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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 40-57
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Remote Working
 Header Item Coast Guard Service
 Header Item Coast Guard Service
 Header Item Driver Test
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Local Authority Staff
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Seirbhísí Dátheangacha
 Header Item Driver Test
 Header Item School Transport
 Header Item Transport Infrastructure Provision
 Header Item Transport Infrastructure Provision
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Departmental Data
 Header Item General Data Protection Regulation

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 6
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 78 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 40-57

Driver Licences

 40. Deputy Matt Carthy Information on Matt Carthy Zoom on Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the status of the proposed legislation giving asylum seekers the right to apply for an Irish driver licence, as promised in the White Paper on direct provision; if the legislation is on track to be introduced before summer 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18031/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton As set out in the Programme for Government, the Government will act on interim recommendations from the Chair of the Expert Group on the Provision of Support, including Accommodation, to Persons in the International Protection Process (Asylum Seekers) to improve conditions for asylum seekers currently living in the system. This includes the ability to apply for driver licences.

Currently, Ireland does not issue driving licences to applicants for international protection as their residence status in the State is not yet determined. To provide for the change in policy and to change the law to allow such applicants access to a driving licence, there are a number of complex legal, administrative and technical issues to consider and resolve. One of these issues is connected to the primary legislative proposal to grant the Minister for Transport the power to revoke a driving licence, planned for inclusion at committee stage hearing of the Road Traffic Bill 2021. The Bill is expected to be introduced to the Houses shortly, after the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications has concluded pre-legislative scrutiny. Secondary legislation changes will also be required.

While the legislative requirements are being examined, work is continuing on the administrative and technical solutions needed. It is not possible at this time to give a definitive date yet for when these changes will be in place. However, I am assured that my officials are working hard, in close cooperation with all the stakeholders, to make this happen.

Bus Services

 41. Deputy Bríd Smith Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if each new BusConnects route will be tendered in a competitive tendering process when each existing Dublin Bus route is replaced by a new revamped route; if not, if each route will be directly awarded by the National Transport Authority, NTA; if the company operating the existing most approximate route to the new route will be automatically selected to operate the new route system in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17657/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally.

I have, therefore, 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.

Bus Services

 42. Deputy Bríd Smith Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if his attention has been drawn to the high cost of monthly and yearly travel passes for bus travel in Dublin (details supplied); if he plans to reduce the costs of public transport and bus fares in Dublin specifically; the timeframe for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17658/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for regulating fares charged by public transport operators.

  I have, therefore, 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.

Remote Working

 43. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the reason a person (details supplied) is not being permitted to work from home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17664/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I as Minister for Transport do not have responsibility for the operational matters of An Garda Síochána. Section 26 of The Garda Síochána Act 2005 specifies that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and control of the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including arranging the recruitment, training and appointment of its members and civilian staff.

Coast Guard Service

 44. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the reason the cliff rescue services that was provided by the Irish Coast Guard has been terminated; and if he will consider undertaking a review of the entire Irish Coast Guard service in order that a vision for the future can be forged. [17779/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton The Irish Coast Guard continues to work towards resuming Cliff Rescue operations at the 17 locations around the coast, which have been affected by the temporary suspension which arose from a cross-functional assessment carried by the Coast Guard. This assessment evaluated necessary actions relating to procedures, equipment, training and the oversight and assurance mechanisms necessary to ensure the continued safety of its personnel. As a matter of priority, the Irish Coast Guard is actively working on addressing all issues now identified and reinstating the provision of Cliff Rescue services as quickly as possible.

Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) Management acting within the Department of Transport’s organisation structure and accountability framework, and in response to the recommendations as listed within Reports, No. MCIB/266 and the AQE - Review of the Oversight of Search and Rescue (SAR) Aviation Operations in Ireland (2018), has embarked upon an extensive programme of reform. Doing so affords the IRCG the opportunity to demonstrate to all those who partake and/or avail of its services, that its operations and supporting activities are being managed in accordance with best practice and legislative requirements.

Coast Guard Service

 45. Deputy Darren O'Rourke Information on Darren O'Rourke Zoom on Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the position regarding the suspension by the Irish Coast Guard of cliff rescue teams; the reason for this; when this will be resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17792/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton The Irish Coast Guard continues to work towards resuming cliff rescue operations at the 17 locations around the coast affected by the temporary suspension. Safety matters are currently being addressed to facilitate the lifting of the temporary suspension of the operations.

