Departmental Correspondence

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

Ceisteanna (638)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

638. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason for the low payment rate for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9823/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród 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.

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

Rail Network

Ceisteanna (639)

James Browne

Ceist:

639. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when an application will be made to the European Union to revise the TEN-T core network, with particular reference to seeking core status for the Dublin to Rosslare Europort line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9825/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The TEN-T Core Network is a subset of the Comprehensive Network, representing the strategically most important nodes and links of the trans-European transport networks. The Dublin - Rosslare Europort rail line is on the TEN-T comprehensive network and does not form part of the TEN-T Core Network.

Under the Programme for Partnership Government, the Government committed to applying to the European Union for the revision of the TEN-T Core Network. A submission is being prepared for the European Commission for a revision of the TEN-T Core Network, which would seek to facilitate consideration of transport-related project proposals for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility. The submission will also take into account the implications of Brexit on Ireland's future connectivity and will take account of the recently published National Development Plan.  

My officials met the European Commissioner for Transport, Ms Violeta Bulc, and her officials in October 2017 in relation to transport issues, including the potential impacts of Brexit on Ireland’s connectivity and increased geographical isolation in the EU. In that context, my officials informed the Commissioner that a submission will be forthcoming. My officials also separately met with the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) in November of last year and briefed DG MOVE on the Government’s commitment and on the pending submission. However, the Dublin to Rosslare Europort rail line did not form part of those discussions. DG MOVE advised that the submission would be considered on receipt but indicated that it may not meet the criteria for the Core Network. However, it noted that under the Regulation, a review of the implementation of the Core Network will take place by end 2023.

Driver Licence Renewals

Ceisteanna (640)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

640. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason for the public services card being required for applications and renewals of driver licences from 9 April 2018 in view of the fact that the process for issuing driving licences now involves applicants attending in person as part of the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9836/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The roll-out of use of the Public Services Card (PSC) in driver licensing applications is part of the Government's strategy for reducing burdens on the citizen, as well as part of the eGovernment strategy for making applications possible online.

Currently, numerous public services require people to produce proof of identity, with many different agencies and services across the whole range of Government having slightly different sets of documents required to prove the applicant's identity.  The move to request the PSC as part of an ID process will mean that people can prove their identity once, when applying for a PSC, and use the PSC as proof of identity for other services.  This was envisaged already in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, which permits 'specified bodies' to request the PSC as part of transactions.  The Road Safety Authority is such a specified body.

It is also planned to introduce online applications for driving licences.  Any such system must have a robust ID process behind it.  There is one central system for this, the MyGovID platform developed by the Department of Employment and Social Protection.  Identity information on this platform is underpinned by the application process for the PSC.  Applicants for a PSC must prove their identity, and holders of a PSC can then register online via MyGovID.

The overall effect of these measures will be to streamline applications, not only for the driver licence process but across a range of other Government services.

Local Improvement Scheme Funding

Ceisteanna (641)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

641. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a matter (details supplied) will be addressed regarding the local improvement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9859/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As regards the provision of matching funding for Local Improvement Schemes (LIS), the grant allocations for 2018 issued at the end of January and do not make provision for LIS this year.  In taking that approach I was conscious both of the significant and welcome funding Minister Ring's Department is putting into LIS and of the continuing pressing need to direct resources into maintaining and renewing roads taken in charge. I am also conscious that the LIS is complemented by other streams of funding within the ambit of the Department of Rural and Community Development including CLÁR funding for small scale capital projects in rural areas - including private roads - that have experienced significant levels of depopulation.

In this context I have followed through on two important action areas by providing ring-fenced funding for the Community Involvement Scheme and for Drainage Schemes.  I have set aside €10 million for each of these programmes.

Rail Network

Ceisteanna (642)

James Browne

Ceist:

642. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of his Department's talks with the EU on the commitment in the programme for Government that in the first three months the new Government will apply to the European Union for the revision of the TEN-T core network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9865/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Under the Programme for Partnership Government, the Government committed to applying to the European Union for the revision of the TEN-T Core Network. A submission is being prepared for the European Commission for a revision of the TEN-T Core Network, which would seek to facilitate consideration of transport-related project proposals for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility. The submission will also take into account the implications of Brexit and the recently published National Development Plan.

My officials met the European Commissioner for Transport, Ms Violeta Bulc, and her officials in October 2017 in relation to transport issues, including the potential impacts of Brexit on Ireland’s connectivity and increased geographical isolation in the EU. In that context, my officials informed the Commissioner that a submission will be forthcoming. My officials also separately met with the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) in November of last year and briefed DG Move on the Government’s commitment and on the pending submission. DG Move advised that the submission would be considered on receipt but indicated that it may not meet the criteria for the Core Network. However, it noted that under the Regulation, a review of the implementation of the Core Network will take place by end 2023.

Sports Funding

Ceisteanna (643)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

643. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of funding for a proposed redevelopment (details supplied). [9909/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) has been the primary means of providing Government support to sports clubs and organisations for sports capital works. The facility referred to by the Deputy received a grant allocation (€65,000) under the most recent round of the SCP but at this stage my Department has no other provision in relation to the proposed redevelopment.

