Marine Safety

Ceisteanna (150)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

150. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the €1.5 million development at a college (details supplied) in County Donegal will be approved for construction in view of the fact that the project is ready to proceed to construction; the status of the sea survival training unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14721/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

This project is currently under review by my Department in the wider context of the provision of existing professional sea survival training facilities within the State and the cost, both construction and operational, of such a facility. The professional sea survival training facilities based at the National Maritime College of Ireland, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, are unique in Ireland and designed both for fundamental safety training and specialised survival training, to increase survival ability in emergency situations.

At the present time, there are no plans to proceed with this project and funding has not been provided in Bord Iascaigh Mharas's (BIM) Vote in 2019, for this proposed additional sea survival training development.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (151)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

151. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the new all-of-government climate action plan; the timeframe for the report to be produced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14574/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

As the Deputy will be aware, I am currently preparing an All of Government Climate Plan which will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. I am working with colleagues across Government to develop new initiatives in electricity, transport, heat, and agriculture, as well as a range of other sectors.

The new plan will have a strong focus on implementation, including actions with specific timelines and steps needed to achieve each action, assigning clear lines of responsibility for delivery. The new plan will also be informed by successful approaches in other countries.

The Plan will build on the policy framework, measures and actions set out in both the National Mitigation Plan and the National Development Plan and is to be completed in April.

Energy Schemes

Ceisteanna (152)

John Curran

Ceist:

152. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress he has made in considering the optimal next steps to achieve the level of ambition as set out in the NDP under the warmth and well-being programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14576/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Warmth & Wellbeing scheme is a joint policy initiative between my Department and the Department of Health and is being delivered under the Government’s Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty and the Healthy Ireland Framework. The main aim of the scheme, which began in 2016 is to validate, in an Irish context, the strong international evidence that making homes warmer, drier and more energy efficient can have on the health and wellbeing of people vulnerable to energy poverty, who are living with chronic respiratory conditions. The scheme is operating in the HSE Community Health Area 7 in Dublin postal areas 8, 10, 12, 22 and 24. €20m was spent between 2016 and 2018 resulting in the upgrading of almost 900 homes.

The process of evaluating the scheme is ongoing and is being overseen by a Steering Group comprised of my Department, the Department of Health, SEAI and HSE. Reports from the HSE have indicated that the upgrades are delivering benefits to the health and wellbeing of participants. Research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will further investigate the outcomes from the scheme. There are two strands to decision making around the future of the Warmth and Wellbeing approach, relating to health and energy. From the health perspective, the above mentioned measurement and evaluation of the data gathered from participants is necessary to validate the effectiveness of energy efficiency improvements in supporting better health outcomes. From the energy perspective key issues are, the development of effective delivery infrastructure by SEAI and the HSE, and on the ground learning about how to scale this up in the context of how we ramp up to meet the level of ambition in the NDP. Based on the outcomes of this research I will be considering the optimal next steps.

Sustainable Energy Communities Scheme

Ceisteanna (153)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

153. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of the 200 organisations and communities involved in the Sustainable Energy Community Network. [14580/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) Programme is administered by SEAI on behalf of my Department. This Programme provides the first step for communities in learning how to develop local partnerships to manage and conserve energy before they apply to the Better Energy Communities Scheme. It facilitates the development of regional and national networks to allow for the sharing of knowledge and experience, fosters collaboration and helps communities to better pursue their goals. Since 2015 almost 270 community groups have signed up to the network and are availing of technical support and mentoring from the SEAI.

Details of the organisations and communities involved in the SEC Programme can be found in the document attached. In addition, the Deputy can view further details on all SEC programmes throughout Ireland on SEAI’s website https://www.seai.ie/sustainable-solutions/community-projects/sustainable-energy-communities/

Postal Codes

Ceisteanna (154)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

154. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding post codes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14587/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Eircodes are assigned to new property addresses using a valid postal address and verified geo-locations. An Post collects information on new and existing buildings, as well as changes to existing addresses and Ordnance Survey Ireland provides the geo-locations for these buildings. An Post GeoDirectory, issue a new release of the GeoDirectory database file on a quarterly basis to Capita Business Support Services Ireland, trading as Eircode, in accordance with their licence agreement.

Eircode have advised my officials that they will contact and liaise with the individual in question regarding an Eircode. The next quarterly update of Eircodes will be in May 2019 when each new address assigned an Eircode is published on the free to use Eircode Finder website, a notification letter with their Eircode is issued to the occupant and an updated Eircode Database is provided to licensed businesses for their use.

Eircode have informed my Department that 26,823 new addresses were assigned an Eircode in 2018.

My officials are working with An Post, Ordinance Survey Ireland, An Post GeoDirectory and Capita to improve and expedite the process of assigning Eircodes for new build properties

Renewable Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (155)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

155. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of renewable energy locations by county; the type of energy provided, for example, wind, solar and hydro; and the amount of energy generated as a percentage of the national renewable energy generated. [14591/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Ireland has huge potential for renewable energy. Currently 30% of our electricity generation comes from renewable sources. I am now committing to a 70% by 2030 as part of the all of government climate plan.

