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

Varadkar, Leo

Friday, 7 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Transport (Córas Iompair Éireann and Subsidiary Companies Borrowings) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Second Stage

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."More Button

I am pleased to introduce this legislation which deals with CIE’s borrowing powers for non–capital purposes. Strengthening CIE’s capacity to raise credit on a sustainable basis is a key element ...More Button

The CIE group has had to confront a very difficult financial situation. As in most business sectors in the State, the current economic environment is very challenging for public transport provid...More Button

In 2006 and 2007, as a result of the CIE operating companies expanding their network of services and the growth in the economy, CIE experienced an increase in passenger volumes and revenues. How...More Button

While the CIE group reported surpluses in each of year from 2006 to 2008, 2007 was the only year in the period 2006 to 2011 in which the group generated a surplus when the gains from the disposal...More Button

Since income began to fall in 2008, there has been a succession of measures to deal with the underlying problem, including cost reductions, fare increases, service efficiencies such as the networ...More Button

The operating companies cost recovery programmes that were started in 2009 in an effort to eliminate these deficits have been undermined by continuing falls in passenger numbers, reductions to op...More Button

The 2011 annual report and financial statements for CIE and those of the three subsidiary companies were recently laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. An unqualified audit report was issued...More Button

I have engaged in consultations with the CIE companies and have stressed the need to respond to the PSO subvention funding challenges through further cost savings in their activities. A recovery...More Button

Each year, funding is provided for socially desirable but financially unviable public transport services in Ireland. Funding for such services is made available under the Vote for my Department ...More Button

I have met regularly with the four chairs and senior executives of the CIE companies and also with union representatives. While facilitating a range of measures to address the problems, I have s...More Button

CIE is progressing the preparation of a revised five-year business plan with aggressive targets that will support the reporting of trading improvements in 2013.More Button

Transport (Córas Iompair Éireann and Subsidiary Companies Borrowings) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Continued)

It is intended that the business plan will address the underlying financial challenges facing CIE so that the group’s public transport services can be provided efficiently and cost effectively over...More Button

The decisions taken so far by the Government and the financial provisions made regarding CIE were fundamental for creating a better operational environment for the organisation. There is, howeve...More Button

The resolution of the CIE financial position will involve increased borrowing facilities for non-capital purposes. CIE’s current borrowing limit is set at €107 million and it has facilities in p...More Button

Recent experience has necessitated a strengthening of financial management systems and a need to ensure that corporate governance arrangements of the boards of CIE and of the subsidiary companies...More Button

With regard to the provisions of the Bill, I will avoid repeating all the detail set out in the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum circulated. The existing total borrowing limits for CIE for ...More Button

Section 1 of the Bill substitutes a new section 28 of the Transport Act 1950. In subsection (1) it allows the Minister and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to give consent to CIE t...More Button

Section 2 provides for a consequential amendment of section 20 of the Transport (Re-organisation of Córas Iompair Éireann) Act 1986 to allow the board of CIE lend money to the subsidiary companie...More Button

It should be noted that the giving of security for borrowings will be subject to the requirements of section 67 of the Credit Institutions Stabilisation Act 2010. This requirement arises from th...More Button

Section 3 repeals sections 30 and 31 of the Transport Act 1950, which provided for the State guarantee of temporary borrowings and the laying of particulars of guarantees before the Houses of the...More Button

The goal for public transport is to provide safe, accessible and integrated services that contribute to sustainable economic and regional development in an efficient manner. Despite our economic...More Button

I have outlined for the House the difficulties facing CIE in recent years and touched on the effort that must be undertaken to enhance its financial stability and the commitment of the Government...More Button

On a point of order, a number of speakers from the Opposition spoke about the importance of public transport but I note for the past ten minutes no member of the Opposition has been in the House to...More Button

  Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,More Button

Transport (Córas Iompair Éireann and Subsidiary Companies Borrowings) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued)

