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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1611-1630
 Header Item Museum Projects
 Header Item Vehicle Clamping
 Header Item Road Safety Issues
 Header Item Road Safety Issues
 Header Item Aviation Issues
 Header Item Tourist Accommodation
 Header Item Motor Tax Collection
 Header Item Tourism Industry Issues
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Roadside Memorials
 Header Item Public Transport Issues
 Header Item Aviation Issues
 Header Item Road Safety Issues
 Header Item Coast Guard Services
 Header Item National Transport Authority
 Header Item Road Safety Authority Staff
 Header Item Dublin Bus Staff

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 813 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 144 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1611-1630

Museum Projects

 1611. 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 provide an update on the setting up of an Irish museum of sport; if such a facility would be attached to a museum already in existence or set up as an entirely independent and separate entity; if he has received a report or feasibility study on the matter; if he will identify any suitable locations for the museum; if he will confirm the museum will be based in Dublin or elsewhere; when he expects any decision to be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37158/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I believe that a sports museum would be an excellent addition to Ireland's sporting and cultural experience and that it has the potential to attract widespread public interest. For that reason, I have established a committee, which I am chairing myself, to examine the feasibility of developing a Museum of Irish Sport.

The committee will report on its deliberations when its work is completed. If the project is considered to be feasible, I anticipate that the committee will make proposals in relation to the most suitable location for a museum of sport. 

Vehicle Clamping

 1612. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to clamp down on private operators clamping vehicles parked on private lands (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37183/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar While Section 101B of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, regulates the clamping and/or towing of vehicles by local authorities or their agents on public roads or local authority car parks, there is currently no regulation of clamping companies nor of the activity of clamping on private land.     

In line with the commitment contained in the Programme for Government to “legislate to regulate the vehicle clamping industry”  , the Government, in March 2013, approved the Heads of a Regulation of Vehicle Immobilisation Bill. This followed an extensive consultation with the then Joint Oireachtas Committee for Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

  Under the principal provisions of the Bill, the National Transport Authority will ensure the provision of adequate advisory signage in locations where clamping is in operation, set maximum clamp release periods and fees, and establish an independent appeals process .

  The Bill is currently being drafted in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and I hope to  introduce it in the Oireachtas by the end of the year.

Road Safety Issues

 1613. 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 provide an update on the nationwide review of speed limits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37198/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar In 2012, I established a Group to carry out a review of speed limits. That Group, which is chaired by my Department, includes representatives of the local authorities, the Automobile Association, An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority, the National Roads Authority as well as the National Transport Authority.      

  Significant progress has been achieved and I expect to receive the final report from the Group shortly. 

Road Safety Issues

 1614. 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 the impact the nationwide review of speed limits will have in a county (details supplied); if he will detail the roads, if any, that will have their speed limit adjusted; if he will outline in tabular form the roads, old speed limit and new speed limits as a result of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37203/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Road Traffic Act 2004 established default speed limits that apply to defined categories of roads and which can only be changed by local authorities through the making of special speed limit bye-laws. Section 9 of that Act sets out the range of Special Speed Limits that may be set by such authorities through such bye-laws.  Statutory responsibility for setting Special Speed Limits is vested in the Elected Members of county and city councils. To assist in setting these limits, my Department issued Guidelines for the Application of Special Speed Limits to all local authorities in January 2011, and the onus is on local authorities to take them into account in relation to any special speed limits which they set.

As part of a Direction given by the then Minister in January 2011, all local authorities were requested to undertake an assessment of Special Speed Limits in their functional areas. I do not believe that the local authorities sufficiently engaged with this direction and, in 2012, I announced that a review of speed limits would be undertaken.

My Department formed a stakeholder group to progress this Review and the Automobile Association, An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority, the National Roads Authority, representatives of local authorities and the National Transport Authority accepted my invitation to participate in the Working Group. As the Deputy will appreciate, this is an issue which requires detailed consideration. I anticipate that the Group will report to me shortly, and I will give careful consideration to any recommendations contained in their Report.

It is, therefore, premature to speculate on the impact which the Group's recommendations might have on individual counties.

Aviation Issues

 1615. 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 the steps he has taken to date regarding a new national aviation policy; the number of submissions received during the consultation phase; the next steps before the new policy is published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37210/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The aviation industry is a key enabler of economic growth so it is important that there is a clear policy framework in place to facilitate its continued development and to optimise the contribution the sector can make to the Irish economy. To this end, I have launched a process to develop a new national aviation policy.  As a first step, my Department and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) hosted a conference on 3 December 2012 in the National Convention Centre to hear the views of stakeholders and to start the debate.

