National Maternity Hospital

Ceisteanna (150)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

150. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the status of negotiations with St. Vincent's Healthcare Group in respect of the proposed development of the new national maternity hospital at Elm Park; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16944/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department continues to engage with St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the National Maternity Hospital to develop a legal framework to protect the State’s significant investment in the new hospital.  St Vincent’s Healthcare Group has agreed in principle to provide the State with a 99-year lease of the land upon which the new maternity hospital will be built, and this will allow the State to retain ownership of the new facility. 

Health Service Capacity Review

Ceisteanna (151)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

151. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the capacity in primary care in whole-time equivalent terms for the positions outlined on page 9 of the Executive Report of the Health Service Capacity Review 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16960/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Capacity Review, published in 2018, examined the capacity needs of the health sector in order to inform future planning decisions. The report provides capacity forecasts for two alternative scenarios; a baseline “status quo” scenario which assumes no major change in the way health services are delivered, and a reform scenario which considers the impact of a range of potential reforms including health and wellbeing initiatives, a fundamental change in the model of care, and productivity improvements. The report projected that demand for primary care health services would grow in the future and, under both scenarios outlined above, it forecasted a projected increase in the primary care workforce capacity to deal with increased service demand.

The recently published Sláintecare Action Plan 2019 includes actions on workforce planning and capacity building in the health sector to deliver the clinical and services objectives of the Sláintecare reform. This includes workforce planning to ensure that the new models of care are properly planned in order to deliver integrated care.

In relation to the current WTE primary care workforce, I have asked the HSE to provided the data directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (152)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

152. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if there is a grant available to persons who wish to take part in the social farming programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16832/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The National Social Farming Office was established by Leitrim Development Company with the assistance of funding from my Department.  It supports the development of a national social farming network in collaboration with other Local Development Companies.  In 2017 & 2018, Social Farming Ireland delivered 2,700 placement days across 24 counties. 

The on-going funding for the Social Farming Network project provides continuity and stability to Leitrim Development Company for the development of a sustainable network for social farming in Ireland. This support is central to upholding the operation of the project especially given the commitment from farmers and service providers in the development and roll-out of this initiative in rural communities throughout Ireland.  Farmers wishing to take part in the social farming programme should contact the Leitrim Development Company while potential participants should contact their service provider.

Agriculture Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (153)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

153. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if payment will be expedited in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16881/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As the Deputy is aware, a review by the Director of Agriculture Appeals Office of the decision of the Appeals Officer has been requested in this case in accordance with the provisions of the Agriculture Appeals Act, 2001.

The Agriculture Appeals Office has indicated that requests for reviews are generally dealt with in order of receipt and that both the Department and the person named will be advised of the outcome when the review has been completed.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (154)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

154. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the lack of broadband service in Castleblakeney and Kilkebrin, east County Galway; and his plans to remedy the situation. [16980/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In April 2017 my Department published an updated version of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map. This is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. The map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area under the National Broadband Plan. The Map is colour coded and searchable by address/Eircode:

- The AMBER area represents the parts of the country where commercial operators have no plans to build high speed broadband networks. Premises in the AMBER area will be provided with high Speed Broadband through a State Intervention.

- The BLUE area represents those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high speed broadband services.

- The LIGHT BLUE area represents eir's commercial rural deployment plans to rollout high speed broadband to 300,000 premises as part of a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

There are 42 premises in Castleblakeney. 95% (40) of these premises are in a BLUE area and are, or will be, served by commercial providers, while 5% (2) are LIGHT BLUE and fall to be served by eir's planned rural deployment.

There are 21 premises in Kilkerrin. 52% (11) fall within the AMBER area and will be served under the State led Intervention. 43% (9) of premises are in a BLUE area and are, or will be, served by commercial providers, while 5% (1) are LIGHT BLUE and fall to be served by eir's planned rural deployment.

