Driver Licence Applications

Ceisteanna (551)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

551. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of a driver test for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7957/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The driving test service is run by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and my Department has no input into the scheduling of appointments.

Road Projects Status

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

Ceisteanna (552)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

552. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the expected start date of the Ardee bypass; if there are issues holding up the project; if there are expected issues that will cause delays on the project in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7965/19]

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. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

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

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

Road Projects Status

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

Ceisteanna (553)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

553. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the final route will be selected for the Oylegate to Rosslare Europort section of the M11; when this road link will commence construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7987/19]

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. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

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

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

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (554)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

554. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the implications of the €27 million cut to his Department's budget following the over-expenditure in the Department of Health; if he resisted this cut; if the budget for 2019 for his Department was defended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7996/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Officials from my Department met with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) earlier this month in order to discuss implications to this Department's budget of a necessary adjustment to the 2019 capital allocation, following over expenditure within the Department of Health and Children on the National Children's Hospital.

While we protect our important investment programmes, we work with DPER at budget time and throughout the year to ensure our investment programmes can be fully funded and prioritised within the constraints that face Government in managing scarce resources.

The Government is committed to delivering Project Ireland within the overall multi-year resource envelope that has been set out. For 2019 the capital allocation has increased by €1,325 million, or just over 22% above the 2018 allocation as stated in the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2019.

The A5 upgrade project has been identified as a budgetary adjustment which could be made this year without direct impact on the progress of projects included in Project Ireland 2040, thus releasing €27m from this year's capital allocation for transfer via DPER to the Department of Health and Children.

The planning and implementation of the A5 upgrade project is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland authorities and my Department continues to liaise with the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure regarding next steps in relation to the project and the timeframes involved. DfI intends to issue for consultation on an addendum to its previously published Environmental Statement.

As a result of the above consultation, it is not possible to state definitively when construction of Phase 1a of the A5 project will commence. It is envisaged that payments from Ireland will be based on an agreed protocol and linked to the achievement of construction stage milestones. In that context, the provision of funding during our own financial year 2019 is no longer considered appropriate. Accordingly, it is considered prudent to revise the timeframe for expenditure on the A5 upgrade project.

I would ask the deputy to note that the overall allocation for this project over the lifetime of Project Ireland 2040 has not changed and funding is assured from 2020 onward.

Road Projects Status

Ceisteanna (555)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

555. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the timeline for the delivery of the A5-N2 motorway project following his recent decision to cut the budget for the proposed road in 2019; if all other options had been considered before cutting the funding for the infrastructure project for the north west of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7997/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The planning and implementation of the A5 upgrade project is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland authorities.

The current funding arrangements in relation to the A5 are governed by the Stormont House Agreement and Implementation Plan - A Fresh Start. Under this Agreement the Government is committed to provide funding of £75 million (sterling) towards the cost of Phase 1a of A5 upgrade scheme. The aim of this commitment was to facilitate the delivery of this phase of the scheme as soon as possible once the planning process in Northern Ireland was concluded.

As part of the Capital Plan Review in 2017 financial provision was made for meeting the Government's commitment regarding the A5 in 3 tranches over the period 2019 to 2021. When those allocations were put in place it was anticipated that the planning process would have concluded and construction of the 1st phase started before now.

However, legal challenges to the approval of the scheme have resulted in unavoidable delays to the timeframe for implementation of the scheme. Following judicial review proceedings last year the scheme approval was quashed.

Allowing for the time required by the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to review work previously undertaken on the scheme and implement necessary statutory procedures, it was evident, following liaison at official level, that the initial €27 million tranche of funding would not be drawn down this year and would need to be rolled forward. As was the case for previous Government contributions, it is envisaged that payments towards the cost of the A5 will be based on an agreed protocol and linked to the achievement of construction stage milestones. Funding for this project is assured from 2020 onward.

Road Traffic Accidents Data

Question No. 557 answered with Question No. 544.

Ceisteanna (556)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

556. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the level of vehicle crashes and road casualties to date in 2019; the steps he and the Road Safety Authority plan to take to address the ongoing tragedies and suffering resulting from vehicle crashes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8061/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

In Ireland, since records began in 1959, the rate of annual deaths continued to rise until they peaked at 640 deaths in 1972. Last year, 2018, was the best year since records began with 150 road deaths recorded. The objective is to reduce road deaths to 124 by 2020 and ultimately to aim for zero deaths on our roads.

So far this year, 2019 (as of 18th February) there were 23 road deaths, up 3 on same date in 2018 which is disappointing.

The reduction in fatalities in Ireland so far can be attributed to a number of key policies and actions set out in Ireland’s four Road Safety Strategies since 1998, particularly the introduction of the national car test in 2000; the introduction of a penalty points system in 2002; the introduction of a safety camera network; the establishment of the Road Safety Authority and the introduction of mandatory alcohol testing in 2006, to name but a few.

Last December I announced the commencement of the unaccompanied learner driver provisions of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, with effect from 22nd December 2018, known as the ‘Clancy Amendment’. These new provisions now make it an offence for the owner of a vehicle knowingly to allow an unaccompanied learner or an unlicensed person to drive his or her vehicle. The provisions also extend the power of detention under section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 to allow the Garda Síochána to detain a vehicle being driven, in the Garda’s opinion, by an unaccompanied learner.

