Question No. 590 answered with Question No. 587.

Tourism Promotion

Question No. 592 answered with Question No. 585.

Questions (591)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

591. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the plans of Bord Fáilte for accessible tourism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52838/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Tourism Action Plan 2019 - 2021 includes a commitment that the tourism agencies will review international policy and best practice in relation to accessible tourism with a view to identifying how Ireland competes internationally for the accessible tourism market. In order to attract more overseas visitors Fáilte Ireland will initially pilot a programme with Local Authorities and local industry in the development of Ireland as a top-quality accessible tourism destination.

I have asked Fáilte Ireland to provide the Deputy with further details with regard to their plans for accessible tourism.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Question No. 592 answered with Question No. 585.

Haulage Industry Regulation

Question No. 594 answered with Question No. 585.

Questions (593)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

593. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if there is a legal requirement for haulage companies to pay agreed upon subsistence rates to drivers that are separate to drivers’ wages; and if there is an agency or body to which drivers can take grievances in relation to the matter. [52871/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Subsistence rates and related conditions and guidelines for road haulier driver-employees are set out by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, for the purposes of determining tax liabilities. Haulier drivers have the option of operating on the basis of the agreed rates outlined by the Revenue Commissioners, or the Civil Service rates. Alternatively, employers may reimburse employees for actual receipted expenditure incurred. 

There are no specific provisions in transport legislation requiring that haulage companies pay subsistence separate to drivers' wages. Subsistence payments depend on the nature of an employee's work and contract of employment and whether he or she incurs expenses as part of his or her work, for example, if they are temporarily away from their ordinary place of work or abroad. Subsistence payments are not a substitute for wages. 

More generally, legal requirements regarding these and other employee emoluments or entitlements are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Employment and Social Protections.

Grievances in relation to employment law that are not resolved at a local level may be referred to the Workplace Relations Commission. It is suggested that queries in these areas should be addressed to the relevant offices.

Question No. 594 answered with Question No. 585.

Public Transport Subsidies

Questions (595)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

595. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of PSO funding that will be provided to each State public transport operator in 2020. [52919/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Since 2010, the award of Public Service Obligation (PSO) funding falls under the independent statutory remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA).  The allocations to the 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 reply within ten working days.

Rail Network Expansion

Questions (596, 597)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

596. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the average cost of preparing a light rail feasibility study. [52920/19]

View answer

Marc MacSharry

Question:

597. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the average cost of preparing a heavy rail feasibility study. [52921/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 596 and 597 together.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport including both light rail and, in consultation with Iarnród Éireann, heavy rail.

Noting the responsibility of the NTA in these matters, I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to it for direct reply.  Please notify my office if you have not received a reply within 10 working days.

Greenways Funding

Questions (598)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

598. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the capital expenditure of his Department from 1 January 2019 to date under the heading of E7 Greenways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52928/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

In June  2019 I announced €40m in funding for ten new Greenways projects around the country. I very much look forward to seeing these projects develop over the next couple of years. Capital expenditure under subhead E7 Greenways in 2019 was €10.4m.

Road Projects Status

Questions (599)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

599. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the timeline on the progress of the Dunkettle Interchange; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52978/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, 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.

Rail Network Expansion

Questions (600)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

600. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason for the delay in publishing the Irish Rail report and a report by a company (details supplied) on a review of the western rail corridor; and when it will be published. [52999/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, Project Ireland 2040 committed to conducting an independent review of a possible extension to the Western Rail Corridor (WRC) and provided that, should the outcome of the review be approved by Government, the project would be prioritised during the lifetime of the National Development Plan.

In line with that commitment an external company, that referred to by the Deputy, was commissioned by Iarnród Éireann to prepare a financial/economic appraisal and business case on proposals for extending the existing WRC from Athenry to Claremorris.  I am unaware of a separate Iarnród Éireann report as referred to by the Deputy.

The work of the external company is now complete and the business case has recently been received by my Department.  Given the scale of the possible project, the business case will now be carefully reviewed in line with the requirements of the Public Spending Code which, as the Deputy may know, outlines the relevant appraisal processes and value-for-money requirements of any such proposals.

Following completion of the review of the business case, I will present the findings to Government.

Road Projects Status

Questions (601)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

601. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of on the new N5 road upgrade from Westport to Turlough, County Mayo; the commencement date; the estimated competition date for construction; and the cost of the project. [53001/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, 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.

