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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 499 - 510
 Header Item Road Safety Strategy
 Header Item Cycling Policy
 Header Item Road Safety Strategy
 Header Item Community Involvement Scheme
 Header Item Cycling Policy
 Header Item Wildlife Protection
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item Census of Population Publication
 Header Item GLAS Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item An Fhoireann Rannach

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 499 - 510

Road Safety Strategy

 499. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe further to Parliamentary Question No. 578 of 25 November 2014 if he will provide details on strategies in place to lower the number of rural pedestrians killed on our roads annually. [47298/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The strategies outlined in the Road Safety Strategy include the implementation of specific educational measures aimed at vulnerable road users. These include the safe crossing of roads by pedestrians, the awareness by motorists of intoxicated pedestrians, the awareness by road users (including pedestrians) of blind spots on heavy goods vehicles, the awareness of road users and workers at road works and the general duty of care for young and older people by motorists. The strategy also outlines the promotion of the voluntary use of high visibility material for pedestrians.  

The Road Safety Authority has introduced road safety awareness campaigns that promote Personal Protection Equipment for vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists), and which support a modal shift to healthier forms of mobility such as walking and cycling. Road Safety Authority campaigns which aired on television in 2014 raised awareness of cycle safety, the issue of drunk pedestrians, the danger of using mobile phones while driving, and driving without using seatbelts.

Cycling Policy

 500. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his initiatives to help promote female cycling nationally; if his attention is drawn to the impact of the demographic to increase overall cycling participation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47300/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe My Department  administers a number of smarter travel programmes, through funding provided to local authorities, which incorporate the promotion of cycling and walking.  These are the Active Travel Towns Programme 2014-2016; the National Cycle Network Programme 2014-2016 and the Smarter Travel Demonstration Areas Programme 2012-2016.   

These programmes promote initiatives to enable greater access to public transport, car-sharing, safe continuous walking/cycling infrastructure and provide improved connectivity within and between towns.

The core concept in Smarter Travel is to reduce congestion, improve travel mobility, accessibility, health and fitness and the overall quality of life for all and is not gender specific. 

Direct, specific and targeted participation of all groups are part of  the aims of the programmes.However, the programmes will invariably have a positive impact on facilitating and promoting the option of cycling for women. Notwithstanding that, my Department will  always take into account  any challenges that may be facing a particular demographic  and seek to address those challenges through policy interventions where necessary.

Road Safety Strategy

 501. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his views on measures to exculpate penalty points for those who are willing to undergo a series of road safety classes at their own expense in order to improve their driving skills and safety awareness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47302/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The introduction of driving awareness courses is something that my Department is willing to consider under the umbrella of alternative sentencing options.

Action 107 of the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020 states that, subject to legal advice, my Department should, with the support of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Department of Justice and Equality, legislate for rehabilitation and driving awareness courses as court-based sentencing options for specific offenders, which should then be implemented. 

The RSA is developing proposals on this Action at present and I am awaiting the conclusions before considering what steps might then be taken.  The idea behind alternative sentencing is to explore more effective ways of dealing with repeat offenders, but not with very serious offences such as dangerous driving causing death, where prison would still be the appropriate penalty.  It is likely that these courses, if introduced in the future, would be in addition to, and not in place of, the allocation of penalty points.

Community Involvement Scheme

 502. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will report on the community involvement scheme; the uptake of the scheme, on a county basis, since its introduction; and his future plans for the scheme. [47341/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Details of the regional and local road grant payments to local authorities, including under the Community Involvement Scheme (CIS), are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Dáil Library.  Details of the 2014 regional and local road grant allocations to each local authority, including CIS, are also available in the Dáil library.    

  I am reviewing the position in relation to regional and local grant allocations for 2015 and expect to announce the grants in January.

Cycling Policy

 503. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if there will be a round of sustainable transport funding in 2015; and when projects will be considered for inclusion. [47342/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  All available funding for the delivery of works under the Smarter Travel Programme 2014 - 2016 and the Government Stimulus Package 2014/2015 is now fully committed. However, it is likely, given the popularity and success of the works already delivered, that funding may become available from other sources over the coming years.  The EU Structural Funds Programme 2014 -2020 is currently being finalised and there are opportunities for cycle infrastructure development, including Greenways, under the Interreg and the Rural Development Programmes. I understand that a number of local authorities are already positioning themselves to benefit from such opportunities.

