Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (309)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

309. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the breakdown of staff in his Department by grade. [44350/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. The material has been prepared on a Full Time Equivalent basis.

Grade

FTE

Administrative Officer

20.00

Assistant Principal

71.67

Assistant Secretary

5.00

Assistant Superintendent GSI

1.00

Cartographer GSI

1.00

Chief Superintendent

1.00

Chief Telecom Adviser

1.00

Civilian Driver

2.00

Clerical Officer

50.60

Climate Analyst

1.00

Cyber Security Responder

13.00

Director of Communications

1.00

Director of G.S.I

1.00

Driller

1.00

Executive Engineer

1.00

Executive Officer

62.27

Geologist

15.60

GIS Manager

1.00

GIS Officer

1.00

Head of Exploration & Mining

1.00

Head of PAD Technical

1.00

Head Services Officer

1.00

Higher Executive Officer

72.46

Inspector

2.00

Petroleum Exploration Specialist

2.00

Principal

27.80

Principal Adviser

1.00

Principal Geologist

2.80

Principal Solicitor

1.00

Secretary General

1.00

Senior Adviser

2.00

Senior Geologist

12.00

Senior Telecoms Engineer

3.00

Services Officer

5.80

Special Adviser to the Minister

2.00

Staff Engineer

3.00

Superintendent of Cartography

1.50

Telecoms Engineer

1.00

Temporary Clerical Officer

1.00

Total

395.50

Salmon Hardship Scheme

Ceisteanna (310)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

310. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce a compensation scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44426/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Fishing for salmon was by way of public licence and therefore the issue of compensation does not arise.

The Salmon Hardship Scheme was introduced following a decision in 2006 to cease, for conservation reasons, the commercial salmon mixed stock fishery in the sea. In excess of €25 million was allocated to the scheme to facilitate payments to fishermen with a further €5 million provided for community development projects. Under the scheme, fishermen active in the fishery could opt to voluntarily cease fishing in the commercial drift net and draft net sectors and undertake not to seek a licence in the future.

Payments to individuals were based on verifiable track record and recorded catches in the five years prior to its introduction. I am advised that the average payment under the scheme was almost €23,000. The scheme closed for applications on 31 December 2007 and ceased in 2008. I understand that all funds were expended and there are currently no plans to revisit such a scheme.

National Broadband Plan Data

Ceisteanna (311, 312)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

311. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of homes in counties Sligo and Leitrim included in the intervention area for the provision of a broadband service under the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44442/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

312. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of homes included in the intervention area for the provision of a broadband service under the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44479/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 311 and 312 together.

According to my Department’s High Speed Broadband Map, available at www.broadband.gov.ie, there are some 14,000 Sligo premises and some 11,000 Leitrim premises in the AMBER area. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP and are the subject of an ongoing procurement process. 

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage, with evaluation ongoing of the final tender submission received on 18 September. The Taoiseach has asked Mr. Peter Smyth, the independent process auditor to the NBP procurement to review the process. Mr. Smyth will submit a recommendation report to both the Taoiseach and to me as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and I Environment. This review will take place in parallel to the evaluation being carried out by the Department’s procurement team on the final tender. 

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing to strengthen.  These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities.  The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements

Mining Industry

Ceisteanna (313)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

313. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 434 and 435 of 9 October 2018, the status of the issues arising from subsidence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44481/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Since the Deputy’s last Parliamentary Question on this issue, my officials have continued to liaise with the other statutory consent authorities and the company to ensure a consistent and co-ordinated effort to effectively minimise disruption, investigate the cause of the collapse at Magheracloone, safeguard health and safety within the affected area and provide all necessary assurances in regard to the future operation of the facility.

I understand that there are a number of affected households in the area of the investigation and that local businesses have also been affected by the road closures. I appreciate the inconvenience caused to these residents and businesses. It is my understanding that the company’s family liaison officer has been in regular contact with the affected families. 

The priority is in returning these families to their homes as quickly as possible, subject to the results of expert assessments by mining engineers.  Support in providing alternative accommodation, transport and other needs is being provided while this process in ongoing. The review and investigation underway is utilising a range of technical expertise and is now at an advanced stage. 

