Rail Network

Ceisteanna (36)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

36. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to move beyond the steady State investment level in rail in the national development plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42624/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Deputy is aware that Project Ireland 2040 provides significantly enhanced funding levels for our rail network which will expand its capacity, improve line journey speeds and lead to a better passenger experience across an improved network.

As I recently informed the Deputy, key to this improvement is the increased funding being made available under the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract or IMMAC which is the funding programme providing for an extensive range of infrastructure improvements, including improved journey speeds and increased reliability for passengers across the country.

I will very shortly be seeking Government’s approval to enter into a new 5 year IMMAC which will provide over €1billion to Iarnród Éireann and allow it maintain, renew and improve rail infrastructure. This represents a 40% increase in taxpayer support for the rail network as compared to the period 2014 to 2018 and is a hugely significant milestone.

Project Ireland 2040 also provides additional funding for the rail network beyond the increased funding available under the IMMAC.

Such funding includes the development of a new National Train Control Centre, that Government approved in the summer, and which will completely modernise and improve the management of the network and services across the country.  Its completion will support the expanded services planned under the DART Expansion Programme which will roughly double the capacity of the network in the Greater Dublin Area.

Again as I previously informed the Deputy, funding under the PSO programme increased by approximately 6% between 2016 and 2018.  This has supported increased services such as the 10-minute DART or greater utilisation of the Phoenix Park tunnel on the Kildare Line in recent years.  In order to support further passenger growth Government has very recently approved the purchase of 41 additional InterCity Railcars and I expect those to start entering service in late 2021.

The future potential for rail is also being examined at a metropolitan level through the development by the National Transport Authority of metropolitan area transport strategies for all cities, which will assist with the Department’s approach toward the mid-term review of the current Project Ireland 2040 funding profiles envisaged in 2022, while an independent review of a potential extension of the Western Rail Corridor has just been submitted to my Department  My Department also plans to conduct an evaluation in 2020 of higher speeds on the network in line with the commitment given in Project Ireland 2040.

So again, as the Deputy can see, there is a significant investment programme underway in relation to rail and I expect this to continue in the years ahead.

Rail Services

Ceisteanna (37)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

37. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of steps being taken to tackle overcrowding on commuter trains. [47781/19]

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 and provision of services on the rail network are matters for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance, and the company and the National Transport Authority (NTA) continue to examine how best to source additional rolling stock as efficiently and effectively as possible, while ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.  With the existing rail fleet fully deployed at peak times, additional train capacity is needed to meet the increased commuter services demand across the network. 

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that Government recently approved for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Iarnród Éireann to proceed with the proposed purchase of 41 additional InterCity Railcars to increase capacity on the rail network.  This additional stock will cost approximately €150 million and is expected to commence entry into service by end 2021.

The Deputy may also be interested that, in May this year, the NTA and Iarnród Éireann commenced pre-qualifying in relation to a 10-year procurement framework for a minimum of 300 electric and battery-electric units with the potential for that to increase to 600 over the life of the procurement framework. This proposals forms part of the DART Expansion Programme and I expect to receive a business case in relation to the overall programme next year.

I acknowledge the fact that at certain times of the day some rail services are currently crowded due to the level of demand. The Deputy can be assured that the safe operation of the rail network and services is the overriding priority at all times of both the company and, of course, the Commission for Railway Regulation, which is the independent, statutory body charged with overseeing the safety of our network.

From late September to early December is the busiest commuter period of the year for all transport modes, given the return of third-level educational institutions. Iarnród Éireann launched the website peaktime.ie on September 23rd.

I am advised by Iarnród Éireann that its intention in launching peaktime.ie was to equip those commuters who have flexibility in their travel times with information on demand levels on DARTs serving their stations, thus enabling them to decide their travel times based on the available options.  With one in six weekday DART journeys made between 8am and 9am, the morning peak is particularly concentrated. The information provided on peaktime.ie may enable some commuters to travel at a time when there is greater capacity, thus increasing overall the contribution of DART to providing sustainable transport options for a greater number of commuters and helping those commuters make the modal shift from private to public transport.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (38)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

38. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the PLUTO 2040, Planning Land Use and Transport - Outlook 2040 report has been delayed significantly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48175/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s overarching long-term strategy for the development of Irish society. Transport has a key enabling role to play in delivering this strategy and PLUTO will help to ensure that transport investment is aligned with and supports the ten National Strategic Outcomes.

