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. 1218-1232
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Semi-State Bodies Remuneration
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Driver Licence Applications
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Driver Licence Applications
 Header Item Parking Provision
 Header Item Driver Licence Applications
 Header Item Public Transport

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1218-1232

Hospital Waiting Lists

 1218. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will take steps to have a person (details supplied) immediately admitted to the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore, for an orthopaedic procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14216/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2013, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the Health Service Executive, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists. In relation to this particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 1219. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will take steps to have a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath admitted to Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore, for an orthopaedic procedure, as same is urgently required; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14218/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2013, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the Health Service Executive, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists. In relation to this particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Semi-State Bodies Remuneration

 1220. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the salaries, including pensions and any other bonus-related additions such as company cars, of chief executive officers of commercial State bodies under the remit of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14480/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The VHI is the only Commercial State Body under the remit of my Department. The remuneration package for the Chief Executive of that body, sanctioned by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, comprises an annual salary of €238,727, a pension contribution of 25% and a car allowance of €25,000.

Road Network

 1221. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an annual breakdown, in tabular form, of the amount of money invested by the Government in roads infrastructure in County Donegal yearly since 2008. [13297/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Details of the regional and local road grant payments to Donegal County Council are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Dáil Library.  Details of the 2014 regional and local road grant allocations to each county council are also available in the Dáil library. With regard to national roads, details of the allocations to each local authority are also available in the Dáil library.  However, details of the actual drawdown of funding for these roads is a matter for the National Roads Authority. Noting the position outlined, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Network

 1222. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the total amount allocated to be spent on regional and local roads in the Galway City Council area in each year from 2010 to 2013; the total amount allocated for 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13489/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Details of the regional and local road grant payments to councils including Galway City Council are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Dáil Library.  Details of the 2014 regional and local road grant allocations to each council are also available in the Dáil library.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 1223. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide permission to Kilrush Town Council to proceed with Kilrush sports and development astro turf facility which is currently awaiting departmental permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13645/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I presume the Deputy is referring to the grant applied for by Clare County Council under a joint initiative between my Department and IPB Mutual Insurances Limited in 2013. Kilrush Town Council was allocated €29,412 from my Department and this amount was matched by a further €29,412 from IPB Insurances Limited. Formal approval for the project to proceed was issued on 4 February 2014. This formal approval also set out the documents required by my Department to allow payment of the grant.  None of that documentation has been received from the Council. If the Council requires any more information or clarification it should contact the Sports Capital Programmes Division in Killarney.

Road Network

 1224. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his Department has considered releasing additional funds to the local authority involved to complete the Narrow Water Bridge project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14070/14]

 1225. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an update on the proposed Narrow Water Bridge project; the efforts his Department has been making to assist in the completion of the project with the Northern Irish authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14071/14]

 1281. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an update on the proposed Narrow Water Bridge project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14069/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1224, 1225 and 1281 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 each local authority.

The Irish Government supported the original decision by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) to approve the allocation of EU funding to the Narrow Water bridge project and committed an upfront funding contribution of €3.9 million in January last year. The funding which was to be provided by my Department for the Narrow Water Bridge Project represented a significant commitment given the current financial circumstances. This funding contribution was due to be matched with a contribution from the Northern Ireland authorities in line with the agreed funding ratios for the Programme. The Government was disappointed that the tender process resulted in a doubling of the initial costs budgeted for by the project partners for the construction of the bridge. The Government has indicated on many occasions that it would be willing to help to address the shortfall in funding for the Narrow Water Bridge, but this depends entirely on matching contributions from the other parties, including the Northern Ireland Executive. These commitments have not as yet been forthcoming.

As the Deputy will be aware, as part of the recovery programme that this Government has had to pursue to put the country back on its feet, unfortunately, there is a further reduction in regional and local roads spending in 2014 of over €60 million. Ultimately it is from this budget that any additional funding from this State would have had to come and we would not have been in a position to provide a further €10 million towards this project as well as to underwrite any potential further overspend.

