Sports Capital Programme Applications

Ceisteanna (553)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

553. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of a grant application by a club (details supplied); if the application will be awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47356/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The final set of allocations for local capital projects under the 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) were announced on the 15th November last. A total of €37m was allocated to 994 different projects. These allocations included a provisional grant of €58,615 to the organisation referred to by the Deputy. Full details of all allocations are available on my Department's website.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Ceisteanna (554)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

554. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of a sports capital application (details supplied); the timeframe for the announcement of the grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47357/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The final set of allocations for local capital projects under the 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) were announced on the 15th November last. A total of €37m was allocated to 994 different projects. These allocations included a provisional grant of €21,119 to the organisation referred to by the Deputy. Full details of all allocations are available on my Department's website.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

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

Ceisteanna (555)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

555. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the pension entitlements of a person (details supplied) can be transferred from one Department to another; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47506/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The person (details supplied) was not an employee of my Department at the time this service was given. The person was an employee of one of bodies under the aegis of my Department who determined the terms and conditions of employment, including the pension scheme. It is a matter for the body concerned (Fáilte Ireland) to confirm the employee's service including the pensionability of that service for transfer purposes.

I have asked the body concerned to contact the Deputy with the information requested. If you do not receive a reply within ten working days, please contact my private office.

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

Taxi Licences

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

Ceisteanna (556)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

556. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the criteria in the granting of a PSV licence will be reviewed in view of the shortage of drivers which is reaching crisis point due to the difficulty of the PSV test (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47522/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including the granting of SPSV licences, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

Accordingly, 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.

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

Taxi Licences

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

Ceisteanna (557)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

557. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of applications for a PSV licence in 2018 and to date in 2019, by county; the national failure rate; the failure rate by county in the same period in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47523/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

Accordingly, 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.

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

Railway Stations

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

Ceisteanna (558)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

558. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the provision of a train station at Crusheen, County Clare, will be looked on favourably in view of the improved economic situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47537/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding of public transport. The operation of the rail network and stations on the network including the development of any new stations, is a matter for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance.

In view of Iarnród Éireann's responsibility in this matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please contact 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

Cycling Facilities Funding

Ceisteanna (559)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

559. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the expected spend on urban cycling as a percentage of the total capital expenditure recently announced for his Department in budget 2020; the amount of the €114 million that will be spent on urban cycling measures, excluding greenways, BusConnects measures and active travel such as walking; the amount of the €114 million will be spent in the next financial year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47632/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I am aware there has been some confusion since Budget 2020 in relation to announcements made in relation to expenditure on active travel related programmes.

The €114million referred to by the Deputy and announced as part of Budget 2020 comprised two elements -

- €91million toward active travel related programmes

- €23million toward greenways.

Since announcement of Budget 2020’s overall funding parameters and as we move toward finalisation of allocations, and expected project level commitments next year, I can inform the Deputy that there is likely to be an upward shift in the active travel related expenditure for next year, with the two principal active travel related programmes now to be allocated just over €100million in total.

Within my Department active travel is also separately supported through funding provided under the BusConnects programme and the roads programme.

However, that does not capture the totality of taxpayer support for active travel as funding is also made available through other funding programmes such as the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Cycle to Work Scheme.

Expenditure on active travel principally relates to the development of infrastructure under multi-annual budgeted programmes and progress on individual projects is obviously dependent on a number of factors, such as planning and procurement for example.

I think it important to note that at a policy level the focus is on active travel and funding is provided to support that policy objective through providing better infrastructure and other supporting measures to increase the numbers of people choosing to either walk or cycle as their primary, or complementary, means of transport.

The reality of infrastructure provision on the ground is that active travel infrastructure is very frequently provided on an integrated basis and therefore attempting to split out precisely walking versus cycling percentages presents practical difficulties in terms of arriving at an accurate conclusion and is also in many ways a false disaggregation given the overall policy objective.

In the context of active travel, the overall percentage of expenditure should reflect the totality of taxpayer support being made available each year and my Department is looking at ways to ensure that totality is captured and reported upon more accurately.

However, the Deputy may wish to be aware that the allocations under just the two principal active travel programmes referred to above represents approximately 5.5% of our land transport capital investment programme in 2020 based on figures currently available and subject to finalisation in the Revised Estimates for Public Services.

Greenways Development

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

Ceisteanna (560)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

560. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if all new greenway projects funded through his Department through the National Transport Authority will be designed around a path width of at least four metres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47633/19]

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 the planning, design and development of greenway projects funded through the NTA.

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

The Deputy may wish to know that for non-NTA funded Greenways (i.e. Greenways funded under the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways ), the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) Standard Guidelines are followed, which stipulate 3metres as the desirable minimum width. Greenways funded by my Department, such as the 10 new projects announced in June of this year, must have a minimum width of 3metres, and wider than 3metres is certainly welcome where possible.

