Vehicle Registration

Questions (85)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

85. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding VRT delays in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47998/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the appointed agents for the registration of vehicles, Applus, currently provide VRT facilities in 29 centres located throughout the country. Revenue advises that it is very careful to monitor the level of service provided by the service provider Applus on an ongoing basis and is satisfied that the service currently provided is reasonable given the level of demand for appointments. The service can be stretched at times but overall the service provision is reasonable. In the event that the demand increases beyond the current capacity of the NCTS network of centres, Revenue works with Applus to ensure that additional resources are deployed as required.

In relation to this specific query, I am advised by Revenue that the average appointment waiting time for the last 2 months in the Blarney centre was 19 days with the current waiting times standing at 16 days. Based on this data, Revenue is satisfied that current resources are reasonable and sufficient to meet the demand.

Revenue also provides additional facilities to assist authorised motor dealers including the provision of a pre-inspection facility which involves mobile units calling to individual dealerships to pre-inspect vehicles and set them up on the Revenue system for registration. This removes the necessity of attending an NCTS centre and allows the registration of the vehicle on the Revenue ROS service at the point of sale. Details are on the Revenue website at this link: https://www.revenue.ie/en/importing-vehicles-duty-free-allowances/guide-to-vrt/authorised-dealers-and-processes/pre-inspection-by-national-car-testing-service-ncts.aspx . This facility is not available to non-motor dealers and Revenue recommends that it is used to avoid delays in registration.

There are currently no plans to open any additional centres in Cork as there are currently two centres serving this area.

Departmental Data

Questions (86)

Shane Cassells

Question:

86. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance the number of complaints of bullying and sexual harassment, respectively received by his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [48037/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I wish to inform the Deputy that the Department takes any claims of bullying and sexual harassment very seriously and any such claim are dealt with under the Dignity At Work policy. The Department had one claim of bullying and/or harassment made between 2016 and 2019 to date, please see following table. This case underwent independent investigation and the result is confidential. However the matter is resolved.

Year

Number of Complaints of Bullying/Sexual Harassment

2016

1

2017

0

2018

0

2019 to date

0

The Department has provided copies of the Dignity at Work policy to all staff and it is also given to new staff at Induction. The policy on bullying and harassment is also included in the Staff Handbook which is provided to all staff. All of these documents are also available on the Department's internal HR website.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (87)

Shane Cassells

Question:

87. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance the number of employees of his Department that were dismissed in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019; the reason for the dismissal of each employee; the number of employees suspended in the same period; and the reason for the suspension of each in tabular form. [48072/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I wish to inform the Deputy the number of employees of this Department that were dismissed in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019, the reason for the dismissal of each employee and the number of employees suspended in the same periods and the reason for the suspension of each in the following tables.

Year

Number of Dismissed Employees

Reason for Dismissal

2016

0

N/A

2017

0

N/A

2018

0

N/A

2019 to Date

1

Grave and serious misconduct outside the workplace

The dismissal procedure was followed and adhered to, in accordance with the Civil Service Disciplinary Code (Circular 19/2016)

Year

Number of Suspended Employees

Reason for Suspension

2016

0

N/A

2017

0

N/A

2018

0

N/A

2019 to Date

1

Related to the Disciplinary Case above.

The one case of suspension was the same individual member of staff who was dismissed as mentioned in the above paragraph.

National Treasury Management Agency

Questions (88, 89)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

88. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the status on the creation of a housing fund under the remit of the National Treasury Management Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48084/19]

View answer

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

89. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the status of the National Treasury Management Agency special purpose vehicle to deliver additional social housing as part of mixed-tenure developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48085/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 89 together.

I am informed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) that this delivery mechanism has been superseded by the Enhanced Long-Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme, which was launched on 31 January 2018.

The NTMA, in its role as the National Development Finance Agency, acted as financial advisor to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in respect of the development of this long-term leasing model, however the NTMA has no role in relation to implementation of the scheme.

The Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme is one of a suite of measures introduced under Pillar 2 of “Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness” aimed at private investment in order to deliver social housing at scale.

The principal objective of that scheme is to encourage increased levels of private investment in social housing while ensuring that the resulting leasing arrangement is off-balance sheet in respect of Government expenditure.

The scheme is targeted at new build or new to the market properties to be delivered at scale and will complement the existing long-term leasing arrangements, which will continue to be available for leasing existing properties. The scheme was launched in 2018 and the first closing was completed in June 2019.

