Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (303)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

303. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons employed on an agency basis in his Department and in each agency under his aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50796/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I can confirm that my Department does not engage agency staff to meet its business needs.

My Department employs staff across a broad range of skill sets including Administrative, Veterinary Inspectors, Forest and Agricultural Inspectors, Technical Agricultural Officers, Engineers and Laboratory Staff. Recruitment campaigns take place periodically in partnership with the Public Appointments Service (PAS).

Under the Delegated Sanction Framework which sets out the annual pay ceiling for each agency, State Agencies are permitted to recruit staff to fill vacancies as they arise subject to compliance with their annual pay ceiling.

Staff recruitment within the State Agencies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter for the agencies themselves.

Accordingly, I have also referred the Deputy's question to each of the agencies for direct reply.

Forestry Sector

Ceisteanna (304, 305)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

304. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications submitted by each local authority and the funding provided to each under the native woodland scheme in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50833/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

305. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications submitted by each local authority and the funding provided to each under the neighbourwood scheme in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50834/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 304 and 305 together.

My Department operates a package of measures under the Forestry Programme 2014-2020, aimed specifically at promoting the proactive protection and expansion of Ireland’s native woodland resource. These measures represent a key biodiversity component within Ireland’s national forest policy as well as contributing to our climate change objectives.

These measures are as follows:

- Native Woodland Establishment (as represented by Grant & Premium Categories 9 and 10 under the Afforestation Grant & Premium Scheme), which funds the establishment of new native woodland on open ‘greenfield’ sites; and

- Native Woodland Conservation Scheme, which promotes the appropriate restoration of existing native woodland (including the conversion of non-native forest to native woodland), through the provision of financial support to forest holders towards the cost of appropriate works.

Both measures have been developed and implemented in partnership with Woodlands of Ireland, the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Heritage Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and other native woodland stakeholders. It is envisaged that both measures will continue to develop over the coming years, based on the ongoing partnership, experiences gained and evolving priorities.

Following the mid-term review of the Forestry Programme, I increased grants and premium rates. The grant available for Native Woodland Establishment, which both private land owners and local authorities can avail of, is €5,620 per hectare. Under the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme – Public Woodland a cost-based grant payment up to a maximum of €5,000 per hectare is available to local authorities and other public land holders.

In this regard, Coillte Nature, a new not-for-profit entity within Coillte, has announced its commitment to converting nine commercial Coillte forests in the Dublin Uplands (Ticknock, Barnaslignan, Carrigolligan, Kilmashogue, Ballyedmonduff, Massey’s Wood, Hell Fire, Cruagh and Tibradden) to forests with the primary purpose of recreation and biodiversity. Conversion from commercial forests to recreational forests will involve a mixture of conventional tree felling and replanting with native tree species, continuous cover forestry (CCF) and long term retention of other tree species. The project is being jointly funded by Coillte and the three Dublin local authorities with grants for native woodland conversion being provided by my Department.

As part of my Department's strategy towards meeting our objectives under the Climate Action Plan and under the National Biodiversity Plan, we plan to actively engage with all public bodies in the near future to encourage them to identify possibilities within their land bank for the establishment of native woodlands.

No applications have been received from local authorities under the Native Woodland Establishment or Native Woodland Conservation, although they have shown significant interest in accessing the Neighbourwood scheme. This Scheme brings communities and woodlands together by helping local authorities and other landowners, both public and private, to create ‘close-to-home’ woodland amenities in partnership with communities, for local people to use and enjoy.

Funding is available under three separate elements:

- NeighbourWood (NBR) Establishment funds the establishment of new neighbourwood on open ‘greenfield’ sites.

- NBR Enhancement funds the silvicultural enhancement of existing woodland already used as neighbourwood, or proposed for development as neighbourwood.

- NBR Facilities funds the installation and upgrade of appropriate recreational facilities within an area submitted under NBR Establishment or NBR Enhancement, or within an existing woodland suitable for recreation but not submitted under NBR Enhancement.

The following is a list of the applications received, and funding provided, to local authorities under the NeighbourWood Scheme:

Applicant

Number of Schemes

Amount Paid

Ballina Town Council

1

€123,696.80

Carlow Co. Co.

1

€129,065.00

Clare Co. Co.

8

€357,785.92

Cork Co. Co.

3

€41,681.43

Donegal Co. Co.