Wildlife Protection

 504. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will close off the loophole in existing legislation that is being exploited by the Ward Union Stag Union, to enable them to in effect hunt stags; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47258/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2010 makes it an offence to hunt deer with two or more dogs. It is understood that since the enactment of the legislation the Ward Union Hunt have operated a “drag hunt” in order to comply with the legislation. This form of hunting involves the release of a deer to set a scent over a course. Following the recapture of the deer, the hounds and horses follow the scent. This practice is not considered to be hunting, as defined in the Wildlife Acts.

Commemorative Events

 505. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the position regarding the Government's plans to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44838/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I have secured an amount 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 Easter Rising. It is my intention to allocate the current provision of €4 million in a manner that will help to support a wide range of activities and events by interested groups, including local community groups and the arts sector. There will also be a special emphasis on education projects, as recommended by the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations. A widespread public consultation process is now underway, the aim of which is to encourage and facilitate the involvement of ground-up initiatives in the wider commemorative programme.

  A number of solemn State events will take place in 2016 to commemorate the events that took place during the 1916 Easter Rising. On Easter Saturday, 26 March 2016, there will be a remembrance ceremony at Arbour Hill followed by a special State reception for the 1916 relatives. On Easter Sunday, 27 March 2016, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at Kilmainham Gaol in the morning, followed by a formal State parade to be led by representatives of the relatives who fought and died in 1916. On the evening of Easter Sunday there will be a State reception in Dublin Castle. On Easter Monday there will be an interfaith service at St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral. On Sunday 24 April, the actual date of the Rising, there will be a commemoration at Arbour Hill, hosted by the Minister for Defence, and ceremonies will be held at the graves of the 1916 leaders.

  In addition, a capital provision of €22 million will be allocated in 2015 to a number of flagship projects, including:

  - the development of a permanent exhibition space and interpretative centre at the GPO;

  - the restoration 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;

  - refurbishment works at Richmond Barracks;

  - the development of a Tenement Museum in Dublin; and

  - the commencement of refurbishment and development works at the National Archives and the National Concert Hall's Kevin Barry rooms.

Commemorative Events

 506. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the commitment in the programme for Government relating to the cultural plan for future commemorative events such as the centenary of the Easter 1916 Rising; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41677/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I have secured an amount 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 Easter Rising. It is my intention to allocate the current provision of €4 million in a manner that will help to support a wide range of activities and events by interested groups, including local community groups and the arts sector. There will also be a special emphasis on education projects, as recommended by the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations. A widespread public consultation process is now underway, the aim of which is to encourage and facilitate the involvement of ground-up initiatives in the wider commemorative programme.

   A number of solemn State events will take place in 2016 to commemorate the events that took place during the 1916 Easter Rising. On Easter Saturday, 26 March 2016, there will be a remembrance ceremony at Arbour Hill followed by a special State reception for the 1916 relatives. On Easter Sunday, 27 March 2016, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at Kilmainham Gaol in the morning, followed by a formal State parade to be led by representatives of the relatives who fought and died in 1916. On the evening of Easter Sunday there will be a State reception in Dublin Castle. On Easter Monday there will be an interfaith service at St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral. On Sunday 24 April, the actual date of the Rising, there will be a commemoration at Arbour Hill, hosted by the Minister for Defence, and ceremonies will be held at the graves of the 1916 leaders.

  In addition, a capital provision of €22 million will be allocated in 2015 to a number of flagship projects, including:

  - the development of a permanent exhibition space and interpretative centre at the GPO;

  - the restoration 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;

  - refurbishment works at Richmond Barracks;

  - the development of a Tenement Museum in Dublin; and

  - the commencement of refurbishment and development works at the National Archives and the National Concert Hall's Kevin Barry rooms.

Commemorative Events

 507. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the involvement of officials in her Department on the proposals for the development of Moore Street for the commemoration of 1916; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43801/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys My Department’s involvement in this case arises from the Preservation Order placed on Nos. 14 to 17 Moore Street under the National Monuments Acts in 2007 in order to protect No. 16 as the site of the final council of war and final headquarters of the Leaders of the 1916 Rising.

