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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 232-239
 Header Item Departmental Staff Training
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Swimming Pool Projects
 Header Item VAT Rate Reductions
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Aviation Issues

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 804 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 232-239

Departmental Staff Training

 232. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a breakdown of the expected training and development and incidental expenses with the list of training and development courses he expects officers in his Department to undergo in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24856/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar To provide such a breakdown will require a detailed examination of the training and development plans identified for individual officers under the Performance Management and Development System.  Work on compiling the requested information has commenced and it will be forwarded as soon as possible.

Departmental Expenditure

 233. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar under the category of office premises expenses, if he will list the individual offices operated by his Department in the State alongside the expenses that they will incur in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24857/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar A list of the individual offices requested is set out in the table below.

  Expenses such as utilities (oil, gas and electricity) and building maintenance are charged to the Office Premises Expenses category of the Departmental budget. Estimating annual expenditure on these items presents significant challenges.  For example in the case of utilities which are a large item in this budget, expenditure can vary according to weather conditions. Therefore for practical reasons it is not feasible to compile an estimate on a building by building basis. In recent years every effort has been made to reduce expenditure in this area through initiatives such as motion sensor lighting and more energy efficient heating systems. Expenditure on office furniture has also been significantly reduced. It is the policy of the Department of Transport to operate within budget and achieve savings wherever possible. There has been a decrease in expenditure in this area in recent years.

Premises -
44 Kildare Street, Dublin -
25 Clare Street, Dublin -
Leeson Lane, Dublin -
Ballycoolin, Blanchardstown, Dublin -
Clonfert House Loughrea Co. Galway -
Shannon Co. Clare -
Centre Park Road Cork -
New Road Killarney Co. Kerry -
Ballyshannon Co. Donegal -
Coastguard Stations at Malin, Co. Donegal and Valentia Co. Kerry -
    

Swimming Pool Projects

 234. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of grant applications he has received for swimming pool builds or repair or maintenance for 2012 and to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24859/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The current round of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme was closed to new applicants on 31 July 2000. However, In 2011 I announced a Disabled Assess/Energy Upgrade initiative which enabled local authorities to apply for funding to improve disabled access and/or improve energy efficiency in respect of swimming pools. In 2011 a total of €10.94m was allocated to 33 local authorities in respect of 56 swimming pools. 

In 2012 there were a further 20 allocations to 13 local authorities which had not benefited from funding in 2011 - either at all or to the maximum amount available - due to a number of factors including: the necessity to scale back or abandon projects due to an inability to meet the original deadline for drawdown of funding, or by applying under the wrong scheme.  Such local authorities were given a chance to re-apply for funding, and there was also one new application for funding. Consequently 20 further allocations were made under this initiative in 2012 to the 13 local authorities who applied/re-applied in 2012 in respect of 20 pools. Ultimately, every local authority which was able to comply with the terms of the programme was able to receive funding under this initiative. This initiative is now closed and there have been no applications in 2013.

VAT Rate Reductions

 235. 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 following on from the decision to reduce the VAT rate from 13 % to 9% and the significance of this reduction to the tourism sector here and the positive implications it has had on the industry in creating and maintaining jobs, giving value for money and so on, if he will support the calls to keep the VAT rate at 9% and ensure a strong and competitive tourism industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24894/13]

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 am very conscious that the tourism and hospitality industry would like to see the rate continued through 2014 and beyond.

I am also conscious that the VAT reduction costs the Exchequer an estimated €350 million a year.  I am supportive of retaining a reduced rate, but that can only be justified on the basis of clear evidence of the impact of the reduction. As the Deputy is aware, taxation policy is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Finance.

Taxi Regulations

 236. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the legal requirement for decals on taxis in view of the case heard in the High Court on 4 February 2013, where a judge allowed a taxi driver renew their taxi licence without adhering to the requirement to have decals in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24915/13]

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 provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009 and is also the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011, including the taxi branding requirement under Action 31 of the Review Report. I have forwarded the your Question to the NTA for direct reply. If you do not receive a response within ten working days please notify my private office.

Road Projects

 237. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding the upgrading of the N16 Sligo road as part of the TEN-T comprehensive road network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24919/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Discussions are still underway in relation to the finalisation of the TEN-T Regulation and the relevant road maps. As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Once the details of the TEN-T road network are settled upon any subsequent progress on individual road projects will be a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Taxi Regulations

 238. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when he expects all taxi drivers to be on the online taxi register; the deadline that has been given to drivers to register; the implications, financial or otherwise, that will be incurred by drivers for failing to register with the National Transport Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24949/13]

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 provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009 and is also the lead agency for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011, including the smartphone App for SPSV driver identification under Action 32 and the online systems to link SPSV drivers to SPSV vehicles under Action 40. I have forwarded your Question to the NTA for direct reply. If you do not receive a response within ten working days please notify my private office.

Aviation Issues

 239. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if EU Regulation 290/2012 has been implemented; if this now allows pilots to carry out their multi-engine instrument rating test in the UK or any other EASA state without having to seek the permission of the Irish Aviation Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [24957/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised by the Deputy, pilot licensing, is a matter for the Irish Aviation Authority, an Agency under the remit of my Department.  I have referred the Deputy's question to them for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.


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