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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 465-478
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Inland Waterways Development
 Header Item Tourism Project Funding
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Tourism Industry
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Tourism Capital Investment Programme
 Header Item Roadworthiness Testing
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Administration
 Header Item Light Rail Projects Provision

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 823 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 465-478

Departmental Expenditure

 465. 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 number of officials in his Department that receive the cost of club membership fees, including sports clubs and professional bodies, as part of their contract of employment; the total cost per year to his Department to pay these fees.  [51373/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Department does not pay any membership fees on behalf of its officials for sports club or indeed any club membership.     

  The Department, however does pay membership fees for some staff for membership of professional bodies associated with their duties.  Some examples of these bodies are:

  - Engineers Ireland;

  - Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors;

  - Institute of Marine Engineering.

  As this information is not kept in a central location, I have requested my officials to collate the information requested and forward it directly.  

Departmental Expenditure

 466. 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 his Department pays for any of its employees to receive third level qualifications; if so, the annual cost for each of the past five years; if the employee will receive a financial bonus as a result of receiving this qualification; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51387/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Department provides funding for staff members undertaking third level studies under the Third Level Refund of Fees Scheme. The funding is dependent on the applicant making a case that the course in question is relevant to their work and their professional development.  Refunds are made on the basis of applicants achieving success in course exams.     

  The amounts paid out under this scheme over the past 5 years are:

2013 €59,619.55
2012 €39,136.61
2011 €78,207.46
2010 €73,720.99
2009 €61,120.70


  No financial bonus is given to staff who attain qualifications under this scheme.  

Pension Provisions

 467. 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 impact his Department's estimates, head 37 of the Shannon Aviation Services and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2013, if unamended during the legislative process, will have on members of the superannuation scheme, IASS, who are currently nearing retirement age under the original terms of the scheme which is 60 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51446/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The General Scheme or ‘Heads’ of a Bill set out the broad aims and objectives of proposed new legislation in draft form and these are subsequently developed into draft provisions, suitable for publication in a Bill, by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (OPC).

Head 37 of the General Scheme of the Shannon Aviation Services and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2013 referred to by the Deputy falls into this category and the policy aim in this case is, inter alia, to provide the DAA with statutory flexibility to implement any revised pension arrangements that are negotiated between management and trade union representatives to address the current issues around the IAS Scheme.

The resolution of these issues, however, are primarily a matter for the trustees, the members of the scheme and the companies participating in the scheme and I have no direct role in that regard.

Inland Waterways Development

 468. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his attention has been drawn to Inland Waterway Transport Funding, the Funding Guide for Inland Waterway Transport in Europe, published by the European Commission's Directorate General for Energy and Transport in 2008; the reason the 19 countries with inland waterway systems, referenced in the publication, does not include Ireland; if he will ensure that any future edition of the guide will contain a country profile for Ireland, including information on major inland waterways and ports, together with an overview on the national inland waterways transport funding policy, funding programmes and institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51501/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Funding Guide that the Deputy refers to was published following the launch of the 2006 NAIADES Action Programme, a multi-annual programme on the promotion of inland waterways transport.  The Commission has recently decided to update and renew this programme until 2020. Ireland does not have a country profile in the Funding Guide as, in general, Ireland is exempt from EU inland waterways rules and proposals since they relate to waterways of a greater size and carrying a greater capacity of goods than exist in Ireland.  The European Union’s inland waterway network spans 20 Member States with about 37,000 kilometres of inland waterways. Every year, these transport around 500 million tons of cargo, in particular in the densely populated and congested areas of Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium.

Ireland has no inland waterways within the definition of the EU legislation as Ireland’s inland waterways are not navigable for commercial traffic and we do not have any interconnected inland commercial transport for the purposes, or on the scale, envisaged by EU proposals in this area.

My Department is responsible for licensing all commercial inland craft in Ireland.  There are no commercial cargo craft on Ireland’s inland waterways, apart from some small workboats.  There are a number of domestic passenger boats and ships operating locally as tourist excursion vessels.