My officials attended a further meeting with the company and officials from Monaghan County Council on 22 October where the findings of surveying, geotechnical and hydrogeological assessments carried out over the past three weeks were considered. A programme of additional work to be carried out in forthcoming days was agreed with the company.  Subject to independent verification of the results of this final work later this week, it is my understanding that Monaghan County Council hopes to be in a position to make a decision as to the re-opening of the roads to the public.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

314. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the breakdown of the €3,127,000 capital allocation for inland fisheries (details supplied) in his Department for 2019, by specific project; the projects that will be commenced and completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44500/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

315. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the breakdown of the €31,525,000 capital allocation for environment and waste management (details supplied) in his Department for 2019 by specific project; the projects that will be commenced and completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44501/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

316. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of the €74,414,000 capital allocation for communications, Vote 29 of the budget 2019 expenditure report, in his Department for 2019 by specific project in tabular form; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44543/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

317. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of the €2,023,000 capital allocation for broadcasting, Vote 29 of the budget 2019 expenditure report, in his Department for 2019 by specific project in tabular form; the projects which will be commenced in 2019; the projects which will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44544/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

318. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of the €131,636,000 capital allocation for energy, Vote 29 of the budget 2019 expenditure report, in his Department for 2019 by specific project in tabular form; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44545/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

319. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of the €13,275,000 capital allocation for natural resources, Vote 29 of the budget 2019 expenditure report, in his Department for 2019 by specific project in tabular form; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44546/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 314 to 319, inclusive, together.

The €256 million in capital funding allocated to my Department in Budget 2019 represents a 22% or €47 million increase over 2018, and is divided across the six programme areas as follows:

Programme Area

 €m

Communications

74.4

Broadcasting

2.0

Energy

131.6

Natural Resources

13.3

Inland Fisheries

3.1

Environment and Waste Management

31.6

Detailed programme allocations are being finalised and will be published in the Revised Estimates Volume in December next.

In 2019, my Department will continue to progress projects in areas of strategic national importance, encompassing climate action, energy efficiency, communications, broadcasting, environment, waste management, natural resources and inland fisheries. Key investment measures within these sectors are outlined as follows.

In the Communications area, funding has been provided for the National Broadband Plan and continued support for digital adoption among businesses and citizens.

Focus will be maintained on advancing the critical climate action agenda, in line with the whole-of-Government National Mitigation Plan. Investment in energy efficiency upgrades in the residential, commercial and public sectors will deliver significant energy savings and reductions in emissions. Development of renewable energy across the electricity, heat and transport sectors is central to Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy. The rollout of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat will promote the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy technologies, while incentivising the uptake of electric vehicles will continue to be a priority for my Department.

In the Environmental area, funding will ensure the continued promotion of environmental protection and allow the EPA to deliver on its legislative mandate and research commitments in relation to ambient air quality, noise and non-ionising radiation monitoring, as well as the areas of climate mitigation and adaptation. 

My Department will continue to provide grant funding for the remediation of landfill sites, as well as supports for the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy and protection of our natural environment. Continued investment in INFOMAR and TELLUS mapping projects will provide reliable geoscience support, underpinning the sustainable development of Ireland’s natural resources.

Traffic Management

Ceisteanna (320)

John Curran

Ceist:

320. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on An Bord Pleanála's decision to refuse planning permission for the proposed Dublin civic plaza at College Green that would have seen the area pedestrianised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44249/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The planning application for the College Green Plaza was brought to An Bord Pleanála by Dublin City Council and as the Deputy is aware the Council is not a body under my Department's aegis.

In 2015 the Council, in partnership with the National Transport Authority, published a Dublin City Centre Transport Study. That study set out various measures to ensure the efficient functioning of transport and also to enhance the public realm within the city centre.

The issues underpinning the Study's consideration of the challenges and opportunities facing the city centre remain and I understand that the Council and the NTA are currently considering the implications of the Board's decision in relation to their respective competencies.

Swimming Pool Programme Data

Ceisteanna (321)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

321. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of public swimming pools, including swimming pools which are in contract with local authorities' PPP or similar arrangements, in each local authority; and the percentage this represents in terms of swimming pools per head of population by local authority. [44294/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme (LASPP), as operated by my Department, provides grant aid to local authorities towards the capital costs of new swimming pools or the refurbishment of existing pools.

While my Department provides capital funding to local authorities for the construction of swimming pools, it has no role in the arrangements for the operation of pools. I understand that any financial support for operational shortfalls comes from the resources of the relevant local authority. Furthermore, I am informed that the Local Government Audit Service has undertaken a Value for Money study to understand the strategies, procedures and reporting arrangements employed by local authorities to manage and monitor the operations of swimming pools and recreational facilities in their control. This study also examines the management arrangements in place. I understand the publication of the report is imminent.

