Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (481)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

481. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the capital budget for transport projects for each of the next five years committed to; the projects funded within this budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46318/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Project Ireland 2040 Capital Tracker by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform provides details of infrastructure projects including transport projects, indicative allocations, current status, project commencement dates and proposed completion dates.

It is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/6db7c4-investment-projects-and-programmes-tracker/

The individual projects and programmes are subject to compliance with the Public Spending Code, including its requirements in relation to appraisal and Sanctioning Authority approval points.

Public Service Vehicles

Ceisteanna (482)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

482. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the action he plans to take regarding the use of rickshaws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46343/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As you may be aware, last year, the Cabinet gave approval for publication of a General Scheme of a Bill to amend the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 so as to provide for the regulation of rickshaws. Work is underway to advance the drafting of this Bill.

Rickshaws can be powered in a number of different ways - pedal powered, pedal-assisted and motorised. This Bill will introduce comprehensive new detention powers which will ensure effective enforcement of a ban on motorised rickshaws carrying passengers for reward. The Bill will also introduce a licensing regime for non-motorised rickshaws with measures to ensure that rickshaw drivers are vetted and licensed.

Appointments to State Boards

Ceisteanna (483)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

483. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the four vacancies on the board of the Road Safety Authority will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46355/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy will be aware, there is a process to be completed in order to select appointees to the Boards of State Agencies in an open and transparent manner.

I understand that the Public Appointments Service will shortly be advertising for applicants for the vacant positions on the Board of the Road Safety Authority. The advertisement will need to allow time for applications, following which there will be an interview process. I understand that this can take 6 to 8 weeks.

Appointments to State Boards

Ceisteanna (484)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

484. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the three vacancies on the board of Sport Ireland will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46356/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Four vacancies arose on the Board of Sport Ireland on 30 September 2019 due to the expiry of the terms of four Board members on that date. I have reappointed two of the Board members for a further term of three years. The remaining two vacancies will be filled following completion of an advertising and selection process conducted in line with the Government's Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards.

My officials are currently engaging with the Public Appointments Service and Sport Ireland on the drafting of a suitable advertisement and I expect an advertisement to be published on the State Boards website shortly.

Transport Policy

Ceisteanna (485)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

485. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the Planning Land Use and Transport - Outlook 2040; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46371/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Supporting analysis for PLUTO 2040 — which looked at an extensive range of issues such as Brexit, technology, climate change, maintaining the existing network and the future challenges in our cities, in rural areas, on the interurban network and the approaches to ports and airports — is now largely complete. Work on the PLUTO main report is well underway and is informed by the evidence base developed through the supporting analysis.

It is currently envisaged that the PLUTO main report and background papers will be cleared by the project steering group for public consultation in December. The public consultation will then be initiated in January and run for approximately two months. All of the supporting background papers will be made available alongside the main report as part of the consultation process.

Publication of the final PLUTO report will depend on the responses received during the consultation but it is currently expected that this will take place in Q2 2020.

Tourism Promotion

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

Ceisteanna (486)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

486. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the marketing scheme County Waterford benefits from; and the budget for same. [46411/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for the tourism agencies. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's Question to Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

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

Transport Policy

Ceisteanna (487)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

487. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if SmarterTravel, A Sustainable Transport Future will be implemented in full by 2020, in view of further delays to the planned update to the plan described in the first progress report of the Climate Action Plan 2019; the obstacles to its implementation to date; and the action he will take regarding rising emissions of greenhouse gases and particulates from the transport sector before 2020. [46446/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I will this week launch a public consultation on reviewing sustainable mobility policy which looks across all aspects of current policy in relation to public transport and active travel.

As noted in the First Progress Report of the Climate Action Plan 2019, the launch is slightly later than originally envisaged, but there were a number of administrative issues which required finalisation.

The Deputy will see from the comprehensive suite of documents which will be published on my Department’s website later in the week that the review of sustainable mobility policy is a wide-ranging and extensive exercise and I look forward to engaging with the public and stakeholders on this first review of policy in 10 years.

Among the documents to be published will be a high-level assessment of the actions under the existing policy Smarter Travel: A Sustainable Transport Future, a policy which was launched in 2009 with a policy horizon until 2020. This assessment, and indeed the wider policy review itself, will allow all stakeholders to reflect on what has been achieved, what remains to be done and how our policy frameworks can support the realisation of a more sustainable transport system.

