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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 174 - 194
 Header Item Water and Sewerage Schemes Provision
 Header Item Maritime Spatial Planning
 Header Item Water Services Provision
 Header Item Ministerial Transport
 Header Item Electricity Generation
 Header Item Ministerial Transport
 Header Item Traffic Management
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Road Projects Status
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Ministerial Transport
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Applications
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item National Monuments
 Header Item Waterways Issues
 Header Item Ministerial Transport

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 858 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 73 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 174 - 194

Water and Sewerage Schemes Provision

 174. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly the process that the sewerage scheme for Arklow, County Wicklow went through; if such delays will be avoided in the future; if a new application will be lodged under infrastructural legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44491/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The Arklow Sewerage Scheme was included in my Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013 as a scheme to commence construction within the period of the Programme. This scheme was made up of 3 contracts; 2 network contracts – South Green & Harbour Road, and Northern and Southern interceptors and a separate Wastewater Treatment Plant DBO contract.

  Court proceedings relating to planning approval for the proposed wastewater treatment plant site in Arklow, led to delays in getting the wastewater treatment plant contract to construction. However, work continued on other elements of the scheme, most notably the advance of the South Green and Harbour Road network contract which was at construction at the end of December 2013.

  Since 1 January 2014 Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels including the delivery of water services capital infrastructure. Irish Water has published its proposed Capital Investment Plan (CIP) 2014-2016 and this is available online at http://www.water.ie/news/proposed-capital-investment-plan-2014-2016.pdf.

  Irish Water has also established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives and has contacted all Oireachtas members to provide details of an improved level of service which it is aiming to provide. The team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a new dedicated number, 1890 578 578.

Maritime Spatial Planning

 175. Deputy Anne Ferris Information on Anne Ferris Zoom on Anne Ferris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly his plans for the development of a marine spatial planning system including public consultation steps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44536/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The development of a framework for maritime spatial planning is one of the actions set out in Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland.  Implementation of actions identified in the plan is supervised by the Marine Co-ordination Group, which is chaired by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Furthermore, the EU adopted Directive 2014/89/EU which establishes a framework for maritime spatial planning earlier this year. The Directive is binding on all coastal Member States.

  The Marine Coordination Group’s consideration of how maritime spatial planning might be implemented is on-going. Whilst I cannot prejudge the group’s deliberations on the matter, it may be assumed that public consultation will form part of the process of the development of such a system.

Water Services Provision

 176. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly further to Parliamentary Question No. 1056 of 4 November 2014, if his Department will in fact quantify for each local authority the number of housing estates involved in this problem and if, in view of the pilot project referred to in his reply, he will provide the agencies and authorities participating in that pilot project; if he will provide a roadmap which clearly indicates the various stages involved in quantifying the extent of the problems faced; the costs associated with resolving them; the legal hurdles involved where the estates remain in private ownership and any other associated issues so that individual residents within these estates may clearly grasp the scale of the problems involved; if it is his intention subject to this pilot project to seek funding in 2015 to put in place a resolution to this problem on an estate by estate basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44550/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The definitive number of estates with developer - provided water services infrastructure is not known. However, preliminary analysis undertaken in 2013 by my Department, in consultation with the Water Services Transition Office and with Irish Water, indicates that, nationally, there may be approximately 800 residential developments with developer-provided stand-alone wastewater treatment plants and/or water treatment systems that are not connected to the public networks. However, it should be noted that this is an estimate only and I am unable to provide a breakdown on a local authority basis at this time.

The steering group for the pilot project is comprised of my Department, representatives of Irish Water, the County and City Management Association and the EPA. The local authorities participating in the project will be nominating an engineer who will focus on issues within the authority’s functional area.

There will be two elements to the project. Firstly, each participating local authority will provide a list of all estates in its functional area where developer-provided water services infrastructure is present, along with more detailed information regarding the particular development and the water or wastewater treatment systems serving the development. The second element of the project will involve selecting a sample number of the developments listed for more detailed technical investigation. This will provide valuable information regarding the nature and condition of the water or waste water infrastructure present and will make recommendations as to how best to engineer solutions.

The information regarding a representative sample of developments will ultimately inform the evolution of a national policy regarding the taking-in-charge by local authorities of developments with developer provided water services infrastructure present and, where appropriate, the connection of the infrastructure to Irish Water. The issues of funding and of establishing a timeframe for the remediation of the problems which exist across the country will be addressed based on the outputs from the project.

