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Ryan, Eamon

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Rail Services Provision

I thank the Deputy for the opportunity to address this issue. The short answer to the question is "Yes" in that every option regarding level crossings on the new DART+ line to Maynooth should be g...More Button

I will start by taking the opportunity to update the House generally on the progress of the DART+ programme. The programme for Government commits to a fundamental change to the nature of transpo...More Button

For those who are unaware, DART+ will effectively double the capacity of the existing network. It will see the introduction of DART-level services on the Maynooth-Dunboyne, northern and Kildare ...More Button

I was delighted to be able to launch the public consultation on DART+ over the summer and I look forward to seeing progress made on the project during the lifetime of this Government. I recognis...More Button

Among the documents published as part of the public consultation process is a preliminary option selection report. It sets out in detail the approach taken when considering level crossings. At ...More Button

I understand that, during the public consultation process, some residents suggested there were options ruled out that should have been brought forward for detailed consideration. While I will le...More Button

Rail Services Provision (Continued)

The reality is that if we were to keep the level crossings, service frequency would be severely restricted, causing traffic difficulties in the area. I would like to think that we can all agree th...More Button

This initial consultation process is scheduled to close later this month, having been extended, as mentioned by the Deputy. Iarnród Éireann will then consider submissions received and decide upo...More Button

It is true, as the Deputy says, that in looking at any project, the preference is to be able to sit down with the engineer, to have the maps laid out and to be able to engage, which is the way publ...More Button

The Deputy is correct that there may be some people who do not have as easy access to webinars and so on. I wonder what do they have. In the context of this particular project and in the area o...More Button

I think that is a very good idea. I hope Irish Rail might consider it as part of its consultation process, which has to be done in very exceptional times.More Button

National Transport Authority (Continued)

I thank the Deputy for the opportunity to address this issue. As most Members are aware, rail services on this line ceased in 2010 under an agreement made between the National Transport Authority ...More Button

The decision to maintain the bridge in an open position is a pragmatic one, based on the fact that the line has now been closed for ten years. While the line has been closed, the port of New Ros...More Button

Ten years after the decision to close the line, a number of revised arrangements have been agreed between the National Transport Authority and Iarnród Éireann relating to the line. These arrange...More Button

At a practical and pragmatic level, I hope the Deputy can understand the reason behind the decision to maintain the bridge in an open position. At a broader level, I do not doubt the Deputy's wi...More Button

I trust this clarifies the position regarding the Barrow Bridge.More Button

I had a meeting with Iarnród Éireann last week and raised the specific issue of the future of Rosslare Port because it is owned by CIE and Irish Rail. I was raising it in the context of a wider re...More Button

The Deputy's instincts are right. We should not write off the possible return of lines which are currently underutilised or, as with this line, effectively closed for the last ten years. There ...More Button

The issue of this line is similar in a way to the discussion about the western railway corridor in terms of the question of whether one has a greenway or keeps a rail asset. I do not disagree wi...More Button

Recycling Policy

Was asked: if the expected circular life expectancy of plastics has been explored in the context of a deposit and return scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a cost comparison has been carried out to establish whether the set-up and maintenance costs of a deposit and return scheme that includes plastics would provide better value than other forms of ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 and 170 together.   

  Under the Single Use Plastics Directive, Ireland must achieve a collection target of 90% recycling for ...More Button

Was asked: the reason the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy does not propose new recycling targets or schemes to reduce waste from the construction and demolition sector in view of the fact that the se...More Button

The measures outlined in Ireland's new waste policy, A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy,  will help to reduce the volume of construction and demolition waste produced in the first pl...More Button

Food Waste

Was asked: the way in which he plans to ensure that proposals such as reducing the sale of multi-buy packs or buy-one-get-one-free deals do not disproportionately impact on lower-income households; if an econ...More Button

My Department launched the Waste Plan for a Circular Economy on 4 September 2020. The new plan contains a specific chapter on food waste, which outlines a number of actions to tackle th...More Button

Was asked: if all submissions received during the public consultation on the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy will be released.More Button

All valid submissions received in response to the public consultation on the Waste Action Plan are now available on the Gov.ie website at the following link: More Button

Waste Management

Was asked: the reason he plans to allow for permit exemption for specific waste streams under Article 24 of the 2008 Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EU); the further reason it is proposed in the Waste Acti...More Button

My Department has engaged in extensive discussions with the construction industry in relation to construction and demolition (C&D) waste at a number of fora including the Construction Waste Res...More Button

