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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 717-726
 Header Item Tourism Ireland Expenditure
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Public Transport Subsidies
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item Bus Éireann Finances
 Header Item Roads Maintenance Funding
 Header Item Air Services Provision
 Header Item Tourism Project Funding
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 804 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 717-726

Tourism Ireland Expenditure

 717. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide details of the amount paid by tourism authorities for the domain name www.ireland.com; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24065/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  The matter raised is an operational one for Tourism Ireland Limited as the body responsible for promoting the island of Ireland as a visitor destination overseas. Therefore, I have referred the Deputy's question to Tourism Ireland for direct reply. He should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Rail Services

 718. 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 DART transport system for each year from 2007 to 2012. [24082/13]

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 DART network, comes under the remit of the NTA. Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  He should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within 10 working days. In the period between 2007 and the establishment of the NTA, a total of €58.4 million in Exchequer funding was provided directly to Iarnród Éireann in respect of the DART refurbishment project. This project was completed in late 2008. During this period, my Department also provided Public Services Obligation payments of €542 million to Iarnród Éireann for the entire rail network, including the DART system.

Public Transport Subsidies

 719. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will outline the way the Public Service Obligation subvention paid to Bus Eireann is calculated and if there has been any change to the calculation basis for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013. [24120/13]

 722. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will confirm the Public Service Obligation payment made to Bus Éireann in each of 2009, 2010, 2011,2012 and proposed for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24123/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 719 and 722 together.

The annual subvention for the provision of public service obligation (PSO) services by Bus Éireann has been subject to contract between the company and the National Transport Authority (NTA) since 2009. The current contract with Bus Éireann was signed in December 2009 and is for a period of five years. The contents of the contract and the basis for maintaining it may be reviewed at any time by the NTA in consultation with Bus Éireann. The National Transport Authority monitors the contracted performance of each PSO operator on a quarterly basis. Contract details are available on the NTA website. The amounts paid to the company in respect of PSO services since 2009 are as follows: 2009, €49.365 million; 2010, €45.039 million; 2011, €43.410 million; and 2012, €36.882 million. The NTA has allocated €34.476 million to Bus Éireann in respect of PSO services for 2013, which equates to a 6.5% reduction on the 2012 amount. It should be noted that the 2012 subvention amount was higher than the 2007 subvention payment of €36.595 million when the economy was at its peak and bus fares were lower. Funding pressures since 2009 have necessitated the introduction of cost-saving measures, increased efficiency in the provision of services, fare increases and reduced subvention.

Bus Éireann Services

 720. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an assessment of the finances of Bus Éireann. [24121/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar In its first 12 years, 1987 to 1999, Bus Éireann made profits of €17 million, which were handed over to CIE.  It made net losses of €28 million between 2000 and 2012.  Contrary to the perception held by some people, Bus Éireann has therefore accumulated losses of €11 million since its formation. The situation has got significantly worse in the last five years. In that period, Bus Éireann has incurred accumulated losses of €27 million, a position which is unsustainable and places the viability of the company at risk. The company developed a five-year recovery plan (2012-16) to bring it back to profitability, involving revenue generation, route changes and cost reductions. Without the necessary savings from changes to terms and conditions and ongoing inter-city service changes, Bus Éireann was facing annual losses of more than €11 million, which are simply not sustainable. Following intensive talks with the Labour Relations Commission recently, Bus Éireann reached agreement with the trade unions on 16 May on a range of proposed cost saving measures that will help protect the future of the company, the jobs of 2,500 employees and the 300 publicly subvented routes it operates across the country, as well as commercial Expressway services and school transport.  I welcome this agreement which represents an important breakthrough.  These proposals will now be put to staff members for their consideration.

Bus Éireann Finances

 721. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will outline the financial results for Bus Éireann in 2012, its revenue, its profit and net assets. [24122/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The 2012 accounts for Bus Éireann have not yet been published. It is expected that the accounts will be published in the next two weeks and will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

  Question No. 722 answered with Question No. 719.

Roads Maintenance Funding

 723. 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 he will compel local authorities to look at alternative methods and more cost effective ways to address dangerous roadways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24216/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar It is not clear from the Deputy's question whether he is referring to the national road network, the regional and local road network or both. However, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act 1993.  In respect of national roads, it is for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 to address such issues in conjunction with the relevant local authority. In order to assist local authorities and the NRA in their task of improving road safety on roads a document entitled "A Guide to Road Safety Engineering In Ireland" was issued by the Roads Division of the then Department of the Environment in 1996. This document continues to be relevant as a Best Practice document. If the Deputy has any particular proposals in this regard, I would be grateful to receive them and have them considered by my Department.

Air Services Provision

 724. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will outline in tabular form the full list of departure and arrival curfews that are in place in every airport in the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24233/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Irish Aviation Authority, which is an agency under the remit of my Department, has statutory responsibility for licensing aerodromes in the State in accordance with rules set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.  This issue is therefore a matter for the authority. I have referred the Deputy's question to the authority for direct reply.  He should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Tourism Project Funding

 725. Deputy Noel Harrington Information on Noel Harrington Zoom on Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide in a tabular form a list of all the grants made by Fáilte Ireland to organisations or groups organising events within Ireland for the years 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24276/13]

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. He should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Bus Éireann Services

 726. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties that commuters face in accessing bus services on route 109, Dublin to Cavan, at the Mater Hospital and Navan Road bus stops, specifically the 4.30pm and 5.30pm M3 motorway service originating from Busáras, due to there not being enough capacity for passengers; if he will raise the matter with Bus Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24358/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA). 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.


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