Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 678-699
 Header Item Capital Programme Expenditure
 Header Item Road Safety Issues
 Header Item Irish Coast Guard Issues
 Header Item Cycling Facilities
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item Penalty Point System
 Header Item Road Projects Contracts
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Airport Development Projects
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item Railway Stations Upgrade
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Public Transport Provision

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 678-699

Capital Programme Expenditure

 678. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in respect of the October Exchequer returns, the reason capital spending for his Department was €23 million below profile for this period; his plans to ensure that the full capital spending is implemented before the end of the year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53837/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Supplementary Estimate for my Department, which was approved by the Dáil last week, allowed for the reallocation of €30.8 million in capital expenditure savings to current expenditure.  The remainder of the capital allocation for 2012 will be spent by year-end. This reallocation was to provide for the additional funding announced in July for the CIE companies to ensure the continued delivery of public transport services.

Road Safety Issues

 679. Deputy Ray Butler Information on Ray Butler Zoom on Ray Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if consideration will be given in the Road Safety Bill to include legislation regarding making it compulsory for pedestrians to wear high visibility clothing on all public roads and walkways in darkness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53888/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The question of whether it should be a legal requirement for pedestrians to wear high-visibility jackets or clothing when walking on public roads after daylight hours has arisen a number of times over the years, and has been drawn to my attention more than once. If we were to make the wearing of reflective clothing mandatory, we would need to create a criminal offence under Road Traffic legislation for any person guilty of not wearing a high visibility jacket.  Persons in breach of the provision would have to be issued with a fixed charge notice by a Garda or summonsed to court depending on whatever administrative procedure would be put in place for the processing of such offences.  At this stage, I believe that would be a disproportionate response to the issue.

In my view, safety issues such as these are best addressed by way of educational and publicity campaigns, such as those undertaken by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), which has responsibility for the promotion of road safety awareness, advertising and the dissemination of road safety information.  The RSA is engaged on an ongoing basis in efforts to change our cultural attitude to road safety through advertising, publicity, education and community initiatives.  As part of this process it has undertaken a number of campaigns to promote awareness among pedestrians of the need for visibility on our roads.  Ultimately, the safety of all road users is a matter of personal responsibility.  In that context, the Rules of the Road include a strong recommendation supporting the wearing of light and preferably high-visibility clothing.

Irish Coast Guard Issues

 680. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on the amalgamation of coastguard units and in particular units (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54096/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar A Value for Money (VFM) review into the operation of the Coast Guard identified a number of issues which need to be addressed in Ireland's maritime transport, safety and marine emergency response regimes, including in relation to the support and development of the Coast Guard Units manned by volunteers.

The review recommended consolidating the overall number of Volunteer Coast Guard Units into forty two units from its current forty nine as some Units were located too close to each. This adjustment does not envisage any reduction in the overall number of volunteer members, nor enforced retirement of currently serving volunteers. Significantly, the review recommends retention of the existing geographical base of volunteer membership of the Coast Guard. My Department is currently developing an Action Plan in response to this and other issues which were raised in the VFM review on the Coast Guard, and a related VFM on the Marine Survey Office. I will be seeking Governmental approval in the coming weeks for this Action Plan. In relation to the amalgmation of Coast Guard units, while there may be merit on the basis outlined within the VFM review, I will not be proposing to Government to force Volunteer Coast Guard Units to amalgmate against the wishes of the volunteers themselves. Any such amalgmation would only be on the basis that it was supported by the membership of both units.

With regard to the Volunteer Units in Ballycotton and Guileen, they are very close to each other, approximately ten miles apart, and the Coast Guard managment is considering how the local Coast Guard serives might be developed through bringing the two Units together. All Coast Guard teams are shoreline search units and are also equipped with modern blue light emergency response vehicles. In addition, Ballycotton is also a highly specialised Cliff Rescue Unit. The Coast Guard recognises the importance of retaining a vibrant Cliff Rescue facility for east Cork coupled with a Shoreline Search unit in the coastline area between the east side of Cork Harbour and Knockadoon Head.

Coast Guard management are consulting with the two units with a view to developing an amalgamation plan supported by members of both Units that retains the existing geographical membership base. Should this result in the successful amalgamation of the two units it would afford existing and new members from the Guileen area an opportunity to develop additional skills in Cliff rescue and facilitate the development of a fit for purpose building serving the combined needs of the area. A single Cliff Rescue and Search Unit would provide for an enhanced capacity to provide a more effective life-saving response in the area coupled with an increased capacity to support  the other statutory land based emergency services.

However, as outlined above and as I have discussed with the Deputy previously, Volunteer Units will not be amalgmated against the will of the membership of those units. In the case that the Volunteer Units in Ballycotton and Guileen do not see merit in an amalgmation, then it will  not be forced upon them.

