Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (203)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

203. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if action plans dealing with mitigating measures and contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit scenario have reached implementation stage; his plans to deal with problems faced by hauliers of agrifoods and fish products in the event of customs checks causing delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6074/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has been actively participating in the Whole-of-Government approach to preparedness and contingency planning, and we have been working very closely with colleagues in other Departments and agencies to address in particular the requirements that will arise in relation to the implementation at ports and airports of import controls on agrifood and fishery products coming from the UK. This process has moved into the implementation phase, and practical arrangements are being put in place to ensure that our legal obligations are fulfilled as efficiently as possible while also ensuring the minimum possible disruption to trading arrangements.

Work in this regard has been focused on three key areas, namely, infrastructure, staffing and information technology, and in three key locations, that is Dublin Port, Rosslare Port and Dublin Airport.

On infrastructure, we have been engaging very closely with the Office of Public Works, the Department of Transport, the Department of Health and the Revenue Commissioners in relation to the physical facilities that will be required to carry out import controls at the three locations. Areas being addressed here include inspection facilities, staff accommodation, parking, and logistics and traffic management.

On staffing, the Department is again working very effectively with Customs and others to provide the resources needed to apply the necessary controls and I am confident that the state will be in a position to apply controls at the appropriate time.

On information technology, my Department has established a project to coordinate the identification and delivery of ICT Infrastructure and systems to support the additional requirements of staff engaged in control processes in Dublin Port, Rosslare and Dublin Airport. The delivery timelines in the event of a disorderly Brexit are extremely challenging, but officials are working with the greatest urgency to ensure that the required ICT services are in place by 29th March.

Throughout all of this work, the focus of my Department continues to be on the need to discharge our legal responsibilities in relation to the control of imports from a sanitary and phytosanitary perspective and the certification of exports, while minimising the potential problems that hauliers and others are likely to face.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (204)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

204. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the recent discussions he has had with the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries on the need to protect the Irish fisheries sector post Brexit; the issues discussed; the outcome of such discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6183/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Over the past two years, I have had regular, positive meetings with Commissioner Vella on the potential implications for the fisheries sector arising from Brexit, most recently on the margins of the December Fisheries Council. I am due to meet with the Commissioner again on the 18th of this month specifically on preparedness issues in the worst case scenario of a no deal Brexit.

My priority is to maintain existing levels of access to waters and resources. If the withdrawal deal goes through there will be no changes to the status quo for at least two years. Within this timeframe and within the context of the overall economic partnership, the EU and UK will work to establish a new fisheries agreement to be in place for the first year after the transition period.

In the event of a disorderly departure by the UK on the 29th of March existing reciprocal arrangements could be endangered.

The Commission is, in cooperation with the Member States, proposing measures that would allow ongoing reciprocal access, but the outcome will depend on the position of the UK which is, as yet, unclear.

If such reciprocal access does not materialise, the impact on Ireland's fishing fleet will be significant.

My Department is working closely with other Member States and the Commission on these matters, and I will be meeting Commissioner Vella very shortly to discuss the need for supports for the Irish fishing sector in the event of a disorderly Brexit.

Trade Sanctions

Ceisteanna (205)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

205. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding provided by the European Union to support farmers and the agricultural sector in member states affected by the Russian embargo in each of the years 2011 to 2018, in tabular form; the countries that received such aid; the sectors in this regard, respectively in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6229/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A general ban on the importation of agrifood products was imposed by the Russian Federation in August 2014 on countries (including the EU) which had adopted sanctions against Russia in the context of the situation in Ukraine. Although partially lifted (since 1 June 2016) in respect of imports of beef, poultry and vegetables intended for use in baby food manufacturing, the overall ban remains in place until 31 December 2019.

The European Commission, with the help of EU member states, has closely monitored the different markets affected by the ban and has taken a range of emergency measures, notably for the dairy sector and for fruit & vegetables that are designed to help producers address market pressure, stabilise prices and find alternative sales opportunities.

