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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 653-674
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Sports Events
 Header Item Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Rural Transport Services Provision
 Header Item Rural Transport Services Provision
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Road Safety Data
 Header Item Road Safety Strategy
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Rail Services Provision
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Departmental Properties
 Header Item Departmental Schemes
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Census of Population Publication
 Header Item Departmental Funding

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 901 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 653-674

Services for People with Disabilities

 653. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the details of the expenditure on making public transport wheelchair accessible in each of the past five years [45174/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe My Department provides funding to the National Transport Authority (NTA) for the development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) which includes a rolling programme of bus replacement and refurbishment of the Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann PSO fleets both in the GDA and nationally.

Wheelchair Accessibility is built into all new public transport infrastructure projects and vehicles from the design stage and new systems such as the Luas are fully accessible. In addition, 100% of the Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann city fleets are wheelchair accessible, as well as 65% of the Bus Éireann coach fleet.

My Department also funds an on-going programme of accessibility improvement grants to upgrade existing public transport infrastructure and facilities. The bulk of this funding has been provided for the upgrading of Iarnród Éireann rail stations to make them accessible, and to allow wheelchair users to travel on Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann buses. This programme is being managed by the NTA on behalf of my Department.  

In light of the NTA's responsibility in the matter I have referred the Deputy's question to the Authority for a more detailed reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Tourism Promotion

 654. 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 his plans to promote the bed and breakfast sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45188/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe This is an operational matter for the Board and management of Fáilte Ireland.  I have referred the Deputy's question to the agency for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Sports Events

 655. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will provide funding to the University of Limerick arena in Limerick city to replace the boom to enable it to host some of the top national events on the Swim Ireland calendar. [45208/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The works referred to by the Deputy are not funded under my Department's Sports Capital Programme and the Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme is not open for applications. I would advise the Deputy that while I have received a number of representations on behalf of the University of Limerick swimming pool, the University of Limerick has not expressed any concern about this matter to me.

​Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the promotion, development and co-ordination of sport.  Sport Ireland provides an annual subsidy to the University of Limerick for the operation of the 50 metre pool. I have referred the Deputy's question to Sport Ireland for direct response on this matter. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

 656. Deputy Noel Coonan Information on Noel Coonan Zoom on Noel Coonan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the status of the Shannon river crossing project at Killaloe in County Clare and Ballina in County Tipperary, including when it will proceed, the impact of the judicial review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45218/15]

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.

I understand that An Bord Pleanála granted planning approval to Clare County Council respect of this scheme in 2013 but that this decision was subsequently referred for judicial review. As a decision on the outcome of the judicial review process is awaited, it is not possible to confirm any further details until that process is completed.

  Question No. 657 withdrawn.

Tourism Promotion

 658. Deputy Helen McEntee Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the status of his efforts to develop the Ireland’s Ancient East project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44877/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe ​While my Department provides the capital funding for investment in tourism propositions such as Ireland's Ancient East, it is not directly involved in developing or managing these, as this is an operational matter for the Board and Management of Fáilte Ireland.

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

Rural Transport Services Provision

 659. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his views regarding rural transport services being used to undercut commercial operators, as articulated at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications in November 2015, regarding the Kerry Flyer.  [44878/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the management of the Rural Transport Programme funded by my Department. I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Rural Transport Services Provision

 660. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the important of the role of Nifti in providing rural transport in north County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44879/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the management of the Rural Transport Programme funded by my Department. I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.​

Public Transport Provision

 661. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he or any agency under the remit of his Department provide funding for minibuses to provide elderly citizens in a community in Galway city with greater resources to assist them in their daily routines and to directly improve their health and general well-being; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [45332/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe My Department has no funding for the direct provision of such services.

  From monies made available by my Department, the National Transport Authority (NTA) provides funding for socially necessary but financially unviable public transport services, known as Public Service Obligation (PSO) services and also for the provision of services under the Rural Transport Programme.

  I have referred your question to the NTA for further direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Road Safety Data

 662. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of pedestrian road deaths, by county, in each of the years from 2005 to date in tabular form.  [45397/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe ​This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore 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 Safety Strategy

 663. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will introduce legislation or regulations to place a mandatory or statutory obligation on pedestrians walking on unlit roads at night to wear high-visibility clothing; if such an obligation would enhance road safety for pedestrians; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [45398/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe To create a statutory obligation on the wearing of reflective clothing would entail making it a criminal offence under Road Traffic legislation for any person guilty of not wearing high visibility clothing. A person in breach of such a provision would be issued with a fixed charge notice by a Garda or summonsed to court depending on whatever administrative procedure would be put in place for the processing of such offences.

In my view, safety issues such as these are best addressed by way of educational and publicity campaigns, such as those undertaken by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) which has responsibility for the promotion of road safety awareness, advertising and the dissemination of road safety information. The RSA is engaged on an ongoing basis in efforts to change our cultural attitude to road safety through advertising, publicity, education and community initiatives. As part of this process it has undertaken a number of campaigns to promote awareness among pedestrians of the need for visibility on our roads. 

In addition, almost four million high visibility vests, armbands, rucksack covers and other high visibility materials have been distributed by the RSA, An Gardaí Síochána, Road Safety Officers, Age Action and the Vintners Federation over the past three years. A number of measures have also been included in the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020 aimed at increasing the wearing of high visibility clothing among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Ultimately, the safety of all road users is a matter of personal responsibility. In that context, the Rules of the Road include a strong recommendation supporting the wearing of light and preferably high-visibility clothing.

Road Network

 664. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will provide a substantial increase in funding for the non-national road network to local authorities in 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45410/15]

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 order to address the national finances there were substantial cutbacks in recent years in the funding available for State grants for regional and local road programmes and this has had a major impact across the board.  I know that it is important to restore over time capital funding for the transport sector to ensure that land transport infrastructure is maintained and renewed to support economic development but as of now my Department is continuing to operate within a very constrained budget and grant allocations reflect that.

