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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 211-235
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Public Transport Initiatives
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Administration
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Olympic Games
 Header Item Anti-Social Behaviour
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item Recreational Facilities Provision
 Header Item Rural Transport Services
 Header Item Transport Policy
 Header Item Transport Policy
 Header Item Tourism Industry
 Header Item Public Transport
 Header Item Sports Events
 Header Item Transport Costs
 Header Item Integrated Ticketing
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes
 Header Item Parliamentary Questions Data
 Header Item Detention Centres Staff

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. 211-235

Bus Services

 211. 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 if his Department has investigated the use of articulated buses to provide bus services in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52254/18]

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 statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including bus fleet acquisition.

Noting the NTA's responsibility for implementation of public transport in the Greater Dublin Area, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

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

Public Transport Initiatives

 212. 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 if funding will be provided to Dublin Bus in order to provide off-vehicle ticketing services on buses. [52255/18]

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 statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including ticketing and technology.

Noting the NTA's responsibility for implementation of public transport in the Greater Dublin Area, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

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

Bus Services

 213. 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 if his Department will facilitate Dublin Bus in providing staged or abridged versions of certain services in which capacity is preventing passengers from boarding services at later points in the service. [52256/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The issue raised is a matter for  the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with  Dublin Bus and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA 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

Bus Services

 214. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the fact that certain routes in the proposed BusConnects network include frequent stops, that is, stops placed at a minimal distance from each other and may prevent services from being delivered in an effective manner. [52257/18]

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 statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including BusConnects.

Noting the NTA's responsibility for implementation of public transport in the Greater Dublin Area, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

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

Bus Services

 215. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he will reinstate the Sligo town bus service to a location (details supplied) to facilitate a park and ride service for the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52275/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA), in conjunction with Bus Éireann, and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA 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

Sports Capital Programme Administration

 216. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross when the recent round of sports capital grants results will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52284/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme opened for applications on Friday 7 September and the application period closed on Friday 19th October.  By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. 

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

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 217. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross when successful candidates (details supplied) will be notified; and the status of same. [52319/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme opened for applications on Friday 7 September and the application period closed on Friday 19th October.  By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. 

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

Bus Services

 218. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if his attention has been drawn to customer complaints (details supplied) regarding public transport services; the way in which, or if, the NTA is monitoring these services for punctuality and or reliability; if ongoing issues with same will result in financial and or other penalties for the operator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52349/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA 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

Olympic Games

 219. 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. [52358/18]

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.

Anti-Social Behaviour

 220. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the number of anti-social behaviour incidents that have been reported on Luas lines to date in 2018. [52391/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The safety and security of passengers and staff including arrangements to deal with anti-social behaviour on the Luas is a matter for the transport operator (Transdev) in conjunction with, as appropriate, An Garda Síochána.

I have forwarded the Deputy's question to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), who have contracted Transdev to operate Luas, 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

Brexit Issues

 221. 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 his Department is making provision for the eventuality of Brexit with particular reference to its implications for air and sea travel in view of the necessity to ensure easy travel access to continental Europe for Irish persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52453/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross Brexit and its potential implications for Ireland are being managed on a whole-of-government basis. The Department is represented on all relevant cross-Departmental coordination structures, and an internal Departmental Committee on Brexit meets on a monthly basis to oversee the Department's analyses and planning in the areas of aviation and maritime transport, and tourism.

Contingency planning in relation to Brexit at both a national and an EU level is focused on preparing for two scenarios - a no-deal scenario or “disorderly Brexit” and on a central case scenario, involving a transition period and agreement on the future relationship. 

Access to and from Ireland is wholly dependent on our maritime and aviation networks. Any disruption to current access arrangements would have major implications for Irish businesses and for the overall economy. However, I do not envisage any major changes for people travelling from Ireland directly to continental Europe by air or by sea when the UK has left the EU.

For persons travelling to continental Europe via the UK, the European Commission's Contingency Action Plan, published last month, outlines that it plans to propose measures to ensure that disruption to air travel between the UK and the EU will be minimised in the event of a disorderly UK exit from the EU, subject to reciprocity. This will provide assurance to those travelling by air between the EU and UK in such a scenario. Ferry services will continue to operate between Ireland and the UK following Brexit, including in a disorderly Brexit scenario, and the Government is working on contingency plans to ensure that any potential delays in ports as a result of additional checks on UK goods being carried by ferry are minimised.