In terms of actions to be taken before 2020, there are a number of initiatives underway which I have no doubt the Deputy will welcome, these include –

- Increased capacity on the Luas Green Line through the introduction of extended trams into service;

- The continued expansion of PSO bus services, such as the introduction of a new 24hour service in Dublin or the new high-frequency 225 route in Cork;

- The planned expansion of the commuter rail fleet in the Greater Dublin Area which Government has approved a few weeks ago;

- Conclusion of contracts for constructing a new National Train Control Centre, with actual construction to start in the New Year;

- Construction continuing on a number of cycling projects, such as the very significant Royal Canal Greenway in Dublin City Centre;

- Establishment by the NTA of a new Cycling Office and a new Park and Ride Development Office;

- Commissioning a study on transport demand management in our major cities, with tenders received currently being considered by my Department.

As the Deputy can see from these examples, there is a considerable body of work underway out to year end.

Cycling Facilities Provision

Ceisteanna (488)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

488. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will require local authorities under ministerial order to provide segregated cycle lanes to ensure the safety of cyclists in urban areas; and if additional funding will be provided to local authorities for networks of segregated cycle lanes in 2020 for all major cities and towns. [46447/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Since 2013 my Department, through the National Transport Authority (NTA), has funded the development of cycle network plans in each of the five major cities, with the most recently published plans being those in Limerick and Cork in 2017. These cycle network plans are developed in accordance with the National Cycle Manual, developed and published by the NTA in 2011, and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets, which was jointly published by my Department and the then Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in 2013.

It is the case however that funding for the implementation of these cycle network plans was constrained until the funding allocations provided by Project Ireland 2040 and therefore delivery of the plans has been slower than many would have hoped at the time of their publication.

Importantly we now have both the strategic backdrop provided by these cycle network plans, which are being integrated into the relevant metropolitan area transport strategies as they are being developed in each city, and also a significantly increased funding programme available to support delivery of schemes in each of the cities.

Next year significantly increased funding is being made available to support improved active travel infrastructure and those increases build on those secured in Budgets 2018 and 2019. Funding for the NTA’s two principal active travel related programmes will increase to approximately €100million, a slight increase on forecasts available immediately after the announcement of Budget 2020, and that funding will support project delivery in all major cities.

Allocations made available under these funding programmes do not capture all public expenditure dedicated to active travel which also benefits from other funding. This includes funding provided under BusConnects, the Roads Programmes, the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, and the tax incentive available under the Cycle-to-Work Scheme.

I believe the approach I have described above, supporting local authorities in the development of high-quality cycle network plans in their cities and making funding available to now support their delivery, is an approach that can yield positive results and I look forward to the delivery of a number of important projects across the country next year and beyond.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (489)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

489. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the disclosures log made by his Department under freedom of information was last updated; if this is in line with the disclosure policy of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46476/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I thank the Deputy for his question.

As per the guidelines set out by DPER in their Code of Practice, each Department must publish disclosure logs quarterly on their Departmental website. DTTAS currently have all the previous disclosure logs up-to-date. DTTAS are currently working on the details of Q3 for 2019 as there are a number of decisions yet to be made from FOI requests received in this quarter. Once all data is retrieved, the disclosure log will be uploaded to our website.

All disclosure logs can be found at the link below:

https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/c67965-foi-disclosure-logs-2016/

Road Projects Status

Ceisteanna (490)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

490. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of on the proposed M20 Limerick to Cork motorway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46558/19]

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 and construction 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 your question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Railway Stations

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

Ceisteanna (491)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

491. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of plans by Irish Rail to reinstate the Amiens Street DART entrance to platforms 6 and 7 at Connolly station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46601/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

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

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

Ceisteanna (492)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

492. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the role his Department is playing in the winter ready campaign; the expenditure his Department will incur in this campaign; and the details of expenditure on external consultancy and advertising or communication. [46637/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department participate each year in the Be Winter Ready campaign. The campaign is intended to raise awareness about the challenges that winter can present, to advise the public on how to prepare for winter and to provide guidance on where to find information during severe weather events.

My Department provides information for the public on how to prepare for winter and how to find updates on public transport, air and ferry services and road conditions during severe weather events. This is provided through a Be Winter Ready page on our website. We work with the Office of Emergency Planning to publish this information through their Be Winter Ready webpage and Be Winter Ready booklet. We also communicate the importance of the campaign though our social media, and through that of our transport agencies and operators.

