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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 501-516
 Header Item Road Safety Issues
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Fáilte Ireland Funding
 Header Item Ministerial Correspondence
 Header Item Dublin Bus Services
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Smarter Transport
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Driving Licence Renewals

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. 501-516

  Question No. 501 answered with Question No. 496.

Road Safety Issues

 502. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if there are any plans for a standard 30kph speed limit within town and village boundaries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40218/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Earlier this year, I announced that a review of speed limits would be undertaken and to that end, my Department established a stakeholder group to progress this work. 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, which has met on a number of occasions since its formation.

As the Deputy will appreciate, this is a very complex issue which requires detailed consideration as it involves a broad review of general speed limits, along with the specific limits in place on certain roads. I anticipate that the Group will report to me by year's end, and I will give careful consideration to any recommendations contained in their Report. In the meantime, I have no plans to implement a standard 30 KPH speed limit within village and town boundaries.

The Deputy may be aware that Section 9 of the Road Traffic Act, 2004, allows road authorities to make bye-laws which allow the application of special speed limits on public roads within in their administrative areas. To assist in setting special speed 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 set.

  Question No. 503 answered with Question No. 500.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 504. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when successful applicants under the sports capital grants scheme will be notified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40238/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department has received over 2,350 applications for funding under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme.  This is the largest number applications ever received under the Programme.

  Departmental officials have started processing all applications and this process will take some time due to the volume of applications received.  I expect to be able to announce the list of successful applicants later this year.

Fáilte Ireland Funding

 505. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a breakdown of Fáilte Ireland funding allocated to North Dublin each of the past five years and to date in 2012, including financial supports under capital programmes, festivals and tourism events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40301/12]

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 question to Fáilte Ireland for directly reply.  Please contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

Ministerial Correspondence

 506. 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 when this Deputy may expect a response from him to the correspondence emailed to him on 31 July 2012 appealing to the him to take responsibility for ensuring that the young trainee pilots and their families impacted by the breakdown in the commercial relationship between the Pilot Training College in Waterford and the Florida Institute of Technology are provided with alternative training at no additional cost that enables them to attain their pilot’s licence. [40347/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I regret the delay but a response has now issued to the Deputy on the matter.

Dublin Bus Services

 507. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a bus service from an area (details supplied) to the main reception of Beaumont Hospital, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40365/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The provision of bus services is an operational matter for Dublin Bus, in conjunction with the National Transport Authority, and not one in which I have any role. l  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 Services

 508. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the Luas lines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40457/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is an operational matter for the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) in conjunction with the Luas operator, Veolia Transport. I have referred the Deputy's question to the RPA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Bus Éireann Services

 509. 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 retaining Bus Éireann's route 2 service (details supplied) to areas such as Inch and Ballincor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40473/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is an operational matter for Bus Éireann in conjunction with the National Transport Authority and not one in which I have any role.  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.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 510. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when he expects to complete his Departments validation of applications made under the Sports Capital Programme 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40487/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department has received over 2,350 applications for funding under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme.  This is the largest number of applications ever received under the Programme.

  Departmental officials have started processing all applications and this process will take some time due to the volume of applications received.  I expect to be able to announce the list of successful applicants later this year.

Smarter Transport

 511. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the objectives of the sport active travel towns funding scheme; the grounds on which an application for funding under the scheme by an organisation (details supplied) was turned down; the scheme's objectives that were not met by this application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40516/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Active Travel Towns is a Smarter Travel Programme designed to secure modal shift to walking and cycling in towns by engaging with the local community, allied with infrastructural change.

The rationale underpinning the development of an Active Travel Towns programme was that in order to continue on a trajectory towards securing our national cycle policy target of 10% of all trips to be made by bike by 2020, securing increased bicycle (and walking) mode share requires a focus to be placed on population and employment centres, i.e. delivery of increased cycling and walking mode share in urban areas.

