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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 34-59
 Header Item Traffic Calming Measures
 Header Item Road Traffic Legislation
 Header Item Legislative Reviews
 Header Item Civil Aviation Regulation
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Road Projects Status
 Header Item Road Projects Status
 Header Item Carbon Budget
 Header Item Olympic Games
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Civil Aviation Regulation
 Header Item Search and Rescue Service Provision
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Sports Funding
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Administration
 Header Item Military Aircraft Landings
 Header Item Public Transport
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Sports Organisations
 Header Item Bus Services

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 976 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 34-59

Traffic Calming Measures

 34. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross when variable speed limits will become operational on the M50; the progress to date on this issue; the remaining issues and associated timeline to complete the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51993/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, operation and development of individual road projects is a matter for

(a) the relevant road authority (i.e. local authorities in whose functional area a road development is situated) in relation to local and regional roads, or

(b) Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned, in relation to national roads.

This project falls under the remit of TII and noting the above position, I have forwarded the question to TII for a direct reply to you on an update on operational progress and timeline. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

I can advise, however, that appropriate legislative provisions will be required to implement and enforce the introduction of variable speed limits (VSL). The regulatory provisions needed to allow TII the powers to regulate VSL are to be provided by an amendment to Section 9 of the Road Traffic Act. The amendment is being progressed through my Department's Road Safety Division, in the context of a draft Bill, the Road Traffic Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, the general scheme for which I intend to bring to cabinet for approval next week.

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

Road Traffic Legislation

 35. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross his plans to introduce legislation in order to permit the use of CCTV to monitor the usage of bus lanes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52200/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The use of CCTV to monitor the use of bus lanes, both during their hours of operation and otherwise, for traffic flow purposes is entirely a matter of the local authorities in whose functional areas the bus lanes are located.

  For the purposes of enforcing road traffic legislative requirements, on the other hand, there is already provision in the Road Traffic Acts for the use of cameras as an aid to such enforcement. Under section 81 of the Road Traffic Act 2010, electronic apparatus, including cameras, may be used to provide evidence in relation to offences under a number of the provisions of the Road Traffic Acts. Section 35 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 is one such provision, under which the Traffic and Parking Regulations are made and which set out the requirements governing use of bus lanes. Section 81 provides the vires   for the use of cameras and other electronic apparatus to be used to provide evidence in relation to these offences.

  Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 20.

Legislative Reviews

 37. 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 date on which the review of the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Orders 1973 and 1989 will be published. [51967/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The internal review of the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Orders, 1973 and 1989, is currently being finalised by my Department. Work on the review was regrettably delayed during the year primarily due to other conflicting priorities.

Civil Aviation Regulation

 38. 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 consideration given to the possibility of the Commission for Aviation Regulation being selected as the competent authority in relation to EU 598/14; and when that consideration took place. [51985/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The Commission for Aviation Regulation was considered along with other options late last year when it became clear that the Irish Aviation Authority was no longer a viable option, for reasons which I have advised this House of on a number of occasions.

The Commission for Aviation is primarily an economic regulator, with some additional licensing functions related to the travel industry and some consumer rights responsibilities. It is a small public body - with a total current staff of 17- and its main business is its regulatory role in determining the maximum level of airport charges that can be charged by the daa at Dublin Airport. That job alone absorbs a huge amount of its capacity. The advice I have received is that the Commission simply does not represent a viable option in light of the nature of the work demanded of a competent authority under Regulation 598/2014.

I understand that officials of my Department shared some briefing material with you and other members of this House last week, among which was a summary assessment of the merits of the various options. This summary assessment captures the outcome of deliberations which my officials undertook, and which included consulting with a number of other Government departments, to establish what option offered, in the round, the best alternative to the Irish Aviation Authority. It was determined that Fingal County Council was the best option, and that decision has been validated during the very detailed legal and policy work that has gone into producing the Aviation Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill, 2018.

I know that the Deputy has objections to the appointment of Fingal County Council as the noise regulator on a point of principle, and I respect the Deputy's position in that regard. However, I am satisfied that this is the best choice, and I have every confidence in Fingal County Council's organisational capability to deliver an independent, transparent and informed regulatory process.

Road Improvement Schemes

 39. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross his plans for investment in the road infrastructure in County Meath. [51951/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads (RLR) is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority 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.

Details of the regional and local road grant allocations and payments to local authorities (including those for County Meath) are outlined in the regional and local road grant booklets which are available in the Dáil Library. The 2019 RLR allocations will be notified to local authorities in the New Year.