The Draft Political Declaration setting out the Framework for the Future Relationship between the EU and the UK published recently foresees a comprehensive partnership between the EU and the UK across a range of areas of importance to Ireland, including air transport.

Recreational Facilities Provision

 222. 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 his future plans for investment in recreational infrastructure such as swimming pools, community centres and other sporting facilities; the extent to which he has identified a budget in this context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52454/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Under the 2017 round of the programme €62m was allocated to 1,837 sporting projects and my officials continue to assist these grantees in completing their projects and draw down their grants.

  Sanction was received earlier this year from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to open a new round of the Programme with allocations of up to €40m.  This new round opened for applications on Friday 7 September and the application period closed on Friday 19th October.  By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding.   While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of 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.   Sufficient resources are available next year to cover all existing commitments under the programme in addition to the new allocations of €40m. 

  With regard to swimming pools, the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme (LASPP), as operated by my Department, provides grant aid to local authorities towards the capital costs of new swimming pools or the refurbishment of existing pools. To date 51 pools have been completed and four swimming pool projects remain in the current LASPP. The priority next year will be on advancing these four projects and sufficient resources are available to cover these commitments. 

  In relation to the future funding of swimming pools and other larger projects, the National Development Plan confirmed the establishment of a new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) with at least €100m available over the coming years. The new scheme 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 SCP.  Initially, the scheme has a particular focus on National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Authorities. New swimming pool projects will also be considered.

Rural Transport Services

 223. 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 his Department has continued to evaluate rural transport requirements with a view to bringing transport to persons rather than forcing persons to converge on towns and villages as the population increases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52455/18]

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.

As I advised the Deputy in response to his identical Question on 06 November, 2018 (ref no 45347/18) the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) which now operates under the Local Link brand.

Noting this, I forwarded the Deputy's previous Question to the NTA for direct reply. I am advised that the NTA replied to the Deputy on 06 November last.

Transport Policy

 224. 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 his Department continues to evaluate the transport system, road and rail, public and private to ensure the development of efficient and effective transport in all areas throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52456/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As the Deputy is aware, earlier this year Government launched Project Ireland 2040 which sets out both the planned spatial development and investment framework for the coming years.

  Within that framework, Government has committed to major investments in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the transport network. These investments reflect the needs which have been identified by my Department and its various agencies, during the development of Project Ireland 2040.  

  The investment committed to within the National Development Plan will result in the delivery of a number of significant projects and programmes, such as -

  - The BusConnects programme of improved bus services and infrastructure in all major cities, including significantly enhanced cycling facilities also;

  - The MetroLink; and

  - The DART Expansion programme.

  Those projects and programmes will be complemented by other planned investments, such as the significantly enhanced funding allocated toward the heavy rail network nationally, the development of a new National Train Control Centre, the roll-out of strategic cycle networks in the major cities and a programme of investment in national and regional roads as detailed within the National Development Plan.

  The Deputy may wish to be aware that my Department is currently conducting two further pieces of analyses -

  1. a review of public transport policy, as committed under the Programme for a Partnership Government; and

  2. the Planning Land Use and Transport - Outlook 2040 (or PLUTO 2040) study, which forms part of my Department’s response to Project Ireland 2040.

  Both of these work-streams will be subject to public consultation in 2019 and will be a very useful addition to our evaluation of the transport needs of the country.

  In addition to this Department-led work, each of the three regional assemblies is currently developing a Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy to support delivery of the National Planning Framework. Development of these strategies includes an evaluation of the needs of the transport network in each region and outlining potential developments to improve performance.

  Finally, at a metropolitan level there are transport strategies either in place, as in the case of Dublin and Galway, or under development, as in the case of Cork and Limerick, which detail the planned development of transport networks in the relevant urban areas over the next 20 to 30 years.

  As the Deputy can see, a significant amount of analysis has been completed, and is continuing, in order to ensure we plan appropriately for the delivery of the transport infrastructure and services required in the coming years.

Transport Policy

 225. 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 commuter rail services are available to the majority of towns and villages throughout the country, the residents of which may commute to larger centres with obvious greater job opportunities on a daily basis; if the existing services are adequately tailored to meet their needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52457/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA 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

Tourism Industry

 226. 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 full extent of growth within the tourism sector with particular reference to the number of persons employed; the scope for further development resulting in employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52458/18]

 229. 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 areas in the tourism sector that have shown the greatest potential for future development and expansion both internally and externally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52461/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 226 and 229 together.

