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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 332-44
 Header Item Inland Fisheries Ireland Expenditure
 Header Item Waste Disposal
 Header Item National Broadband Plan Implementation
 Header Item Cross-Border Projects
 Header Item Marine Accidents
 Header Item Roadworthiness Testing
 Header Item Sports Funding
 Header Item Regional Road Network
 Header Item Air Corps
 Header Item Driver Licences

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 947 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 97 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 332-44

Inland Fisheries Ireland Expenditure

 332. Deputy Martin Kenny Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the amount spent in the past ten years, per annum, on the restocking of hatcheries and rivers; and the areas in which it has been spent. [18551/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is the state agency responsible for the protection, management and conservation of Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources.

IFI has supported the rainbow and brown trout stocking requirements of Ireland’s trout angling stakeholders for some time from its fish farm operations which are a day to day operational matter for the Board of IFI.

IFI’s main fish production unit is located near Roscrea, with a supporting facility, which mainly supports the maintenance of broodstock, located at Cullion (Mullingar). There is also a small operation at Lough Allua.

I have been informed by IFI that they do not restock the hatcheries because of the existence of the brood stock.

Generally, it is angling clubs which stock fish to rivers with fish supplied by IFI and other sources. However, in the time available, it has not been possible for IFI to assemble the required information from sales and other records. I  have asked IFI to respond directly to the Deputy with the relevant information. In the meantime, if the Deputy has a specific query in mind, I would be happy to arrange a detailed briefing with IFI.

IFI also advise that, for the period 2014 to 2016, direct stocking by the Agency has been to two rivers; the Camlen River in the Shannon River Basin District with 50 brown trout in 2014 costing €173 and the Tolka River in Dublin with 1,000 brown trout in 2015 at a cost of €3,075.

Waste Disposal

 333. Deputy Mick Barry Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the steps his Department is taking and plans to take with respect to the growing use of non-recyclable disposable hot drink cups; the data being collected on these receptacles entering the waste disposal system; and the guidance which has issued to local authorities on the matter. [18373/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten I am responsible for the administration of the EU Packaging Directive which is transposed in Ireland by the European Union (Packaging) Regulations 2014.

  Under the Regulations, at least 60% of packaging waste must be recovered and 55% must be recycled. The most recent Waste Packaging Statistics for Ireland published by the EPA in May 2016 show that Ireland has met and exceeded the overall packaging waste recovery rate and the recycling rate targets since they came into force.

  In accordance with the waste hierarchy, prevention and re-use are the most desirable options for managing waste and the increase in usage of reusable coffee cups instead of those made partially or wholly of plastic is a positive development in that respect. However, if an item is certified compostable in accordance with EN Standards, it means that it will break down into nutrient-rich soil within an 8-12 week time-frame when commercially composted. Compostable packaging, including coffee cups, can as a consequence be organically recycled along with food waste in the organic brown bin. More Brown Bin information is available at www.brownbin.ie.

  Repak is the approved producer responsibility compliance scheme for packaging in Ireland and it is tasked with meeting recovery and recycling targets established under the EU Packaging Directive.

  As the plastic cups comprise of composite materials, they cannot be easily recycled. However, these cups are recovered and are not sent to landfill, but are sent for waste to energy.

  In addition to the above, I will be considering the potential for the introduction of new environmental levies, such as one on disposable cups,  to encourage improved environmental behaviour by the public and industry in the context of the Review of the Environment Fund that is planned for later this year.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

 334. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the status of bidders' applications to connect the remaining 500,000 homes covered under the national broadband plan since the plan was revised after a company (details supplied) was granted 300,000 premises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18479/17]

 335. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the position for future homes and businesses built on or close to a company's (details supplied) blue lines in relation to broadband coverage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18480/17]

 336. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten his views on the overall viability of the remaining 500,000 premises still covered by the national broadband plan after 300,000 houses were given to a company (details supplied) in recent changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18481/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten I propose to take Questions Nos. 334 to 336, inclusive, together.

  The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to deliver high speed broadband services to every city, town, village and individual premises in Ireland. The Programme for Government commits to the delivery of the NBP as a matter of priority. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment by the telecommunications sector and a State intervention in those areas where commercial investment has not been fully demonstrated.

  A key principle of the NBP is to support and stimulate commercial investment through policy and regulatory measures. Commercial investment since the publication of the NBP has considerably exceeded expectations. To date, the commercial telecommunications sector has invested over €2.5bn in upgrading and modernising networks which support the provision of high speed broadband and mobile telecoms services.

  There has been significant progress in relation to broadband rollout so that today, approximately 1.4m or 61% of premises in Ireland can get high speed broadband of a minimum of 30 Megabits per second. The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector, which is continuing to expand this footprint.

  On the 4 April, I signed a commitment agreement with eir in relation to their plans to provide broadband to  an additional 300,000 premises in rural areas on a commercial basis. Eir has committed to doing this work over the next 90 weeks, an average of 500 premises passed per day. The rollout plan has been agreed with my Department and this along with the tight deadline will be monitored closely by my Department to ensure that they meet their obligations under the Agreement. A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my website www.dccae.gov.ie.