The progression and importance of this project has been discussed at the North South Ministerial Council on a number of occasions most recently on 8 November last year. In the Plenary Joint Communiqué issued subsequent to that meeting, it was stated that "Ministers remain supportive of the concept of the Narrow Water Bridge and have asked for an urgent analysis of the issues involved.  They remain conscious that the priority is not to lose the EU funding involved."

It is important to note that there are time constraints with regard to the SEUPB funding, which has to be spent by 2015. SEUPB decided to withdraw the letter of offer for the Narrow Water project and explore  options for the reallocation of the funding to eligible projects capable of being delivered by December 2015. While this development is unfortunate, this is a project that the Government would like to see delivered in the future and remains committed to. However, we simply do not have the scale of resources required to advance it at this stage when the priority must be on road maintenance and restoration as against new projects.

Driver Licence Applications

 1226. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will address an issue raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) in County Cork regarding the national driver licence service in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12786/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is the Statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority.  I have therefore referred the question to the Authority for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

Taxi Regulations

 1227. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding overpayment. [12787/14]

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, including the renewal of small public service vehicle (SPSV) licences, under the provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009. I have referred your Question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days. 

Rail Network

 1228. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on the reopening of Dunleer railway station; if he has received many representations calling for the station to be reopened; the amount it would cost to reopen Dunleer train station; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12794/14]

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 the overall funding of public transport. Matters relating to the re-opening of railway stations, such as at Dunleer, are matters for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance. I understand from Iarnród Éireann that there are no current plans to re-open Dunleer station and no proposal in that regard has been made to my Department.  As the Deputy will be aware, CIE is in a difficult financial position and is dependent on continued bank funding.  It has no resources of its own available to fund new projects and there is no funding in the current capital plan for Dunleer station.  The lifetime of the Government's capital investment plan runs to 2016 and within that capital plan, the priority is to protect the operational network and maintain safety standards, rather than the opening of new stations.

Consideration of a new government capital investment plan beyond 2016 will begin shortly and consideration can be given to this project within that  overall process.  However, prioritisation  will depend on the overall funding made available to transport for all modes, and within that, the funds made available for heavy rail. The priority for heavy rail post 2016 will, as at present, be the protection of the operational network and the maintenance of safety standards. If there are additional funds after that, and this is not certain, there will be competing demands between the opening of new lines, the improvement of existing lines, rolling stock upgrades, the upgrade of in use train stations, as well as the opening of new train stations in different parts of the country.  All of these competing demands will be subject to robust analysis and will require strong business cases justifying their value and demonstrating how they will significantly increase patronage on the rail network.

Driver Licence Applications

 1229. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding a car and trailer licence in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.  [12836/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), and I have no power to intervene in individual cases. The general point at issue here arises from a change to driver licensing law in 1989.  Before the change there was a single licence category which covered driving of a car and driving of a car with trailer.  After the change there were two separate categories.  Drivers who had a full licence before the change were entitled to both of the new categories when renewing their licences.  Some people did not tick the box for the car-plus-trailer category, and therefore lost their trailer entitlement.  They were entitled to reclaim that category for up to ten years.  Obviously, that period has long passed. Last year, following representations from the Irish Farmers Association, among others, I asked the RSA, on a once-off basis, to allow people who inadvertently lost their trailer entitlement in this way to reclaim it. The significance of 13 November 1989 is that this was the date on which the licence reforms in question came into effect.

Parking Provision

 1230. 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 remove parking places at a location (details supplied) in County Kerry to improve sight lines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12868/14]

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. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act. Noting the position outlined, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Driver Licence Applications

 1231. 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 position regarding eye tests for driving licences for older persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12914/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Requirements to be met in order to be considered medically fit to drive, including the eyesight requirements, are set at EU rather than national level.  Because of the inevitable risk of deteriorations in health, including eyesight, due to aging, people renewing their driving licences after the age of 70 are required to undergo both medical and eyesight tests. The eyesight test can be carried out either by a GP or by an optician.  There is no requirement that eyesight test must be carried out by a GP. I should add that there may be circumstances where specialist opinion is needed, and this may require input from an optician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist.

Public Transport

 1232. 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 if it is the practice of Bus Éireann to donate services to charities; and the amount it is costing annually.  [12931/14]

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


Last Updated: 24/10/2016 15:31:14 First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page