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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1394-1415
 Header Item Rural Transport Programme Funding
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Driving Tests Waiting Lists
 Header Item Sporting Events
 Header Item Sporting Events
 Header Item Rural Transport Services Provision
 Header Item National Cycle Network
 Header Item Rural Transport Programme
 Header Item Rural Transport Programme
 Header Item Rural Transport Services Provision
 Header Item Legislative Implementation
 Header Item Breath Testing Equipment
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item National Cycle Network
 Header Item National Cycle Network
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Tourism Promotion

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 799 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1394-1415

Rural Transport Programme Funding

 1394. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans for continued funding for the rural transport scheme; if he has any plans to withdraw the funding or change the scheme in anyway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17319/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly An overall budget of €9.133 million has been allocated by my Department to the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) for 2013, representing a small decrease on the 2012 allocation of €9.77 million, at a very difficult time financially.  My aim is to strengthen the RTP by ensuring a more efficient delivery structure by maximising integration with other state transport services and by making  the programme a sustainable part of the public transport system. This is in line with the Programme for Government commitment to maintain and extend the RTP with other local transport services.  To this end national responsibility for local and rural transport services integration, including the RTP, was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012, putting such services in a broader transport context.  I also established the National Integrated Rural Transport (NIRT) Committee in April 2012, comprising key stakeholders and chaired by the NTA, to oversee and manage a partnership approach to implementing integrated local and rural transport.   I am well aware of the very valuable work done by the RTP Groups in identifying and delivering the transport needs of their local community.  However, given  resources are limited and that the Value for Money and Policy Review of the RTP, published last year, recommended organisational restructuring to achieve efficiencies and the better alignment of the 35 RTP groups with local authorities, it is necessary that the current delivery mechanisms and structures are examined and revised.

   The current structures of the RTP are not sustainable if the required efficiencies and savings are to be achieved. If these are not achieved then with the limited resources available services will decline.   Work is underway to determine the optimal structure for the delivery of rural transport from an efficiency and service perspective. One of the proposals being examined is that the RTPs be "aligned" with local authorities and that a number of Transport Coordination Units be established.  I would emphasise that no decision has been taken, but I am hopeful that I will be in a position to recommend a new structure later this year which will allow for the maximising of spend on services and the reduction of administration costs.

I will be ensuring that any future structure for the RTP will be based on community input, local flexibility and involving the voluntary sector.  Rural Transport by its nature is community-based and this will remain under any new structure. While I can understand and fully appreciate that this restructuring creates a level of uncertainty for RTP groups, I am hopeful that the outcome will be a better service delivered more efficiently. I will be working with all involved over the coming months to make any transition as smooth as possible.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 1395. 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 the position regarding financial support in respect of a club (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [17349/13]

 1408. 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 if he will provide financial support to a club (details supplied) in Dublin 5; when funding will be accessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17690/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I propose to take Questions Nos. 1395 and 1408 together.

The allocations under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme were announced last December.  No application was received from the club referred to by the Deputy.

It may be possible for the club to raise funds via the ‘Tax Relief for Donations to Certain Sports Bodies’ scheme (section 847A of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997). This is a Revenue operated scheme which offers tax benefits to individuals or companies who make donations to the club.  Further details on this scheme and how it operates can be found on the Revenue Commissioners website. No decision has been made on the timing of the next round of the Sports Capital Programme.

Driving Tests Waiting Lists

 1396. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the Road Safety Authority will provide an alternatively formated driver theory test for persons who are computer or touch screen illiterate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [17374/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The driver theory test is operated by Prometric on behalf of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). I understand that the interface is very simple, and that candidates are allowed a practice session before beginning the test.  However, candidates for the test can contact Prometric in advance if they have any special needs to be catered for.  Prometric also offer the services of a reader/recorder and extra time to sit the driver theory test where medical evidence is provided to show that the person would require these facilities. I am satisfied that the test as currently provided is sufficiently accessible to all, and that adequate measures are in place to support people who may be unfamiliar with the format.

Sporting Events

 1397. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding preparations for the part staging of the Giro d'Italia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17375/13]

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 Deputy's Question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Sporting Events

 1398. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding his efforts to assist a bid for Ireland to host the 2023 or 2027 rugby world cup; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17376/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am fully supportive of the bid to host the Rugby World Cup in Ireland. It is a matter for the IRFU to prepare and submit a bid.  A feasibility study commissioned by the IRFU on the potential for hosting the tournament was recently presented to me by them and the findings of the report are being considered.