The Housing Agency is the national co-ordinator of this scheme and manages and administers it on behalf of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and local authorities.

Further detail on this initiative is available at: https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/leasing/enhanced-long-term-social-housing-leasing-scheme .

Interdepartmental Committees Reports

Questions (90)

Noel Grealish

Question:

90. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance if the interdepartmental report on pensions simplification has been referred to him for sign-off; the date of proposed publication of the report; if there will be a consultation period subsequent to the publication; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48110/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Interdepartmental Pensions Reform and Taxation Group (IDPRTG) is chaired by the Department of Finance and includes members from the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER); Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP); the Revenue Commissioners and the Pensions Authority. The Group was tasked with a number of actions from the Government's Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 and has prepared a draft report on various pensions matters, including inter alia consideration of reform and simplification of the existing supplementary pensions landscape.

The Group have prepared a report which represents a significant piece of work in this broad policy area and this report has very recently been submitted to me. As this is a complex and detailed piece of work, I will have to carefully consider its contents before taking any decisions, including publication of the report.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (91)

Barry Cowen

Question:

91. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising for the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018 by category (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48124/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I can confirm to the Deputy that the Department of Finance has no expenditure on public relations, promotion and advertising for the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (92)

Jack Chambers

Question:

92. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent on bottled water and disposable coffee cups by his Department to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48190/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

In response to the Deputy’s Question, the Department of Finance manages provisions in the areas mentioned by the Deputy both for itself and for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The figures for 2019 to-date for both Departments are as follows:

Year 2019 to-date

Finance

Public Expenditure and Reform

Bottled Water*

€3,249

€4,873

Disposable Coffee Cups

€0

€0

Totals

€3,249

€4,873

* These units are the large 18.9 Litre spring water bottles that fit onto floor-mounted dispensers.

In addition the Office of Government Procurement, which is a division of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and has its own vote, had an expenditure of €2,078.91 to-date in 2019 in respect of bottled water.

Freedom of Information

Questions (93)

Barry Cowen

Question:

93. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Finance the date of each review and revision of the material published under the publication scheme of his Department as outlined in section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48207/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 requires FOI bodies to prepare and publish information in an open and accessible manner on a routine basis.

The Department of Finance “Freedom of Information Publication Scheme” is implemented in compliance with the guidelines as prescribed in the “Model Publication Scheme Guidance 2016”, published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The Publication Scheme and relevant material published under it, is available on the Department of Finance website (https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-finance/), the contents of which are regularly and routinely updated as appropriate.

My Department has initiated four reviews to date, one in 2016, two in 2018, and another review in May 2019.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (94)

Barry Cowen

Question:

94. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising, including multimedia, in his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48246/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The details of the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising including multimedia in my Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 are provided in the following table.

Year

Description

Amount

2016

Mortgage Arrears Communication Campaign

€73,136

Switch Your Bank*

€24,682

Outside Broadcasting of National Economic Dialogue

€17,657

2017

Switch Your Bank*

€717,746

Outside Broadcasting of National Economic Dialogue

€17,657

Information notice re: Beneficial Ownership

€2,408

Graphic Design: Public Awareness Campaign

€480

Advertising: Switch Your Bank

€73.80

Advertising: European Financial Forum

€24.60

2018

Switch Your Bank*

€402,210

Outside Broadcasting of National Economic Dialogue

€13,616

Advertising: Board Recruitment

€1,707

Irish Language Notice (The Department's Irish Language Scheme)

€1,240

Irish Language Notice (The Department's Irish Language Scheme)

€983

2019 (to date)

Advertising: Vacancy for Governor of Central Bank of Ireland

€12,300

*The cost of the Switch your Bank campaign is fully recoupable by AIB and Permanent TSB in the context of their restructuring plans. These costs relate to a Public awareness campaign as part of a range of competition measures agreed with the European Commission to raise awareness and promote customer switching of financial products. The Department of Finance facilitates this campaign as part of its remit to ensure that consumers are protected within the financial sector in Ireland and to ensure a healthy level of competition.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (95)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

95. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his plans to meet the new chief of the IMF and the new President of the European Central Bank (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48270/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware Ms Kristalina Georgieva was selected Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 25 September 2019 and assumed her position on 1 October 1, 2019. I briefly met Ms Georgieva shortly thereafter during my visit to Washington DC from 16-19 October to attend the Annual Meetings of World Bank/IMF.

