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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 247 - 261
 Header Item Respite Care Services
 Header Item General Medical Services Scheme Administration
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Road Tolls
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 247 - 261

Respite Care Services

 247. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly in view of the cut in the respite grant for 2013, his plans to tackle respite providers that are charging huge sums of money for respite; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55906/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The administration of the Respite Care Grant is a matter for the Department of Social Protection. The funding situation for the disability sector is not yet available pending the finalisation of the HSE's National Service Plan for 2013. Savings required globally from the Health Budget will have an impact on all services, including disability services, and these will be outlined later this month when the Minister for Health approves the National Service Plan. The issue raised by the Deputy in relation to the charges by respite providers in the health sector is more appropriate for the Health Service Executive. Accordingly, the Department has asked the HSE to provide the details requested of such services it may be aware of, directly to the Deputy.

General Medical Services Scheme Administration

 248. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the qualifying criteria for a medical general practitioner to be registered as a doctor who can accept patients that are covered by the GMS scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55936/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Under the Health (Provision of General Practitioner Services) Act 2012, a registered medical practitioner:

(a) whose name is included in the Specialist Division of the register of medical practitioners established under section 43(2)(b  ) of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, and

(b ) who holds a current certificate of registration within the meaning of section 2 of that Act in respect of the medical specialty “General Practice” recognised under section 89(1) of that Act;

is eligible to apply to the HSE for a contract to provide services to medical card and GP visit card holders under the General Medical Services Scheme.

Medical Card Applications

 249. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55994/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 250. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if temporary promotions or acting-up allowances have not been a feature of the staffing arrangements for this EU Presidency, if he will confirm that his Department has been given sanction to make such arrangements detailing the number by grade involved, and the date sanction was sought and the date it was given. [56301/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly One staff member, a Higher Executive Officer in the Capital EU, International and Research Policy Unit, was awarded Assistant Principal Officer duties allowance. Sanction was sought 17 May 2012 and was approved 24 May 2012 in line with Government Decision S/180/20/10/1456 of 16 December 2011 in relation to Ireland's Presidency of the EU, after which time the arrangement will cease.

Taxi Regulations

 251. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to amend hackney regulations to ensure the owner of an SPSV licence will only be permitted to use that licence on a vehicle registered to the same name; if his attention been drawn to the fact that many hackneys in rural Ireland operate under licences that are rented from previous operators as no new licences are available to purchase; if he will consider allowing hackney operators to purchase the licences they operate under from the owners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55740/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Action 15 of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011 proposes a requirement for all holders of small public service vehicles (SPSV) vehicles to also be the registered owner of the vehicle to which the licence relates, with certain limited exclusions permitted to deal with vehicles operating under long term leases. The aim of this proposal is to ensure responsibility is taken by the vehicle licence holder for the upkeep of safety and other standards of vehicles being used to carry members of the public. I understand that the National Transport Authority (NTA) is in the process of bringing in legislation to give effect to this proposal, which will apply to all small public service vehicles, including hackneys.

I am informed by the NTA that hackney licences are not currently transferable to another person and that the NTA do not have any proposals to change that position.   I am also informed by the NTA that the current regulations do facilitate the issuing of wheelchair accessible hackney licences. As part of the Taxi Review, the Review Group considered the specific SPSV requirements in rural areas and in this regard the Review Group proposed the development of a local area hackney licence under Action 46 of the Review Report. The aim of the proposed local area hackney licence is to facilitate the low cost entry to the hackney market for transport provision in rural areas that, otherwise, would be unlikely to have such services. I understand that the NTA will be considering bringing forward proposals to advance this recommendation during next year.

Taxi Regulations

 252. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason SPSV's registered prior to January 2009 or their registered number is under 45,000 are permitted to use a vehicle up to 15 years old while SPSV's registered after that date or are numbered above 45,000 are only permitted to use a vehicle of up to ten years old; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55744/12]

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 taxi industry, including issues pertaining to vehicle age limit, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003. The NTA is the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011. I am informed by the NTA that proposals to limit the age of operation of small public service vehicles (excluding limousines) to nine years of age were first mooted some years ago and those entrants to the taxi industry since January 2009 have entered that industry on the basis of the intended introduction of such age limits.