Road Projects Expenditure

Questions (602)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

602. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of funding for roads provided to Mayo County Council for road works in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [53002/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Details of the regional and local road grant payments to local authorities are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Oireachtas Library.   Details of the 2019 regional and local road grant allocations are also available in the Dáil library. The final 2019 payments are being processed at present and the 2019 payment booklet will also be lodged in the Oireachtas library shortly.

Public Transport Data

Questions (603)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

603. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of drivers employed by Dublin Bus, Irish Rail and Bus Éireann, respectively, on long-term sick leave as of 11 December 2019; the illnesses heading they are on sick leave under; if each of the organisations has a mental health well-being charter it subscribes to and offers to its staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53043/19]

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 question raised is a matter for the individual transport operators and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to them for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Public Service Vehicles

Questions (604)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

604. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the purposes of a PSV inspection and CVR test with reference to the aspects of these inspections that may overlap. [53058/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is asking about safety, I should explain that the Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test, set down under Regulations 2013 (SI 347 of 2013) (as amended), applies to all large commercial vehicles such as buses and lorries. This test is carried out by the Road Safety Authority and forms an important role in the annual roadworthiness inspections, helping to ensure that a large commercial vehicle is safe to be on the road.

The Public Service Vehicle inspection applies specifically to vehicles that are used to carry passengers for hire or reward.  There are 2 aspects to this regime: Large Public Service Vehicles (e.g., buses) and Small Public Service Vehicles (such as taxis).  The testing is carried out by An Garda Síochána for the purpose of ensuring that the vehicles are both safe and suitable for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward, under the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Licensing) Regulations, 1978 (SI 292 of 1978) (as amended) and the Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015 (SI 33 of 2015).  

The Deputy correctly identifies that certain categories of vehicles fall within the scope of both regimes due to the commercial and the passenger-carrying nature of the businesses involved.

My Department is examining the framework to see whether scope exists to streamline the process and will consider whether legislative amendments may be appropriate.

Road Safety

Questions (605)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

605. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 525 of 3 December 2019, if chickens being conveyed from poultry farms to slaughter houses can be considered within the exemption referred to in the reply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53080/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As outlined in Parliamentary Question No. 525 of 3 December 2019, Ireland applies a number of national exemptions in line with Article 13 of EU Regulation 561/2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport (as amended by EU Regulation 165/2014), one of which relates to the transport of live animals (which would include poultry) from farms to local markets and vice versa, or from markets to local slaughterhouses, within a radius of 100 km. A preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU of 7 February 2019 (Case C-231/18) notes that the term ‘local markets’ in Regulation 561/2006 "must be interpreted as referring neither to the transaction carried out between a livestock wholesaler and a farmer nor to the livestock wholesaler himself, so that the exception provided for in that provision cannot be extended to include vehicles transporting live animals directly from farms to local slaughterhouses."

This exception applies specifically to Articles 5 to 9 of the Regulation, covering driving times. In applying this exception, the objectives of Article 1 of the Regulation must not be prejudiced, namely working conditions and road safety. Working time rules continue to apply even when these limited exceptions are being availed of.

As previously indicated, the enforcement of tachograph and the EU drivers’ hours rules is the responsibility of the Enforcement Unit of the Road Safety Authority and information on these matters is available on the RSA website at https://www.rsa.ie/en/RSA/Professional-Drivers/Driving-Safely/.

National Positive Ageing Strategy Implementation

Questions (606)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

606. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps taken to implement the national positive ageing strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53110/19]

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.

Objective 1.5 of the National Positive Ageing Strategy seeks to "enable people as they age ‘to get out and about’ through the provision of accessible, affordable, and flexible transport systems in both rural and urban areas".

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. The NTA also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) which now operates under the Local Link brand.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, 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.

Transport Policy

Questions (607)

Michael McGrath

Question:

607. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the planned Cork metropolitan area transport strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53112/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Deputy will be aware that the draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy was published by the National Transport Authority (NTA), in association with Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, in May of this year for public consultation.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in this matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the Authority for direct reply in relation to the finalisation of the Strategy following the public consultation process.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Road Projects Status

Questions (608)

Michael McGrath

Question:

608. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the planned M20 motorway between Cork and Limerick; the current stage of the project; the next steps and associated timelines; when he envisages the project moving to planning, detailed design, tender and construction; when he expects the motorway to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53117/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design, procurement 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.

Road Projects Status

Questions (609)

Michael McGrath

Question:

609. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he expects the main construction work to commence at the Dunkettle Interchange in Cork; the expected duration of the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53119/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, 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.