Eirgrid (the Transmission System Operator) and ESB Networks (the Distribution System Operator) provide online data on size and location of windfarms connected to the national grid. While EirGrid and ESB do not compile information on a county basis, information on the size and location of each renewable energy plant is publicly available on their websites at www.eirgridgroup.com and www.esbnetworks.ie respectively.

Waste Management

Ceisteanna (156)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

156. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the body that has overall responsibility for the roll-out of brown compost bins to residential waste customers; the parts played by all State agencies and private waste companies in this process; the targets being worked to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14666/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Under the European Union (Household Food Waste and Bio-waste) Regulations 2015, household waste collectors are required to provide, or arrange for the provision of a separate collection service for food waste from households in designated brown bin areas.

Household & Commercial Waste Management Compliance has been a National Waste Enforcement Priority for 2018 and 2019. During this period the focus of this priority for the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities (WERLAs) has been the roll out of the household food waste bin. From their inception in 2016 the WERLAs have coordinated local authority actions by way of compliance assistance and enforcement to support the effective roll out of the household food waste bin in the required agglomerations in accordance with the legislation and this work is on-going.

This focus is resulting in less organic waste going to landfill. The most recent figures show a 19% increase in organic waste recycling and recovery.

The provision of a brown bin collection service, where it is technically and environmentally practical to do so, continues to be monitored by my Department, together with the regulatory authorities and industry representatives

Mobile Telephony Services

Ceisteanna (157, 158)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

157. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has issued directives to the Commission for Communications Regulation with regard to the roll-out of 5G technology and the use of a company (details supplied); if not, his plans to issue such directives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14676/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

158. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the roll-out of 5G technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14677/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 157 and 158 together.

Fifth generation (5G) networks are expected to be commercialised over the next few years. Roll-out of 5G technology in Ireland is primarily a matter for private mobile network operators, operating on a commercial basis. Mobile network operators function in a liberalised market in Ireland, regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).

There are statutory provisions to ensure that operators of networks and services in Ireland take appropriate measures to manage risks to the security of their networks and services, and to guarantee their integrity. These requirements are set out in the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Framework) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 333 of 2011). ComReg is responsible for ensuring compliance with these provisions.

Whilst Section 11 of the Communications Regulation Act 2002 provides that ComReg is statutorily independent in the exercise of its functions, I do have the power to issue policy directions to the Regulator under Section 13 of the same 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.

Departmental Meetings

Ceisteanna (159)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

159. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has been contacted by the Administration of the United States of America with regard to the use of technology by a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14680/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

As Minister for Communications, I meet with my international colleagues on a variety of issues and in a variety of fora, as appropriate. In that context, I met with US Chargé d‘Affaires on 25 January 2019 for a wide-ranging discussion, during which the US views on the company in question were briefly raised.

At a domestic level, it should be noted that there are statutory provisions to ensure that operators of networks and services in Ireland take appropriate measures to manage risks to the security of their networks and services, and to guarantee their integrity. These requirements are set out in the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Framework) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 333 of 2011). The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) is responsible for ensuring compliance with these provisions, and ComReg is statutorily independent in the exercise of its functions (as provided for in Section 11 of the Communications Regulations Act 2002).

At an international level, the European Commission published a Recommendation on a common EU approach to the security of 5G networks on 26 March 2019, which is presently being evaluated. My officials will engage with relevant stakeholders, fellow Member States and the EU institutions in discussing that recommendation, and in progressing any related actions. EU initiatives which impact across various sectors and areas of ministerial responsibility at national level will be assessed across Government, as appropriate.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (160)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

160. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of electric vehicle charging stations operating in County Clare; his plans to increase the number of such charging points in the county; the date for delivery of additional charging points in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14699/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Providing adequate charging infrastructure is critical to ensure continued growth in electric vehicles.

Home charging is the most cost-effective way to charge an electric vehicle and is the primary method of charging for the majority of electric vehicles both internationally and in Ireland. A Government grant of up to €600 is available, via the SEAI, to the purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles to support the installation of home chargers.

There are currently over 650 standard public charge points and 78 fast chargers as a part of the ESB eCars network. In addition there are public chargers provided by local authorities, retail outlets and private companies.

Figures provided to my Department by ESB eCars, indicates that there are currently 16 publically available standard charge points and four fast charge points on the eCars network in Co Clare.

Under the first call for applications from the Climate Action Fund, I approved funding of up to €10 million to support ESB eCars to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle fast charging network. The project includes the installation of 90 high-power chargers, upgrading 50 existing standard chargers to fast chargers and replacing over 250 existing standard chargers with next generation high reliability models.

At the end of 2018, there were over 7,600 electric vehicles on the road in Ireland – a doubling of the total from the previous year. It is estimated that the implementation of the ESB eCars project will provide the necessary fast charging infrastructure to support at least 40,000 electric vehicles.

This project successfully completed the assessment stage and the validation stage is now underway. On completion of this stage further detail on the project, including information in relation to the location of chargers and a timeline, will be set out.