This short meeting did not have a formal agenda. I took the opportunity to congratulate Ms Georgieva on her appointment and wish her well in her new and challenging role. I used the opportunity to brief her on developments in the Irish economy and the outlook for the period ahead. Our discussions also touched on EU and international economic and financial developments. The new IMF MD spoke about the main priorities of her tenure . During the course of this meeting I also invited Ms Georgieva to visit Ireland and while no visit has yet been scheduled, my officials are liaising with the IMF to make the necessary arrangements.

As the Deputy will also be aware, Christine Lagarde was appointed as President of the European Central Bank (ECB) on 18 October 2019, and she took up duty on 1 November 2019. As part of my ongoing international engagements, I will meet with President Lagarde in Frankfurt later this month. In any discussions with Madame Lagarde, or other officials of the ECB, I will, of course, be mindful and respectful of the ECB’s independence.

The ECB's mandate is to maintain price stability in the euro area. The Central Bank of Ireland contributes to the formulation of monetary policy at Eurosystem level, and the Bank’s Annual Report provides further details of this contribution.

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits the ECB from seeking or taking instructions from EU institutions or bodies, from any government of an EU Member State, or from any other body. These requirements are set out in Article 130 of the Treaty and ensure that the principle of central bank independence is respected and there is no influence on the members of the ECB’s decision-making bodies.

Corporation Tax

Questions (96)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

96. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the position and value of the escrow account for corporation tax due from a company (details supplied) pending the appeal to the EU General Court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48271/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Notwithstanding the appeal in the Apple State aid case and the difference in view between Ireland and the Commission on the issue, the Government has always stated that it is fully committed to complying with the binding legal obligations the Commission’s Final Decision places on Ireland.

As the Deputy will know, the State has now recovered the alleged State aid from Apple. The total amount recovered is approximately €14.3 billion, this is the principal amount and relevant EU interest. These sums have been placed into an Escrow Fund with the proceeds being released only when there has been a final determination in the European Courts over the validity of the Commission’s Decision.

The arrangements in the Escrow Framework Deed include the agreement that all claims of ownership and access to this money is suspended until the European Courts have concluded proceedings that the Government and Apple have brought. In general terms, all income and expenses, including any gains or losses, will accrue to the Escrow Fund.

Annual accounts for the Escrow Fund are compiled and audited by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General. The latest publicly available set of accounts are for 2018 and show that as at 31 December 2018, the financial assets held in the Escrow fund amounted to €14.271 billion.

The full report is available here https://www.audit.gov.ie/en/Find-Report/Publications/2019/2018-Annual-Report-Chapter-20-Ireland-Apple-Escrow-Fund.pdf

Stability and Growth Pact

Questions (97)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

97. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he is making submissions to the EU institutions regarding amendments to the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48272/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The EU’s fiscal rules, as set out in the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), are an integral part of the EU’s broader economic governance framework. This framework has evolved significantly over the past two decades, particularly following the economic and fiscal crisis, which saw the SGP strengthened through the adoption of the so-called Six- and Two-pack legislative packages.

The European Commission is obliged under the legislation to publish a review of the Six- and Two-packs every five years. The next review is due to be published by the end of 2019. These reviews evaluate, inter alia, the effectiveness of the regulations in ensuring closer co-ordination of economic policies and convergence of Member States’ economic performances, and, if appropriate, will be accompanied by proposals for amendments to the rules.

To date, the Commission has not requested any formal submissions regarding improvements to the European fiscal rules ahead of the publication of the review. However, the European Fiscal Board has published an assessment of the EU’s fiscal rules and this report was discussed at September’s ECOFIN meeting.

I welcome the preliminary discussions on this topic at EU level, with which my officials and I will continue to actively engage.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (98)

Barry Cowen

Question:

98. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising for the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018 by category (details supplied) in tabular form. [48131/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Project Ireland 2040 is the Government's long-term, overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all its people, integrating, for the first time, the national spatial and investment strategies. The projects under these plans which include roads, schools, primary care centres, housing, sporting and cultural amenities and business activation facilities impact villages, towns, cities and regions across the length and breadth of Ireland.

