Waste Tyre Disposal

Ceisteanna (555)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

555. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to fund a scheme through an organisation (details supplied) for farmers to dispose of waste tyres correctly, similar to the scheme run in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12245/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In 2017, my Department made funding of €1 million available to local authorities to deal with the clean-up of existing stockpiles of tyres across the country. This was done to support the introduction of a new compliance scheme for tyres and waste tyres from 1 October 2017. At that time, it was also indicated that the issue of waste tyres on farms would be considered.

In 2018, €700,000 was made available to remove waste tyres from farms. Irish Farm Film Producers Group (IFFPG), the national farm plastics recycling compliance scheme, undertook the work on behalf of my Department. Four collection sites were chosen based on the fact that they represented a good geographical spread. The sites in question were Cootehill Mart, Co. Cavan, New Ross Mart, Co. Wexford, Athenry Mart, Co Galway and Gort Drum Mines, Monard, Co. Tipperary. In total 4,253 tonnes of tyres were collected and 2,229 farmers availed of the service. The budget for this initiative was fully expended in 2018.

Further actions during 2019 to address waste agriculture tyres are being considered in the context of the development of the compliance scheme for tyres and waste tyres.

Road Toll Data

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

Ceisteanna (556)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

556. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the fees paid to a company (details supplied) for each of the past four years in its role as the enforcement service provider for the M50 barrier-free tolling system. [11780/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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

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

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

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

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (557)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

557. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the capital expenditure of his Department from 1 January to 31 December 2018 under the greenways heading; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11468/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The outturn for capital expenditure under the Greenways (E7) heading in 2018 was €3,256,402. This was spent on ongoing projects that were allocated funding by my Department in previous years. Funding of €13.3m has been made available for Greenways funding under subhead E7 in 2019.

Driver Licences

Ceisteanna (558)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

558. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the plans in place for UK driver licence holders resident here to continue using their licence in the event of a no-deal Brexit (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11601/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Motorists resident in Ireland with a UK driving licence are being advised to exchange that licence for an Irish driving licence before the 29 March 2019. The Department has always advised people to exchange their EU driving licence for an Irish driving licence once they become a resident of Ireland.

Currently, a UK licence is recognised as an EU licence and that is why it can be accepted by Irish insurance companies. In the event of a no deal Brexit, this will no longer be the case. Irish driver licensing law operates within a framework of EU law.

In the case of non-EU jurisdictions, legislation exists, under the Road Traffic Acts, to allow for the recognition of foreign driving licences for exchange purposes. If there is a no deal Brexit, the UK becomes a 3rd country and the potential then exists for arrangements to be made under the Road Traffic Acts. Ireland will be pursuing this option. This may take a little time to complete as it involves a formal agreement and legislation here in Ireland.

Road Safety

Ceisteanna (559)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

559. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to review speed limits here in view of the levels of death and serious injury on Irish roads to date in 2019; the legislation which would have to be reviewed in such a review of speed limits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11624/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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

The Road Traffic Act 2004 establishes default speed limits that apply to defined categories of roads and which can only be changed by county and city councils through the making of special speed limit bye-laws, and Section 9 of that Act sets out the range of special speed limits that may be set by local authorities through such bye-laws. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide advice and guidance in relation to the making of speed limit bye-laws by county and city councils for the purpose of applying special speed limits. Transport Infrastructure Ireland and all local authorities commenced a comprehensive review and update of speed limits in their administrative areas in accordance with the latest 2015 guidelines and for which a significant amount of local authorities have completed the required process to date.

Road Safety

Ceisteanna (560)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

560. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on recent reports that a leading car manufacturer (details supplied) plans to introduce a speed limiter on all its new vehicles from 2020; his further views on such a proposal to promote speed limiters on all new vehicles made or imported into the EU at the EU Transport Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11625/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the deputy will know increasing road safety is very important to me and any measure that can help this aim is to be welcomed.

Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council established an approval system for vehicles within the EU. The system ensures that a vehicle must be manufactured in compliance with a wide range of safety standards before it can be placed on the market. This ‘type-approval’ system is periodically updated to account for improvements in safety standards and to allow advanced safety features to become mandatory requirements. Amendments to Directive 2007/46/EC are scrutinised, evaluated and voted upon by a number of different EU-level technical committees and working groups attended by representatives from the State.

The type-approval system is transposed into Irish law by SI No. 158 of 2009 – the European Communities (Road Vehicles: Type-Approval) Regulations 2009. These regulations have been amended several times to account for the continually improving safety standards that have become obligatory for vehicles in the European fleet.

EU Funding

Ceisteanna (561)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

561. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department will be making applications to the recently announced €100 million fund under the Connecting Europe Facility. [11628/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The current call for proposals for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Transport projects has €100 million of co-funding available for successful applications. This sum is broken down into two funding priorities: €65 million of this funding is for actions related to projects on the comprehensive TEN-T network, while the remaining €35 million is for projects concerning reductions in rail freight noise. Further information on the specific funding objectives of this call is available on the website of the European Commission at the following link:

https://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/connecting-europe-facility/cef-transport/apply-funding/2019-cef-transport-call-proposals

The call is open to public and private bodies from all EU Member States. My Department will work with, and aims to provide guidance to, any potential Ireland based applicants. The Department is required to review and sign off on applications of any Irish entities submitting applications under the Call.

