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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 437-454
 Header Item National Broadband Plan Administration
 Header Item Departmental Communications
 Header Item Ministerial Functions
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Expenditure
 Header Item Transport Policy
 Header Item Tourism Project Funding
 Header Item Rail Services Provision
 Header Item Dublin Airport Authority
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item Road Safety Authority Data
 Header Item Ports Policy
 Header Item Transport Infrastructure Provision
 Header Item Railway Stations
 Header Item Haulage Industry
 Header Item Irish Aviation Authority
 Header Item Departmental Communications
 Header Item Ministerial Functions
 Header Item Childcare Services Provision

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 973 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 99 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 437-454

National Broadband Plan Administration

 437. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if a process of due diligence on all companies (details supplied) that are part of the consortium bidding for the national broadband plan will be conducted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41248/18]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten Bidders wishing to participate in the ongoing NBP procurement process had to pre-qualify in order to participate in that process. Only those bidders that could demonstrate they had the necessary economic and financial standing, together with the required technical and professional capability, were allowed to participate in the procurement.  I understand from my Department that the bidder which submitted its Final Tender to my Department on 18 September 2018 met these relevant thresholds set out for the procurement process. The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the National Broadband Plan State intervention network is now at the final stage. Evaluation of the final tender submission is ongoing and will be allowed the time required.  On conclusion of the evaluation, my Department will make a recommendation to me on whether to appoint the bidder as preferred bidder and I will bring the matter to Government for decision.

Departmental Communications

 438. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if there is a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business in his Department; and if so, if it will be published. [41519/18]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten My Department's policy document 'Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policies for All Staff for E-Mail, Internet/Intranet & Computer Usage' sets out the basis for using ICT equipment and services in the Department.  The Department's policy is that personal email accounts should not be used for official business as the Department provides the email infrastructure for employees to carry out their official functions.     

  I use both my Department and Oireachtas email accounts for work purposes. I do not use a personal email account to receive or send official business emails.

Ministerial Functions

 439. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if he and-or officials in his Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41533/18]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten I did not attend the Ryder Cup.

  My officials did not attend the Ryder Cup in an official capacity.

Consultancy Contracts Expenditure

 440. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the cost of both domestic and foreign consultants in respect of the BusConnects programme by the NTA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40638/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the implementation and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), including the BusConnects project.

Noting their responsibility with regards to this matter, I have forwarded your query to the NTA for their consideration and direct reply. Please notify my office if you have not received a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Transport Policy

 441. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the status of the forthcoming Cork metropolitan transport study; and when it will be published. [40718/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As stated in the National Development Plan (NDP), the relevant local authorities, in partnership with both the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, are currently finalising a Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.

The Strategy will include proposals for a revised bus system for Cork and enhancements to the commuter rail service in Cork including additional stations and rail fleet. As referenced in the NDP, the Strategy will also provide for the evaluation of the potential of a Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail corridor to serve the increased population growth out to 2040 as envisaged by the National Planning Framework.

The Strategy will be subject to public consultation prior to finalisation.

I am advised by the NTA that a draft Strategy is expected to be issued for consultation by the end of this year. Given the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the Authority for a more detailed reply on the current status of the Plan. Please inform my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Tourism Project Funding

 442. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if funding is available for major projects such as the development of chair lifts and cable cars; if the development of such tourism projects will be supported in order to develop and promote hill walking tourism here similar to that across Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40731/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The Deputy will be pleased to note that investment in activity-based tourism and tourist attractions has been prioritised under the National Development Plan 2018-2027, in order to provide the type and quality of experience that visitors are seeking. Almost €108 million has been allocated to Fáilte Ireland for capital investment in tourism between 2018 and 2021 and it is intended that this level of funding will, at a minimum, be maintained over the lifetime of the National Development Plan. This investment will support and grow tourism across Ireland, in line with the further development and promotion of the regional tourism brand experiences.

However, although my Department provides funding to Fáilte Ireland for investment in tourism, it has no role in the administration of the agency’s funding programmes or in the development of individual tourism sectors such as walking tourism. Accordingly, I have asked Fáilte Ireland to provide the Deputy with further detail in regard to investment in this sector and on the types of projects eligible for assistance under its capital grants schemes. Please contact my office if you do not hear within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Rail Services Provision

 443. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the additional capacity that can be added to the existing services on the Kildare rail line in the second half of 2019 arising from the refurbishment of existing rolling stock that can be put into service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40914/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the implementation and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area including rail capacity enhancement projects as part of the DART Expansion Programme.