As a consequence of the Preservation Order, any works affecting the monument buildings require the consent of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. After extensive deliberations, a final consent under the National Monuments Acts was given by my predecessor to the monument owners in April 2014 for the creation of a 1916 commemorative centre in the monument buildings, involving the full repair and conservation of the structures, both internally and externally. The advancement of these proposals is a matter for the monument owners and Dublin City Council.

The development plans for the wider Moore Street area have been approved in decisions made by Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála under the Planning Acts and are entirely outside my remit under the National Monuments Acts.

Census of Population Publication

 508. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys when she will have legislation enacted to digitalise the 1926 census; the length of time it will take for the census to be released following enactment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46933/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Programme for Government contains a commitment to enabling the publication of the 1926 Census records in due course.

  The digitisation of the 1901 and 1911 Census returns, which in relative terms was a simpler project than the proposed 1926 Census project, took over four years to complete. The 1926 Census is the next full set of Census records, after the 1911 returns, which is available to the State. However, current legislative provisions, as contained in the Statistics Act 1993, require that census data must be withheld for 100 years. Accordingly, it is not possible at this time to release the 1926 Census returns before the statutory period has elapsed in 2026. If the records were to be released before the expiry of 100 years, a major   change in legislation and policy would be required to allow for the early release. This is not currently being proposed.

  A 1926 Census Working Group has been formed, comprising officials from my own Department, the National Archives and the Central Statistics Office. The Group has examined this complex project and has assessed the significant resources - in terms of additional financial, staff and infrastructural resources - that will need to be in place to move the project forward to completion. I can say that, following discussions within the Working Group, I am of the opinion that the extensive preparatory work required to prepare the 1926 Census database for processing, and eventual digitisation to facilitate the release of the data into the public domain, should continue. It must be recognised, however, that, in light of the level of additional resources that will be necessary, and of the current engagement by the National Archives on a number of other important projects, including some that form a key part of the programme for the Decade of Commemorations, it will be necessary to work over time towards building the necessary capacity to undertake and oversee the 1926 Census project.

GLAS Scheme Eligibility

 509. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she has had correspondence with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine regarding devising a protocol to facilitate long term leasing of national park lands for a period longer than the current ten month leases in order to qualify for the GLAS scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46937/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I am advised that, while my Department has received no correspondence on the GLAS scheme, it has had some informal contacts with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the matter. My Department will consult with that Department to clarify and consider the full implications of the GLAS scheme for grazing arrangements on all National Park lands owned by my Department.

An Fhoireann Rannach

 510. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys cén líon daoine atá ag obair ina Roinn faoi láthair atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; cén céatadán den fhoireann atá i gceist; comparáid a dhéanamh idir na figiúirí sin agus na figiúirí céanna in 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974 [47280/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Bunaíodh mo Roinn ar an 2 Meitheamh, 2011 agus, dá bhrí sin, ní féidir comparáidí a dhéanamh idir an bhliain seo agus na blianta 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974.

As foireann iomlán de 572 duine, tá sé de chumas ar 65 bhall foirne (11 %) seirbhísí a chur ar fáil don phobal trí Ghaeilge ar bhonn rialta. Anuas air sin, tá leibhéil éagsúla inniúlachta sa Ghaeilge ag líon suntasach d’fhoireann mo Roinne, agus féadann siad úsáid a bhaint as an gcumas sin ina gcuid oibre ó am go ham. Den chuid is mó, is é a bheadh i gceist ná fiosrúcháin ó bhéal nó fiosrúcháin scríofa a thuiscint agus freagraí a thabhairt ar fhiosrúcháin ó bhéal.

Faoina Scéim Ghaeilge, tá mo Roinnse tiomanta d’oiliúint agus forbairt chuí a chur ar fáil don fhoireann uile, sa dá theanga oifigiúil, chun freastal ar riachtanais ár gcustaiméirí agus acmhainneacht iomlán na mball foirne a fhorbairt ar feadh a ngairm. Tá 15 bhall foirne ag baint leasa faoi láthair as tacaíocht mo Roinne chun páirt a ghlacadh in oiliúint sa Ghaeilge nó chun freastal ar chúrsaí acadúla seachtracha sa Ghaeilge.


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