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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1233-1253
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Regional Airports
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item National Driver Licensing Service
 Header Item National Driver Licensing Service
 Header Item Driver Licence Applications
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Land Acquisition
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item EU Funding
 Header Item EU Funding
 Header Item Ferry Services
 Header Item State Bodies
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Traffic Calming Measures

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. 1233-1253

Road Safety

 1233. 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 his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding a vehicle safety audit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12999/14]

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 (RSA) has responsibility for the delivery of the National Car Test. In 2008, the RSA having reviewed the car testing specification, proposed a number of modifications to the National Car Test (NCT). A public consultation on those proposals was conducted by the RSA in 2009 and, having considered the views received, recommended, amongst other developments, that annual testing of cars over ten years old, be introduced. I accepted that recommendation and decided that with effect from 1 June 2011  all cars older than 10 years other than vintage cars must undergo annual roadworthiness testing.

The effects of wear and tear on a vehicle become more evident as it ages and prior to the introduction of annual testing road traffic collision statistics showed that a significant proportion of fatal collisions and serious injuries arose from collisions that involved vehicles that were 10 years old or over. It is for these reasons I believe that annual testing of such vehicles is a valuable safety measure. With regard to exempting ten year old vehicles from testing fees every second year of their annual testing schedule, I have no proposals to do so. The fee charged represents the per test cost of carrying out the testing service.

Regional Airports

 1234. 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 the position regarding the framework for approval by the EU Commission for State support for regional airports that his Department was to develop with respect to the proposed €35 million investment for Ireland West Airport Knock; his understanding of the current EU regulations regarding state support for regional airports; and his views on the proposed changes to EU regulations regarding state support for regional airports post 2014. [13000/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Under the Regional Airports Programme, Exchequer support is provided to Donegal, Waterford, Kerry and IWA Knock airports through the Capital Expenditure Grants (CAPEX) Scheme, the Operational Expenditure Subvention (OPEX) Scheme and a Scheme for subventing Public Service Obligations (PSO) air services operating between Kerry and Dublin and Donegal and Dublin. The current Regional Airport Programme ends this year. In line with the recently adopted revised EU Guidelines on State Aid for Airports and Airlines, my Department is currently developing a new Programme for the period post 2014, which will also take account of the outcomes of the IWA Knock Study. It will be necessary to notify certain of the State Aid proposals contained in that Programme to the EU Commission.

I should emphasise that there is no question of all the capital funding requirements of any regional airport being provided by the Exchequer. Where Exchequer funding is provided there will also be a requirement for  local authority and  local business investment. This follows the changes to the current levels of permissible Exchequer supports, provided for in the revised Guidelines, which will have an impact on regional airports and require those airports to secure alternative funding supports in addition to the Exchequer. As part of the consultation process prior to adoption of the Guidelines, Ireland provided comments on the draft Guidelines, a copy of which is published on my Department's website.

Driver Licences

 1235. 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 number of students who successfully passed the transport management CPC examination in each examination centre for each of the examination sittings in 2012, 2013 and January 2014. [13003/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The details requested by the Deputy are shown in the following table.

-January 2012June 2012September 2012February 2013June 2013Sept 2013January 2014
Galway13 passed12 passed4 passed20 passed11 passed, 1 failed4 passed, 2 failedNot yet available
Enniscorthy1 passed, 4 failed, 1 deferred1 passed, 2 failed2 failed-4 passed, 4 failed3 passed~
Maynooth7 passed, 2 failed7 passed, 1 deferred5 passed8 passed, 1 failed5 passed, 1 deferred-~
Dublin (Green Isle)33 passed, 4 failed, 1 deferred36 passed, 4 failed, 5 deferred19 passed, 1 failed, 1 deferred22 passed, 2 failed21 passed, 2 failed, 2 deferred18 passed, 7 failed~
Dublin (Sheldon Park)22 passed9 passed, 1 failed, 1 deferred8 passed, 1 failed, 1 deferred24 passed, 2 failed9 passed, 2 failed21 passed, 4 failed, 5 deferred~
Mullingar8 passed, 1 deferred9 passed -2 passed5 passed-~
Limerick12 passed, 2 failed, 1 deferred22 passed, 2 failed, 2 deferred8 passed, 2 failed, 2 deferred15 passed, 4 failed, 1 deferred15 passed, 2 failed, 2 deferred14 passed, 3 failed~
Cork14 passed13 passed, 1 failed13 passed12 passed, 4 failed10 passed, 3 failed3 passed, 2 failed~
Letterkenny21 passed, 1 failed7 passed, 1 deferred-13 passed, 1 failed20 passed, 1 failed, 2 deferred2 passed, 2 deferred~
Athlone---6 passed- -~
Birr------~
Cavan-10 passed, 2 failed--7 passed-~
New Ross---11 passed--~
Mallow----11 passed-~
Curragh Armed Forces16 passed---14 passed, 2 failed-~
Limerick Inst. of Technology-8 passed, 2 failed, 1 deferred--5 passed, 10 failed, 2 deferred-~
DIT Bolton St.-6 passed--11 passed, 4 failed, 3 deferred-~
Bus Éireann--10 passed, 1 failed, 2 deferred-9 passed, 1 deferred-~
Tallaght/FÁS-----13 passed~
Ashbourne----13 passed, 1 failed, 1 deferred-~
Dundalk----13 passed, 2 failed, 1 deferred- 

