Coast Guard Services

Ceisteanna (248)

James Browne

Ceist:

248. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to improve buildings for the Coast Guard service in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7601/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Coast Guard is a Division of my Department. There are five Coast Guard Units based in Wexford, in Courtown (with a sub-station in Arklow), Curracloe, Rosslare (with a sub-station in Carnsore), Kilmore Quay and Fethard-on-Sea. The units are single purpose shoreline search units, that do not have cliff or boat functions.

The Coast Guard has undertaken a station upgrade programme over the last twenty years, upgrading or undertaking new builds on an ongoing basis. The development of Coast Guard Stations is undertaken by the Office of Public Works on behalf of my Department. Upgraded stations, as a standard, typically contain a kitchenette, toilet, showering and changing facilities as well as classroom, operations room and garage space. Selection of the sequence of upgrading depends on a number of factors including an existing station's suitability for modernisation and enlargement or the available of suitable state-owned land for a new build.

In the Wexford area this has resulted in the building of a modern purpose built stationhouse on Rosslare strand, which has been operational for several years. In recent years Curracloe has undergone remedial works, completed in early 2015.  Plans are presently being drawn up for a new Coast Guard station at Kilmore Quay and the Office of Public Works is currently in communication with Wexford County Council regarding this development. The Coast Guard is also currently investigating options for a new Coast Guard station in Courtown. A Heritage Impact Assessment has been undertaken regarding the Fethard-on–Sea station house and the Coast Guard is currently awaiting this report. A limited extension to the Fethard-on-Sea station is also currently under consideration.

Gender Recognition

Ceisteanna (249)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

249. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department has prepared written guidelines for staff and the public on dealing with transgender matters; if they are published; if staff have received training in respect of this; if his Department is participating in or making a submission regarding the review being undertaken in respect of the operation of the Gender Recognition Act 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7577/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department has not prepared written guidelines for staff and the public in relation to dealing with transgender matters. 

My Department is aware that, in December 2017, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection launched the Supporting Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace: Guidelines for Employers and Employees, which were prepared by the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).  My Department is also aware that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has commenced a review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 with the consultation process on this review commencing in December 2017.  My Department will await the outcome of this review and the emergence of any centrally developed guidelines on this very important matter to inform Department staff on dealing with transgender matters.

Rail Network Expansion

Ceisteanna (250, 251)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

250. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the extension of the DART to Balbriggan, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7580/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

251. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the DART interconnector and DART underground; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7581/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 and 251 together.

As the Deputy is aware, the National Transport Authority's (NTA) "Transport Strategy for the GDA 2016-2035" proposes implementation of the overall DART Expansion Programme.  The Government’s budgetary framework for capital investment, "Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021", funding was allocated to progress a number of key public transport projects in the NTA's strategy including the DART Expansion Programme.

The DART Expansion Programme has a key role to play in delivering an efficient transport system.  When fully implemented the enhancements to the heavy rail system provided for in the NTA's Transport Strategy, will create a full metropolitan area DART network for Dublin with all of the lines linked and connected.  This integrated rail network will provide the core high capacity transit system for the region and will deliver a very substantial increase in peak-hour capacity on all lines from Drogheda, Maynooth, Celbridge/Hazelhatch and Greystones. 

The original cost of the overall DART Expansion Programme (including the DART Underground Tunnel element) was estimated at €4 billion, of which €3 billion was in respect of the tunnel as originally designed.  The Government decided in September 2015 that the original proposal for the tunnel should be redesigned to provide a lower cost solution. The NTA has been working with Irish Rail on a revised proposal.  In the meantime and enabled by significant investment to upgrade signalling and turn-back facilities in the critical city centre area, work was undertaken to upgrade and re-open the Phoenix Park Tunnel in late 2016.  This was identified by the NTA as an opportunity in the short term, at modest cost, to bring commuters from the west and south west to the city centre and beyond, and to enable enhanced integration of public transport services for the passenger.

Following the Mid-Term Review of Capital priorities, Budget 2018 increased the multi-annual capital investment funding envelopes for the coming four-year period, including providing an enhanced capital envelope of €2.7 billion for Ireland's public transport investment between 2018 and 2021. This enhanced capital envelope includes funding in the order of €230 million for mainline rail and DART capacity enhancement and will allow acceleration of the initial stages of the overall DART Expansion Programme, focussing particularly at this stage on providing additional fleet to enhance capacity, and extending the electrified DART system. Specifically, it will allow substantial progress on electrification of the Northern rail line as far as Balbriggan - now expected to be delivered in 2022 - and commencing work on the Maynooth line.  Planning for longer term investment will form part of the National Development Plan which is the Government's overall 10-year investment plan which we will be launching later this week alongside the new National Planning Framework for the period to 2040.

Dublin City Centre Transport Study

Ceisteanna (252)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

252. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his contacts with Dublin City Council regarding the plans to pedestrianise College Green, Dublin 2; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7582/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport however I am not involved in the day-to-day development of public transport or sustainable transport interventions, including the specific plans for College Green. 

As the Deputy may be aware Dublin City Council and the NTA jointly published the Dublin City Centre Transport Study in 2015 which sets out the various measures proposed for the city centre to ensure the efficient functioning of transport with the city centre.  Those two bodies, in collaboration with Dublin Bus and TII, are progressively implementing the measures set out in that document to enable the continued development and growth of the city.

The College Green Plaza proposal is being progressed by Dublin City Council whilst the regulation of traffic flows including pedestrians, cyclists, taxis, buses and the Luas, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), both agencies under the aegis of my Department, and Dublin City Council.

In advance of the City Council's plaza proposal being formally determined by An Bord Pleanála, the NTA have collaborated with Dublin Bus and Dublin City Council to reduce bus vehicle volumes passing through the area, in order to allow city centre junctions and signals to function more effectively. The NTA, TII and Dublin City Council also continue to collaborate on provisions for pedestrians and cyclists in relation to the Luas tracks. These parties continue to work together to ensure that the Dublin City Centre Transport Study in 2015 measures, including the plaza proposal, enhances the city centre environment, including for users of all transport modes.

Traffic Management

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

Ceisteanna (253)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

253. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his contacts with Dublin City Council about the plans to reduce inbound traffic at Fairview, Dublin 3, to one lane; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7583/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport, including the building and maintenance of cycling infrastructure or the regulation of traffic on public roads.  

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the development and implementation of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) and I understand they are working closely with the relevant roads authority, Dublin City Council, on this specific scheme.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply with regard to this particular project. 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.

Greenways Provision

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

Ceisteanna (254)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

254. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of his plans for a Grand Canal greenway between Hazelhatch, County Kildare, and Grange Castle, Dublin 22, (details supplied) in view of the fact that there is reference to the project as an objective in a number of local area plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7618/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport, including the building and maintenance of cycling infrastructure.

The creation of high quality cycling and walking infrastructure, such as that proposed for the Grand Canal, is fully in line with Government policy including Smarter Travel and the National Cycle Policy Framework. Furthermore, I was delighted, as part of Budget 2018, to secure significant increases in Exchequer capital funding for a dedicated Cycling & Walking capital programme, as well as an increased Greenways investment programme.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the development and implementation of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA). The Grand Canal Greenway, including the section between Hazelhatch and Grange Castle, forms part of the Greenway Network of the GDA Cycle Network Plan.  Accordingly, NTA will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities, including Kildare County Council and Waterways Ireland, to deliver improved cycling infrastructure including greenway schemes.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply with regard to this particular project. 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.