There was considerable interest in the programme and significantly more proposals were submitted than funding was available.   An assessment panel considered all the applications submitted  and selected those applications which best met these objectives i.e. that can deliver modal shift to walking and cycling within their town through the delivery of infrastructure and measures to promote behavioural change.

The proposal submitted by Ballina Town Council was considered worthwhile in its support for active travel, leisure cycling and tourism.  The assessment panel considered that while the proposal  contained links from existing infrastructure to the town centre it lacked sufficient focus on urban modal shift and focused instead to a great degree on leisure cycling. It therefore did not  fully meet with the objectives of the Active Travel Towns programme and was not ranked high enough for inclusion in the final selection.

Pension Provisions

 512. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will amend Statutory Instrument No. 242 of1945 arising from the Section 44 of the Transport Act 1994 which governs the terms of the occupational pension scheme of the CIE group of companies particularly the specification that employees who if over 50 years may not enter the pension scheme. [40550/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The terms and conditions of the pension schemes for Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) employees are a matter in the first instance for the Board of CIÉ.

I have been informed by CIÉ that the rules of the Córas Iompair Éireann Pension Scheme for Regular Wages Staff allow staff members to join the scheme before their 50th Birthday.  The benefits to be derived by members are calculated based on actual service as a percentage of potential service to 65 years of age. At present there are no proposals to allow staff over 50 years of age to join the scheme.

Departmental Staff Data

 513. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his Department still grants leave of absence; and if not, the reason this is not considered as a neutral cost saving exercise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40603/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar My Department grants leave of absence in accordance with 'Circular 18/1998: Special leave without pay for Career Break', which is available on the Government website www.circulars.gov.ie at the following link: http://circulars.gov.ie/yearindex/1998/ .

  For absences shorter than the 6 months minimum for career breaks, my Department grants leave of absence e.g. parental and maternity leave, in accordance with the appropriate circulars.

  Approval of applications for leave of absence are subject to the business requirements in the area in which the applicant works and to the exigencies of the business of the Department.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 514. Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding a sports grant in respect of an organisation (details supplied) in County Kerry. [40606/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department has received over 2,350 applications for funding under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme.  This is the largest number of applications ever received under the Programme.

  Departmental officials have started processing all applications and this process will take some time due to the volume of applications received.  I expect to be able to announce the list of successful applicants later this year.

Pension Provisions

 515. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the steps he is taking to address the dispute between the workers of Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport Authority and former SRT workers and the relevant employer organisations arising from the difficulties in the Irish airlines (general employees) superannuation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40617/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The question refers to the Irish Airlines (General Employees) Superannuation Scheme (IASS) which is a multi-employer scheme involving Aer Lingus, the Dublin Airport Authority and SR Technics.

  Resolution of the funding difficulties in the scheme is a matter for the trustees, the companies participating in the scheme and the members and I understand that the parties are participating in discussions with the assistance of the Labour Relations Commission in an effort to find a solution to the current difficulties.

  As I have no function in relation to the pension scheme, my Department is not a party to these discussions.

Driving Licence Renewals

 516. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if it is necessary when renewing your driving licence to provide an eye sight certificate if you continue to wear corrective lenses that is wore corrective lenses on previous driving licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40653/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar It depends on the age of the applicant.  Applicants for a first learner permit must provide an eyesight report.  If that report indicates that they must wear corrective lenses then this is noted on their licence and follows them through the licensing system, and will be noted on subsequent learner permits and on their full licence, when they obtain it.  They should therefore not need a further eyesight report when renewing their learner permit, or subsequently when receiving or renewing their full licence.  In cases where a person ceases to need corrective lenses - for example after laser eye surgery - they are required to undergo an eye test to prove that they no longer need the lenses.

Applicants for renewal of a driving licence who are over the age of 70 are required to produce an eyesight report at each renewal.  This is common practice internationally, and is based on the recognition that eyesight can deteriorate with age, with a potentially serious impact on the individual's capacity to drive.


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