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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 292-301
 Header Item Road Toll Operators
 Header Item Rural Transport Programme
 Header Item Visa Waiver Programme
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Parking Provision
 Header Item Cycling Facilities Provision
 Header Item Public Transport Initiatives
 Header Item Public Transport Initiatives
 Header Item Public Transport Initiatives

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 830 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 292-301

Road Toll Operators

 292. Deputy Noel Harrington Information on Noel Harrington Zoom on Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the dividends paid out to each of the partners involved in the East Link Bridge for each of the past 29 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7267/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The East Link toll bridge was opened in October 1984.  It was built on foot of an agreement between Dublin City Council and NTR and therefore my Department was not a party to the agreement.    

  Under agreements dated the 16 March 1983 and 24 November 1983, the latter being in consideration for the loss of limited berthage and the disposal of certain lands, Dublin Port Company acquired the right to participate in the future profits of the Toll Scheme for a period of 25 years from the date on which the building costs were finally discharged or until 31 December 2015, whichever date first occurs. The appropriate date, therefore, is 31 December 2015.   

  Under these aforementioned agreements it is my understanding that Dublin Port Company received €1.1million for each of the years 2012 and 2011 for example. The figures are disclosed in the Company’s publically available annual accounts.

Rural Transport Programme

 293. 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 progress made to date in reforming rural transport; the integration of the various schemes, including school bus, Bus Éireann and Health Service Executive transport schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7277/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly As Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to the Rural Transport Programme (RTP). Following a Government Decision in January 2012, national responsibility for the integration of local and rural transport services, including management of the RTP, was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012. This includes responsibility for implementing the restructuring of the RTP announced by me on 9th July 2013.  

I have referred your question to the NTA for direct response. If you do not receive a reply within 10 working days please contact my private office.

Visa Waiver Programme

 294. 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 list of countries that have been included in the visa waiver programme; the tourism numbers from those countries that have already been included; the potential numbers that are being projected by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7278/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The short-stay visa waiver programme falls within the responsibilities of my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.  The programme, which was launched in 2011, allows visitors or business people from selected countries who have lawfully entered the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a valid UK visa, to travel on to Ireland without the requirement to obtain an Irish visa. Details of the countries that have been included in the programme to date are available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service www.inis.gov.ie.   

  With regard to the number of visitors from countries included in the short-stay visa waiver programme, responsibility for the publication of figures on visitor numbers is a matter for the Central Statistics Office, which comes under the Department of the Taoiseach.  However, I am advised that there were an estimated 109,000 visitors from these countries in 2013, an increase of 66% when compared with 2010, the last full year before the visa waiver programme was introduced.   

  Tourism Ireland is the agency with responsibility for the overseas marketing of the Island of Ireland as a holiday destination and works to develop Ireland as a visitor destination in new and developing markets, including those covered by the visa waiver but also others, such as Brazil, which do not require visas for short stays.  The agency has set an overall target of growing visit numbers by a further 4% this year and by 13% by 2016 compared to the 2013 numbers. In this regard, the agency's Business Plan for 2014 and Corporate Plan for 2014-2016 include a number of actions to maximise the number of visitors from developing markets including continuing to work with the relevant authorities to exploit further opportunities to promote the short-stay visa waiver programme.

Road Safety

 295. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will request the National Roads Authority to examine the bend in the road on the N11 as it enters Donnybrook to see what measures can be put in place to reduce the speed of vehicles as they come through this bend and enter Donnybrook village. [7310/14]

 296. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide emergency funding for raised traffic lights on the N11 at the existing pedestrian crossing by Leinster’s Donnybrook rugby grounds in view of the speed at which vehicles approach this pedestrian crossing from the dual carriageway and the high number of pedestrians crossing at this point. [7311/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 295 and 296 together. 

  The road mentioned by the Deputy no longer forms part of the N11 but was re-designated as a regional road.     

