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Written Answers. - Consultancy Contracts.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 407. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23778/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan The Department of Transport engaged Airports Co-ordination Limited in October 2000, to co-ordinate the monitoring and allocation of slots at Dublin Airport. This is ongoing work, the responsibility for which was transferred to the Office of the Commission for Aviation Regulation, CAR, when it was established in February 2002. The full cost of this work to this Department, up until February 2002 when the function [296] of regulating slots was transferred to the CAR, was €374,510.

 408. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23779/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan Arthur Andersen/Steer Davies Gleave were commissioned by my Department in 1999 to examine the feasibility of following a public private partnership PPP approach to the Dublin light rail project. The consultancy was completed and a report was submitted in April 1999. The report concluded, inter alia, that given the then progress on Luas lines A, B and C, they should continue to be procured on a conventional basis; a PPP approach could and should be adopted for further phases of the Dublin light rail project; and private sector operators should be invited to bid for the franchise to operate the system. An abridged version of the report was published by the Department of Public Enterprise in April 1999. The cost of the consultancy was €928,425.

 409. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23780/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan The role of Currie & Brown in association with Ernst & Young consultancy was to review existing arrangements within the Department for monitoring and reviewing investment in public transport projects under the National Development Plan 2000-2006; and to specify in a written report the requirements for, and facilitate the successful implementation of, a system which was to: ensure effective and timely financial reporting to the Department of capital expenditure under the NDP by the CIE group of companies; enable ongoing monitoring by the Department of the implementation of the NDP by the CIE group; ensure consistency of approach and reporting by all companies in the CIE groups across the investment programme; provide an early warning of any emerging difficulties to allow time for corrective action; and ensure that modifications to the investment programme are managed, reported and recorded in an effective manner. The project was completed, and the final report submitted, in 2001, at a total cost of €136,192.

The key recommendations of the report were: the establishment of a dedicated investment monitoring unit, IMU; the creation of a project [297] monitoring process; and the establishment of a formal reporting system. The IMU was established and staffed in January of this year. A project monitoring system has been created, and it is being implemented by the unit. Formal reports on each individual investment project are received from the CIE group of companies each month and are reviewed by the unit.

 410. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23781/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan My Department was required under EU legislation to carry out an audit to verify that operations financed by the EU, under the community support framework for Ireland (operational programme for transport) 1994 to 1999, had been properly carried out. The company was commissioned, following a tender process, to provide the Department with two audits in connection with the programme. The company completed the contract in August 2002 and were paid a total of €35,000. The audit concluded that the procedures within the Department were satisfactory, but recommended a small number of minor procedural changes. These recommendations were taken on board by the Department immediately.

 411. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23782/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan Dr. Reynolds-Feighan carried out a study entitled “Comparison of Subvention Levels for Public Transport Systems in European Cities” for the then Department of Public Enterprise in 2000. The final report was submitted in April 2000, at cost of £8,000, or €10,160. Her study identified the need for greater clarity in specifying required service levels and quality in the context of the subvention, and the need for the Department to obtain more detailed information on costs and revenue in Dublin Bus. My Department has since developed a cost-revenue model for Dublin Bus. A performance indicator system has also been put in place to ensure greater clarity in regard to the efficiency and effectiveness of Dublin Bus, and I understand that agreement has been reached with all of the CIE operating companies to introduce service level agreements during 2003.

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 412. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23783/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan Sherry Fitzgerald were appointed by the Departments of Public Enterprise and Finance in 1999 to carry out a valuation of the CIE property portfolio. The final report was submitted in December 1999 and, in the light of developments in the property market, they were requested to update the report in 2000. The study was undertaken to provide an independent review of the financial contribution which CIE's surplus property portfolio could make to public transport investment requirements. The findings have been used as the basis for an assessment of the potential for CIE to contribute to the investment programme set out in the national development plan. The cost of these consultancies amounted to £110,927 or €140,848.24.

 413. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23784/02]

 419. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23792/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I propose to take Questions Nos. 413 and 419 together.

On 15 September 2000, the then Department of Public Enterprise appointed a consortium of consultants to assist it in developing a policy framework for public private partnerships, PPP, in the rail sector. The consortium was led by Ernst & Young and included Arthur Cox, Fitzpatrick Associates, Simmons & Simmons and WS Atkins.

The consultancy was completed earlier this year and provides a policy framework across a wide range of technical, commercial, procurement and legal issues to guide PPP projects in the rail sector and particularly in relation to light rail and metro proposals. The framework was approved by the Government and published subsequently. Total payments over the lifetime of the consultancy amounted to €1,622,508.22.

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 414. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23785/02]

 418. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23791/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I propose to take Questions Nos. 414 and 418 together.

Following a series of worrying incidents on the Iarnród Éireann railway, culminating in the Knockcroghery derailment in 1997, the Minister commissioned an independent review of all aspects of railway safety in 1998. The study was carried out by a team of independent consultants led by International Risk Management Services, IRMS, and was published in November 1998.

