Departmental Reports

Questions (516)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

516. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has been presented with briefings, draft reports or final reports by organisations in relation to an association (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50133/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

On 26 November, I received the Final Report of the independent audit conducted by KOSI Corporation on behalf of Sport Ireland in relation to the association mentioned by the Deputy. Sport Ireland has referred the Report to An Garda Síochána. I have written to the Garda Commissioner and the Director of Corporate Enforcement to advise them that my officials and I are available should the need arise.

Clearly, it would not be approproate for me to publish the report or make any comments on the details, findings or recommendations until such time as An Garda Siochána has concluded its investigation and any related follow on actions.

A Report of a Governance Review Group was completed and published in June 2019. The Report presented a detailed set of recommendations and a corporate governance framework which will support the association and its Board in achieving good governance practice. The package of 78 recommendations within the Governance Review Group Report was overwhelmingly approved at the association's Extraordinary General Meeting in July. The adoption of the recommendations at the EGM was a very important step towards reform of the association and restoration of public trust and confidence in the association.

I have not received any briefings or reports on other ongoing reviews relating to the association.

Bus Services

Questions (517)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

517. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will request Bus Éireann to investigate numerous disruptions on a bus service (details supplied); and if the extenuating circumstance in a case will be acknowledged and the matter urgently rectified. [50158/19]

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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.

The issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Bus Services

Questions (518)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

518. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the routes and timetables on which 24-hour bus routes will be rolled out in the coming period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50191/19]

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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.

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have 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.

Road Network

Questions (519)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

519. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a wall at a location (details supplied) in County Cork will be reinstated following damage during the carrying out of roadworks. [50199/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the operation and management 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 your question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Questions (520)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

520. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he has taken to ensure there is an adequate availability of wheelchair accessible taxis; his plans to expand wheelchair accessible taxi availability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50200/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including measures to promote the availability of SPSVs by persons with disabilities, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

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

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (521)

James Browne

Question:

521. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if sport capital grant applications from schools whose land is owned by a body (details supplied) will be accepted; the way in which to secure the grant with the permission of the landowner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50217/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Sports Capital Programme 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.

Grants are available to sports clubs, voluntary and community groups, national governing bodies of sport, and local authorities. Third level colleges, Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and schools may also apply for funding jointly with sports clubs or organisations.

A full guide to making an applications is available at www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie This contains full information on how schools can apply and also details how an application can be made when the land is owned by another organisation.

Road Network

Questions (522)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

522. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the new right-hand turning lanes at both the Cootehall and Croghan junctions on the N4 have not been installed in view of a commitment by TII in 2018; the status of the planning and design report for the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50220/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction 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 your question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Departmental Funding

Questions (523)

Peter Burke

Question:

523. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount allocated to a town (details supplied) in each of the years 2011 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50237/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Funding of €6,937,165 was allocated by my Department to the Old Rail Trail from Mullingar to Athlone – this Greenway travels through Moate and has proven very beneficial to the town. This funding was drawn down in 2014 and 2015. Further investment in the Old Rail Trail and the Royal Canal Greenway has taken place and I am confident that when the Royal Canal Greenway is officially opened in 2020 that Moate will see a significant increase in the numbers visiting the town.

The Sports Capital Programme aims to foster an integrated and planned approach to developing sports and physical recreation facilities throughout the country. Details of all allocations and payments under the Sports Capital and the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programmes are available on the gov.ie website at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/471ed5-sports-capital-allocations/

Details of payments made in 2019 will be published early in 2020 once the payments have been finalised and reconciled.

Regional and Local Roads Allocation Booklets for the years 2011 to 2019 are available in the Dáil Library. The Payments Booklets, which show the amounts drawn down, are also available in the Dáil Library.

The Project Ireland 2040 Capital Tracker published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform provides details of infrastructure projects, indicative allocations, current status, project commencement dates and proposed completion dates. It is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/6db7c4-investment-projects-and-programmes-tracker/

Sports Capital Programme Applications Data

Questions (524)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

524. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the grants including sport capital grants available for sports clubs in the Dublin 7 area. [50266/19]

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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. Grants are available to sports clubs, voluntary and community groups, national governing bodies of sport, and local authorities. Third level colleges, Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and schools may also apply for funding jointly with sports clubs or organisations.