  On the same day I published  an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie which finalises the State Intervention area. The updated Map shows the following categories of areas for delivery of broadband:

  - The BLUE areas represent those areas where commercial telecommunications providers are either currently delivering or have indicated plans to deliver high speed broadband services,

  - The AMBER areas on the High Speed Broadband Map represent the areas that will require State Intervention and are the subject of the current procurement process.

  It is intended that all premises will have access to services of at least 30 megabits per second when the procurement process is completed and the network rolled out.

  There are c.2.3m  premises covering Ireland’s 26 counties, of which approximately 542,000 premises are located in the AMBER area on the Map, and will require State Intervention. The remaining 1.8m  premises are located in the BLUE area and will  be served by commercial operators. Of the 1.8m premises, some 300,000  premises fall within eir’s plans to deliver high speed broadband by end of 2018. Further information of eir's planned rural deployment is available at a http://fibrerollout.ie/eircode-lookup/.

  Individuals can themselves check whether their premises is in a BLUE or an AMBER area by accessing the High Speed Broadband Map and entering their Eircode at www.broadband.gov.ie.

  A formal procurement process is in train to select a company or companies who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network within the State Intervention Area. The procurement process is being intensively managed, to ensure an outcome that delivers a future-proofed network that serves homes and businesses across Ireland, for at least 25 years. The finalisation of the State Intervention Area for the procurement process is an important milestone as it means that bidders can progress their business plans and the Department can move to the next stage of the procurement.

  The timeframe for the procurement continues to be dependent on a range of factors including the complexities that may be encountered by the procurement team and bidders, during the procurement process. During the Department's extensive stakeholder consultations in 2015, telecommunications service providers indicated a 3-5 year timeline to rollout a network of the scale envisaged under the NBP once contracts are in place.

  The Programme for Government also commits to measures to assist in the rollout of the network once a contract is awarded.

  The Department will engage with winning bidder(s) on the best rollout strategy, in order to target areas of particularly poor service, business needs and/or high demand and a prioritisation programme.

  The Government remains committed to ensuring that all parts of Ireland will have at least 30Mbps connectivity, through public or private sector investment, as outlined in the National Broadband Plan.

Cross-Border Projects

 337. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will report on the Narrow Water Bridge project linking counties Louth and Down; and the funding of this project; and if there have been any design changes. [18444/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Under the Fresh Start Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government agreed to undertake a review of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge project with a view to identifying options for its future development, for consideration by the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC).

  Discussions have been underway at senior official level with the Northern Ireland authorities regarding co-operation on commitments in the Fresh Start Agreement, including the Narrow Water Bridge project.

  Pending the outcome of consideration of options in relation to the proposed project, no provision has been made for project funding.

Marine Accidents

 338. Deputy Martin Kenny Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the number of lives lost involving commercial fishing in the past 20 years, by location and year, in tabular form. [18549/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) was established in June 2002 to carry out investigations into, and report on, marine casualties in Irish waters or involving Irish registered vessels including those in the commercial fishing sector. The MCIB on its establishment also completed a number of investigations covering the period 1992-2002.

  Information on fatalities can be found in its Annual Reports and in its Reports on Investigations, on its website at www.mcib.ie.

  The information that follows relating to commercial fishing is based on MCIB published reports, other than in relation to 2016 incidents, which are the subject of current investigations and for which reports have not yet been published.

​Year​Incident(s)​Location
​2016​1 fatality

1 fatality

1 fatality

1 fatality
​Wicklow

Cork

Galway

Kerry
​2015​2 fatalities

1 fatality
​Donegal

Donegal
​2014​1 fatality​Donegal
​2013​3 fatalities

1 fatality

1 fatality
​Waterford

Wexford

Cork
​2012​1 fatality

1 fatality

2 fatalities

5 fatalities
​Mayo

Galway

Clare

Cork
​2011​1 fatality

1 fatality

2 fatalities

1 fatality
​Mayo

Wexford

Dublin

Cork
​2010​2 fatalities

1 fatality

1 fatality
​Donegal

Cork

Wexford
​2009​1 fatality

1 fatality
​Kerry

Wexford
​2008​2 fatalities

1 fatality

1 fatality
​Donegal

International waters

Cork
​2007​1 fatality

1 fatality

2 fatalities

2 fatalities

5 fatalities

1 fatality
​Wexford

Mayo

Waterford

Donegal

Wexford

Waterford
​2006​1 fatality

2 fatalities

3 fatalities

1 fatality

1 fatality

1 fatality
​Cork

Wexford

Scilly Isles

Wexford

Louth

Donegal
​2005​2 fatalities​Wexford
​2004​4 fatalities

1 fatality

1 fatality
​Galway

Cork

Cork
​2003​1 fatality​Clare
​2002​1 fatality

1 fatality

1 fatality
​Kerry

Galway

International waters
​2001​1 fatality​Dublin
​2000​1 fatality

1 fatality

4 fatalities

1 fatality
​Cork

Off West coast after leaving Cork

Cork

Waterford
​1999​1 fatality​Cork
​1998​2 fatalities​Donegal

Roadworthiness Testing

 339. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his views on proposals to introduce a roadworthiness test for tractors; his proposals for exemptions to this test (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18561/17]

 345. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will review proposals to introduce a roadworthiness test for tractors or consider granting exceptions from this test for machinery which only use the road during a very limited period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18560/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 339 and 345 together.

