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Gnáthamharc

Wednesday, 4 Nov 2020

Written Answers Nos. 19-38

State Aid

Ceisteanna (19)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

19. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his plans to change State aid rules to better support local authorities, businesses and communities in the midlands as requested by the Just Transition Commissioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34069/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Enterprise)

State aid rules apply equally to all Member States and therefore are developed by the European Commission in consultation with Member States. As such, no national Government has sole discretion to make changes to these rules but each Member State provides input into the development of the rules be this through the State aid Modernisation process which is currently underway, State aid Fitness Checks and their associated consultation processes. The State Aid Unit of my Department coordinates Ireland's position in the development and/or revision of State aid rules and engages widely across Government on specific state aid issues.

For example as part of the recent review of the Regional Aid Guidelines, Ireland set out the importance of specific measures for Just Transition areas, a position also taken by other Member States who considered that the uniqueness of Just Transition areas should be included in the revised Regional Aid Guidelines.

The Green Deal and Just Transition are very much a priority for the Commission and for Member States with new flexibilities already in place. Ireland has recently developed the Just Transition Fund under the General Block Exemption Regulation. This will provide funding to innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Wider Midlands region. The Government has allocated €11 million to this Fund for 2020.

As part of the State Aid Modernisation Programme, a number of State Aid rules are being considered in the context of the Green Deal and Just Transition. These include the Environmental and Energy State Aid Guidelines which will be subject to consultation over the coming months and my Department will coordinate a cross Government input into the revision process.

Grant Payments

Ceisteanna (20)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

20. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the status of the business restart grant application for the swimming pool that a facility (details supplied) has applied for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34080/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Enterprise)

My Department has engaged with the relevant Local Authority on this matter and I am pleased to learn that the business in question has benefitted from both the Restart and Restart Grant Plus schemes. I am further advised that a 30% top-up payment has been awarded, which amounts to a total of €29,500 in grants paid to the business.

Fuel Laundering

Ceisteanna (21, 22)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

21. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications the cost in 2018 and 2019 for the disposal of toxic sludge relating to diesel laundering; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33990/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

22. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications the cost in 2018 and 2019 for the clean-up and remediation relating to diesel laundering; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33991/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 22 together.  

Enforcement in relation to illegal diesel laundering activities is primarily a matter for the Revenue Commissioners from the point of view of avoiding loss of revenue to the Exchequer. My Department assists local authorities in carrying out their role as competent authorities under waste legislation, which involves taking the necessary measures, on behalf of the State, to ensure that any waste generated and left abandoned by diesel launderers is disposed of without endangering human health and without harming the environment.  

In total, funding of €431,298 was provided by my Department to two local authorities over the period 2018 to 2019 to fund the clean up and removal of diesel sludge relating to 88 incidences of illegal diesel laundering. The following table sets out the breakdown of the funding provided and the number of incidents related to each of the two local authority areas.

Funding

Louth

Monaghan

Total

2018

€166,216

€26,056

€192,272

2019

€199,445

€39,581

€239,026

No of Incidents

 

 

 

2018

26

9

35

2019

42

11

53

Recycling Policy

Ceisteanna (23)

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

23. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications if he has developed initiatives to extend full household recycling to apartment developments which do not now provide them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34001/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, which I launched in September this year, contains a commitment to deliver behavioural change campaigns for individuals, businesses and the public sector to encourage improved waste segregation and recycling.  The plan contains the following specific commitments in relation to waste collection for apartment dwellers: - We will work with relevant stakeholders to improve waste segregation in apartment complexes;

- We will develop a quality waste management assurance scheme for businesses - including apartments serviced by management companies;

- We will work with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to make regulatory changes in planning and tenancy laws to ensure apartment dwellers are provided with infrastructure to support food waste segregation.

Work has already commenced in determining which stakeholders are needed to progress these commitments and an initial stakeholder engagement with representative organisations is planned before the end of the year.  Work has already taken place with some local authorities examining the issues around managing waste in apartments.  In addition, the incorporation of recycling targets into waste collection permits will incentivise the waste collection industry to drive enhanced waste segregation including for apartment complexes.