National Driver Licensing Service

 1236. 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 the position regarding the national driver licence service and its operation to date, particularly in the context of the waiting time relating to the processing of applications.  [12993/14]

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 (NDLS) is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). As I have previously indicated to the House, there were some initial teething problems when the NDLS was launched in late October of last year, and these led to some unacceptable delays in processing driver licence applications, which developed over the first few weeks of the new service.  I met the acting CEO of the RSA at the time to discuss this, and the RSA introduced a number of measures to address the problem.

I understand that the NDLS is now processing applications within eight to thirteen days, in cases where there are no problems in the application, that is to say, in cases where the NDLS does not have to contact the applicant for clarification or additional documentation.  The NDLS assures me that it is on course to have a 5-8 day turnaround for non-problematic applications by the beginning of April.

National Driver Licensing Service

 1237. 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 the way the current operators of the national driver licence service will hold responsibility for the service; when the contract relating to the service will next be up for renewal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12994/14]

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, including the contracting process for outsourced providers, 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.

Driver Licence Applications

 1238. 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 consider a mechanism to allow citizens to apply for their driving licences at their local post offices rather than obliging them to contend with the geographical and economic difficulties associated with travelling to national driver licence service centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12995/14]

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.

Public Transport Provision

 1239. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans for further bus rapid transit routes in the greater Dublin area beyond the three draft routes; and if a particular route from the city centre along Ballymun Road through Ballymun to the airport along the route of metro north will be considered.  [13020/14]

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) on 1st December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as the proposed routes for the Bus Rapid Transit 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.

Departmental Reports

 1240. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of external or internal policy reports currently that have been handed to him but not yet published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13039/14]

 1241. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when he will publish reports currently in his possession that have not been published to date; if he will outline in tabular form the reports involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13056/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1240 and 1241 together.

  I do not publish every report which is available within my Department. Many are purely of interest for internal planning purposes or contain legal advice, policy deliberation or commercially sensitive information. Details of all external reports commissioned by my Department together with their purpose and publication status are included in expenditure reports available on my Department's website at the following link http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/expenditure-external-services.

Land Acquisition

 1242. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar further to Parliamentary Question No. 283 of 28 February 2014, if he will provide further clarification which identifies the party with whom CIE held the relevant land sale negotiations between 1994 and 2002; the volume of negotiation that occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13059/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As I indicated in my reply to the Deputy's previous Parliamentary Question on this matter of 27th February 2014, this issue is a matter for CIÉ.  I understand CIÉ responded to the Deputy on 28th February. I have also forwarded the Deputy's further question to CIÉ.

Pension Provisions

 1243. 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 the position regarding pension loss in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13096/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar There are over 5,000 deferred members of the IASS and I am very aware of their concerns in relation to the funding of the scheme. However, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have no function in relation to the administration of the scheme. The resolution of the funding difficulties in the scheme is primarily a matter for the trustees, the members of the scheme, the companies participating in the scheme and the regulator of such pension schemes - the Pensions Board.Pension Schemes are closely regulated under Irish and European pension law and the Pensions Board is the statutory regulator. There are prescribed procedures and limitations in place governing any reductions in pension rights introduced to address funding difficulties in a scheme such as the IASS. Policy in this regard is primarily a matter for my colleague the Minister for Social Protection.

The trustees of the IASS announced in February that they had decided in principle on a number of changes to address the funding difficulties of the scheme. The trustees, who are central to any solution to the funding difficulties, are required by law to act in the best interests of all members, be they active, deferred or pensioner members. The letter from the trustees to the employers and unions formally requests them to give appropriate consideration to the position of the deferred members in further discussions. Following consultations between my Department, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, IBEC and ICTU, an Expert Panel has been established to carry out a detailed investigation of how a final resolution of the industrial relations issues relating to the IASS can be secured.  That investigation will include discussions with the relevant stakeholders, including representatives of deferred members, and the Panel has been asked to make a preliminary report by the end of March.