No expenditure has been incurred on the campaign or on external consultancy, advertising or communication in relation to the campaign.

Railway Stations Car Park Charges

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

Ceisteanna (493)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

493. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to review the cost of parking at train and bus stations with a view to lower rates for those who are using public transport to commute; if he will instruct Irish Rail and Bus Éireann to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46696/19]

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 issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the companies for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

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

State Bodies Data

Ceisteanna (494)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

494. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of positions on each board in respect of agencies, including commercial State agencies, under his remit in tabular form; the quorum required for a board meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46705/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Information regarding State Boards is available on the gov.ie website at the following link DTTAS State Boards and quorum information is itemised below in tabular form as requested by the Deputy.

No.

Name of Board

Quorum Required

1

Bus Átha Cliath

2

2

Bus Éireann

2

3

Córas Iompair Éireann

3

4

daa plc

2

5

Dublin Port Company

4

6

Galway Harbour Company

4

7

Iarnród Éireann

2

8

Transport Infrastructure Ireland

4

9

Irish Aviation Authority

4

10

Sport Ireland

5

11

Marine Casualty Investigation Board

3

12

Medical Bureau of Road Safety

3

13

National Tourism Development Authority (Fáilte Ireland)

5

14

National Transport Authority (NTA)

5

15

Port of Cork Company

4

16

Port of Waterford Company

4

17

Road Safety Authority

5

18

Shannon Group Plc

3

19

Shannon Foynes Port Company

4

20

Tourism Ireland

4

Tourism Ireland

It should be noted that Tourism Ireland is a North / South Body accountable to the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) and 6 of the 12 board members are nominated by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the South, while the remaining 6 board members are nominated by the relevant Minister in Northern Ireland.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

- In accordance with Section 28 (1)(c) of the Roads Acts 1993-2015 ,”the number of members of the Authority shall not be less than ten nor more than fourteen”;

- According to Section 3 (2) of the Third Schedule of the Roads Acts 1993-2015, “the quorum for a meeting of the Authority shall be three sevenths of the membership of the Authority calculated to the nearest whole number.”.

Family Resource Centres

Ceisteanna (495)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

495. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the way in which the allocated €1.5 million in budget 2020 for the 121 family resource centres will be divided; if the amount allocated is in addition to core funding; and if it is planned for certain programmes that will be rolled out within the family resource centres. [46078/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, administers the Family Resource Centre (FRC) Programme.

In 2018, €16.5 million was allocated to the Family Resource Centre Programme. In Budget 2019, I secured an increase of €1.5 million in funding for the FRC Programme, bringing the overall financial allocation for the Programme to €18 million this year.

This additional funding is being used to:

- Increase core funding to each of the 110 FRCs which existed pre-2018 by 5%.

- Employ an additional 17 Family Support Workers - one FRC in each of the 17 Tusla geographical areas will be allocated funding to employ a Family Support Worker.

- Fund the Family Resource Centre Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion Programme.

The additional funding secured in Budget 2019 will be retained in 2020, ensuring that funding for the Family Resource Centre Programme will remain at €18 million for 2020. This funding will be used to ensure that Family Resource Centres' budgets are maintained at their current levels, as well as resourcing the additional Family Support Workers secured in 2019.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (496)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

496. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number, date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by her Department since March 2011, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46086/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Post-enactment reports relating to two pieces of primary legislation have been carried out by my Department (see table) since the passing of Standing Order 164A (Post-enactment report) in June 2016.

The Childcare Support Act 2018 was enacted on 2 July 2018. While all of the provisions of the Act have been commenced, a review of the functioning of the Act has not yet been undertaken. In accordance with the section 26 of the Act, the Minister will conduct a review of the operation of the Scheme 12 months after the first payment under the Affordable Childcare Scheme (known as the National Childcare Scheme) has been made.

Act

Post enactment report laid before Houses on

1.

Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017(No.19)

18th July 2018

2.