According to Commission data, in the case of fruits and vegetables, the last emergency measures were phased out on 30 June 2018. From the time the ban was introduced, the EU granted €500 million of aid, corresponding to withdrawals of 1.7 million tonnes, to EU producers of fruit and vegetables. In the period up to July 2017, the total aid requested amounted to €452 million , in respect of 1.6 million tonnes of fruit & vegetables.

Fruit & Veg - Main Member states concerned are

MS

Tons

Poland

53894

22 342 826

Spain

44367

12 016 402

Belgium

27786

3 270 188

Greece

18499

9 527 301

Italy

14967

7 467 822

Netherlands

8415

2 057 455

In the case of the dairy sector, specific aid was granted to the Baltic States, which were particularly exposed to the impacts of the Russian ban, as follows (again, according to data available from the European Commission):

ms

mios €

Estonia

6.9

Lativa

7.8

Lithuania

14.07

More generally, October 2015 saw the European Commission and Member States agree a support package to help farmers most affected by on-going market difficulties, which had been caused by a number of factors including the effects of the Russian ban. Allocations totalling €420 million were made to Member States to support the dairy and livestock sectors in particular, with flexibility for Member States to decide how to target this support. Figures from the Commission on the breakdown by Member State are as follows:

Member State

Allocation (mio€)

Member State

Allocation (mio€)

Belgium

13,050

Latvia

8,452

Bulgaria

6,009

Lithuania

12,632

Czech Republic

11,156

Luxembourg

669

Denmark

11,103

Hungary

9,505

Germany

69,234

Malta

120

Estonia

7,562

Netherlands

29,937

Ireland

13,734

Austria

7,005

Greece

2,258

Poland

28,947

Spain

25,257

Portugal

4,764

France

62,900

Romania

11,146

Croatia

1,182

Slovenia

1,368

Italy

25,018

Slovakia

2,464

Cyprus

355

Finland

8,986

Sweden

8,221

United Kingdom

36,072

Additionally, in July 2016, the European Commission agreed a further solidarity package worth €500 million, which included provision for a milk production reduction scheme, conditional adjustment aid, and extension of public intervention and aids for private storage schemes.

Further to that, in order to help boost exports to alternative markets outside the EU, the European Commission has increased promotion funds from €142.5 million in 2017 to €188.5 million in 2018 and €200 million in 2020. Promotion policy rules set out how EU funding can be used for information and promotion initiatives both inside and outside of the EU.

Member State

Allocation

Member State

Allocation

Belgium

10 979 636

Latvia

9 760 362

Bulgaria

5 809 941

Lithuania

13 298 661

Czech Republic

10 346 106

Luxembourg

560 115

Denmark

9 294 305

Hungary

9 543 566

Germany

57 955 101

Malta

100 092

Estonia

8 081 123

Netherlands

22 952 419

Ireland

11 086 327

Austria

5 863 491

Greece

1 683 910

Poland

22 670 129

Spain

14 665 678

Portugal

3 988 059

France

49 900 853

Romania

10 896 083

Croatia

1 517 133

Slovenia

1 145 506

Italy

20 942 300

Slovakia

2 062 803

Cyprus

297 165

Finland

7 521 715

Sweden

6 881 425

United Kingdom

30 195 996

I have consistently urged the European Commission to intensify its contacts with the Russian authorities with a view to lifting its embargo. While efforts to secure real engagement from the Russian authorities will continue, the broader task of securing alternative market outlets for EU food products will also continue to be progressed.

Food Safety Standards Regulation

Ceisteanna (206)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

206. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures being taken following confirmation that unsafe meat has been exported to 12 EU countries (details supplied). [6231/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), managed by the EU Commission, is the key EU tool used to ensure a swift reaction when risks to public health are detected in the food chain. RASFF enables information to be shared efficiently and swiftly between its members - EU Commission, European Food Safety Authority, national food safety authorities for the EU-28 and EFTA countries - with the objective of ensuring the highest possible level of consumer protection. In Ireland’s case, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland is the responsible authority.