Funding for public charging in local communities is available through the Better Energy Communities Scheme. The scheme, which is administered by the SEAI, supports community-based partnerships, many of which include local businesses and enterprises. In addition, my Department, in conjunction with the SEAI, is working on how best to support the provision of greater levels of on-street public charging.

RTÉ Services

Ceisteanna (161)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

161. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has discussed with RTÉ the need to address the concerns of viewers in Northern Ireland regarding restrictions placed on them for some services hosted by RTÉ; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14701/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

RTÉ is an independent national public service broadcaster whose remit, obligations, principal objects and associated powers are set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009.

Section 98 provides that RTÉ shall be independent in the pursuance of these objects, subject to the requirements of the Act. As such, I, as Minister, have no function in RTÉ's management of its day to day affairs.

This is an operational matter for RTÉ and not one in which I have a role.

Transport Policy

Ceisteanna (162)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

162. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the planned Cork metropolitan area transport strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14532/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy is currently being finalised by Cork City Council and Cork County Council, in partnership with the National Transport Authority. The strategy will provide a framework for the planning and delivery of transport infrastructure and services across the Cork Metropolitan Area, for the period up to 2040.

I understand that the draft Strategy will shortly be published for public consultation and I look forward to its finalisation and adoption by the relevant local authorities.

Road Traffic Legislation

Ceisteanna (163)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

163. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason persons under 25 years of age with a full licence cannot hire a car at an airport here (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14540/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Car hire companies are private companies. The hiring of a car and the terms under which it is offered are commercial matters for such companies and are not within the scope of road traffic law or road safety. As such, do not fall within the remit of my Department.

Vehicle Registration

Ceisteanna (164)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

164. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 447 of 5 March 2019 and 201 and 267 of 6 March 2019, the details of the research he has requested the Road Safety Authority to carry out; the scope of this research; the timeline for the completion of the process; if the Road Safety Authority or his Department plans to engage in public consultation on the matter; if so, the format the public consultation will take; when it will be carried out; when he will be in a position to examine whether or not to amend existing legislation in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14558/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As previously advised to the House, I have asked the Road Safety Authority to research how so-called e-scooters, which are classified as mechanically propelled vehicles in the Road Traffic Acts, are dealt with in other countries, particularly other Member States.

I am keen to understand the road safety implications of the use of such vehicles on public roads, especially alongside larger vehicles including cars, HGVs and buses. It is also important assess their possible impact on the safety on other vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, whether on segregated on shared road space.

Any decisions I make in relation to e-scooters will depend on the outcome of the Road Safety Authority's research, which will be provided to me on completion. The Authority has competing demands on its time, and this project will take its place amongst other high-priority tasks to hand.

The methodology of the research is a matter for the Authority.

Rail Network Expansion

Ceisteanna (165)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

165. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of plans by Irish Rail to reopen and upgrade the Limerick to Foynes railway line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14594/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Deputy is probably aware that Shannon Foynes Port Company has been leading on work in relation to a potential reinstatement of the Limerick to Foynes rail line as part of the port's overall masterplan redevelopment.

The detailed design process and associated reports commissioned by Shannon Foynes Port Company were completed at the end of 2018.

The completion of this detailed design can now inform the commercial case for potential reinstatement and allows Shannon Foynes Port Company (in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann) commence a detailed market review of potential future users.

Railway Stations

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

Ceisteanna (166)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

166. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for Kilmallock railway station; if he will consider reopening the station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14595/19]

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.

Operational matters such as those described by the Deputy are a matter for Iarnród Éireann, in co-operation with the National Transport Authority as required.

In light of the Iarnród Éireann's responsibilities on this matter, I have referred the Deputy's questions to it for a more detailed 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

Ceisteanna (167)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

167. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the western corridor has been reinstated in the TEN-T funding programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14602/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

At present, the Western Rail Corridor has not been re-instated on the Trans-European Transport Network. 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 2019, my Department received correspondence from European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, which stated that the European Commission is considering advancing the review of the comprehensive 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. My Department intends to be fully engaged in all stages of this review process.

In addition to our participation in this process, my Department will be making a formal submission to the European Commission shortly, 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.

The Western Rail Corridor was originally included under the Transport 21 Initiative and was to be developed in Three Phases. Phase 1 involved the reopening of the 36 mile stretch of railway line between Ennis and Athenry and this is part of the TEN-T comprehensive network. This line was opened to the public in March 2010. Exchequer funding of €106.5 million was approved for Phase 1.

The plan for Phase 2 involved the development of the line from Athenry to Tuam. However, this development together with a number of other transport projects was postponed in 2011 due to the economic and fiscal crisis. Phase 3 involved the development of the line from Tuam to Claremorris.

As the Deputy is aware, both the 'Programme for a Partnership Government' and the recently-published 'National Development Plan' commit to an independent review of the costings for a proposal to extend the existing Western Rail Corridor. A process for an independent financial and economic evaluation of WRC phase 2 has commenced and this will include broad consultation. Having conducted a procurement process for contracts of this nature, Irish Rail anticipate the appointed consultants will commence work at the end of the month. The study will take 5 to 6 months to complete and will include a comprehensive public consultation exercise.