Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (156)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

156. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount involved if all applications submitted to the beef emergency aid measure scheme were approved; and the value for approved applicants to date. [39264/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The object of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) is to provide temporary exceptional adjustment aid to farmers in the beef sector in Ireland subject to the conditions set out in EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1132. BEAM is funded by a combination of EU aid and Exchequer support, provided in light of the difficult circumstances that Irish beef farmers have been facing as a result of market volatility and uncertainty.

Applications for BEAM were accepted from 19 August until 20 September. In total 34,517 applications were recieved with a potential payment of €78,192,380.

A further 560 applicants who did not qualify for the support as they had failed to meet the eligibility criteria laid down in the scheme Terms and Conditions submitted an application under appeal in order to have their eligibility for the scheme reviewed.

Arrangements for the processing of these applications are in place in order to ensure the timely issuing of payments under the measure.

Energy Data

Ceisteanna (157, 158)

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

157. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of gas the Corrib gas field has produced each month in 2019 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39145/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

158. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the percentage of the State’s energy supply currently provided by gas; and the percentage of this gas which is imported from abroad. [39146/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 157 and 158 together.

The following table sets out the amount of gas the Corrib gas field has produced each month in 2019 and also sets out what percentage Corrib contributes to Ireland’s total gas supply.

2019 Year to Date

Jan

Feb

March

April

May

June

July

August

Corrib (GWh)

2421

2112

2329

2195

2261

2144

2182

2142

Corrib (as % of Ireland's Gas Supply Mix)

43%

46%

43%

42%

43%

45%

46%

52%

In respect of the percentage of Ireland’s energy supply being provided by gas, figures from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland indicate that in 2018, 30.6% of Ireland’s primary energy supply was provided by natural gas. Of the total natural gas supplied in 2018, 38.6% of it was imported.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (159)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

159. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the roll-out of broadband to a person (details supplied) in view of the substantial number of houses without a reliable service. [39154/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan. Under this plan, Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ensure that those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas.

The premises referenced by the Deputy is located in the AMBER area on the 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.

The State intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. In May I brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government agreed to this.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to contract close. The finalisation of financial closure and legal requirements are progressing towards contract award. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. In the first year of roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations.

The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises at the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

With regard to the Deputy's reference to a nearby commercial deployment of high speed broadband, this relates to eir's deployment of high speed broadband to 300,000 rural premises which has concluded its deployment in that area. eir’s deployment is an entirely commercial undertaking, and not part of the planned State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms of a Commitment Agreement signed between the company and my Department, 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.

Work continues on finalising the contract and in parallel to this work, I am considering the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Communications Committee report which was published recently. I will bring my deliberations of the report to Government in due course.

Waste Disposal

Ceisteanna (160, 161, 162)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

160. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the percentage and estimated weight of recycled waste exported to the UK annually since 2016. [39190/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

161. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the increased cost of exporting recycled waste to the UK has been estimated in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39191/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

162. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a verification system is in place to ensure that all recycled goods exported to the UK are processed in the UK rather than a third country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39192/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 to 162, inclusive, together.

Statistics and information on shipments of waste to and from Ireland is maintained by the National Transfrontier Shipments Office (NTFSO) as the National Competent Authority for the export, import and transit of waste shipments under the Waste Management (Shipments of Waste) Regulations, 2007. The latest registers compiled by the NTFSO deal with 2018 and are available at http://www.dublincity.ie/main-menu-services-water-waste-and-environment-waste-and-recycling-national-tfs-office/ntfso-waste

The Waste Shipment Regulation, Regulation (EC) No. 1013/2006, on transfrontier shipments of waste, sets out the procedures to be followed when moving waste within, into and out of the EU. The Waste Shipment Regulation already includes those procedures to be followed when sending materials to “third countries”. Under current UK policy, waste is not permitted to travel between the EU and the UK for disposal and this will continue to be the case after Brexit. This is further enhanced by the provisions of the Waste Shipment Regulation which states ‘all exports of waste from the Community destined for disposal shall be prohibited’. Any waste travelling to or from Ireland to the UK for recycling or recovery will not be affected. In practical terms, there will be no change to current procedures or the paperwork used to organise shipments of waste so additional costs do not arise in this context.

Under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which the UK will remain party to post Brexit, international shipments of waste are controlled through a process of prior written consent. This allows countries exporting waste to verify that the authorities in destination countries are content to accept the proposed shipment and that the waste can be managed in an environmentally sound manner at its final destination. The OECD decision, which again the UK will remain party to post Brexit, provides the control framework for the transboundary movement of waste between OECD countries for energy recovery and recycling. The fundamental purpose of this system is to ensure that not only is waste moved to another country with that country’s advance knowledge, but that wastes from developed countries are not dumped in developing nations.