1

€18,647.40

Dublin Co. Co.

2

€52,355.17

Dungarvan UDC

1

€5,708.91

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Co. Co.

1

€64,723.21

Fingal Co. Co.

1

€49,637.77

Galway City Co.

1

€45,912.00

Galway Co. Co.

1

€72,373.25

Kerry Co. Co.

2

€91,676.71

Kilkenny Co. Co.

2

€255,640.00

Leitrim Co. Co.

1

€6,031.50

Limerick City Co.

1

€20,204.27

Limerick Co. Co.

1

€115,633.44

Mayo Co. Co.

5

€204,422.33

Meath Co. Co.

1

€78,542.49

Monaghan Co. Co.

1

€28,500.00

Roscommon Co. Co.

1

€116,129.75

Roundwood & District Co. Co.

1

€113,072.10

Skibbereen Town Co.

1

€4,764.40

Sligo Co. Co.

1

€11,737.79

Waterford Co. Co.

2

€13,828.80

Westmeath Co. Co.

1

€54,500.00

Westport Town Co.

1

€23,575.00

Wexford Co. Co.

1

€13,495.08

Wicklow Co. Co.

4

€370,258.71

Equine Industry

Ceisteanna (306)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

306. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he is taking and the funding being provided to address the proliferation of horses being bred here especially in respect of urban horses many of which are treated cruelly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50867/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department dedicates a substantial level of funding to animal welfare. In December, 2018, I announced the largest ever allocation of funding from my Department of €2.75m to 108 animal welfare organisations, a number of which undertake work with equines.

With regard to urban horse issue, my Department continues to support a number of urban horse projects nationwide bringing education on all aspects of equine welfare to disadvantaged areas. In the context of breeding, the DSPCA with financial assistance from my Department, continues to facilitate castration clinics in an effort to address the over-breeding issue.

I should add that my Department operates a confidential animal welfare helpline through which members of the public can report incidents of animal cruelty and neglect for investigation and, if the Deputy wishes to pass on details of any cases of cruelty that she is aware of, they will be fully investigated by my Department.

The dedicated e-mail address and help-line are in place for reporting suspected cases of animal welfare. Helpline phone No: Call Save - 0761 064408, phone - 01 607 2379, dedicated email address - animalwelfare@agriculture.gov.ie

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (307)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

307. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband will be available in an area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50778/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service. The Deputy's Question relates to a premises which is located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed on 19 November with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), including schools, library hubs and local sports halls in 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. The BCP locations are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie.

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

With regard to the fibre installation close to the premises referred to by the Deputy, eir’s rural deployment of high speed broadband is a commercial undertaking and not part of the planned State Intervention network. It is not funded by the State and is not planned, designed or directed by the Department in any capacity. The decision as to what areas and premises are served was made by eir internally and on a commercial basis. The Department has no statutory authority to intervene in that process.

Wind Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (308)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

308. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has considered offering grants to those who erect and maintain wind turbines at significant personal cost (details supplied); his views on whether the tariff for exporting green power is low compared to other European countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50781/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

As the Deputy may be aware, last year, my Department assessed micro generation, across a number of renewable electricity generating technologies, as part of the economic analysis to underpin the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The assessment identified technical and financial challenges, which may need to be addressed before a broader support scheme for micro generation can be introduced. This is in line with international and EU experience, where many member states who have introduced supports for micro generation have had to reform them or cancel them altogether. Action 30 of the Climate Action Plan, which includes the establishment of a working group in Q3 2019, sets out the steps necessary and timelines for the delivery of an enabling framework for microgeneration. The working group has been formed and is progressing the associated work programme.

The Plan provides that a support payment for excess electricity generated on site and exported to the grid will be available to all micro-generators by 2021 whilst ensuring principles of equity, self-consumption and energy efficiency first are incorporated. A public consultation/call-for-evidence of possible support mechanisms will commence in Q3 2020.

Environmental Protection Agency Remit

Ceisteanna (309)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

309. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the range of legislative and statutory provisions to control and monitor industrial emissions and pollution and to protect persons from harm; the extent to which these provisions extend to night-time activity; the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50783/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for protecting and improving the environment as a valuable asset for the people of Ireland. It is committed to protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation and pollution. The Agency undertakes a range of regulatory tasks relating to the licensing, permitting, consenting and certification of activities that could have an impact on the environment or on human health. In this context, the Agency is the competent authority for granting and enforcing industrial and waste licences.