RASFF members must immediately notify the Commission via when they have information regarding a serious health risk deriving from food or feed. Once a notification of the existence of a serious, direct or indirect, risk to public health linked to food or feed is made by a member, this information reaches the Commission, which in turn verifies the notification and immediately transmits it to the other members of the network. This rapid exchange of information allows all members to check in real time whether they are also affected and if urgent action is needed.

Poland submitted a notification on the RASFF system on 29 January, in relation to veterinary controls not properly carried out on bovine meat at slaughter premises in Poland, potentially creating a food safety risk. The RASSF notification listed 11 member states which were affected, and advised that implicated product should be withdrawn from the market. Ireland was not one of the affected member states.

Trade Agreements

Ceisteanna (207)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

207. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of Mercosur talks. [6232/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The EU Mercusor negotiations have not progressed sufficiently recently to the point where any agreement is likely to be concluded. Apart from the well-known sensitivities in relation to Mercosur beef access to the EU market, other outstanding issues include cars, rules of origin, geographical indications, maritime services and EU dairy access to the Mercosur market.

From an Irish perspective, we have been very consistent in urging caution in the approach to these negotiations. Our position has been reiterated many times, for example by myself and by my colleague, Minister of State Andrew Doyle, at Council of Agriculture Ministers meetings, and by other Ministers in the relevant EU Trade policy fora. It has also been done through direct contacts with Commissioners Hogan and Malmstroem, and by the Taoiseach at European Council and through his own direct contacts, including with Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and French President Emmanuel Macron. I have also been working closely with Member State colleagues in this regard, and have remained in close contact with Commissioner Hogan on the matter.

At the moment there are no new rounds scheduled, with the most recent having taken place in Montevideo from 10-13 December 2018. However, I will continue to remain in close contact with the European Commission and with Member State colleagues, in order to reinforce Ireland's concerns.

In an overall sense there is undoubtedly a need for continued vigilance in relation to the conduct of these trade negotiations, and I will continue to insist that they are handled appropriately, and in a manner that safeguards the interests of the Irish and European beef sector. I also continue to stress that full account must be taken of the findings of the Commission’s own assessment of the cumulative impact of trade deals on the agri food sector, and the potentially very damaging impact of Brexit on an already delicately balanced EU beef market.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (208)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

208. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the WTO tariff that would apply for exports to the UK for sectors (details supplied) in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and the estimated value that such tariffs would have over the course of a calendar year. [6233/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The decision as to how and when the UK might impose tariffs on imports from the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit is a sovereign matter for the UK Government.

As part of my Department’s Brexit planning, my Department has carried out a detailed analysis of the implications for Irish agri-food exports in a scenario whereby the UK applied the EU’s existing tariff schedule on imports.

The detailed analysis was carried out by my Department using agri-food trade data, broken down into twenty four categories, identified and agreed by my Department and the CSO. The EU’s MFN (Most Favoured Nation) Tariff Schedule was then applied to this export data. This tariff schedule includes both ad valorem tariffs and tariffs per weight/unit of product, as set out in the EU’s TARIC database. The imposition of tariffs is not a linear exercise, and the possible tariffs that could be imposed vary both within individual categories and the sector as a whole. A calculation of tariff rate equivalents based on actual value and volume of trade in 2016 was completed, and is summarised in the table attached.

This analysis found that the estimated cost of potential tariffs for the sector as a whole is €1.7 billion, based on Irish agri-food exports to the United Kingdom of €4.8 billion in 2016.

There are a number of important caveats which must be considered when examining these results, including:

- Tariff data used, is based on a TARIC database extract at 31 December 2016, with the exception of those commodities where tariff rates had changed during the years 2014, 2015, 2016;

- This analysis represented over 90% of agri-food exports to the United Kingdom between 2014 and 2016.

- This analysis does not take account of any possible tariff rate quotas (TRQs), nor does it account for non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to trade, including transport delays and additional administrative costs.

- The analysis does not include the impact of any changes to the Euro-Sterling exchange rate.

