Schools Healthy Living Strategies

Ceisteanna (156)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

156. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has spoken to his ministerial colleagues regarding content in the green schools content regarding meat and dairy consumption for children. [17141/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Green Schools Programme is a positive and important initiative for schools. However, I have concerns regarding the suggestions contained within the Climate Action Teacher Resources pack regarding reductions the consumption of meat and dairy products. These suggestions appear inconsistent with the Food Pyramid guidelines in Healthy Ireland, the national framework for action to improve health and wellbeing.

The Healthy Ireland Food Pyramid, published by the Department of Health, recommends that children aged 9-18 years of age consume five portions of dairy each day, given the importance of calcium during this life stage to support the development of healthy bones and teeth.  Red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts also provide protein essential for growth and repair, and they are also the main source of iron for healthy blood.  Two servings a day from this food shelf are recommended in the Healthy Ireland Food Pyramid. 

My Department runs the EU School Milk Scheme in national schools, in conjunction with the National Dairy Council. This scheme is carefully aligned with the Department of Health guidelines, and with the European Commission, which funds the School Milk Scheme with the objective of cultivating healthy eating habits at an early age.  My officials are actively engaged in the on-going cross-Government collaboration on Healthy Ireland initiatives.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (157)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

157. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason there is a €41 million unspent allocation for 2018 in his Department (details supplied). [17142/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The major areas involved in the €41m underspend for my Department in 2018 cover a number of areas including Forestry administration expenditure, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Market Supports Operational Costs. This accounts for less than 3% of the total gross expenditure provision for my Department in 2018.  

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being compiled and will be forwarded without delay.

Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (158)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

158. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on clubs (details supplied) and similar initiatives for the beef sector in the future. [17143/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Club referred to by the Deputy is an integrated calf-to-beef programme that was announced by a dairy processor in collaboration with a meat company in early April.  The programme is a commercial arrangement between both organisations and their respective suppliers.  I understand that the overarching objective is to improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of calf-to-beef production in Ireland, with benefits for both dairy and beef farmers.   

I fully support such collaborative initiatives that aim to drive the sustainability, viability, and long-term future development of both the beef and dairy sectors.  I look forward with interest to following the progress of this initiative and would encourage the industry to consider how it can deliver more certainty to farmers about the price they receive for their stock.     

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (159)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

159. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband will be brought to Kilcommon, Thurles, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17060/19]

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 23 premises in Kilcommon. 91% (21) fall within the AMBER area and will be served under the State led Intervention, while 9% (2) of premises are in a BLUE area and are, or will be, served by commercial providers.

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.

In the event any premises categorised as BLUE in Kilcommon 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.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (160, 161)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

160. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when persons (details supplied) will receive broadband; if they will be included in this phase of the roll out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17063/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

161. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a business within 200 metres of the route scheduled for broadband can be considered to be included in this phase of the roll out for same (details supplied); the way in which the routes are decided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17093/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 and 161 together.

The premises referenced by the Deputy are both 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.

The Deputy makes reference to both premises being located close to a commercial deployment of high speed broadband. This deployment is part of eir's commercial roll out of high speed broadband to 300,000 predominantly rural premises, in line with a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

eir’s rural investment in high speed broadband is a privately funded commercial undertaking and is not part of the State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms of the Commitment Agreement, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity.

Decisions made by private telecommunication operators relating to the roll out and siting of infrastructure to provide high speed broadband services throughout Ireland are undertaken on a commercial basis. I have no statutory role or function in such commercial decisions of private operators, and therefore cannot direct operators regarding infrastructure installation or delivery of services.

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.

Departmental Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (162)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

162. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the State contracts awarded to a company (details supplied) over the past seven years; and the contracts delivered according to the original contract. [17109/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

My Department has not awarded any contract to the supplier named in the Question over the past seven years.

Environmental Policy

Ceisteanna (163)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

163. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans in relation to the elimination of single use plastics; and when particular types of single use plastics will be banned. [17188/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

A new EU Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment is due to be finalised and published shortly. This Directive, once transposed into Irish law, will enable me to ban the following plastic items from being placed on the market from 2021:

- Cotton bud sticks

- Cutlery

- Plates

- Stirrers

- Straws

- Sticks for balloons

- Expanded polystyrene food containers

- Expanded polystyrene cups and beverage containers.