The main legal instruments pertaining to the Agency are the:

- Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992;

- Waste Management Act 1996;

- Protection of the Environment Act 2003;

- Radiological Protection Acts 1991 to 2014;

- amendments to the above Acts; and

- regulations made under the above Acts and the European Communities Act.

Further information on the Agency’s functions in this regard is available on the Agency’s website at www.epa.ie

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (310)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

310. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of persons employed on an agency basis in his Department and in each agency under his aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50799/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

My Department does not employ agency staff.

The information requested in relation to the agencies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter for each agency. The Department will request the relevant bodies to reply directly to the Deputy with the information requested in respect of their organisations.

Noise Pollution

Ceisteanna (311)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

311. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the criteria in relation to noise pollution from windfarms. [50843/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is undertaking a review of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines in conjunction with my Department. The review is addressing a number of key aspects including sound or noise, visual amenity setback distances, shadow flicker, community obligation, community dividend and grid connections.

As part of the overall review process, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is being undertaken on the revised Guidelines before they come into effect. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government will shortly launch a public consultation on the revised draft Guidelines, together with the comprehensive environmental report. Finalised Guidelines will be prepared following detailed analysis and consideration of the submissions received during the consultation phase, and the conclusion of the SEA process.

When finalised, the revised Guidelines will be issued by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Planning authorities and, where applicable, An Bord Pleanála, must have regard to guidelines issued under section 28 in the performance of their functions generally under the Planning Acts. In the meantime, the current 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines remain in force.

Warmer Homes Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (312)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

312. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the funding allocations to each community-based organisation, CBO, in each of the past three years and in 2019 for the purpose of carrying out energy efficiency retrofits on the homes of persons on low incomes; the number of homes which were upgraded by each CBO; and his plans in respect the continuation of the work. [50862/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme provides free energy efficiency upgrades to the homes of people living in or at risk of energy poverty. The Scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on behalf of my Department.

The Warmer Homes Scheme is delivered through a panel of contractors, appointed through a competitive tendering process. Some contractors have tendered to deliver all measures available under the scheme and others are only tendered to carry out shallow measures.

A number of Community Based Organisations (CBOs) are contracted to deliver shallow measures only. Therefore SEAI introduced strategic partnerships for those CBOs to allow them to gain experience on retrofitting deeper homes referrals. This involved certain CBOs partnering with other contractors, to deliver deeper homes. This has allowed those CBOs who are only contracted to deliver shallow measures to gain more experience in deeper measures and also to financially benefit from their work on these homes, even though the allocation has not been specifically made to them. Therefore the figures provided in the following table do not reflect the full payments made to CBOs in 2018 and 2019, since strategic partnerships were introduced. SEAI estimate an additional €1 million - €1.5 million in payments were made to CBOs which are not reflected in the following table.

The following table outlines the number of homes and the amount allocated directly to CBOs in 2016 - 2019 YTD. The payments include VAT at 13.5%.