There has been significant growth in tourism in recent years with 2018 expected to be another record breaking year for the sector in Ireland.

In 2014, prior to the publication of the Government's national tourism policy "People, Place and Policy: Growing Tourism to 2025", Fáilte Ireland estimated total revenue generated by tourism at €6.85bn.  By 2017, this figure had grown by 29% to €8.84bn. The main driver in this significant increase is the growth in overseas tourism revenue from €3.6bn in 2014 to over €4.9bn in 2017. All of our main overseas markets experienced growth over the period with North America and Mainland Europe performing particularly well. There seems little doubt at this stage that 2018 will see further growth in revenue from overseas visitors and tourism overall.

All parts of Ireland have seen the benefits of this growth in tourism and it is one of our largest indigenous industries and a vital employer in the regions.  It is deeply rooted in the fabric of Irish society, with Fáilte Ireland estimating that tourism now supports approximately 260,000 jobs across the economy, compared to 205,000 in 2014.

While the industry has gone from strength to strength in recent years, there is always scope for development and expansion on a sustainable basis. In terms of our tourism offering,  the main areas with very strong potential for future development and expansion are Attractions, Activities, Festivals and Business Tourism.  Fáilte Ireland is focussing its efforts on two key areas - ‘Experience Development’ and the promotion of its brands of scale and singularity – Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Dublin, its newest brand Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Meet in Ireland – the business tourism brand. These brands are designed to differentiate Ireland in a very competitive international marketplace.

Tourism Ireland undertakes marketing campaigns in more than 20 overseas markets with priority markets being Mainland Europe, North America, Britain and fast-growing Emerging Markets such as China. It has recently carried out strategic market reviews in conjunction with island of Ireland industry partners and sister agencies, for the Emerging Markets, USA and Germany. I have allocated increased funding to the agency in 2019 to commence implementation of these market strategies. This will help us to continue to grow overseas tourism in a targeted manner over the coming years.

Overall, therefore, the tourism sector is well placed for further development. I will shortly publish a Tourism Action Plan for the period 2019-2021 which will set out a  number of actions to enable the sector to grow in a sustainable manner, with a particular emphasis on regional performance and seasonality, which will result in further job creation in all parts of Ireland.

Public Transport

 227. 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 bus and rail services are fully utilised and are in fact tailored to meet the requirements of the travelling or commuting public with particular reference to the need to ensure that the services are convenient to passenger requirements thereby enhancing viability and efficiency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52459/18]

 232. 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 degree to which rail and bus services in County Kildare are co-ordinated in such a way as to meet in full the requirements of the commuters in the various towns and villages throughout the country; the extent to which his Department continues to be appraised in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52464/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 227 and 232 together.

  The issues raised are matters for the National Transport Authority (NTA), in conjunction with the relevant transport providers, and I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to the NTA 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

Sports Events

 228. 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 his Department continues to liaise with the various sporting organisations with a view to facilitating the use of Ireland as a venue for worldwide competitions in sport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52460/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The hosting of major sports competitions, both participative and spectator sports, can provide great opportunities to showcase Ireland and drive international visitor numbers.  In addition, the media coverage of sports events helps to put Ireland onto travel itineraries as a holiday destination. 

Accordingly, I am very supportive of the work of the tourism agencies and the national governing bodies of sport to attract international events, subject, of course, to an assessment of the costs and benefits involved in any State financial support, in particular the number of overseas visitors. 

Fáilte Ireland provides financial assistance, subject to eligibility criteria, to applicants who are proposing to bid to host international events (including sporting events) in Ireland that would attract significant numbers of international visitors.  When an event with international tourism appeal is confirmed for Ireland, Tourism Ireland would then promote it in relevant markets overseas. 

In terms of forthcoming sporting events, Ireland will host four games as part of the UEFA EURO 2020 football tournament in June 2020 - three group games and one round of 16 game.  The bid to host was a collaborative effort between the Football Association of Ireland, Dublin City Council and my Department.  Depending on qualification, up to 160,000 overseas visitors may attend Euro 2020 matches in Dublin.  Ireland will also host the UEFA European Under 17 Championships in 2019.

Minister Ross and I also support efforts to explore possibilities to host other major sporting events.  With regard to soccer, we welcomed the recent announcement by the FAI and IFA of their intention to submit a joint bid to host the UEFA European Under 21 Championships in 2023.  In addition, the national football associations of the United Kingdom and Ireland are in discussions about the feasibility of bidding to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.  This consideration is at a very early stage.  My Department is supporting the FAI in this feasibility study and we will fully examine the potential of being part of such a bid. 