The National Development Plan, published in February 2018 at the launch of Project Ireland 2040, notes my Department’s development of PLUTO and estimated that a draft report would go to public consultation in the fourth quarter of 2018, with the final report then to be published in 2019. This original timeline has been impacted by a number of factors.

PLUTO is underpinned by an extensive evidence base comprising of 13 background papers carried out by officials in my Department. These papers consider a wide range of issues such as climate change, Brexit, technology, steady state maintenance, compact growth, rural accessibility, interurban connectivity and international connectivity. Undertaking and finalising this volume of analysis underpinning PLUTO, including associated review and engagement with the Steering Group, has taken longer than originally anticipated.

To help guide future transport investment to support the delivery of Project Ireland 2040, a particular focus of PLUTO has been identifying potential constraints on the future land transport network. Using the transport models held by the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, this has involved scenario analysis based on National Planning Framework population projections and National Development Plan investment. Ensuring these scenarios were appropriately specified and provided robust evidence for PLUTO took considerable time.

The Strategic Research and Analysis Division within my Department which is leading the development of PLUTO experienced some staff turnover and held a number of vacancies in the latter half of 2018 and into 2019. While the Division is now operating at capacity, staff moves as the project has developed have influenced the original timeline.

I note that good progress has been made on PLUTO and I expect that the public consultation on the strategy will now launch in the first quarter of 2020.

Public Transport

Ceisteanna (39)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

39. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the considerable capacity issues across the public transport system; and if he will take steps in the short to medium-term to address same. [48147/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The numbers using public transport have increased in recent years with a 6% increase recorded in 2018 across the State supported services of bus, rail and light rail.

These passenger increases reflect a growing population, a strong economy and an increase in the amount of public transport services being made available through the various operators. Those increased services have been supported through increased PSO subvention which between 2016 and 2018 rose by 9% (including Local Link), as well as increased capital investment.

In terms of bus, the Deputy is aware that the PSO fleet has increased in recent years with additional buses being added to existing fleets, as well as constant replacement of older, dirtier buses with newer, cleaner buses. That expanded bus fleet has supported expanded bus services with a 7% increase in annual operated vehicle kilometres across both Bus Átha Cliath and Bus Éireann over the period 2016 to 2018 for example.

In relation to rail, increased services such as the 10-minute DART and expanded usage of the Phoenix Park Tunnel have facilitated increasing patronage, but I recognise that there are particular capacity pressures now being experienced on the rail network, and in particular on the Greater Dublin Area commuter network which carries approximately 70% of all journeys. In the summer I secured Government’s approval for a new National Train Control Centre which will improve the overall management of the network, while more recently Government approved the expansion of the Intercity Railcar fleet through the purchase of 41 additional carriages, which will boost capacity by around 34% across the Maynooth, Kildare and Northern Lines. In addition to these initiatives, I will very shortly seek Government’s approval for a €1billion investment programme in our heavy rail network nationally which will provide the investment needed to maintain, renew and improve the network across the country.

In light rail, the Deputy will likely have already noticed the first of the eventual 26 extensions to the existing Luas Green Line fleet has entered service with additional extensions entering service on a regular basis over the coming months. Next year the 8 additional trams will begin to arrive also which will significantly boost capacity on the Green Line.

While in active travel my Department is providing increased funding to the NTA to allow it deliver the type of high-quality infrastructure required in our major cities to promote a shift to the active travel modes.

Of course these are largely short and medium term measures and the Deputy is aware that the longer term substantial increases in the capacity of our public transport network will be brought about through BusConnects in all major cities, DART Expansion across the Greater Dublin Area and MetroLink, each of which is hugely significant in their own right.