Since taking responsibility for communications for Project Ireland 2040, €92,954.26 has been spent by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on public information measures including the launch of the first Annual Report - see breakdown in Table A. Measures included three 2-week tranches of transit advertising on public transport networks throughout Ireland, with the specific aim of empowering members of the public to find out what is happening under Project Ireland 2040 in their local area. During each phase, the material was displayed on the Red and Green Luas lines as well as approximately 500 Dublin Buses, 50 Irish Rail carriages and 100 Bus Shelters in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and nationwide. The material directed the audience to gov.ie/2040. That website has received more than 50,000 hits in the period.

The Annual Report contained in-depth information about what has happened under the plan and what is yet to come. It was launched in the Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick, one of the early projects supported by Project Ireland 2040 in the heart of Limerick, a key growth city under the plan.

Table A

Creative

Media-Buy

Printing

Annual Report Launch

€34,687.23

€46,401.72

€4,273.02

€7,592.31

The cost for a wide-ranging, multi-media public awareness campaign was met by the Department of the Taoiseach including: content production, digital promotion* media partnerships and cinema campaign, public transport network campaign (content production only – space was provided free of charge) - details are set out in Table.

*Digital promotion includes search engines, to ensure the public is directed to the sites that deliver the services/information they are looking for, space on social media, including Twitter Facebook and Youtube, to ensure strong dissemination of Government information.

Table B - Project Ireland 2040 - multi-media public awareness campaign

Content creation

252,892.92

Digital (including Facebook Twitter, Youtube and search)

75,394.83

Content partnerships

325,500.01

Media launches etc

98,345.34

Cinema campaign

96,975.50

Total

849,108.60

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (99)

Shane Cassells

Question:

99. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount spent on purchasing mobile telephones for staff within his Department for work-related business in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by grade; if his Department has a contract with a mobile telephone company (details supplied) to supply mobile telephones if needed; if so, the name of the company; the date on which the contract for the supply of mobile telephones to his Department is next due to expire; and the robust steps taken to ensure that the costs incurred on work related telephones are the best value for the taxpayer. [47926/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform currently have a contract in place with Three Ireland for the supply of Mobile Phone Services & Handsets, this contract is due to expire in April 2020. All mobile phones are currently procured from the Three Ireland contract, the contract was awarded on foot of a public procurement competition for the Provision of Mobile Phone Services and Handsets. The Department is currently in the process of a market exercise for the successor contract run under the Office of Government Procurement’s Mobile Phone Framework. Public procurement measures ensure that there are robust steps in place in the process and that the tenders are evaluated and awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender thus providing the best value to the taxpayer.

Amount spent on purchasing Mobile Phones by year

2016

2017

2018

2019 to date

€16,863.30

€18,443.37

€10,132.74

€7,206.08

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (100)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

100. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of staff in his Department by gender and pay grade in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47952/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The number of staff in my Department by gender and pay grade, as of 31 October 2019, is set out in the following table.

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Female

Male

Grand Total

Secretary General

1

1

Deputy Secretary

1

1

Assistant Secretary / Director

3

4

7

Chief Medical Officer

1

1

Principal Officer

15

20

35

Special Adviser

2

2

Assistant Principal

59

67

126

Higher Executive Officer

52

49

101

Administrative Officer

31

42

73

Executive Officer

28

22

50

Clerical Officer

30

9

39

Intern/Temporary Clerical Officer

1

1

2

Occupational Physician

2

1

3

Occupational Health Nurse

3

3

Civilian Driver

4

4

Total

226

222

448

Office of Government Procurement

Deputy Secretary

1

1

Director

1

1

Principal Officer

6

9

15

Assistant Principal

23

33

56

Higher Executive Officer

30

43

73

Administrative Officer

1

1

Executive Officer

20

27

47

Clerical Officer

15

20

35

Total

95

134

229

Ministerial Advisers Data

Questions (101)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

101. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the political advisers used by Ministers and Ministers of State in his Department since the commencement of this Government; the commencement and cessation dates in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47969/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Details of special advisers contracted by my Department since the commencement of this Government are outlined in the following table.

Name

Commencement Date

Cessation Date

Deborah SweeneySpecial Adviser

Appointed as SA to DPER on 06/05/2016.Reappointed as SA to DPER & Finance on 15/06/2017.

N/A

Stephen Lynam

Special Adviser

Appointed as SA to DPER on 06/05/2016. Reappointed as SA to DPER & Finance on 15/06/2017

16/03/2018

Niamh CallaghanSpecial Adviser

Appointed as SA to DPER on 17/05/2018.

