I propose to take Questions Nos. 2373, and 2375 to 2378, inclusive, together.
On the issue of Ports development, I can advise that strengthening access routes to Ireland’s Ports through investment to upgrade and enhance the road transport network is, and remains, a Government priority. My Department is in consultation with TII regarding the relationship between Ports development and road infrastructure development in order to ensure that the best options for accessibility and connectivity are achieved.
The UK’s exit from the EU highlights the importance of high quality international maritime connectivity and the importance of continuing investment to further improve the quality of Port facilities. This is relevant to all our Ports of National Significance, both Tier 1 and Tier 2 (Ports of Waterford and Rosslare), given their potential role in maintaining transportation linkages with crucial EU markets.
In terms of Brexit, a whole-of Government approach has been adopted in relation to our key Ports through the establishment of an Inter-Departmental Committee to ensure that Ports have the necessary infrastructure in place for Brexit.
All three Ports of National Significance (Tier 1) – Dublin, Cork and Shannon Foynes – are currently undertaking major capital infrastructure programmes. These programmes will enhance national and international connectivity, and provide for future increases in trade and national Port capacity requirements by facilitating more vessels, larger sized vessels and increased tonnage and throughput. All of these developments must be financed by the companies themselves without recourse to the Exchequer.
Rosslare Europort as a division of Iarnród Éireann is effectively managing operations at the Port and looking at the potential of the Port to develop further and take advantage of any new opportunities. The Port is targeting growth and new business opportunities, and in 2018 received the approval of the Iarnród Éireann Board for a strategic plan to grow the Port’s business. This includes investment plans for up to €25 million in customer facilities and Port infrastructure, Port assets, and new technology.
As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Once funding arrangements have been put in place, under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design, construction, including the operation of individual roads, is a matter for the relevant road authority in relation to local and regional roads, or for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned, in relation to national roads. TII also has responsibility for the management and distribution of the roads national capital programme budget.
Noting the above position, I have referred the questions to TII for a more detailed and direct reply on the issues raised concerning national road infrastructure projects. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.