Legislative Process

Ceisteanna (24)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

24. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications the status of the geothermal energy development Bill; when it is likely to be advanced further; the reason for the delay in advancing this Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34021/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I expect to be in a position to shortly publish a roadmap for public consultation on the development of a policy and regulatory framework for geothermal energy in Ireland. The development of such a roadmap is in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government to rapidly decarbonise the energy sector. The roadmap will be published together with a technical paper, providing background detail on geothermal energy generally, Ireland’s geothermal potential, a comparison of international policy frameworks, a summary of the other relevant regulatory frameworks and how they interact.  Following this, the next steps in the process would include the development of a draft policy statement or paper on geothermal energy to be published for consultation, a final policy for Government consideration and, if approved, preparation of supporting legislation setting out the new regulatory framework. 

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (25)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

25. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications if there has been an evaluation of the potential carbon emissions savings resulting from the commitment in the programme for Government which commits to an allocation of 10% of the total transport capital budget for cycling projects and an allocation of 10% of the total capital budget for pedestrian infrastructure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34039/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate crisis which threatens our safe future on this planet. The Programme for Government commits to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 - a 51% reduction over the decade - and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The 2050 target will be set in law by the Climate Action Bill, which will drive the implementation of a suite of policies that will help achieve the Programme for Government's goal of a 7% yearly reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.  The drafting of the Bill is a key part of our journey towards achieving the 7% annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This step-change in ambition will be challenging and require fundamental changes in so many parts of Irish life, but I believe that Ireland can and will rise to this challenge. In doing so we will be able to improve the health, welfare and security of all our people. The next iteration of the Climate Action Plan will identify and set out the far reaching policy changes across every sector to deliver these emissions reductions. In particular, the Programme for Government commits to:

- Delivering a National Aggregated Model of Retrofitting reaching over 500,000 homes by 2030, as part of the EU Renovation Wave.

- Learning from district heating pilot projects to launch a scaled-up programme.

- Accelerating the electrification of the transport system, including electric bikes, electric vehicles, and electric public transport.

- Developing a strategy for remote working and remote service delivery, taking advantage of the opportunity for a rapid roll-out of the National Broadband Plan. 

- Ensuring an unprecedented modal shift in all areas by a reorientation of investment to walking, cycling and public transport.

- Developing a new Sustainable Rural Mobility Plan.

- Introducing a transformational programme of research and development, to ensure that Ireland is at the cutting edge of scientific and technological innovation in meeting our climate targets. 

- Developing a major drive to realise the immense potential of Ireland's offshore renewables.

- Devising a systemic programme of sectoral audits of the commercial and industrial sector to underpin, area by area, strategies to meet the new national targets.

- Expanding and incentivising micro generation, including roof-top solar energy.

- Developing a new strategy to expand afforestation, particularly Close to Nature Forestry and agro-forestry.

- Transforming the scale of organics farming, with the delivery of a fair price for farmers at its heart. 

- Building on Ireland's relative carbon efficiency in food production and ensuring the delivery of the measures identified by Teagasc to the fullest extent possible.

- Delivering an incremental and ambitious reduction in the use of inorganic fertiliser through to 2030. 

- Rapidly evaluating the potential role of sustainable bioenergy.

- Completing and implementing a major Waste and Circular Economy Action Plan.

My Department has commenced work on the next iteration of the Climate Action Plan, due to be published in 2021.  As part of this work, modelling inputs will be drawn from the broad spectrum of expertise available to the Government as well as contracted expertise. This work will include examining the expected abatement potential of Programme for Government commitments in relevant sectors, including those in the transport sector, in order to assess how Ireland will be able to achieve an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030.

Energy Policy

Ceisteanna (26, 27)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

26. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications if Ireland is compliant for 2020 and 2021 with the Regulation (EU) No. 994/2010 on security of gas supply which requires member states to comply with the N-1 formula; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34040/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

27. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications the implications of Brexit for Ireland's energy supply; if the UK will continue to be subject to the EU law obligations to provide solidarity as required by Regulation (EU) 2017/1938 regarding measures to safeguard the security of supply to Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34041/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 27 together.  

The Government’s Brexit Readiness Action Plan, published in September, sets out that a disruption to the supply of natural gas as a consequence of Brexit is not anticipated. My Department has worked with key State bodies, including the Commission for Regulation of Utilities and Gas Networks Ireland, to ensure they have updated plans in place.  

