National Transport Authority Expenditure

Ceisteanna (480)

John Lahart

Ceist:

480. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the budget expended by the National Transport Authority in 2018, and to date in 2019, in respect of the promotion of the BusConnects project; the details of each form of media and public event; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38751/19]

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 the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including BusConnects.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities on this matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the company for a more detailed reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Proposed Legislation

Ceisteanna (481)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

481. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the railway safety (amendment) Bill will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38775/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Railway Safety (Amendment) Bill will amend the existing statutory limits in the Railway Safety Act 2005 for concentration of alcohol in blood, urine and breath for a railway safety critical worker and will update the associated procedures for sampling and testing for intoxicants, which includes alcohol and drugs.

My Department is working with the Office of the Attorney General to advance the drafting of this Bill with a view to publication later this year. It is my hope that, once published, the passage of the Bill will progress through the Houses of the Oireachtas without delay.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (482)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

482. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will address a matter regarding the transition from diesel to electric buses and coaches (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38818/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The transition to alternatively fuelled vehicles is a necessary step to effect a substantial reduction in transport emissions. The Climate Action Plan has set out measures to encourage a transition away from the use of petrol and diesel, particularly towards electrification in the light-duty (passenger car and van) fleets. In addition, Government will also play an important leadership role in promoting and normalising alternatives by investing in low-emissions technology in its bus fleet.

The transition is, however, not expected to be uniform across all vehicle sectors. The development of electrified fleet is not yet as advanced in the coach sector as it is for passenger cars, vans and low-floor buses. Thus, in the short to medium term, other alternative fuels which are already commercially available - such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or biofuels - may have a role to play in the heavy-duty sectors where electrification is not yet commercially viable.

Generally, as new fuels and technologies advance, production levels increase and more vehicle models become available and cheaper in the coming years, so these new technologies are expected to reach total cost of ownership parity as we move towards 2030, making the switch easier and cost-effective for both business and private consumers. Also, developments in the cost of diesel over time, amongst other factors, may position ultra-low emission and zero-emission fuels as an increasingly attractive and viable investment for Irish businesses.

I expect that the anticipated improvements in alternatively-fuelled vehicle technology, reductions in purchase prices, increased driving range and model availability, coupled with a strong Government commitment to invest in the recharging network, will have a positive impact in uptake and consequently in driving further market development.

Policy about the supports and measures to underpin the transition will be kept under constant consideration and I will continue to work closely with Ministers Bruton and Donohoe and their respective Departments to map out the new policy pathway that will be necessary to ensure that Ireland is well positioned to make the transition to electrification, and to other ultra-low emission alternatives, as efficiently as possible.

Rural Transport Programme Funding

Ceisteanna (483)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

483. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of increasing funding to Local Link by 10%, 20%, 33% and 50%, respectively in tabular form. [38858/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The total allocation to Local Link in 2019 is €21 million, and percentage amounts can be calculated from this base. Future funding levels for the programme will be subject to the annual Estimate and Budgetary processes.

Public Service Obligation Data

Questions Nos. 485 to 489, inclusive, answered with Question No. 457.

Ceisteanna (484)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

484. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of increasing the public transport PSO by 5%, 10%, 25% and 50%, respectively, in tabular form. [38859/19]

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 in Ireland.

The award of public service obligation (PSO) funding falls under the independent statutory remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA). The allocations to the transport companies are decided by the NTA in exercise of its statutory mandate and in accordance with the various contract arrangements that it has in place with PSO service providers.

The PSO subsidy represents one of a multiple of revenue streams to the operators of the public transport services; their other sources of income include passenger fare revenues, State funding under the Free Travel Scheme administered by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, and commercial non-fare income such as advertising revenue. The main purpose of the PSO subvention payment is to meet the gap for an operator between income from fares and other sources and the cost of operating services.

The 2019 Exchequer allocation for PSO services is €287.467 million. Percentage amounts can be calculated from this base. Future funding levels for the programme will be subject to the annual Estimate and Budgetary processes.