Ministerial Transport

 177. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly the ministerial transport costs for the years 2010 to 2013, inclusive, for each Minister and Minister of State in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44889/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly My Department spent €130,946, €168,083, €220,469 and €215,514 on Ministerial transport arrangements in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively.

  In line with Government policy, I do not use a state car. My Department employs two civilian drivers for driving duties in my own car in line with approved arrangements.

  The same arrangements were in place for my predecessor and the salary and subsistence payments of his drivers, together with the mileage costs paid to him are included in the above figures. The above figures also include similar costs, including the costs of two drivers, for former Ministers of State during those periods.

  Transport costs under the previous scheme of Garda drivers and State cars for Ministers in 2010 and 2011 (part) are matters for the Department of Justice and Equality.

Electricity Generation

 178. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White the reasoning behind the closure of the Electric Ireland micro-generation pilot scheme to new customers from 31 December 2014, particularly in view of the fact that micro-generation is more affordable and has a much lower carbon footprint than traditional forms of energy generation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44533/14]

 179. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White if he will provide an update regarding Electric Ireland having announced it will no longer buy electricity from residential properties generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind - residential consumers connected up to 31 December 2014 were eligible for a 9 cent/kWH export tariff, this now falls to zero; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44541/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 and 179 together.

While this is a matter in which I, as Minister, have no statutory function, I am aware that Electric Ireland has been offering a micro generation feed in tariff since February 2009. The reasoning behind a decision to close a scheme is a commercial matter for the supplier. No other electricity supplier has chosen to provide such a tariff, to either domestic or commercial customers, though they have been invited to do so by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). Responsibility for the regulation of the electricity and gas markets is a matter for the CER, which is an independent statutory body.

I am aware of the need to give further policy consideration to the place of microgeneration in our energy mix. Analysis of the potential of microgeneration technologies such as small scale wind, solar and small scale hydro, has been carried out for my Department by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The SEAI's findings, along with responses to the recent consultation on the Green Paper on Energy Policy in Ireland, will inform future policy on the provision of any market support for microgeneration.

Ministerial Transport

 180. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White the ministerial transport costs for the years 2010 to 2013, inclusive, for each Minister and Minister of State in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44886/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The information requested by the Deputy on the total cost to my Department of Ministerial transport in the years 2010 to 2013 is outlined in the table.

-2010201120122013
Minister’s transport costs0€63,550€103,136€107,642
Minister of State’s transport costs0€63,370€96,685€104,188


  In 2010, all Government Ministers were provided with a State car that was driven by a member of An Garda Síochána from a pool of Gardaí, two of whom were assigned to the Minister at that time. The cost of this service was funded from the Vote of An Garda Síochána.

  During this period, the Minister of State who was also assigned to the then Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, did not claim mileage in my Department.

  The Government decided on 15 March 2011, inter alia, that with the exception of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, who retained their State car and Garda Drivers, the travel arrangements that were in place for Ministers of State would apply to all Ministers with regard to their official travel.

  Under these new arrangements, Ministers could appoint two civilian drivers to drive the Minister’s car and claim mileage in accordance with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidelines.

  The salary and subsistence costs of the civilian drivers employed by my Department together with the mileage costs paid to the Minister and the Minister of State are included in the above figures. Foreign travel costs are not included.

Traffic Management

 181. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe in view of the worsening situation on the M50 where it merges with the N11 at Bray, where consistent anecdotal evidence indicates that the road system cannot cope with the capacity, if he will undertake a traffic survey to ascertain what can be done to alleviate the delays motorists are experiencing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44438/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

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

Rail Services

 182. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will confirm the future of Dromod railway station on the Sligo-Dublin Connolly inter-city service. [44443/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The National Transport Authority (NTA) has entered into a Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract with Irish Rail for the provision of rail services.  Specific proposals relating to the provision of services under that contract are a matter for the NTA in conjunction with Irish Rail.

I have therefore referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office If you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Projects Status

 183. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the progress of the proposed Macroom bypass in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44456/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

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

Road Improvement Schemes

 184. Deputy Áine Collins Information on Áine Collins Zoom on Áine Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will ensure that funding is made available for local improvement schemes in this year's allocations to county councils. [44482/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) provides funding for roads and laneways that Councils have not taken in charge.  However, the maintenance and improvement of these is, in the first instance, a matter for the relevant landowner. There is no separate allocation for the LIS.  Instead, local authorities may use up to 15% (up from 7% in 2013) of their initial Discretionary Grant towards local improvement schemes should they wish to do so. The local contribution for these schemes remains at 20% of the total cost of the project.