Taking account of the issues that that were raised at the conference, an Issues Paper was published on my Department's website in February 2013. The paper poses a number of questions and covers eight broad areas: Airports; Air Services; Regulation and Governance; Aircraft Leasing and Finance; Aerospace, Education and Training; General Aviation; and Sustainability.

A total of 74 submissions were received in response to the consultation, from a wide range of stakeholders. The number and quality of the submissions received is very encouraging and demonstrates the strong interest there is in shaping future aviation policy.  

The submissions are currently being reviewed and the intention is that a draft National Aviation Policy Statement will be issued before the end of the year, which will provide further opportunity for stakeholder input before the adoption of the new policy document in early 2014.

Question No. 1616 answered with Question No. 1602.

Tourist Accommodation

 1617. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the guidelines in place for motor home campsites, which incorporate price, value for money, on site facilities, distance to amenities and suitable terrain or landscape; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37275/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Under the Tourist Traffic Acts 1939-2011, Fáilte Ireland has specific functions in relation to the mandatory registration and grading of certain types of tourist accommodation, however, there is no mandatory requirement for the registration of motor home campsites.  Rather it has been the traditional practice that tourists with motor homes are accommodated within traditional caravan and camping sites. The regulations for caravan and camping sites can be viewed on the Fáilte Ireland website at the following link: http://www.failteireland.ie/FailteIreland/media/WebsiteStructure/Documents/2_Develop_Your_Business/4_Quality_Asurance/Statutory/Caravan_Camping_Park_Regulations_2009.pdf.  

Fáilte Ireland has been examining the possibility of developing a uniform standard of facilities for tourists with motor homes and commenced a pilot project in March 2013, with six members of the industry to examine the issue. The pilot project is expected to run for an 18 month period following which Fáilte Ireland will review progress in consultation with the industry.

The Fáilte Ireland Authority has also commenced a review of the national quality assurance framework for accommodation. The review will examine how best to manage and update the registration and classification of tourism accommodation and facilities, given the rapidly changing environment that exists for tourism at all levels. It is expected that this study will be completed before the end of this year.

Motor Tax Collection

 1618. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will replace the current commercial motor tax regime with a pay-as-you-go road user charge to ensure Irish hauliers pay tax in line with vehicle utilisation.  [37280/13]

 1619. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will levy all non-Irish hauliers with a daily charge Eurovignette of €10 per day which will generate up to €13.5 million for the Exchequer.  [37281/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1618 and 1619 together.

There are no plans at present to introduce a pay-as-you-go road user charge for HGVs in Ireland. Such a decision would have cross-Governmental implications and could only be taken after extensive consideration. However, the National Roads Authority has carried out preliminary work on the issue of HGV road charging, detailing the options available given that there are a number of European Directives in this area; the international experience and trends on road user charging; and the issues that will need to be considered in an Irish context. I recently received this report and am currently considering it and the appropriate follow up actions to be taken if it is decided there is merit in this proposal. 

Tourism Industry Issues

 1620. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide funding to develop a mountain bike centre in County Kerry. [37301/13]

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 response is not received within ten working days.

Question No. 1621 withdrawn.

Road Improvement Schemes

 1622. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when funding will be provided to carry out remedial works at a location (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37330/13]

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 capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

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.

Roadside Memorials

 1623. 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 has ever set out a policy for gravestones or memorials to be located on roadsides here; the guidance given to local authorities for getting permission to put these memorials on the different categories of roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37335/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Under Section 13 (10) (a) (iv) (i) of the Roads Act 1993, a person may not place or deposit any material or thing on a public road without lawful authority or the consent of the road authority.  This would include any roadside gravestone or memorial. In relation to regional and local roads, the local authority is the relevant road authority whilst in regard to national roads, it is the National Roads Authority.    

   

Public Transport Issues

 1624. 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 when current contracts for routes that Dublin Bus operates will be coming to an end; if he has satisfied himself that commuters and regional areas in the commuter belt and greater Dublin area will benefit as a result of the tendering out of particular routes and public service obligation (PSO) routes when the current Dublin Bus contract expires; his views on whether current monopoly of contracts held by Dublin Bus at present is good for public transport users; if the next tendering phase will result in a transparent decision making process; the ramifications for particular routes (details supplied) in Dublin as a result of the competition in public transport in the bus market; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37337/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The objective of Government is to ensure a system of public transport throughout the country that is as efficient and as widespread as possible. In relation to the award of Public Service Obligation (PSO) contracts for the bus market, this falls under the remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA).  The NTA is currently considering how best publicly subvented bus services will be provided in the future. The direct award contracts for the provision of PSO bus market services held by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann expire late next year.  The awarding of the licenses for the services thereafter is a matter for the NTA, and not for Government, but I have kept the Cabinet updated on the process.  

