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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1268 to 1289
 Header Item Driver Licence Applications
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item Driving Test Waiting Lists
 Header Item Road Signage
 Header Item Vehicle Registration
 Header Item Rural Transport Programme
 Header Item National Car Test
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Taxi Licences Renewals
 Header Item Aviation Issues
 Header Item Air Services Provision
 Header Item Programme for Government Implementation
 Header Item Industrial Disputes
 Header Item Dublin Bus Services
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item Tourism Industry
 Header Item Mountain Rescue Service

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. 1268 to 1289

Driver Licence Applications

 1268. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reasons for the excessive delay in processing a learner's permit licence application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; his views on whether such a delay is justified; if he will ensure that this application is processed and the licence granted without any further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13729/14]

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, and I have no role in relation to individual cases.  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 Licences

 1269. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he has any intention of changing the criteria from the national driving licence service in order that a British citizen (details supplied) who holds a British-accredited bus driving licence could also drive buses here without having to resit the test; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13743/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Irish driver licensing law operates within the framework of EU driver licensing law.  One of the consequences is that the vehicle categories for driving licences are standard across the EU.

  Driving licences are interchangeable across the EU, so that a person with a driving licence from another Member State who takes up residence here is entitled to exchange their driving licence for an Irish one for the same vehicle categories.

  The circumstances described by the Deputy are therefore already covered by the law.

  I should add that, if a British licence was obtained as a result of exchanging a non-EU driving licence for a UK one, and if that non-EU licence was issued by a jurisdiction with which Ireland does not have an agreement on mutual recognition of driving licences, it would not be recognised here.

  I have no plans to change the law in this area.

Driving Test Waiting Lists

 1270. 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 resitting a driving test in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13795/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Driver testing is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority, and I have no role in relation to individual cases.  I have therefore forwarded 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.

Road Signage

 1271. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the allocation in 2014 for signposting on the national route N59; the benefits this signposting will bring; the budget from which this is being funded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13853/14]

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, including the provision of signage, 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 do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Vehicle Registration

 1272. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason the log book for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal has not been processed for tax purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13868/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar A change of ownership notification for the vehicle in question was received in the Donegal Motor Tax Office on 5 March 2014 and a Vehicle Registration Certificate (log book) issued to the address provided from my Department's office in Shannon on 6 March. If the person has not received the document at this stage, he may contact the Shannon office (Tel: 061 365019/365083) who will provide assistance in the matter.

Rural Transport Programme

 1273. Deputy Gerald Nash Information on Gerald Nash Zoom on Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide details on the terms of reference for the newly formed transport co-ordination units; when they will be in place; the stakeholders who will be involved in the TCUs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13897/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Following a Government Decision in January 2012, responsibility for the integration of local and rural transport services, including management of the Rural Transport Programme (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.

The new RTP structure involves the establishment of 18 Transport Co-ordination Units (TCUs) in place of the existing 35 RTP Groups currently delivering the service. The appraisal of the applications (submitted in response to the Call for Applications from existing RTP Groups) for the selection of the TCUs which was managed by the NTA, has concluded and all applicants have been informed of the outcome of the selection process.

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.

National Car Test

 1274. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the current waiting times in place to book a national car test across Tipperary; his views on whether these waiting times are acceptable, in view of the fact that it is an offence not to have a valid NCT; the measures he will take to tackle these waiting times; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13899/14]

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 delivering the National Car Test.

  Therefore I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the Road Safety Authority for direct reply.

  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

  Question No. 1275 answered with Question No. 1263.

Bus Éireann Services

 1276. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to assess the bus service to and from Ashbourne in County Meath; his views on the fact that the service now provided is more expensive than those to similar towns equidistant from Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13918/14]

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

Ministerial Meetings

 1277. 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 he will report on the meeting of 13 March last of the criminal justice working group established to oversee and facilitate the implementation of the report of the An Garda Síochána Inspectorate entitled The Fixed Charge Processing System: A 21st Century Strategy; the future schedule of meetings of the group; and the actions that will be taken arising out of the group's work to date.  [13960/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Criminal Justice Working Group, jointly chaired by the Department of Justice and Equality and my Department, met for the first time on 13th March 2014. At this first meeting, the background to the Courts Working Group and the Garda Inspectorate Report was discussed and a preliminary overview of the Garda Inspectorate recommendations was undertaken.

In respect of each of the recommendations contained in the Report, the Group will identify the body with principal responsibility for implementation and will determine a timescale and arrangements for implementation, having regard to the Action Plan published by the Minister for Justice and Equality.  Bodies with any supporting role will also be identified by the Group.

The Group will also consider and make recommendations with on other related issues it considers would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the fixed charge processing system, taking into account previous ongoing work, such as that carried out by the Penalty Points Working Group chaired by the Courts Service.