Environmental Impact Assessments

Was asked: if a thorough environmental impact assessment has been carried out to take account of unintended harmful consequences from plans outlined in the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy to create n...More Button

Article 27 of the European Communities (Waste Directive) Regulations, 2011, provides that in certain circumstances a material may be treated as a by-product and not a waste.  Article 28 of the thes...More Button

Energy Efficiency

Was asked: the status of upcoming SEAI grant schemes for works on private dwellings.More Button

The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings ov...More Button

Electric Vehicles

Was asked: his views on additional car charging points (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In line with the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan 2019, this Government is fully committed to supporting a significant expansion and modernisation of the electric vehicle chargi...More Button

National Broadband Plan

Was asked: when a location (details supplied) will have access to fibre broadband in view of the instruction to work from home where possible and the rising number of Covid-19 cases the roll out of same needs...More Button

The Question refers to a premises which is located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at More Button

Was asked: if a definitive timeline for the rollout of high-speed broadband in County Cork will be provided.More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract signed on last November to roll out a high speed and future proofed b...More Button

Was asked: the options available to persons (details supplied) that are included in the national broadband plan but are currently receiving an inadequate service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Question refers to a premises which is located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov...More Button

Was asked: if he will request a company (details supplied) to establish a more accessible contact facility by phone or email to better facilitate queries in relation to the national broadband rollout.More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract signed last November. I am advised that NBI operate a contact centre ...More Button

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) will be connected with a high-speed broadband connection; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Question refers to a premises which is located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov...More Button

Electricity Supply Board

Was asked: if the smart meters being rolled out by the ESB under the smart meter programme are capable of differentiating between night and day; if not, if this will impact on the ability of the meter to regi...More Button

The Programme for Government commits to ensuring that the energy efficiency potential of smart meters starts to be deployed in 2021 and that all mechanical electricity meters are replaced by 2024. ...More Button

The installation of smart meters is a key enabler for the energy transition to a decarbonised system as outlined in the Climate Action Plan.  In addition the move to upgraded digital meters will ...More Button

Smart Meters are configured to record consumption in day, night and peak time periods, as well as in shorter half-hour intervals. Smart Meters are also configured to record any electricity feedin...More Button

Since September 2019, when ESB Networks commenced the replacement of over 2 million electricity meters, over 150,000 electricity meters have been installed to end September 2020.More Button

Energy Production

Was asked: if a grant is available for persons generating their own energy; if not, his plans to introduce a grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Programme for Government commits to prioritising the development of micro-generation, letting people sell excess power back to the grid by June 2021. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland...More Button

The proposed support mechanism will be outlined in a public consultation in the coming months. A suitable support payment for excess electricity generated on site and exported to the grid will be...More Button

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Energy Policy

Was asked: the status of the review by his Department of the security of supply of natural gas and electricity networks here; if he is satisfied with the security of supply arrangements in view of the potenti...More Button

My Department is carrying out a review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems which is focusing on the period to 2030 in the context of ensuring a sustain...More Button

My Department is in on-going engagement with industry and stakeholders to ensure high levels of awareness of the implications of Brexit on energy matters.  We continue to engage with the European...More Button

Warmer Homes Scheme

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 153 of 22 September 2020, if a decision has been made on the resumption of works on the homes of the persons over 70 years of age; and if he will make a statem...More Button

I refer to the reply to Question No 153 of 22 September 2020. As indicated in the reply, SEAI have been reviewing how to ensure that the progression of works under the warmer homes scheme aligns ...More Button

Was asked: if it is the case that works on the SEAI warmer home scheme were suspended or are suspended due to Covid-19; the number of homes affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). To date over 142,000 homes have received free upgrades under...More Button

Better Energy Homes Scheme

Was asked: if the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland will permit a contractor to commence works under the better energy warmer homes scheme in the house of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; an...More Button

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). To date over 142,000 homes have received free upgrades under...More Button

EU Directives

Was asked: the cost to his Department to date of all fines paid by Ireland for non-transposition of EU directives into Irish law; the breakdown, by directive of the lump sum cost and the daily cost of each fi...More Button

There are currently no cases where fines have been levied or are being paid resulting from non-compliance with EU Directives by my Department.More Button

Post Office Network

Was asked: if he will give consideration to the recommendations in the report prepared for an organisation (details supplied) in relation to the need to provide an annual public service obligation for the pos...More Button

