Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar
Gnáthamharc

Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021

Written Answers Nos. 184-210

Waste Management

Question No. 185 answered with Question No. 165.

Ceisteanna (184)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

184. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which the national waste management plan continues to address the relevant issues with particular reference to reduction, reuse and recycle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29804/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

Ireland is achieving or is on course to achieve all our EU waste targets. For example: - Our landfill rate for municipal waste was just 14% in 2018, representing a significant reduction from the 2017 figure of 23% and continuing the ongoing welcome decline from the 62% recorded for 2008.

- 43% of municipal waste was incinerated for energy recovery in 2018, significantly higher than the 32% recorded for 2017.

- Just 7% of municipal waste was incinerated as recently as 2012.

- Significantly more residual waste is now used as a fuel (energy recovery) than disposed to landfill.

Further information is available at https://www.epa.ie/our-services/monitoring--assessment/waste/national-waste-statistics/municipal/

The Government wants to build on this strong performance. Minister Ryan launched a Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy in September 2020. This represents a step change in our approach to waste in Ireland, as it shifts the focus away from management to a fuller reconsideration of how we use resources and materials.  The measures in the Plan are intended to minimise the amount of waste generated, eliminating waste before it can be created and diverting as much as possible to beneficial reuse or recovery and will help us deliver on our national targets.

Question No. 185 answered with Question No. 165.

Climate Change Policy

Question No. 187 answered with Question No. 126.

Ceisteanna (186, 190, 191)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

186. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the progress to date in reducing the collective dependency on plastic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29806/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

190. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the status of Ireland’s recycling targets for 2025 as detailed in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29816/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

191. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the details of the level of plastic recycling in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29817/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 186, 190 and 191 together.

The EPA is the competent authority with responsibility for compiling waste data in Ireland and publishes annual reports on this. These reports assess Ireland’s performance against the recycling and recovery targets set out in EU and national legislation. Details of these national waste statistics can be found at www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/.

The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy details the measures that will be adopted to achieve optimum results in the area of plastics and packaging. The over-riding objective is to ensure that all packaging placed on the Irish market is reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030. It sets out a level of ambition which will position Ireland as a frontrunner towards the attainment of EU packaging recycling targets including:

- overall packaging recycling rates of 65% by 2025 and 70% by 2030 and

- material specific plastic recycling rates of 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030.

The Plan also outlines the measures Ireland is taking under the Single Use Plastics Directive (EU 2019/904) to substantially reduce the amount of single use plastic items we use and to sustainably manage the waste arising from those we do. The Directive will be transposed by the deadline of 3 July 2021 and from that date single use plastic cutlery, plates, stirrers, straws, balloon sticks and cotton bud sticks may not be placed on the Irish market. This ban will also apply to single use expanded polystyrene cups and food containers and all products containing oxo-degradable plastic.

Question No. 187 answered with Question No. 126.

Broadband Infrastructure

Ceisteanna (188)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

188. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the number of broadband connection points installed in County Kildare to date in 2021; the number of points expected to be installed over the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29808/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

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 27 May, 317 BCP sites have been installed by NBI across the country and the high speed broadband service will be switched on in these locations through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development for publicly accessible sites and the Department of Education for schools. BCP locations were chosen by Broadband Officers in each Local Auth ority and for Kildare there were three sites for public use identified. Crookstown Further Education and Training and Community Centre, Lullymore Heritage Park, and Bigstone Community Hall have all been installed and connected to high speed broadband. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/. My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise schools with no high speed broadband, within the Intervention Area, for connection over the term of the NBP. In this regard, an acceleration of this aspect of the National Broadband Plan was announced in December which will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by 2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026. Saint David's National School and Rathmore National School in County Kildare have been connected with a further eight primary schools to be installed by the end of 2022 as part of this initiative. Further details are available on the NBI website at https://nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/.

Air Quality

Question No. 190 answered with Question No. 186.

Question No. 191 answered with Question No. 186.

