Statement on the Revised Estimate for the Dept of Transport, Tourism and Sport to the Oireachtas Select Sub-Committee by Minister Paschal Donohoe TD

4th February, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to present the Revised Estimate budget allocation for my Department today.


As you all know, the tourism and transport sectors have proven track records in creating employment and driving growth in the economy. Sport also has a vital economic role to play along with the obvious societal benefits. My Department’s investment programme is underpinning these efforts.


With an overall budget allocation of €1.6 billion, we have the funding to target investment in our transport network, support our tourism sector and promote sport to drive our country forward.


At €1.8 billion, last year was an exceptional year in terms of Government investment in these sectors. A significant portion of this allocation was once-off stimulus funding which was made available through the sale of State assets. Some of this stimulus funding forms part of the 2015 budget allocation. A further supplementary estimate of €162 million in December enabled us to target funding, particularly in the public transport sector, and the benefits of this investment will show in 2015.


At €910 million, I am pleased to say that my baseline capital funding for 2015 represents a substantial increase on the €818 million that was originally programmed for 2015 under the previous capital framework. I am also confident that this baseline will continue an upward trajectory over the coming years so we can restore our capital investment, particularly in land transport, to pre-crisis levels. This is vital to ensuring transport supports rather than impeding economic recovery. For tourism, it means we can build on the momentum achieved through initiatives such as the Wild Atlantic Way. For sport, it means we can make real progress towards the ambitious plans for a world class sports infrastructure.


My baseline for current expenditure is reduced by 2% in line with continuing fiscal consolidation measures across Government. However, I have managed to safeguard key areas of spend, particularly PSO subventions for public transport and sport. Savings elsewhere are being achieved through leaner administration, IT efficiencies and greater recourse to other financing options.


Capital funding maintained


Within this overall allocation, my Department will invest €967 million throughout Ireland in capital projects this year.


This will fund the National Roads programme to the tune of €326 million, including continued progress on our PPP programme completion of the N7 / N11 Arklow to Rathnew. This PPP project also includes the provision of a new Motorway Service Area on the Gorey by-pass. Construction work will commence on the 57 km motorway/dual carriageway PPP project on the N17/18 from Gort to Tuam.


The local and regional roads programme will receive €250 million for maintenance and minor schemes. This programme is essential to the economic development of rural communities and ensuring regional connectivity.


Public transport will receive €270 million in capital funding – ensuring continued progress on LUAS Cross City. Funding will also support the city centre re-signalling programme to facilitate the opening of the Phoenix Park Tunnel, addressing congestion bottlenecks and improving efficiency of the rail network. A rolling programme of PSO bus replacement will continue to be funded. There will also be bus priority measures and improvements to bus stops and shelters.


Equally, progress is continuing on the enhancement of the Leap card with additional private bus operators joining the scheme.  An interface to support use of mobile phones to read and top up Leap cards will also be developed.


The capital envelope for sport will exceed €66 million in 2015, including carry-over from 2014. This will allow significant progress on the National Sports Campus and particularly the new National Indoor Arena.  It will also provide for a new round of Sports Capital funding; a vital source of investment for local sports clubs throughout the country.


Tourism will also benefit from over €18 million in capital funding. This will ensure the existing suite of capital projects are delivered including the Dubline Heritage Trail, the Kilkenny Medieval Mile and Killarney House. It will also ensure significant progress on the Wild Atlantic Way.


Current spend


The current spend allocation of €674 million this year is a reduction on 2014 of around 2%. This is in line with Government’s fiscal consolidation objectives and in the case of my Department, the reduction will be delivered on the back of greater efficiencies and leaner administration rather than service cuts.


I have been able to honour my commitment to maintain PSO levels for our public transport companies at €210 million.  I am also pleased that the 2014 level of current funding for sport has actually increased slightly.


As both myself and my colleague, Minister Ring, have reiterated previously, investment in sport has a hugely positive, social, physical and mental implications both for the individual and for broader society.


I am keenly aware of the importance of regional airports throughout our country. The Regional Airports allocation is maintained at 2014 levels – €12 million – and will ensure continuation of this critical programme for regional development.


Another vital area of my Department’s work – the Maritime Transport Programme – is maintained at similar levels to 2014.  Among other things, this will ensure the Coast Guard’s level of service maintained.




To conclude, this Revised Estimate allocation is geared towards an economy in recovery. We do not have all the funding we want to progress all the projects we would like but we are moving in the right direction and I will continue to ensure that what funding is available is targeted to maximise jobs and economic growth.


I would be more than happy to answer any questions in relation to the Revised Estimate.