CBO

2016 total homes

2016 total spend

2017 total home

2017 total spend

2018 total homes

2018 total spend

2019 YTD total home

2019 YTD total spend

Total Homes

Total Spend

CBO1

405

€613,609

356

€619,153

170

€354,485

14

€68,554

945

€1,655,800

CBO2

213

€689,615

213

€689,741

184

€654,685

56

€316,457

666

€2,350,499

CBO3

207

€488,203

185

€492,240

119

€1,333,003

137

€2,429,143

648

€4,742,589

CBO4

184

€497,373

174

€507,708

156

€505,512

27

€128,958

541

€1,639,550

CBO5

151

€410,515

132

€396,205

86

€273,570

33

€153,029

402

€1,233,320

CBO6

130

€416,629

114

€373,430

61

€226,037

31

€132,584

336

€1,148,680

CBO7

93

€279,090

80

€244,285

58

€571,885

36

€512,077

267

€1,607,337

CBO8

73

€219,325

78

€213,946

61

€169,719

17

€83,152

229

€686,142

CBO9

78

€166,117

60

€131,481

50

€129,057

14

€66,302

202

€492,958

CBO10

84

€242,419

54

€185,904

42

€128,079

20

€96,275

200

€652,678

CBO11

80

€158,271

52

€113,085

31

€100,950

12

€72,879

175

€445,185

CBO12

72

€171,877

48

€134,297

31

€103,281

16

€50,915

167

€460,370

CBO13

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

€5,961

14

€40,325

Total

6,884

€17,646,694

6,894

€26,205,073

5,720

€43,456,525

2,898

€40,210,852

22,396

€127,519,144

SEAI will be renewing its contract with Warmer Homes Scheme contractors in 2020, which will require all contractors to be able to deliver all measures, deeper and shallow. SEAI is encouraging all CBOs to apply for this contract and has been working with CBOs over the past year supporting them in up-skilling and gaining experience to help ensure they can compete for the 2020 contract and that their organisations remain viable.

A budget of €52.8 million has been allocated to the Scheme for 2020. This represents the biggest ever budget for the Warmer Homes Scheme – more than double the initial allocation for 2019.

Waste Management

Ceisteanna (313)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

313. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to reduce the level of waste tyres exported to India; if the Climate Action Plan 2019 or future plans will address the generation and treatment of such waste by-products in the motor industry; if ways of treating such waste here will be examined; if the disposal and environmental damage done by such waste in third party countries such as India can be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51072/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The national compliance scheme to deal with tyres and waste tyres is operated by Repak ELT with a registration and reporting role for the Producer Register Limited (PRL). In accordance with the terms of the scheme’s Ministerial approval, Repak ELT are obliged to work towards minimum targets of 30% recycling by the end of 2018 and each subsequent year of the approval. In 2018 the scheme exceeded the targets by achieving a 97% recycling rate, with 24% recycled in Ireland and Northern Ireland, 73% recycled outside the EU, mainly in India and Vietnam.

The remaining 3% of waste tyres was recovered in India (waste to energy). Repak ELT only funds recovery and recycling through brokers registered with the National TransFrontier Shipment Office in Ireland. The compliance scheme have confirmed that all of the outlets used in India for the recycling of End of Life Tyres (ELT) from Ireland are fully licensed and approved and meet their national environment and pollution standards. In 2018, site visits were conducted to a number of locations in India. These locations were verified as being permitted and licenced to import waste tyres.

The independent review of year 1 of the operation of the scheme was recently published on my Department’s website at https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/publications/Pages/First-Review-of-Compliance-Scheme-for-Tyres.aspx and circulated to key stakeholders for their information. The review suggests an over reliance on export markets for tyre recycling and recovery and I understand Repak ELT are working to reduce Ireland’s reliance on all external markets and are committed to developing a more sustainable solution for the management of ELT in Ireland, in line with the proximity principle.

The review contains 15 recommendations which my Department is currently considering.

Public Transport Provision

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

Ceisteanna (314)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

314. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the degree to which assistance is available to facilitate localised transport with particular reference to areas not covered by public transport with a view to facilitating shopping, socialising or community interaction with specific reference to the need to prevent isolation in either urban or rural communities nationwide and in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50826/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme, which now operates under the 'Local Link' brand.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

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

Rail Network

Ceisteanna (315)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

315. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the reopening and upgrade of the Limerick to Foynes railway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50679/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Deputy is aware that, as part of the port's overall masterplan redevelopment, Shannon Foynes Port Company has been leading on work in relation to a potential reinstatement of the Limerick to Foynes rail line.

The detailed design process and associated reports commissioned by Shannon Foynes Port Company were completed at the end of 2018.

The completion of this detailed design can now inform the commercial case for potential reinstatement and allows Shannon Foynes Port Company, in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann, to commence a detailed market review of potential future users.

Iarnród Éireann was commissioned to undertake a detailed design engineering report for the reopening of the Foynes Railway line, by the Shannon Foynes Port Company. A draft report was submitted toShannon Foynes Port Comapny in recent weeks for its consideration.

Pension Provisions

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

Ceisteanna (316)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

316. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the grave concerns of members of the CIÉ 1951 scheme regarding the governance of its pension scheme; his plans to raise concerns with CIE management or to engage directly with the group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50682/19]

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 in Ireland.

While I have received correspondence in relation to the Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ)1951 scheme, any issues in relation to the pension scheme are primarily a matter for the trustees of the scheme, the CIÉ Group and their employees.