Cycling Facilities

 681. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an update on the Tramore, Waterford cycle route; the work that has been completed to date; the work yet to be completed; the timeline for this work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54097/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The route referred to was awarded funding under my Department's National Cycle Network Funding scheme which I initiated this year.  While project delivery in individual cases is a matter for the local authorities concerned I am aware that the route section within the County Council area is progressing well, and should be completed for the end of this year.  I also understand that the city section has proven more complicated than originally anticipated by the City Council, however, I am informed that works should be commencing soon and a route from Tramore to Waterford should be completed in 2013. 

Cross-Border Co-operation

 682. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will outline projects on which his Department cooperates with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the North.  [54165/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Due  to the responsibilities of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland, most of the direct areas of cooperation come under the responsibility of my colleague Jimmy Deenihan T.D., the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. In terms of my Department's areas of responsibility, the North South Ministerial Council meets in both Transport and Tourism Sectoral formats. While it does not meet in Sports format, there are a number of areas where there is north south cooperation. Many of the National Governing Bodies of Sport are constituted on an all-island basis and the Irish Sports Council and the Sports Council for Northern Ireland collaborate closely in a number of areas. These include anti-doping, development of high performance sport, research, Coaching Ireland and the "Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children's Sport".

Rail Services

 683. 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 the reasons persons are unable to purchase family train tickets online; his plans to have this facility available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54236/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is a 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.

Bus Éireann Services

 684. 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 contact the chief executive officer of Dublin Bus and ask him if there are plans to have audible announcements on the bus services similar to those on train services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54237/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is an operational matter for Dublin Bus 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.

Penalty Point System

 685. 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 if there is any procedure to assist taxi drivers who have accumulated 12 penalty points due to 30km signs around Dublin and who now could lose their job.  [54278/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The penalty point system was introduced to improve driver behaviour. Under the current system, any driver who receives a Fixed Charge Notice for a speeding offence can choose not to pay the fixed charge and appeal against the offence in Court.  The non - payment of a Fixed Charge Notice is accepted as an indication that the alleged offender has opted to go to Court. Following conviction for a speeding offence in Court, four penalty points are endorsed on the driver's licence record.  Where a driver pays the fixed charge, they are accepting responsibility for the commission of the offence and two penalty points are endorsed on that driver's licence record. Any driver who has accumulated twelve or more penalty points for road traffic offences, including exceeding the speed limit will be subject to an automatic driving disqualification for six months. 

Road Projects Contracts

 686. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a report on the proposed online M6 service station between Athlone and Moate, County Westmeath, covering such matters as current status of proposal, costs, timescale of delivery and any other relevant information. [54283/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the roads programme. The implementation of individual national road projects, including service areas, is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Act, 1993 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.  More specifically, Section 54 of the Roads Act 1993 provides for the NRA to provide for service areas on the national road network. Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Taxi Regulations

 687. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if, in relation to the taxi review and new regulation, he will defer the introduction of branding to allow the taxi representative group to make referrals to the advisory committee on small public service vehicles as per Action 34 of the review report and as recommended by the taxi review board; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54307/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Action 31 of the Review Report proposes the introduction of a distinctive branding on taxis and wheelchair accessible taxis by means of a semi-permanent decal to be applied to the doors on either side of the vehicle, incorporating the umbrella 'Transport for Ireland' design. The aim of the branding is to provide greater recognition of taxis, promote greater professionalism of the industry and to reduce the potential for unlicensed vehicles to operate as taxis. The timeframe for introducing taxi branding as proposed in the Review Report, signalled that this action would be rolled-out within a year.

Responsibility for the implementation of this recommendation falls under the ambit of the National Transport Authority (NTA) as does the date of its proposed introduction. I understand that the NTA has, since October, supplied information on its website concerning the taxi branding, which will be an application requirement for new vehicle licences and renewal of existing vehicle licences from January 2013. I further understand that the NTA consulted with the Taxi Advisory Committee in relation to the introduction of this measure and I am informed that their proposals took account of the advice of the Committee. As such I do not consider that there is any case for deferring the implementation of this progressive measure.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 688. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the progress that has been made on the issues of mutual recognition of penalty points North and South of the Border, the A5 and A8 road projects and the development and delivery of North-South safety strategies; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54366/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The mutual recognition of penalty points is being dealt with under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council. Steering and Working Groups have been established to take this work forward and the timetable of key milestones has been agreed for having the necessary primary and secondary legislation in place by 31 December 2014. Both Groups have met on a number of occasions and steady progress is being made.

In relation to works on the A5, I understand that, while the necessary orders have been made to facilitate construction of the two approved sections, the Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development's decision to proceed with the scheme is currently the subject of a legal challenge.  In relation to the A8, I understand that works have commenced and are expected to be completed by early 2015.   The sharing of knowledge and experience, including that relating to the lowering of blood alcohol concentration levels for drivers, is continuing between officials from both jurisdictions. The focus remains on the development and delivery of road safety strategies, both North and South, to ensure the best approach towards reducing the number and severity of injuries across the island. 