I am considering the content of the report published last Wednesday in the context of Government policy. The Programme for Government recognises that a modernised post office network will provide...More Button

While it is longstanding Government policy that postal services will not be directly subsidised by the Government, we remain fully committed to a sustainable post office network as a key componen...More Button

An Post's social value has been particularly evident during the current Covid crisis.  It has played a valuable role in its commitment to rural communities and to the elderly and vulnerable in ou...More Button

In response to the structural challenges facing the postal sector generally and An Post, the company put in place a Strategic Plan for the medium-long term future of the company. The Plan covers ...More Button

In order to implement the Plan, the cost of which was estimated to be in the region of €150m, the Minister for Finance provided a loan of €30m to the company in December 2017 to support the renew...More Button

An Post is continuing to undergo vital transformation as part of the delivery of its strategic plan which has seen the company split into two distinct business units, An Post Mails and Parcels an...More Button

An Post is transforming its retail network by delivering new products and new formats. This includes, among other things, diversifying and growing the financial services products it provides for ...More Button

The strategic plan put in place to transform the company  has resulted in An Post recording an operating profit of over €41m for 2019, the third consecutive year of significant financial improvem...More Button

Government believes An Post has untapped potential to do more and make a further significant contribution across many areas of public, business and community life in Ireland. With an evolving man...More Button

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Legislative Measures

Was asked: if he will consider legislative measures in which workers and students are not at a loss in terms of light, heat and waste bills due to having to work and study at home in view of such a scheme in ...More Button

The initiative in Spain, referred to by the Deputy, appears to relate to the costs of working from home for employees.  Workplace relations and employee rights are a matter for the Tánaiste and Min...More Button

Departmental Contracts

Was asked: if he has engaged a third-party company in each of the years 2017 to 2019 and to date in 2020 to conduct online and or social media monitoring and or provide reports on social media coverage of his...More Button

My Department has not engaged a third party company to conduct online or social media monitoring or provide reports on social media coverage.More Button

Was asked: if he has engaged a third-party company in each of the years 2017 to 2019 and to date in 2020 to conduct online and-or social media monitoring and-or provide reports on social media coverage of his...More Button

My Department does not monitor social media in the manner described by the Deputy.

  My Department provides public information about the Department’s policies and programmes thro...More Button

Departmental Staff

Was asked: the number of staff in his Department on sick leave between March and September by month in 2019 and to date 2020; the pay arrangements that exist for staff on sick leave for an extended period of ...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is outlined in the following table:

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Was asked: the number of staff in his Department on sick leave between March and September, by month, in 2019 and to date 2020; the pay arrangements that exist for staff on sick leave for an extended period o...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is currently compiling this data and it will be forwarded to you as soon as it is available.More Button

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 51

Further to Parliamentary Question 28944/20, please find hereunder my response:

  1) Number of i...More Button

Rail Network

Was asked: his plans to install continuous welded rail along Stoney Road, North Strand, Dublin 3, as part of the DART expansion programme.More Button

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 planni...More Button

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 1...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: his vision for the way in which the communities from the south west, the west and on to counties Sligo, Donegal and Derry can be connected by rail and his plans to advance this vision.More Button

I think the Programme for Government – Our Shared Future sets out a very clear vision to fundamentally change the nature of transport in Ireland. To make that change, we need a whole o...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question 664 of 30 June 2020, if he will provide an expected timeline for the release of the latest rail review report on the western rail corridor commissioned in 2019 in ...More Button

As the Deputy is aware Iarnród Éireann commissioned a financial and economic appraisal of a proposed reopening of Phases 2 and 3 of the Western Rail Corridor, and, I can confirm that on 1st July my...More Button

An independent review is currently being conducted by JASPERS, an agency established by the European Union and the European Investment Bank. JASPERS has vast experience in advising Member States...More Button

I intend to publish these analyses as soon as is practical, however, in line with the Programme for Government commitment I will first bring the matter to Government. More Button

Public Transport

Was asked: the amount of current Exchequer funding provided for 2019 and forecast to be provided for 2020 and 2021 for the provision of public transport via the National Transport Authority, NTA; and if he wi...More Button

The total amount paid for Public Service Obligation (PSO) services and Local Link services in 2019 was €308m. The amount allocated for 2020 was €304m. As is normal, the precise allocations to the ...More Button

Was asked: the status of the 7 a.m. train from Dublin to Cork which goes through Thurles; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to increase trains from Thurles to Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 200 and 201 together.