In light of the role of the NTA in this matter, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for further response. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Dublin Airport Authority

 444. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the number of persons required for a quorum on the board of the Dublin Airport Authority. [40927/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The Constitution of daa provides that the quorum for the transaction of business by the Board is two directors.

Driver Licences

 445. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross when he will address the anomaly in SI No. 129/2017 of 4 April 2017, by which the amendment to the 2002 Act under section 33 of the 2016 Act, by which a judge is only required to request a driver's licence in penalty point cases and not upon disqualification, was commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40934/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross This is not an anomaly, and it does not date to 2016.

Legislative provision requiring production of a driving licence in court for certain road traffic offences was introduced in 2002. This was done because the Road Traffic Act 2002 introduced penalty points for the first time, and that Act therefore required production of a driving licence in cases which could involve the incurring of penalty points. The focus on cases relating to penalty points was to ensure recording of licence details if the person was convicted, and was there from 2002.

The 2016 amendment revised the procedure for production of a licence under the 2002 Act, as the existing procedure was felt to be less than optimal.

Where a person receives a disqualification from driving from a Court, they are legally required to return their driving licence to the Road Safety Authority. While it is true that this requirement is not met in many cases, the crucial issue in terms of public safety is whether people drive while disqualified. A person might return their licence and continue to drive, or not return their licence but not drive. Return of licences, while desirable, is no guarantee that a person will not drive after disqualification, and the figures not returning licences are not a proxy for the numbers driving while disqualified.

Road Safety Authority Data

 446. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the number of disqualified drivers that subsequently surrendered their licences to the Road Safety Authority in each of the years 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018; the number of follow-ups undertaken by the RSA for the licences not surrendered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40935/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have 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.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ports Policy

 447. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the value of the debt associated with a port (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40952/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The State commercial port companies are independent commercial entities and my Department does not hold information on the current levels of debt held by port companies.

  However, I can advise the Deputy that the annual reports and financial statements of all of the Port Companies including New Ross Port Company are laid before the Oireachtas and are publically available at:

  http://opac.oireachtas.ie/liberty/libraryHome.do.

Transport Infrastructure Provision

 448. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross when the Transport Infrastructure Ireland service station at the M11 site outside Gorey will open; the cost of building and maintaining the station to date by category and year; the estimated lost revenue from the service station since work finished in 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41047/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and operation of individual roads is a matter for the relevant road authority in relation to local and regional roads, or for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned, in relation to national roads.

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

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Railway Stations

 449. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the reason clamping is allowed by a private company on the grounds of Kent train station, Cork. [41148/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport.

  The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forward the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Haulage Industry

 450. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if consideration will be given to the issues raised in a pre-budget submission by an association (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41182/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross My Department continues to work with haulage industry representative organisations to assist the sector. The haulage sector plays an important role in our economy and I recognise that it faces difficulties in the current environment. My Department is aware of the budget proposals submitted by the Irish Road Haulage Association. It should be noted, however, that any such budgetary provisions are ultimately a matter for the Minister for Finance.

Irish Aviation Authority

 451. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross when the audit of section 32 of the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993 will commence. [41250/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross Section 32 of the Irish Aviation Act 1993 provides for an examination of the functions of the Irish Aviation Authority in so far as they relate to the application and enforcement of technical and safety standards in relation to aircraft and air navigation.

The IAA is also subject to similar, periodic, and very thorough examinations by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as part of its international obligations.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I have approved arrangements to engage external auditors to carry out a review as required under Section 32, which will involve a competitive tendering process. It is expected that the examination will commence before the end of the year, when this tendering process is complete.

Departmental Communications

 452. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if there is a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business in his Department; and if so, if it will be published. [41530/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross My Department has an ICT Systems Usage Policy that provides a suite of IT policies governing the use of Departmental ICT systems by all users, with every effort being taken to obtain a balance between IT Security and the usability of Department systems. That Policy includes a section on how limited use of personal email is permitted, subject to the conditions set out in the policy document.

I can confirm, for the record, that I do not and have not used a private email account for Government business in the Department.

Ministerial Functions

 453. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he and-or officials in his Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41542/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I refer the Deputy to my reply to Dáil Question No. 217 of 4th October on this matter.

  The cost of each individual's flights was: Minister: €566.87; Special Adviser: €566.87; Secretary General: €509.98; Assistant Secretary General: €345.98. The cost for the Assistant Secretary General of €345.98 was for the outbound flight only. He was required to travel onwards to a meeting of Tourism Directors General arranged by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (1 and 2 October 2018).

Childcare Services Provision

 454. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the details of an expansion of services in relation to Tusla in the Drogheda area; the number of persons expected to be employed; her long-term plans for the new facility; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40637/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone This is an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have requested Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.


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