Cross-Border Co-operation

 689. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the nature and outcomes of north-south cooperation in the area of enforcement of vehicle safety standards and current EU proposals with implications for the transport sector on the island.  [54367/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Issues relating to the nature and outcomes of enforcement of legislation relating to vehicles including co-operation between the authorities here and in Northern Ireland are matters for the Road Safety Authority and the Garda Síochána and I do not have a direct function in that regard.

I do understand, however, that there is excellent co-operation between the Road Safety Authority and relevant agencies in Northern Ireland in relation to vehicle safety standards. These include co-ordinated enforcement checks which are conducted on a regular basis to check the compliance of commercial vehicles and their drivers with roadworthiness and drivers hours obligations.  In line with EU requirements, information is exchanged between the Road Safety Authority and the Northern Ireland Authorities where an operator from the other jurisdiction is found to be breaching roadworthiness or driving time requirements while operating in the State or Northern Ireland.

There are a number of EU proposals currently under discussion with implications for the transport sector on the island.  These include proposals relating to roadworthiness of commercial vehicles, roadside inspection of commercial vehicles and tachographs.   We expect that any new EU requirements will apply on both sides of the border and are not expected to impact on the current arrangements for North/South cooperation in relation to enforcement.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 690. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will outline the nature of north-south cooperation and contacts regarding Tourism Ireland's Business Plan 2013, the Gathering Ireland 2013 and festivities related to Derry the City of Culture 2013.  [54368/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Tourism was specifically identified in the Good Friday Agreement as one of the key areas for North/South cooperation and consequently is one on which the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) meets in Sectoral format. The Council meets in this format in order to make decisions on common policies and approaches in the area of tourism including decisions on policies and actions to be implemented by Tourism Ireland Limited, the body responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a tourist destination. 

The most recent NSMC meeting in Tourism Sectoral format took place last Wednesday, 28th November in Armagh. Amongst the agenda items for this meeting was Tourism Ireland's Draft Business Plan for 2013. The Plan outlines Tourism Ireland's targets and strategic priorities for 2013 including how the organisation plans to capitalise on major tourism events north and south next year.  The Council also discussed a specific paper dealing with major tourism initiatives including The Gathering Ireland 2013 and the Derry - Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013, and noted the major role which Tourism Ireland is playing in the overseas promotion of them.  The Council agreed to meet again in Tourism format in Spring 2013 and it is  likely that progress on each of the matters raised by the Deputy will again be discussed.

Road Network

 691. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding plans to build a bridge across the rail line at a location (details supplied) in Dublin 7. [54393/12]

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 that referred to by the Deputy, comes under the remit of the NTA.  I have therefore referred the question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Rail Network

 692. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of manually operated railway crossings here and his plans to update same. [54394/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The query raised by the Deputy relates to an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann. I have therefore referred the question to Iarnrod Eireann for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Public Transport Provision

 693. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a breakdown of costs for the proposed LUAS BXD line project; if he will explain the very high cost per kilometre compared to other European light rail construction projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54427/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The provision of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as LUAS BXD, now comes under the remit of the NTA in accordance with the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008.  LUAS BXD to Broombridge is designed to be a key element in an overall integrated transport network for Dublin.  It will create a LUAS network by joining the LUAS Red and Green Lines and will also link with rail services from Maynooth and Dunboyne and with existing Quality Bus schemes which enter or cross Dublin City Centre.  It will also, in time, interchange with future key projects such as Dart Underground and Metro North.

The project is expected to cost €368 million when direct and indirect costs together with escalation are taken into account. This sum, which is the figure in the Updated Detailed Business Case, is of necessity an estimate and reflects the current pre-tender stage of project definitions, design and development. The final cost will only emerge as tendering and progress with construction contracts evolve. I understand the Updated Detailed Business Case and the independent review which was commissioned by the NTA in respect of that business case will be published by the NTA in the coming weeks.  

In relation to the cost per kilometre of the project, the NTA have informed me that this is comparable with other similar light rail projects.  They have advised that the cost reflects the city centre environment through which the project will be constructed.   In addition, I am informed that many comparisons with other international projects are not made on a directly comparable basis. For instance in many jurisdictions the very significant cost of the necessary utility diversions from the route of the light rail project do not form part of the project cost, as they do in Ireland, and instead are borne directly by the utility owner. 

Airport Development Projects

 694. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in light of the recent commitment to Shannon Airport, his views on whether this will have an adverse effect on the future potential of Ireland West Airport Knock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54428/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar At yesterday’s major conference on Irish civil aviation policy I announced that the Government has confirmed its decision in principle of last May to separate Shannon Airport from the DAA and merge it with a restructured Shannon Development. This decision will free the board and management of Shannon airport, together with their employees, to bring a fresh approach to the future development of the airport. A key element of that future will be the development of an International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) in and around the airport, building on a range of aviation-related activities already undertaken in Shannon such as aircraft maintenance and leasing.

