I thank the Deputy for asking that question. The more he asks it the more welcome it becomes because it is quite right that he continuously makes us accountable for people with disabilities and report to him regularly.
As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to 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.
Article 9 of the UNCRPD provides for equal access for people with disabilities to facilities and services, including transportation. Article 4.2 of the convention provides for the progressive realisation of accessibility rights which includes practical progress on public transport accessibility. This is the approach adopted in Ireland on public transport and is being progressed in the context of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021, my Department's sectoral plan under the Disability Act 2005 and other relevant Government strategies and plans.
Accessibility features, such as wheelchair access and audio and visual aids are built into all new public transport infrastructure and vehicles from the design stage. New systems, such as Luas, are fully accessible. The National Development Plan, NDP, 2018-2027 sets out the national vision and ambition for the delivery of key infrastructure over the lifetime of the plan, including for public transport infrastructure. Investment in public transport will be accelerated under the NDP to support the development of an integrated and sustainable national public transport system. A number of key new major public transport programmes are due to be delivered under the NDP over the period to 2027.
However, there are legacy issues in relation to older infrastructure and facilities, for example, our Victorian era railway stations. To address these infrastructural legacy issues, my Department funds the accessibility retrofit programme which is managed by the National Transport Authority, NTA. The four-year capital envelope for public transport announced in budget 2018 includes a multi-annual allocation of almost €28 million for the accessibility retrofit programme for the period 2018 to 2021. This funding is a trebling of the previous allocation for accessibility under the capital plan.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
This funding will facilitate the continued roll-out of the programmes to install accessible bus stops, upgrade train stations to make them accessible to wheelchair users and provide grant support for the introduction of more wheelchair accessible vehicles into the taxi fleet. There will also be a continued investment programme under the NDP to fund the retrofitting of older public transport facilities to enhance accessibility.
I can assure the Deputy that my Department and its agencies are committed to meeting our obligations under the UNCRPD on the progressive realisation of public transport accessibility.