It is expected that the current rules for trading natural gas across interconnectors with the UK will remain the same. However, in the case of any future gas supply emergency disruption, the UK will no longer be bound by current EU obligations. These obligations include Regulation (EU) 2017/1938 which replaced Regulation (EU) 994/2010 and sets out a range of requirements that apply to EU Member States in relation to the security of gas supply.  

Ireland will continue to meet the ‘N-1’ infrastructure standard set out in Article 5 of the Regulation on a regional basis with the UK until the end of this year. From 1 January 2021, following the end of the transition period, Ireland will not be in a position to meet the infrastructure standard. However, it should be noted that there will be no adverse impact on security of supply as the same gas infrastructure will remain in place.  

From 1 January 2021, the UK will not be required to provide solidarity to Ireland during natural gas supply disruptions under Article 13 of the Regulation. It should be noted that in order for the UK to provide solidarity to Ireland, agreement on technical, legal and financial arrangements would be required. Similar to the majority of other Member States, such agreement is not yet in place. The absence of solidarity will therefore not lead to a reduction in natural gas security of supply from the current position.  

Ireland continues to work with our EU partners in the negotiations with the UK to ensure continued future cooperation on natural gas security of supply.

National Broadband Plan

Ceisteanna (28, 29)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

28. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications if he will provide a detailed plan and timelines of when areas of County Clare will receive fibre broadband in accordance with the National Broadband Plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34074/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joe Carey

Ceist:

29. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications if he will respond to a query (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34075/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 29 together. 28 and 29 together. The Questions refers to premises which are located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (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 in November last with National Broadband Ireland (NBI). The NBP network will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 500Mbps from the outset. This represents an increase from the 150Mbps committed to under the Contract. The deployment plan forecasts premises passed in all counties within the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State having access to high speed broadband within the next four years. As of 27 October, design work is complete or on-going in target townlands across 25 counties and steady progress is being made with over 118,000 premises surveyed to date. This activity is increasing week on week and NBI expects to have completed some 120,000 surveys by the end of the year.Given that the contracted delivery of the National Broadband Plan State led intervention is over a 7 year period and the nature of the works involved in delivering a fibre telecommunications network, it is not possible to provide a detailed timetable on a Townlands basis. NBI provides a facility for any premises within the Intervention Area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website (https://nbi.ie/map/). In Clare, I can advise that surveys have commenced in the areas of Cratloe, Ballycannan, Ballyglas and Cloghrea and further surveys are due to commence in the areas of Kilkishen before the end of this year. This activity involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area. This is informing design solutions for provision of the fibre network. This detailed design is then used to initiate the ‘make ready’ project with eir for the area, where eir ensure any poles and ducts being reused are fit for purpose. It is also used to initiate works with the subcontractors deploying the actual fibre in the area. The laying of fibre should commence shortly with the first fibre to the home connections expected around December in Cork. Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are a key element of the NBP providing high speed broadband in every county in advance of the roll out of the fibre to the home network. As of 23 October, some 179 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and 59 of theses are now connected with high speed broadband service through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development for publicly available sites. In addition, school BCPs will be provided with high speed broadband, for educational use only, through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Education and Skills. To date, 6 schools have been connected with high speed broadband for educational access only. It is anticipated that 275 BCP sites will be connected by the end of the year. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.

There are a number of BCPs located across County Clare including at Cree Community Centre, Loop Head and Michael Cusack Visitor Centre. A number of schools including Shragh, Ennistymon and Stonehall National Schools are also now connected. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.  

Travel Trade Sector

Ceisteanna (30)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

30. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding travel agencies in budget 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34008/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I am fully aware that the travel trade sector has not been able to reclaim any meaningful level of lost trade over the past 6 months. It is an SME sector, and as such travels agents and tour operators have access to all of the various business supports made available in the July stimulus package and in last month's Budget. Budget 2021 contains historic levels of State support for the SME sector in the form of wage supports, financial grants and waived commercial rates.

In addition, under current Level 5 Covid restrictions, travel agents and tour operators operating from business premises that customers are prohibited or significantly restricted from accessing may be eligible for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS). Any queries in relation to the operation of the CRSS should be directed to the Revenue Commissioners. Taken together, I would be hopeful that these significant measures will help safeguard the travel sector throughout the difficult months ahead so that it will be ready to trade fully again when circumstances permit.