Questions Nos. 485 to 489, inclusive, answered with Question No. 457.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Ceisteanna (490)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

490. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of a sports capital grant application (details supplied); the timeframe for the announcement of the grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38887/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October last. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding.

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January.

619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced to these organisations in May.

Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works, including an application from the organisation referred to by the Deputy.

For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a further number of weeks to have all applications assessed with allocations announced shortly after that.

As soon as allocations have been made, my Department will carry out a review of all aspects of the 2018 round of the programme to include any possible improvements for the future. This review will include consideration of the timing and scale of the next round but I fully expect that the SCP will again be open for new applications before the end of this year.

Road Projects Status

Ceisteanna (491)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

491. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a commitment given by TII to carry out road safety works at the junction for Cootehall along the N4 road connecting Carrick-on-Shannon and Boyle, County Roscommon, has not been followed through; the reason for the delay in the commencement of works; and when the project will be completed. [38894/19]

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, maintenance and improvement of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (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 you do not receive a reply within 10 working days

Living Wage

Ceisteanna (492)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

492. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of workers employed by her Department and in each office or agency under the aegis of her Department who earn less than the living wage of €12.30 per hour; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38249/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As the Deputy may be aware, any adjustments to the salaries of public and civil servants are set out in the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) 2018-2020.

A suggested living wage of €12.30 per hour would equate to an annual salary of €23,747, based on a standard civil service net working week of 37 hours. Details of the application of adjustments to civil service pay in accordance with the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 are available on www.circulars.gov.ie.

As the information requested is not readily available in respect of the agencies under my Department's remit, I have asked the Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Children Detention School Campus and Tusla to furnish this information directly to the Deputy.

Domestic Violence Refuges Provision

Ceisteanna (493)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

493. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of adults and children in Tusla-funded domestic violence refuges and domestic violence step-down accommodation, respectively, in 2018; and the funding allocated to Tusla for the provision of such services for 2018 and 2019. [38337/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency provides funding and coordination supports to some 59 organisations that deliver a range of services for victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence throughout the country.

In 2019, €25.3 million is being allocated to Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence services, an increase of €1.5 million over 2018. The additional funding of €1.5m will be used for the further investment and development of these services. A proportion of this funding will allow for:

- 12 new outreach workers for women and children affected by domestic violence to improve access to support and services.

- The roll out of a 12 week healing programme for children who have been impacted by domestic abuse which also helps parents/guardians to understand their child’s experiences and support their recovery.

I have requested Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy with regard to the specific information required in relation to number of adults and children in Tusla funded domestic violence refuges in 2018 and the funding required for these services in 2018 and 2019.

Ministerial Correspondence

Ceisteanna (494, 495)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

494. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if communication has been recently received from a group (details supplied); if she has received a report carried out by it outlining difficulties dealing with Tusla; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38494/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

495. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has discussed a group (details supplied) with Tusla; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38495/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 494 and 495 together.

I can confirm that I have recently received the report “ABC Alliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice The triad Rules Tusla, Family Law Courts, An Garda Síochána”. I have not been in contact with Tusla, at this time, in relation to the report but officials in my Department have read the report and have provided me with the following update in relation to same.

The report makes a number of recommendations in relation to Tusla, An Garda Síochána and the Family Law Courts. Recommendations concerning the latter two bodies are a matter, as the Deputy will be aware, for my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.

The report makes some recommendations regarding Tusla including (i) having an outside body established to hold Tusla to account; (ii) rectifying difficulties in relation to hiring and retaining staff; and (iii) the timely response to FOI requests.

In relation to the first recommendation, it should be noted that the Health Information and Quality Authority is an independent body, established by the Health Act 2007, which inspects Tusla services against relevant statute (both primary and secondary) as well as agreed standards. Reports of their findings are published regularly on their website.

