Tourism Promotion

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

Ceisteanna (321)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

321. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way in which Fáilte Ireland promotes Grianán of Ailleach as a must see along the Wild Atlantic Way; and the future plans of Fáilte Ireland to develop it as a tourist attraction. [28433/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department’s role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of national tourism policy. While my Department provides funding to Fáilte Ireland for investment in tourism promotion and development, it is not directly involved in individual tourism projects or programmes such as the Wild Atlantic Way.

With specific regard to the Grianán of Áileach, further to a similar question from the Deputy last month, I understand that Fáilte Ireland wrote to the Deputy with information on its promotion of the site and further plans to maximise its potential. In light of the Deputy’s follow-up queries, I have asked Fáilte Ireland to contact the Deputy in regard to the further detail sought. Please contact my private office if you have not been contacted within ten working days.

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

Road Projects

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

Ceisteanna (322)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

322. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the initial feasibility assessment of possible routes for a potential N3 to N4 link road project; if a copy will be provided when it is complete; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28436/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design, construction and management of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. I understand that the feasibility report referred to by the Deputy was commissioned by TII following discussions with the National Transport Authority (NTA) in the context of considering the overall resilience of the M50.

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

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

Road Safety

Ceisteanna (323)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

323. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the RSA study on the road safety of e-scooters; the timeframe for the publication of the study; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28439/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Road Safety Authority's review of current practice and safety implications of electric personal mobility devices was submitted to me in late June.

The publication of the report is a matter for the Road Safety Authority, in consultation with my Department, once I have made a decision on the way forward in relation to electric scooters. Until then, the report forms part of the deliberative process and will not be published until this has concluded.

Air Services Provision

Ceisteanna (324)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

324. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason his Department awarded a fifth freedom permit to an airline (details supplied) to operate a service between Dublin and Madrid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28454/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Ireland - Ethiopia Bilateral Air Services Agreement, signed in 2014, allows for the granting of fifth freedom air traffic rights for airlines of both countries, on a reciprocal basis and subject to the approval of the relevant aeronautical authorities.

Ethiopian Airlines applied to both the Spanish and Irish aeronautical authorities in 2018 for approval of their Addis Ababa - Madrid - Dublin (return) route. Following confirmation of approval by the Spanish Aeronautical Authorities and having consulted with Irish air carriers, the Department authorised the route as it conformed with the rights provided under the Air Services Agreement.

Ireland traditionally has a liberal aviation policy and remains positively disposed towards the development of competitive air services. In that context, my Department will continue to consider applications for fifth freedom air traffic rights under bilateral air services agreements, on a case-by-case basis.

Vehicle Testing

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

Ceisteanna (325)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

325. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to provide a vehicle testing centre for Listowel, County Kerry to serve the town and its environs in view of the fact that persons in the area currently must travel long distances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28463/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006), the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for the operation, oversight, development and delivery of vehicle roadworthiness testing arrangements.

I have therefore forwarded this Question to the RSA for direct reply to the Deputy. 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

Noise Pollution

Ceisteanna (326)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

326. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the noise data collected by the Dublin Airport Authority in the process of preparing for the second runway; the noise data collected on a regular basis; and the locations the noise data was collected in these instances. [28468/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I am informed that the daa publishes detailed information on noise data collected and the locations at which the data was collected on their website. The information can be found at: https://www.dublinairport.com/about-us/-community-affairs/airport-noise-noise-reports

Noise Pollution

Ceisteanna (327)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

327. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the noise data which will be transferred to Fingal County Council as the newly appointed noise regulator; and if copies of this data can be made available. [28469/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Under Section 9 of the Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Act 2019 it is a matter for Fingal County Council, as the Noise Regulator, to determine the information it requires.

That section also provides that the Noise Regulator shall publish on its website a report which will include a summary of the data examined and the relevant technical information in relation to any proposed noise mitigation measures and operating restrictions to be introduced. It will also include a non-technical summary. In addition, it will publish, in a national newspaper, a notice stating how persons may view or otherwise have access to that report.

The Act provides for similar powers and responsibilities under Sections 10 and 12 of the Act with reference to An Bord Pleanála, in the case of an appeal, and again to the Noise Regulator under Section 11 in the case of a planning application.

The Act provides an open and transparent process for assessing noise at Dublin airport and provides that all relevant data is publically available and accessible.

Cycling Facilities Provision

Questions Nos. 329 to 333, inclusive, answered with Question No. 310.

Question No. 334 answered with Question No. 328.

Ceisteanna (328, 334)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

328. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the policies in place in relation to the way in which the division of cycle facility design work between the NTA, local authorities and consultancy companies is planned; and if and the way in which these policies ensure that local authorities develop and maintain the capacity to evaluate cycle facility design proposals contained in planning applications they receive. [28471/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

334. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the rationale for the establishment of a cycling design office in the National Transport Authority; if the design of cycle facilities is proposed to be carried out by the NTA and its consultants or by local authorities and their consultants, or by a combination of the two; and if the former, the way in which the work is to be divided. [28477/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 328 and 334 together.

As the Deputy is aware the National Transport Authority (NTA) has certain statutory functions in relation to cycling facilities and the promotion of cycling and it exercises these functions in close co-operation with local authorities.

