Budget 2016 sees 8% increase for Dept of Transport, Tourism & Sport which will support the economy & secure the recovery – Donohoe & Ring

13th October, 2015

  • Additional €28m for increased public transport services through PSO
  • Funding levels for tourism, sport, aviation and maritime all increased to support policy objectives


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, have today (Tuesday) said the increase in their Department’s budgetary allocation for 2016, which provides for €1.74 billion for the Department next year, will support policy objectives across a range of areas which will help support the growing economy and secure our future recovery.


Budget 2016 provides for an increase in current expenditure by €47 million, or 7%. Capital expenditure is increasing by €77 million, or 8%. This is the first year since 2011 that the Department’s baseline allocation for capital investment is more than €1 billion, which is important progress in ensuring that what we have remains in good working order, while also furthering new projects which will enhance our future prospects.


Minister Donohoe said: ‘We are making good progress across all the programmes under my Department’s remit. 2016 will see continued momentum with the support of additional funding this year of around €125m compared to last. With an overall budget allocation of €1.74 billion next year, and a multi-annual capital commitment of €10bn over 7 years, we now have the resources to target investment in our transport network, support our tourism sector and promote sport to drive our country forward. This time last year I had €1.6 billion available to me for the year ahead. Today’s budget provides for an additional €125 million or almost 8%, which will have a positive impact across all sectors of the Department’.


“As the economy recovers, the demand and associated costs for increased services grows. This poses challenges which require careful planning, analysis and investment to meet those needs. The growth in the economy, which is seeing a corresponding increase in passenger demand for services, means that a more appropriate level of funding for our public transport sector is now needed. If we fail to provide for adequate services, we run the risk of hampering our future economic growth and increased congestion, which has the capacity to stifle the steady progress we have been making. With this in mind, I am happy to to announce an additional €28 million for Public Service Obligation (PSO) funding this year, which will be used to enhance and develop the current level of public transport services being delivered. This is the first time since 2008 that PSO funding has been increased and this allocation represents more than half of the reduction in PSO funding since 2011 (at €53 million). Last year I was able to maintain it at the same level as in 2014, however, 2016 will the first year in eight years that an increase has been secured in this area, which is significant.


“Where tourism is concerned, I am pleased that Budget 2016 sees the first funding increase since 2008 in the allocation for overseas tourism marketing activity. This will allow us to continue to encourage more tourists to come to Ireland and help grow jobs in that sector. I am also pleased that a decision has been made to retain the lower VAT rate of 9% which has had a significant impact on the tourist industry and its ability to create new and retain existing jobs.


“The decision too to simplify and reduce commercial motor tax rates will be welcomed by the haulage industry as it will help them to compete on a fairer footing and will improve competitiveness within the sector.  We are not out of the woods yet in terms of our economic recovery but we are making very good progress. The measures announced today will assist in supporting our future recovery, getting more people back to work and protecting the infrastructure and services upon which we so heavily rely.”


Minister Ring said: ‘The increase in sports allocation in Budget 2016, which is up 40% on 2015, allows for the further development of the National Indoor Arena, which is on track for completion in November 2016. Often referred to as the missing piece in our national sporting infrastructure, this facility will provide a first-class environment in which athletes at all levels from over 20 sports will be able to train and compete’.


“Last week I announced allocations under the third round of the Sports Capital Programme since 2011, providing investment for local projects which promote participation in sport across the towns and villages of Ireland.  Sport is so central to our future well-being. Engagement in it has a positive impact on us physically and mentally which needs to be supported.  The achievement of our elite sportspeople, on the other hand, acts as an inspiration and delivers a positive effect on the perception of Ireland across the world.  Government is keen to enhance this, particularly in 2016 when our athletes will be competing at the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.”


The areas that have been prioritised for funding include the following:

  • Land transport, including public transport services through PSO
  • Tourism
  • Sport
  • Aviation
  • Maritime


Land transport:

  • Represents 79% of total Vote
  • €1.37bn, representing a 7% increase on 2015
  • 14% increase in PSO subvention


Land transport receives a 7% increase on 2015 for a total of €1.37 billion. The Department’s recently published Strategic Framework for Investment in Land Transport report provides a very solid evidence-base for prioritising the constrained funding available for land transport. In order to deliver the investment needed to keep the physical assets of the transport network in good working order we must build on what we are currently providing. The Capital Plan recently announced will see annual investment in land transport rise from €1 billion this year to €1.9 billion in 2022, ensuring the right level of investment is secured over time.