The deadline for submitting an application is 24 April 2019. My Department is aware from preliminary discussions that a number of State bodies have expressed interest in submitting an application under this call. It is possible that other Irish organisations may be intending on submitting applications but have not yet made contact with the Department. It is not envisaged that my Department will be making an application in its own right under the current call.

All submitted applications will be assessed and evaluated by the European Commission in conjunction with independent external experts, and co-funding will be awarded on a competitive basis to successful applicants. Rates of co-funding vary depending on the type of project, in line with the specific criteria for eligible projects outlined in this call for proposals.

Dublin Bus Fleet

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

Ceisteanna (562)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

562. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he expects to have phased out completely the use of diesel buses from the Dublin Bus fleet in view of the commitment not to purchase more diesel buses. [11677/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Deputy is aware that Project Ireland 2040 commits to ending the purchase of diesel-only buses from July 2019 for all our urban bus fleets. This is an important commitment and one which we all are looking forward to commencing as part of this year’s PSO bus purchase programme by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

In support of that change a comprehensive series of low-emission bus trials is currently underway in Dublin and Cork, funded through my Department’s Green Public Transport Fund and with support from multiple agencies including the NTA, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.

It is expected that the trials will conclude in April 2019; a final report will be produced which will further inform the best lower-emission option - or options - for our PSO services in the GDA and in the regional cities in the years ahead.

In addition to this, a number of double-deck diesel-electric hybrid buses are due to be delivered shortly to Dublin Bus for a trial which will allow for a comparison of various manufacturers’ offerings.

Complementing these trials, the NTA will soon commence a tender process for the purchase of diesel-electric hybrid buses as part of next year’s bus purchase programme. This new contract will be in place during the second half of this year but the exact date of delivery of the new hybrid vehicles will only be confirmed subsequent to the appointment of the successful tenderer.

In light of the NTA's statutory responsibilities on the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to it for a more detailed reply. Please advise my Office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

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

Air Services Provision

Ceisteanna (563)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

563. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he is taking to assist Shannon Airport improve access after Brexit when its current hub, Heathrow Airport, will no longer be in the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11685/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I refer to my response to a similar parliamentary question from the Deputy of 4 December 2018 on this subject. In that response, I explained that the establishment of air transport connections are the result of commercial agreements between airlines and airports and that as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have no function in these commercial decisions.

Engagement between my Department and aviation stakeholders has continued in the months since the Deputy raised this matter previously, and my officials and I have continued to reiterate the importance of the aviation industry, including airports, taking steps to prepare and where possible to reduce their exposure and to limit reliance on any one particular destination or service.

As the Deputy will be aware, the European Commission last year put forward a draft legislative proposal aimed at ensuring basic air connectivity in a no deal scenario. The measures proposed will, subject to reciprocity, provide a large degree of certainty to the Irish aviation sector and to the travelling public. The situation was further clarified on 7 March, when the United Kingdom confirmed its intention to reciprocate the proposed measures. While this cannot mitigate the overall impact of a no-deal scenario, or the assurances contained in the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, the fears that aircraft might not be able to fly are being addressed.

Government also supports the development of air connectivity and the expansion of air services more generally through funding from Tourism Ireland for cooperative marketing activity. Cooperative campaigns with partners facilitate increased marketing effort and help promote the destination more widely. An increased budget allocation in Tourism Ireland for 2019 will continue to support both seasonal and regional growth and will be underscored by a commitment to focus co-operative partnership activities on the January-April and October-December periods for Great Britain and the North American and European markets. I would encourage all airports to avail of this funding to optimise air services, including Shannon Airport with regard to alternative European hub connections.

Tourism Ireland Funding

Ceisteanna (564)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

564. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated full year cost of increasing funding to Tourism Ireland by 12.5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11730/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Tourism Ireland is funded through the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland. Funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2019 amounts to €52,624,000. Accordingly, a 12.5% increase would cost €6,578,000

Sports Capital Programme

Ceisteanna (565, 566, 567, 568)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

565. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a sports capital application from a group (details supplied) was granted only partial funding under the sports capital programme 2017 in view of the fact the amount does not facilitate completion of the works applied for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11734/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

566. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if it is policy to allocate partial funding for applications under the sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11735/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

567. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way in which the percentage or level of funding is determined in circumstances in which it is decided to only partially fund applications under the sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

568. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the scoring system and assessment procedures used to validate the allocation of partial funding for a group (details supplied) under the sports capital programme 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11737/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 565 to 568, inclusive, together.

The total amount sought under the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) has exceeded the total funding available under every previous round of the programme. Accordingly, it has not been possible to allocate the full amount sought to every applicant.

As part of the 2018 SCP, 431 applicants that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the Programme were invited to submit corrected documentation to allow their applications to be considered for funding. 186 organisations took up this offer and 170 (91%) were ultimately awarded grants including the organisation referred to by the Deputy.

