Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos 515-531
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Penalty Points Working Group
 Header Item Disabled Drivers Permits
 Header Item Rural Transport Services Provision
 Header Item Road Tolls
 Header Item Landing Rights
 Header Item Traffic Management
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item National Car Test
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Light Rail Projects Status
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Crime Levels
 Header Item Departmental Funding

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 833 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos 515-531

Tourism Promotion

 515. 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 Tourism Ireland will promote tourism here in major tourism billboard campaigns in major airports, bus stations, train stations and so on in the US; the estimated cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10596/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I have no direct role in this matter. These are decisions for Tourism Ireland Limited as the body responsible for promoting the island of Ireland as a visitor destination overseas and are not subject to my approval. 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.

Penalty Points Working Group

 516. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 116 of 18 February 2014, if he will confirm that his Department will be taking the lead on the work of the penalty points working group; if he will provide details of the further issues to be examined by the group in the next phase of its work; when the next phase of the group's work is due to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10664/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar In my answer to Parliamentary Question No. 116 of 18 February 2014, I indicated a number of the short term actions that the Penalty Point Working Group has identified to help address issues raised on the effectiveness of the penalty point system.   The next phase of the Group’s work will focus on issues that require more detailed attention over the medium term, in particular, issues relating to the use and exchange of information by all relevant State bodies in such a way as to improve the service of summonses and the application of penalty points to driver licences.  

My Department will chair the Group in the next phase of its work and the next meeting will take place in the coming weeks.  The Group will consider the timescale required for completion of the work at that meeting.

Disabled Drivers Permits

 517. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding an application for a parking disc in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10688/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar On the basis of an agreement reached with my Department some years ago, Disabled Parking Permits are issued on behalf of my Department by the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland and I have no function in the matter.

  The bodies concerned should be contacted directly in relation to the application mentioned in the Deputy's question.

Rural Transport Services Provision

 518. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason the subsidised bus service by a company (details supplied) in County Cavan servicing Cavan to Longford is being cancelled; if he will review this decision considering the huge social contribution it makes to the local community. [10758/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the licensing of public bus passenger services. I have forwarded 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.

Road Tolls

 519. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 246 of 20 February 2014, (details supplied) if he has available to him and his Department the amounts that were paid to Dublin Port for each year of their partnership with National Toll Roads and Dublin Corporation-Dublin City Council regarding the East Link bridge; if will provide these figures in tabular form for each year since the bridge was opened; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10762/14]

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.

  The monies received by Dublin Port Company in respect of agreements relating to the East-Link bridge are an operational matter for the port company itself and not one in which I have any function. However, as I previously informed the Deputy, the Company itself discloses this information in its publically available annual accounts. Copies of all of the Company's annual accounts since its corporatisation in 1997 are available through the website of the Library and Research Service of the Houses of the Oireachtas. The Company's website  www.dublinport.ie   also has copies of the annual accounts for the last six years.

  Information relating to monies received prior to corporatisation in 1997 will be available from the Company and I have directed your query to the Company for answer. Please contact my Office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Landing Rights

 520. 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 the number of requests his Department has received from civilian aircraft carrying munitions to land at Shannon Airport or pass through Irish airspace in 2013; the number of permits issued for both the use of Irish airspace and Shannon Airport to land; the reasons for rejecting the requests for which permits were not granted; and the breakdown of countries from which the requests were made and the permits were granted.  [10811/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order, 1973 prohibits the carriage of munitions of war by civilian aircraft without a permit granted by the Minister under Section 5 of the Order.  My Department consults the following organisations on all applications: the Irish Aviation Authority on air safety, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about foreign policy, and the Department of Justice. Where objections are raised permits are refused, usually based on the nature of the cargo.

  Copied below is a table outlining the statistics for 2013.

-No.
Applications received 714
Cancelled, Duplicated or Withdrawn7
Applications Refused14
Applications Granted693
Flights landing in Ireland357
Overflights336


The vast majority of requests came from USA airlines. Applications also came from airlines from the UK, Ukraine, Turkey and Portugal. The vast majority of those flights landing in Ireland, landed at Shannon.  

Traffic Management

 521. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the consultation his Department has had with Dublin City Council and with the National Transport Authority in respect of a traffic management plan for Ratoath Road in Cabra when construction work is completed on the new level crossing at Reilly's Bridge.  [10824/14]

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), such as the level crossing at Reilly's Bridge comes under the remit of the NTA.

Noting this 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 10 working days.

Rail Services

 522. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he has had any discussions with Irish Rail regarding the disruption of services on the rail line between Carrick-on-Shannon and Longford; if there has been any discussions on possible capital works on the line to ensure that the line is protected from flooding during future wet winters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10832/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród 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.

National Car Test

 523. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the appointment system for booking NCT tests will be reviewed in view of the fact that the current system does not allow customers to book appointments more than six weeks in advance, operating more according to staffing schedules rather than the needs of the customer. [10870/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) the Road Safety Authority has responsibility for the delivery and oversight of the National Car Test (NCT).

  Noting this, I have referred the Deputy's question to the Road Safety Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten working days.