I believe that this new legislation will have a serious impact on driving culture in this country. I hope that vehicle owners will act responsibly when allowing learners to drive their vehicles, be those learners sons and daughters, friends, or other family members.

In 2019 I shall continue work in implementing measures across the range of the Road Safety Strategy. I am working towards improving the focus, fairness and effectiveness of legislation on speeding - the single most dangerous factor on our roads. I hope to introduce legislation this years under which penalties for speeding will be divided into bands, with increased penalties determined by the bands with more serious offenders receiveing more serious penalties.

I am also concentrating on making cycling and walking safer and have asked the National Transport Authority (NTA) to establish a new Cycling Office. This is in addition to the increased funding I am making available to support cycling in 2019.

Question No. 557 answered with Question No. 544.

Regional Airports

Ceisteanna (558)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

558. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the proposed runway extension at Waterford Regional Airport; if capital funding will be provided to supplement funding from Waterford City and County Council and investors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8072/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy will know, in early 2018, my Department procured the services of independent consultants, Ernst & Young (EY) to advise on the future options for Waterford Airport.  As part of this examination, EY considered a proposal submitted by the airport to extend its runway, which included a request for Exchequer support.

In early October 2018, a copy of EY's review was provided to the airport and they were invited to respond to its findings and to provide any additional information which might strengthen the airport's position in relation to the runway proposal.

That response, received from the Airport in January, is currently being reviewed by my Department and being assessed against national aviation and transport policy objectives as well as broader Government policies, such as Project Ireland 2040.  Once this final phase of the review process concludes, it is my intention to revert to Government for a decision on the matter in the coming weeks.

Ferry Services

Ceisteanna (559)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

559. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the interaction he has had with a company (details supplied) since it announced the discontinuation of ferries from Rosslare Europort to France for summer 2019 in view of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8073/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I can confirm that I met with representatives from Irish Ferries on 2nd January 2019 where a number of issues were discussed.

Rail Network Expansion

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

Ceisteanna (560)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

560. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the costs of completing phase 2 of the Navan to Dublin rail line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8124/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware the issue of a potential extension of the existing Dunboyne/M3 Parkway line was considered by the National Transport Authority (NTA) during its development of the statutory Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016 to 2035.

The Strategy stated that based on current population and employment forecasts, the level of travel demand between Navan, Dunshaughlin and various stations to the city centre was insufficient to justify the development of a high-capacity rail link at that current time. Instead the Strategy proposed an enhanced bus service along the corridor and the development of a bus hub in Navan. In this regard, I understand that Bus Éireann has introduced improved bus services while Meath County Council, in collaboration with the NTA, is currently progressing the development of a bus hub as provided for by the Transport Strategy.

Importantly, the Transport Strategy clearly states that the issue of a rail link to Navan should be kept under review and that the corridor previously identified for a Navan rail link should be protected from development. This issue remains under review and will be considered again as part of the statutory review of the current Strategy which must be reviewed every 6 years following publication.

In light of their statutory responsibilites on the matter I have therefore forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please contact my office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

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

Haulage Industry Regulation

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

Ceisteanna (561)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

561. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of tachograph and licensing inspections on heavy goods vehilce, HGV, operators and drivers carried out by the Road Safety Authority, RSA, in each of the years 2016 to 2018; the number of prosecutions arising from such inspections; the number of such inspections and prosecutions concerning out-of-State operators for the same period; the country of origin of such operators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8133/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The enforcement of tachograph and operator licensing regulations is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. This question has been forwarded to the RSA for their attention and direct reply.

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

Haulage Industry Regulation

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

Ceisteanna (562)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

562. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of seriously defective HGVs detained as a consequence of roadside checks in each year since 2016; the number of out-of-State operators the trucks have been seized from; the country of origin of such operators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8134/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The enforcement of roadworthiness regulations is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. This question has been forwarded to the RSA for their attention and direct reply.

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

Road Safety Authority

Ceisteanna (563)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

563. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has conducted an assessment of the effectiveness of the RSA as a regulatory agency to determine whether it is performing its statutory functions in an effective manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8135/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As outlined in my previous reply to the Deputy on this issue (14 February 2019, PQ6734/19 Dáil question 613) the Road Safety Authority is not a regulatory agency in that it does not have powers to make regulations. The Authority's statutory functions are set out in the Road Safety Authority Act 2006. My Department has a thorough oversight framework in place to ensure the effective delivery of these functions and to monitor the agency's performance on a consistent and ongoing basis.

This framework was drawn up in line with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (available to read at www.per.gov.ie/en/revised-code-of-practice-for-the-governance-of-state-bodies/). Provisions include the drawing up and regular reviewing of Performance Delivery Agreements, the implementation of Oversight Agreements, and monthly meetings between the Road Safety Authority and officials from my Department.

