Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Public Accounts Committee

Business of Committee

9:30 am

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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Okay. Rezoning may not be the problem but the cost might be. I thank the Deputy. We will seek that information.

We will move onto the work programme. Over the next two weeks, we are scheduled to engage with the National Transport Authority, NTA, and the following week then with Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, to examine their respective financial statements for 2020.

The NTA and TII were both advised that the following matters are of particular interest to the committee: the transport strategy for the greater Dublin area; expenditure on MetroLink, BusConnects, the all-island strategic rail review, and DART expansion and underground; and public private partnerships, PPP.

If anybody has any other issues they wish to raise, they should flag it up with the clerk to the committee today or by tomorrow at the latest. People should really have a fortnight to give them time to prepare. Obviously, when witnesses come in, members start thinking of issues they perhaps want to raise. I ask members to give that a bit of thought in the meantime. I suggest, perhaps, that the ask for TII is to put the Ballybrophy to Limerick rail line on the agenda and that we discuss with the NTA its correspondence regarding its purchase of buses to serve bus routes.

Other than the all-island strategic rail review, which is the responsibility of the Department of Transport, all of this falls within the NTA’s remit.

On that basis, I propose to engage with the NTA first. Is it agreed that we engage with the NTA next week on 27 January and the TII the following week on 3 February? It is a better follow-on order. Agreed.

As set out in R0989, the TII does not have responsibility for the areas listed, other than public-private partnerships, and is the sponsoring authority for the MetroLink. If there are other areas of interest to members, they should please let the clerk know so that the TII can be made aware and be asked to provide a briefing before the meeting.

On 10 February, we are scheduled to examine the expenditure of the national broadband plan with National Broadband Ireland, NBI, and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. As agreed on 25 November, we have a series of housing-related meetings scheduled after that with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Residential Tenancies Board and Home Building Finance Ireland. To allow for arrangements to be made, is it agreed to proceed with those meetings, which will take us up to the first week in March? Agreed.

Does anyone wish to raise any other matter in respect of the work programme? It is important that we plan in good time so that not only do the bodies and witnesses being called before us have the time to gather their information together, but members themselves can flag items. It also assists the secretariat in planning the work programme.