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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 487-500
 Header Item Road Safety Issues
 Header Item Road Safety Issues
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Driving Licence Issues
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Issues
 Header Item Road Traffic Legislation
 Header Item Marine Safety
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Marine Safety

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 775 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 487-500

Road Safety Issues

 487. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the process for the establishment of test centres as local training headquarters; the number of these headquarters that now exist; his plans for the establishment of new headquarters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40060/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The subject matter of this question is a matter for the Road Safety Authority, and I have therefore referred the question to the Authority for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten days.

Road Safety Issues

 488. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the amount of money spent by the Roads Safety Authority on the bike to bike testing scheme; the number of bikes purchased for this test; the nuimber of tests that have taken place since the test was introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40061/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The subject matter of this question is a matter for the Road Safety Authority, and I have therefore referred the question to the Authority for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten days.

Rail Network

 489. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the current status of plans to open a rail stop at Crusheen on the Ennis to Galway line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40070/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Arrangements for the construction  of railway  stations are an operational  matter for Iarnród Éireann. I have therefore referred the question to Iarnród Eireann for direct reply. Please advise  my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Driving Licence Issues

 490. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will consider the issues raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40104/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Under EU rules, Member States are required to move to a plastic card driver licence commencing in 2013.  There has been widespread support for this move.  The new format of licence will be more convenient to carry than the current laminated paper licence, and also more durable.

In parallel with this change, we are also moving from a system in which driving licences are issued through the Local Authorities to a system in which the Road Safety Authority (RSA) will be the sole national driver licensing authority.  The recently passed Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Act 2012 includes provisions to make the RSA the national driver licensing authority.

The new system will come on stream during 2013.  It will involve three outsourced elements, a card production facility, a front office for engaging with the customer, and a back office to process applications.  This system will be overseen by a unit based in the RSA itself. I understand that the RSA intend to ask tenderers for the front office service to offer their own proposals for the capture of photo ID.  The matter of what kind of photo ID is therefore not predetermined.

As in any outsourcing process, the RSA must follow public procurement rules.  As a general principle, state agencies are expected to find the most cost-efficient way of doing business in order to deliver maximum value for money for the public.  I do not see in this context that we can require an agency to design a tendering process to suit a particular industry.  However, as I have indicated, nothing has been predetermined in terms of what kind of photo-capture will be involved in the new system.

Taxi Regulations

 491. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of recommendations of the Taxi Review Group report that have been implemented; his plans to implement the outstanding proposals; if he will clarify in his reply whether signage on the side of taxi vehicles will be implemented and if this signage will permanent or if drivers will be able to remove it from their vehicles at the end of a shift; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40148/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the regulation of the taxi industry under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003, and is also the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report. I understand from the NTA that work is progressing on all 46 Actions proposed and ten of the actions have been implemented to date.

Action 31 of the Review Report proposes the introduction of a distinctive branding on taxis, including wheelchair accessible taxis, to take the form of a semi-permanent decal to be applied, potentially, to the doors on either side of the vehicle. Planning has started on this Action and consultation on the final design has taken place with the Taxi Advisory Committee. I understand that the proposed decals would remain on the vehicle for whatever the period of time that vehicle is licensed and being operated as a small public service vehicle. The timetable for implementation of the remaining actions is set out in the Review Report and updates regarding the implementation of the Actions can be obtained under the taxi section on the NTA website.

Rail Services

 492. Deputy Brian Walsh Information on Brian Walsh Zoom on Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is still no online booking facility for the Galway-Limerick train service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40163/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is an operational matter for Irish Rail.  I have referred 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.

Rail Network

 493. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when he expects construction work to begin on the replacement of a level crossing (details supplied) in Dublin 7. [40168/12]

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) on December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), comes under the remit of the NTA.    Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Consultancy Contracts Issues

 494. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide the actual list of the names and addresses of all the external consultees who were consulted in both the Fisher Report and the Fearon Report in relation to the Malin Head Coastal Radio Station, County Donegal, instead of the suggested list as provided previously; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40169/12]

 498. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide copies of the various drafts of the Fisher Report to Oireachtas members in counties Kerry and Donegal. [40193/12]

 499. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a list of those consulted in the preparation of the Fisher Report. [40194/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 494, 498 and 499 together.

