Sports Funding

Ceisteanna (651)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

651. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department will pursue an application by an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10057/18]

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. Allocations under the 2017 round of the programme were announced on 30 November (local projects) and 21 December (regional projects) with a total of €60m allocated. Under this most recent round of the SCP, the maximum grant which could be applied for was €150,000 for local projects and €200,000 for a regional project.

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. I am aware however, of the development plans for the stadium referred to and recently visited the venue at the request of Deputy Peter Burke to be updated on the proposals in this regard.

Light Rail Projects

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

Ceisteanna (652)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

652. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the original railway order for metro north specifies that works must be substantially completed by 27 October 2020; his plans to utilise the existing order or start again from scratch; the amount of development levies received on foot of the order; the implications of his actions on this revenue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10067/18]

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 the development of a metro scheme.

Following consideration of the Fingal/North Dublin Transport Study and the recommendations of the National Transport Authority (NTA) arising from this study, the Government decided in 2015 that an optimised metro rail link as set out in the study is the long term public transport solution on the Airport/Swords corridor. In addition, the Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to proceed with the metro scheme.

The recently published Project Ireland 2040 now proposes to take forward a Metro Link scheme to run from Swords, via Dublin Airport to Dublin’s south city centre (operating in tunnel under the city centre) and onwards to Sandyford using the existing Luas Green Line to ensure that growth along this corridor can be accommodated. This will provide Dublin with a high capacity, high-frequency cross-city rail corridor serving critical destinations such as Swords, Dublin Airport, Dublin City University, Ballymun, the Mater Hospital and existing destinations along the Luas Green Line to Sandyford. Metro Link will provide faster reliable journey times to and from these key destinations while offering interchange with other rail, DART Expansion, light rail and bus services. 

The next steps are that the details of the Metro Link scheme (Swords to Sandyford) will put out to public consultation in the coming weeks, with construction expected to commence in 2021 with a view to delivering the project by 2027.  An application for a Railway Order will be submitted when a detailed Business Case for the scheme has been approved that seeks power to construct and operate the scheme and also to ensure that the necessary compulsory purchase order arrangements are given effect to secure the scheme.

In relation to development levies, they are in the first instance a matter for the relevant local authorities. I understand that both Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council have been advised by the National Transport Authority to cease their existing Development Contribution Schemes for Metro North, and that the process of refunding contributions to those who paid them has begun. Noting NTA's advice in this particular regard, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for further reply on the information sought and issues raised.  The Deputy should contact my office should a reply not be received within 10 days.

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

Road Projects Expenditure

Ceisteanna (653)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

653. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government on the increase in the budget for regional roads will be enforced in the near future (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8743/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As regards current funding levels, the Building on Recovery Capital Plan 2016-2021 marked a significant step forward in terms of restoring funding to the levels needed to maintain the road network in a “steady state” condition and allowing for some investment in road improvement schemes.  In this context the Capital Plan provided for a gradual build up in capital funding from a relatively low base towards the levels needed to support maintenance and improvement works.  This Plan recognised that it was going to take time to restore funding to the level required to maintain and renew the network adequately.

As Minister I put forward a strong case for additional investment in transport infrastructure during the Capital Plan Review process and I secured a significantly enhanced road investment programme for the period 2018 to 2021. Overall an additional €486 million was secured for roads bringing total roads investment for that 4 year period to €4.26 billion.  The National Development Plan also identifies investment in the maintenance and renewal of transport infrastructure as a priority, with a specific commitment to €4.5 billion in relation to local and regional roads. 

As noted by the Deputy, the Programme for Government provides that the Government will set aside €100 million in additional capital funding for investment in the Wild Atlantic Way, Greenways and a number of other initiatives.  This commitment covers a number of funding programmes and Departments - not solely the Wild Atlantic Way. 

Following from the mid-term review of the Capital Plan, an amount of almost €108 million is being provided for tourism product development in the period from 2018 to 2021. This allocation will provide for continued capital investment by Fáilte Ireland in their experience brands, including the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East. It will also enable Fáilte Ireland to commence work on the development of a brand for the Midlands region as a separate proposition to sit alongside the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East.