- In respect of live animal exports, the average tariff rate equivalent is 8%, however in 2016, 67% of total value of live animal exports were not subject to tariff. The estimated tariff on total live exports which are subject to tariffs is 24%, and for exports of live bovines the tariff rate equivalent is approximately 40%.

Additionally, for some sectors further analysis is ongoing due to the complexity of the tariff calculations, namely:

- While raw forestry products do not usually attract third country duties, processed wood based products such as MDF, and OSB are subject to ad valorem charges based on declared value.

- For Cereals and Cereal Preparations products, almost half of the top 20 commodities are subject to duties which are calculated based on complex compositional data of the ingredients used.

Third country duties for individual product lines can be found on the TARIC website using the eight digit combined nomenclature (CN) code:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/dds2/taric/taric_consultation.jsp?Lang=en

Tariff rate equivalents of agri-food sector commodities, 2016

Total Exports to the UK 2016

Est Duty as a % of the declared value

Total Est cost of tariff equiv.

Dairy

€857,279,000

49%

€422,547,000

Beef

€1,113,448,000

70%

€780,521,000

Sheepmeat

€52,027,000

75%

€38,996,000

Pigmeat

€408,182,000

22%

€90,595,000

Poultry

€217,308,000

55%

€118,817,000

Live Animals[1]

€259,200,000

8%

€21,123,000

Eggs

€10,877,000

19%

€2,035,000

Other Meat & Meat Preps

€46,949,000

18%

€8,543,000

Fruit and Vegetables

€239,155,000

14%

€33,439,000

Fish

€64,262,000

14%

€8,900,000

Beverages

€301,642,000

5%

€14,250,000

Cereals & Cereal Preparations

€339,582,000

14%

€47,813,000

Animal Feedstuffs

€211,769,000

8%

€17,272,000

Misc. Edible Prods & Preps

€118,234,000

10%

€11,839,000

Vegetable Oils & Fats

€7,557,000

9%

€666,000

Sugar, Sugar Prep & Honey

€44,467,000

30%

€13,216,000

Coffee, Tea, Cocoa & Spices

€242,241,000

17%

€41,021,000

Crude Animal & Vegetable Material

€31,695,000

1%

€382,000

Animal Oils & Fats

€10,293,000

1%

€85,000

Oilseeds & Oleaginous Fruit

€11,164,000

0%

€15,000

Forestry[2]

€176,544,000

0%

Animal Skins & Furs

€35,477,000

0%

Flax, Wool & Animal Hair

€5,142,000

0%

Cotton

€34,000

0%

Totals

€4,804,528,000

€1,672,074,000

[1] MFN tariffs on Live Bovine exports (excl. breeding), which are charged at 10.2% + 93.100 DTN are considerably higher than estimated duty for the sector.  The estimated tariff rate equivalent of these commodities is approximately 40% tariff rate equivalent.

[2] While Raw forestry products do not attract duties, processed wood products such as MDF do, these are usually charged at 7% ad valorem.

Food Wise 2025 Strategy

Ceisteanna (209)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

209. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the confirmation he gave that a carbon target for agriculture will be set (details supplied); the discussions he had in this regard; and the impact on Food Wise 2025 targets. [6230/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation, Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2021 to 2030 in the non-ETS sector can be represented in the form of a ‘carbon budget’ for emissions from relevant sectors of the economy, including transport, agriculture, buildings and waste. Potential approaches to the future setting of sectorial targets to enable the achievement of Ireland's EU Effort Sharing Regulation targets are being considered as part of the All-of-Government Climate Action Plan which I am currently preparing.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (210)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

210. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the capital allocations for the National Broadband Plan in each of the years 2013 to 2027 by allocation under the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Plan 2012-2016, the National Broadband Plan, Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment Plan 2016-2021 and the National Development Plan 2018-2027, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6028/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Government allocated €275 million in Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021 published in September 2015, for the initial years of the network build-out for the National Broadband Plan State intervention. The €275m represented an initial stimulus, in the knowledge that significant further funding will be required over the lifetime of the proposed 25 year contract. The level of State subsidy for the National Broadband Plan State intervention is to be determined through an ongoing procurement. As such, the proposed investment in the NBP under the National Development Plan 2018—2027 was indicated to be confidential due to an ongoing procurement.