The Department of Transport Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) appointed Fisher Associates to carry out a review of the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) in June 2011. An element of the proposal involved Fishers consulting with the relevant stakeholders both internal and external.   In order to encourage a frank exchange of views my Department did not participate in the actual discussions but facilitated the proceedings by providing a venue for some of the meetings. Fishers placed a particular emphasis on the confidentiality of this consultative work in preparing the report. In this regard it is imperative that the confidential nature of the background papers relating to this process is respected. In any case my Department does not have the names and addresses of individuals and/or groups associated with this consultation process.

 It should also be noted that the consultants themselves may also have engaged in discussions with stakeholders by email and telephone.  To assist the consultants the IRCG gave them an indicative list of stakeholders. This is attached for information.

There is also a reference to a “Fearon Report”. This relates to an internal briefing note prepared by a member of the Management Board of the Department. In this case there was no formal external consultation process involved. The Fisher reports on the Irish Coastguard and the Marine Survey Office are available on the Departments website.

Road Traffic Legislation

 495. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will consider extending Statutory Instrument 695 of 2011 to include civil defence vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40182/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I have received no request from the Civil Defence Board to have their vehicles brought within the ambit of SI 695 of 2011.  Should I receive such a request I will, of course, give it every consideration.

Marine Safety

 496. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding the proposed new coastguard station in Killybegs, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40187/12]

 501. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the budget for the building of a new coastguard station at Killybegs, County Donegal. [40196/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 496 and 501 together.

The OPW is currently building a combined sea pollution response base and volunteer stationhouse on Killybegs pier for the Coast Guard. The Stores and Maintenance Base will house the national sea pollution response stockpile for the area from Lough Foyle to the Shannon. The volunteer stationhouse will provide shoreline response, lifeboat and cliff rescue facilities for the area from Ballyshannon, Co Sligo to Ardara, Co. Donegal. The projected cost is €1.762M.

Departmental Expenditure

 497. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a full breakdown of costs for the recently completed refurbishment of Malin Head Marine Rescue Sub Centre, County Donegal. [40192/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The breakdown of the costs of the refurbishments at Malin Marine Rescue Sub Co-ordination Centre, County Donegal is as follows:

Building Renovation                                                  €63,000

  (re-wiring, new flooring and general clean-up)

Communications architecture                                   €30,000

Ancillaries                                                                   €10,000

Technology Installation                                               €25,000

                                                       Total                     €128,000

  Additional upgrade costs to transfer Malin to digital technology and which could be re-located and re-used elsewhere in another Coast Guard Coordination Centre are:

  One equipment cabin:                                    €  40,000

  Integrated Communications Node:               €553,000

  Questions Nos. 498 and 499 answered with Question No. 494.

Marine Safety

 500. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the projected costs for the purchase and fit out of the proposed new Marine Rescue station proposed to be built in Dublin close to the existing station. [40195/12]

 503. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the projected costs for the purchase and fit out of the new station proposed by management as part of the coast guard station review which will be built separately from the existing station in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40219/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 500 and 503 together.

There are currently no plans to purchase or fit out a new Marine Rescue station in Dublin. The Irish Coast Guard was the subject of a recent report from Consultants Fishers Ltd, U.K. The report identified a number of key issues that need to be addressed further to ensure more effective marine emergency services.I announced the setting up of a Departmental Team to consider the matters raised in the Report and to prepare an Action Plan. This Action Plan will be presented to Government in October 2012.

All matters relevant to the Coast Guard will be examined including what is best application of resources to ensure the most effective response from the maritime emergency services.  Within that context a number of future models for maritime emergency coordination in Ireland will be considered.


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