  As the Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. Howe...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Public Service Obligation Services

Was asked: if the emergency designation of five strategic maritime routes as PSO routes for a period of three months will be extended; if so, the Exchequer funding provided for 2020; and if he will make a sta...More Button

On 7 April 2020, the Irish Government announced the temporary designation of five strategic maritime routes into and out of Ireland as Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes during Covid-19 for a p...More Button

The decision was based on the strategic importance of these routes for their contribution towards the robustness and resilience of Ireland’s lifeline supply chain transporting goods, including fo...More Button

The PSO Agreements provided that a review of the operation of the services be carried out after the first month of operation and every month thereafter. The reviews concluded that the PSAs delive...More Button

With the gradual recovery of freight volumes and the commencement of a number of new services, evidence suggested that a market failure no longer existed to the extent experienced in March 2020. ...More Button

While freight volumes have recovered and the shipping sector has shown itself to be resilient during Covid-19, there is no doubt but that risks remain as the pandemic is continuing longer than or...More Button

Greenways Provision

Was asked: the status of a dedicated greenway from Blackrock to Greenore, Carlingford, County Louth (details supplied).More Button

Support for Greenways in County Louth has been forthcoming from my Department in recent years. The first completed section of Greenway in County Louth was from Omeath to Carlingford Marina and this...More Button

My Department recently allocated a further €200,000 for planning and design work to extend this Greenway towards Templetown Beach under the Carbon Tax Fund. That was the only application made by ...More Button

The section linking Newry City in to Carlingford is at design phase and there are consultations being undertaken with landowners and other local stakeholders. More Button

An application for a Greenway from Blackrock to Dundalk was made in 2018 by Louth County Council. However, this application was premature as no planning permission was in place and there were som...More Button

As part of the Government’s Programme for Government commitments my Department will be looking at ways of increasing Greenways around the country over the coming years, and connectivity and netwo...More Button

Driver Test

Was asked: when driver tests will be facilitated for persons (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The scheduling of candidates’ driving tests is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and as Minister, I have no power to intervene in individual cases.More Button

In general terms, my Department is remaining in close contact with the RSA as they deal with the increased demand for their driver testing service since operations resumed following its temporar...More Button

It is my understanding that those who had appointments cancelled due to Covid 19 are being prioritised in the first instance. Priority then will be given in order of application date. While ther...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) that has to complete their driver test in Donegal town is not allowed to wear their own mask which they wear for medical reasons during the test; and if he wi...More Button

As this is an operational matter for the Road Safety Authority (RSA), I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has ...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that driver instructors that are legally required to accompany their learner drivers to test centres for their test are refused access to the testing cen...More Button

While it is the case that a learner driver must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver at all times, there is no requirement in law for driving instructors to attend test centres with learners s...More Button

Operational arrangements at test centres are a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred the Deputy's question to the Authority for direct response; please contact my office...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will be allocated an appointment for a driver test.More Button

The scheduling of candidates’ driving tests is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority and I have no information on any individual cases. More Button

However, my Department is remaining in close contact with the RSA as they deal with the increased demand for their driver testing service since operations resumed following its temporary closure...More Button

It is my understanding that those who had appointments cancelled due to Covid 19 are being prioritised in the first instance. Priority then will be given in order of application date. While ther...More Button

Was asked: if he will consider instructing the Road Safety Authority to install sheltering facilities such as ultra cabins at driver test centres in which approved driver instructors can await the return of t...More Button

As this is a matter for the Road Safety Authority I have referred the Deputy's question to the Authority for direct response. Please contact my office if no reply has been received within ten worki...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an update on tests for driver licences in view of circumstances in which persons have been given an appointment for February 2021 but require a licence to be able to take up empl...More Button

The scheduling of candidates’ driving tests is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and as Minister, I have no power to intervene in individual cases.More Button

My Department is remaining in close contact with the RSA as they deal with the increased demand for their driver testing service since operations resumed following its temporary closure due to t...More Button

It is my understanding that those who had appointments cancelled due to Covid 19 are being prioritised in the first instance. Priority then will be given in order of application date. While ther...More Button

Was asked: the number of persons awaiting a driver test for zero to three, three to six, six to nine and more than nine months, respectively, in each testing centre nationwide; and if he will make a statement...More Button