The support of other sporting organisations would be an important element in the bid process and I am pleased to note that on 23 March delegates at the GAA Congress approved a motion which would allow the inclusion of Croke Park and other GAA grounds in the list of venues that would be used for matches if Ireland was selected as the host country for the tournament.

The Programme for Government includes a commitment that event tourism will be prioritised in order to continue to bring major events to Ireland. As well as bringing spectators to our shores, the hosting of sports events can provide a great showcase for Ireland.  Fáilte Ireland continues to support the holding of sports and other events that can boost tourism and, where appropriate, will provide advice and assistance to the sporting body which is seeking to secure an international event.  I understand that Fáilte Ireland has engaged with the IRFU in this regard. The bid has also been discussed with the Northern Ireland Minister for Tourism, Arlene Foster MLA, and Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA. They have met with the IRFU and  have also indicated their support for a bid.

Rural Transport Services Provision

 1399. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on the value of the rural transport scheme in rural communities (details supplied); if he will consider extending the service where possible to further increase routes and link in with main bus routes and main rail network services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17378/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly An overall budget of €9.133 million has been allocated by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) for 2013, representing a small decrease on the 2012 allocation of €9.77 million, at a very difficult time financially.  €78,670 of the 2013 RTP budget has been allocated to the Louth Leader Partnership from January to June 2013, with a further proposed allocation of €78,670 from July to December 2013. €156,964 of the 2013 RTP budget has been allocated to Meath Accessible Transport Limited (Flexibus) from January to June 2013, with a further proposed allocation of €156,964 from July to December 2013.  This represents a total 2013 allocation of RTP funding of €471,268 for the provision of RTP services in the Louth and Meath areas.

My aim is to strengthen the RTP by ensuring a more efficient delivery structure by maximising integration with other state transport services and by making  the programme a sustainable part of the public transport system. This is in line with the Programme for Government commitment to maintain and extend the RTP with other local transport services.  To this end national responsibility for local and rural transport services integration, including the RTP, was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012, putting such services in a broader transport context.  I established the National Integrated Rural Transport (NIRT) Committee in April 2012, comprising key stakeholders , including RTP groups, and chaired by the NTA, to oversee and manage a partnership approach to implementing integrated local and rural transport.

I am well aware of the very valuable work done by the RTP Groups, such as Flexibus, in identifying and delivering the transport needs of their local community.  I met with Flexibus when I launched their Smartphone Application last October.  However, given  resources are limited and that the Value for Money and Policy Review of the RTP, published last year, recommended organisational restructuring to achieve efficiencies and the better alignment of the 35 RTP groups with local authorities, it is necessary that the current delivery mechanisms and structures are examined and revised.

The current structures of the RTP are not sustainable if the required efficiencies and savings are to be achieved. If these are not achieved then with the limited resources available services will decline.

Work is underway to determine the optimal structure for the delivery of rural transport from an efficiency and service perspective. One of the proposals being examined is that the RTPs be "aligned" with local authorities and that a number of Transport Coordination Units be established. It must be emphasised that no decision has been taken regarding Counties Louth, Meath, or any other part of the country, but I am hopeful that I will be in a position to recommend a new structure later this year which will allow for the maximising of spend on services and the reduction of administration costs. It is my intention that any future structure for the RTP will be based on community input, local flexibility and involving the voluntary sector.  Rural Transport by its nature is community-based and this will remain under any new structure.

National Cycle Network

 1400. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans for developing greenways and safe cycling routes nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17379/13]

 1410. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the current availability of funding for the development of cycling and walking trails here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17692/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1400 and 1410 together.

My Department is currently administering a multi annual funding programme related to the development of the National Cycle Network (NCN) to cover the period 2012 to 2016.  Significant investment has already been made in 2012 and 2013 with €7 million allocated to 18 projects across Ireland.  As this phase of the programme will expire at the end of 2013, it is my intention to initiate a new funding call later this year to provide, through competitive process, a further tranche of funding for the remainder of the years to 2016. This funding, which is provided to local authorities, will help to deliver cycleways in keeping with the objectives of the National Cycle Policy Framework.  Through this programme, my Department is supporting local authority cycle projects that have considerable merit from the perspective of generating recreational, tourism and economic activity as well as potential for achieving modal shift. In addition, I have established a seed funding scheme this year, which is designed to assist authorities who do not have the resources to develop proposals for projects of such merit.  Again, priority for this funding will be given to routes that would significantly enhance cycling infrastructure in a particular area and would also attract recreational and tourism demand as well as generating significant benefits to the local economy.  My officials are currently considering applications from local authorities.