National Broadband Plan Funding

Ceisteanna (211)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

211. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if funding allocated for the national broadband plan but not spent remains in his Department until it is spent; if not, if it is returned to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6029/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan is one of the projects funded through the Capital allocation for my Department. Funding for the National Broadband Plan is allocated from the Communications subhead A.3. Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004 provides that a maximum of up to 10% of the total capital allocation of each Vote may be carried over to the following financial year, subject to the approval of the Oireachtas and an Order from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Any capital underspend on individual subheads that together exceed the total permissible capital carryover of 10% is surrendered back to the Exchequer at the end of the financial year.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (212, 213, 214)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

212. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the breakdown of the €69,414,000 capital allocation under A communications in Vote 29 of the budget 2019 expenditure report within his Department by specific project; the projects that will be commence in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6030/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

213. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the breakdown of the €142,603,000 capital allocation under C energy in Vote 29 of the budget 2019 expenditure report within his Department by specific project; the projects that will be commence in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6031/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

214. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the breakdown of the €46,525,000 capital allocation under F environment and waste management in Vote 29 of the budget 2019 expenditure report within his Department by specific project; the projects that will be commence in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6032/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 212 to 214, inclusive, together.

Detailed capital allocations for my Department, broken down by programme area and subhead, were published in the Revised Estimates Volume on 19th December 2018. The 2019 capital allocations (including €15m capital carryover) for the Communications, Energy and Environment & Waste Management Programme areas of my Department are €84.4m, €142.6m and €46.5m respectively.

During 2019, my Department will continue to progress capital projects in areas of strategic national importance across its 6 Programme areas. Key investment measures within the 3 Programme areas specified in the Question are set out below.

In the Communications Programme area, I have allocated €75m for the National Broadband Plan and a further €6.3m to provide continued support for digital entrepreneurship and digital adoption among businesses and citizens.

In the Energy Programme area, focus will be maintained on advancing the critical climate action agenda. My Department has allocated €85m for investment in residential energy efficiency upgrades under the Better Energy Grant Schemes and a further €23m for energy efficiency upgrades in the commercial and public sectors. Other key energy measures include an investment of €5m in the roll-out of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat to promote the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy technologies. Funding of €18m is available to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles through a range of supports and measures. In addition, €8.7m will be invested in energy research to accelerate diversification away from fossil fuels to green energy. These measures will deliver significant energy savings and reductions in CO2 emissions in the transition to a low carbon economy and society.

In the Environment and Waste Management Programme area, I have allocated €11.8m in capital funding to the EPA to deliver on its legislative mandate and research commitments in areas including air quality, climate mitigation and adaptation. My Department will provide €9m in grant funding to Local Authorities for the continued remediation of landfill sites. Funding of some €25m is allocated to progress the climate change agenda, including an amount of €15m for the Climate Action Fund to leverage additional investment by public or private bodies in initiatives that contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s climate and energy targets in a cost effective manner.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Ceisteanna (215, 216)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

215. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if directives have been issued to ComReg with regard to the roll-out of 5G technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6110/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

216. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of on the roll-out of 5G technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6111/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 and 216 together.

5G, as the fifth generation wireless technology, is still under development and is expected to be commercialised over the next few years. Roll-out of infrastructure to facilitate 5G services in Ireland is primarily a matter for private mobile network operators, operating on a commercial basis. I do not have statutory authority to require commercial companies to roll-out services or infrastructure. Mobile network operators function in a liberalised market in Ireland, regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), who is statutorily independent in the exercise of its functions.

The provision of mobile telecommunications services generally (including 5G services) is subject to a requirement to secure a wireless telegraphy licence to access the required radio spectrum. The management of the radio spectrum is a statutory function of ComReg under the Communications Regulation Act 2002, as amended. This role includes the allocation of radio spectrum, the award of spectrum licences and the associated application of terms, conditions and obligations to those licences.