In addition to initiative on State airports, I have also rationalised the system of State support for regional airports and the Government now has a settled policy in relation to these airports. All Irish airports should operate to a commercial mandate and I have stressed in the past that regional airports, including Knock airport, must work towards achieving operational viability over the near term.  

 Knock Airport, along with the other regional airports which are not owned by the State, has been supported over the years under the Regional Airports Programme which is aimed at ensuring balanced regional development.  Under that programme, Knock Airport has received around €40m since 1993. This includes funding for the PSO air services, which although paid directly to the airlines, also supports the airport.  Over €1m is being provided this year to the Airport, despite the difficult economic circumstances of the country. 

As was highlighted again at yesterday’s conference, aviation is a key component to all major forms of economic activity in Ireland, including tourism and our other business sectors.  The measures we are taking are based on increasing the overall number of passengers to and from Ireland through increased efficiencies and the attraction of new aviation business that can have a beneficial national impact.  I believe that these measures will form the basis for sound, sustainable, airport businesses into the future that will support the growth of these sectors and help drive Ireland’s economic recovery.

Bus Éireann Services

 695. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the steps he has taken to ensure that CIE Bus Éireann provide services to visually impaired customers on the 111 and 190 bus routes and fully implements the relevant findings of the Equality Tribunal on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54444/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is a matter for Bus 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.

Railway Stations Upgrade

 696. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a report on the progress made on the new train station at Oranmore, County Galway. [54459/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Arrangements for the construction of railway stations are an operational  matter for Iarnród Éireann. I have therefore referred the question to Iarnrod Eireann for direct reply. Please advise  my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Taxi Regulations

 697. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason he has refused to meet the Taxi Alliance-TTNH despite its request for a meeting.  [54565/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011 made recommendations with regard to the future system of consultation with the taxi industry. The Review Group proposed under Action 34 that taxi industry representative groups may make a referral to the Taxi Advisory Committee in relation to the introduction of industry regulations. In addition, Action 35 of the Review Report proposes that a sub-committee of the Taxi Advisory Committee will be formed to act as a forum for the taxi sector when considering issues of particular concern to the sector. I understand that a number of taxi representative bodies have already this year made presentations to the Taxi Advisory Committee and that the taxi representatives in question have recently met with the Chairman of the Taxi Advisory Committee.

Prior to the Taxi Review, I spent considerable time consulting the various taxi representative groups and gave them considerable time to hear their views. The Taxi Review Group, which I Chaired, also invited written and oral presentations to be made by the industry stakeholders and representative bodies. I believe that representation of the taxi sector is far too fragmented and this is a disadvantage in terms of the development of policy. Therefore, I support any efforts by the various representative bodies to consolidate in order to provide a broader representation of taxi drivers’ interests.

Taxi Regulations

 698. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason students on stamp 2 visas are permitted to sit the taxi drivers exam despite their visa prohibiting them from engaging in self-employment under the terms of their visa. [54566/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including the operation of the testing process under the SPSV skills development programme, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003. I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days. 

Public Transport Provision

 699. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on the impact that the LUAS link up will have on Dublin city transport links throughout 2013; if this will have an impact on tourists expected to visit the capital through the Gathering; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54571/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The provision of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as LUAS BXD, now comes under the remit of the National Transport authority (NTA) in accordance with the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008.  Pre-construction enabling works will proceed in 2013, with the main construction of the project not commencing until 2015. I understand that there has been extensive engagement between the NTA, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), An Garda Siochana, Dublin City Council, Dublin Bus and the business community aimed at minimising the construction impacts of LUAS Broombridge.  While there will be traffic diversions and public transport changes, well developed plans are being put in place to minimise the impacts of these changes on businesses, commuters, shoppers, residents as well as tourists visiting the city during The Gathering   next year.

  Undoubtedly there will be some level of inconvenience during the construction of the project.  However, all parties involved with LUAS Broombridge are committed to managing the construction activities in a manner that balances the need to deliver a vitally important project for Dublin with the need to support the continued economic functioning of the city. 

  I am determined that this balance will be achieved and I have undertaken to chair a committee comprising the NTA, RPA, An Garda Siochana, Dublin City Council, Dublin Bus and the business community to monitor key aspects of the construction activity. The first meeting of this group will take place shortly.  Unlike the position of just over a decade ago, there is now a depth of experience in Ireland in the delivery of large infrastructure projects and I am confident that we have the capability of delivering this significant project while retaining Dublin City’s attractiveness for shopping, tourism and business.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 11:39:00 First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page