National Broadband Plan

Ceisteanna (213)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

213. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which he expects the national broadband plan to be in a position to compete internationally in terms of capacity, quality standards and speed in all areas nationwide; the degree to which this contrasts with previous developments over the past 20 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49648/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, 76% of the 2.4 million premises in Ireland can access high speed broadband.

On 19 November, the Government signed the contract with National Broadband Ireland (NBI) to provide access to high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in 537,537 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms and 695 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

The solution provided by NBI will meet and in some cases exceed, the parameters of the Intervention Strategy and European targets. The NBP will contribute to the EU strategic objectives set out in the Digital Agenda for Europe and in the Communication "Towards a European Gigabit Society".

National Broadband Ireland will set up a wholesale open access company dedicated to the rollout of a predominantly fibre to the premises (FTTP) network in the Intervention Area, which will be capable of delivering a future-proofed high speed broadband network, initially providing services of 150Mbps to the majority of homes and up to 1Gbps to heavy data users and Small and Medium size Enterprises.

Work by NBI will begin immediately and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

Approximately 300 community centres, schools, library hubs and local sports halls across every county in Ireland will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband.

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises. Approximately 70,000-100,000 premises will be passed each year thereafter, with the final premises to be completed in 2026.

Previous government initiatives to deliver or improve broadband service in the State include the National Broadband Scheme (NBS), the Rural Broadband Scheme (RBS), the Galway-Mayo Telecoms Duct, the Metropolitan Area Networks and the Schools 100Mbps Project.

The National and Rural Broadband Schemes were designed to deliver basic, affordable broadband to target areas across the country where premises were unable to obtain a service from a commercial operator. These initiatives were concluded in 2014 and 2011, respectively.

The NBP State intervention network, when complete, will push Ireland to the forefront of connectivity, both on a European and an international level.

Mobile Telephony Services

Ceisteanna (214)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

214. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which the quality of mobile telephone services can be improved nationwide in both urban and rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49649/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The provision of telecommunications services, including mobile phone services, is a matter for the relevant service providers operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), as independent Regulator. I do not have statutory authority to require commercial companies to rollout services and make specific investments in particular locations.

In terms of ongoing efforts to improve mobile telephony coverage nationally, the Programme for Government specifically included a commitment to a Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce. The Taskforce worked with key stakeholders to produce a report in December 2016 containing 40 actions to alleviate some of the coverage deficits across the country. An Implementation Group is overseeing the implementation of the actions and comprises all key stakeholders responsible for delivery. The Implementation Group meets on a quarterly basis and publishes quarterly progress reports on the implementation status of actions.

Now in its third year of operation, the Taskforce has addressed over 70 actions and continues to focus on issues that are negatively impacting upon the rollout of essential telecommunications infrastructure around the country.

Various measures are underway under the aegis of the Taskforce which will address mobile coverage deficits, particularly in rural areas:

- Work is ongoing in order to achieve a greater consensus around site selection for telecoms infrastructure and therefore improve mobile phone coverage.

- A focus group was established to provide guidance with respect to categories of location where high quality reliable mobile coverage should be made available as a priority. The report of the focus group was published on the Department’s website on 31 August 2018. It is anticipated that the output of the focus group should influence the actions of the mobile network operators in their work to reduce mobile phone blackspots. It will also inform future policy in the Department with regard to priorities for mobile phone service.

- A working group has been investigating the feasibility of developing standardised policy for accessing and utilising State and publicly-owned assets for the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure.

- ComReg has published a composite national outdoor coverage map, which will, in tandem with its work on handset testing and activities to raise consumer awareness, allow people across Ireland to optimise the services available to them.

- ComReg has developed a licensing exemption scheme which will enable households and businesses to use mobile phone repeaters to boost signals into their premises and bring immediate improvements in mobile coverage.

All of these initiatives should help enhance the quality of mobile phone and data services, particularly in areas currently experiencing a low level of service.

Electricity Generation

Ceisteanna (215, 216)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

215. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of electricity being generated from onshore wind, offshore wind, hydro and solar sources; the extent to which this can form part of a reliable electricity grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49650/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

216. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the daily electricity requirements as provided for by the national grid; the degree to which electricity generation sources are from non-fossil fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49651/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 and 216 together.