Full information on the programme, including how to register is available at www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie

The final allocations under the 2018 round of the SCP were announced last month. My Department will soon be undertaking a full review of all aspects of the 2018 SCP. Part of the review will include consideration of the timing and scale of the next round of the Programme but I expect that the SCP will be open for applications again in the coming months.

In relation to other grants, Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport, increasing participation at all levels and raising standards. This includes the allocation of funding across its various programmes, including the Core Funding Programme and High Performance Programme. Sport Ireland channels its funding through the National Governing Bodies of Sport and does not provide direct funding to clubs. Accordingly, individual sports clubs should make enquiries with the relevant National Governing Body for their sport in relation to any funding that might be available to assist affiliated clubs.

Road Safety

Questions (525)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

525. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if drivers who transport livestock are exempted from the need to take breaks under tachograph rules and regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50268/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006, as amended by Regulation (EU) No. 165/2014 and given effect in Irish law by S.I. No. 229/2017, provides for an exception from tachograph and drivers’ hours rules for vehicles used for the carriage of live animals from farms to local markets and vice versa or from markets to local slaughterhouses within a radius of up to 100 kilometres.

It should be noted that enforcement of tachograph and drivers’ hours rules is a matter for the Enforcement Unit of the Road Safety Authority. If you have further questions in relation to this aspect they should be directed to the Road Safety Authority.

Irish Coast Guard Issues

Questions (526)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

526. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the urgent plans he is putting in place in relation to the provision of effective life jackets for the Irish Coast Guard volunteer crews; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the life jacket failings were brought to the attention of the authorities many years ago. [50270/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Coast Guard withdrew the services of its in-shore rescue boats stationed at 23 locations around the coast on Friday 15th of November 2019. This action was taken following a reported malfunction of a number of lifejackets which are a key piece of personal protective equipment. An investigation is underway into the malfunctioning lifejackets which involves the Coast Guard, the supplier and the manufacturer. It is hoped to identify the cause and provide for a speedy, effective and safe solution.

This action is being taken in compliance with Coast Guards SAR assurance obligations as set out in the National SAR Plan to ensure safety of Coast Guard boat crews. The National SAR Committee met on Monday the 18th of November and was briefed on the matter. In the meantime, from a SAR coverage point of view, the Coast Guard is deploying various contingencies based on an assessment of risk. All shoreline and cliff rescue services remain in place, along with the four Search and Rescue Coast Guard helicopters. The RNLI, Community Inshore Rescue Boats, and Naval Service will continue to assist particularly in those areas of greatest risk until the issue has been resolved.

As regards other concerns raised previously, the Irish Coast Guard addressed these at the time through a programme of both internal and external testing. Along with independent testing through a UK based Testing Laboratory regarding the EN ISO standards applicable please note that this included a compatibility test of our boat PPE. Assurances had also been received from the manufacturer of the lifejacket in question.

Boat crews have continued to complete Personal Survival Techniques (PST) training where full instruction on the operation of boat crew PPE, including the lifejacket, is an integral part of this training.

As regards the roll-out of new lifejackets, this will be done on a phased basis taking account of a thorough risk assessment of potential demand for boat operations. This phased roll-out will be supported by safety notices and posters for the units prioritized. Familiarization training will be provided in the Units to include the contents of the safety notice and to highlight the differences between the old and new lifejackets. Subject to any necessary operational changes and on successful completion of the compatibility testing, it is proposed to commence with the rollout of the lifejackets and putting units back in operation from Thursday December 5th 2019 next.

The safety of the volunteer is paramount so this roll-out will take the time it takes to ensure that.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (527)

Seán Haughey

Question:

527. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a sports capital grant of €150,000 will be allocated to a sports club (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the fact that no planning permission is required for the works; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that a grant for this purpose was only sought for the first time recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50286/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

When the 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) was advertised, my Department published a guide to filling out the application form which set out the Department’s minimum requirements to be considered for funding. The club referred to by the Deputy submitted an application under the 2018 SCP but unfortunately the application was deemed invalid.

All applicants, including the organisation referred to by the Deputy, have now been contacted with details of the outcome of the assessment of their application, including details of why applications were deemed invalid. Organisations may appeal the decision if they believe that an error was made in deeming their application invalid and details of how to make an appeal have been communicated to all relevant clubs.