Rail Services

Ceisteanna (163)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

163. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has sought approval for the purchase of an additional 41 railcar carriages by Iarnród Éireann; if so, the outcome of same; if not, when he will seek approval for the capital expenditure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39101/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Deputy is aware that all public expenditure must comply with the Public Spending Code which sets out the requirements to which sponsoring agencies and sanctioning authorities must adhere, including the requirement that any project with an expected cost of €100 million or more must obtain specific approval from Government.

I can confirm that my Department has now received a business case from the National Transport Authority-Iarnród Éireann in relation to the proposed purchase of 41 InterCity Rail Cars. In line with the Public Spending Code, that business case is currently being considered by my Department and once that consideration is complete I will seek Government's decision in relation to same.

Road Projects Contracts

Ceisteanna (164)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

164. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consultants have been appointed for the provision of technical advisory services to progress the planning and design work on the proposed M4 Maynooth to Leixlip road improvement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39102/19]

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 improvement/upgrading works for 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

Sports Funding

Ceisteanna (165)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

165. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 592 of 21 May 2019, when the projects to be grant aided under the large-scale sport infrastructure fund will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39105/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund opened for applications on 19th November 2018 and the closing date for receipt of applications was 17th April.

72 applications were received in total. Details of all applications received have been published on the Department's website along with the evaluation procedures and guidelines.

Work is underway in assessing applications but in view of the detailed information contained in each application, it will take a number of months to have all of this work complete. Accordingly, as I advised the Deputy last May, I expect that it will be towards the end of this year before any allocations are announced.

Airlines Regulations

Ceisteanna (166)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

166. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of fifth freedom applications he has received from an airline (details supplied); the routes for these applications; the applications he has approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39111/19]

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 respective aeronautical authorities.

With regards to Ethiopian Airlines operating fifth freedom passenger air services, in 2015, my Department approved an Addis Ababa - Dublin - Los Angeles return service, which operated until Q4 2018. In late 2018, my Department approved an Addis Ababa - Madrid - Dublin return service, with Madrid being a technical stop only. This was changed to a fifth freedom service for the summer 2019 season, once all aeronautical authorities granted approval.

My Department has recently received a formal application from Ethiopian Airlines to operate an Addis Ababa - Brussels - Dublin with return service for the winter 2019 season. This would replace the Madrid 5th freedom route. The Department is currently initiating a process of stakeholder engagement and evaluation before determining whether or not to grant an authorisation for this service.

Addis Ababa is a growing access hub on the African continent and the air services operated by Ethiopian Airlines are Irelands only direct flights to that continent. As such, this factors strongly in the evaluation of any application for 5th freedom services.

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.

Rural Transport Services

Ceisteanna (167)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

167. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a payment (details supplied) from the National Transport Authority for delivering complete TCU and bus operations under the LocalLink programme for June 2019 has been delayed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39114/19]

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

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, 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.

Sports Capital Programme Administration

Ceisteanna (168)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

168. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when allocations under the sports capital programme will be announced; and the dates they were announced in each of the past three years. [39120/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) 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.

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.

Details of all allocations under the SCP are available on the Department's website. The dates of the general grant announcements (not including appeals) under the SCP over the last three years are as follows:-

- The 2017 SCP grants to local clubs and groups were announced on 30 November 2017 while grants to regional projects were annouced on 22 December 2017

- On 17 January 2019, grants were announced to applications that were previously invalid under the 2017 round of the programme but submitted corrected documentation as part of the 2018 SCP.

- Grants to "equipment only" applications under the 2018 round were announced on 21 May 2019.

Taxi Regulations

Ceisteanna (169, 170, 171)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

169. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether there is an urgent need for reform of the taxi system at Dublin Airport and the requirement for taxi drivers to have permits to operate there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39121/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

170. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the timeline for the reform of taxi operations at Dublin Airport following the recent DAA consultation process with the stakeholders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39122/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

171. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he will take to intervene and liberalise the taxi system at Dublin Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39123/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 to 171, inclusive, together.

As daa has statutory responsibility for the management and operation of Dublin Airport, I have forwarded your question to the Company for direct reply. If the Deputy does not receive a reply within ten working days, please advise my Private Office.

National Development Plan Data

Ceisteanna (172, 174)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

172. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his estimate of the changes in modal share of different traffic categories that will be brought about by planned investments in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and the climate action plan 2019. [39147/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

174. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding provided in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 specifically for the improvement of carrying capacity on public transport; and the projected percentage gain in carrying capacity arising from these investments by public transport mode. [39149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 and 174 together.