I should also mention that significant funding has been made available for the development of cycling infrastructure and walking trails by agencies under this Department.  The National Transport Authority manage managing funding programmes which includes the development of cycling infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area and in the regional cities.  Similarly, in the context of tourism, the funding of walking and cycling routes for the purpose of tourism development is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland.  Therefore, I have referred the specific question of funding availability to Fáilte Ireland and the National Transport Authority for direct reply to the Deputy.  Please contact my private office if a reply has not been received within ten working days.

Rural Transport Programme

 1401. 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 the position regarding the rural transport scheme review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17431/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly My aim is to strengthen the RTP by ensuring a more efficient delivery structure by maximising integration with other state transport services and by making  the programme a sustainable part of the public transport system. This is in line with the Programme for Government commitment to maintain and extend the RTP with other local transport services.  To this end national responsibility for local and rural transport services integration, including the RTP, was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012, putting such services in a broader transport context.  I also established the National Integrated Rural Transport (NIRT) Committee in April 2012, comprising key stakeholders and chaired by the NTA, to oversee and manage a partnership approach to implementing integrated local and rural transport.

  I am well aware of the very valuable work done by the RTP Groups in identifying and delivering the transport needs of their local community.  However, given  resources are limited and that the Value for Money and Policy Review of the RTP, published last year, recommended organisational restructuring to achieve efficiencies and the better alignment of the 35 RTP groups with local authorities, it is necessary that the current delivery mechanisms and structures are examined and revised. The current structures of the RTP are not sustainable if the required efficiencies and savings are to be achieved. If these are not achieved then with the limited resources available services will decline.   Work is underway to determine the optimal structure for the delivery of rural transport from an efficiency and service perspective. One of the proposals being examined is that the RTPs be "aligned" with local authorities and that a number of Transport Coordination Units be established.  I would emphasise that no decision has been taken, but I am hopeful that I will be in a position to recommend a new structure later this year which will allow for the maximising of spend on services and the reduction of administration costs.

I will be ensuring that any future structure for the RTP will be based on community input, local flexibility and involving the voluntary sector.  Rural Transport by its nature is community-based and this will remain under any new structure. While I can understand and fully appreciate that this restructuring creates a level of uncertainty for RTP groups, I am hopeful that the outcome will be a better service delivered more efficiently. I will be working with all involved over the coming months to make any transition as smooth as possible.

Rural Transport Programme

 1402. 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 the changes being made to the rural transport programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17482/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly An overall budget of €9.133 million has been allocated by my Department to the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) for 2013, representing a small decrease on the 2012 allocation of €9.77 million, at a very difficult time financially.  My aim is to strengthen the RTP by ensuring a more efficient delivery structure by maximising integration with other state transport services and by making  the programme a sustainable part of the public transport system. This is in line with the Programme for Government commitment to maintain and extend the RTP with other local transport services.  To this end national responsibility for local and rural transport services integration, including the RTP, was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012, putting such services in a broader transport context.  I also established the National Integrated Rural Transport (NIRT) Committee in April 2012, comprising key stakeholders and chaired by the NTA, to oversee and manage a partnership approach to implementing integrated local and rural transport.   I am well aware of the very valuable work done by the RTP Groups in identifying and delivering the transport needs of their local community.  However, given  resources are limited and that the Value for Money and Policy Review of the RTP, published last year, recommended organisational restructuring to achieve efficiencies and the better alignment of the 35 RTP groups with local authorities, it is necessary that the current delivery mechanisms and structures are examined and revised.

   The current structures of the RTP are not sustainable if the required efficiencies and savings are to be achieved. If these are not achieved then with the limited resources available services will decline.   Work is underway to determine the optimal structure for the delivery of rural transport from an efficiency and service perspective. One of the proposals being examined is that the RTPs be "aligned" with local authorities and that a number of Transport Coordination Units be established.  I would emphasise that no decision has been taken, but I am hopeful that I will be in a position to recommend a new structure later this year which will allow for the maximising of spend on services and the reduction of administration costs.