Where the NTA proposes to enter into a further direct award contract or contracts for bus services it is obliged to carry out a statutory consultation under section 52 of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008.  Under the legislation, if the NTA proposes to enter into direct award contracts, the relevant section states that  “it may only do so where it is satisfied that the continued adequacy of the public bus passenger services to which the contracts relate can only be guaranteed in the general economic interest by entering into such direct award contracts".  If it is not so satisfied, it must provide for some level of competitive tendering.  As explained above, this is not a decision for the Government or for me. 

The NTA is conducting its work in accordance with the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 and statutory consultations in relation to the matter commenced on 11th September and will conclude on 11th October. The NTA expects to announce its decision on how it intends to proceed before the end of the year.

It should be noted that it will be open to Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann to tender for any routes or bundles of routes that are tendered. The contract will go to the best competent tenderer who can provide the best service for the least subsidy. I should be disappointed if the outcome of tendering is anything other than an improvement in services or no reduction in service at the very least.

Aviation Issues

 1625. 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 the arrangements that have been put in place for diversionary and unscheduled landings of Airbus A380 aircraft in Irish airports, in view of Ireland's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean; if he will provide a list of airports here that the A380 is capable of landing at and taking off from, in view of its size; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37339/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The question of airport capability of accepting an A380 is a matter for each individual airport, in terms of operations and the Irish Aviation Authority in respect of aviation safety oversight. I have referred the Deputy's question to the Irish Aviation Authority, Dublin Airport Authority, and Shannon Airport Authority, agencies within my remit, for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Safety Issues

 1626. 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 the parameters of the discussions held to date between his Department, the Road Safety Authority and the Garda regarding wearable glasses with technological advancements and smart technology for persons driving on Irish roads; if he will confirm that a full assessment will be taken before any such action is taken on their usage; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37340/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Any device that poses a distraction or impairs the act of driving is a cause for concern. Accordingly, I have asked the Road Safety Authority to examine and monitor the development of such technology and in particular how it is being managed in other countries. Following receipt of the Authority's advice I will consult with the Garda Siochána when deciding whether or not to ban the use of such technology here by drivers.

Coast Guard Services

 1627. 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 an approach has been made by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration regarding the Irish Coast Guard regarding search and rescue requirements in Irish coastal waters when the US resumes manned space missions in the future in view of the fact that their abort area for future missions is within 400 km of the coast of Ireland, within the range of the modern Sikorsky helicopter in the fleet; if any such co-operation would require additional costs and resources for the Irish Coast Guard; if the US would be financially contributing towards search and rescue requirements, should be they be needed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37341/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America have been in contact this year with the Irish Coast Guard. This contact was initiated by NASA with a view to ascertaining the Search and Rescue capabilities available in Ireland’s Search and Rescue Region.  This is a standard approach from organisations such as NASA as they need to factor in these considerations into their operations planning and in particular in the event of a launch failure which may fall within the Irish area of responsibility.     

  It is not envisaged that any new systems or equipment will need to be made available to meet any emergencies arising in respect of NASA missions and neither is it envisaged that the State will incur any additional  costs in that regard. The operational cost to the State of responding to any vessels, craft, airplanes or persons in distress at sea is not a charge that is passed on to those requiring assistance. This is common practice worldwide in maritime search and rescue.

National Transport Authority

 1628. 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 provide costings for the National Transport Authority's Draft Integrated Implementation Plan 2013-2018 for the Greater Dublin Area; if he will provide a breakdown of the costings of each scheme and project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37345/13]

 1678. 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 the number of submissions the National Transport Authority received for its consultation on the Draft Integrated Implementation Plan 2013-2018 for the Greater Dublin Area; the number of these submissions that were received from local authorities; the bodies who sent submissions and the date upon which they were received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38298/13]

 1679. 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 consider requesting the National Transport Authority to extend the deadline for submissions on the consultation on the Draft Integrated Implementation Plan 2013-2018 for the Greater Dublin Area, whose initial deadline was set for early September, in order that sufficient time might be given to local authorities and their members to go through the detailed document and make a comprehensive submission; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38299/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1628, 1678 and 1679 together.

The issues raised are matters for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I do not propose to ask the NTA to extend the deadline for submissions to the consultation on the Draft Integrated Implementation Plan 2013-2018 . 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.

Road Safety Authority Staff

 1629. 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 the process that will be used to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer of the Road Safety Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37348/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The new Chief Executive Officer of the Road Safety Authority will be appointed following a Public Appointments Service competition under Section 17 (4) of the Road Safety Authority Act 2006.

Dublin Bus Staff

 1630. 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 the employment terms of all the different categories of employees within Dublin Bus; the grades and salaries within the organisation, including all overtime, expenses, allowances and other related items; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37365/13]

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.


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