As the Deputy is aware, the National Development Plan 2018-2027 provides an indicative allocation of €8.6 billion over the period 2018 to 2027 towards the delivery of National Strategic Outcome 4 – Sustainable Mobility, of which the following is allocated toward specific programmes:

- BusConnects - €2.4 billion

- MetroLink - €3 billion

- DART Expansion - €2 billion.

In tandem with the NDP commitments, the Climate Action Plan 2019 includes a range of actions in relation to public transport and active travel. These actions will be implemented in line with the commitments given within the Plan. The commitments in the NDP and the Climate Action Plan will deliver additional public and sustainable transport capacity over the short, medium and longer-term.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area and, on a non-statutory basis, has responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure in the regional cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.

Noting the NTA’s responsibilities for implementation of public and sustainable transport infrastructure, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the Authority for reply in relation to the specific questions on the planned investments under the NDP and Climate Action Plan. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

National Development Plan Funding

Question No. 174 answered with Question No. 172.

Ceisteanna (173)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

173. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding provided in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 specifically for the greening of public transport. [39148/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The transport sector has a critical role to play in the national mitigation effort and I am acutely aware of the specific challenges we face in transport where fossil fuel use is firmly established. An efficient and low emitting public transport system is a key priority in helping the transport sector contribute towards meeting our climate change goals. As part of a comprehensive programme of work to ‘green’ our transport system, investment in public and sustainable transport to support modal shift and accommodate growing travel demand has been substantially increased in recent years.

In Project Ireland 2040, €8.6billion has been indicatively allocated over the period 2018 to 2027 towards the delivery of an integrated and sustainable national public transport system. Improving public transport services and infrastructure is central to providing an alternative to private car travel, not only to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions, but also to enable the sector to cater for the increasing demands associated with growing population and employment in a greener and more environmentally sustainable way.

This funding will be provided for major programmes and projects, including MetroLink, the DART Expansion programme and BusConnects, with continued investment in bus fleet expansion, Local Link services, maintenance and renewal of heavy rail, as well as the multi-annual urban cycling and walking infrastructure investment of over €110 million underway for our main cities.

Within the umbrella figure of €8.6 billion, it is estimated that c. €2 billion will be spent on the delivery of the Dublin BusConnects programme, with a further c. €200 million respectively to be spent to deliver Cork and Galway BusConnects. This programme is expected to have a transformative effect on the operation of public bus services, enabling more people to travel by public and sustainable transport than ever before.

My strong commitment to transition our public transport fleet away from fossil fuels towards cleaner technologies was recently reaffirmed in the all-of-Government Climate Action Plan. The first one hundred low-emission buses will enter the urban bus fleet by the end of 2020. By 2023, under the BusConnects Programme, approximately half of the public urban bus fleet in the Greater Dublin Area will be low-emitting, with full conversion by 2030.

A similar comprehensive programme of work is underway to move the commuter rail fleet to low-emitting alternatives. We plan to electrify key heavily-used elements of the rail network by creating a full metropolitan area DART network for the Greater Dublin Area, which is the part of the national rail network that carries over 75% of total rail passengers each year. It will mean high-frequency electrified rail services to Drogheda, Celbridge/Hazelhatch, Maynooth and M3 Parkway, as well as new interchange stations with bus, LUAS and Metro networks. The NTA and Iarnród Éireann are undertaking a procurement process for the establishment of a 10-year framework agreement for the purchase of the additional lower-emitting rail fleet required for this expansion of the DART network.

Our movement to low-emission alternatives for public transport will be important in helping to promote and normalise the use of alternative fuels and technologies in the transport sector. The measures will mitigate the carbon footprint of the public transport fleet, which currently accounts for less than 5% of Ireland's annual transport sector emissions (or roughly 1% of our overall emissions). By maintaining a focus on expanding the carrying capacity of our public transport over the coming years, we can help address the largest sustainability challenge in the transport sector - which is shifting more journeys from private motoring towards suitable alternatives in public transport and active travel.

Question No. 174 answered with Question No. 172.

Driver Licence Renewals

Ceisteanna (175)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

175. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the requirement for driver licences to be renewed only in their last three months of validity is required by law; and if so, if the rule will be changed in view of the imposition on those who wish to renew their licences in anticipation of working abroad temporarily. [39183/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The requirement for driver licences to be renewed in their past three months of validity is set out in regulation 12(3) of the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 2006 (S.I. number 537 of 2006) as amended. There are no proposals to amend this rule at present.