Driver Test

Ceisteanna (31)

Richard O'Donoghue

Ceist:

31. Deputy Richard O'Donoghue asked the Minister for Transport if he will reconsider the exclusion of theory test centres from level 5 restrictions given the need for persons to obtain a licence for employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34018/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Government Decision to move to Level 5 of Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 was taken due to the very serious increase in COVID-19 infection levels.

The Government decision and the public health regulations require that driver theory tests are suspended for the duration of the Level 5 restrictions. The decision to suspend this service, like many other services across all sectors of our society, is a difficult one but is necessary for the measures in the Plan for Living with COVID-19 to be as effective as possible in addressing the current situation.

All appointments during this period will be rescheduled to the next available appointment date by the Road Safety Authority.

Taxi Licences

Ceisteanna (32)

Colm Burke

Ceist:

32. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Transport if the period of time will be extended for taxis to be registered and issued with taxi licences in cases where the vehicles were imported prior to 28 February 2020, but it has not been possible to register them due to Covid before the six year rule for registration applies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33968/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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

Given the role of the NTA as regulator, I have referred your question to the Authority for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (33)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

33. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport the dates he has had engagement with the DAA and the management of Cork Airport in the past two months. [34003/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Since coming into Office, both Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton and I have met with daa senior management, including its Chief Executive and the Managing Director of Cork Airport. Indeed, at the end of August Minister of State Naughton visited Cork Airport and met with senior management.

While I have not had direct engagement over the period in question, I assure the Deputy that there is ongoing and regular engagement between officials in my Department and daa and the management of Cork Airport. I am also aware that over the past 2 months, senior management from Cork Airport have been in direct contact with the An Taoiseach in relation to the impacts of Covid-19 on the Airport.

In this context the Government has already provided a comprehensive suite of generalised supports for companies of all sizes, including those in the aviation sector, which includes the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, a waiver of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities. Cork Airport, as part of the daa, is availing of these supports which assist in addressing some of the impacts of Covid-19. Further, in recognition of the devastating effects of Covid-19, Budget 2021 included a provision of €10m in capital support to address the challenges facing Cork (and Shannon) Airport.

I can assure the Deputy that I, Minister of State Naughton, and my officials will continue to engage with daa and the management of Cork Airport as the Government continues to develop the forthcoming National Economic Plan.

Driver Test

Ceisteanna (34)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

34. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport if a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be permitted to apply for the driver test without the certificate of professional competence truck case studies test given the delay in test appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34005/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

Road Projects

Ceisteanna (35)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

35. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Transport the status relating to the provision of the Killaloe bypass, Shannon bridge crossing and the R494 improvement scheme; the expected construction date for this vital project for south-east County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34076/20]

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.

Project Ireland 2040 identifies a programme of regional and local road improvement projects to be progressed with grant support and the Killaloe Bypass, Shannon Bridge Crossing and the R494 improvement scheme is one of those projects. Implementation of the programme of projects is on a phased basis and progression of each project is subject to the profile of annual capital allocations available to the Department.

Implementation of the Killaloe Bypass, Shannon Bridge Crossing and the R494 improvement scheme is the responsibility of Clare County Council. Grant funding of €4.5 million was allocated to the Council for this project in 2020. The scheme is at land acquisition and preparatory works stage at present and a construction schedule for the main scheme has not been finalised as yet.

Road Safety Authority

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deput

under Standing Order 51

Ceisteanna (36)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

36. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport if there are parking facilities provided at the RSA testing centre at Carnmore, Oranmore, County Galway; if so, the number of dedicated vehicle parking places; if not, if parking facilities will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34103/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Specific details on the layout and facilities available at a RSA Test Centre are held by the Road Safety Authority and I have no information on this matter.

I am therefore passing the Deputy's question to the Road Safety Authority for direct reply. If a reply has not been received within 10 working days, the Deputy should contact my office.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51

Road Network

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deput

under Standing Order 51

Ceisteanna (37)

Marian Harkin

Ceist:

37. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Transport the total spend on local and national roads by county in 2018, 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form; and the budget allocation for 2021. [34125/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by Exchequer road grants, where applicable. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority. In the case of the four Dublin Councils, the arrangements in place since 2015 for the retention of Local Property Tax means that these Councils are required to largely self-fund their road programmes.