Ireland keeps a watching brief on EU inland waterways matters, mainly to ensure that any proposals do not conflict with, or overlap, the existing maritime safety regimes.  

Tourism Project Funding

 469. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a breakdown, in tabular form, of the funding allocated for the purposes of promoting tourism and tourism-related projects in Waterford city and county, including funding to Fáilte Ireland, for each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51504/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland.  I have referred the Deputy's questions to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.   Please contact my private office if a response is not received within ten working days.

Tourism Promotion

 470. 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 seek a detailed report from Tourism Ireland regarding its recent tourism sales mission to China; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51562/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The matter raised is an operational one for Tourism Ireland Limited as the body responsible for promoting the island of Ireland as a visitor destination overseas. I have referred the Deputy's Question to Tourism Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Tourism Industry

 471. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to make funding available for a permanent tourism office in Athy, County Kildare. [51747/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland.  I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if a response is not received within ten working days.

Departmental Funding

 472. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when grant applications for funding for 2014 festivals will be accepted; the headings under which the applications were made; and the conditions attached to the awarding of funds from his Department and-or agencies under his remit in 2013.  [51780/13]

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.

Tourism Capital Investment Programme

 473. 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 the grant aid approved for a project (details supplied) in County Donegal, under the tourism capital investment programme, including the terms and conditions of the approval; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51824/13]

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.

Roadworthiness Testing

 474. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on correspondence (details supplied) on the cost of roadworthiness tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51830/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I received similar correspondence from the same individual and arranged for the Chief Executive Officer of the Road Safety Authority to respond directly to him, which he has done. The arrangements for commercial vehicle testing in the State were comprehensively reviewed in 2007 and the Government decided that the model for delivery of testing by private operators should continue. However, the authorisation and supervision of commercial vehicle testing should be centralised under the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to ensure consistency of testing across the country. The Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Act 2012 provides the powers to the RSA to undertake this function.

The RSA is in the process of implementing major reforms in the testing system, which will deliver an enhanced service for the customer. Apart from safer roads for all road users, the reforms are designed to level the competitive playing field for commercial vehicle operators by reducing non-compliance with testing and roadworthiness requirements. The new system is designed to deliver several administrative benefits for operators, including online booking systems, reducing the vehicle paperwork to be brought to the test and centralised issuing of the Certificate of Roadworthiness (CRW).

From 7th October 2013, a new annual fee, which includes a road safety levy, was introduced.  The RSA consulted industry on the reforms and the planned road safety levy in November 2011 and the actual levy is lower than that proposed in the public consultation.  There have been a number of awareness raising measures of the reforms over the summer months and the new fees were advertised in national newspapers on 3rd October 2013 and are available in full on the RSA website.

The levy is also funding enhanced supervision, enforcement and compliance measures being introduced at the roadside and at operator premises. A risk rating system is also being introduced so that roadside enforcement activity is targeted at higher risk operators ensuring that compliant operators are less likely to experience disruption to their daily business.

Road Safety

 475. 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 arrange to have an accident black spot investigated at Carrigeenaculia, Mallow Road (N72), Killarney, County Kerry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51855/13]

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 it is a matter for the NRA to assess projects and determine priorities. I have, therefore, forwarded the Deputy's Question to the NRA for further reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Sports Capital Programme Administration

 476. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to reintroduce the sports capital programme; the funding supports that exist for the development of sporting facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51896/13]

 477. 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 when the 2014 sports capital programme will open for applications; the amount expected to be allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51963/13]

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. 476 and 477 together.

  Departmental officials are currently working on the details of a new round of the Sports Capital Programme. I hope to be in a position to make an announcement before the end of the year, including the level of funding to be allocated.

  A new portal has been developed on the Department's website which must be used by organisations to register, to apply for funding (when the Programme is open for applications) and to manage the drawdown of any new grants allocated after 2013.

  Any interested organisation should register on www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie

Light Rail Projects Provision

 478. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his Department looked into the extension of the Luas line out to Dublin Airport via Ballymun. [51974/13]

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 have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) in December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), including the extension of the Luas network, comes under the remit of the NTA.  

Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.


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