The Deputy will I am sure acknowledge the good work already undertaken through the development and publication by the NTA of the National Cycle Manual and the publication of the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets as jointly developed by my Department and the then Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. These are both important manuals in guiding officials within local authorities in relation to our urban built environment and the promotion of best practice in the provision of active travel infrastructure.

As stated within the Climate Action Plan 2019, the NTA is now establishing a dedicated office to assist with the timely provision of improved cycling infrastructure arising from the significantly improved funding now being made available. The structure and management of the office is a matter for the NTA. I understand the initial focus of the work will be within the five major urban centres of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford and development of their strategic cycling networks; also, a full programme of work will be developed this year which will address the specific issues raised by the Deputy.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Questions Nos. 329 to 333, inclusive, answered with Question No. 310.
Question No. 334 answered with Question No. 328.

Public Transport Data

Ceisteanna (335)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

335. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of new Leap cards issued in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [28501/19]

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 responsibility for integrated transport ticketing (including the Leap card) and also for the collection and publication of statistics relating to public transport generally.

Therefore, 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.

Penalty Points System Data

Ceisteanna (336)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

336. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of penalty point notices issued in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [28502/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Road Safety Authority publishes statistics of penalty points issued on its website.

You can access this data at the following link ; http://www.rsa.ie/en/RSA/Road-Safety/RSA-Statistics/Penalty-Points-Issued/2019-Penalty-Points-Stats/

Adoption Data

Ceisteanna (337)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

337. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of domestic adoptions applied for and successfully concluded in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; if she will consider conducting a review of the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 to investigate if deficiencies or obstacles to domestic adoption can be identified; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28363/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Adoption Authority of Ireland is responsible for considering applications for domestic adoption orders, under the Adoption Act 2010 and the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017. Information on the numbers of adoption orders applied for and granted by the Authority are contained in the Annual Reports of the Authority, which are available to the public on their website.

In 2011, the Authority received 47 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 39 adoption orders.

In 2012, the Authority received 92 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 49 adoption orders.

In 2013, the Authority received 98 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 116 adoption orders.

In 2014, the Authority received 102 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 112 adoption orders.

In 2015, the Authority received 93 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 94 adoption orders.

In 2016, the Authority received 96 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 95 adoption orders.

In 2017, the Authority received 96 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 72 adoption orders.

In 2018, the Authority received 102 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 72 adoption orders.

To date in 2019, the Authority has received 66 applications for domestic adoptions, and granted 34 adoption orders.

It should be noted that the numbers of applications and the number of adoption orders granted are not equal in any given year. It may be the case that an adoption order is applied for in one year and granted in the next.

Regarding the operation of the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017, both the Adoption Authority of Ireland and my Department continue to monitor its effectiveness. Significant provisions of the Act include those relating to step-parent adoption, and those relating to the adoption of children from foster care, where this is in their best interests. These provisions are being kept under continuous review, including with Tusla, as required.

Departmental Schemes

Ceisteanna (338)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

338. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development when decisions will be made and applicants notified in relation to a scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28466/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Almost 500 applications were received by my Department under the scheme referred to by the Deputy. 

This reflects a huge level of interest in the scheme, which includes a number of different funding measures. 

My officials are currently assessing all of the applications received and decisions on the applications will be made when the assessment process is completed.

Departmental Schemes

Ceisteanna (339)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

339. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development when decisions will be made and applicants notified in relation to a scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28467/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Almost 500 applications were received by my Department under the scheme referred to by the Deputy. 

This reflects a huge interest in the scheme, which includes a number of different funding measures. 

My officials are currently assessing all of the applications received and decisions on the applications will be made when the assessment process is completed.

Free Travel Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (340)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

340. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a proposal will be brought forward to ensure persons refused a driver licence due to sight impairment are granted a travel pass; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28525/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The free travel scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme. These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies such as Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, as well as Luas and services provided by over 80 private transport operators. There are currently approx. 948,000 customers with direct eligibility. Following recent announcements in Budget 2019, the funding for the free travel scheme was increased by €5 million to a total of €95 million.

In general, access to a free travel pass for those aged under 66 is linked to a person being in receipt of certain primary Social Protection payments such as disability allowance, invalidity pension, carer’s allowance, blind pension and partial capacity benefit. In 1997 the free travel pass was extended to all registered blind people regardless of whether they qualify for the Department's blind person's pension or any other Social Protection payment. Blind people remain one of the only cohorts of people aged under 66 who can qualify for a free travel pass while not in receipt of a qualifying Social Protection payment.

Any possible extension to the eligibility criteria for free travel would have significant costs implications for the free travel scheme and would also require additional administrative processes to be put in place to adjudicate eligibility. Any decision to do so could only be considered in the context of overall budgetary negotiations.

Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme (SWA), the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may award a travel supplement in any case where the circumstances of the case so warrant. The supplement is intended to assist with ongoing or recurring travel costs that cannot be met from the client’s own resources and are deemed to be necessary. Every decision is based on consideration of the circumstances of the case, taking account of the nature and extent of the need and of the resources of the person concerned.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.