Road Projects

Ceisteanna (40)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

40. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider funding for the extension of the M3 motorway to Cavan town and the East-West Link which are urgently needed in the north-east; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47712/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Firstly, I would like to explain that, 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 planning, design and construction, including the distribution of funding, for individual national roads is a matter for TII, in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

TII shall, of course, work within the overall context of Project Ireland 2040. This encompasses the National Development Plan 2018-2027 (NDP) which has been developed by Government to underpin the successful implementation of the National Planning Framework (NPF).  This provides the strategic and financial framework for TII’s national roads programme for the period from 2018 to 2027. 

How projects are identified/selected

The NDP identifies two categories of national road improvement projects: –

- The first category covers projects to advance to construction, subject to the satisfactory outcome of the project appraisal and development consent approval processes.

- The second category relates to projects at pre-appraisal and early planning stage which are being assessed with a view to developing a pipeline of suitable projects for development.    

The question of extending the M3 to Cavan town

While early stage assessment work was carried out a number of years ago on a potential road improvement scheme from the end of the M3 motorway, north of Kells to Cavan, this work was subsequently suspended due to funding constraints.

Therefore, in the context of what I have just outlined, this project is not included amongst the national road schemes that were identified for development during the period of the NDP 2018 - 2027 and the advancement of this scheme cannot, therefore, be accommodated in the national roads programme at present.

 N3 Virginia Bypass

A bypass of Virginia town is, however, included amongst a number of schemes identified in the NDP for progression through pre-appraisal and early planning during 2018.

This scheme has been identified as a Strategic Investment Priority in the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the NDP.  

Current Status

This project has been subject to Pre-Appraisal in compliance with the requirements of the Public Spending Code (PSC) and my Department's Common Appraisal Framework (CAF) to establish if it should be progressed to Stages 1-4 of Planning and Design, in accordance with TII’s Project Management Guidelines. The Project Appraisal Plan has been approved by my Department and Technical Advisors were appointed in September 2019 to progress the Scheme to planning, design and appraisal.

Expected Benefits of the Virginia Bypass

The proposed scheme will seek to remove the current inefficiencies of the existing road in terms of safety, capacity and travel times. It is envisaged that it would also have a number of important benefits including:

- Improved road safety, by reducing frequency and severity of collisions;

- It will support economic growth by increasing network capacity and reducing  travel times between Dublin and the Northwest;

- Environmental improvements in noise, air and water quality for Virginia Town and  Lough Ramor, proposed Natural Heritage Area (NHA);

- Improved access to the National Road network for the towns of Ballyjamesduff and Bailieborough.

East-West Link

Regarding the reference by the Deputy to the East-West Link,  as I have previously outlined to you on 9th July, 23rd July, and 17th October 2019, proposals to deliver an upgraded East-West route linking Dundalk to Sligo, taking in Cavan, involve linking elements of the national road network and regional roads along as direct a route as possible. Essentially the route involves upgrade/realignment works on the regional routes from Dundalk to Cavan and on national routes from Cavan to Sligo.

As regards regional road aspect of the proposal, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area is a statutory function of local authorities in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993.  Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.  

My Department provided funding to Cavan County Council (acting as lead authority with Monaghan and Louth County Councils) with over €2m in the period 2007-2014 to progress the regional road element of the project to preliminary design. 

My Department has discussed the project with Cavan County Council and this year I gave an allocation of €100,000 to the Council to enable it  to undertake a detailed appraisal, in line with the current requirements in the Public Spending Code and the Capital Appraisal Framework, of the Cavan to Dundalk section of the route.  The aim of the detailed appraisal would be to assess the extent to which the scheme or elements of it can be justified in terms of appraisal and advanced for further consideration in relation to schemes for future development.   Preparation of the appraisal is the responsibility of the Council.

Tourism Policy

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

Ceisteanna (41)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

41. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for the development of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48012/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Ireland's Hidden Heartlands tourism experience brand was launched last year.  I am satisfied with progress being made by Fáilte Ireland and I believe that the area has great potential for further development.