Ceisteanna (189)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

189. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which air quality continues to be monitored at various locations throughout the country; the trends identified in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29809/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for monitoring ambient air quality in Ireland via the national Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (AAMP). The AAMP has undergone significant investment and expansion in recent years, with the number of monitoring stations increasing from 30 in 2017 to 93 today. All monitoring stations collect air quality data for a range of pollutants in order to provide information to the public, and for assessment against European legal limit values and World Health Organisation guideline values. Real-time data from these monitoring stations is available online at all times at www.airquality.ie, and the most recent report on Ireland’s air quality can be found at https://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/quality/epaairqualityreport2019.html.

The data being generated through the AAMP confirms that air quality in Ireland is generally good, and compares favourably with other European countries. While significant reductions in emissions have already been achieved through a range of policy measures, as more comprehensive, real-time, localised air quality information becomes available, it is apparent that there are key pollutants which still need to be addressed more comprehensively.

Particulate matter, from the burning of solid fuel, is estimated to cause 1,300 premature deaths per year in Ireland, and I am committed to addressing this public health and environmental challenge through a nationwide ban on smoky coal and enhanced regulation of other solid fuels.

The recent public consultation on a new solid fuel regulation for Ireland was the first step in this process. It is my intention to move now to develop a new, legally robust, and evidence-based framework for how we regulate all solid fuels used for domestic burning. This will be a central plank of Ireland’s first National Clean Air Strategy which will also identify and promote the integrated measures and actions across Government required to reduce air pollution, which I intend to publish shortly.

Question No. 190 answered with Question No. 186.
Question No. 191 answered with Question No. 186.

Recycling Policy

Question No. 193 answered with Question No. 192.

Ceisteanna (192, 193)

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

192. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the details of the total recycling in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29818/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

193. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the amount of waste incinerated in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29819/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 192 and 193 together.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for the collation of national waste data and reports annually on Ireland’s performance against the targets set out in EU and national legislation.  Reports indicate Ireland is achieving or is on course to achieve all our EU waste targets. Further information is available at https://www.epa.ie/our-services/monitoring--assessment/waste/national-waste-statistics/municipal/

The Government wants to build on this strong performance. Minister Ryan launched a Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy in September 2020. This represents a step change in our approach to waste in Ireland, as it shifts the focus away from management to a fuller reconsideration of how we use resources and materials.  The measures in the Plan are intended to minimise the amount of waste generated, eliminating waste before it can be created and diverting as much as possible to beneficial reuse or recovery and will help us deliver on our national targets.

Question No. 193 answered with Question No. 192.

Recycling Policy

Question No. 195 answered with Question No. 169.

Ceisteanna (194)

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

194. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the measures taken by his Department to ensure waste is recycled in an environmentally friendly method when exported from Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29820/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

Dublin City Council is designated as the National Competent Authority for the export, import and transit of waste shipments under S.I. No. 419 of 2007 Waste Management (Shipments of Waste) Regulations, 2007. These Regulations give effect to Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1013/2006 on transfrontier shipments of waste, which sets out notification procedures, specifies waste listings and strengthens enforcement provisions in relation to waste movements within, into and out of the European Union. The Waste Shipment Regulation is also the legislative instrument that implements the EUs obligations under related international conventions, including the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste, to which Ireland is a signatory. Provisions of the Waste Shipment Regulation require that all exports of waste from the European Union “destined for disposal shall be prohibited’. Similarly, in terms of meeting our EU waste reduction targets, S.I. No. 323/2020 - European Union (Waste Directive) Regulations 2020 provides that waste collected in Ireland and exported to another EU Member State for the purposes of preparing for re-use, recycling or backfilling in that other Member State may be counted towards the attainment of the targets in Ireland. Waste exported from the European Union may also be counted towards the attainment of national targets, providing that the exporter can prove that the shipped waste is treated in equivalent conditions to that required in the European Union. It is therefore important for Ireland to ensure that exported waste is appropriately accounted for. The enforcement and monitoring of shipments of waste to and from Ireland is maintained by the National Transfrontier Shipments Office (NTFSO) within Dublin City Council, which monitors and enforces these requirements and maintains statistics and information on shipments of waste to and from Ireland.

Question No. 195 answered with Question No. 169.