Details of the 2014 regional and local roads grants were communicated to local authorities on 24 January this year. Furthermore, it is open to local authorities to supplement the percentage of their Discretionary Grant that they can use for the LIS with their own resources.

The above position is likely to extend into 2015. Some local authorities want a ring-fenced LIS allocation for private roads while others prefer to put the funding into public roads. I think this decision is best made at a local level.

Departmental Funding

 185. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if his Department provided funding for festivals to local authorities this year; if so, if he will provide in tabular form a breakdown by local authority of the funding they received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44486/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The operation of festival funding programmes is a matter for the board and management of Fáilte Ireland.  Therefore I have referred the Deputy's Question to them for further information and direct reply.

  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Projects

 186. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will initiate measures to allow the National Roads Authority to liaise with An Bord Pleanála on a pre-planning basis on projects of strategic public interest, such as the Adare bypass project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44522/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The planning, design and implementation of individual national road schemes are matters for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993-2007 in conjunction with the relevant road authorities.

The main purpose of the Roads Bill 2014, which has completed Second Stage in the Dáil, is to facilitate the merger of the National Roads Authority (NRA) and the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA). The Bill also provides for a number of amendments to the existing provisions of the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007.

At present there is no provision in either the Roads Acts or the Planning Acts for the NRA or road authorities to enter into pre-planning application consultations with An Bord Pleanála in relation to proposed road developments.

I believe that there is merit in providing for such consultations and accordingly I will seek to introduce an amendment in this regard in the Roads Bill at Committee Stage.

As pre-planning consultations are a function of An Bord Pleanála, and therefore primarily a planning matter, my Department is liaising with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and An Bord Pleanála, as well as with the National Roads Authority, on the matter.

Road Improvement Schemes

 187. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if increased funding will be provided to Kerry County Council to replace the old bridge at Listry on the R563; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44523/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe 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 local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.  

In the past local authorities were able to apply under the Specific Improvement Grants Scheme for funding towards the cost of road improvement projects, including bridge replacement but due to the cut backs in capital funding for roads the Specific Improvement Grant Scheme has had to be curtailed in order to maximise the funding available for repair and strengthening work.  In lieu of the Specific Improvement Grant Programme, applications have been sought for bridge repair works (which is a subset of the current Specific Grant Programme) for 2015.  This is in line with focusing monies on road and bridge maintenance and strengthening. The selection of projects is a matter for the relevant local authority.

It is also important to reiterate that the role of Exchequer grants for regional and local roads is to supplement Councils like Kerry County Council in their own resources spending in this area.  It is open to the Council to fund this project from its own resources.

Road Improvement Schemes

 188. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if funding will be provided to progress the N86 road improvement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44524/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects  is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

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

Ministerial Transport

 189. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the ministerial transport costs for the years 2010 to 2013, inclusive, for each Minister and Minister of State in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44897/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled and will be forwarded as soon as possible.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Applications

 190. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will provide an update on the application to the turf cutting compensation scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44430/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys An application for compensation under the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme has been received by my Department from the individual referred to in the Deputy’s Question. I am advised that payments of €1,500 in respect of Year 1 of 15 (2012) and €1,518 in respect of Year 2 of 15 (2013) have been made to this applicant. In addition, a once-off payment of €500 has been made to the applicant in respect of the signing of a legal agreement under this scheme.

  The qualifying criteria for the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme are that:

  - The claimant must have a legal interest in one of the 53 raised bog special areas of conservation – ownership or turbary right;

  - The claimant must have been the owner or entitled to exercise turbary rights on the land in question on 25 May 2010;

  - The turbary on the site must not be exhausted;

  - The claimant must have been cutting turf on the land in question during the relevant five year period; and

  - No turf cutting or associated activity is ongoing on the property.

  Following an inspection by officials of my Department of the plot of bog in respect of which the applicant has applied for compensation, it appears that a supply of turf had not been cut on the land in question during the relevant five year period.

  My Department has written to the applicant outlining that the qualifying criteria have not been met and he does not qualify for compensation under the scheme. The applicant has also been informed of the Departmental review and appeal procedures open to him in the event that he disagrees with this decision.