As a tourism experience brand, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands benefits from a broad programme of Fáilte Ireland supports.  These supports aim to develop visitor experiences and associated tourism infrastructure and products; enhance industry capability and run targeted marketing campaigns and other promotional activity - all underpinned by coordinated leadership structures, appropriate networking and community activation.  The next phase of brand development includes Tourism Master Plans for the River Shannon and Beara Breifne Way – the two centrepieces of the brand offering.

As the development of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands on the ground is led by Fáilte Ireland, I have asked the agency to provide the Deputy with further detail on its development plans.  Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days. 

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

Public Transport Initiatives

Ceisteanna (42)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

42. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has considered establishing a transport security unit to tackle widespread and dangerous antisocial behaviour on public transport and at public transport hubs. [48144/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I refer the Deputy to my replies to Priority Questions Nos 3 and 5 which I answered earlier.

Road Traffic Legislation

Ceisteanna (43)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

43. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the response of his Department to the decisions in cases (details supplied) to find section 44(10) of the Road Traffic Act 2010 as amended by the Road Traffic Act 2016 incompatible with the Constitution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48134/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

While the substance of this judgment was made clear in advance by the judge, the formal judgment on was issued only on 19 November.  I am taking legal advice and will analyse the implications carefully before deciding on an appropriate response. 

Railway Stations

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

Ceisteanna (44)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

44. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of plans to reopen Killucan railway station. [47780/19]

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 maintenance, renewal and operation of the rail network and stations on the network including the former station referred to, 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

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Ceisteanna (45)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

45. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a sports capital programme grant will be provided each year to be paid in the same year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48174/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for Government provides for the aim to allocate sports capital grants on an annualised basis.

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October 2018. By the closing date, 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. This was the highest number of applications ever received.  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. The final allocations for capital works were announced in the last week with a total of €39.5m allocated to 1,009 projects. 

For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round were given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While this new measure did extend the overall timeframe for completing the assessment, the opportunity was well received by applicants and helped ensure the number of invalid applications under this round was the lowest ever.

Now that all allocations under the Programme have been announced, my Department will shortly commence a full review of all aspects of the latest round. This review will consider, inter alia, if any further changes can be introduced to expedite the assessment process.

In relation to successful applicants,  all grantees are informed at the time of allocation that they need to make progress in the drawdown of their grant or risk having it withdrawn. It can often take applicants a number of years to fully draw down their grants however, due to issues around legal requirements, delays in the planning process or delays with contractors. Given these genuine reasons for delays in drawing down grants I do not propose to make any changes to the requirements on applicants drawing down grants within a set timeframe at this stage. 

Driver Licence Data

Ceisteanna (46)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

46. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the percentage of disqualified drivers' driving licences returned to the PO box address of the Road Safety Authority in 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47910/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

In 2018, 9,824 drivers received court disqualifications, of which 1,052 driving licences were surrendered. Of these disqualifications, 5,324 drivers had no Irish licence to surrender due to having a foreign licence (202), having no driving licence (2,962), having an expired driving licence (2,093) or having a licence exchanged abroad (67).

1,526 drivers received penalty point disqualifications, of which 560 licences were surrendered. Of these disqualifications, 186 drivers had no Irish licence to surrender due to having a foreign licence (19), having no driving licence (89), having an expired driving licence (9), having a licence exchanged abroad (2), or a suspended licence (67).  

From the 1st January to the 15th November 2019, 8,240 drivers received court disqualifications, of which 789 driving licences were surrendered. Of these disqualifications, 4,218 drivers had no Irish licence to surrender due to having a foreign licence (193), having no driving licence (2,368), having an expired driving licence (1,586) or having a licence exchanged abroad (71).

1,416 drivers received penalty point disqualifications, of which 468 licences were surrendered. Of these disqualifications, 165 drivers had no Irish licence to surrender due to having a foreign licence (20), having no driving licence (86), having an expired driving licence (9), having a licence exchanged abroad (12), or a suspended licence (38).  

Road Improvement Schemes

Ceisteanna (47)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

47. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for future investment in the secondary routes of County Meath. [48148/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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.