Transport Policy

Ceisteanna (564)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

564. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an application to the European Union for the revision of the TEN-T core network including the reinstatement of the cross-Border western arc has been submitted as per the commitment outlined in A Programme for a Partnership Government; the status of the application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8143/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The TEN-T Regulations (EU) No 1315/2013 stipulate that a review of the TEN-T network will take place no later than by the end of 2023. My Department will be making a formal submission within the next 2 months to the European Commission calling for an early review of the TEN-T Network, taking into account our National Development Plan, our National Planning Framework, and the implications of Brexit.

As the Deputy will be aware, there are nine multi-modal TEN-T Core Network Corridors. Of these nine Corridors, the “North Sea Mediterranean Corridor" (NSMED) is the only corridor that includes the UK and Ireland. This Corridor map outlines a link from Ireland to the UK, through the UK land bridge, and on to continental Europe.

The European Commission has proposed an Amendment to Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which would realign the North Sea - Mediterranean (NSMED) Core Network Corridor, given that the UK will no longer form part of the Corridor or the TEN-T network. This proposal seeks to ensure that the NSMED Corridor does not become fragmented as a result of Brexit, and will take effect only in the event of a no-deal Brexit, in which case the CEF Regulation would no longer apply to the UK.

In recent weeks, this proposal has been discussed in Brussels at Working Party level. In these discussions, Ireland has supported the inclusion of text within the proposal calling for an early review of the TEN-T Network to take place, with particular regard for the possible changes in traffic flows in a no-deal Brexit scenario. Other Member States, including France, have expressed support for such a review.

Bus Services

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

Ceisteanna (565)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

565. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties students (details supplied) are having with the limited frequency of a bus service; his views on whether there is a need for increased frequency of the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8145/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA 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

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

Ceisteanna (566)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

566. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to change the existing level crossings in the Dublin 15 area; the role of the National Transport Authority regarding the plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8172/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I understand that the company wrote to the Deputy on 18th February in response to an earlier question. I have referred that part of the Deputy's question regarding the role of the National Transport Authority to the NTA 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

Public Transport Fares

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

Ceisteanna (567)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

567. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the changes to Luas fares in each of the years since 2012, in tabular form; the reason for increases in the fares; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8194/19]

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 the statutory responsibility for the regulation of fares in relation to public passenger transport services. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy’s question to the NTA for reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

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

Road Network

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

Ceisteanna (568)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

568. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when a new pedestrian overbridge and pedestrian crossing on the N67 at Oranmore, County Galway, will be provided (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8258/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design, construction and operation of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

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

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

Taxi Regulations

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

Ceisteanna (569)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

569. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if rules with regard to the ten-year cap on the age of regular taxis can be changed to bring them into line with wheelchair taxis, which can be up to 15 years old, in view of the fact that all cars have to prove roadworthiness and maintain a certain standard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8259/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including the setting of age rules for these vehicles, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

Given the particular role of the Authority in these matters, I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

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

Roads Maintenance Funding

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

Ceisteanna (570, 571, 572)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

570. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of the recently announced regional and local roads grant for 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8273/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

571. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of the 2019 national roads allocation. [8274/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

572. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way in which the 2018 local and regional roads grant was spent in 2018. [8275/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 570 to 572, inclusive, together.

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants. Details of the regional and local road grant allocations and payments to local authorities are outlined in the regional and local road grant booklets which are available in the Oireachtas Library.

The tables included in the payment and allocation booklets outline expenditure by type of grant programme. For the Deputy's information an explanation of the purpose of the main road Regional and Local Road Grant Programmes is set out as follows.

Restoration Maintenance and Supplementary Restoration Maintenance (RM & SRM): The purpose of the RM and SRM grants is to protect the structural integrity of the road by way of surface dressing through the sealing of the road surface. The aim is to intervene in a timely manner to maintain the asset before it requires improvement.

Restoration Improvement Grant (RI): The RI grant programme is the main road strengthening programme and caters for surface restoration, pavement overlay works, complete road rehabilitation works and for drainage works where required.

Discretionary Grant (DG): Councils have discretion in spending these grants for improvement and maintenance works subject to selecting from a list of eligible works. However Councils are requested to prioritise projects which involve strengthening works, remedying road defects, winter maintenance and drainage works.

Bridge Rehabilitation (BR): This programme allows local authorities to apply for monies to undertake bridge rehabilitation works.

Safety Improvement Works (BS): This programme allows local authorities to apply for monies to undertake safety improvement works.

Community Involvement Scheme (CIS): The CIS facilitates community involvement in repair and improvement of roads.

Drainage Programme: This Grant is to designed to promote network resilience.

Specific Grant and Strategic Grants: The Department no longer seeks annual applications from local authorities in respect of the Specific (road improvement schemes costing up to €5m.) and Strategic (improvement schemes costing over €5m.) grant programmes. Instead it considers projects on a case by case basis taking into account the availability of funding and the outcome of project appraisals.

In addition a Pilot Scheme relating to the maintenance of sections of former national roads in poor condition has been introduced this year arising from the findings of a regional road condition survey undertaken last year.

As regards national roads, within its annual budget, expenditure decisions, including allocations to individual local authorities, is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's Questions to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

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