EirGrid have estimated that, in the 12 months ending September 2019, 35.2% of generated electricity has been from renewable sources. That figure consists of approx. 32% from wind energy, 2.5% from hydropower and 0.7% from other renewable sources. This does not include small scale and micro generation which could contribute up to 1% more to the total. Currently, offshore wind and solar represent less than 1% of total renewable electricity.

EirGrid are the Transmission System Operator for the national grid and operate the system in a safe and secure manner. Information on Ireland’s fuel mix for electricity generation is available on EirGrid’s website and updated on a monthly basis: http://www.eirgridgroup.com. This website also lists the installed capacity of each hydro-electric station attached to the transmission grid.

Biofuel Obligation Scheme

Question No. 218 answered with Question No. 210.

Ceisteanna (217)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

217. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the full annual extent of the production and use of bio-diesel and ethanol; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49652/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Biofuels Obligation Scheme is the primary method by which the use of biofuels is supported in Ireland. The Biofuels Obligations Scheme Annual Report for 2018, which is available at www.nora.ie, sets out that 216 million litres of sustainable biofuels were placed on the Irish road transport fuel market in that year. This included 162 million litres of biodiesel and 54 million litres of bioethanol. The report also sets out that over 11% of the feedstock used to produce these biofuels originated in Ireland.

Question No. 218 answered with Question No. 210.

Alternative Energy Projects

Ceisteanna (219)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

219. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which alternative energy generation sources contribute to the national grid; the progress in this regard year on year over the past ten years; the expectation for the next ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49669/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has estimated that, in 2018, approximately 33.2% of electricity demand was met from renewable sources.

The following table shows the progress on the contribution of renewable energy sources to electricity generation. Progress since 2008 to date has been that its contribution increased from 10.8% of gross electricity consumption to 33.2% in 2018.

Renewable Energy Contribution to Gross Electricity Consumption (RES-E normalised):

Year

Normalised Renewables % of Gross Electricity

2008

10.8%

2009

14.0%

2010

15.6%

2011

18.3%

2012

19.8%

2013

21.3%

2014

23.5%

2015

25.5%

2016

26.8%

2017

30.1%

2018

33.2%

EirGrid’s long-term view of the electricity transmission system is detailed in its Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2019 report published recently. The specific trajectory of renewable electricity out to 2030 will be set out in Ireland's National Energy and Climate Plan which is due to be finalised by the end of 2019.

The Climate Action Plan will be stepping up ambition in the renewable electricity sector with 70% of our electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2030. This will require significant changes to the operation and management of the electricity grid, to integrate wind and solar energy at scale.

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (220)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

220. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of fishing organisations here about the proposed implementation of EU Council Directive 2017/159 of the social partners agreement on the ILO Work in Fishing Convention 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49569/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Council Directive (EU) 2017/159 on the implementation of the social partners’ agreement on the Work in Fishing Convention aims to enhance the working and living conditions for fishers working on vessels registered in an EU member State. The Directive implements an Agreement between the General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union (Cogeca), the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) and the Association of National Organization’s of Fishing Enterprises in the European Union (Europêche). These organisations represent the employer and employee representative organisations in the fishing sector across the European Union. As the agreement is a social partnership agreement, the Directive merely implements the Agreement as agreed between the social partners in 2012, and the Agreement itself was not subject to any changes during the discussions on the Directive in the Social Questions Working Party. My Department is supportive of the objective of the Directive to enhance the working and living conditions for fishers working on vessels registered in an EU Member State.

An important aspect of the transposition of the Directive is the requirement for consultation with stakeholders. On 16 November 2018, my Department published Marine Notice 42 of 2018, which invited stakeholders to contribute their views on Council Directive (EU) 2017/159. The consultation process resulted in the Department receiving seven submissions, which were reviewed and published on the Department’s website (https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/1ee9a2-responses-to-the-consultation-on-ilo-work-in-fishing-convention-2007/). Subsequently, my officials met with representatives of the various fisheries organisations to discuss the transposition of the Directive. The outcome from the Department’s consultations with stakeholders made an important contribution to the drafting of the package of Regulations required to ensure the transposition of the Directive.

