departments office in Shannon, Co. Clare. Article 10 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 (SI No. 385 of 1992) and amendments made thereto set out the procedures regarding notification and recording of changes of vehicle ownership.

Where my Department suspect or detect incorrect change-of-vehicle ownership notifications using fake names and or bogus addresses, they endeavour to contact the previous registered owner seeking assistance in clarifying the matter, including the furnishing of information pertaining to the sale or disposal of the vehicle. In such circumstances, a special ‘marker’ will be placed on the NVDF for the vehicle alerting that the details of the owner or address are under investigation, and no future correspondence will issue to the individual concerned. Where necessary the case is also forwarded to the Gardai for follow-up investigation.

Where undetected by my Department, the normal procedure in the case of such complaints is for the Department to advise vehicle owners to contact their local Garda station and inform them of the correspondence they have received. Officials at my Department will assist with any subsequent investigation by An Garda Siochána. The Department will enable the NVDF vehicle record to be amended and restored to the previous owner if warranted from any investigation.

Notwithstanding this, such instances including sale of a vehicle to a minor are primarily enforcement matters for An Garda Siochána. The recording of a vehicle in the name of a minor is legislated for in Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 2004 and makes it an offence for a mechanically propelled vehicle to be supplied to a person under the age of 16 years; and sets out the offences where such legislation is contravened.  ‘‘Supply’’ in this legislation includes supply by way of sale, hire, loan, gift, or other means of making the vehicle available to a person. 

My Department is however looking to strengthen provisions in this regard. A proposed amendment to section 12 of the Roads Act 1920 will provide that the Minister may make regulations to collect certain identifying particulars on application or renewal of a vehicle licence or on becoming the new owner of a vehicle.

Greenways Development

Questions (1645)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

1645. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of projects (details supplied). [36756/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The current status of the projects in question as sought by the Deputy are outlined below:

South Kerry Greenway: Funding was awarded to this project in 2014. To date, no construction has been carried out. A planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in August 2018 and an Oral Hearing is scheduled for 8th October 2019. I await their decision.

Galway to Moycullen Greenway: This project was also awarded funding in 2014 and construction has yet to begin on the route. I understand that work on route options is ongoing.

Great Western Greenway: 42km of the Great Western Greenway is currently cycleable between Achill and Westport. I recently awarded €3.2m to Mayo County Council to extend the Great Western Greenway in the Clew Bay area at Achill Sound, Bunnacurry and towards Murrisk.

Suir Blueway: 21km of the 53km Blueway along the River Suir is now open as a Greenway. Last year my Department awarded €765,000 to improve the quality of this route.

Waterford Greenway: This 46km Greenway has been a great success since opening in 2016 and remains in use by a large number of tourists, both local and overseas, all throughout the year. Last year my Department awarded Waterford City and County Council €1,455,000 for improvement works on the Greenway to address a number of outstanding issues. Additional funding has now been made available to bring the Greenway into the heart of Waterford City Centre. I expect that this will see a greater numbers accessing the Waterford City from the Greenway.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (1646)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

1646. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when pending sports capital grant applications will be decided upon. [36760/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

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. 

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents.  These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January. 

619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced to these organisations in May. 

Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works.  For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being 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 further number of weeks to have all applications assessed with allocations announced shortly after that.  

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.   

Sports Capital Programme

Question No. 1648 answered with Question No. 1628.

Questions (1647)

Brendan Smith

Question:

1647. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when details of the next sports capital programme will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36767/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

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.

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January.

619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced to these organisations in May. Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works.

For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being 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 further number of weeks to have all applications assessed with allocations announced shortly after that.

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.

Question No. 1648 answered with Question No. 1628.

Rail Services Provision

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (1649)

Robert Troy

Question:

1649. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to ensure a pilot train service operating at a later time is put in place to service the Connolly Station to Sligo route (details supplied). [36836/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have overall responsibility for policy and funding in relation to public transport.

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Brexit Preparations

Questions (1650)

Robert Troy

Question:

1650. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department has carried out an audit to date of the shipping capacity of Ireland in the event that the south England landbridge becomes unusable in a no-deal Brexit scenario; and if additional ferries have been secured to allow for direct transport to European ports of Irish-produced goods by firms based here. [36863/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The 2018 Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) report on the Implications of Brexit on the use of the Landbridge https://www.imdo.ie/Home/site-area/news-events/implications-brexit-use-landbridge acknowledges that “for Ireland, maritime links represent a key means of ensuring its direct connectivity with mainland Europe, particularly in view of the uncertain evolution of trade flows passing over the United Kingdom 'land bridge'. The viability of the ongoing use of the landbridge route to access the single market in a no deal Brexit scenario is a serious concern for Irish importers and exporters and the impact of any disruption to the landbridge cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, particularly in a no-deal scenario.