As the application in question was a resubmitted 2017 application, the same methodology for assessment and allocating grant amounts was used as for the original 2017 applications. The full scoring system and assessment procedure in this regard is available on the Department’s website. All applications were assessed according to the published criteria including the likelihood of increasing participation, whether the proposed facilities were being shared, the level of socio-economic disadvantage in the area of the project (based on the Pobal index of deprivation) and the level of SCP funding previously allocated.

The overall score at assessment stage, the amount of funding sought and the amount available for that county (on a per capita basis) were the key determinants of individual grant awards.

Full details of the scoring obtained under the various criteria were provided to all successful applicants including the organisation referred to by the Deputy when the letter of provisional allocation issued. With regard to the possibility of providing any additional funding, it is of course open to the organisation to make a further application when the next round of the SCP is open for applications.

Road Toll Data

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

Ceisteanna (569)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

569. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the revenue collected in each of the past four years and to date by a company (details supplied) acting in the capacity of enforcement service provider for the M50 barrier-free tolling system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11779/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy in relation to roads. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects on national roads are a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the relevant local authority. More specifically, the statutory powers to levy tolls on national roads, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into toll agreements with private investors are vested in TII under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Roads Act 2007).

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

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

Bus Éireann Services

Ceisteanna (570)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

570. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will direct the NTA to investigate if the services and stops on the S1 and S2 Bus Éireann public service routes in Sligo town can be reviewed to allow more frequent stops in the Treacy Avenue area of the town in view of the ageing population of the homeowners in the area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11783/19]

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) is the statutory body with responsibility for overseeing the delivery of bus services by 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.

Rail Network Safety

Ceisteanna (571)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

571. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to update the Railway Safety Act 2005. [11813/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Work is in progress on the updating of the Railway Safety Act 2005 and, in that regard, a General Scheme for a Railway Safety (Amendment) Bill was published in May 2018. Work with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel has commenced and it is expected that the Rail Safety (Amendment) Bill will be published later this year.

EU Funding

Ceisteanna (572)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

572. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position on the inclusion of the western rail corridor as a transport link eligible for funding under the European Union Connecting Europe Facility (details supplied); his views on the position of the European Parliament; if he will relay same to EU Council negotiators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11830/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

During negotiations on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Connecting Europe Facility and Repealing Regulations (EU) No 1316/2013 and (EU) No 283/2014, the European Parliament proposed an amendment to the Annex. The Parliament's proposed amendment was to include the alignment of Derry - Sligo - Galway on the North Sea - Mediterranean Core Network Corridor. This amendment was deemed unacceptable by the European Commission on the grounds that alignments of the core network corridors can only include elements of the core TEN-T network, which as presently defined does not include any of Derry, Sligo or Galway. A number of similar proposed amendments by the Parliament concerning other Member States were also rejected on the same grounds.

In late February, my Department received correspondence from European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, which stated that the European Commission is considering advancing the review of the TEN-T Network, which is due to take place no later than the end of 2023, as stipulated in the TEN-T Regulation. The Commission's review process will include: an evaluation study, to be launched this month and to conclude in spring 2020; a public stakeholder consultation process, opening this month and concluding in June 2019; and targeted consultation with Member States and a wide range of stakeholders, commencing in the second half of 2019.

In addition, my Department will be making a formal submission to the European Commission within the next six weeks calling for an early review of the TEN-T Network as outlined in the Programme for Government, taking into account our National Development Plan, our National Planning Framework and the implications of Brexit.

Rail Network Expansion

Ceisteanna (573)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

573. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has commissioned a feasibility study into the extension of the western rail corridor (details supplied); the sections of the rail line being prioritised; if the prospective costs of the project have been examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11831/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, both the 'Programme for a Partnership Government' and Project Ireland 2040, commit to an independent review of the costings for a proposal to extend the existing Western Rail Corridor (WRC).

Iarnród Éireann has completed a procurement process in relation to an independent financial and economic evaluation of a possible extension of the WRC. I understand the successful tenderers will be announced very shortly. As stated in the published tender documentation ,the process will involve appropriate consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

Project Ireland 2040 states that if the findings of the review are approved by Government, the project will be prioritised during the lifetime of the National Development Plan.

Bus Éireann Fleet

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

Ceisteanna (574, 575)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

574. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of Expressway coaches which have been purchased in each year since 2008; and the number of coaches that will be purchased in 2019. [11838/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

575. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the Expressway buses that will be purchased in 2019 will be of a hybrid electric variety; and if so, the number. [11839/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 574 and 575 together.

The issue raised is an operational matter for Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

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

Bus Éireann

Ceisteanna (576)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

576. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount spent on private hire services in each year since 2008. [11840/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Appointments to State Boards

Ceisteanna (577)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

577. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the name of the person who will replace a person (details supplied) as chairperson of the Taxi Advisory Committee. [11855/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy may be aware, 13 positions, including that of Chairperson, of the Advisory Committee on Small Public Service Vehicles (more commonly known as the Taxi Advisory Committee) have been advertised through the Public Appointments Service. This process has not yet been completed and therefore no decision has yet been made as regards a Chairperson.