Driver Test

 46. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan when driver theory tests will resume; the steps that will be taken to address the backlog of applicants waiting to take the driver theory tests (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17806/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton The Driver Theory Test has not been deemed by Government to be an essential service under level 5. As a consequence, the service is closed while level 5 restrictions remain in place. Customers who have a Driver Theory Test scheduled during the level 5 restrictions will be contacted to notify them that their test will be rescheduled free of charge when the service resumes. Updates around the resumption of tests will be published on www.theorytest.ie.

The RSA is engaging with its service provider to examine ways of increasing the number of tests within the current health constraints for when services resume. In this regard, the aim is to double capacity at test centres over a three-month period. Subject to decisions on future Covid 19 restrictions, this will mean that additional capacity would be made available in April, May and June 2021.

In addition to the increased capacity initiative, the RSA is working to deliver an online driver theory test service. The online service has been trialled on a pilot basis for those taking a theory test for trucks and buses and is now being evaluated with a view to extending the online service to all test types during 2021. However, scaling up operations to facilitate higher numbers will take time to achieve.

Road Projects

 47. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the status of the new Limerick to Foynes road; the funding that has been secured to build the road; the estimated cost of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17815/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Once funding arrangements have been put in place with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for TII, in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.  This is also subject to the requirements of the Public Spending Code Guidelines and necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise on the current status and funding of this proposed project.

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

Local Authority Staff

 48. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if approval has been given formally to local authorities to hire additional staff as part of the Sustainable Transport Initiative; if the terms of conditions and salaries under which such staff may be hired have been agreed; the number of such staff hired to date by local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17849/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public and sustainable transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including resourcing.

As the Deputy is aware, my Department announced funding in January for up to 248 new jobs in local authorities around the country to expand walking and cycling facilities all over the country. This increase in resourcing reflects the significantly increased funding of €1.8bn for walking and cycling over the planned lifetime of the Government. The additional staff will be dedicated to delivering and promoting active travel in Ireland and will work across design, communication, community liaison and construction oversight.

The NTA has developed a five year walking and cycling infrastructure delivery plan, including consideration of necessary institutional arrangements and resource requirements needed to ensure delivery of the active travel infrastructure programme. It is my understanding that the NTA are currently in the process of contacting local authorities to advise them of the number of resources authorised for funding under this plan and the terms and conditions involved.

In relation to the number of staff hired to date, I have referred this aspect of the query to the NTA. If you don't receive a response within 10 working days, please contact my private office directly.

Bus Services

 49. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if it is planned to devolve decisions in relation to the siting of bus shelters and other minor works from the NTA to the local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17850/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport, 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 the provision of bus stops and shelters.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the question to the NTA who will provide an explanation of the siting process to the Deputy directly. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Seirbhísí Dátheangacha

 50. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Iompair Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan cén fáth nach bhfuil leagan dátheangach ag a Roinn don mhana agus lógó Transport for Ireland agus an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge á cur san áireamh; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [17853/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Gabhaim buíochas leis an Teachta as a chuid ceisteanna.

  Mar Aire Iompair, tá freagracht orm as beartas agus maoiniú foriomlán maidir le hiompar poiblí. Níl baint agam, áfach, le hoibríochtaí iompair phoiblí ó lá go lá.

  Is é an tÚdarás Náisiúnta Iompair (NTA) a bhainistíonn láithreán gréasáin Transport for Ireland (TfI). Dá bhrí sin, is faoin NTA atá na saincheisteanna a ardaíodh, agus chuir mé ceisteanna an Teachta ar aghaidh chuig an NTA le haghaidh freagra díreach. Cuir in iúl do m'oifig phríobháideach mura bhfaigheann tú freagra laistigh de dheich lá oibre.

  Tá an Roinn ag obair faoi láthair ar nuashonrú á ról don Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030 agus beidh sé ar fáil le breathnú ar ár suíomh gréasáin go gairid. Tá cóip den Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030 ar fáil i nGaeilge anois ar shuíomh gréasáin na Roinne.

Driver Test

 51. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan when it is planned to allow driver instructors to recommence in-car driving instruction, in view of the large number of persons who need to learn to drive, particularly front-line workers in rural areas without good public transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17855/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton Last October the decision was taken at Government level, on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and other public health experts, that no driving lessons can proceed under level 5 restrictions other than for essential workers who have already been scheduled a confirmed date for a driving test.

While officials both in my Department and in the Road Safety Authority are working extremely hard to ensure that driving instruction will return to normal capacity as soon is it is safe to do so, any decision here will ultimately be that of Government.