Included in the land transport programme is provision for:

  • €555 million for roads maintenance and PPP projects;
  • €347 million for public transport investment, including investment essential for the maintenance and renewal of the rail network, LUAS Cross City, City Centre Re-signalling Project, Phoenix Park Tunnel, bus fleet renewal and expansion programme, and IT / integration projects such as LEAP card.


Public transport services (Public Service Obligation):

An additional €28 million or a 14% increase in Public Service Obligation (PSO) subvention is also being provided to support increased public transport services, including those operated under the Rural Transport Programme. The priorities for the use of this funding will be responding to passenger demand by intensifying key routes on Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann services, the opening of the Phoenix Park Tunnel for commuter services and DART service improvements. There will also be rural service improvements. As a result of this extra funding the NTA will now finalise its plans for 2016.


Tourism policy:

  • €121m for tourism programme
  • Up 1% on 2015
  • Includes €2m in additional funding to support co-operative overseas marketing, the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and the Rugby World Cup 2023 bid.


A strong Exchequer funding commitment to the sector will be key to achieving the ambitions set out in the recently published tourism policy; ‘People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025’.  Budget 2016 sees additional investment of €2 million in key elements of Fáilte Ireland’s and Tourism Ireland’s programmes along with continued capital investment next year and beyond to 2022.


This funding will enhance supports to the new experience brands of the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin, provide funding needed for the Rugby World Cup 2023 bid and increase overseas marketing activities in key destination markets.  Within the overall additional investment of €2 million, half will be used in the allocation for overseas tourism marketing activity. This is the first increase in this funding since 2008. This will enable our strong overseas marketing campaigns to continue in our key target markets and help ensure that our ambitious targets for further growth are met.


Sports Programme:

  • Total allocation of €126m
  • Up 40% on 2015
  • €31m increase in capital funding for projects including the completion of the National Indoor Arena by November 2016


2016 sees the overall sports programme allocation increase by 40% to €126 million; strong recognition by Government of the value of sport in all aspects of Irish society. The current expenditure allocation for the newly established Sport Ireland for 2016 is €47 million. This is an increase of €3 million on the total current funding provided to the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority this year.  This increase will help support the implementation of the National Physical Activity Plan which will be published shortly.


Further funding of €4.5 million will be available for sports measures next year through Dormant Accounts Funding.  Over €2 million was allocated from the Dormant Accounts Fund this year for the establishment of Community Sport Hubs across the country and the creation of a National Sports Education and Training Hub, allowing those with disabilities and who are educationally disadvantaged to benefit.


Almost €25 million is being provided in 2016 for the development of the National Sports Campus, including completion of the National Indoor Arena. Other major components of the sports programme include the Sports Capital Programme and Local Authority Swimming Pools programme.  Provision has been made for the Páirc Uí Chaoimh redevelopment and for the Kerry Sports Academy in Tralee.  A commitment is also being made to support Dublin City Council in its redevelopment of Dalymount Park as a municipal facility.  The amount and timeframe involved will be decided when detailed plans and costings are available.


Aviation Policy:

  • €27m for Civil Aviation Programme
  • Up 2% on 2015
  • €600k increase in support to Regional Airports Programme; a 5% increase on 2015.


The Regional Airports Programme budget will increase to €12.6 million next year, enabling the provision of much needed financial support (State aid) to the four regional airports at Donegal, Ireland West Airport Knock, Kerry and Waterford. This will cover safety and security related projects, capital and current, necessary for the airports to comply with regulations.


Maritime Policy:

  • €93m for maritime programme
  • Up 7% on 2015
  • Additional funding to ensure Irish Coast Guard maintains quality and level of service through the SAR helicopter contract


Key elements of the maritime programme relate to continued support for the Irish Coast Guard service and the Commissioner for Irish Lights programme.


The Irish Coast Guard service requires a strong resource commitment on the part of the Exchequer. The SAR helicopter has seen a step change in the quality of service on offer and that will remain a priority. Future developments in IT will also ensure the Coast Guard service remains best in class internationally.  Some additional funding for the Commissioner for Irish Lights will also see it transition on a solid foundation into the new funding model next year.