Departmental Policies

Ceisteanna (196)

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

196. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will consider initiating the development of a circular economy roadmap for some of the key sectors under his policy area. [28809/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

In April, I launched a draft Whole-of-Government Circular Economy Strategy for public consultation. This strategy, when finalised, will set out the high-level directions we need to take to make our transition to a circular economy possible.   The first iteration of the Strategy is not intended to be an action plan but does reflect specific targets already set and actions already being taken. Subsequent versions of the Strategy will incorporate additional actions and targets, including sector specific targets for those sectors within the Irish economy that have the potential to make significant contributions to the circular transition including, inter alia, construction, agriculture, circular design and manufacture, repair, digital services and textiles. These specific actions and targets will be delivered through a range of mechanisms, potentially including through the development of standalone Sectoral Circular Economy Roadmaps. Each new version of the Strategy is also likely to be supplemented by additional thematic analyses of specific sectors and/or activities, such as the scope for embedding circular practices within resource intensive sectors, or the potential for digital services and novel manufacturing techniques to ‘design-out’ waste.   It is anticipated that the Strategy will be updated in full every 18 months to 2 years.

Energy Policy

Question No. 198 answered with Question No. 172.

Question No. 199 answered with Question No. 126.

Ceisteanna (197)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

197. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the status of the introduction of export tariffs for the export of solar energy to the national grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29853/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The Programme for Government commits to prioritising the development of micro-generation of electricity primarily for self-consumption. Under the Climate Action Plan, a Micro-Generation working group, chaired by my Department, is developing an enabling framework for micro-generation which tackles existing barriers and establishes suitable supports within relevant market segments. The proposed support mechanism was outlined in a public consultation launched in January (now closed) and the submissions received are currently being reviewed. While the primary aim of a micro-generation scheme is to enable a household to meet its own electricity needs, it is envisaged that a suitable payment for excess electricity generated on site and exported to the grid will be available to all renewables self-consumers in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory arrangements, in line with Articles 21 and 22 of the recast Renewable Energy Directive.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) published an updated Roadmap for the Clean Energy Package’s Electricity and Renewables Directives in February, which provides for a public consultation on the regulatory framework for prosumer development later this year.

Question No. 198 answered with Question No. 172.
Question No. 199 answered with Question No. 126.

National Broadband Plan

Ceisteanna (200)

Alan Dillon

Ceist:

200. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the number of premises that will be connected to high-speed broadband under the National Broadband Plan; the number and percentage of these that have been surveyed for connection to date by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29859/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract to roll out a high speed and future proofed broadband network within the Intervention Area which covers 1.1 million people living and working in the over 546,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms along with 695 schools. The deployment plan forecasts construction commenced 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. Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, NBI has made steady progress on delivery of the new high speed fibre broadband network under the National Broadband Plan. I am advised by NBI that, as of 27 May 2021, over 220,000 premises across 26 counties have been surveyed. I understand that build works are continuing across the country in 12 deployment areas covering townlands in Carrigaline, Ballinasloe, Cavan, Clare, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary, Tralee, Wexford and Carlow. In addition, "make ready" work is underway in a further 15 Deployment Areas. The first fibre to the home connections are successfully connected in Carrigaline, Co Cork and Cavan with almost 4,000 premises passed and available for connection to date.

A breakdown of the premises in the intervention area by county and surveys undertaken to date is set out in the table following.

COUNTY

number of premises in the IA

surveys completed

% surveys completed

Carlow

8,190

7,772

94.62%

Cavan

16,274

3,817

23.45%

Clare

22,719

3,567

15.70%

Cork

79,663

22,765

28.57%

Donegal

32,483

6,389

19.67%

Dublin

13,677

2,437

17.79%

Galway

38,887

14,914

38.34%

Kerry

26,988

16,382

60.69%

Kildare

14,085

7,598

53.94%

Kilkenny

18,416

5,951

32.31%

Laois

12,562

9,695

77.18%

Leitrim

11,614

3,576

30.79%

Limerick

21,293

8,583

40.31%

Longford

8,712

3,294

37.81%

Louth

8,423

7,850

93.18%

Mayo

36,614

8,281

22.62%

Meath

19,824

7,742

39.05%

Monaghan

15,332

10,644

69.42%

Offaly

12,216

1,275

10.44%

Roscommon

19,185

8,268

43.10%

Sligo

14,875

3,959

26.62%

Tipperary

29,810

14,001

46.97%

Waterford

15,048

11,277

74.94%

Westmeath

11,761

8,656

73.60%

Wexford

22,552

11,231

49.80%

Wicklow

15,464

10,547

68.09%

TOTAL

546,762

220,471

 40%

Renewable Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (201)