In 1999, IRMS was commissioned to carry out an implementation review of progress being made by Iarnród Éireann against the recommendations made in the 1998 report. The report of the review was published in March 2000. A second implementation review was commissioned in November 2000 and was carried out by IRMS. Its report was published in August 2001. The cost of the review was €304,319. The report of the second implementation review concluded that Iarnród Éireann had made substantial progress in improving the safety of its railway infrastructure since the first study in 1998 and that the speed of improvement had increased since the first implementation review. However, the consultants did raise concerns about the delay, at that time, in the provision of the mini-CTC signalling system and noted that the delay was continuing to cause major problems in maintaining worn out equipment on the affected routes.

The Minister was concerned that the delay could lead to further deterioration of these routes and commissioned the consultants to prepare a short supplementary report on this issue. The supplementary report cost €3,071 and was also published in August 2001. In the supplementary report, IRMS recommended that Iarnród Éireann prepare a comprehensive plan to ensure that adequate safety levels are maintained on the mini-CTC lines. The consultants also recommended the carrying out of a sample audit exercise to ensure that the plan was being implemented in a satisfactory fashion. IRMS was subsequently commissioned to carry out the sample audit. The audit was finalised in April 2002 at a cost of €25,316. The audit was conducted by means of a review of Iarnród Éireann's management systems for the mini-CTC lines and by carrying out site visits to a representative sample of the affected railway lines to assess the safety of the physical infrastructure.

The consultants concluded that overall the results of the sample audit gave confidence that [300] Iarnród Éireann is adequately controlling risks on the mini-CTC lines through the infrastructure refurbishment works and operational controls that have been put in place. Arising from the audit, IRMS made ten recommendations. The main recommendation was that Iarnród Éireann should ensure that the decision to proceed with the revised mini-CTC scheme using in-house resources did not divert limited essential resources from elsewhere in the company. In response to this recommendation, Iarnród Éireann has confirmed to my Department that adequate resources are available to carry out the mini-CTC project and for ongoing non mini-CTC work. Work on addressing the other recommendations is largely complete. I have asked that a copy of the sample audit report be sent to the Deputy for his information and that arrangements be made for this report to be made available on my Department's website as soon as possible.

 415. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23787/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan The role of the consultant, who was appointed by my Department during the period of office of my predecessor, was to review the economic position of the six regional airports in Kerry, Waterford, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal. In particular, the adviser was asked to address any untapped potential that may exist for growth and further development of the regional airports over the coming years.

The consultant's report was submitted to the Department in late September and officials of my Department are currently examining it in detail. I will be apprising my Cabinet colleagues in due course of the findings of the report and following that, it would be my intention to make the report publicly available on the Department's website. The cost of this consultancy was €29,838.54 – excluding expenses for which the consultant has yet to invoice the Department.

 416. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23789/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I have no direct function in relation to this matter as this is a matter more appropriate to the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

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 417. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23790/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan The Department of Transport, in conjunction with the Department of the Environment and Local Government, has commissioned consultants to make recommendations for public safety zones in the vicinity of Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports. The recommendations of the consultants, ERM, will specifically deal with the risk to people on the ground. ERM's study is nearly complete. Before its report is finalised, ERM will engage in public consultation on its report, including public meetings in Dublin, Cork and Shannon. The public consultation is expected to take place early in the new year.

ERM were engaged at the beginning of 2001, and the costs of the consultancy to date is €203,000. When the report is completed following the public consultation, it will be considered by the Government with a view to the Department of the Environment and Local Government issuing planning guidelines in accordance with the Planning Acts to the local authorities to assist them in their consideration of the public safety aspects of planning applications in the vicinity of airports.

Question No. 418 answered with Question No. 414.

Question No. 419 answered with Question No. 413.

Question No. 420 answered with Question No. 60.

 421. Mr. Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the role of consultants (details supplied) appointed by his Department; if the project is ongoing; the conclusions drawn from this work; the cost of the consultancy to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23795/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan In July 2001 consultants were appointed by my Department to examine the financial and other technical issues which would arise in the context of a restructuring of the CIE group of companies. This study was commissioned as a result of proposals contained in the document A New Institutional and Regulatory Framework for Public Transport, which was published in August 2000.

This was a technical study to advise on the options for dealing with issues such as assets, debt, pensions and the range of services provided centrally by CIE to its three operating companies in the context of a possible restructuring which would see each of the three CIE operating sub[302] sidiaries established as independent companies. This study has now been completed and my Department received the final report in August this year.

I recently put forward proposals for a restructuring of CIE in my statement to the public transport forum on 7 November 2002. I propose to dissolve CIE and establish Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann as independent commercial State companies. I will be arranging in the near future to brief the CIE board and the trade unions on the content of the consultancy report, after which I plan to publish it. The total cost for the consultancy including VAT and expenses is €256,166.99.


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