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

Cycling Facilities Provision

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

Ceisteanna (561)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

561. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will report on the plans of the National Transport Authority to set up a dedicated office to concentrate on delivery of cycling infrastructure in the greater Dublin area; if it will provide support to Dublin City Council or to the other Dublin local authorities; if it will be providing staff resources only or if it will also provide funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47635/19]

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, including the establishment of the office referred to by the Deputy and I can confirm that office has now been established.

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

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

Bus Services

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

Ceisteanna (562)

James Lawless

Ceist:

562. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the capacity issues on the No. 120 bus route between Edenderry and Dublin with the removal of double decker buses; and if he has spoken to the NTA on its plans to improve the service. [47656/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA), in conjunction with Bus Éireann, and 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.

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

Air Services Provision

Ceisteanna (563)

James Browne

Ceist:

563. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the creation of a flight between Dublin and Tokyo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47751/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The commencement of new air services is a commercial decision for airlines, in consultation with airports and other relevant agencies.

Ireland's National Aviation Policy, published by my Department in 2015, details our commitment to increasing our air connectivity. In that context, my department has sought to engage bilaterally with the aeronautical authorities of Japan over the past number of years with a view to negotiating a bilateral Air Service Agreement (ASA). This would provide the legal framework to allow for the operation of scheduled air services between Japan and Ireland, and for the grant of air traffic rights should an airline of either State wish to enter the market.

This year, following a period of consultations, a Record of Discussions was signed between the aeronautical authorities of both Ireland and Japan in Tokyo on 18 October.

The document sets out a shared understanding and a commitment to work towards an ASA at the appropriate time. The signing of this document serves as a valuable step in developing our aviation relations with Japan. It is hoped that this high level bilateral engagement will provide a positive signal to industry that the two Governments are open to facilitating the commencement of direct air services.

Sports Events

Ceisteanna (564)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

564. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of Dublin hosting a sporting event (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47791/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The hosting of major sports events, both participative and spectator sports, can provide great opportunities to showcase Ireland and drive international visitor numbers. In addition, the media coverage of sports events helps to put Ireland onto travel itineraries as a holiday destination.

Accordingly, I am very supportive of the work of the tourism agencies and the national governing bodies of sport to attract international events, subject, of course, to an assessment of the costs and benefits involved in any State financial support, in particular the number of overseas visitors.

With regard to the specific event mentioned by the Deputy, I am not aware of any recent contact between the event promoter and Fáilte Ireland or any assessment having been made, but I have asked Fáilte Ireland to reply directly to the Deputy in this regard. Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.

Road Projects Status

Ceisteanna (565)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

565. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the proposed upgrade of the R232 Laghey to Pettigo road route; the budget allocated to date; the nature of proposed works to be carried out as part of this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47864/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the Council.

My Department has agreed to provide grant support of up to €2.1m for maintenance and renewal works on the R232 Laghey to Pettigo road on a phased basis as funding allows. As of the end of October this year €152,630 from an allocation of €500,000 at the start of this year had been drawn down by Donegal County Council for this project. While the final grant amount to be drawn down in 2019 has not been finalised as yet, my Department has been liaising with the Council with a view to facilitating progress on the works. Future allocations will be decided as part of the general grant allocation process. Allocations for 2020 will be announced in January/February next year.

Road Projects Status

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

Ceisteanna (566)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

566. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the N56 Bruckless to Dunkineely restoration scheme; if a budget for the scheme has been allocated; when the works will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47865/19]

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. Once funding arrangements have been put in place with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the improvement, upgrading, maintenance, including the distribution of funds, for individual national road projects is a matter for 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.

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

Road Projects Status

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

Ceisteanna (567)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

567. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a budget has been allocated for safety works at the Laghey junction, the point at which the N56 and R232 road routes converge; if such works to enhance safety at the location will be prioritised in view of road safety concerns of the local community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47866/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants.

Applications for funding under the Department's Safety Improvement Scheme are invited on an annual basis for funding in the subsequent year. Councils are made aware of the conditions in relation to applications for funding and are advised that preference will be given to proposals in the cost range €2,000 to €30,000 and that proposals in higher cost ranges, (i.e. €30,000 to €200,000) may be considered if the benefit to cost ratio is promising. The schemes for inclusion in the application are decided by the local authorities. Allocations are made by the Department taking into account the terms applying to the Scheme and the available budget for the grant programme.

Local authorities have been advised that proposals for individual safety improvement schemes costing in excess of €200,000 are outside of the scope of this programme and fall to be considered under the Specific Grant Programme.

No application for safety improvement works at this junction under the regional and local roads programme has been received by my Department for 2020.

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.