In relation to Exchequer grants on roads in each of the years 2018 and 2019, details of the regional and local road grant allocations and payments to local authorities are outlined in the regional and local road allocations and payments booklets which are available in the Oireachtas Library.

The table below outlines the grants paid out to the end of October this year.

Local Authority

Spend to end October 2020

Carlow

€4,030,267

Cavan

€9,989,021

Clare

€9,195,110

Cork City

€4,659,307

Cork County

€31,870,490

Donegal

€20,453,552

Dublin City

€14,300

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

€0

Fingal

€0

Galway City

€1,337,623

Galway County

€21,273,503

Kerry

€14,526,054

Kildare

€12,540,343

Kilkenny

€10,356,228

Laois

€6,892,561

Leitrim

€6,464,532

Limerick

€15,491,864

Longford

€5,853,708

Louth

€2,933,725

Mayo

€18,790,109

Meath

€11,712,812

Monaghan

€7,929,876

Offaly

€6,175,853

Roscommon

€7,406,222

Sligo

€12,097,767

South Dublin

€0

Tipperary

€21,194,639

Waterford

€10,805,739

Westmeath

€6,486,908

Wexford

€11,782,527

Wicklow

€6,940,533

Totals

€299,205,173

Allocations for 2021 will be decided as part of the general grant allocation process.

In relation to expenditure on national roads, as Minister for Transport I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding for the National Roads Programme. Once funding arrangements have been put in place with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, development and maintenance of individual national roads is a matter for TII, in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. TII is, therefore, responsible for the distribution of funds under the Capital Programme for the implementation of the national roads programme.

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 51

Fuel Laundering

Ceisteanna (38, 42)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

38. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Finance the number of fuel tank tests tested for marked fuel in 2018 and 2019; and the number of positive tests in each year. [33992/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

42. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Finance the annual loss of revenue in 2018 and 2019 due to diesel laundering broken down by tax stream including VAT, excise duty and other relevant tax streams in tabular form. [33989/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 42 together.

I am advised by Revenue that a multifaceted approach is taken to tackling the misuse of fuel and its compliance activities in this area include roadside sampling of private and commercial vehicles at checkpoints combined with a risk based targeted sampling programme based on enhanced supply chain reporting for suppliers and retailers. In addition, Revenue and the UK Revenue and Customs undertook a joint initiative to introduce a new marker for use in marked fuels, which came into operation in April 2015.

The number of samples of Marked Gas Oil drawn and the consequential detections of misused fuel for the years 2018 and 2019 are set out below.

Year

Samples Drawn

Misuse Detections

2018

27,875

835

2019

33,984

867

Revenue conducted random National Sampling Programmes in the years 2016 to 2019 to assess the extent of fuel laundering. The results for all 4 years of the sampling programmes to date are summarised in the report of the 2019 programme published at: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/research/oil-sampling-programme-2019.pdf.

The 2019 programme involved samples being taken from over 200 randomly selected licenced fuel outlets and transport sector trades. Evidence of misuse of fuel was discovered in only 3 cases.

The results represent confirmation of the effectiveness of the various measures introduced by Revenue in recent years to enhance compliance in the fuel trade and among users of diesel. The random sampling programme results do not signify the complete elimination of the illicit trade in fuel. However, they do demonstrate that systematic selling of illicit fuel through retail outlets and its use in the transport sector is negligible.

I am advised by Revenue that it does not measure on an annual basis the level of tax loss due to diesel laundering. By its nature, an illicit activity such as fuel laundering is not something that can be easily assessed or accurately estimated. However, a number of indicators are used to monitor trends in this area and are detailed in the information I have provided to the Deputy.

Despite the success in combatting the misuse of fuel I am assured by Revenue that combatting such criminality continues to be a priority. Revenue and An Garda Síochána collaborate closely in acting against cross-border fuel crime and also co-operate with their counterparts in Northern Ireland under the framework of the North-South Joint Agency Task Force. This cooperation plays a key role in targeting the organised crime groups who operate across jurisdictions and are responsible for much of this criminality.

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