Specific details on the number of persons awaiting a driver test are held by the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred this question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the ...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: if additional staff and testers will be hired in the Naas driver test centre in order to clear the backlog of driver test applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Specific details on individual test centres are an operational matter for the Road Safety Authority. More Button

As the Deputy can appreciate Covid 19 has had a profound effect on the delivery the Driver Test service. I acknowledge that many people across all areas of society have been impacted by the incre...More Button

The Driver Test service has seen its weekly capacity reduced significantly in order to comply with occupational and public health requirements. As an example, due to the additional hygiene and sa...More Button

Those who had appointments cancelled due to Covid 19 are being prioritised in the first instance. Initially, those who are frontline healthcare workers will be deemed eligible for an urgent test ...More Button

My Department is remaining in close contact with the RSA who are examining ways of increasing the number of tests within the current health constraints. One option is the employment of additional...More Button

In the meantime, my Department has give approval to the RSA to retain 18 driver testers on temporary contracts due to expire in October and November, and to rehire up to 19 testers whose contrac...More Button

While I regret the inconvenience caused by the necessity to adhere to the restrictions imposed on us by NPHET and other experts, the safety of the public, whether through contracting Covid or thr...More Button

National Development Plan

Was asked: the amount of the €8.6 billion allocated for transport as part of the National Development Plan that has been drawn down; and the commitment in each year to date in tabular form.More Button

Was asked: the amount of the €8.6 billion allocated for transport as part of the National Development Plan that has been pre-committed for 2021.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 and 203 together.

  The National Development Plan (NDP) provides the following indicative allocations to support transport over the period 20...More Button

Taxi Licences

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost of waiving all public service vehicle renewal fees for licences issued in respect of taxis.More Button

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost of waiving all renewal fees for taxi licences issued in respect of taxi drivers.More Button

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost of waiving all suitability test fees for vehicles operating as taxi.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 204 to 206, inclusive, together.

  The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including licence and renewal fees, is a m...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Taxi Data

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost of providing electric and disability accessible vehicles for the entire taxi public services vehicle fleet, including charging stations. More Button

The Programme for Government set out commitments to support the greening of the taxi fleet and to review supports for wheelchair accessible vehicles to enhance accessbility for people with disabili...More Button

The Electric Small Public Service Vehicle (eSPSV) Grant Scheme offers up to €10,000 towards the purchase of an electric SPSV, and a further €2,500 towards its conversion to a wheelchair accessibl...More Button

Under the Retro-fit Programme to upgrade older public transport infrastructure to make it accessible for people with disabilities, funding is provided for the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) ...More Button

These schemes can be used together. This means that up to €20,000 can be offered towards the purchase of a new wheelchair accessible electric SPSV.More Button

Both of these schemes are administered by the National Transport Authority (NTA), the statutory regulator under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. In light of the NTA's role in adminstering the scheme...More Button

In relation to charging stations, the eSPSV Charger Project which will see the installation of SPSV-dedicated EV chargers at Dublin and Cork Airports as well as in train stations in Dublin (Heust...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Driver Licences

Was asked: the number of persons resident in Ireland who hold a UK driver licence that have not exchanged their licence for an Irish licence ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period; and if he will ma...More Button

My Department and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) cannot state the exact number of people driving on a UK licence at any moment in time. There is no requirement or provision in law for EU member ...More Button

At the start of Brexit, the motor insurance industry provided estimated figures of UK licence holders resident in Ireland at between 50,000 and 70,000, based on their records. Since 2018, the RSA...More Button

The NDLS are currently planning for demand for UK exchanges in the last quarter of 2020 in the region of 10,000 to 17,000. The RSA will commence a communication plan in the coming weeks that will...More Button

Was asked: if the renewal of a driver licence will be expedited due to exceptional circumstances in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In response to the Covid-19 restrictions introduced by the Government, regulations were brought in to extend the period of validity for all driving licences that expired between 1 March and 31 Augu...More Button

New driving licences have not been issued, but the official driver record will be updated to reflect the new expiry date. A driving licence can not be renewed more that 3 months before the expiry...More Button

  Question No. 215 answered with Question No. 213.More Button

Was asked: if an exchange agreement exists between Ireland and the UK regarding recognition of driver licences; if licences from the UK but that originated in other countries with which Ireland does not have ...More Button

Under EU and Irish driving licence legislation, driving licences issued by Member States are mutually recognised. An EU driving licence is exchangeable for an Irish driving licence, except where th...More Button

