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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 425-434
 Header Item Driving Licence Applications
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Public Park Access
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Expenditure
 Header Item Dublin Bus Services
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Light Rail Project
 Header Item Departmental Transport
 Header Item Road Network

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 802 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 425-434

Driving Licence Applications

 425. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if photographs from local photo kiosks are still accepted for new driving licence applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21232/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar On 12th January 2013, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) became the driver licensing authority for the State and has responsibility for the introduction of the plastic card driver licence. The RSA has decided to operate the service through three outsourced contracts to be managed by a specialist unit based in its headquarters in Ballina. The contracts will cover plastic card licence production, back office processing and front-office customer interface.

As part of the procurement process for the customer interface contract, all bidders opted to provide photographic images through digitally captured photographs.

The contractors will be fully mobilised to provide the required services later this year. In the meantime, motor tax offices will continue to accept driver licence applications, including paper photographs, on behalf of the RSA.

Tourism Promotion

 426. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason meetings of the Mayo North Tourism Committee have not been convened by Fáilte Ireland since last September notwithstanding all The Gathering events which have been organised for the region and the tourism strategies, initiatives and projects which remain to be pursued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21267/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland.  I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.  I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

Public Park Access

 427. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar further to Parliamentary Question No. 676 of 23 April 2013, if he will further elaborate on the legal position in respect of the wide-spread use of quad bikes by young persons specifically in public parks; and the enforcement powers available to local authorities to curb the use of such vehicles in such public open spaces. [21268/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As I indicated in my reply given on 23 April 2013 'public place' for the purposes of road traffic legislation means any public road, and any street, road or other place to which the public have access with vehicles whether as of right or by permission and whether subject to or free of charge.

Public parks come under the management and control of either the Office of Public Works or the local authority in the area concerned and are covered by separate statutory provisions.  If the parks are places where the public do not have access to with vehicles, it is a matter for the management body concerned to provide for and enforce relevant governing legislation or bye-laws (including the use of quad bikes), as the case may be, to ensure that all persons comply with the permitted use of the park.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 428. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding a sports capital grant application (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21349/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The club in question were allocated a grant of €100,000 under the 2005 Sports Capital Programme.  I understand that the club have not been in a position to draw down their grant due to difficulties in satisfying the legal requirements of the Programme.

  My Department is available to assist the club with any queries it may have.

Departmental Agencies Expenditure

 429. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if Tourism Ireland pays rent on any of their offices outside Ireland; if so the amount paid per year; and the length of time remaining on the lease in each of the offices.  [21359/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The information sought by the Deputy is published every year in the annual report and accounts of Tourism Ireland Limited, and the 2011 Report and Accounts may be found in the Oireachtas Library.

Dublin Bus Services

 430. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when Dublin Bus will receive their 80 extra buses that funding has been agreed for in 2013. [21360/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) in December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as the replacement and refurbishment of PSO buses, comes under the remit of the NTA.    

  I understand, however, that funding is being provided in 2013 by the NTA to Dublin Bus for the purchase of 80 new buses and it is expected that these buses will be ready for delivery in the latter half of 2013. This is part of a rolling programme of bus replacement and refurbishment to ensure the age profile of the fleet is maintained at a safe and reliable level. 

  In light of the NTA's responsibility in this area I have referred the Deputy's question to the Authority for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Rail Network

 431. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will request the Chief Executive Officer of Iarnrod Éireann to carry out the following works at (details supplied) in County Dublin at the earliest opportunity. [21361/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Light Rail Project

 432. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the total amount of taxpayers’ money allocated to the LUAS transport system for each year from 2007 to 2012. [21372/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) on 1st December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as Luas Light Rail, comes under the remit of the NTA.   

  Funding has been provided to the NTA for allocation to Luas light rail projects since its establishment in  December 2009. In the period 2007-2009 funding was provided directly by my Department to the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA).

  Based on figures supplied by the NTA the table sets out Exchequer payments in respect of Luas investment for each year since 2007.

Year
€m
2007
98
2008
140
2009
130
2010
92
2011
14
2012
11
Total 2007-2012
485

Departmental Transport

 433. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the total costs involved in ensuring transport for Ministers and Government Officials for the years 2007 to 2012. [21374/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The total expenditure for my Department on travel and subsistence for the years 2007 to 2012 and the portion that relates purely to transport are set out in the table.

- Total Travel & Subsistence Outturn Travel only Outturn
- 000 000
2007 1,458 768
2008 1,323 670
2009 888 427
2010 931 442
2011 911 456
2012 1,069 474


The Deputy will be well aware that in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, Cabinet Ministers’ transport was provided by use of State cars and Garda drivers and therefore is not included in the figures above. For the Deputy’s information I am advised that the average cost of the provision of a State Car and Garda drivers during the last government was around €280,000 per annum.  

Road Network

 434. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the up to date position regarding the proposed development of the N2 Clontibret to the Border road scheme and the A5 road project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21400/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar At the North-South Ministerial Council plenary on 18 November 2011, it was noted that Irish Government would provide £25 million per annum in 2015 and 2016 towards the A5 road project. This is further to £22 million that the Irish Government has already contributed to the project as part of the planning process.

The Northern Ireland Road Service had planned to start construction of the two approved sections of the A5 in autumn last year. However, following publication of the necessary statutory Orders in advance of construction, the Minister for Regional Development’s decision to proceed with the A5 was challenged by a group known as the Alternative A5 Alliance.

On 12 March 2013 the Northern High Court rejected the majority of the applicants’ grounds of challenge.  One of the applicants’ grounds was, however, upheld as the judge found that an appropriate assessment under the Habitats Directive should have been carried out on the scheme.  On that basis at a further hearing on 8 April 2013 the judge confirmed he would quash the Orders relating to the A5 scheme.

The project was discussed at the North South Ministerial Council Transport Sectoral on 17 April and the Minister for Regional Development now plans to undertake the environmental assessment required under the Habitats Directive. This is a necessary first step to progress the project. The commitment of the Irish Government as set out in November 2011 to this project remains in place.

With regard to the N2 Clontibret to the Border road project, as Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.


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