I will be ensuring that any future structure for the RTP will be based on community input, local flexibility and involving the voluntary sector.  Rural Transport by its nature is community-based and this will remain under any new structure. While I can understand and fully appreciate that this restructuring creates a level of uncertainty for RTP groups, I am hopeful that the outcome will be a better service delivered more efficiently. I will be working with all involved over the coming months to make any transition as smooth as possible.

Rural Transport Services Provision

 1403. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the extent to which rural transport in County Kildare is likely to be affected by budgetary or administrative changes in the future; whether cognisance is taken of the successful quality of the service currently available in areas suffering from a lack of any mode of transport and social isolation; if his attention has been drawn to the dangers of the centralisation of such services having regard to other experiences; if some indication might be given to future prospects by way of multi annual planning/funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17604/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly An overall budget of €9.133 million has been allocated by my Department to the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) for 2013, representing a small decrease on the 2012 allocation of €9.77 million, at a very difficult time financially.  €161,672 of the 2013 RTP budget has been allocated to South Kildare Community Transport Limited from January to June 2013, with a further proposed allocation of €161,672 from July to December 2013. €143,854 of the 2013 RTP budget has been allocated to Offaly & Kildare Community Transport Limited from January to June 2013, with a further proposed allocation of €143,854 from July to December 2013.  This represents a total 2013 allocation of RTP funding of €611,052 for the provision of RTP services in the County Kildare area.

My aim is to strengthen the RTP by ensuring a more efficient delivery structure by maximising integration with other state transport services and by making  the programme a sustainable part of the public transport system. This is in line with the Programme for Government commitment to maintain and extend the RTP with other local transport services.  To this end national responsibility for local and rural transport services integration, including the RTP, was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012, putting such services in a broader transport context.  I also established the National Integrated Rural Transport (NIRT) Committee in April 2012, comprising key stakeholders and chaired by the NTA, to oversee and manage a partnership approach to implementing integrated local and rural transport.   I am well aware of the very valuable work done by the RTP Groups in identifying and delivering the transport needs of their local community.  However, given  resources are limited and that the Value for Money and Policy Review of the RTP, published last year, recommended organisational restructuring to achieve efficiencies and the better alignment of the 35 RTP groups with local authorities, it is necessary that the current delivery mechanisms and structures are examined and revised.

The current structures of the RTP are not sustainable if the required efficiencies and savings are to be achieved. If these are not achieved then with the limited resources available services will decline.   Work is underway to determine the optimal structure for the delivery of rural transport from an efficiency and service perspective. One of the proposals being examined is that the RTPs be "aligned" with local authorities and that a number of Transport Coordination Units be established.

 I would emphasise that no decision has been taken regarding the County Kildare area or any other part of the country, but I am hopeful that I will be in a position to recommend a new structure later this year which will allow for the maximising of spend on services and the reduction of administration costs.   I will be ensuring that any future structure for the RTP will be based on community input, local flexibility and involving the voluntary sector.  Rural Transport by its nature is community-based and this will remain under any new structure.

Legislative Implementation

 1404. 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 has raised the implementation of section 63 of the Road Traffic Act 2010 with the Department of Justice and Equality; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [17635/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I have had discussions with my colleague, Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, T.D., concerning the implementation of section 22 of the Road Traffic Act 2002, as amended by section 63 of the Road Traffic Act 2010. Officials in my Department continue to engage with their counterparts in the Department of Justice and Equality regarding the implementation of the provisions in the Courts. A formal Operational Working Group, comprising representatives of relevant stakeholders, including the Courts Service, is currently being established which will discuss and deal with issues arising from road traffic legislation, including any difficulties regarding the implementation of section 22.

Breath Testing Equipment

 1405. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in relation to the intoxilyzer 6000 breath testing equipment, the regularity with which this equipment is tested and maintained; and the number of instances in the past five years that maintenance and testing has been carried out because of specific requests to that effect from a particular Garda station or court of law as distinct from normal testing and maintenance.  [17687/13]

 1406. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in relation to the intoxilyzer 6000 breath testing equipment, the nature of the faults reported-found with the equipment as detected over the past five years.  [17688/13]

 1407. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in relation to the intoxilyzer 6000 breath testing equipment, if equipment was faulty would a trained Garda operator be able to detect this; and the way in which such a fault becomes apparent to the Garda operator who is not trained in maintenance and testing. [17689/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1405 to 1407, inclusive, together.