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I will bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

Under a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017, eir is in the process of passing 300,000 predominantly rural homes with high speed broadband. According to data for Q4 2018 submitted by eir to my Department the company has passed almost 225,000 premises nationwide as part of its ongoing deployment.

Information on eir's rural deployment is available on that company’s website, http://fibrerollout.ie/Eircode-lookup/. A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website, www.dccae.gov.ie.

In the event any premises categorised as BLUE in Castleblakeney or Kilkerrin are experiencing difficulty in obtaining a high speed broadband service, I advise they contact the NBP customer service team at broadband@dccae.gov.ie directly, providing their name, phone number, email address and Eircode, as well as details of any issues they are experiencing getting connected.

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

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

Energy Schemes

Ceisteanna (155)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

155. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if grant aid is available for the installation of a wood pellet burning stove (details supplied) under the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI, grant schemes or other schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16790/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Government invests €120 million annually in sustainable energy upgrades and actions through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The grants promote a fabric first approach – advising people to first reduce heat losses by installing insulation and ventilation, making it easier to keep a home warmer and more comfortable for longer periods, before moving to installation of new or renewable heating systems. The individual measures that are currently funded were selected for inclusion as they were deemed most likely to deliver significant energy savings to homeowners, at least relative cost, and would thereby optimise the use of Exchequer funds while at the same time maximising the opportunities for homeowner participation.

The installation of wood burning stoves can be funded as part of a deeper energy efficiency upgrade – achieving an A3 Building Energy Rating - via the Deep Retrofit Programme or the Better Energy Communities scheme. Stoves installed must meet certain requirements and the specification is available on SEAI’s website.

In addition, the Energy Efficiency Obligation scheme requires all energy suppliers above a certain threshold to work with their customers to deliver energy savings. The replacement of an open fire with a solid fuel, biomass or gas fired room heater can save homeowners money and is an eligible measure under this scheme. Some suppliers offer their customers rebates for replacing open fires in their homes. If a customer would like to pursue this option they will need to contact their energy supplier directly or they can obtain more information from the SEAI.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (156)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

156. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the roll-out of fibre broadband in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16831/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP. This intervention is the subject of an ongoing procurement process. The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I will bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

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

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

Postal Services

Ceisteanna (157)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

157. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is satisfied that An Post adheres to Government policy in all its activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16833/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have responsibility for the governance of An Post, ensuring the company is fully compliant with the 2016 Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post. Operational matters and the role of developing and implementing commercial strategies for An Post mails and retail businesses are matters for the board and management of An Post and I, as Minister, have no statutory function in relation to such issues.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (158)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

158. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband will be available in an area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16851/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP. This intervention is the subject of an ongoing procurement process. The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I will bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

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

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

Bituminous Fuel Ban

Ceisteanna (159)

James Browne

Ceist:

159. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the introduction of a nationwide smoky coal ban; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16901/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal, or ‘the smoky coal ban’ as it is commonly known, was first introduced in Dublin in 1990, and subsequently extended to our major cities. Following a public consultation process, it was further extended in 2012, and now applies in 26 urban areas nationwide. The ban has proved very effective in reducing particulate matter and sulphur dioxide levels and has had the effect of significantly improving public health. Research indicates, for example, that the ban has resulted in over 350 fewer annual deaths in Dublin alone. I am disappointed that a number of coal firms have indicated that they would challenge the decision of two former Ministers to expand the smoky coal ban nationwide. Banning the use of smoky coal would have a positive impact on air quality and public health, particularly in built up areas. I am working with the Attorney General to finalise a legally robust plan which will improve air quality by reducing particulate matter in the air. High levels of particulate matter arise from a number of sources, including the burning of smoky coal.

I have also asked the EPA for a report on air quality in areas not currently covered by the smoky coal ban. This will provide important evidence which can assist in the development of this legally robust plan.

Pending the completion of this work I am aware of the need to provide clarity now to the public and to the trade to enable them adequately plan for purchases of stock for the 2019/20 heating season. I can confirm therefore that the current ban on bituminous coal will not be extended nationwide for the 2019/20 heating season.