Light Rail Projects

Ceisteanna (654)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

654. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 347 of 24 October 2017, his plans with respect to the portion of the Luas green line that will not be subsumed into the new metro system; if he has satisfied himself that the recent investment in Luas cross city does not represent poor value for money in that in ten years the line will only run from Broombridge to Charlemont and Harcourt Street; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10179/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware the recently published Project Ireland 2040 now proposes to take forward a Metro Link scheme to run from Swords, via Dublin Airport to Dublin’s south city centre (operating in tunnel under the city centre) and onwards to Sandyford using the existing Luas Green Line to ensure that growth along this corridor can be accommodated. This will provide Dublin with a high capacity, high-frequency cross-city rail corridor serving critical destinations such as Swords, Dublin Airport, Dublin City University, Ballymun, the Mater Hospital and existing destinations along the Luas Green Line between Charlemont to Sandyford. Metro Link will provide faster reliable journey times to and from these key destinations while offering interchange with other rail, DART Expansion, light rail and bus services. Importantly, Luas services will continue to serve catchment areas between Broombridge and Charlemont and between Sandyford and Brides Glen, while also linking with higher capacity, higher frequency metro services through the city centre and linking to the airport and beyond.

The next steps are that the details of the Metro Link scheme (Swords to Sandyford) will put out to public consultation in the coming weeks, with construction expected to commence in 2021 with a view to delivering the project by 2027.

Early Childhood Care and Education

Ceisteanna (655)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

655. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the systems in place to accommodate children that are born at the beginning of the year and are precluded from availing of the ECCE scheme until the September following their third birthday (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9277/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

From September 2018, all children meeting the minimum age requirement of 2 years and 8 months will be eligible for a full two programme years on the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme. The current take up of ECCE averages at 61 weeks, up from 38 weeks when ECCE was first introduced. From September 2018, the entitlement for all children will be 76 weeks. This further enhancement of ECCE to two full years delivers on a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government that is good for children, families and Early Years providers.

This new measure will address the inconsistencies that led to a wide range in the number of free preschool weeks; some children could avail of 61 weeks, while others could avail of 88 weeks, and will ensure a programme that is more equitable for children.

The number of entry points into ECCE will revert to one at the beginning of the 2018 programme year (September). One enrolment period at the start of the pre-school year will help streamline the administration process and will make it easier for childcare providers to operate and budget for the programme year. This will also make it simpler for parents to secure places on the ECCE programme for their children.

It is recognised that childrens' birth dates and parental preference for school starting age, plus the single entry point for enrolment in primary school, will be factors influencing parents take-up of the second year of ECCE. 

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (656)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

656. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of freedom of information requests her Department has received in the past eight years; the number of which were accepted without further escalation and not accepted, respectively; the number requested which were not accepted that were escalated to the Information Commissioner; the number of which the Information Commissioner ruled in favour of the person requesting the freedom of information; the number of which the Information Commissioner ruled against her Department; the number her Department appealed to the High Court; the number the High Court ruled against her Department in favour of the applicant; the number which were then brought to the Court of Appeal by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9287/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Department was established in June 2011, and the number of freedom of information requests received since then is set out below.  All requests received were accepted and processed, and none have been escalated to the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Following requests being processed, no requests were escalated to the Office of the Information Commissioner, and there have been no court cases relating to freedom of information requests received by my Department.

Year

FOI Requests Received

Year

FOI Requests Received

2011

6

2012

32

2013

30

2014

37

2015

77

2016

84

2017

88

2018 to date

17

Foster Care

Ceisteanna (657)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

657. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if Tusla will support suitable approved long-term foster carers in applying to become non-relative guardians under the recently enacted powers of section 6C(2)(b) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964, as amended by the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015; if there will be restrictions on rights granted to foster carers if non-relative guardianship was to be granted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9329/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Thank you for your question.  I have requested Tusla to reply directly to you on this matter.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (658)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

658. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her Department's capital allocation in each of the years 2018 to 2022; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each of those years. [9513/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Development Plan sets out the Government`s capital investment priorities that will underpin the new National Planning Framework. My Department has been allocated €156 million in capital expenditure over the period 2018-2022 under the National Development Plan as set out in the following table:

National Development Plan

-

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Capital Allocations (€ million)

28

32

31

32

33

The resources will support continued investment in:

- Childcare, to ensure quality and supply of sufficient childcare places

- Youth services that support and target disadvantaged young people and improve their employability

- Tusla, through the continued development of ICT and standards of accommodation, and

- Oberstown Children Detention Campus through the provision of safe and secure places. 

In addition to this, the Plan also contains a commitment to provide an additional €250 million to support the implementation of a 10 year, cross-Government Early Years Strategy to be published in 2018. One of the core objectives of this strategy will be to increase the proportion of children who have access to high quality, early years care and education.