During the recession there were substantial cutbacks in the funding available for State grants for national, regional and local road programmes.  Project Ireland 2040 does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network but it will take time to reach the level required for the adequate maintenance and renewal of the network. Grants in the three main grant categories (Restoration Improvement, Discretionary Grant and Restoration Maintenance) are allocated taking into account the length of regional and local roads within a local authority area and traffic factors. It is envisaged that grants will continue to be made available on that basis.

There is limited scope at present for funding projects under the Specific and Strategic Grant Programmes and any projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under these Grant Programmes are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case basis. All projects put forward by local authorities for consideration must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code and my Department's Capital Appraisal Framework and it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind. 

Under the capital project appraisal process a Preliminary Appraisal has to be submitted in relation to each proposed project.  Once an appraisal is received it is assessed taking into account other competing projects and the overall roads budget.

I have been pleased to be able to allocate significantly increased grant funding to Meath County Council in respect of regional and local roads over the last two years. In this context grant allocations to Meath in 2019 total €19,676,500 which is an increase of over 45% compared to the 2017 allocation.  

Allocations for 2020 will be decided in line with the annual grant allocation process. Local Authorities will be notified of allocations in early 2020. 

Road Traffic Legislation

Ceisteanna (48)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

48. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to introduce regulations for motorised scooters and cycles in a forthcoming road traffic Bill. [47711/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department recently carried out a two month public consultation on e-scooters and other forms of powered personal transporters. This consultation concluded on 1st November and in excess of 500 submissions were received. My officials are currently going through the submissions with a view to compiling a report and recommendations for next steps. Any issues pertaining to legislation or regulation will be analysed as part of this process. It is important that we investigate thoroughly any issues, positive or negative, which may arise with these powered personal transporters. I anticipate receiving the report from my officials in December and will not be making any decisions about altering the legal status of these vehicles prior to that.

The use of these vehicles on a public road or in public places will remain strictly prohibited during this process. 

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (49)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

49. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of times he has met with insurance companies and Insurance Ireland since 1 January 2016; the date of each meeting; the persons or bodies he met with; the purpose of each meeting in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48299/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

In the period since my appointment as Minister with Responsibility for Defence on 6 May, 2016, I have had no meetings with insurance companies or Insurance Ireland.

Air Corps

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

Ceisteanna (50)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

50. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the details of the pilot retention scheme in the Air Corps announced in July 2019; the results to date; and the number of pilots and other grades in the Air Corps that resigned their commission and retired from the service since 4 July 2019. [48397/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Air Corps Flying Officers Service Commitment Scheme has been restored arising from the implementation of the Public Service Pay Commission’s report on recruitment and retention in the Defence Forces.

The scheme envisages commitments to service ranging from three to eight years and payments made for this commitment on an annual basis. Those who commit for periods of five to eight years will also qualify for a terminal bonus dependent on the length and structure of their commitment.

An annual payment of just over €22,000 per annum will be paid to Flying Officers holding the ranks of Captain, Commandant or Lieutenant Colonel. These ranks will also receive a terminal bonus (once off) of between approximately €14,800 and €37,000 depending on form of commitment given.

In respect of the remaining period encompassed by the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, the annual payment will attract the 5% restoration of cuts to allowances that applied under FEMPI, scheduled for 1st October 2020. Following this, the annual payment and terminal bonus will attract increases or reductions in line with prevailing Public Service Pay Policy over the remaining period of the commitment.

Table of terminal bonus

Year of

Entry to Scheme

Length of Commitment

(years)

Terminal Bonus

* Represents the full rate of payment. (see   text)

2019

3

Nil

2019

5

€22,213

2019

8

€37,022

2019

3 + 2

Nil +   €14,809*

2019

3 + 2 + 3

Nil +   €14,809* + €9,872*

2019

5 + 3

€22,213 +   €9,872*

Therefore, a flying officer (Captain to Lt. Colonel ranks) committing to a full eight year commitment from the start could earn a total €204,000 approx. over the lifetime of his commitment under the scheme. This is in addition to his normal pay and allowances.

The data in relation to the number of personnel who have departed from the Air Corps since the 4th July is being compiled and will issue to the Deputy as soon as it is available. 