This position was then reflected in Action 10 of the Taxi Regulation Review Report published in January of this year, which recognised the January 2009 date.   While the intention of that recommendation is that, over time, vehicles older than nine years will be removed from the taxi and hackney fleet, the report recommended a transitional arrangement to accommodate licence holders who had entered the industry prior to 2009.   Those arrangements would permit the relevant vehicles to operate up to and including fourteen years, subject to passing a roadworthiness (NCT) test and an NTA Licence Renewal Assessment at six monthly intervals where the vehicle is over 9 years. I understand that the NTA is in the process of introducing regulations to give effect to these age related provisions.

Public Transport Provision

 253. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the last performance review of Bus Éireann was undertaken; when the last review of mileage charge differentiation was undertaken to determine fairness and equality among bus users; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55752/12]

 254. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the last performance review of Dublin Bus was undertaken; when the last review of mileage charge differentiation was undertaken to determine fairness and equality among bus users; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55753/12]

 255. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the last performance review of Iarnród Éireann was undertaken; when the last review of mileage charge differentiation was undertaken to determine fairness and equality among bus users; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55754/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 253 to 255, inclusive, together.

  The issues raised are matters for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Public Transport Provision

 256. 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 EU funding was allocated to purchase the additional buses for Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann; if so, the amount; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55797/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As I indicated to the Deputy in my reply to PQ 54943/12 on 06 December 2012, the only funding approved for Public Transport projects under the BMW Regional Authority Operational Programme (2007 – 2013) was in respect of the Elimination of Speed Restrictions at Portarlington. Similarly, the only funding approved for Public Transport projects under the Trans European Network-Transport (TEN-T) multi annual programme was for the DART Underground project. No EU funding has been approved for the purchase of new buses for either Bus Éireann or Dublin Bus.

Road Network

 257. 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 construction works on the N28 Ringaskiddy to Cork, N60 Castlebar to Claremorris and the N6 Galway city outer bypass is likely to commence in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55798/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar 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. Within its allocated budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects, including road maintenance, is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Sections 17 & 19 of the Roads Act.

In line with the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework 2012-2016 and the outcome of the comprehensive current spending review last year, the NRA's capital budget in 2013 will be €278m while the road maintenance budget next year will be €41.6m. The scale of the reductions in the allocations to the NRA obviously will present challenges over the course of 2013.  I do not expect any major new projects directly funded by the Exchequer  to commence construction in the coming year, however two PPP projects may proceed to construction.  As regards the Galway Outer Bypass this project is on hold pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

Public Transport Provision

 258. 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 the number of passengers Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and Luas carried in the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; if his Department measures similar transport usage by private sector companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55799/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar My Department does not have passenger data for private sector companies. Passenger data for Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and Luas for the years 2009 to 2011 are contained in the published Annual Reports for the companies concerned.  I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the companies for direct reply in relation to passenger data for 2012 to date. Please advise my private office if you do not receive replies within ten working days.

Road Tolls

 259. Deputy Martin Heydon Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare could be considered for an exemption from M50 tolls due to medical reasons without adaptations to their car or an exemption from motor tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55815/12]

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 overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The implementation of individual national road schemes, including toll roads, is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA). In particular, the statutory power to levy tolls on national roads, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into toll agreements with private investors in respect of national roads is vested in the NRA under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Roads Act 2007). 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.

Public Transport Provision

 260. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the details and arrangements applying to all Bus Éireann wheelchair accessible routes within and serving County Cavan and County Monaghan; the details of any other wheelchair accessible public or private transport service operating in or to and from these counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55904/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is a matter for Bus Eireann and any other public or private transport service licensed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to operate in the areas referred to by the Deputy.  I have forwarded the Deputy's question to both Bus Eireann and the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive replies within ten working days.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 261. 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 temporary promotions or acting-up allowances have not been a feature of the staffing arrangements for this EU Presidency, if he will confirm that his Department has been given sanction to make such arrangements detailing the number by grade involved, and the date sanction was sought and the date it was given. [56305/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar There are no temporary promotions or acting up allowances as part of the staffing arrangements for the 2013 EU Presidency in my Department.


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