In relation to the future funding of swimming pools, the National Development Plan (NDP) confirms the establishment of a new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). It is intended that the Fund will be for larger projects where the proposed Government contribution exceeds the amount currently available for individual projects under the Sports Capital Programme. The fund will initially focus on the National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Authorities. While the detailed terms and conditions of the new scheme are currently being finalised in my Department, it is envisaged that applications for new swimming pool projects will be accepted. An announcement in relation to when applications will be accepted will be made shortly.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (322)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

322. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the breakdown of staff in his Department by grade. [44362/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The information requested by the Deputy is outlined in the following table. The numbers provided are as at 30th September 2018.

Grade 

Breakdown

 Secretary General

 1

 Assistant Secretary General

 6

 Principal Officer

 22

 Assistant Principal Officer

 63

 Higher Executive Officer

 87

 Administrative Officer

 25

 Executive Officer

 96

 Clerical Officer

 126

 Head Service Officer

 1

 Service Officer

 8

 Service Attendant

 1

 Storekeeper

 1

 Chief Aeronautical Officer

 1

 Air Accident Investigator

 7

 Chief Railway Accident Investigator

 1

 Senior  Railway Accident Investigator

 3

 Principal Advisor (Roads)

 1

 Senior Advisor (Roads)

 1

 Engineering Inspector (Roads)

 2

 Accountant

 1

 Legal Advisor

 1

 Technology Specialist

 1

 Director Irish Coast Guard (IRCG)

 1

 Assistant Director IRCG

 2

 Manager IRCG

 2

 Divisional Controller IRCG

 3

 Electronics Officer IRCG

 2

 Engineering and Operations Officer IRCG

 1

 Engineering Officer IRCG

 1

 Operations and Training Officer IRCG

 3

 Coastal Unit Sector Manager IRCG

 6

 Health and Safety Officer IRCG

 1

 Station Officer IRCG

 27

 Radio Officer Grade III IRCG

 15

 Chief Surveyor (Marine Survey Office - MSO)

 1

 Deputy Chief Surveyor MSO

 1

 Surveyor MSO

 26

 Special Adviser to the Minister

 1

 Press Adviser to the Minister

 1

 Civilian Drivers for Ministers

 3 

Military Aircraft Landings

Ceisteanna (323)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

323. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason he approved the transit through Shannon Airport of an aircraft (details supplied) in view of the fact that its presence at Shannon was in clear breach of international laws of neutrality and in breach of the High Court ruling by Judge Kearns in Horgan v. An Taoiseach et al, 2003. [44365/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Under the Air Navigation (Carriage of War, Weapons and dangerous Goods) Order 1973, as amended, civil aircraft are prohibited from carrying weapons or munitions over Ireland's sovereign airspace or into Irish airports unless they receive an exemption from the Minister for Transport. In considering such applications, my Department seeks the advice of relevant Government Departments, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who advise on foreign policy issues. Such measures are fully consistent with Ireland’s traditional policy of military neutrality, as applied by successive Irish Governments for over 50 years.

In the case of the flights for the aircraft with the registration number N207AX that landed in Shannon Airport on the 9th, 10th, 15th and 17th October munitions of war exemptions were applied for and granted by my Department. The flights on the 11th, 14th and 18th October were technical refuelling stops. No munitions of war exemptions were applied for in respect of these flights. Shannon Airport also confirmed that this Aircraft did not transit through Shannon Airport on either the 13th or 16th of October.

Under the 1944 International Air Services Transit Agreement, civil aircraft transiting or carrying out non-traffic stops within the sovereign territories of the parties to this Agreement do not normally require any additional authorisations or exemptions.

Both Ireland and the United States are party to this Agreement.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (324)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

324. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the difference between the capital allocation for his Department under the national development plan for 2019 given as €1,643 million in Annex 1 of the plan and the lower figure of €1,613 million that is now earmarked for 2019 as set out on page 7 of the budget 2019 expenditure report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44431/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As part of Budget 2019, it was agreed between the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform that an amount of €30 million could be transferred from our capital allocation and used to alleviate pressures on our current expenditure.

The overall budget for my department is €2.3 billion.