On 9 October, my Department issued Marine Notice 42 of 2019, to provide key stakeholders with a brief overview of some of the main changes that will come into effect subject to the finalisation of the draft legislation. Any queries or concerns raised in relation to transposition of Directive 2017/159, since the publication of Marine Notice 42 of 2019, have been responded to by my Department.

My Department has been working on a package of regulations in order to transpose Council Directive (EU) 2017/159. Work is at an advanced stage and it is hoped that these regulations will be signed into law in the coming weeks.

Sports Capital Programme Data

Ceisteanna (221)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

221. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the breakdown of funding allocated to each category of sport under the sports capital programme 2019; and if a schedule of the total amount applied for in each sports category and the total funding requested for each sports organisation that was unsuccessful will be provided. [49469/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to the 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme is set out in the following table. 

Sports

Applications

Grants

American   Football

€51,345

€19,141

Angling/Fishing

€159,885

€64,331

Archery

€78,534

€49,822

Athletics

€4,633,604

€2,178,635

Badminton

€104,410

€55,863

Basketball

€671,841

€307,968

Billiards   & Snooker

€140,457

€51,073

Bowls

€132,417

€98,659

Boxing

€1,857,099

€935,034

Camogie

€866,494

€225,416

Canoeing /   Kayaking

€839,499

€611,398

Clay Pigeon Shooting

€97,255

€24,631

Community   Games

€652,499

€359,120

Cricket

€968,259

€350,384

Cycling

€639,332

€232,539

Diving/Snorkelling

€1,017,582

€414,590

Equestrian   Sports

€839,157

€288,753

Fencing

€60,856

€28,100

Gaelic Games

€57,559,817

€19,053,985

Golf

€12,522,253

€4,637,037

Gymnastics

€861,064

€372,824

Handball

€965,370

€271,579

Hillwalking

€279,879

€145,513

Hockey

€1,884,352

€818,454

Ice Hockey

€69,060

€69,060

Judo

€69,048

€20,096

Ladies Gaelic   Football

€211,653

€24,970

Martial Arts

€176,296

€55,469

Motor Sport

€120,775

€12,440

Motorcycling

€94,116

€15,353

Mountaineering

€156,246

€53,829

Multi-sport

€29,095,561

€10,656,348

Olympic   Handball

€24,830

 0

Orienteering

€8,200

€8,200

Pitch and   Putt

€521,386

€201,222

Raquetball

€150,000

€100,276

Rock Climbing

€10,430

€10,429

Rowing

€3,471,153

€1,343,655

Rugby

€8,128,700

€2,611,857

Sailing

€2,446,184

€584,817

Shooting   Sports

€8,100

€2,768

Skateboarding

€192,316

€82,956

Soccer

€20,833,293

€6,408,037

Squash

€303,511

€115,977

Surfing

€48,000

€13,788

Swimming

€1,087,704

€461,869

Table Tennis

€12,830

€12,830

Taekwondo

€19,614

 0

Tennis

€5,895,639

€1,984,881

Tenpin   bowling

€15,500

€11,950

Triathlon

€146,461

€119,136

Tug of War

€20,000

€13,250

Volleyball

€97,125

€38,499

Waterskiing   & Wakeboarding

€49,600

 0

Weightlifting

€139,952

€62,150

Wheelchair   Sport

€274,173

 0

Grand Total

€161,780,716

€56,690,961

Furthermore, details of all applications submitted under the latest round (2018) of the Sports Capital Programme are listed on a county basis on my Department's website at https://assets.gov.ie/20000/ececa538f64a48e3ab4540515da4cf95.pdf. 