My Department in conjunction with the IMDO, has consulted extensively with stakeholders regarding maritime capacity for direct sailings between Ireland and continental EU ports as a potential alternative route for trade currently using the Landbridge. Just this week (on 4 September 2019) a Workshop, organised by my Department and the IMDO, with some 90 participants drawn from importers, exporters, shipping companies, ports, shipping agents, and other key stakeholders, and focussed on this specific issue, was held in Dublin.

In the context of Brexit, there have already been significant market responses from the shipping companies adding additional freight capacity on direct ferry sailings to continental Europe including:-

- In 2018, CLdN launched MV Celine, the World’s largest RoRo vessel, and in 2019 launched the MV Laureline RoRo vessel, significantly increasing capacity on the Dublin–Rotterdam and Dublin -Zeebrugge routes.

- Irish Ferries' investment of €150 million in its newest passenger and freight vessel, MV W.B. Yeats, provides year-round freight capacity between Ireland and France of 165 HGVs per sailing or 60,600 HGVs per annum, and a vessel of similar size to the W.B. Yeats is due to be delivered on the Irish Sea routes in 2020.

- In May 2018, Brittany Ferries launched a direct route from Cork to Santander in northern Spain.

- In July 2019, BG Freight Line announced the commencement of a direct Waterford-Rotterdam weekly LoLo freight service, which will act as a deep-sea feeder through Rotterdam port and onwards to worldwide destinations.

These increases in capacity show the readiness of market participants to respond to shifts in trade patterns resulting from Brexit.

In a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit scenario, it will take some time for stakeholders, including importers and exporters, to fully adapt their supply chains, which are currently optimally arranged including through use of the UK landbridge in many cases, to the new situation. However, the assessment of my Department and the IMDO, based on extensive and ongoing consultations, including with the shipping sector, is that sufficient capacity should be available on direct routes to continental ports following a ‘No Deal’ Brexit and should demand for further capacity arise, the shipping sector can and will respond quickly to meet such demands.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (1651)

Robert Troy

Question:

1651. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the contingencies in place for trading enterprises in the transport and haulage sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and the discussions he has had with the EU Commission regarding flexibility in respect of state aid thresholds for trading enterprises using port facilities to transport goods to continental Europe or transporting goods via the current UK landbridge in such an event. [36865/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department's website, www.dttas.gov.ie, provides full information on the implications of Brexit for the transport sector and also contains links to supports that are available generally to businesses impacted by Brexit, including the haulage sector, through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. These extensive supports, schemes and advice are intended to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit, and are assisting businesses to meet their challenges by identifying key risk areas and the practical preparatory actions to be taken over the coming weeks. Details can be found on their website www.dbei.gov.ie.

In addition, the Communication published by the European Commission on 4 September contains a new checklist for businesses and additional legislative proposals relating to contingency measures. Importantly for the haulage sector, the Commission has proposed to extend the regulation ensuring basic road freight and road passenger connectivity (Regulation (EU) 2019/501) which was due to expire on the 31 December 2019. The Commission proposal provides for an extension until 31 July 2020, reflecting the logic and the duration of the original Regulation which had been adopted prior to the extension of the Article 50 period to 31 October 2019. The extension of this Regulation will provide certainty to transport operators about continuity of services cross-border bus and international road haulage.

The new Commission detailed checklist will help those businesses that trade with the UK to identify what final preparations may be required. In order to minimise disruption to trade, all parties involved in supply chains with the UK – regardless of where they are based – should be aware of their responsibilities and the necessary formalities in cross-border trade. This builds on previous Commission communications and 100 stakeholder notices, which cover a broad range of sectors.

The continued use of the landbridge as a key route connecting Ireland with the continent is a crucial concern given the level of imports and exports that are transported via this route, it is estimated that 16% of the Roll-on/Roll-off traffic between Ireland and GB is traffic using the landbridge to transport goods to and from European ports. The total value of our trade using the landbridge has been estimated to be approximately €21 billion. Goods using the landbridge include many time-sensitive or perishable goods, with almost all of this traffic being handled by Dublin and Rosslare ports.