Whilst ComReg is independent in the exercise of its statutory functions, I do have the power to issue policy directions to the Regulator under the 2002 Act, reflecting my responsibility for policy for the sector. I have not issued and currently do not propose to issue such a policy direction in relation to the issue raised by the Deputy.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (217)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

217. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if assurances will be provided to representatives from the haulage industry that measures for hauliers would largely remain the same for a period of nine months after a no-deal Brexit includes trips across the Border; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6086/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I and my Department have kept in close contact with road haulage industry throughout the Brexit negotiations and will continue to do so. I met the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) on Tuesday 29 January last.

The Government's priority remains the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, which would maintain current arrangements in road haulage, including cross border arrangements, during a transition period up to the end of 2020.

As part of its no deal Brexit Contingency Action Plan the EU Commission has proposed a temporary arrangement that would apply for a nine month period in a no deal scenario. If the Withdrawal Agreement comes into force the proposal will not be required. The proposal is conditional on the UK offering equivalent reciprocal rights to all EU licensed road hauliers in the UK post Brexit, including Irish hauliers, which the UK has confirmed it is willing to do.

These arrangements would apply between Ireland and Northern Ireland in exactly the same way as they apply between Ireland and Britain, or indeed anywhere else in the EU 27 and the UK.

While discussions of this proposal are at an advanced stage in the Council with a view to having the new Regulation in place for 29 March 2019, this is a matter that will only be finalised when the proposed Regulation has completed its passage through the Council and European Parliament and when the UK has enacted its reciprocal rights.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (218, 221)

John Lahart

Ceist:

218. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of occasions on which he or his officials met with the four Dublin local authority CEOs to discuss traffic in Dublin; the number of times he has met with the four directors of transport for the Dublin local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5987/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

221. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of times he has convened his officials and appropriate invitees to meet to specifically discuss traffic congestion in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5991/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 and 221 together.

As the Deputy is aware, congestion is a challenging issue and the responses required are multifaceted and will comprise short, medium and longer term actions.

At a central Government level, I know we need to provide a sound policy framework and ensure the availability of appropriate funding to allow for an expansion of public transport services and networks, and that includes those services and networks within the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).

So that is why I have provided funding to the National Transport Authority (NTA) to introduce measures such as –

- Expanded PSO bus fleet, which has grown by approximately 17% in recent years;

- Increased and improved PSO bus services across the GDA;

- 10 minute DART services;

- Increased usage of the Phoenix Park Tunnel for Kildare Line commuters;

- Expanded off-peak services generally across the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) rail network; and

- Introduced longer trams on the newly extended Luas Green Line.

In the medium term I am providing funding to the NTA to –

- Continue to expand the GDA PSO bus fleet which will increase again this year;

- Deliver new and improved cycling and walking infrastructure, with a number of important projects starting construction this year;

- Complete the City Centre Re-signalling Project which will benefit GDA rail services

- Explore, and secure, medium term solutions to capacity constraints on the rail network; and

- Extend all trams on the Luas Green Line and purchase 8 additional trams and I expect these extended trams will begin to arrive by Q4 this year.

The Deputy may also be aware that my Department is undertaking a review of public transport policy in line with the commitment given in the Programme for a Partnership Government. This review is a significant and substantial resource commitment and my Department has commenced, and substantially completed, the research and analysis required to inform the proposed period of public consultation which I expect to launch in the near future. The issue of congestion will of course be among the issues to be raised during that consultation and I look forward to hearing the Deputy’s views on potential solutions as part of that process

In the longer term, I am of course working with my Government colleagues in delivering upon the ambition of Project Ireland 2040 and its National Strategic Objectives of Compact Growth and Sustainable Mobility, both of which can alleviate congestion issues. Delivery of major, transformative projects such as BusConnects, DART Expansion and MetroLink will have a major role to play in making Dublin a more sustainable place to live in, work in, or even just to visit.

In relation to specific traffic management issues within the GDA, the Deputy is presumably aware that the NTA has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area and the effective management of traffic and transport demand in the region. It is the NTA that interacts with the local authorities on such matters, in line with that statutory remit.