In relation to national roads as Minister for Transport, Tourism & 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 national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Within its annual budget, allocations to individual local authorities are a matter for TII.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's 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

Road Projects Status

 40. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross when he plans to commence the upgrading of the N4 route from Roosky to Boyle in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51992/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & 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 Deputy's 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

  Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 6.

Road Projects Status

 42. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the status of the N5 bypass from Ballaghaderreen to Scramogue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51991/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. However, under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction 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 your question to TII for 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

Carbon Budget

 43. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the projects supported and the amount spent by his Department to date under the available €5.5 million carbon reduction programme; the progress being made on trials for alternative low-emission buses which are due to conclude in early 2019 and which will replace diesel only buses from July 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51994/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As the Deputy is aware, the Carbon Reduction Programme in my Department was allocated €5.5m in Budget 2018 to support measures which work towards decarbonising the transport sector. Funding is sourced from within this allocation for the Green Public Transport Fund to support the uptake of low carbon, energy efficient technologies within the public transport sector.

Following recommendations made by the Low-Emission Vehicle Taskforce ahead of Budget 2018, I launched two financial incentives this year to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles.

- The Electric Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) Scheme offers a grant of up to €7,000 or €3,500 towards a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) respectively for vehicles in the taxi, hackney or limousine sector. €500,000 was made available for this scheme in 2018, and as of 4 December 2018, over €250,000 has been drawn down.

- Under the Electric Vehicle Toll Incentive Scheme , battery and plug-in hybrid vehicles qualify for 50% and 25% toll reductions respectively up to a maximum €500 annual threshold for private vehicles and €1,000 for commercial vehicles. €500,000 was also made available for this initiative in 2018. Between July and the end of October €166,000 was drawn down under this Scheme.

The alternatively fuelled bus trials referred to by the Deputy began this week, with support from multiple agencies including the National Transport Authority, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. The first bus undergoing trial is a diesel-electric hybrid bus. There are a broad range of fuels and technologies under consideration and scheduled for testing over the coming months, including electric, hydrogen, compressed natural gas/biogas and two diesel buses which have been retrofitted to Euro VI-class standard. I expect the trials will conclude in April 2019, results of which will further inform purchasing decisions in line with our commitment in the National Development Plan that no new diesel-only buses will be acquired after July 2019 for the urban public bus fleets. To date, over €120,000 has been spent on the bus trials.

Finally, funding is also being allocated to researching new and innovative mitigation measures. My Department is co-funding three research projects (two with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and one with the Environmental Protection Agency) examining subjects such as behavioural change and the decarbonisation of the freight sector. The Department expects to spend over €110,000 on this research by the end of this year.

Some projects did not generate the expected overheads in 2018; however, carried over expenses will be incurred in 2019 for projects including: the purchase of a limited number of alternatively fuelled buses for pilot schemes; expenses related to the Low Emission Bus Trial which commenced this week; and November and December invoices for the EV reduced tolling regime.

Olympic Games

 44. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe Information on Kevin O'Keeffe Zoom on Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross his views on the recent decision by an organisation (details supplied) to suspend the boxing competition at the 2020 Olympics; and if he has made representations on the matter. [52204/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin I am aware of the recent announcement by the IOC - the International Olympic Committee - to suspend planning for the Olympic boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020. This announcement was accompanied by a statement of the IOC’s intention to initiate a full inquiry into the internal governance arrangements of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). At the present time, it is my understanding that the IOC has not yet made a final decision in relation to the inclusion of boxing at the 2020 Olympics.

It is important to clarify that International Sport Organisations, such as the IOC, are independent, autonomous bodies that are responsible for deciding their own operational procedures and competition rules. No Government has a role or function in such decision making.

I am deeply concerned by the potentially adverse consequences of this emerging situation for our athletes within Ireland’s high performance boxing programme and in their preparations for Tokyo 2020. It is crucial that these athletes do not suffer and that their Olympic ambitions are protected. I welcome the positive commitment of both Sport Ireland and the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA), with whom I have been in contact, to address this situation. Sport Ireland and the IABA are continuing to work collaboratively in preparing our Irish boxers for Tokyo 2020 and I will continue to monitor this situation closely.

  Question No. 45 answered with Question No. 17.

Rail Services

 46. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if his attention has been drawn to dangerous congestion levels on DART and commuter trains which stop at all stations in north County Dublin; his plans to address the issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52208/18]

 59. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he has been in contact with Irish Rail regarding dangerous congestion levels on DART and commuter trains which stop at all stations in north County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52209/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 59 together.