In the sport of golf, Minister Ross and Department officials met with representatives of the PGA European Tour at the Ryder Cup in Paris to discuss the possible hosting of a future Ryder Cup in Ireland.  The PGA European Tour subsequently visited Dublin and met the Taoiseach and Minister Ross.  The purpose of these meetings was to explore the opportunities that may exist for hosting the Ryder Cup in the future and considerations are ongoing in this regard. 

As regards any further events being considered for possible agency support, I have asked Fáilte Ireland to reply directly to the Deputy in this regard.  Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.

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

  Question No. 229 answered with Question No. 226.

Transport Costs

 230. 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 continues to have discussions with his EU colleagues with a view to ensuring that transport costs here are competitive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52462/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross Cost competitiveness is a key consideration for Ireland as an open export-oriented economy and transport is one of the many factors influencing that competitiveness.

  The Government's plans to improve competitiveness are set out in the Programme

  for Government and place a heavy emphasis on the delivery of effective transport services.  

  While not specifically an item on the agenda of recent EU Transport Councils, transport costs and competitiveness are an important underlying premise to ongoing discussions with my EU counterparts.

Integrated Ticketing

 231. 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 integrated ticketing continues to be successful; if further expansion is planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52463/18]

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 statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure including ticketing and technology.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

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

  Question No. 232 answered with Question No. 227.

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

 233. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan Information on Aindrias Moynihan Zoom on Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of places on the ECCE scheme which are available in Ballincollig, County Cork. [52231/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Early years schemes are operated on behalf on my Department by Pobal. Pobal's records show four services that either had Ballincollig in their address or are located in the Ballincollig Electoral Division and had children registered under ECCE. In total, there are 90 children registered on the Programmes Implementation Platform (PIP), under ECCE 2018/2019 (as of 10/12/2018). 

An examination of statistical returns from these four services for the purpose of compiling the Early Years Service Profile 2017/2018 (data collected between April-May 2018) indicates that the number of children enrolled between the ages of 3-5 years old is 175. It should be noted however that not all children aged 3-5 are registered under ECCE, as some may avail of CCS/P or may be attending the after-school in a service. It should also be noted that the 3 - 5 year old cohort will also include children who are either not yet eligible for ECCE (as some children don't become eligible until they are 3 years and 7 months old) and others who are over the age of eligibility (as a child is not eligible for ECCE if they will turn 5 years and 6 months at any point during the pre-school year).

Parliamentary Questions Data

 234. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of parliamentary questions his Department has processed in the past three years to date; the number of questions answered directly; the number of questions referred to bodies or agencies under the aegis of his Department for direct reply; the number of staff who are assigned to his parliamentary questions section; and if non-departmental staff, advisers and-or public affairs and relations companies have composed parliamentary question replies or had an act or hand in forming parliamentary question replies in the timeframe specified. [52235/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The number of Parliamentary Questions processed by my Department in the period 2016-2018 is set out in the table below. The numbers for 2018 are to the end of November.

  The processing of Parliamentary Questions is co-ordinated through the Secretary General's Office, which has a team of two staff. Replies to Parliamentary Questions are prepared at individual Unit level across the Department, with input where appropriate from my advisers.

  There are four bodies under the aegis of my Department, the Child and Family Agency, the Adoption Authority, the Ombudsman for Children's Office and the Oberstown Children Detention School Campus. The number of referrals to agencies for direct reply is not routinely recorded. In general the practice is that where questions are purely of an operational nature they are referred directly to the agency for reply. The introduction of the ePQ system, scheduled for early 2019 as part of the wider Build to Share civil service wide initiative, will allow for the reporting of such referrals.

PQs 2016 2017 2018
Oral 62 84 66
Written 747 1639 1090

Detention Centres Staff

 235. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of staff employed by a campus (details supplied) by administration and care work, in each of the years 2014 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [52316/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I have been advised by Oberstown that the number of staff employed in administration and care work from 2014- present is as follows:

Number of staff (Whole Time Equivalent) 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Care 197.5 184.5 197 187 188
Admin 11.5 12.5 15.5 19.5 18
Total 209 197 212.5 206.5 206


  I understand that the increase in administration staff is reflective of the Campus developing as an entity and the development of an appropriate corporate support structure.


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