Landfill Sites

Ceisteanna (160)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

160. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 490 of 26 February 2019, when tenders will be invited from those that expressed an interest in tendering for the project; the length of time to submit tenders for the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16920/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In December 2018, Kildare County Council, the contracting authority, invited tenders for expressions of interest in the remediation of Kerdiffstown landfill. The closing date for submissions was extended until 14 February 2019 on foot of requests for more time made on the eTenders procurement website. This process of evaluation is still underway and is being managed by Kildare County Council in accordance with the Office of Public Procurement guidelines and regulatory framework.

Sports Capital Programme Data

Ceisteanna (161)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

161. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of funding allocated from the sports capital grants from 2016 to 2018, by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16777/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Details of all allocations under the Sports Capital Programme are listed on a county basis on my Department's website at:-   http://www.dttas.ie/sport/english/sports-capital-programme-awards-new.

Greenways Funding

Ceisteanna (162)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

162. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of funding allocated to each county for greenway projects from 2016 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16778/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Funding was allocated by my Department in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to Greenway projects in Kildare, Meath, Longford, Westmeath, Waterford and Tipperary. These allocations are broken down below.

2016:

Kildare - €841,673.85

Longford - €513,000

Meath - €1,971,000

Westmeath - €496,187

2017:

Kildare - €3,855,413

Meath - €2,463,014

Westmeath - €80,270

Waterford - €1,600,000

2018:

Waterford - €1,455,000

Tipperary - €765,000

Meath - €111,000 

The Deputy should note that these are the funding allocations in the years in question and draw down of funding may occur over a number of years.  Spending in those years would also include projects  allocated funding in previous years.

Free Travel Scheme Data

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

Ceisteanna (163)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

163. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of road passenger transport operators receiving payment under the free travel scheme while operating services under the LocalLink banner funded by the National Transport Authority; the reason such payments under the free travel scheme are being made in respect of services funded by another agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16783/19]

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 securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme, which now operates under the Local Link brand.

Noting this I have forward the Deputy's Questions 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

Railway Stations

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

Ceisteanna (164)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

164. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the building of the proposed new train station at a location (details supplied) will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16828/19]

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 NTA has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including the provision of a new train station at Ashington/Pelletstown on the Maynooth rail line. 

Noting the NTA's responsibilities in the matter raised, 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.

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

National Transport Authority Data

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

Ceisteanna (165)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

165. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number and location of all organisations which have direct award contracts with the National Transport Authority; and the duration of such contracts. [16842/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) 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

National Transport Authority Data

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

Ceisteanna (166)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

166. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number and location of all organisations in which the National Transport Authority is funding the salaries of the administrative staff in which those organisations have or had in the past direct award contracts with the National Transport Authority; and the expected duration of the continuity of such payments by the authority. [16843/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) in December 2009, the NTA is the statutory body with responsibility for overseeing the delivery of public transport services provided under public service contracts.  The issue raised, therefore, is a matter for the NTA 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

National Transport Authority Data

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

Ceisteanna (167)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

167. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number and routes of all public service contracts tendered by transport co-ordination units on behalf of the National Transport Authority since 2015; the duration of such contracts; and the number of such contracts operated by wheelchair accessible vehicles. [16845/19]

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 securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which now operates under the Local Link brand.

Noting this, I have forward 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

National Transport Authority Data

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

Ceisteanna (168)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

168. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of road passenger transport route licences suspended, surrendered and revoked, respectively, by year since 2015; and details of the routes involved. [16846/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I understand that the Deputy is referring to what is known as a public bus passenger service licence.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the licensing of public bus passenger services under the provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009.

Accordingly, 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

Roadworthiness Testing

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

Ceisteanna (169)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

169. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of large public service vehicles inspected and found to be defective at Road Safety Authority inspections by county since 2017. [16847/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for the Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test, I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to the RSA for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

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