Some trade currently using the landbridge route may, depending on the nature of the product, switch to the direct routes to the continent. For others, some delays at UK and other EU ports may not be such as to constitute a significant deterrent to the continued use of the landbridge. However, the use of the landbridge for some other products that are perishable or very time sensitive may become unviable and may also not be viable on the longer direct maritime links.

Officials from my Department have assessed the maritime capacity for direct sailings between Ireland and continental EU ports as a potential alternative for trade that currently takes place using the Landbridge. Based on consultations with the shipping sector and wider stakeholders, the preliminary assessment is that sufficient capacity will be available on direct routes to continental ports from end October 2019, and should demand for further capacity arise, the shipping sector can respond to meet such demands.

Furthermore, on 4 September 2019, my Department in conjunction with the IMDO, hosted a workshop in relation to Maritime connectivity. A range of stakeholders attended, such as importers, exporters, ferry companies, haulage companies and business sectors. The aim of this workshop was to provide a forum to consider the risk posed by the UK Landbridge and the options for future direct connectivity to continental ports.

Road Projects

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (1652)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1652. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which the upgrading of the M4 from Kilcock to Lexlip is contemplated in view of the frequency and increasing number of accidents at peak times on a daily basis arising from the volume of traffic that the road cannot support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36910/19]

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. The Roads Acts 1993-2015 prescribes the roles and responsibilities of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned, for the delivery of the national roads programme. Among these roles and functions, TII and local authorities are responsible for the upgrading and maintenance of individual national roads.

Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for a more detailed reply in relation to the M4 from Kilcock to Leixlip. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Brexit Preparations

Questions (1653)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1653. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which he remains satisfied that all possible actions have been taken by his Department in anticipation of a UK crash out from the EU; if the necessary air and sea options are being pursued to ensure importers and exporters have alternative direct access to the rest of the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36927/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

It is the Government’s assessment that there is a significant risk of a no deal Brexit on 31 October. Work on no deal Brexit preparations therefore has the highest priority across Government. To be clear, a no deal Brexit will have profound implications for Ireland on all levels. These include macroeconomic, trade and sectoral challenges, both immediately and in the longer term. 

In terms of Ireland's preparedness measures, the Brexit Contingency Action Plan Update, published on 9 July, reflects the extensive work which has taken place at EU level and on a whole-of-Government basis, including the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 (Brexit Omnibus Act), to prepare for a no deal Brexit.

The Action Plan sets out the next steps to be taken, by Government Departments and State Agencies, businesses and individuals, between now and 31 October. It puts particular emphasis on the need for increased preparedness measures, by exposed businesses in particular.

In parallel with our preparedness work at national level, the Government is working closely with the European Commission on how, in the absence of the Withdrawal Agreement, to meet the shared twin objectives of protecting the integrity of the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it, and protecting the Good Friday Agreement.  On 4 September the Commission announced its intention to extend Regulations which will guard Ireland's connectivity in the fields of aviation, cross-border bus and international road haulage in the immediate term following a no-deal Brexit.

While the full implications of Brexit for our air and maritime transport are not yet clear, I do not anticipate that direct maritime or direct air services by community air carriers between Ireland and continental Europe will be affected, even in a no-deal Brexit scenario. 

That said, a significant proportion of our goods destined for EU markets are transported via the UK landbridge to access these markets. Brexit could impact on the efficiency of the landbridge route particularly where there are increased border and custom procedures and associated delays, or were the UK to subsequently apply differing standards, road charging or regulatory regimes. The landbridge is the fastest route to continental Europe and as such is relied upon for the transport of time-sensitive products, such as those in the agri-food/perishable goods sector, just-in-time and high value goods. Any delays or barriers to this key route to European markets will be detrimental for certain sectors. Significant work has been and continues to be undertaken through the Landbridge Project Group, chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in seeking to ensure continued access through the landbridge to markets in continental Europe.

In relation to shipping, in the past shipping operators have responded to economic developments and increased or reduced capacity in response to market demands. Following a series of meetings between my officials and the major ferry companies operating at Irish ports, I am confident that shipping services can be expected to adapt to changing market demands that may arise and we have seen the evidence of this with the increase in shipping capacity on direct routes to continental ports. These services include the MV Celine which was last year launched from Dublin Port and will serve routes to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge and the MV WB Yeats, which is operating between Dublin and Cherbourg since March 2019. Additionally, a new ferry route to Santander in Spain commenced from the Port of Cork in 2018.