Driver Licences

 1244. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in view of the long delays in receiving appointments with the national driver licence service and the imperative of obtaining a replacement licence at short notice when a licence is damaged, if there are any plans in place to allow for a drop-in service in addition to the appointment system already operating; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13114/14]

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.

Rail Network

 1245. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on correspondence (details supplied) in County Limerick regarding a train station.  [13237/14]

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.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 1246. 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 if he will list the sports clubs that have applied for sports capital funding in County Wexford for the 2014 allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13299/14]

 1264. 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 if he will provide a list of organisations in County Laois that applied for the sports capital programme grant scheme for 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13600/14]

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. 1246 and 1264 together.

  A list of all applications received under the 2014 Sports Capital Programme will be published on the Department website shortly.

EU Funding

 1247. 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 in view of reports that funding from the European Investment Bank is likely to be secured for the extension of the M18 from Gort to Tuam, if he will consider making an application from his Department to secure funding to develop the next phase of the western rail corridor from Athenry to Tuam. [13329/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Under the "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-16: Medium Term Exchequer Framework", the next phase of the Western Rail Corridor, from Tuam to Athenry, has been deferred. Therefore, the question of applying for funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), or any other EU funding programme, does not arise at this time. It should be noted that no EU funding, loan or grant was secured for phase one of the Western Rail Corridor.

  Consideration of a new Government capital investment plan beyond 2016 will begin shortly and eligible transport projects prioritised under that plan will be submitted for funding to the EIB. Whether any heavy rail projects are prioritised 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 be, as at present, 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.

EU Funding

 1248. 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 if there are any identified light or heavy rail projects for which funding may be sought from the European Investment Bank by his Department this year or in 2015. [13330/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar A loan of €150m was recently approved by the EIB in respect of the Luas Cross City line. This is the only light or heavy rail project that is being progressed under the "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-16: Medium Term Exchequer Framework", the Government's capital investment programme that runs until 2016. As there are no other new eligible light or heavy rail projects currently progressing, the question of preparing further  applications for funding from EIB does not arise at this time. However, in conjunction with the  Ministers for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform I maintain  contact with the EIB regarding the funding of appropriate projects, including public transport projects, which might be prioritised for development under the next capital plan post 2016. The EIB has indicated a keen interest in supporting suitable public transport projects which address bottlenecks  and bring added value to the transport network.

Ferry Services

 1249. 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 his views on proposals to cut the pay and conditions of maritime workers in the services of a company (details supplied) in the Irish Sea; and if any proposal to introduce a payscale for mariners below the Irish and UK minimum wage rates is in accordance with Irish workplace and maritime safety laws. [13362/14]

 1251. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of ferry companies on the Irish Sea on passenger and freight routes (details supplied) are currently providing rates of pay to seafarers well below the Irish minimum wage rate of €8.65 per hour and the UK minimum wage rate of €6.31 per hour; and the action he proposes to take to ensure that companies involved in Irish transport services pay at least the Irish minimum wage. [13397/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1249 and 1251 together.

  None of the vessels of the ferry companies concerned are registered on the Irish flag. The level of payment of wages on ships is a matter for the flag state where the ship is registered and the internal domestic law of that country. Responsibility for pay levels on board Irish flagged ships rests with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

State Bodies

 1250. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of times his Department received requests by Philanthropy Ireland to meet in 2011, 2012 and 2013; the number of times his Department met with Philanthropy Ireland in those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13396/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Neither my Department nor I have received any requests by Philanthropy Ireland to meet in 2011, 2012 or 2013. To be helpful to the Deputy, I did meet with the Chairman of the Forum on Philanthropy, Frank Flannery, once subsequent to the publication by it of its report. This meeting was at my request as I was interested in the possibilities for securing philanthropic funds for sports and tourism projects.

  Question No. 1251 answered with Question No. 1249.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 1252. 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 he will grant funding to a club (details supplied) in County Longford which applied under the sports capital grants programme.  [13479/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I can confirm that an application has been submitted by the club referred to by the Deputy under the 2014 Sports Capital Programme and the Deputy's support for the project is noted.

Traffic Calming Measures

 1253. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if there will be traffic calming measures put in place where the Barrack Road, Collooney, meets the N4; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13521/14]

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. Traffic management in its area is a matter for the relevant local authority under the relevant Road Traffic Acts. Where traffic calming measures are to be provided on a national road the prior consent of the NRA is also required. The enforcement of any traffic restrictions is a matter for An Garda Síochána.


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