In light of the above, I have referred the question to CIÉ 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

Road Traffic Offences

Ceisteanna (317)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

317. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if motorists can be penalised for overtaking a cyclist and allowing a passing distance of 1.5 metres on a continuous white line as a motorist may not overtake on a continuous white line under present road safety rules. [50685/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The purpose of the dangerous overtaking of a cyclist regulation commenced by my Department in November is to target drivers who put the safety of cyclists at risk. I must emphasise to the Deputy that a passing distance of 1.5 metres is recommended as a guideline to assist drivers in allowing cyclists adequate space but is not formally enshrined in law. This new regulation will be enforced on the basis of endangering cyclists and not on the basis of breaching a specified distance.

It is incumbent upon every driver to take safe and informed decisions based on the road conditions immediately facing them and the act of overtaking of a cyclist in no way exempts a driver from the requirement to stay within a continuous white line.

Rail Network Expansion

Ceisteanna (318)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

318. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the Irish Rail survey for the Athenry to Claremorris line; and the date by which the results of the survey will be published. [50769/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, Project Ireland 2040 committed to conducting an independent review of a possible extension to the Western Rail Corridor (WRC).

In line with that commitment an external company was commissioned by Iarnród Éireann to prepare a financial/economic appraisal and business case on proposals for extending the existing WRC from Athenry to Claremorris.

That work is now complete and the business case has recently been received by my Department. It will now be reviewed in line with the requirements of the Public Spending Code.

Cycling Facilities Provision

Ceisteanna (319, 320)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

319. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the funding to implement the Climate Action Plan 2019 action 97 of the National Cycle Policy Framework with a focus on commuter specific development of greenways which satisfies the requirements of the action; the oversight needed at design stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50779/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

320. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made with regard to action 97 of the National Cycle Policy Framework that local authorities set forth a clear pathway and timetable for the installation of dedicated cycling infrastructure; the way in which the action is monitored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 319 and 320 together.

As the Deputy may be aware, our existing sustainable mobility policy framework is now 10 years old and, as committed to under the Programme for a Partnership Government and the Climate Action Plan, I recently launched a public consultation to review Ireland’s sustainable mobility policy. The consultation is looking at all aspects of current policy in relation to public transport and active travel. Details and background documents are available on my Department's website www.dttas.gov.ie and I look forward to engaging with the Deputy in shaping a new policy framework.

One of those background documents reviews the implementation status of the National Cycling Policy Framework. This assessment, and indeed the wider policy review itself, will allow all stakeholders to reflect on what has been achieved, what remains to be done and how our policy frameworks can support the realisation of a more sustainable transport system and this assessment is an important first step toward realisation of Action 97’s objectives.

Our policy review is also timely from the perspective of ensuring an appropriate and updated policy backdrop to the substantially increased levels of funding now available to support the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) delivery of active travel infrastructure in co-operation with local authorities. The NTA has a statutory role in relation to the development of active travel infrastructure (including cycling facilities) and the Deputy will be aware that it has recently established a new Office to assist with the timely design and delivery of certain projects.

The focus in this area for the last number of years has been centred on increasing funding and the Deputy can be assured that the increases already secured will continue in the years ahead, the key area of focus now needs to be on delivery and I look forward to the commencement of a number of important projects next year.

Departmental Staff Data

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

Ceisteanna (321)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

321. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of persons employed on an agency basis in his Department and in each agency under his aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50811/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

There are no persons employed on an agency basis in my Department.

I have asked the State agencies under the aegis of my Department to provide the Deputy with the information requested directly. If you do not receive a reply from the agencies within ten working days, you should advise my private office.

Recruitment into my Department is carried out by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and is conducted in accordance with the Commission for Public Service Appointments (CPSA) Codes of Practice.  The Commission is the principal regulator of recruitment and selection processes within the public service.  It has a statutory role to ensure that appointments in the organisations subject to its remit (that is, those that fall under the authority and scope of the Commission) are made on candidates’ merit and as a result of fair and transparent appointment processes.

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

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (322)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

322. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the basis on which his Department allows a company (details supplied) to make a demand for a passport and-or a driver licence issued here as a method of verifying the identity of a person; if he has consulted with the company in respect of the way in which and-or the location it stores customer identification; if he has consulted with the company on the way in which it shares the information it collects from persons with third parties; if he has met with the owners and directors of the company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50838/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The matters raised fall under the remit of my colleague the Minister for Finance, and I understand he will be responding to the questions raised. I can also confirm that I have not met with the owners and directors of the company mentioned.