In addition to this, the Government has decided that Government Departments would not purchase single-use plastic cups, cutlery and drinking straws from 1 January 2019. This decision was extended to all public bodies and commercial state agencies under the aegis of Ministers with effect from 1 April 2019.

Waste Management Data

Ceisteanna (164)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

164. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will provide information (details supplied) regarding landfill waste management sites. [17194/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Queries in relation to the acceptance of waste at landfills since 2010 are best directed to the Environmental Protection Agency who licence and monitor such sites and also compile waste statistics. Appendix E of the National Waste Report 2010 sets out the number of landfills accepting waste that year and is available to view at https://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/waste/stats/EPA_NWR_2010.pdf Queries in relation to the schedule for decommissioning of operational landfills are a matter for individual landfills and will be dependent on a number of factors, including planning and licensing legislation.

Waste management planning, including with regard to infrastructure provision, is the responsibility of local authorities under Part II of the Waste Management Act, 1996 (as amended). Under section 60(3) of that Act, I am precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to the performance, in specific cases, by a local authority of their statutory functions under the Act. However, my Department has and will continue to engage with the three Regional Waste Management Planning Lead Authorities and other environmental regulatory bodies in relation to waste management policy. In that context, I understand that there are currently 4 landfills currently accepting municipal waste, and that this will likely decrease to 3 before year end:

- Ballynagran, Co Wicklow

- Drehid, Co Kildare

- Killconnell, Co. Galway (expected to close in 2019)

- Knockharley, Co Meath

Waste Management

Ceisteanna (165)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

165. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will provide the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations governing bird control requirements on landfill waste management sites and insofar as such bird control regulations pertain to concerns for the interests of and or the protection of public health and safety (details supplied). [17195/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Waste Management Act 1996 and the Waste Management (Licensing) Regulations 2004 govern the process under which waste licences are applied for and maintained. Once granted, each waste licence defines the nature of environmentally acceptable activities that can take place at a waste facility. This is done by the conditions of the licence which are set by the Environmental Protection Agency. I have no function in relation either to the setting of operating conditions or to their enforcement at a waste licensed facility, and under section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act 1996, the Minister is precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to the performance by the Environmental Protection Agency, in particular circumstances, of a statutory function vested in it. Accordingly, queries with regard to bird control at landfills should be directed to the Agency.

The licences of individual landfills, which include (where appropriate) bird control conditions to control nuisance, are available to view online at www.epa.ie

Environmental Protection Agency

Ceisteanna (166)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

166. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will provide information regarding a project (details supplied). [17197/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Under its establishing legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a statutory role in relation to the co-ordination of environmental research in Ireland. The Agency receives an annual allocation from the Vote of my Department in respect of this research strategy. Under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992, as amended, the EPA is independent in performing its day-to-day statutory functions and, accordingly, I have no role in this matter. However, I understand that further information on the project in question, if required, can be obtained directly on request to the Agency.

Motor Tax Exemptions

Ceisteanna (167)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

167. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if health vehicles are exempt from motor tax (details supplied). [16995/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Finance (Excise Duties) (Vehicles) Act 1952 provides for an exemption from motor tax for ambulances.   Motor tax legislation does not define an ambulance further.     

 The decision in relation to the granting of an exemption from motor tax for an ambulance is a matter for the local motor tax office concerned, within the parameters of the legislative framework.  

National Convention Centre

Ceisteanna (168)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

168. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a post-project review has been compiled and published for the National Convention Centre PPP as per the public spending code. [17018/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy will be aware, the National Convention Centre opened in August 2010.  Its first five years in operation were considered “ramp up” years to allow the Centre to build its brand and market position and become fully operational.  

The guidelines for post project reviews under the Public Spending Code do not explicitly set out a minimum number of years before such a review should be conducted, but after examination of the project my officials have taken the view that given the nature of the business there would be greater value in conducting a post project review when sufficient operational evidence existed following the “ramp up” period, as otherwise the costs and benefits could be subject to external factors and random fluctuation.   Bearing this in mind, my Department is currently in the process of collating and examining the relevant documentation with a view to assessing whether sufficient and appropriate data now exists to conduct a post-project review of the performance of the National Conference Centre on the basis of the intended outputs and outcomes.    

Road Projects

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

Ceisteanna (169)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

169. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to fund the Thurles bypass in 2019 or 2020; if funding will be provided for this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and securing capital funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in the context of delivering the Government's commitments arising out Project Ireland 2040, the planning, design, and construction, including the distribution of funding for individual national roads, is a matter for 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 a reply is not received within 10 working days.