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 ensuring the development and delivery of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area including, in consultation with Iarnród Éireann, the provision of rail fleet. Iarnród Éireann is obliged at all times to ensure that the railway is managed and operated safety; it takes this obligation very seriously and in this regard it is closely supervised by the expert independent regulator, the Commission for Railway Regulation, in accordance with national and EU legislation.

Public transport passenger numbers have increased in recent years reflecting broader economic and employment growth. In rail, passenger numbers have similarly increased across the network and in particular on the commuter network in the Greater Dublin Area.

These increases are welcome; however, clearly they place pressure on the capacity of the network and the NTA and Iarnród Éireann have made, and are continuing to make, service and infrastructure improvements to address these pressures.

In light of the NTA's responsibility on this matter, I have referred the Deputies' questions to the NTA for a more detailed 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

Civil Aviation Regulation

 47. 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 applications for carriage of munitions of war refused after the exercise of ministerial discretion following a Departmental recommendation that permission be granted; and the air carrier involved in each case. [51987/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross During 2016, I exercised my ministerial discretion to refuse 10 applications made by Atlas Air, Inc. for the carriage of munitions of war through Irish sovereign airspace. Further statistics relating to the number of applications granted and refused are available on my Department's website.

Search and Rescue Service Provision

 48. 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 Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he was requested to provide costings for an air search and rescue service; his plans to increase the capacity of the Air Corps to provide such a service; and the timeframe for same. [48349/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The aeronautical search and rescue service for Ireland is managed by the Irish Coast Guard, which is a Division of my Department. The service is currently delivered under a contract with CHC Ireland DAC. The 10 year contract runs to July 2022 with the possibility of an extension. Average annual costs of this service are in the region of €60m. Matters relating to the Air Corps are a matter for the Minister of Defence.

Road Network

 49. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the extent to which he expects to facilitate necessary upgrading of major transport routes such as the M50 and M4, which are perceived to be incapable of dealing with the volume of traffic; when the projects will be advanced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52114/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & 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.

  You may wish to note that the National Transport Authority's (NTA) 'Transport for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035' is the primary strategy document which is intended to deal with managing transport demand in the GDA.   The overall aim of the strategy is to “contribute to the economic, social and cultural progress of the Greater Dublin Area by providing for the efficient, effective and sustainable movement of people and goods.”   

  Addressing urban congestion and traffic volumes is a priority of the strategy and it is proposed to achieve this through the following:

  - The provision of alternative sustainable transport infrastructure (heavy and light rail; bus; cycling; walking);

  - Maintain, renew, manage and operate the road network infrastructure;

  - The introduction of complementary demand management measures; and

  - Developing a network of park and ride facilities.

  A number of priority schemes which are outlined in the strategy have also been committed to under the National Development Plan 2018-2027. These include:

  - Metrolink - a 26 kilometre metro route connecting Swords, Dublin Airport, the city centre and Sandyford, which will carry 50 million passengers per year;

  - Bus Connects – A redesign of Dublin’s bus network, complete with major investment in core bus corridors, cycle lanes, shelters, interchange areas, and ticketing and information technology; and

  - The DART Expansion Programme – Extension of the current, electrified, DART network to Drogheda, Maynooth and Hazelhatch.

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

Sports Funding

 50. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he will be taking guidance or direction from organisations (details supplied) in respect of the funding of organisation related applications under the large scale sport infrastructure fund by indicating to his Department the projects to be supported and in particular a stadium. [52211/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund opened for applications on 19th November and the closing date for applications is the 17th April 2019. Full details of the scheme and application forms are available on my Department's website at http://www.dttas.ie/sport/english/large-scale-sport-infrastructure-fund-lssif.

  The aim of the fund is to provide Exchequer support for larger sports facility projects where the Exchequer investment would be greater than the maximum amount available under the Sports Capital Programme (SCP). Initially, the scheme will have a particular focus on National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) and Local Authorities. New swimming pool projects will also be considered. All project proposals will be subject to appropriate economic analysis. It is a requirement of the scheme that all applicants can show a minimum own funding of 30% of the overall project cost. Furthermore all NGB's and local authorities will be asked to prioritise the applications which they submit. While many other factors will be considered in the allocation of funding (including the need to ensure a spread of sports and a geographic spread of projects if possible), the prioritisation by the NGB or local authority is likely to be a key factor in deciding which projects are ultimately supported.

  The scheme outlines the types of projects that are eligible for assistance but is not prescriptive. Funds for the scheme are limited and applicants should be aware that it is a competitive process. Simply meeting the minimum criteria under the headings set out in the scheme will not guarantee funding.