04/11/2019

Non-civil service appointments in my Department are made in line with “Instructions to Personnel Officers - Ministerial Appointments for the 32nd Dáil”, which include “Guidelines on staffing of Ministerial offices” issued by my Department.

Special Advisers are appointed under Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997. A Special Adviser to a Minister or to a Minister of State, as in the case may be, shall

(a) assist the Minister or Minister of State, as the case may be, by –

(i) Providing advice,

(ii) Monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of the Government objectives that relate to the Department, as requested by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be, and

(iii) Performing such other functions as may be directed by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be that are not otherwise provided for in this Act and do not involve the exercise of any specific powers conferred on the Minister or the Minister of State as the case may be or any other office holder by or under any other Act.

The appointments of Advisers are kept under review given the breath of my responsibilities across two Departments.

Public Sector Pensions Legislation

Questions (102)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

102. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No.150 of 12 November 2019, if the question of the clear unfair anomaly between former public servants taking up employment again in the public sector against those that take up employment in the private sector will be addressed; his views on whether it is a positive disincentive for such persons, many of whose skills are still sought in the public sector, for them to take up employment there; his plans to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47973/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I am not of the view that there is an anomalous distinction between the approach for retired public servants taking up employment in the public service as compared to those who take up employment in the private sector.

In 2012, the then Government, in legislating to extend abatement to include re-employment anywhere in the public service, acknowledged issues around recruitment of skilled personnel. Section 52(4) provides for the granting of a waiver of abatement where the particular skills, training or experience required for a specific position are such that those skills, training or experience cannot be met other than by the engagement of a retired public servant.

Such waivers are granted in exceptional circumstances for a limited period of time and each waiver application is assessed on its merits.

Overall, the extension of abatement across the public service represents a suitable response to legitimate concerns about simultaneous payment of pension and salary in the public service.

National Botanic Gardens

Questions (103)

Seán Haughey

Question:

103. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding will be allocated to the OPW to provide extra parking spaces for cars, coaches and buses for visitors at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin 9; if so, when work will commence in view of the fact there is no sufficient parking spaces to deal with the number of visitors parking during the peak season; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47977/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin, which is managed by the Office of Public Works, has an existing public carpark which accommodates 72 cars and up to 4 coaches. Car Parking facilities are therefore available but, during busy periods, may be insufficient to meet demand. In line with OPW principles of sustainability, visitors are encouraged, where possible to walk, cycle or use public transport when travelling to the site. The Gardens are well served by Dublin Bus routes 4, 9, 83 and 155. Additional visitor parking is available at Glasnevin Cemetery and visitors can access the Gardens through the gate that connects the Gardens and the Cemetery.

The National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin attracts over 600,000 visitors a year. During the recent half term period, the Gardens experienced unprecedented numbers of visitors (>8,000) on two particular days, creating traffic problems in the locale. Even doubling the available car parking space, even if that were possible, would have had little or no impact on the thousands of cars attempting to reach the site on such occasions.

The work of the Gardens, particularly in its fundamental role of conservation, research and education, is highly dependent on the vital propagation facilities and space of the nursery, which is, in effect, the powerhouse of the Gardens. When the first public carpark was constructed 19 years ago over a quarter of the original nursery area of the Gardens had to be sacrificed. Every area of the site is intensively used for the business of the Gardens and therefore it is not proposed to substantially increase car parking facilities on site.

I can confirm nevertheless that the Office of Public Works is in consultations with Dublin City Council on the issue. A number of measures have been put in place to deal, in particular, with the issue of vehicles parking on footpaths which is the primary cause of traffic congestion in the vicinity. It is anticipated that with increased monitoring and enforcement of the 7-day cycle lane, traffic issues should be alleviated.

In line with the sustainable living ethos of the Gardens, and as part of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, OPW encourages those for whom driving is not a necessity, to reduce the carbon intensity of their travel. The Garden’s website and social media channels will continue to encourage users to consider walking or cycling to the Gardens and to provide details on bus numbers and routes as alternatives.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Questions (104)

Seán Haughey

Question:

104. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding will be allocated to the OPW for the refurbishment of the canteen area, Coolock Garda station, Dublin 5; if so, when the work will commence in view of the fact the canteen area has not been refurbished in several years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47978/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works has yet to receive a request from An Garda Síochána for refurbishment works to the canteen at Coolock Garda station. On receipt of any such request, details of the requirements will be agreed and a cost estimate will be provided to Garda Estate Management for funding approval.