Rail Services

Questions (528)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

528. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the new DART carriages that have been ordered include wheelchair ramps that can be used by wheelchair users as needed and do not need to be booked ahead to have a ramp ready; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50289/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy may be aware, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area. This includes, in consultation with Iarnód Éireann, the procurement of additional rail fleet and the design requirements for same.

I would clarify for the Deputy that no new DART fleet has been ordered yet. Government recently approved the purchase of 41 additional InterCity Railcars (ICRs) and delviery is expected to commence in late 2021.

In relation to DART fleet, the NTA and Iarnród Éireann have commenced pre-qualifying in relation to the proposed purchase of a significant number of new DART carriages; however, a contract in relation to this purchase will not be placed until next year.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in this matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply regarding the specific issue raised. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Bus Services

Questions (529)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

529. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the wheelchair accessible bus stops in County Wicklow; the non-wheelchair accessible bus stops in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50303/19]

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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.

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

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

Legislative Measures

Questions (530)

Barry Cowen

Question:

530. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of Bills sponsored by his Department that have been enacted since November 2013, in tabular form. [50327/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The information sought by the Deputy can be most quickly accessed on the Houses of the Oireachtas website at the following link, which lists all Bills enacted since 2013: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/find-bills-and-acts/?billType=acts&year%5B0%5D=2013&year%5B1%5D=2019&keyword%5B0%5D=to&sortBy=billNumber&resultsPerPage=20

I have additionally asked my officials to compile a table with the details of the Bills the Deputy has specifically referenced and this will be sent to the Deputy within ten working days.

Sports Capital Programme Data

Questions (531, 532)

Tom Neville

Question:

531. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of sports clubs supported under the sports capital programme since it was re-established in 2011; the amount allocated under the programme since it was re-established; the average grant per organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50386/19]

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Tom Neville

Question:

532. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of sports clubs supported under the sports capital programme since it was re-established in 2011 by amount received and county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50387/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 531 and 532 together.

Details of all allocations under the Sports Capital Programme since 2000 are published on my Department's website on a county basis at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/471ed5-sports-capital-allocations/

Road Network

Questions (533)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

533. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if Galway County Council has sought special funding for the upgrade or replacement on the bridges leading from Béal an Daingin all the way to Leitir Mealláin, Contae na Gaillimhe, which are the only access to and from the Islands of Eanach Mheáin, Leitir Móir, Gorumna and Leitir Mealláin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50393/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

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

Any projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under the Specific Grant Programme are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case basis. All projects put forward by local authorities for consideration must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code and the Department's Capital Appraisal Framework (CAF). Given the limited funding available for RLR improvement works it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind.

As required under the project appraisal guidelines, a Preliminary Appraisal has been received from Galway County Council concerning the causeways on the R374, serving the islands of Leitir Móir, Gorumna and Leitir Mealláin, also known as Lettermore, Gorumna and Lettermullen. All applications received from local authorities for specific grant allocations have to be assessed taking into account competing projects and the available regional and local road budget.

The regional and local road grant allocations for 2020 will be announced early in 2020.

Childcare Services Administration

Questions (534, 535)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

534. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of full-time equivalent staff employed by Pobal for the administration of funding of early learning and care schemes by scheme, in tabular form; if she is satisfied that Pobal is adequality resourced to administer the funds in view of the ongoing delays being experienced in the allocation of higher capitation funding; the requests Pobal has made for additional resources to address capacity shortfall for fund administration; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49758/19]

View answer

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

535. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the ongoing payment delays that are being experienced by early years settings in respect of higher capitation payments; if she is satisfied that the overarching service level agreement with Pobal to dispense the funds is fit for purpose; the status of the work being carried out to develop individual agreements in respect of each funding stream Pobal manages on behalf of her Department; the sanctions in place for non-performance in respect of the overarching SLA between her Department and Pobal; the evaluation process for Pobal in terms of fulfilling its remit under the SLA; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49757/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 534 and 535 together.

Officials in my Department are currently compiling the information as requested by the Deputy. This information will be supplied to the Deputy in no later than 10 working days. I have asked my officials to follow up on this to ensure delivery as a matter of urgency.