I have therefore referred the Deputy's questions to the NTA for further information in relation to traffic management and relevant meetings. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (219)

John Lahart

Ceist:

219. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of times he has met representatives of cycling bodies in Dublin since his appointment. [5988/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Since my appointment as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have had one official meeting, on 26 June 2017, with cycling groups (Cyclist.ie, Cycling Ireland, and, Mr Neil Fox Cycling Safety Advocate). However, I regularly meet representatives of cycling groups and campaigners in a more informal capacity to discuss current issues which affect cyclists nationally.

Ministerial Meetings

Question No. 221 answered with Question No. 218.

Ceisteanna (220)

John Lahart

Ceist:

220. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of times he has met with a person (details supplied) to discuss plans for College Green Plaza and the potential impact same will have on traffic flow and public transport flow in Dublin city. [5989/19]

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. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area.

My officials hold regular meetings with the NTA to discuss various issues relating to public transport infrastructure, services and traffic management in Dublin and the regional cities.

I have not met with Dublin City CEO Owen Keegan to discuss plans for College Green Plaza.

Noting the NTA's responsibility for implementation of public transport in the Greater Dublin Area, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Question No. 221 answered with Question No. 218.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (222)

John Lahart

Ceist:

222. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the meetings he has had with TII to discuss demand management measures on the M50. [5995/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I attended a meeting with Departmental officials and TII on 14 May 2018 where the issue of M50 management measures was discussed. Prior to that date and since then, there has been regular and frequent contact between my officials and TII to progress this plan.

As a result, legislative arrangements are under way within my Department to provide TII with the powers to manage and regulate variable speed limits on the M50. This new system will improve operational efficiency of the motorway by

- smoothing traffic flow,

- improving journey time reliability and

- Reducing the number of secondary traffic collisions.

- Implementation of an integrated and coordinated response to traffic conditions by TII and emergency responders.

- Improved dissemination of information to road users.

To progress this important measure, TII is extending the motorway traffic control centre at Dublin Tunnel to cater for the additional workload from the introduction of VSL and is currently procuring the management systems and hardware which will be erected on existing gantries.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (223)

John Lahart

Ceist:

223. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of meetings he has had with Dublin Bus since his appointment. [5996/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Since May 2016 I have met with Dublin Bus on four occasions, as follows:-

30 August 2016

16 September 2016

26 April 2018

9 August 2018

In addition to these meetings, I am of course briefed by officials on any relevant issues which arise during the course of normal administrative and corporate governance related contact between my Department and the company.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (224)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

224. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the breakdown of the €10,579,000 capital allocation in civil aviation within 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. [6037/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy has stated, my Department has been allocated €10.579m in capital funding for civil aviation in 2019. Of this amount, €10.4 million is available to fund capital grant schemes under the Regional Airports Programme (RAP). The remainder of the allocation covers IT and accommodation services for associated functions within the Department.

Towards the end of last year, my Department invited the regional airports to submit applications for capital funding in respect of 2019. These applications, which were received in January, are currently being examined by an assessment panel comprising representatives from my Department, the IAA and NewERA. The panel examines the eligibility of project proposals in line with the safety and security related criteria for the associated CAPEX and PPR-C schemes under the Regional Airports Programme.

The assessment process is due to conclude in the coming weeks, and I intend to make an announcement on the allocations for each airport shortly thereafter.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (225)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

225. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the breakdown of the €1,493,523,000 capital allocation in land transport within 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. [6038/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The information requested is available on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform website. The Department publishes a "capital tracker", which sets out specific projects and programmes, project timelines, summary descriptions, and the capital allocation for each project and programme. The capital tracker can specifically be located at the web address set out below.

https://www.per.gov.ie/en/investment-projects-and-programmes-tracker/

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (226)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

226. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the breakdown of the €7,953,000 capital allocation in maritime transport and safety within 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. [6039/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The bulk of capital expenditure under the Maritime Transport and Safety area relates to programme spend by the Irish Coast Guard, including provision for a building programme, IT upgrades, vehicle and boat fleet renewal, pollution equipment and maintenance of telecommunications infrastructure. There is also provision for capital investment by the Commissioners of Irish Lights. A small capital provision covers IT and furniture for the administration of the area.