Within the budget available to my Department I have tried to allocate funding on as fair and equitable basis as I can and this will remain the position in 2016.  In this context grants in the three main grant categories (Restoration Improvement, Discretionary Grant and Restoration Maintenance) are allocated based on the length of regional and local roads within a local authority area. 

I am also emphasising to local authorities that the purpose of State grants for regional and local roads is to supplement the own resources spending by local authorities rather than meet the full cost of schemes and it is a matter for the local authority to select and to prioritise the works that are to be progressed.

Appointments to State Boards

 665. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe why the board of Iarnród Éireann has so many directors from the United Kingdom; and how directors are nominated or selected (details supplied).  [45426/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe ​Section 113 of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 requires a Minister appoint persons to the boards of the three CIÉ subsidiary companies, including Iarnród Éireann, who have wide experience in relation to transport, commercial, financial, land use planning or environmental matters and the organisation of workers or administration.

  In addition to this statutory requirement, earlier this year the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced a new process for appointments to state boards. Applications for state boards are now managed by the Public Appointments Services (PAS) and can be viewed on www.stateboards.ie.  All appointments to vacancies on state boards are now dealt with through the PAS website www.stateboards.ie. This new process also applies to any appointment to the board of Iarnród Éireann.

  Directors appointed to the board of Iarnród Éireann must satisfy the statutory criteria and relevant experience and expertise as highlighted in the PAS processes. As a result, appointments to the board are made by me in line with the statutory requirements and reflect the PAS identification of suitable candidates to fill the specific roles identified on the board.

Rail Services Provision

 666. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the amount it cost Iarnród Éireann to change its name from Irish Rail; why it still uses former addresses for communications purposes (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [45427/15]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments

 667. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she is aware that turf cutters who complied with the restriction to their bog in the past have received no compensation under the turf cutting compensation scheme, given that turf has not been cut in the previous five years and turf cutters who continued cutting turf illegally on the same bog received compensation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45243/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme was established in 2011 for those who have been required to cease turf cutting on the 53 raised bog special areas of conservation. The scheme has been extended to land owners and turbary right holders affected by the curtailment of turf cutting on raised bog natural heritage areas.

  The qualifying criteria for the scheme are that:

  - The claimant must have a legal interest in one of the 53 raised bog special areas of conservation or 36 raised bog natural heritage areas – 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.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

 668. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys why employees of Údarás na Gaeltachta, grades 1 to 5, are not employed on pay scales comparable to the public service, when this pay differential first came into place, its impact on pensions for those employees, the engagement she has had with the staff unions on behalf of employees; if a resolution to the issue is possible; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44861/15]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh I am advised that pays scales and a staff structure at Údarás na Gaeltachta were originally agreed between management and the unions and implemented in October 2000. I understand that a request for a review of that agreement has been submitted to my Department and will be examined, in due course, in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Departmental Properties

 669. 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 ground rents he or agencies under the remit of his Department pay, by named property, by name of landlord and by amount payable, in 2015 and 2016 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [45049/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Any properties occupied by my Department are either leased or owned by the Office of Public Works and the question of any ground rents payable is the responsibility of that body.

Bodies operating under the aegis of my Department are separate legal entities in their own right. The issues raised by the Deputy are part of the day-to-day operational responsibilities of the bodies in question and are matters for the bodies concerned.

Departmental Schemes

 670. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will reopen the built heritage scheme, given that the strict time constraints attached to it caused difficulties for groups and individuals to submit adequate applications (details supplied); if she will ensure that the window to apply for the scheme is longer in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45164/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I announced the scheme in question on 21 October 2015 and local authorities were formally notified of their allocations on 23 October 2015. Applications for funding under the scheme had to be made by the applicant directly to the relevant local authority no later than 7 December 2015. This was the final date for applications and cannot be changed.

   Each local authority is required to submit a provisional schedule of projects to my Department by 16   December 2015 and these will be assessed before formal approval is given for projects to proceed. However, dependant on final returns by the local authorities this week, I will keep this under review.

  The Deputy’s comments have been noted in the event that an equivalent scheme is put in place for 2017.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Eligibility

 671. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the status of a compensation payment to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45173/15]

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 a payment of €1,521 in respect of Year 1 of 15 (2014) has been made to this applicant.

  The qualifying criteria for the scheme are that:

  - The claimant must have a legal interest in one of the 36 raised bog natural heritage areas – 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.

  My Department is examining the application in view of the qualifying criteria for the scheme. I am advised that officials from my Department have been in contact with the applicant and an inspection of the plot of bog in respect of which the applicant has applied for compensation is to be undertaken.

Departmental Funding

 672. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will allocate funding to the Hawk's Well Theatre in County Sligo in the near future in order to help improve its facilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [45364/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys In August this year, I launched the 2015 Arts and Culture Small Capital Grants Scheme and made €300,000 available for allocation. The scheme allows for the funding of capital projects of up to €10,000, to meet up to 70% of project costs. I hope to make an announcement shortly in relation to the award of grants under this scheme.

  In addition, the Government has announced a new grant scheme for works at arts and cultural centre across the country under the Exchequer Capital Investment Framework 2016-2021. An annual allocation of €3 million is included in the Investment Framework for each of the next six years. I will announce details of the scheme early in the New Year.

Census of Population Publication

 673. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will publish the results of the 1926 census online; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45408/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys 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 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 such an early release. This is not currently being proposed.

Departmental Funding

 674. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the supports and funding she will make available to the Howth Maritime Museum in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45421/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys There are no formal proposals before my Department in relation to this project.


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