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Written Answers. - Ferry Services.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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[1004]

 121. Ms Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall  asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  the progress which has been made with regard to the review by his Department of the State-subsidised ferry service between Galway and the Aran Islands, which was promised following the recently published report of the Comptroller and Auditor General; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24450/02]

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on State subsidised transport services to the Aran Islands was published in September 2002. Following the reports, the Department has advanced a number of measures to ensure best practice in relation to the award of contracts, the quality of services, and value for money for subsidised island transport services. These measures include: a management information framework being developed which will provide the Department with enhanced financial and non-financial systems and practices and quality management information; the appointment of independent assessors to critically review and validate each future tendering process; allocation of additional staff to the area so as to strengthen control and compliance with contract requirements; a specially designed software package which will enable more rigorous monitoring of the performance of all subsidised ferry operators; and an imminent competition for independent consultants to review other issues raised in the Comptroller and Auditor General's report and to provide future performance indicators.

The independent consultants I have just mentioned will review the ferry services to the Aran Islands as part of their brief. My Department hopes to convene a meeting of the steering committee for the project before Christmas and its first function will be to finalise the draft terms of reference. It is expected that the call for tenders will be made early in the new year.

Question No. 122 answered with Question No. 80.


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