Tusla is proactively working on the challenges associated with the hiring and retention of staff. To this end it has established Tusla Recruit (in 2016) to assist in the recruitment and retention of qualified and experienced staff; it is in the process of developing multi-year workforce planning and is currently working with Third Level Institutions to provide additional study places for key Tusla grades. In addition, Tusla hosted its first ever national recruitment open day to hire additional social work staff in June 2019.

Finally, in common with all bodies to whom the Freedom of Information Act applies, Tusla is bound by the requirements and timescales as set out in that Act.

Children in Care

Ceisteanna (496)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

496. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to reduce public spending on private residential care companies involved in housing and protecting children in State care due to the profits these companies make; if there are appropriate minimum staffing levels and educational accreditation levels necessary for staff employed by these companies; the frequency with which HIQA inspects these facilities; her views on whether it is advisable to allow commercial entities be fully responsible for child protection and vulnerable children in care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38584/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The placement of vulnerable young people in private residential care services is one of the key drivers of costs for Tusla. Tusla continuously monitors expenditure in the area of private residential care, and my Department liaises with Tusla on an on-going basis in relation to this matter.

Continuous recruitment of foster carers is a crucial factor insuring children are not placed in residential care due to a shortage of available foster carers. HIQA inspections of Tusla's fostering activities has frequently shown a range of creative approaches employed by Tusla areas to recruit and retain an appropriate range of experienced foster carers. These approaches include public events and workshops, and local media campaigns.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has responsibility for the care and protection of all children in the care of the State. Where the identified needs of a child cannot be met by foster care, a residential placement may be more appropriate. If the residential centres operated by Tusla cannot meet the needs of a child a private provider may be used. This may include children who require more intensive supports, or situations where Tusla-operated centres do not have available spaces.

I would like to assure the Deputy that children in private residential placements remain in the care of Tusla, and that Tusla continues to have responsibility for making sure that the needs of the child are met and that the best interests of the child are considered.

All residential centres for children are subject to, and inspected against, the National Standards for Children's Residential Centres. HIQA are responsible for the inspection of centres operated by Tusla. All inspection reports are published, and available online.

Under part VIII of the Child Care Act 1991, non-statutory residential care centres for children are inspected and registered by Tusla. The registration cycle outlined under the legislation is three years, and centres are inspected at least twice per three-year cycle. Where concerns are identified, or when conditions are attached to registrations by the inspectorate, follow up inspections are also conducted. Inspections can be announced or unannounced. Staffing and management of the centres are inspected against standards, which includes ensuring that an appropriate number of qualified staff are in place and that evidence of qualifications and CPD are on staff files.

Recreational Facilities

Ceisteanna (497)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

497. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will work with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and other relevant agencies to ensure that a supervised playground (details supplied) remains a supervised service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38764/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I regret to inform the Deputy that the only funding provided by my Department for playgrounds is in the area of capital grants for play and recreation. All applications for funding under this scheme are made through the Local Authority Play and Recreation Network member in the Local Authority.

In order to receive funding under this scheme the following criteria must be met:

- All spaces and facilities for which funding is granted must be available for use by all children and young people in the locality at times when they are free to use them, i.e. outside of school hours.

- All facilities and equipment funded must be accessible to children and young people with special needs.

- Applications should include facilities and equipment which are youth-friendly and safe.

- Confirmation that No Smoking signage will be displayed in play spaces and facilities.

- All projects funded under the scheme must provide evidence, or a commitment to providing evidence, that children and young people living locally who will have access to the facility have been consulted about the project for which funding is sought.

Funds under this scheme are for capital, not current spending, such as supervisory costs.

The supervisory posts referred to in the Deputy’s question would not meet the criteria for any funding scheme operated by my Department.

I regret that I could not give the Deputy a more favourable reply.

Community Development Projects Funding

Ceisteanna (498)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

498. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the allocation to each local authority for community development functions in 2018 and 2019. [38341/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

I have provided the information in the table below which sets out funding to Local Authorities under functions of my Department’s Community Development Division in 2019 to date and in 2018.