Commemorative Events

 191. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of jobs that will be created through each of the Government's projects for the Ireland 2016 events including in expanded museums and new interpretative centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44484/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys A capital provision of €22 million will be allocated in 2015 to a number of flagship 1916 commemoration projects, including the development of a permanent exhibition space and interpretative centre at the GPO; the renovation of Kilmainham Courthouse to enhance the visitor experience at Kilmainham Gaol; the provision of a permanent visitor facility at Cathal Brugha Barracks for the Military Service Pensions Archive; the development of visitor facilities at Teach an Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc; renovation works at Richmond Barracks; the development of a Tenement Museum in Dublin; and the restoration of the Kevin Barry rooms in the National Concert Hall. I have also secured a current allocation of €4 million in the Budget for 2015 to allow for the roll out of an integrated plan focused on commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

The investment in the 2016 programme will have a positive impact in terms of jobs and wider economic benefits, both locally and nationally. The construction works that are underway for the capital projects at the GPO and Kilmainham have already provided employment of the order of 250+ jobs in the construction industry, with the actual figure varying in line with the particular phases of work taking place. I am confident that there will be further employment opportunities as the other projects and programme elements develop.

National Monuments

 192. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if funding will be provided to protect a historical structure (details supplied) from being washed away by the sea; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44525/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I understand that the main threat to the site in question, which is not a national monument in State care, is coastal erosion.

Overall policy for coastal protection, including coastal flooding and erosion, is a matter for the Office of Public Works, while the identification and addressing of coastal protection measures in any particular area is a matter in the first instance for the relevant local authority concerned. My Department has been in contact with the relevant local authority in relation to this site and would be available to offer advice should any proposals for protection works be brought forward.

Waterways Issues

 193. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the progress of proposed by-laws in respect of canals; if she has engaged with the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland regarding the proposed by-laws; if her attention has been drawn to its concerns on this matter, particularly in relation to providing an incentive to use canals and develop tourism potential of the canals, mooring provisions, dry dock tolls and charges; the steps taken to address these concerns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44545/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Waterways Ireland proposes to make new by-laws which are intended to enhance its ability to manage the canals for the benefit of all canal users. There are over 14,000 registered boat owners on the seven waterways managed by Waterways Ireland. These waterways make a vital contribution to tourism, attracting visitors from Ireland and abroad.

  The proposed new by-laws are intended to enhance the ability of Waterways Ireland to manage the Royal and Grand Canals and the Barrow Navigation for the benefit of all canal users. Investment by Waterways Ireland in these waterways has made them more attractive for boat owners and is helping to develop them as a vibrant recreational and tourist amenity. Against that background, it is now necessary to update the by-laws to ensure that the rules governing the use of the waterways are fit for purpose and can best meet the needs of all waterway users.

  I am aware that concerns have been raised regarding aspects of the proposed by-laws. Waterways Ireland undertook a public consultation process in relation to the proposed by-laws earlier this year. I am advised that the main stakeholders, including the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, the Heritage Boat Association, the Royal Canal Amenity Group and the Irish Boat Rental Association, were contacted individually and invited to meet with the Chief Executive and the senior management team of Waterways Ireland prior to submitting their views. The current permit holders on the three waterways concerned, including traditional canal users and canal dwellers, received individual written notices and were given the opportunity to make their views and requirements known.

  I understand that over 2,000 submissions were made in the course of the public consultation process. I have been advised that analysis of this process has been completed by Waterways Ireland and is available on the Waterways Ireland website at http://www.waterwaysireland.org/public-consultation, together with the submissions received. Waterways Ireland has submitted a revised set of draft by-laws to my Department, which is currently being reviewed. When that process has been concluded, the matter will be referred to me, as Minister, with recommendations for consideration and final decision. In line with a commitment given during a debate in Seanad Éireann on 26 February 2014, I will provide interested Deputies and Senators with an opportunity to discuss the proposals with me prior to making a final decision on the draft by-laws.

Ministerial Transport

 194. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the ministerial transport costs for the years 2010 to 2013, inclusive, for each Minister and Minister of State in her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44884/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht was established on 2 June 2011. The amount spent on Ministerial transport in the period from that date to 31 December 2011, and for the years 2012 and 2013, is set out in the Table. These costs include the cost of drivers. All expenditure was incurred in full conformity with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidance on such matters.

YearMinisterMinister of State
2 June 2011 to 31 December 2011€75,594€64,444
2012€121,039€110,859
2013€115,999€108,815


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