Christopher O'Sullivan

Ceist:

201. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if renewable electricity projects awarded RESS-1 contracts will be delivered by the end of 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29862/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

Under the first auction of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-1) 68 projects, equating to approximately 1,088MW of new renewable energy generation, have entered into implementation agreements as set out in the terms and conditions of the scheme. The RESS-1 terms and conditions and implementation agreement provide that all successful projects must achieve commercial operation by 31 December 2022. This date was set based on reasonable and realistic delivery timeframes required for projects to connect to the grid. Up to a one year extension to this date is provided for RESS-1 projects with reduced support payments commensurate with the delay.     

A number of milestones remain for each project to meet in order to be eligible for PSO Levy support under RESS-1. The electricity system operators (EirGrid and ESB Networks) are responsible for engagement with projects to programme their connection to the grid and commissioning.  

My Department is monitoring the development of all RESS 1 projects and the overall RESS-1 delivery programme in order to ensure high project realisation rates and maximise the level of renewable energy output to meet Ireland's national and EU 2030 climate and energy targets.

Road Traffic Offences

Ceisteanna (202)

Patrick Costello

Ceist:

202. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Transport the number of successful prosecutions of drivers who have struck the Luas in each of the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021, including the offence which was prosecuted and the sentences that were handed down in tabular form. [29649/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operation of public transport services.

The issue raised is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) who are the agency with responsibility for the Luas and I have therefore forwarded the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (203)

Neasa Hourigan

Ceist:

203. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Transport the reason the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland is currently not fully processing local authority applications for the electric vehicle public charge point grant; when local authorities can expect to receive notice on the status of their applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29814/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Electric vehicles (EVs) are the most prominent transport mitigation measure in the 2019 Climate Action Plan, and Ireland has set an ambitious target of 936,000 EVs on our roads by 2030.  

To expedite the deployment of low emitting vehicles, the Public Charge Point Scheme has been in place since September 2019 and will continue to be available during 2021 to provide local authorities with a grant of up to €5,000 to support the development of on-street public chargers. The primary focus of this scheme is to provide support for the installation of infrastructure which will facilitate owners of electric vehicles, who do not have access to a private parking space but rely on parking their vehicles in public places near their homes, to charge their EVs.

 In light of the SEAI's responsibility for administering the scheme, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to SEAI for a direct response. Please contact my office if no reply has been received within 10 working days.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (204)

Darren O'Rourke

Ceist:

204. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport his views on the need to reform the SEAI electric car grant scheme to ensure those households that need the greatest financial help purchasing an electric car can do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29404/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department is providing significant supports to households and businesses who wish to make the transition to an electric vehicle.

The purchase grant supports are distributed through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for the purchase of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

In order to qualify for the relevant supports under the SEAI scheme, the electric vehicle must be classified as M1 (private passenger vehicle) or N1 (light commercial vehicle). The scheme currently provides up to €5,000 in grant support for the private purchase of a new electric car (M1) and up to €3,800 for the purchase of a new electric van (N1) by a company or where a motor dealership is purchasing a demonstration vehicle. My Department is making an allocation of €27 million in 2021 for grants under this scheme.

This grant scheme encourages behavioural change and supports the Government’s commitment to achieving a 51% reduction in transport emissions by 2030.

The grant schemes are kept under continuous review to ensure that they are as effective as possible in driving the decarbonisation effort. In this regard, I announced in March that the terms of the Purchase Grant Scheme will be amended from 1 July 2021, so that vehicles with a market value greater than €60,000 will no longer qualify for grant aid. This is to ensure that funding is targeted most effectively at those who might not otherwise buy an electric vehicle and where the availability of Government support is most likely impact upon a decision to purchase an EV.

As well as the purchase grant scheme, there is a significant range of other supports to incentivise the take-up of electric vehicles, including:

-Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) relief of up to €5,000 for battery electric vehicles and low rates of VRT for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles;

- Benefit-in-kind tax relief for battery electric vehicles;

- Grant support towards the full cost of installation of a home charger up to a maximum of €600;

- Lowest rate of motor tax (€120 per annum) for battery electric vehicles and generally low rates of motor tax for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; and

- A discount on tolls of 50% for battery electric vehicles and 25% for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (up to a maximum amount of €500 per year with greater reductions off-peak on the M50).