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

Coast Guard Services

Ceisteanna (170)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

170. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of landings made by the coast guard helicopter for both training and operational reasons at the site of the airstrip at Cluain Leacht an Abba near Cleggan, Connemara in each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17079/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Since 2015 the IRCG have landed at Cleggan Airfield 11 times.  Both the Coast Guard and the Galway Fire Service use the airfield as an embarkation point for transporting fire fighters to the islands of Inishboffin and Inishturk. Of the 11, 4 landings were due to taskings and 7 landings for training with the Coast Guard and Fire Service.

Coast Guard Services

Ceisteanna (171)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

171. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the permanent facilities available to the west Connemara Coast Guard at the airstrip at Cluain Leacht an Abba, Cleggan, County Galway; if showers, toilets and electricity are available at the site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17080/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Cleggan Coast Guard currently operate out of the historic rocket house which does not have those facilities. The provision of a permanent Coast Guard base there is part of the Coast Guard's multi-annual building programme. This programme is funded by my Department and delivered through the OPW as project managers. This project is a priority for the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Services

Ceisteanna (172)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

172. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made with the provision of a permanent Coast Guard base at Cluain Leacht on Abba as promised; when the facility will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17081/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The provision of a permanent Coast Guard base at Cluain Leacht on Abba is part of the Coast Guard's multi-annual building programme. This programme is funded by my Department and delivered through the OPW as project managers. This project is a priority for the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Services

Ceisteanna (173)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

173. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to discuss the provision of permanent lighting at the airstrip at Cluain Leacht on Abba, near Cleggan in Connemara with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to assist the night time landing of Coast Guard and medivac ambulances there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17082/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I understand that the Coast Guard has not received any such request.  The Coast Guard, through CHC, provides for patient transfers  and other aeromedical support services to the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) on an ‘as available’ on request basis.

Road Projects

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

Ceisteanna (174)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

174. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated costs of a project (details supplied). [17088/19]

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, procurement and construction of individual national roads is a matter for TII in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.  As part of TII’s above remit, TII's role includes appraising estimated costs for projects.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's (D/Per) Public Spending Code (PSC) and my Department's Capital Appraisal Framework (CAF) provides the framework for assessing road capital projects and where projects are in excess of €100 million, Government approval is required before contracts may be awarded.  

My Department is currently in receipt of a revised Business Case (BC) for the Dunkettle interchange and the BC is currently being reviewed by my Department’s Strategic Research and Analysis Division (SRAD).  The BC will then be forwarded to D/Per for further review and if the project meets the requirements of the CAF and the PSC, Government approval for the project will be sought.

In terms of the estimated costs for the project, I have referred your question to TII for a more detailed and direct reply on this specific issue.  Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within 10 working days.

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

Road Projects

Ceisteanna (175)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

175. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding being provided in 2019 or planned for 2020 for the Thurles inner relief road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17090/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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.  Each local authority is the contracting authority for the purpose of implementation of regional and local road improvement projects. 

The National Development Plan (NDP), which has been developed by Government to underpin the successful implementation of the new National Planning Framework (NPF), provides the strategic and financial framework for a number of Strategic Regional and Local Roads Strategic roads projects for the period from 2018 to 2027. 

 The Thurles Inner Relief Road is included amongst a number of regional and local road schemes that were identified as being at various stages of Project Appraisal.  Given the many competing demands, the scope for progressing an additional pipeline of projects within the plan will be assessed as the NDP progresses.

 The preliminary design for Thurles Inner Relief Road is complete and planning approval was granted for the scheme in July 2014. 

 In accordance with the Public Spending Code and the Department’s Common Appraisal Framework the project requires preliminary and detailed appraisal.  Preliminary appraisal is initially required to be submitted by the sponsoring agency (Road Authority) to the Department for approval.  As the project cost is in excess of €5m a detailed appraisal will then be required to be prepared and submitted to the Department’s Road Division and Strategic Research and Analysis Division (SRAD) for approval.

Following DTTaS’s confirmation that the Project Appraisal Proposals comply with the Public Spending Code and the Common Appraisal Framework, the scheme can then be considered for progression to the next phase of implementation and subject to adequate availability of funding.

The first essential step is that a preliminary appraisal for this project is submitted to the Department by Tipperary County Council.  Progression beyond that stage will depend on the quality of the appraisal, the overall availability of funding and the quality of the business cases relating to other proposed projects from around the country.