The Medical Bureau of Road Safety, which comes under the aegis of my Department, has responsibility for the testing, approval and supply of Evidential Breath Testing instruments used in Garda Stations. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's Questions to the Bureau for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if she has not received a reply within ten days.

  Question No. 1408 answered with Question No. 1395.

Rail Network

 1409. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if CIÉ has any objections to citizens walking on disused railway lines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17691/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is an operational matter for CIÉ and I have forwarded 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.

  Question No. 1410 answered with Question No. 1400.

National Cycle Network

 1411. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the availability of funding for the further development of a trail (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17693/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly My Department is currently administering a multi annual funding programme related to the development of the National Cycle Network (NCN) to cover the period 2012 to 2016.  Significant investment has already been made in 2012 and 2013 with €7 million allocated to projects across Ireland.    This funding, which is provided to local authorities, will help to deliver cycleways in keeping with the objectives of the National Cycle Policy Framework. Under the first phase of the funding programme, Limerick County Council was provided €290,000 in 2012 towards the cost of delivering part of the Great Southern Trail from Abbeyfeale to Kilmorna.  As this phase of the programme will expire at the end of 2013, it is my intention to initiate a new funding call later this year to provide, through competitive process, a further tranche of funding for the remainder of the years to 2016. Developing further and completing the cycleway route in question is now principally a matter for Kerry County Council.  Any plans to develop the remaining part of the route progressed by  Kerry County Council could be submitted to the Department under the next phase of the NCN funding programme, once initiated, although it should be noted that requests for funding are likely to significantly exceed the funds available and it is possible that only a small proportion of the projects seeking funding will be supported.

National Cycle Network

 1412. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the availability of funding for the further development a walkway (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17694/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Kerry County Council was provided with funding of €200,000 in 2012 towards the cost of delivering a cycleway from Tralee to Fenit. My Department is currently administering a multi annual funding programme related to the development of the National Cycle Network (NCN) to cover the period 2012 to 2016.  Significant investment has already been made in 2012 and 2013 with €7 million allocated to projects across Ireland. This funding, which is provided to local authorities, will help to deliver cycleways in keeping with the objectives of the National Cycle Policy Framework.  As this phase of the programme will expire at the end of 2013, it is my intention to initiate a new funding call later this year to provide, through competitive process,  a further tranche of funding for the remainder of the years to 2016. Responsibility for completing the cycleway is a matter for Kerry County Council.  If funding beyond own resources is required, then the local authority has the option to progress and submit a proposal to the Department under the next phase, once initiated, of the NCN Funding Programme.

Public Transport Provision

 1413. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams 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 a registered blind citizen (details supplied) from County Derry who is in possession of a registered blind smartpass was refused free travel on a CIE cross-Border bus service from Donegal town to Derry (details supplied); if there has been a change in terms and conditions of use of such a pass in this State; if he will address the concerns of the particular individual; if he will ensure that disabled citizens are not excluded from travelling cross border; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [17697/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann and I have forwarded 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. The person concerned was also in touch with my Department on 4th April last and a reply issued to him the following day advising that the issue was a matter for Bus Éireann and had been passed to the company for its attention.

Taxi Regulations

 1414. 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 views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the taxi industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17715/13]

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 is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009. I have referred the details of your question to the NTA for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Tourism Promotion

 1415. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will consider a scheme providing cash rewards or other incentives to private persons which would attract visitors to holiday here; his views on whether such a scheme would help grow overseas visitor numbers and the associated revenue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16993/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The promotion of Ireland as a tourism destination, including specific marketing drives and incentives to attract visitors, is an operational matter for the tourism agencies.  Fáilte Ireland is responsible for tourism development generally, including development of tourism facilities and services, establishment and maintenance of accommodation registers, enterprise supports, training, research and planning and development and marketing of tourism facilities and services in the State.  Tourism Ireland is responsible for the overseas promotion of the island of Ireland as a tourist destination.  Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy’s question to both Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland for further information and direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

I think, however, to be effective the scheme would have to be able to distinguish tourist who would have come anyway from tourists who would not have come to Ireland had the reward scheme not been in place in order to avoid deadweight costs.  I think this would be difficult to the establish and more funding for festivals, events and conferences might be a better way to achieve the same outcome without having to give any individuals a cash reward.


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