Directive 2014/45/EU on the periodic roadworthiness testing of motor vehicles and their trailers, requires Member States, from May 2018, to introduce compulsory testing for tractors with a maximum design speed exceeding 40 km/h which are being used for commercial road haulage purposes. There is no requirement on Member States to introduce compulsory testing for such tractors used exclusively for agricultural purposes.

My Department will be working with the Road Safety Authority to implement the aforementioned mandatory requirement in line with the May 2018 deadline. It is anticipated that the Authority will be engaging with key stakeholder groups and issuing guidance in relation to the implementation of this Directive as soon as practically possible.

Sports Funding

 340. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if his attention has been drawn to the fact that total grant aid was provided to a college (details supplied) towards the provision of sports facilities, including a gym and sports hall; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that residents of an area in Sligo that use the facility have been advised the gym area is to be closed down from the 1 May 2017 in order that the area can be used as classrooms; the conditions put in place when the grant aid was provided to the college; if his Department has been in communication with the college regarding this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18369/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan I am aware of the grants provided to the college as referred to by the Deputy.

As is standard for grants under the Sports Capital Programme, the grantee and my Department entered into a Deed of Covenant and Charge for the amounts of the grants which, inter alia, requires the facility to be kept in sports use for a minimum of 15 years from the date of the last payment of the grant. The last payment made by my Department for the facility in question was in 2008.

I can confirm that officials from my Department wrote to the college on 27th February seeking information on any planned changes to the facility. While a response was received to this initial correspondence, my Department has sought clarification in this regard. Once this is received, my Department will consider what further action, if any, may be necessary.

Regional Road Network

 341. Deputy John Brassil Information on John Brassil Zoom on John Brassil asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will sanction additional funding to Kerry County Council to carry out repair works on roads in south Kerry following extensive damage done to roads during rains in October 2016 including the destruction of two bridges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18387/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I presume the roads in Kerry being referred to by the Deputy are regional and local roads, the improvement and maintenance of which is the statutory responsibility of Kerry County Council, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

I announced the 2017 regional and local road allocations on 24 January, of which Kerry County Council was allocated €15.2m. As part of the 2017 allocation announcement, local authorities were advised (Circular RW 1/2017) that the Department is not setting aside contingency monies to address possible severe weather events and that in line with established practice, a contingency provision should be reserved from the overall resources available to each authority for regional and local roads so as to deal with damage caused by severe weather conditions, including flooding.

Air Corps

 342. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if the Irish Aviation Authority has a role in ensuring that planes and helicopters flown by the Air Corps are fit to fly and that their pilots are not intoxicated; and if it has a role in suspending or revoking licences in the case of pilots found to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs before flying or while flying. [18474/17]

 343. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he has communication with the Irish Aviation Authority, IAA, in relation to an Air Corps pilot recently found during a random drugs test to have taken cocaine; and if he has had confirmation of the facts, if the IAA will investigate the matter. [18475/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 342 and 343 together.

  The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is responsible for the regulation of civil aviation in Ireland under the provisions of the Irish Aviation Authority Act, 1993. It does not have a role in the regulation of military aviation - including aircraft operated by the Irish Air Corps - or in the testing of Air Corps pilots, or in the suspension or revoking of licences of Air Corps pilots.

  I have not been in communication with the IAA in relation to the matters referred to by the Deputy.

Driver Licences

 344. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18478/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross While I cannot comment on individual cases, I would be happy to explain the legal position and address the more general issue.

Under international road traffic conventions, a person who is not the holder of an Irish driving licence may drive in this jurisdiction for up to a year on a visitor basis. An individual who is resident in the USA and holds an American driving licence may therefore drive in Ireland as a visitor.

Under EU law we may issue licences only to persons normally resident in the jurisdiction. A US resident visiting Ireland would not be eligible for an Irish driving licence or, by extension, an Irish driving test.

It would appear that there is a failure by the motor insurance companies to cater for persons who are not normally resident in the State but spend a few months of the year here on an intermittent basis.

Oversight of the motor insurance industry rests with the Central Bank, which in turn comes within the remit of the Department of Finance. My Department raised this issue with the Department of Finance in January 2017, following publication of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance. That Department noted the broad issue as one appropriate for their discussions with the insurance industry and Insurance Ireland in particular over the coming months regarding relevant actions in the Report.

The Deputy may also be aware that there is a Declined Cases Agreement mechanism, which is used where a person has been refused motor insurance by a number of insurers.


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