If disruption to the landbridge does arise, it is likely to be most acute in the immediate period following the UK exit. My Department, along with IMDO, is implementing a number of mitigating actions to encourage a market response in a timely manner. This includes a focussed awareness campaign aimed at shipping companies, importers and exporters aimed at creating a dialogue to identify new market demands as early as possible. On the 4th September, my Department in conjunction with the IMDO, hosted a workshop in relation to Maritime connectivity.  A range of stakeholders attended, such as importers, exporters, ferry companies, haulage companies and business sectors. The aim of this workshop was to provide a forum to consider the risk posed by the UK Landbridge and the options for future direct connectivity to continental ports.

In response to the Deputy’s query regarding adequate travel provisions in the air travel sector, Regulation (EU) 2019/502 on common rules ensuring basic air connectivity aims to ensure the continuation of a basic level of air connectivity for citizens and business between the UK and Europe in the event of the UK exiting the EU without an agreement. While certain provisions within this Regulation have entered into force, the majority will only apply if and when the UK exits the EU without a deal.  The Regulation was adopted on 25 March 2019 with an original expiration date of 30 March 2020. The European Commission has recently published a proposal to extend the date of application of this Regulation until the 24th October 2020 to coincide with the end of the IATA summer season. Furthermore, my officials have been advised that there are currently no capacity constraints in relation to the air freight market.

School Completion Programme

Questions (1654)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

1654. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated cost to restore the school completion programme to 2010 levels. [35238/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The full-year cost of restoring the SCP to 2010 funding levels would be in the region of €7.3 million per annum.

Family Resource Centres

Questions (1655)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1655. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to introduce a family resource centre at a location (details supplied); the way in which an application can be made in relation to same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35988/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, administers the Family Resource Centre (FRC) Programme.

In Budget 2019, I secured an increase of €1.5 million in funding for the FRC Programme. This brings the overall financial allocation for the Programme to €18 million.

There are no plans to establish new family Resource Centres this year.

The additional funding provided in 2019 is being used to:

- Increase core funding to each of the 110 FRCs which existed pre-2018 by 5%.

- Employ an additional 17 Family Support Workers - one FRC in each of the 17 Tusla geographical areas will be allocated funding to employ a Family Support Worker.

- Fund the Family Resource Centre Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion Programme.

The application process to join the FRC programme is an operational matter for Tusla. I have requested Tusla to provide the Deputy with the requested information directly.

School Completion Programme

Questions (1656)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1656. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children that received targeted interventions under the school completion programme in the 2018/2019 school year. [35999/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Educational Welfare Service of Tusla have informed my Department that 24,749 children received targeted interventions under the School Completion Programme in 2018/19.

Care Orders

Questions (1657, 1718)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1657. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of special care orders which were granted in respect of children and young persons in each of the past five years. [36503/19]

View answer

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1718. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children and young persons admitted to special care facilities in each of the past five years in tabular form. [36757/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1657 and 1718 together.

As these are operational matters, I have asked Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to respond directly to the Deputy.

Childcare Education and Training Support Programme

Questions (1658)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1658. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount spent in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 on the childcare employment training scheme in tabular form; the number of persons that benefitted from it for each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36641/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

TEC is an overarching childcare programme, specifically designed to support parents on eligible training and education courses as well as certain categories of parents returning to work, by providing subsidised childcare places. The TEC Programme also provides childcare support for families on Family Income Support (ASCC). It comprises three strands:

1. Childcare Education and Training Support Programme (CETS) provides childcare to training course participants on courses provided by the Local Education and Training Boards (ETBs, formerly FÁS and Vocational Education Committees) and secondary schools.

2. After-School Child Care Programme (ASCC) is administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and provides after-school care for primary school children for certain categories of working parents and parents on DEASP employment programmes (excluding Community Employment).

3. Community Employment Childcare Programme (CEC) is administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and provides childcare for children of parents who are participating in the Community Employment scheme. There are two strands within CEC, namely CEC(PS) (pre-school) and CEC(AS) (after-school).

