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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 235-243
 Header Item Road Safety Authority
 Header Item Roads Maintenance
 Header Item Roads Maintenance
 Header Item State Airports
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Public Service Obligation Services
 Header Item Dublin Bus Services
 Header Item Roads Maintenance Issues
 Header Item Sports Funding

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 824 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 235-243

Road Safety Authority

 235. 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 recourse available to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry who is unhappy with the results of a driving test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53398/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The subject matter of this question, namely the operation of the driving test, is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority.  I have therefore referred the question to the Authority for direct reply, and I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received in ten days.

Roads Maintenance

 236. Deputy Anthony Lawlor Information on Anthony Lawlor Zoom on Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide details with regard to maintaining the funding of local authorities in counties with high road usage.  [53457/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Firstly I would like to explain that the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993.  Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. 

I announced the 2013 regional and local road grant allocations in January this year providing €347 million to local authorities for works on regional and local roads.  I also provided an additional €2.7 million for drainage works on regional and local roads in March this year. More recently, (12th June) I announced an additional €50 million to County and City Councils for regional and local roads bringing the overall amount available in 2013 to approximately €400 million.

The main two road grants are the Restoration Improvement and the Restoration Maintenance grants. Both of these grants are allocated based on the length of mileage of regional and local roads within the county. In the case of counties that experience higher road traffic than the norm, a loading is applied to the mileage within the county. In the case of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council a factor of 2 is applied, one of 1.5 is applied for Fingal and South Dublin County Councils while a factor of 1.2 is used for Kildare, Louth and Meath County Council.

Details of the regional and local road grant payments to local authorities are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Oireachtas Library.  Details of the 2013 regional and local road grant allocations to each local authority are also available in the Oireachtas Library. The 2014 grant allocations will be announced early in the New Year.

Roads Maintenance

 237. Deputy Anthony Lawlor Information on Anthony Lawlor Zoom on Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the Department will co-fund, with Kildare County Council, the upgrade of a junction (details supplied) in County Kildare; if it is possible to build a roundabout at the junction instead; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53458/13]

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 the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act ,1993.  Works on these roads are funded from local authorities' own resources and are supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of projects to be funded is also a matter for local authorities.

Up to now local authorities could apply for grant funding for projects such as this under the Specific Improvement Grants Scheme.  However, due to the need to focus available funding on the repair and strengthening of the road network, the Specific Improvement Grants Scheme is being wound down.

It is important to reiterate that the role of Exchequer grants for regional and local roads is to supplement the resources of Councils like Kildare County Council. It is, therefore, open to the Council to fund this project from its own resources.

State Airports

 238. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding the commitment to establish Cork Airport independently free of debt; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53480/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Policy in relation to the future of Cork airport was decided by the Government in November 2012 in the context of the decision to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA). The Government decided that the existing ownership of Cork Airport by the DAA would be maintained for the present.  That decision is consistent with the report from Booz and Co. that found that Cork Airport performs well under DAA ownership and management and operates to a sustainable business model.

Departmental Funding

 239. 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 provide in tabular form the subsidies paid by his Department to all public and private transport operators here including subventions; if the number of public transport routes currently privatised will be put out to tender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53501/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar There is no subvention paid directly by my Department in relation to public transport services. The award of Public Service Obligation (PSO) contracts falls under the independent statutory remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA), which has direct responsibility for this area.  The total Public Service Obligation (PSO) subvention payable to the NTA in 2013 is €226.5 million.  The allocation and payment of the subvention to all operators, including the amount payable to the three CIÉ subsidiaries, is decided by the NTA in accordance with their PSO contracts with the companies.  The Luas tram services are operated under contract from the RPA by a private operator and does not receive any PSO subvention.  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.

Public Service Obligation Services

 240. 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 provide in tabular form the total annual passenger numbers by service for all State subsidised public transport services, including services receiving subventions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53502/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The award and monitoring of Public Service Obligation (PSO) contracts falls under the independent statutory remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA), which has direct responsibility for this area.  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. The Deputy may wish to note that total annual passenger numbers in respect of the three CIÉ companies are contained in their published annual reports.

Dublin Bus Services

 241. 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 clarify the analysis he utilised when he stated in August 2013 that no Dublin Bus route was making a profit; if he will publish this information; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53503/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Public Service Obligation (PSO) bus services provided by Dublin Bus are provided under contract from the National Transport Authority (NTA).  I was relying on the briefing provided by both Dublin Bus and the NTA when I made that statement in relation to PSO bus services operated by Dublin Bus. As the Deputy will be aware, all of the PSO services provided by Dublin Bus are loss making requiring subvention. If they were not loss making, they would not be eligible for subvention. While the vast majority of the services operated by Dublin Bus are PSO services, it also has some limited purely commercial services such as Airlink and Dublin Bus Tours which operate without subvention. Without the level of PSO subvention, in addition to free travel payments and capital funding, the company and the PSO services it provides would incur unsustainable losses.

In relation to providing further information on the performance of Dublin Bus's PSO network, I have referred the question to the NTA for further response. If the Deputy does not receive a response within ten working days, please contact my private office.

Roads Maintenance Issues

 242. 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 the annual cost of motorway maintenance; under what authority this maintenance is carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53504/13]

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 maintenance of individual sections of national roads (including Motorways) is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

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.

Sports Funding

 243. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will outline all available financial and non-financial supports available to minority sports clubs and to the national associations of minority sports here, such as American football; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53646/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Irish Sports Council is the statutory body with responsibility for the promotion, development and co-ordination of sport, including the provision of financial and other supports to the National Governing Bodies of Sport.  I have referred the Deputy's question to the Council for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

In addition, capital funding is available under the Sports Capital Programme. I hope to make an announcement on the next round of the Programme before the end of the year.


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