  The 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 including the installation, maintenance and operation of traffic lights and the provision of traffic calming installations are a matter for the relevant local authority. In this case the responsible road authority is Dublin City Council.   

  The default speed limits for different categories of road, including roads in built up urban areas, are specified in the Road Traffic Acts. There is provision in the legislation for local authorities to make bye-laws providing for special speed limits in specific circumstances.

Parking Provision

 297. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when he plans to introduce regulations permitting local authorities to introduce by-laws that would designate electric vehicle charging points on public roads as electric vehicle parking only, as well as permitting local authorities to assign dedicated public parking spaces as car club only spaces.  [7314/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Draft regulations to provide for charging points for electric vehicles and for on-street parking spaces for car clubs are currently being finalised by the Office of the Attorney General. These regulations will deliver largely the same outcomes as those envisaged by the Deputy's 2011 Private Members Bill.   It is my intention to sign the regulations as soon as drafting is complete and I expect to do this within the next two months.

Cycling Facilities Provision

 298. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the National Transport Authority has completed its consideration and approval of the detailed designs for the S2S; and, if not, when same is expected to occur.  [7317/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The development of the Sutton to Sandycove, or S2S, route and all other cycling facilities within the Greater Dublin Area is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with the relevant local authority,  in this case Dublin City Council.

   Accordingly, I have forwarded your request to the NTA and have asked them to reply to you directly.  Please advise my private office is you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Public Transport Initiatives

 299. 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 the terms of reference of the consultation for the bus rapid transit corridor and swiftway system which commences on 17 February 2014; with whom will the final route decisions rest; and the role of the local authorities in same. [7364/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The NTA has statutory responsibility for developing public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects.

I understand that the NTA is commencing a non-statutory public consultation on 17th February 2014 in relation to the proposals that it is developing in respect of a possible BRT service for Dublin.  This initial consultation will focus on explaining the concept of BRT, providing an overview of the overall BRT network proposed by the NTA and identifying what is termed as an “emerging preferred route” for each of the proposed network corridors.  Further public consultations are envisaged at the later development stages of the schemes.

The NTA has advised that the development of each BRT corridor will require the preparation and publication of an environmental impact statement and its submission to An Bord Pleanála for determination.  The NTA has also advised that it has engaged extensively with the relevant local authorities in the development of these BRT proposals and that it is its intention that the further development of these proposals would be undertaken in cooperation with the local authorities. I am happy to arrange a briefing on this matter from the NTA for members of the Oireachtas if the Deputy believes this would be of benefit.

Public Transport Initiatives

 300. 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 he will provide a breakdown of funding provided by his Department for upgrading bus lanes and QBCs on the north side of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7407/14]

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  upgrading bus lanes and QBC's under the current capital plan , comes within 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.

Public Transport Initiatives

 301. 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 his views on rapid bus plans for Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7408/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The NTA has statutory responsibility for developing public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Preparatory planning work is being overseen by the Authority in relation to BRT projects and they have included proposals for three routes in their draft Implementation Plan 2013 -2018 whilst noting that construction is subject to availability of funding.    

  Under the current capital plan to 2016 5-year plan (Infrastructural and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium term Exchequer Framework) funding is only available for the initial design and route selection of a small number of BRT schemes. The BRT schemes identified by the NTA, of which Swords/Airport has been identified as a priority, will be included for consideration with other projects in deciding on priorities for the capital plan post 2016. The NTA will have to carry out further detailed assessment on each proposal, including a business case, once a preferred route is selected. I understand that the NTA is shortly to commence a public consultation process on the three identified BRT routes.   

  BRT would be a fast and efficient form of public transport in some parts of Dublin, and would be cheaper to build, operate and maintain than rail. BRT will not on its own replace rail based services where a higher capacity solution is required in the long term, such as on the  Swords/Airport corridor. In that case it appears to offer an interim solution pending decisions on rail solutions.  Overall there  is a role in the future for BRT on certain routes as part of the mix of public transport options for commuters in our cities.


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