During the transition period of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK licence is still valid to drive in the EU and therefore no driving licence exchange agreement can be entered into nor is one needed.More Button

After the transition period ends on 31st December 2020, the UK (including NI) driving licences will no longer be valid to drive in Ireland. Irish residents who hold a UK or NI licence are encoura...More Button

It is expected that the licence exchange arrangements with the UK (including NI) will be in place, if required, as soon as practicable following the transition period. More Button

Was asked: the basis of NDLS requiring a physical copy of Irish residency permit cards in circumstances in which PSC cards cannot be produced; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 d...More Button

Was asked: the steps he will take to deal with the long delays in getting appointments for driver licences in Dublin; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that many people are left with no choice but t...More Button

The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS), provided by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), resumed services in June, following the closure of the centres due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Ho...More Button

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is working with their providers to see how they can create the additional capacity needed as quickly as possible, while adhering to the return to work protocol. Op...More Button

The NDLS booking system is undergoing software changes to cater for the expanded booking window associated with the additional NDLS appointment slots, with testing commencing this week. More Button

The introduction of these steps may help ease some of the pressure on the NDLS, free up appointment slots and make it easier to find those slots at local centres. The RSA is continuing work with ...More Button

Currently, applications by post can be made by persons over the age of 70 with one year licences, but the RSA is examining how the postal system might be expanded to handle greater numbers of po...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether it is permissible for holders of Northern Ireland licences who work for the Irish Coast Guard to remain on the driver's laminate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In order for a member of the Irish Coast Guard to be authorised to drive a Coast Guard vehicle they must be in possession of a valid driving licence, have completed a Driver Declaration Form and be...More Button

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Was asked: if further supports will be made available to protect jobs in the travel agents sector; if a special range of supports are being reviewed; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

I am aware of the serious difficulties arising for Irish licensed travel agents and tour operators in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the catastrophic collapse of overseas travel and tourism. More Button

The sector continues to benefit from a range of State supports made available for SMEs - including the wage subsidies - and the State is also providing a special financial guarantee under a Refu...More Button

I know that businesses in the sector are looking for more, and the Irish Travel Agents Association has made representations on behalf of its members for additional financial supports in the form ...More Button

Was asked: if he will increase supports to designated regional airports to cover all core activity costs for 2020 in view of the travel restrictions, which have seriously impacted on income and revenue stream...More Button

As a result of Covid-19, the challenge facing the aviation industry is unprecedented. All Irish airports, including the smaller regionals, have been fully exposed to the dramatic downturn in activ...More Button

In order to assist business and protect employment, the Government has put in place a comprehensive suite of generalised supports for all companies such as wage subsidy schemes, grants, low-cost ...More Button

Also this year, and in line with priorities for regional development, €6m in Exchequer grants is being provided to Ireland's smallest airports under the Government's Regional Airports Programme. ...More Button

In addition to the grant aid, regional connectivity continues to be subsidised through Government funded PSO air services between Dublin and the airports of Donegal and Kerry. Over €7m is being ...More Button

A new Regional Airports Programme for a five year period starting in 2021 is also being finalised. This will help eligible airports remain viable as they adapt to the ongoing presence of Covid. More Button

This Government is fully committed to doing what it can to support the airport sector and recognises the important role that aviation plays in the economic well-being of Ireland. However, the Go...More Button

In relation to any additional support mechanisms for regional airports, my Department will continue to work closely with key stakeholders and will continue to review options in the context of th...More Button

Search and Rescue Service Provision

Was asked: if further details will be provided on the search and rescue carried out for two paddleboarders (details supplied) on 13 August 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

This incident attracted a high level of interest and fortunately had a most successful outcome in that the two casualties were successfully located and rescued.

  The Coast Guar...More Button

Road Traffic Accidents

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the road collision reporting guidelines produced by an organisation (details supplied); his views on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Many other jurisdictions have reports, consultations and other forms of publication related to all aspects of travel. It would not be appropriate for me as Minister to comment on them, particularl...More Button

Bus Services

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to plans by Bus Éireann to close a number of its intercity routes, including the x8 from Cork city to Dublin city; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to ensure that Bus Éireann retains all of its expressway services and to improve regional connectivity following announcement of plans by Bus Éireann to cut services; and if he will make ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 213 and 215 together.More Button

As the Deputies will be aware, the Covid-19 health emergency has had a profound impact on the public transport sector due to the fall in passenger numbers and associated drop in fare revenues.More Button