Similarly, details of all allocations under the programme are also published on the Department's website at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/471ed5-sports-capital-allocations/

Rail Network Expansion

Ceisteanna (222, 223, 224)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

222. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the most recent reports and costings available to his Department with regard to the potential expansion of the Sligo to Dublin rail line to Donegal town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49481/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

223. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the most recent reports and costings available to his Department with regard to a potential Letterkenny to Derry rail line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49482/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

224. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the most recent reports and costings available to his Department with regard to a potential Derry to Lifford to Strabane rail line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49483/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 222 to 224, inclusive, together.

I am unaware of any reports or costings in recent years regarding any of the potential rail lines referred to by the Deputy.  I can inform the Deputy however that there is no funding provided within Project Ireland 2040 for the potential rail lines referred to.

Light Rail Projects

Ceisteanna (225)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

225. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the most recent reports and costings available to his Department with regard to a potential light rail system for Cork city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49484/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy may be aware, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has worked with Cork City Council and Cork County Council in developing a draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (also known as CMATS).

In developing CMATS, the NTA examined the potential for all modes of sustainable mobility in the Cork metropolitan area and provided indicative costings against the options considered, including a potential light rail corridor in the city.

CMATS is obviously a long-term, twenty-year strategy and there are therefore a range of measures proposed in the short, medium and longer term, with the short term focus being on active travel and improved bus infrastructure and services.

A draft CMATS was published earlier this year for public consultation and is available to view on the NTA's website. Following the public consultation held earlier this year, I understand the local authorities will formally adopt CMATS as their relevant transport strategy in due course.

Rail Network

Ceisteanna (226)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

226. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the strategic development plan for the cross-Border enterprise rail service between Belfast and Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49485/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 'Strategic Development Plan' referred to by the Deputy was a joint initiative of both Iarnród Éireann and Translink and was not a plan developed by my Department. As such it represents the ambition of both companies in relation to their corporate development of the Enterprise service over the next 20 years.

Within Project Ireland 2040, there is a commitment to conduct an evaluation of the economic benefits and value for money of high-speed rail on the main inter-urban rail network (including the Dublin to Belfast line) against improvements to existing and planned line speeds along the lines.

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has commenced preparatory work in relation to the proposed evaluation and the study itself will be commenced in 2020.

Light Rail Projects

Ceisteanna (227)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

227. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the most recent reports and costings available to his Department with regard to a potential light rail link between Shannon Airport and Limerick city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49486/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I am not aware of any recent reports on the matter of light rail between Shannon airport and Limerick city; however, the issue of light rail in Limerick was considered by the relevant local authorities in their development of the Mid-West Area Strategic Plan 2012 to 2030. I understand the Plan concluded light rail was not a viable option at that time.

The Deputy may be aware that the National Transport Authority (NTA) is currently working with the relevant local authorities to develop a draft Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS).

The draft strategy will consider all transport modes and will set out a framework for investment in transport infrastructure and services for Limerick and Shannon for a 20-year period.

It is intended to publish a draft strategy in Quarter 1, 2020 for public consultation, after which a final strategy will be published.

Road Projects

Ceisteanna (228)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

228. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of a bypass road for Julianstown, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49487/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant County or City Council, 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.

Prior to the financial crisis, applications for funding for road improvement projects would have been considered as part of the Specific Improvement, and Strategic Regional and Local Road Grant Schemes. However, the extent of the cutbacks in grant funding during the recession meant these grant schemes had to be curtailed after 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 2040 does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network but it will take some time to reach the level required for the adequate maintenance and renewal of the network. For this reason there is limited scope at present for funding projects under the Specific and Strategic Grant Programmes. The primary focus is on implementation of the 12 regional and local road projects identified for development, subject to necessary approvals, in Project Ireland 2040.

Any additional projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under the Specific and Strategic 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, the overall regional and local road capital budget and the wider transport planning framework.

A draft Preliminary Appraisal has been received from Meath County Council regarding traffic management in the Julianstown area.  This appraisal is currently being examined and the Department will be liaising with Meath County Council in relation to the further analysis required to underpin the assessment and costing of various options. 

Road Projects

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

Ceisteanna (229)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

229. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of a bypass road for Ardee, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49488/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and securing capital funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 the planning, design, procurement and construction of individual national roads 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

Ceisteanna (230)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

230. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of the northern cross route in Drogheda, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49489/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in Co. Louth is the statutory responsibility of Louth County Council, 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.  My Department has no project appraisal on hand in relation to the proposed Drogheda Northern Cross Port Access road, and as such no cost estimates have been submitted.