- Grants of up to €12,500 to support the purchase of electric vehicles in the taxi/hackney/limousine sector

- €15 million to support taxi and hackney drivers in scrapping their older vehicles and replacing them with electric alternatives.

- Accelerated Capital Allowances for businesses;

Over the coming years, we will see through the combination of improvements in technology, reductions in vehicle purchase prices, increasing driving ranges and model availabilities from manufacturers, as well as Government incentives and new investment in the recharging network, a further boost to the current positive policy environment under which electric vehicle sales are rising steeply year on year.

Driver Test

Ceisteanna (205, 207)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

205. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport the reason the driver theory test service has not yet resumed (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29092/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

207. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Transport when driver theory test centres will be reopened for persons due to sit their theory test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29129/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 205 and 207 together.

In line with the further easing of restrictions, the gradual re-opening of in-person driver theory test centres will commence after the 7th of June. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will reopen its network of test centres and will be permitted to carry out 25,000 driver theory tests per month.

Prior to COVID-19, the RSA provided 15,000 tests per month. In light of the significant backlog of customers, the RSA will gradually increase capacity in its test centres to 25,000 tests a month.

The test centres have extensive COVID-19 measures in place to protect both customers and staff and to ensure the safe delivery of the service. It is hoped that capacity will gradually increase to 50,000 tests per month over time, if public health guidance permits.

The RSA has been working to deliver an online theory test service, with a pilot online test already underway for trucks and buses. This pilot service has now been extended to include a limited number of car and motorbike tests. 

The new offering will see 4,000 online theory tests available for all categories of vehicles per month. Tests are available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis with the new online service becoming more widely available later in the year. Once the online service is established, all customers will be able to opt to do the test online.

Driver Test

Question No. 207 answered with Question No. 205.

Ceisteanna (206)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

206. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport the status of a driver theory test application by a person (details supplied) which has been rescheduled six times in the past six months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29122/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The driver theory test is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority.

Individual cases are a matter for the Authority and the question in relation to this case is being referred to it for direct reply. 

I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

Question No. 207 answered with Question No. 205.

Córas Iompair Éireann

Ceisteanna (208, 210, 217)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

208. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport if he will provide assurances that a pending High Court decision will be awaited before there are further discussions or engagement in relation to CIÉ pensions. [29133/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Cian O'Callaghan

Ceist:

210. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport if he will await the outcome of the High Court application before engaging in further discussions in relation to the 1951 CIÉ pension scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29149/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

James O'Connor

Ceist:

217. Deputy James O'Connor asked the Minister for Transport the status of a pension system (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29166/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 208, 210 and 217 together.

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

The CIÉ Group has two pension schemes, namely the Regular Wages Scheme (“RWS”) and 1951 superannuation scheme (“1951 Scheme”) and issues in relation to CIÉ pension schemes are primarily a matter for the trustees of the schemes, the CIÉ Group and their employees.

Concerning the 1951 pension scheme, members of the scheme were recently balloted regarding the Labour Court Recommendation which emerged on 23rd November 2020, with a majority of the members voting to accept the proposals. CIÉ have written to me in recent days advising that they will begin the process of amending the Statutory Instruments to implement the Labour Court Recommendation. I understand that CIÉ has also advised the Pensions Authority and the ‘1951’ Pension Scheme Trustees and Committee of this development. 

In the light of the above, I have referred the Deputies questions to CIÉ for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

National Car Test

Question No. 210 answered with Question No. 208.

Ceisteanna (209)

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

209. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Transport if he has considered extending the validity of NCT certificates given that waiting times for appointments are now over three months in some areas (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29142/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The previous extension to National Car Test (NCT) test due dates was given as a direct result of the temporary suspension of the NCT roadworthiness service on 28 March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 As the NCT is now classified as an essential service no further extensions to test due dates for NCT inspections are anticipated at this time.

I would advise contacting the NCT on 01-413992 in relation to this matter and to obtain a suitable NCT appointment.

Question No. 210 answered with Question No. 208.
Barr
Roinn