  Question No. 51 answered with Question No. 26.

Sports Capital Programme Administration

 52. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the extent to which he proposes to make further provisions under the sports capital programme to facilitate the ongoing needs of communities nationally in both urban and rural areas having particular regard to the population growth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52115/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) as operated by my Department provides funding to voluntary, sporting and community organisations for the provision of sports and recreational facilities. Over 11,500 projects have now benefitted from sports capital funding since 1998, bringing the total allocations in that time to close to €1 billion. The programme has transformed the sporting landscape of Ireland with improvements in the quality and quantity of sporting facilities in virtually every village, town and city in the country.

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme opened for applications on Friday 7 September and the application period closed on Friday 19 October. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. Sanction has been received to make allocations with a total value of €40m under this round.

186 of these applications are for projects deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that were allowed to submit corrected documents this year. These applications are being assessed first and I hope to make allocations to this category of application later this year or early in 2019.

For the first time, applicants who have submitted incorrect documentation under this round will be given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a number of months to have all applications assessed. Accordingly, I expect that it will be at least the second quarter of next year before the full set of allocations under this current round of the programme are announced.

In relation to future rounds of the Programme, the National Sports Policy 2018 - 2027 contains a commitment to run a round of the Sports Capital Programme in every year of the policy. The policy also includes a commitment to run periodic national audits of sports facilities to help guide decision making in relation to future Government investments in sports facilities development.

Military Aircraft Landings

 53. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 72 of 6 November 2018, the number of applications related to the transport of munitions of war categorised as dangerous goods, that is, munitions of war that contain material that is explosive, corrosive, flammable, toxic and so on; the meaning of the phrase very few; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52110/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross Up to the end of November 2018, my Department has processed 43 applications for an exemption to carry munitions of war which were also classified as being 'dangerous goods' under Annex 18 of the Chicago Convention. Ten applications were refused and 33 were granted.

  Statistics relating to exemptions granted for flights landing in Ireland with 'dangerous goods' are published on my Department's website.

Public Transport

 54. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if the safety of public transport workers will be supported by creating a dedicated transport police resource that would have the powers of detention and arrest. [52117/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I refer the Deputy to my replies to Priority Questions numbers 2 and 5, which I answered earlier.

Ministerial Meetings

 55. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross when he will visit Navan as promised on 30 November 2016 to discuss the Navan, County Meath rail project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [52210/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I will consider a visit to Navan as part of my Ministerial itinerary in 2019.

  Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 20.

Sports Organisations

 57. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the funding provided to initiatives to increase women’s participation in sport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52195/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the promotion, development and co-ordination of sport. This includes responsibility for the development of strategies for increasing participation in sport and the funding of related programmes.

The Women in Sport programme was established in 2005 with the aim of increasing women's participation in sport, including non-participatory opportunities through volunteering and coaching. Since 2005, Sport Ireland has provided €19.5 million to National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of Sport and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) under the Women in Sport Programme to increase participation in sport among women and girls.

In 2018, in addition to its usual funding of NGBs, LSPs, and other programmes which benefit female and male athletes and participants, Sport Ireland will invest approximately €1million specifically to support Women in Sport initiatives. I have referred the Deputy's question to Sport Ireland for direct reply on the initiatives funded. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

Just over a decade ago, in 2007, there was a gap of almost 16% in active participation levels between genders. In the intervening decade, this gap has narrowed to just 4.5% in 2017 according to the most recent Irish Sports Monitor Annual Report. The Report also shows that 40.8% of women regularly participate in sport compared to 39.3% in 2015.

My Department's National Sports Policy 2018-2027, which was launched in July 2018, aims to increase the levels of participation in sport and physical activity across the population over the next ten years, with a specific focus on less active groups including women and girls.

When Minister Ross and I launched the National Sports Policy, we highlighted a number of priorities and indicated our intention to seek additional funding in 2019 to support certain measures, including doubling the funding provision for the Women in Sport Programme in 2019. I am pleased to say that an additional €1m has been provided for the Women in Sport programme in 2019, bringing the allocation for next year to €2 million.

While the gender gap in sports participation is narrower now than at any point over the past ten years, at just 4.5%, I am determined to eliminate that gap altogether. I am very pleased that the necessary funding is in place to begin that journey in 2019.

Bus Services

 58. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if the capacity and constituency issues associated with Bus Éireann services in County Meath will be addressed [52213/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann in conjunction with the National Transport Authority and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to Bus Éireann for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

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

  Question No. 59 answered with Question No. 46.


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