At the outset I thank Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin spokespersons, as well as Independent Members, for their support of the Bill. I will address a few points raised by Deputies before I sum up. Deput...More Button

I had a chance to examine the Fianna Fáil pre-budget submission, which although not fully costed was fairly detailed. It is interesting to note that in the pre-budget submission, the party propo...More Button

Deputy McConologue was concerned that I may be taking a hands-off approach with public transport and CIE but that is absolutely not the case. I have a very hands-on approach in the area and the ...More Button

Deputy Ross indicated that this Bill is essentially throwing a lifeline to CIE, which is absolutely correct, and he questioned whether we should do so. It is a legitimate question. He also aske...More Button

The Bill has a number of important elements. It clarifies different measures under which CIE can engage in non-capital borrowing and makes a few changes with regard to the importance of State gu...More Button

The Bill sends a clear message that shortfalls and overruns will be met by borrowings against the assets of the company. While CIE will not necessarily be required to provide collateral in all cas...More Button

CIE is undergoing major reforms which have only recently commenced. The company has a new corporate structure, with four recently appointed non-executive chairpersons and new board membership. ...More Button

Deputy Ross referred to the Baker Tilly report, with which he was heavily involved. I commend the Deputy on his work in that regard and the extent to which he drove the report through committee....More Button

CIE chairpersons were appointed before they went before the committee, although I did not sign off on their orders for appointment or mandates until after the committee hearing in case any matter...More Button

I thank Deputy Ellis for his support for the Bill and the commitment he expressed towards Dublin Bus in particular. I note his call for greater investment in public transport. All of us would l...More Button

It is interesting the plan managed to refer to money for ports, airports and a road but did not make any reference to public transport.More Button

Half of the funding provided under the Government's stimulus plan announced last year is being allocated to transport, albeit not to public transport for various reasons.More Button

Deputy Joan Collins stated the trade unions had co-operated to a point with the necessary changes and reforms in the CIE companies, which is true. She pointed out that she had been in contact wi...More Button

The Deputy also indicated that the problems in CIE are caused by cuts in the subvention, which is not entirely true. As I noted, the subvention provided to CIE in 2012 was the fifth highest in t...More Button

Deputy Catherine Murphy made some good points on land use and transport. She noted correctly, for example, that land was developed in the past on the basis of who owned it, rather than whether i...More Button

Deputy Murphy also expressed strong support for the rail interconnector project, which I also support. It is proposed to proceed with the project as a public private partnership project. Howeve...More Button

The Luas BXD project is an interconnector of sorts, linking up at St. Stephen's Green with the Luas line running south from St. Stephen's Green to the Tallaght, CityWest and Docklands Luas line. ...More Button

The rail interconnector, which is an underground project, is different again and would benefit the entire country. For example, it would allow the DART to be extended as far as Balbriggan to the...More Button

While it is planned to increase fares on public transport every December, we will try to keep the increases to a minimum. This will depend on other factors such as subvention and cost savings els...More Button

The story of privatisation of the railways in Britain is interesting because although it was initially a disaster, more people are using the railways in Britain now that at any time since the war...More Button

The position in respect of buses in Britain was entirely different. More Button

Outside of London, bus services were deregulated and privatised entirely. It was a disaster and bus services collapsed. What was done inside London was different, though. In London, bus services...More Button

Deputy Lawlor mentioned last night's tragedy on Dawson Street in which a man lost his life. I wish to extend my sympathy to his family and to the bus driver involved. It must have been traumati...More Button

Deputy Mattie McGrath mentioned a number of matters, that of the fuel rebate for hauliers in particular. It was hard fought for and well won by the Irish Road Haulage Association, IRHA. The ass...More Button

I was asked whether the rebate will extend to buses. I still need clarity on this matter, as much of it relates to European regulations in this space. The cost of including buses in the rebate ...More Button

I thank Members for their understanding of and support for the Bill.More Button

Transport (Córas Iompair Éireann and Subsidiary Companies Borrowings) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Referral to Select Committee

I move:More Button