In relation to future investment, the recently published National Development Plan 2018 - 2027 contains a commitment to establish a new “Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund” with €100m available over the coming years. The Fund will be for larger projects where the proposed Government contribution exceeds the amount available under the SCP.

My officials will draft the terms and conditions of the new scheme over the coming months. All projects funded under the scheme will be subject to the Public Spending Code and State Aid requirements. In terms of calls for proposals, it is envisaged that at a minimum, the National Governing Bodies of Sport and local authorities will be asked to prioritise projects for possible inclusion. Prior to the terms and conditions of the new scheme being finalised and relevant organisations having the opportunity to apply, it is obviously not possible at this stage to say whether any specific projects will be supported under the new scheme.

Road Projects Expenditure

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

Ceisteanna (644)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

644. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount the M50 cost to construct; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9924/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme while responsibility for individual road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. As regards the M50, the ring road was constructed in sections over an extended period of time.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Road Toll Data

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

Ceisteanna (645)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

645. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of revenue generated by the M50 toll; the areas in which these moneys are spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9925/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy in relation to roads. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects on national roads are a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the relevant local authority. For regional and local roads it is a matter for each respective local authority.

More specifically, the statutory powers to levy tolls on national roads as well as regional and local roads, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into toll agreements with private investors are vested in TII (for national roads) and each local authority (for regional and local roads) under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Roads Act 2007).

Noting the above, I am referring the question to TII for direct reply within 10 working days. Please inform my private office if you do not receive the information.

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

Road Toll Data

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

Ceisteanna (646)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

646. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the revenue generated by the M7 and M8 tolls, respectively; the areas in which these moneys are spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9927/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy in relation to roads. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects on national roads are a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the relevant local authority. For regional and local roads it is a matter for each respective local authority.

More specifically, the statutory powers to levy tolls on national roads as well as regional and local roads, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into toll agreements with private investors are vested in TII (for national roads) and each local authority (for regional and local roads) under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Roads Act 2007).

Noting the above, I am referring the question to TII for direct reply within 10 working days. Please inform my private office if you do not receive the information.

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

Road Projects Status

Ceisteanna (647)

John Curran

Ceist:

647. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans and the timeframe for planning and delivery of a western Dublin orbital route link between the N4 and N7; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9936/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the local authority's own resources supplemented by State road grants, where applicable.  Arising from the arrangements in place in relation to Local Property Tax receipts the four Dublin Councils became self funding for regional and local roads under the main road grant categories from 2015. 

Provision was made in the Capital Plan for the upgrade of roads in the vicinity of Grange Castle Business Park and the Department is providing grant assistance for that strategic scheme at present.

As regards the possible measures identified in the TII/ South County Dublin County Council N4/N7 Corridor Study, the further assessment of options is a matter for the local authority.

Road Projects Status

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

Ceisteanna (648)

John Curran

Ceist:

648. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to examine delivering a second intersection on the N7 at Rathcoole to alleviate a traffic bottleneck in Rathcoole village, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9937/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects  is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.  Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Park and Ride Facilities

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

Ceisteanna (649)

John Curran

Ceist:

649. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to identify a bus park and ride facility on the N7 near Rathcoole, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9938/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), including provision of new park and ride facilities.

The recently announced National Development Plan provides investment to progress the BusConnects programme to address growing congestion in the Dublin region in the short to medium term, including the provision of bus based Park and Ride facilities. BusConnects was launched last summer by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and work is ongoing on the redesign of the bus services network and also on infrastructure proposals for Core Bus Corridors which will be an integral part of the programme. When this work is completed the proposals will be launched for public consultation in the first half of this year. The results of the public consultation will inform the final decisions to be made on the network redesign, Core Bus Corridors and park and ride facilities.

The National Development Plan also provides investment for a Park-and-Ride Programme of strategic park and ride sites and investment in parking facilities at rail, Luas and bus locations.

Given the NTA’s responsibility in the matter I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NTA for an update on the issue of a bus park and ride specifically on the N7.

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

Driver Licence Applications

Ceisteanna (650)

John Curran

Ceist:

650. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the public services card will be the only acceptable form of identification when applying for a new driver licence and renewing a licence or learner permit from 9 April 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10001/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

From 9 April, there will be a new system of identification verification involved in the driver licensing process.  As of that date, applicants appearing at a National Driver Licensing Service centre will be asked to produce a Public Services Card (PSC).  There will also be an online system available. 

The introduction of the PSC is part of a Government policy to reduce the burden of applications procedures for both the citizen and the State.  Currently, numerous application processes across the whole range of Government services and agencies require people to prove their identity, usually with slightly varying requirements.  These processes add significantly to the burden on the citizen to prove their identity repeatedly for different application processes, and add to the administrative burden the State.

It was always intended that the PSC would offer a single system for ID verification which could be used to access multiple public services.  This was provided for under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, under which 'specified bodies' - including the Road Safety Authority, which is in charge of the NDLS - may request production of the PSC as part of transactions such as applications.

At the same time, the move to an online system, which has frequently been urged by members of the House and others, is possible only when there is a robust ID verification system underpinning it.  The State system for online ID is the MyGovID platform, established by the Department of Employment and Social Protection.  The ID verification underpinning the MyGovID platform is the process of obtaining a PSC.