Child and Family Agency Staff

Ceisteanna (659)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

659. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when the three vacant posts on the board of Tusla will be filled; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9607/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, provides for the appointment of a nine person Board consisting of a Chairperson, a Deputy Chairperson and seven ordinary members all appointed by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.  

Appointments to State Boards must be made in accordance with Government Guidelines for Appointment to State Boards that were approved by Government and published in November, 2014.  

My Department is currently making arrangements with the Public Appointments Service for the filling of these vacancies having regard to relevant guidelines.

Family Resource Centres

Ceisteanna (660)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

660. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if an application by a group (details supplied) for a family resource centre will be examined; and the status of same. [9987/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

On Budget Day, I was pleased to announce that additional resources of almost €3.0 m were secured to support the inclusion of an additional 11 community organisations to the Family resource Centre Programme in 2018 and to support existing centres.

Tusla administers the Family Resource Centre Programme, and opened applications to the programme on 23rd October, 2017. The final deadline for receipt of these applications was 20th December, 2017.

Tusla has advised that it has received an application from the organisation referred to by the Deputy.

Tusla is currently reviewing all applications that were received within the specified application period. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the assessment in March 2018.

Family support is a priority for me, and the increased level of funding for Family Resource Centres in 2018 reflects this. I will continue to support Tusla in its work with Family Resource Centres around the country.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (661)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

661. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of freedom of information requests his Department has received in the past eight years; the number of which were accepted without further escalation and not accepted, respectively; the number requested which were not accepted that were escalated to the Office of the Information Commissioner; the number in which the Office of the Information Commissioner ruled in favour of the person making the freedom of information request; the number in which the Office of the Information Commissioner ruled against his Department; the number his Department appealed to the High Court; the number in which the High Court ruled against his Department in favour of the applicant; the number which were then brought to the Court of Appeal by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9297/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017. Since then my Department has received a total of twenty-three Freedom of Information requests. 

Nine of these requests were either granted in full or part-granted, with three refused and five withdrawn. The remaining six requests are pending.

To-date, no requests have been escalated from my Department to the Information Commissioner.

Rural Development Policy

Ceisteanna (662, 663, 664, 665, 666)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

662. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the reason under the NDP 2018 to 2027, the rural regeneration and development fund over the period 2019 to 2022 will only be on a pilot basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9368/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

663. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the existing initiatives and new investments under the NDP 2018 to 2027 that will be funded via the rural regeneration and development fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9369/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

664. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the definition of terms (details supplied) in accessing the rural regeneration and development fund under the NDP 2018 to 2027; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9370/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

665. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the definition of terms (details supplied) in accessing the rural regeneration and development fund under the NDP 2018 to 2027; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9371/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

666. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the schemes under his remit that will be integrated under the rural regeneration and development fund as stated in the NDP 2018 to 2027; the definition of ensuring more strategic use of the funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9372/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 662 to 666, inclusive, together.

Under the National Development Plan, the Government has committed to providing €1 billion for a new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund over the period 2019 to 2027. The objective of the new Fund is to drive collaborative, coordinated and complementary packages of investment between Departments, agencies, Local Authorities and other public bodies, to transform our rural towns and villages and their outlying areas.

Proposals for funding will be made on a competitive bid-based approach, based on delivering on the objectives in the National Planning Framework to support rural Ireland. The Plan provides that proposals submitted for funding will have to demonstrate a participant contribution from State, local authority, or other funding. This is currently the case in relation to the schemes operated by my Department and helps to achieve additionality.

Initial funding of €315 million is being allocated to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund over the period 2019 to 2022. This initial phase will allow my Department to build on existing initiatives which it administers, as well as to support new collaborative initiatives as outlined above. The initial period of funding will also provide an opportunity for an assessment of both specific projects and the method of allocation of this funding, and will inform further allocations. Funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will continue beyond 2022, to 2027.

As set out in the National Development Plan, my Department currently operates a number of schemes to support rural regeneration. These include the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, CLÁR and the Rural Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. While each of these schemes makes a valuable impact in its own right, I want to build on the synergies between the schemes to achieve better outcomes for people who live in rural areas.

The National Development Plan also envisages that, over time, these schemes will be integrated into the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. This will provide an opportunity to align the schemes with complementary initiatives operated by other Departments to maximise the impact on rural communities of investment across national and local government, and achieve better value for money.

My Department is currently developing proposals for the detailed operation of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, and I will announce the details following consultation with relevant Government colleagues.