Children First Act 2015 (No. 36)

25th April 2018

National Childcare Scheme

Ceisteanna (497)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

497. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if there will be a mechanism for Tusla and public health nurse referrals under the new national childcare scheme similar to the community childcare subvention programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46115/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Childcare Scheme includes specific arrangements for vulnerable children and families to be referred to the Scheme by certain statutory bodies. This arrangement (commonly referred to as a 'sponsor referral') will enable such children to avail of free or additional childcare under the Scheme. The five statutory bodies specified as sponsors in the Childcare Support Act 2018, and the specific groups of children who may benefit, are:

- Child and Family Agency (Tusla) - to promote the welfare of children, either where there is a child protection concern, or as a form of early intervention or family support;

- HSE - to support child development for children who are below the age for participation in ECCE and where there is an identified need for childcare as a developmental support for the child;

- Minister for Education and Skills - for teen parents who are still in education or training;

- Minister for Justice and Equality - to enable parents who are programme refugees to participate in education, integration and other relevant supports; and

- Local Authorities – to support homeless persons with children who are homeless or moving out of homelessness to access childcare services.

If a sponsorship referral is made by one of these bodies, the family in question will automatically qualify for a subsidy for the number of hours considered appropriate by the sponsor without having to satisfy the scheme’s eligibility, income or enhanced hours requirements. The family will not need to make any co-payment.

The criteria under which children will be referred by each body is contained within the respective agreements, each of which are being finalised at present. It is anticipated that signed agreements will be in place with each of the bodies before the launch of the National Childcare Scheme.

National Childcare Scheme

Ceisteanna (498)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

498. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the date the new national childcare scheme will open for applications; if the date will be extended for new entrants to the community childcare subvention programme past 15 November 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46132/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Childcare Scheme is set to open to applications on November 20th.

The current targeted childcare subvention schemes will all be replaced by this new scheme over time and the dates for the various closures are as follows:-

- CCSP will close to new applications from Friday 15th November 2019.

- The TEC schemes will close to new applications from 14th February 2020.

No new applications for these schemes can be made after these dates.

The extended "savers" provision under Budget 2020 means that children already on CCS or TEC before the relevant date will be able to remain on them indefinitely, for example, until they no longer require early learning and care or school age childcare, or are no longer eligible under the terms of the legacy scheme. Parents using the saver arrangement can, of course, move over to the National Childcare Scheme at any point. The Parent Information line (01 9068530) can help them understand which scheme will serve them better.

Almost 70,000 families have already registered for the Community Childcare Subvention Programme. This figure represents the vast majority of those who would be expected to apply for this scheme. This reflects the comprehensive communications campaign undertaken in recent weeks and the major nationwide training programme delivered to providers between March and October this year.

It is important to note that the National Childcare Scheme will increase the number of families who can access financial support and will see many families, on existing schemes, qualify for a higher level of support if they choose to transfer across.

The Scheme removes many of the restrictive eligibility requirements of the existing programmes, whereby a parent must be in receipt of certain Social Protection payments or a Medical Card in order to receive targeted supports. It provides subsidies to lower income and lower middle income families who are not in receipt of such benefits and aims to combat the poverty traps which may exist within the existing schemes, and to ensure that there is no disincentive to entering or remaining in employment.

Family Support Services

Ceisteanna (499, 500, 501)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

499. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the possible sale of land (details supplied) due to the services that are provided from there; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46192/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

500. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans for the services provided on lands (details supplied) in view of the fact the grounds are now for sale; her plans to purchase same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46193/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

501. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of a centre (details supplied) in view of the fact that the grounds are for sale; if the centre is exempt from the sale; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46194/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 499 to 501, inclusive, together.

The Centre located on the site to which the Deputy refers is in receipt of funding from a number of public bodies that include the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Health Service Executive (HSE). Certain services provided by the HSE and Tusla are also located on the campus. I understand the lands were advertised for sale in 2018.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency provides funding of some €1.5 million annually for family and community services provided by the Centre located on site. I am aware that Tusla is engaged at a senior level with representatives of the property owners and the Centre in question.

It is important that all of the facts are established before any decisions are made. I will be happy to update the Deputy when I have any further information in relation to this engagement.

Separately, my Department allocates funding of some €200,000 to run a range of Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) programmes. I am aware that Cork City Childcare Committee and Pobal are currently engaging with relevant people regarding these services, and will continue to provide support as and when required. My officials will keep me apprised of the situation.

I know that many people who work for the Centre, or who engage with its services, will be anxious to know what the sale of the property means for them. The Centre in question provides valuable services to children and families. The cessation of any service for vulnerable children and families would not be welcomed by my Department or Tusla.