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

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (51)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

51. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of times he has met with insurance companies and Insurance Ireland since 1 January 2016; the date of each meeting; the persons or bodies he met with; the purpose of each meeting in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48303/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

In my capacity as Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, my responsibilities include trade promotion. Broadly these responsibilities seek to advance Ireland’s prosperity by promoting our economic interests internationally. In this context my Department also supports the Ireland for Finance Strategy, which seeks to promote Ireland’s offering for specialist International Financial Services.

While I have not had any dedicated meetings with insurance companies or Insurance Ireland, in the conduct of my trade promotion responsibilities I occasionally attend, or deliver keynote addresses at, events attended by companies and industry bodies from a range of sectors, including financial services. On such occasions I meet representatives of these companies and industry bodies, but this would be informal and by happenstance.

To assist the Deputy, I am providing details of these events:

Event (with role in brackets)

Date

Location

FSI/IBEC annual dinner (Delivered keynote address).

16 November 2016

InterContinental Dublin, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Insurance Institute of Cork Annual Dinner (Attended)

26 January 2018

Clayton Hotel, Silver Springs, Tivoli, Cork

FSI/Cork Chamber of Commerce regional event (Delivered keynote address).

2 March 2018

Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork

World Nomads Group, on the occasion of the opening of their European HQ (Attended).

16 October 2018

City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork

Insurance Institute of Cork Annual Dinner (Attended).

25 January 2019

Clayton Hotel, Silver Springs, Tivoli, Cork

Passport Services

Ceisteanna (52)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

52. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the nominated public authorities that can access the Passport Office data set; the sections within those public authorities that have accessed the data in the past year to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48400/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Passport Service can confirm that no public authority has access to its datasets. The Passport Service considers requests from public authorities for information, and only provides this information on request, if it is satisfied it can do this in accordance with the GDPR and relevant sections of the Data Protection Act 2018.

Passport Services

Ceisteanna (53)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

53. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if nominated public bodies and An Garda Síochána have access on request to the data contained on a passport application form; if they have access to the data on the printed passport document; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48401/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Passport Office provides information requested from public authorities and An Garda Síochána only when it is satisfied it can do so in accordance with the GDPR and relevant sections of the Data Protection Act 2018. This request for information could include the data on a passport application form or on a printed passport document.

The data shared is the specific data requested by the public authority and An Garda Síochána. Given that the nature of the response is determined by the content of each request, it is not possible to define what information would be shared.

Passport Services

Ceisteanna (54)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

54. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the breakdown of the information requested by public authorities and An Garda Síochána from the Passport Office data set in the past year to date; the number of requests for access to data in the past year to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48402/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Passport Office provides data when it is requested from public authorities and An Garda Síochána and only when it is satisfied it can do so in accordance with the GDPR and relevant sections of the Data Protection Act 2018.

The data shared is the specific data requested by the public authority and An Garda Síochána. Given that the nature of the response is determined by the content of each request, it is not possible to define what information would be provided.

The following table outlines the public authorities which requested data under section 41 of the Act, and the number of such requests, from 1 January 2019 to 18 November 2019.

Name of Public Authority

Number of Requests

An Garda Síochána

1,498

Interpol

619

Dept. Employment Affairs and Social Protection

231

Europol

151

Revenue

144

Dept. of Justice and Equality

25

Health Service Executive

9

Road Safety Authority

4

TOTAL

2,681

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (55)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

55. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the process and procedures in place for handling data access requests from public authorities and An Garda Síochána; the way in which the data is requested and released; the decision maker in the context of deciding whether to release or refuse data requests from the bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48403/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

My Department is fully committed to keeping all personal data submitted by its customers, safe and secure during administrative processes.

All data access requests must be made in writing, citing the relevant legislation. Requests are triaged by a designated officer. This is to primarily ensure that each request is made in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and that sufficient information has been provided to identify an individual. During triage, the request will be refused if it is not requested in accordance with the Act or if insufficient data has been provided to identify an individual.

It should be noted that in An Garda Síochána, the requests are authorised at Chief Superintendent level.