While the majority of public transport in Ireland is provided by the publicly-subvented bus and rail services funded through National Transport Authority's (NTA) public service obligation (PSO) p...More Button

The negative impact of Covid on the public transport system has been mitigated by several Government decisions particularly:More Button

- to substantially increase the 2020 budget for the existing PSO system (4 June);More Button

- to introduce new temporary financial support for non-PSO licensed services provided by commercial bus operators (25 June); andMore Button

- enhancements to certain PSO bus services announced under the Stimulus package (23 July)More Button

The temporary funding supports for the licensed bus sector have been introduced for a period of up to six months, in accordance with EU and national legislation and are restricted to operators wh...More Button

Among the commercial operators that are being supported under the scheme is most but not all of Bus Éireann’s (BÉ) Expressway business. As is the case in many other sectors of the economy, despit...More Button

BÉ has developed plans to address its critical financial situation by reducing the size of its commercial Expressway business over time in order to focus on the profitable routes. The decision by...More Button

I have been assured by the company that there will be no job losses as a result of its decision and that affected staff will be redeployed to new/enhanced services which were announced as part of...More Button

As regards regional connectivity, I would like to reassure the Deputies that I have asked the NTA to assess any potential loss of connectivity along particular segments of the routes to ensure th...More Button

The Government is committed to ensuring that essential transport services are protected and supported. Services that provide vital regional and rural connections will continue to operate.More Button

Was asked: if routes 51, Galway to Cork, will be maintained on the current route.More Button

As the Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport. More Button

Aviation Policy

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the change in Dutch aviation policy in which a maximum aircraft movement cap was introduced on Schiphol Airport; if consideration will be given to introducing suc...More Button

My Department’s focus is on ensuring that we have the optimum network for Ireland given the importance of international connectivity for the wellbeing of the country. That involves having a strong...More Button

Project Ireland 2040 supports high quality International connectivity investments consistent with sectoral priorities already defined through the National Aviation Policy. Significant investment ...More Button

The National Aviation Policy also recognises the important role of Shannon Airport in the economic and social fabric of Mid-West Region. The airport enjoys the advantage of full US Preclearance a...More Button

A maximum cap of movements at Schiphol Airport was stipulated by the Alders Agreement in 2008 and later modified. It is my understanding that the objective of the Alders Agreement was to balance ...More Button

In Ireland these would potentially be considered operating restrictions which are governed by EU Regulation 598/2014 and the provision of the Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Act 2019 w...More Button

The aircraft noise regulation process is tied in with the planning process, which provides safeguards against any award of planning permission until such time as the proposal has been screened an...More Button

For the daa, this new regime applies to all future development applications at the Airport, but also any amendments it may seek to existing planning permissions. These are statutorily independent...More Button

Was asked: if he will ensure that the City of Derry Airport is included in the forthcoming regional airports programme to reflect that 40% of the passengers, that is, 200,000 per year, are from County Donegal...More Button

As the Deputy may know, my Department is currently finalising a new Regional Airports Programme for the period 2021 to 2025. Last year, as part of a public consultation process on the policy, 63 s...More Button

All input to that process, including more recent submissions, have been examined by my Department and put forward for consideration by Minister of State Naughton. Once approved, it is anticipate...More Button

With regard to re-establishing a PSO air service between Derry and Dublin Airports, and as part of new power-sharing arrangements in Northern Ireland, the Irish Government has committed to review...More Button

My Department has commenced this review and is engaging with key stakeholders including City of Derry Airport.More Button

Ports Policy

Was asked: the position regarding a possible development of a free-zone at Rosslare Europort, Rosslare, County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department was first informed about this suggestion by Rosslare Europort in late July 2020 when the Company forwarded a short document to my Department on the development potential for available...More Button

The issue is therefore at the very early stage concept as any formal proposal would have to have a comprehensive business case setting out the analysis, pros and cons, etc. More Button

The development of a Free Zone would be a matter falling within the broad area of industrial policy and would require liaison with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in the fir...More Button

My Department is happy to continue to engage with Rosslare Europort in relation to its development of a business proposal for a free zone at Rosslare, and to assist in the examination of the issu...More Button

Transport Costs

Was asked: the estimated cost of BusConnects for the Dublin region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport, and the Programme for Government - Our Shared Future prioritises plans f...More Button