Given the cutbacks in State funding for regional and local roads since the financial crisis, it has been necessary to curtail the grant programme for major new regional and local road schemes and for major realignment schemes in order to protect the funding available for the maintenance of the existing network. The bulk of the funding allocated under Project Ireland 2040 is, therefore, earmarked for the maintenance and renewal of the road network with some limited investment in the new projects.

Road Toll Data

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

Ceisteanna (231, 232)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

231. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of removing the toll charges at the M1 slip road south of Drogheda town, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49490/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

232. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of removing the toll charges at the M1 slip road north of Drogheda town, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49491/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 and 232 together.

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 operation and management of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Therefore, matters relating to the day to day operations regarding national roads, including toll roads and the establishment of a system of tolls, are within the remit of TII.  More specifically, the statutory power to levy tolls, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into agreements with private investors are vested in TII under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended).

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Rail Network Expansion

Ceisteanna (233)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

233. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of extending the rail line from the M3 parkway to Navan, County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49492/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the issue of a potential extension of the existing Dunboyne/M3 Parkway line was considered by the National Transport Authority (NTA) during its development of the statutory Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016 to 2035.  

The Strategy stated that based on current population and employment forecasts, the level of travel demand between Navan, Dunshaughlin and various stations to the city centre was insufficient to justify the development of a high-capacity rail link at that current time.  Instead the Strategy proposed an enhanced bus service along the corridor and the development of a bus hub in Navan. 

In this regard, Bus Éireann introduced a new service on the N2 Corridor in late 2017.  Furthermore, Meath County Council, in collaboration with the NTA, continues to progress the development of a bus hub as provided for by the Transport Strategy.

Importantly, the Transport Strategy clearly states that the issue of a rail link to Navan would be kept under review and considered again as part of the statutory review of the current Strategy which the NTA is required to undertake before the end of 2021.  

The NTA will commence this review next year and, as part of that review, I understand that in the latter half of 2020 the NTA will re-evaluate the potential for a rail link to Navan. As committed in both Project Ireland 2040 and the Transport Strategy itself, this re-evaluation will take account of new and planned development along the proposed route. Obviously the issue of estimated cost will form part of that re-evaluation.

Road Traffic Legislation

Ceisteanna (234)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

234. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the consolidation of road traffic legislation. [49499/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My priorities in respect of road traffic legislation have been focused on legislation which is required to tackle specific issues which need to be addressed in terms of road safety and traffic.  For example, I intend to shortly bring forward on a Road Traffic Bill to provide, in the main, for graduated penalties for speeding offences, as well as provisions to facilitate better traffic management on congested routes such as the M50.

The consolidation of the Road Traffic Acts has not therefore been a priority to date.  Unfortunately, in discussion of this issue, the benefits of consolidation are too often misunderstood and overstated and the nature of the task itself mischaracterised.  It is also worth noting that the absence of consolidation has not, in itself, been identified as an issue impacting on enforcement of any particular provision.

If the project is to be of value, it would be necessary to examine each aspect of the legislation and see where it might be require drafting improvement.  It is not simply be a matter of re-enacting all current road traffic legislation into one instrument.  Looking at previous projects of a similar nature, it is likely that such a project would take at least three years for a dedicated team of expert staff to complete.

Light Rail Projects

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

Ceisteanna (235)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

235. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the MetroLink project has plans to take over an area (details supplied) for maintenance shaft and car park on a permanent basis; if consultation has taken place with local residents regarding potential changes to the amenity of the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49506/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area, including MetroLink.

Noting their responsibility in relation to this matter, I have forwarded your query to the NTA for their consideration and direct reply.  Please notify my office if you have not received a reply within 10 working days.

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

Road Projects

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

Ceisteanna (236)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

236. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of investment in upgrading the N73 Mallow to Mitchelstown, County Cork. [49526/19]

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 maintenance, improvement and management 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.

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