School Transport

 52. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if a closing date has been set for schools to make an expression of interest for inclusion in the safe routes to school initiative; and if a scoring and weighting system has been identified for choosing schools across the various features mentioned in the initial launch. [17884/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton I was delighted to recently launch Safe Routes to School which will support active travel infrastructure for selected schools around the country. The programme will see circa €15 million of funding this year to support walking/scooting and cycling to primary and post-primary schools.

As the Deputy is probably aware, the Safe Routes to School programme aims to create safer walking and cycling routes within communities, alleviate congestion at the school gates and increase the number of students who walk or cycle to school by providing walking and cycling facilities.

All schools are eligible to apply to the programme and information has recently been circulated from the Departments of Education and Transport to schools nationwide. The selected schools will be guided through the application process and will work with a designated infrastructure officer from Green-Schools who will liaise with the school and local authority as works are planned and carried out.

Schools will be selected for participation in the coming months in the programme for 2021 based on a mix of criteria including school type, location and school’s commitment to sustainable travel. The programme will select a number of schools for participation this year, with further opportunities for schools that are not successful in their application to reapply at a later date.

Transport Infrastructure Provision

 53. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if a broad policy framework has been developed to shape the expenditure of the €1.8 billion for cycling and walking infrastructure; and the key performance indicators used in choosing projects. [17885/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The Government has committed that €1.8bn in cross-Government funding will be spent on walking and cycling over the lifetime of the Government. This investment will support the delivery of of almost 1,000 kilometres of improved walking and cycling infrastructure by 2025 as well as additional investment in Greenways.

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including cycling and walking infrastructure.

Details of individual projects are matters for the NTA and the relevant local authorities; accordingly I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Transport Infrastructure Provision

 54. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the details of the cycling and walking initiatives in Dublin city and Fingal in the first round of funding allocations; and the forecast numbers for users of the new facilities when fully in place. [17886/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including cycling and walking infrastructure. In February 2021 the NTA published details of the allocation of grants totalling €240 million under the Sustainable Transport Measures Grant Programme 2021, to support the implementation of sustainable transport projects by local authorities in the Greater Dublin Area and the regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. This represents an increase of €130 million on last year’s allocation and will support the addition of 233 new projects to the NTA’s investment programme in 2021.

  The full list of allocations is available on the NTA website at the following link: https://www.nationaltransport.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2021-Issued-Allocations-Final.pdf

  Details of individual projects are matters for the NTA and the relevant local authorities; accordingly I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Departmental Staff

 55. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he will provide a breakdown of the higher executive officers, administrative officers, assistant principal officers, principal officers and assistant secretaries in his Department, by gender, in tabular form. [17920/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The gender breakdown of the grades Higher Executive Officers, Administration Officers, Assistant Principal Officers, Principal Officers and Assistant Secretaries in my Department is set out below in the following table. Professional & Technical grades are mapped to their administrative equivalents.

Grade Female Male Total
Administrative Staff      
Assistant Secretary* 3 2 5
P.O. 12 11 23
Special Adviser** 1 1 2
A.P.* 37 25 61
A.O. 16 15 32
H.E.O. 46 31 77
Total Administrative Staff 115 85 200
Professional/Technical (P/T) Staff      
P/T P.O equiv. * 1 18 19
P/T A.P equiv. 3 47 50
P/T A.O/H.E.O equiv. 4 55 59
Total Professional/Technical (PT) Staff 8 120 128
Total at these grades 123 205 328
  *includes staff serving in an acting capacity.

  ** the two Special Advisers detailed are assigned to Minister of State Naughten. Minister Ryan's Advisers will be accounted for in the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication's response.

Departmental Data

 56. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if a schedule will be provided of the data sets, databases and file types his Department has shared with the Department of Health since 2000. [17982/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan  A schedule of data sets, databases and file types shared by my Department with the Department of Health is provided below.

Transfer Purpose Data Provided Method of Transfer Frequency
Driver Contact Information File To provide driver contact information for the purposes of COVID-19 contact-tracing File containing driver contact details Bulk Data File via Secure Staging Server Once only
Vehicle Contact Information File To provide vehicle owner contact information for the purposes of COVID-19 contact-tracing File containing vehicle owner contact information Bulk Data File via Secure Staging Server Once only

General Data Protection Regulation

 57. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the number of complaints his Department has received from members of the public under the heading of general data protection regulation, GDPR, and data information requests from 2018 to date in 2021; the number of data information requests that have been refused and accepted, respectively; the number of GDPR requests refused; and the basis on which they were declined, in tabular form. [18001/21]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The information requested by the Deputy is as follows in respect of the Department of Transport.

Year No. of GDPR Information Requests Number Refused
2018 22 NIL
2019 17 NIL
2020 19 NIL
2021 3 NIL


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