Road Projects

Was asked: the status and timeline of the N11-M11 interchange; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the N...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: the total cost of the M7 Naas-Newbridge bypass upgrade, M7 Osberstown interchange and R407 Sallins bypass; if the project has come in on, under or over budget; the amount; and if he will make a sta...More Button

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 wit...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Fines Data

Was asked: the cost to his Department to date of all fines paid by Ireland for non-transposition of EU directives into Irish law; the breakdown, by directive of the lump sum cost and the daily cost of each fi...More Button

My Department has, to date, not paid any fines for non-transposition of EU Directives into Irish law.More Button

Was asked: the amount collected in fare evasion fines from 1 March to 29 September 2020 by Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Luas operators.More Button

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

  The issues raised are operational matters for the transport com...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Road Safety

Was asked: the measures are being taken to clear glass from cycle lanes, particularly on the N11; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the N...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Brexit Issues

Was asked: his views on the potential negative impact on the movement of Irish freight within and outside the EU due to a disorderly Brexit; and his plans to address the matter.More Button

Regardless of the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations, the end of the transition period will see the UK no longer applying the rules of the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. This will have immedi...More Button

The UK landbridge is an important means of access to the single market, one that is favoured by traders in high value or time sensitive goods because it offers significantly faster transit times ...More Button

The process for moving goods by direct ferry routes between Ireland and other EU Member States will not be subject to new procedures. Following ongoing consultation with the shipping sector, an...More Button

The performance of the shipping industry in responding to the challenges of Covid-19 has been impressive, including with a number of new direct services to Continental Europe having been establis...More Button

My Department is confident that the shipping industry serving Ireland is open and competitive, is responsive to market demand and capable of responding to any increase in demand for direct connec...More Button

As regards air freight, Department officials have been working closely with stakeholders in the aviation sector to prepare them for the changes to come at the end of the Brexit Transition period....More Button

Brexit Preparations

Was asked: the capacity on direct routes to continental ports and the contingency capacity should additional support be needed due to a disorderly Brexit; his plans for sourcing additional capacity if require...More Button

Was asked: his views relating to the sole reliance on the privately run and owned shipping sector in the case of a disorderly Brexit; his views on whether the Government should intervene to create a semi-Stat...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the creation of a semi-State shipping sector as opposed to the current private monopoly will help guarantee the delivery of goods and services and safeguard the economic viabil...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 228 to 230, inclusive, together.More Button

As has been signalled since the publication of the report ‘The Implications of Brexit on the Use of the landbridge’ by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) in 2018, there is likely to be ...More Button

Shipping companies have assured the IMDO and my officials that they will respond to any increases in demand for direct connectivity at the end of the transition period and shipping companies have...More Button

At present, there is more than sufficient capacity on existing services in the RoRo network between Ireland and mainland Europe to cater, if required, for the landbridge traffic currently estimat...More Button

The Government considers that State intervention to establish a semi-State shipping sector or to establish State shipping links, in the current circumstances and in the context of the end of the ...More Button

My Department, together with the IMDO, is continuing to closely monitor and keep under review the evolving situation regarding maritime connectivity to continental ports, and will remain in close...More Button

In that context, the IMDO is specifically reviewing the conclusions and recommendations in the 2018 Landbridge Study and, in particular, the issue of direct maritime connectivity to Continental E...More Button

As set out in the Government’s updated Brexit Readiness Action Plan, published on 9th September 2020, businesses are being asked to consider moving, in advance of the end of the transition period...More Button

Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 319 of 29 September 2020, the total amount of additional Covid-related Exchequer expenditure for 2021 for his Department; if he will provide a breakdown by lin...More Button

The Minister for Finance and the Minister for PER have set out the broad parameters for Budget 2021. However, Estimates discussions are still ongoing and I am not in a position to give any breakdow...More Button

Covid-19 Pandemic

Was asked: the instructions or guidance being given to public transport operators regarding persons who are unable, due to a physical or mental illness, to wear a mask on public transport; if he will consider...More Button

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. More Button

The Chief Medical Officer and the HSE are responsible for the issuing of guidelines in relation to public health and the public health advices apply across all modes of public transport. Guidanc...More Button

S.I. No. 244 of 2020 (Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (Face Coverings on Public Transport) Regulations 2020) was introduced on Friday 10 July and came into effec...More Button

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.More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Light Rail Projects

Was asked: the reason for the decision, as per the current DART west scheme, to cease the line at Maynooth; and if he plans to extend the project to Kilcock, County Kildare.More Button

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 planni...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button