In addition to the amounts outlined in the tables below my Department also provides other funding to Local Authorities, which includes:

- €35,000 annually to each of the 31 Local Authorities to part-fund the employment of local broadband officers. The broadband officers act as a single point of contact and ensure consistency in engagement with operators and assist in the rollout of telecommunications infrastructure.

- In 2018, funding of €30,000 was announced for each of the 10 Local Authorities that comprise the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC), to support the co-funding of an AEC Officer.

- The Libraries Capital Investment Programme will invest some €29 million in approximately 19 projects over the period 2016 to 2022. Funding of approximately €6 million is available under the programme this year, however, a set allocation per Local Authority is not available as funding is paid based on claims submitted for works completed by Local Authorities.

- My Department also provides some funding to help Local Authorities meet certain costs associated with libraries, including the cost of a small number of leased premises, technological capacity and resources, book-stock and other areas of activity that enhance local library services.

- In 2018 I also announced a major investment package of over €5.2 million from my Department for digital services and facilities in public libraries. This investment will enable ICT infrastructure upgrades and new software, meeting space technologies and digital learning suites in public libraries across the country. This year, funding of €650,000 has been approved for reaching out and engaging with marginalised, socially excluded and disadvantaged communities.

Allocation to Local Authority in 2019 for community development functions

Support to Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs)

Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme 2018-2022 (SICAP) & Community Enhancement Programme

Libraries Development

Public Participation Networks

(up to €50,000 per LA)

Total 2019 Allocation Per Local Authority

Carlow

€23,755

€681,363

€25,150

€50,000

€780,268

Cavan

€39,045

€891,377

€21,048

€50,000

€1,001,470

Clare

€78,604

€1,011,705

€315,061

€50,000

€1,455,370

Cork City

€37,240

€1,385,304

€102,750

€50,000

€1,575,294

Cork County

€43,388

€2,083,906

€21,585

€50,000

€2,198,879

Donegal

€33,066

€2,168,378

€83,227

€50,000

€2,334,671

Dublin City

€39,350

€5,618,794

€562,750

€50,000

€6,270,894

Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown

€36,497

€1,076,598

€41,797

€50,000

€1,204,892

Fingal

€47,345

€1,360,367

€172,671

€50,000

€1,630,383

Galway City

€28,582

€781,913

€139,120

€50,000

€999,615

Galway County

€43,109

€1,744,983

€50,000

€1,838,092

Kerry

€39,350

€1,772,008

€31,750

€50,000

€1,893,108

Kildare

€0

€1,209,049

€114,213

€50,000

€1,373,262

Kilkenny

€5,869

€768,445

€56,697

€50,000

€881,011

Laois

€16,837

€723,151

€579,383

€50,000

€1,369,371

Leitrim

€0

€653,873

€13,150

€50,000

€717,023

Limerick

€32,438

€2,338,369

€22,750

€50,000

€2,443,557

Longford

€35,438

€643,944

€1,513,375

€50,000

€2,242,757

Louth

€44,870

€1,459,141

€22,150

€50,000

€1,576,161

Mayo

€0

€1,415,113

€170,750

€50,000

€1,635,863

Meath

€33,944

€536,229

€35,827

€50,000

€656,000

Monaghan

€23,920

€764,227

€998,500

€50,000

€1,836,647

Offaly

€37,240

€899,013

€18,325

€50,000

€1,004,578

Roscommon

€50,541

€731,651

€29,125

€50,000

€861,317

Sligo

€0

€719,598

€80,847

€50,000

€850,445

South Dublin

€0

€2,275,528

€920,315

€50,000

€3,245,843

Tipperary

€21,813

€1,323,076

€20,875

€50,000

€1,415,764

Waterford

€0

€1,264,914

€78,764

€50,000

€1,393,678

Westmeath

€32,260

€918,110

€76,075

€50,000

€1,076,445

Wexford

€35,841

€1,851,813

€45,253

€50,000

€1,982,907

Wicklow

€39,350

€1,455,662

€36,186

€50,000

€1,581,198

TOTALS

€899,693

€42,527,601

€6,349,466

€1,550,000

€51,326,763

Allocation to Local Authority in 2018 for community development functions

Support to Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs)

Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme 2018-2022 (SICAP) & Community Enhancement Programme

Libraries Development

Public Participation Network (up to €50,000 per LA)

Total 2018 Allocation Per Local Authority

Carlow

€36,587

€799,196

€78,216

€50,000

€963,999

Cavan

€83,090

€1,016,268

€88,376

€50,000

€1,237,734

Clare

€115,415

€1,194,194

€276,727

€50,000

€1,636,336

Cork City

€67,361

€1,695,587

€310,548

€50,000

€2,123,496

Cork County

€79,135

€2,541,660

€106,536

€50,000

€2,777,331

Donegal

€74,530

€2,609,482

€217,269

€50,000

€2,951,281

Dublin City

€82,114

€6,736,312

€899,499

€50,000

€7,767,925

Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown

€77,236

€1,295,582

€200,650

€50,000

€1,623,468

Fingal

€47,403

€1,687,035

€550,903

€50,000

€2,335,341

Galway City

€14,329

€877,337

€403,650

€50,000

€1,345,316

Galway County

€103,319

€1,980,519

€50,000

€2,133,838

Kerry

€85,367

€1,994,838

€281,430

€50,000

€2,411,635

Kildare

€35,775

€1,503,621

€458,230

€50,000

€2,047,626

Kilkenny

€0.00

€913,331

€124,837

€50,000

€1,088,168

Laois

€103,319

€870,659

€113,315

€50,000

€1,137,293

Leitrim

€53,452

€707,921

€37,317

€50,000

€848,690

Limerick

€97,240

€2,696,028

€275,815

€50,000

€3,119,083

Longford

€78,868

€738,468

€132,358

€50,000

€999,694

Louth

€37,375

€1,722,081

€206,274

€50,000

€2,015,730

Mayo

€107,720

€1,673,713

€250,594

€50,000

€2,082,027

Meath

€62,177

€765,259

€240,750

€50,000

€1,118,186

Monaghan

€70,152

€861,132

€140,739

€50,000

€1,122,023

Offaly

€87,879

€1,072,460

€88,134

€50,000

€1,298,473

Roscommon

€52,067

€837,906

€132,687

€50,000

€1,072,660

Sligo

€81,191

€835,873

€75,160

€50,000

€1,042,224

South Dublin

€0.00

€2,843,829

€419,469

€50,000

€3,313,298

Tipperary

€46,654

€1,639,113

€291,930

€50,000

€2,027,697

Waterford

€106,906

€1,514,496

€258,414

€50,000

€1,929,816

Westmeath

€66,848

€1,066,214

€44,856

€50,000

€1,227,918

Wexford

€76,187

€2,172,639

€223,868

€50,000

€2,522,694

Wicklow

€81,938

€1,664,849

€190,682

€50,000

€1,987,469

TOTALS

€2,111,634

€50527601

€7,119,233

€1,550,000

€61,308,469

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme 2018-2022 (SICAP) aims to reduce disadvantage and poverty in Ireland. It provides national funding for actions at local level to promote social inclusion and to strengthen communities.

The Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) provides grant funding towards enhancing the facilities available to communities. The CEP was launched in 2018, replacing and building on two existing schemes (Communities Facilities Scheme and RAPID). Combining the schemes makes a more flexible, streamlined and targeted approach to providing funding to those communities most in need.

Since 2015, funding of up to €50,000 is provided annually by the Department in respect of each Public Participation Network (PPN).

Living Wage

Ceisteanna (499)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

499. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of workers employed by his Department and in each office or agency under the aegis of his Department who earn less than the living wage of €12.30 per hour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38250/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

I can confirm that the number of workers employed by my Department that earn less than the living wage of €12.30 per hour is a total of 35 staff.

This is calculated in line with salary scales in Circular 17/2019, issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

In respect of the bodies under the aegis of my Department, information relating to pay in those bodies is a matter for the bodies concerned.