Road Safety

 524. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar further to Parliamentary Question No. 243 of 123 February 2014, in respect of weight restrictions for agriculture tractor and trailers, if he will accept submissions before the statutory instrument is signed into legislation; and if he will give due consideration to the fact that both tractors and trailers are ever increasing in size and weight and the consequent reduction in the pay load as a result of a cap on the gross weight.  [10878/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Prior to preparing the necessary legislative amendment for introducing increased national agricultural trailer weight limits operating on Irish roads, the Road Safety Authority undertook detailed technical consultations with stakeholder groups such as the IFA, the National Roads Authority and agricultural trailer manufacturers over a long period of time. The draft Regulations resulting from that process had close regard to this extensive input. Depending on axle spacing, number of axles and coupling type, agricultural vehicles will, in certain instances, be permitted to draw up to 30 tonnes, which is a significant increase on the current arrangements.

These greatly increased limits, while being acceptable from a pavement damage perspective, also take into account both the payload carrying capacity of modern agricultural trailers and of the towing capacity of the tractors which draw them. Furthermore, they align closely with the limits already in force in many agriculturally advanced Member States.

I expect that the draft Regulations related to this matter will be finalised and submitted to me shortly and, having regard to the extensive consultations that have already taken place, I will not be inviting further submissions on the content of the Regulations prior to their signature. While tractors and trailers may get bigger,. the road and rail overbridges, the tunnels, etc remain the same size.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

 525. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the implications for agencies funded by his Department that fail to comply with consolidated public sector pay scales by continuing to make top-up payments to staff; when he expects this issue to be definitively resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10923/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar All the non-commercial agencies under the remit of my Department have provided confirmation that they are compliant with public sector pay policy and that there are no top-up payments being paid to any staff members.

Road Safety

 526. 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 National Roads Authority will improve the quality of lighting at a location (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10933/14]

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.

More specifically, the provision and maintenance of public lighting on national roads is a matter for the NRA and the relevant local authority, in this case, Kerry County Council.

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.

Light Rail Projects Status

 527. 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 the proposed route that is envisaged for the proposed extension of the Luas Green Line to Bray, County Wicklow; if the proposed route includes reopening the closed Brides Glen Viaduct on the old Harcourt Street railway line; the State entity that will be responsible for the potential Luas extension following the abolition of the Railway Procurement Agency as per the Roads Bill 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10944/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) in December 2009, the planning and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as proposed extensions to the existing Luas network, comes under the remit of the NTA. The RPA role is to deliver the projects once they are selected. After the merger of the RPA with the NRA,  NTA will continue to have overall responsibility for the planning and development of  public transport projects with the new merged body continuing to have a role in delivering the selected light rail projects. 

I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply regarding future extensions to Luas.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Rail Services

 528. 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 further Parliamentary Question No. 1605 of 18 September 2013, if he will ask the National Transport Authority and Irish Rail to provide an update on the establishment of a ticket machine at Kilcoole train station in County Wicklow that is scheduled to take place by May 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10945/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) and in this regard funds  the installation of  ticket machines at rail stations.

Noting NTA’s responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the Authority for an update on the current position.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Crime Levels

 529. 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 a breakdown into categories of the number of crimes such as theft, anti-social behaviour and assaults, which occurred on the Luas Red and Green Lines in 2011, 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10952/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The safety and security of passengers and staff including arrangements to deal with anti-social behaviour on the Luas is a matter for the transport operator (Veolia) in conjunction, as appropriate, with the Gardaí. I have referred the Deputy's question to the Railway Procurement Agency, who have contracted Veolia to operate Luas services, for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Departmental Funding

 530. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason there was a significant decrease in the regional and road grant allowance for 2014 to Longford County Council and the reason there is no flexibility with the specific improvement grant as it is specific to bridges and the grant has been significantly reduced compared to previous years and if same will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10976/14]

 531. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on the significant year on year reduction in the regional and local road grant allocation; if he will consider flexibility regarding the specific improvement grant and the area that fall under this scheme. [10983/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 530 and 531 together.

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 those roads are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

On 23 January this year, I announced the €331.9m investment programme in 2014 for regional and local roads.  The economic reality of recent years has meant significant reductions in roads budgets across the board and the 2014 allocation represents a cut of 17% on the 2013 budget. This year, I have however been able to protect funding for road maintenance and repair by curtailing some grant programmes, including the Specific Grant Programme.  Our priority is to maintain the existing road network, and unfortunately this means that there is little scope for carrying out new road improvement projects. Applications were sought for minor bridge repair works (which is a subset of the current Specific Grant Programme) for 2014.  This is in line with focusing monies on road and bridge maintenance and rehabilitation.

Allocations have been made this year for improvement projects where commitments are in place i.e. 30 projects under the Specific Improvement Projects scheme and 13 existing Strategic schemes. In addition allocations have been made for 245 low-cost safety projects and 162 bridge rehabilitation projects.

It is also important to reiterate that the role of Exchequer grants for regional and local roads is to supplement Councils' own resources spending in this area.  It is also open to Councils to fund projects from their own resources, these include commercial rates and the local government fund which is in turn made up receipts from Motor Tax and the Local Property Tax.


Last Updated: 20/09/2016 14:46:27 First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page