Table 1 and 2 set out the amount spent in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 on the Childcare Employment Training Scheme (CETS), and the number of persons that benefitted from the scheme each year.

Table 1.  Expenditure on the childcare employment training scheme in tabular form 2016 -2018 and to date in 2019.

Programme Call

2016

2017

2018

2019

TEC - Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) 2016-2017

4,451,141.12

6,487,657.74

1,250.00

1,163.00

TEC - Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) 2017-2018

n/a

3,683,161.20

4,238,638.80

-7,203.00

TEC - Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) 2018-2019

n/a

n/a

2,476,042.93

3,324,431.19

TEC - Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) 2019-2020

n/a

n/a

n/a

22,157.00

Table 2.  Number of children registered under employment training scheme from 2016 -2018 and to date in 2019.

Programme Call

2016

2017

2018

2019

CETS 

3,500

2,540

1,931

70

Community Childcare Subvention Programme

Questions (1659)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1659. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount spent in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, on the community childcare subvention scheme; the number of persons that benefited from it for each year in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36642/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) and Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) Programmes provide support for parents/guardians on a low income to avail of reduced childcare costs at participating privately owned childcare services and at community not-for-profit childcare services, a list of these services is available through the relevant local County Childcare Committee. Under CCS Plus my Department pays a portion of the childcare costs for eligible children with the parent paying the remainder. The rate of subvention payable is determined by the status of the parent with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Tables 1 and 2 set out the amount spent in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 on the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) and Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP) Programmes and the number of persons that benefitted from the scheme each year. It should be noted that the CCS programme is no longer available however the CCSP programme with identical levels of financial support is available but will close to new registrations when the National Childcare Scheme commences in October 2019.

Table 1.  Expenditure on the CCSP Scheme from 2016 -2018 and to date in 2019 

Payments by Programme Call 2016 to date

Programme Call

2016

2017

2018

2019

Community Childcare Subvention 2016-2017

15,232,453.58

20,843,990.46

59,944.40

1,859.35

Community Childcare Subvention 2017-2018

0.00

23,101,733.10

27,001,876.02

-86,950.35

Community Childcare Subvention 2018-2019

0.00

0.00

16,182,223.85

16,603,834.12

Community Childcare Subvention 2019-2020

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Community Childcare Subvention Private 2016-2017

1,705,040.24

6,131,483.25

-231.20

-6,297.94

Community Childcare Subvention Plus 2017-2018

0.00

20,985,913.81

47,730,808.14

26,626.22

Community Childcare Subvention Plus 2018-2019

0.00

0.00

31,924,686.36

72,968,254.06

Community Childcare Subvention Plus 2019-2020

0.00

0.00

0.00

7,303,452.37

Table 2.  Number of children registered under CCSP scheme form 2016 -2018 and to date in 2019

Programme

2016/2017

2017/2018

2018/2019**

@05/09/2019

2019/2020

@ 05/09/2019

CCS

              20,568

              17,820

                                          12,572

No CCS programme this year

CCSP

                7,232

              22,913

                                          35,424

7,675

CCSRT*

                    314

                    560

                                                608

46

CCSU

                       -  

              39,357

                                          33,682

10,989

Note: All figures are calculated using the child's PPS number. If a child had more than one approved registration in the same programme, they have been counted once in that programme. However if a child had approved registrations in different programmes during the same academic year they have been included in both programme totals.

*For programme call year 2016/17 this programme call consisted of CCSR only, CCSRT was introduced in 2017/18

**2018/19 CCS, CCSP, CCSU & CCSRT registrations are still being processed so this figure may change over the coming weeks.

Childcare Services

Questions (1660)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

1660. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if correspondence has been received from a service provider (details supplied); if so, when a response will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34740/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

It is not possible to appeal the calculation of Programme Support Payment (PSP) or select an alternative snapshot period from which the payment is calculated. For the last programme year 2018/19, the month of December 2018 was selected as the snapshot period to calculate PSP.

As with all other terms of PSP, this snapshot applies to all services supplying DCYA childcare programmes without exception, and is not negotiable. Selecting alternative snapshot periods for individual services would, amongst other things, risk double-payment of PSP for a single child, if they had moved from one service to another during the programme year.

I understand that the service provider in question is dissatisfied with their payment but the PSP was calculated along the same parameters for all services and cannot be appealed. Please note that the PSP is administered by Pobal on behalf of my Department and therefore all future queries are best directed to Pobal.