I have set out in tabular form any available information regarding projects that are ongoing. In most cases, the specific project costs are only determined once a tendering process has been completed and as such, it would not be appropriate to release estimated project costs in advance of the tendering process.

Programme

Capital Allocation

€m

Project details

Expected timeframe

C3.1

Irish Coast Guard Capital

6.480

IRCG Building programme including new builds in Greystones and Westport

IRCG IT Programme, including development costs for new Volunteer Information System (VIMS)

Ongoing (2021/22 for new builds)

On-going (2020 for VIMS)

C2.4

Maritime Transport Admin – Office Equipment

0.730

IT and other office equipment

Ongoing

C2.5

Maritime Transport Admin – Office Premises Expenses

0.043

Office furniture

Ongoing

C3.2

Commissioner for Irish Lights

0.700

The €700k Capital allocation is to support CIL’S overall expected expenditure of over €2m in 2019 on the following projects Granuaile-Special Survey Dry Dock; Granuaile - Waterpipes replacement; Coastal Stations – Fastnet re-equipl; Lantern Room and first year of Blackrock Sligo re-equip; Coastal Monitoring Solution of Coastal AtoN

Due for completion 2019

Total

7.953

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (227)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

227. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the breakdown of the €61,488,000 capital allocation in sports and recreation services within 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. [6040/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The capital funding available for sports in my Department is broken down in to several sub-heads.

D3: An amount of €42,580,000 has been provided in 2019 for the Sports Capital Programme (SCP). This programme is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. As it can take grantees a number of years to complete projects, there are a large number of individual grants on hand at any one time. All allocations under the SCP are published on my Department's website. Due to the number of projects and the nature of the programme it is not possible to identify and list all of the projects which will be completed this year.

In relation to the large projects that are funded under this sub-head, the overall amount also includes a retention amount of €1.5m which remains outstanding in relation to the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and an amount of €1,022,588 for the Kerry Sports Academy at IT Tralee. Páirc Uí Chaoimh was officially opened in October 2017 and it is expected that the Kerry Sports Academy will open later this year.

D4: An amount of €4.2m has been provided in 2019 for the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme (LASPP) which provides grant aid to a maximum of €3.8m to local authorities towards the capital costs of new swimming pools or the refurbishment of existing pools. There are four swimming pool projects remaining in the LASPP, namely Castlebar, Lucan, Buncrana and Edenderry. Castlebar is expected to open shortly and Lucan is expected to commence this year.

D5: A capital allocation of €4.9m is provided to Sport Ireland for the development of the National Sports Campus at Abbotstown. This allocation includes €2m for the completion of Phase 2 of the National Indoor Arena. Phase 2 comprises full-sized and half-sized covered synthetic pitches, primarily for soccer and rugby but capable of accommodating all field-sports, together with ancillary facilities. A further €2.9m is provided for general capital maintenance and minor projects at the National Sports Campus.

D6: A capital allocation of €1m is provided to Sport Ireland under Subhead D6 for the disbursement, on behalf of my Department, of Dormant Account Funding to sports measures which are aimed at providing support and interventions to persons from disadvantaged backgrounds and to persons with a disability. In previous years this funding has supported capital projects in such areas as outdoor adventure hubs, sports inclusion disability equipment and artificial turf pitches. It is understood that the Minister for Rural and Community Development will bring forward a new Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plan in early 2019 and the specific sports measures to be funded this year will be proposed and decided in that context.

D7: The National Sports Policy, published on 25th July 2018, provided for a Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) with at least €100 million available over the coming years. An amount of €8.8m has been provided in 2019. The fund was launched in November 2018 and is open to applications until 17th April 2019. The fund will initially focus on the requirements and development plans of National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Authorities. The specific projects that will receive funding will be dependent on the applications received.