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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 269-280
 Header Item Road Projects Contracts
 Header Item Road Projects Contracts
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Road Signage
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item Road Safety Issues
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Pilot Training Courses
 Header Item Public Transport Provision

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 784 No. 4

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Written Answers Nos. 269-280

Road Projects Contracts

 269. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he has received an application for funding from Westmeath County Council in respect of a project (details supplied); if same will be approved without delay because of its importance in terms of safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53662/12]

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.

Road Projects Contracts

 270. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if funding is still available for the new M17/M18 motorway; the date on which contracts will be signed for this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53402/12]

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 Act 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

The Gort-Tuam PPP project is one of a number of road projects identified in the Government's Financial Stimulus Package.  As the investment and Capital Expenditure Framework 2012 - 2016 did not include a financial provision for this project, an additional multi-annual allocation is required to cover the Exchequer element of the project costs.  As the allocation of such funds is related to the planned sale of State assets, clarification has been sought from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the timelines involved.  Once appropriate funding arrangements are put in place, the NRA will be in a position to prepare the project implementation schedule.

Road Improvement Schemes

 271. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding funding for the entrance to a complex (details supplied) in County Wicklow; if funding will be allocated for this work as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53430/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993.  The carrying out of works on these roads is a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.

In July this year, the National Roads Authority (on behalf of the Department) invited applications for consideration for funding in 2013 under the Low Cost Safety Improvement Grants Scheme in respect of regional and local roads.  It is open to Wicklow County Council to prioritise this project at Vale Road Arklow and to submit it among its applications for funding.

Under the Low Cost Safety Improvement Works scheme the criterion for approval and grant allocation is based on accident data, discussions between the local authority and the National Roads Authority together with inspection of sites.  Works include a variety of safety work measures including road signage, road line works, surface works including anti-skid surfaces and works for improved vision at junctions and other locations.  However the initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is a matter for the Council. Alternatively the council may fund these works from its Discretionary Grant or from its own resources. I will announce the 2013 regional and local road grant allocations early in the new year.

Road Signage

 272. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will conduct a review of motorway signage indicating places of interest to include businesses and commercial sites in close proximity to the State's motorway network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53455/12]

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.

Bus Éireann Services

 273. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will request Bus Éireann to provide a bus shelter in Killorglin town, County Kerry, as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53522/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue of bus stop improvements is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Bus Eireann.  I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Safety Issues

 274. 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 laws regarding the use of dimmed headlights on any category of road during day light hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53559/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Daytime Running Lights (DRL) involve motorists either using their dipped headlights during the hours of daylight or fitting dedicated daytime running lights in an effort to make vehicles more conspicuous and hence increase road safety by reducing the number and severity of road traffic collisions.  An increasing number of vehicles have dedicated DRL fitted as standard, and it became mandatory on all new cars entering the national fleet from 2011 onwards in accordance with EC Directive 2008/89/EC.  New trucks and buses are required to have dedicated DRL from August 2012.  It is estimated that through the gradual renewal of the national fleet almost all vehicles will be equipped with DRL by 2024.

  DRL is not mandatory in Ireland. In recent years the RSA undertook a review of the policy options available for the mandatory introduction of DRL and concluded that DRL should not be made obligatory at this moment in time. Experience in other countries especially Sweden where DRL has been mandatory since 1977, shows that mandatory DRL works best where all vehicles are fitted with dedicated DRL and where there has been intensive promotion and awareness campaigns prior to DRL being made mandatory. In Ireland most vehicles do not yet have dedicated DRL and the RSA analysis has shown that the costs of retrofitting DRL at the current time outweighs the benefits. The RSA has recommended that the position be reviewed again in circa 4 years.

  In the meantime, the RSA will intensify the promotion of DRL with a view to significantly increasing the use of DRL on a voluntary basis, in particular, during the period September to March and in wet or poor conditions. With this in mind the RSA recently launched an awareness campaign promoting the use of DRL on national radio which is reinforced by "The Bright Way To Save Lives” section on its website www.rsa.ie, which extols the benefits of DRL.

Taxi Regulations

 275. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will report on the taxi industry testing process being carried out for the National Transport Authority by Prometric; his views that applicants who fail the test should be provided with the breakdown of the sections of the test they failed; the reason questions in the knowledge entry tests can relate to county areas outside the 30 kilometre county zone where SPSV drivers have the right to refuse journeys; the reason an applicant who pass the entry test but fails the knowledge test have to re-sit both tests at a cost of €86.10; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53560/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including the operation of the testing process under the SPSV skills development programme, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003. I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 276. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will allocate capital sports grant funding to a club (details supplied) in County Kerry to allow for the development of their new playing pitches and facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53561/12]

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 2,170 applications for funding under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme.  This is the largest number of applications ever received under the Programme.

  Departmental officials are 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.  All applicants, including the one referred to by the Deputy, will be informed of the outcome of their application at that stage.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 277. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will allocate capital sports grant funding to a club (details supplied) in County Kerry who need to upgrade their existing playing pitches as they are catering for a huge catchment area. [53562/12]

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 2,170 applications for funding under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme.  This is the largest number of applications ever received under the Programme.

  Departmental officials are 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.  All applicants, including the one referred to by the Deputy, will be informed of the outcome of their application at that stage.

Pilot Training Courses

 278. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to provide continued training to the trainee pilots of PTC Waterford; his plans to put in place an interim compensation scheme for affected pilots; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53563/12]

 279. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar following the recent meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications on 24 October 2012 on the issue of PTC Waterford, his plans to refer this case to the Director of Corporate enforcement. [53564/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 278 and 279 together.

On 28 September last the High Court ordered the liquidation of the Pilot Training College Waterford (PTC).  Unfortunately PTC is not an isolated example – there have been other similar failures in other European Member States in the recent past, including in the UK, where students also suffered losses. I fully understand the frustrations of the students and their families who have lost considerable sums of money to PTC  and while I have great sympathy for their plight, neither the Government, nor the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), have any liability in this regard; the taxpayer cannot be liable for the failures of private sector companies.  Accordingly there are no plans to set up a compensation scheme.

The IAA has worked with other approved flight training centres to explore how the students involved might be facilitated in completing their training elsewhere either in Florida or in Ireland at as reasonable a cost as possible; I am informed that many students are continuing their training.

I understand that a complaint has been made to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in relation to this company and that body is the appropriate body to investigate any potential breaches of company law.

Public Transport Provision

 280. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on the process by which advertisements are cleared for use on publicly owned public transport services; the steps a person can take if they believe an advertisement to not be suitable for use on publicly financed transport services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53672/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is a matter for the relevant public transport provider and the advertiser in conjunction with the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).  The ASAI set standards for advertising and adjudicate on complaints received, including those for alcohol drinks advertisements.


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