As the junction in question is at the meeting point of a national and a regional road I have referred your question to TII for a direct reply as to whether any funding application has been received by them for works at this junction. 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 Projects Status

Ceisteanna (568)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

568. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of the proposed upgrading of Fintra Bridge, Killybegs; the status of the project; the date of commencement; if a budget has been allocated to the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47867/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

Before the financial crisis, local authorities could apply on a regular basis for grants for Specific (schemes costing less than €5m) and Strategic Improvement Grants (schemes costing more than €5m) for the widening or realignment of regional and local roads. However, the extent of the cutbacks in grant funding during the crisis meant this grant scheme had to be curtailed from 2013 because expenditure on maintenance/renewal was falling well short of what was required to adequately maintain the regional and local road network.

Project Ireland 2020 does provide for the gradual build-up in funding for the regional and local road network but it will take time to reach the level required even for the basic maintenance and renewal of the network. For this reason, there continues to be very limited scope for funding new or additional projects under the Specific and Strategic Grant Programmes.

Any projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under these Grant Programmes are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case basis. It is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind.

Regarding Fintra Bridge the Department has committed and remains committed to assisting Donegal County Council in upgrading the R263 regional road. €150,000 was allocated to this project this year and €22,264 has been drawn down to the end of October. Further monies will be made available in future years as the project progresses.

I understand that Consultant Engineers have been appointed to develop this project through the route selection and detailed appraisal stages of the design process. A public consultation was held in May 2019 and the routes have since been refined. Environmental walkover surveys are to commence on the 26 November 2019. This will provide additional information to inform the route selection process and it is anticipated that an preferred route consultation event will be held in Q1 2020. It is expected that the project will progress to Part 8 planning process and land purchase during 2020.

Preschool Services

Ceisteanna (569)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

569. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if there is a system in place to assist private preschools that have rented their premises from a private landlord in cases in which the premises is not compliant with Tusla fire and planning regulations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47324/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Registration of Early Learning and Care settings is granted where Tusla is satisfied that the premises, operation and location of the setting poses no unmanaged risk to children. All registration applications are subject to services being compliant with fire and planning requirements.

Fire safety legislation and its compliance comes under the remit of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The Tusla Early Years Inspectorate liaises with Local Authority fire services where appropriate.

In 2019 I allocated €330,000 of capital funding to aid community/not for profit early learning and care services to address fire safety issues that were highlighted in inspection reports. I am currently planning the capital offering for 2020, and I will look carefully at this area again, taking account of the likely demand for fire and other safety measures.

In recent years, capital funding has been made available for the maintenance and improvement of community/not for profit services. This funding is made available in order to protect previous State investment where it exists. Funding has also assisted not-for-profit services which may lack the financial capacity to invest funding into maintenance or improvement works.

The capital scheme for 2020 is under development.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Ceisteanna (570)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

570. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs his plans to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child second optional protocol. [47416/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I am strongly committed to the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol. Preparations to ratify the protocol are at an advanced stage and my Department, in partnership with the Department of Justice and Equality, has made a submission to the Office of the Attorney General, proposing the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol.

To date, ratification has been pending to ensure that all of the necessary measures have been put in place to fully comply with the obligations of the convention. The recent enactments of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 by the Department of Justice and Equality have fulfilled a number of the protocol’s requirements.

Compliance with the Convention is now being examined by the Office of the Attorney General. On receipt of confirmation of compliance and acceptance of the proposal, I will seek a Government decision on the ratification of the Convention at the earliest opportunity.

I greatly look forward to advancing progress on this important area of work and moving towards the confirmation of Ireland’s ratification of the Second Optional Protocol in the near future.

Early Years Sector

Ceisteanna (571, 572)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

571. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the additional allocation of €1.5milllion provided in budget 2020 for early years supports; and the areas to which the funding will be directed in tabular form. [47125/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

572. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the budget for the early years services supports; and the types of supports and associated cost with same in tabular form. [47126/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 571 and 572 together.

I am not familiar with the specific €1.5m increase that the Deputy has referred to. On Budget day I announced that €2.6m of additional funding had been secured to promote quality and support the delivery of the Early Years Learning and School Aged Childcare programmes.

This additional €2.6m was allocated to the following areas:

Description

2019Allocation€m

2020 Allocation€m

2020 Change in allocation€m

Better Start Early Years Specialists

€7.9

€9.7

€1.8

CCC Administration

€11.3

€11.8

€0.5

Childminding Initiatives

€0.5

€0.9

€0.4

Workforce Development

€0.0

€0.2

€0.2

Public Consultations (Consultation costs now captured at Subhead level)

€0.1

€0.0

-€0.1

Delivery Supports (Reduction in relation to once-off expenditure in 2019)

€0.3

€0.1

-€0.2

Totals

€20.1

€22.7

€2.6