The Group will report formally to the Minister for Justice and Equality and me on a regular basis providing an update on progress, having particular regard to timeframes set down in the Action Plan.

The next meeting of the Group will take place on 25th March 2014 and I expect it will meet on a regular basis thereafter over the coming months to advance the substantial body of work which it has  been assigned.

Taxi Licences Renewals

 1278. Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason the Taxi Regulator has imposed a limit of nine years, after the initial registration for holding a taxi vehicle licence, where a car may no longer be licensed as a taxi in view of the fact that every year a car licensed as a taxi must have a national car test and approval in order to maintain the licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14020/14]

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 small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including SPSV licensing and vehicle standards, under the provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009.

  Your question has been forwarded to the NTA for direct reply. If you do not receive a response within ten working days please notify my private office.

  Question No. 1279 answered with Question No. 1263.

Aviation Issues

 1280. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the records that are kept of private aircraft landings at airports here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14043/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has responsibility regarding records of this nature.  I have referred the Deputy's question to them for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

  Question No. 1281 answered with Question No. 1224.

Air Services Provision

 1282. 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 his future plans for the currently subsidised Kerry to Dublin flights; if he will continue to provide a subsidy in view of the importance of the route to the economy of the south west; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14078/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As the Deputy may be aware, the current PSO air services Scheme, which includes the Kerry/Dublin route, ends in November this year. The policy on regional airports post-2014 is currently being developed in my Department and will reflect the outcomes of the recently published IWA Knock Study and will also have to comply with the recently adopted revised EU Guidelines on State Aid for airports and airlines. Publication of the revised Guidelines is still awaited. No final decisions have been made in respect of future PSO supports for the Kerry/Dublin or any other routes at this time.

Programme for Government Implementation

 1283. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an update in tabular form of the commitments in the programme for Government that relate to his Department; and the progress that has been made in the implementation of each. [14122/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I refer the Deputy to the recently published Programme for Government Annual Report which sets out the progress over the last 12 months on an extensive number of commitments which includes a number of commitments under the remit of my Department. See link: http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Work_Of_The_Department/Programme_for_Government/Programme_for_Government.html.

  My Department is completing a full update on all the PFG commitments under the remit of my Department which will be forwarded to the Deputy within ten working days.

Industrial Disputes

 1284. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he was notified of the proposal by Aer Lingus to sue the SIPTU trade union and some named employees of that union; if so, the actions he took; and if he sought to persuade the company not to proceed with such action.  [14138/14]

 1285. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on the decision by Aer Lingus to sue the SIPTU trade union and some named employees of that union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14139/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1284 and 1285 together.

  Shareholders are only required to be notified of a limited number of issues under company law. The legal action taken by Aer Lingus was not such an issue and shareholders were not notified of the matter in advance.

  I am on the record as stating that Aer Lingus' decision to sue SIPTU and certain individuals for damages is unhelpful and that I believe Aer Lingus should suspend the legal action. Similarly, I have said that industrial action would not be helpful either while efforts to resolve the matter are still underway.  There should be no strike threats or ballots.

  An expert panel has been established to bring specific IR and financial expertise to an analysis of the issues and all parties need to engage with this expert group and focus on finding a solution.

Dublin Bus Services

 1286. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the additional funding that is proposed to be provided to Dublin Bus to operate the new Swiftway proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14140/14]

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

Driver Licences

 1287. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason for substantial delays in the issuing of driver licences to persons who have passed their test; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that many people are having to persuade insurance companies to issue successive temporary insurance cover policies to enable them to operate their vehicles during their waiting time; the current waiting times according to each NDLS licence-issuing centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14162/14]

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).  The front offices of the NDLS operate under contract to the RSA, and any performance matters related to them are a matter between the contractor and the RSA.  I have therefore referred the part of the Deputy's question relating to individual centres to the RSA for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office is a response has not been received within ten days.  On the more general matters raised by the Deputy, as I have indicated to the House before, there were some teething problems when the NDLS was first launched last October, and these caused unacceptable delays and the build-up of a backlog.  I met at the time with the then acting CEO of the RSA to discuss these matters, and the RSA put in place a number of measures to deal with the problems which had arisen.

I understand from the RSA that, overall, applications which are non-problematic - that is, where the application is fully in order and there is no need to contact the applicant again for clarification or further documentation - are being processed in eight to thirteen days.  The RSA has assured me that non-problematic applications will be processed within five to eight days from the beginning of April.

Tourism Industry

 1288. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an update on the progress of the Connemara Greenway project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14170/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I have no direct role in relation to individual tourism projects as this is a matter for Fáilte Ireland. Accordingly I have referred the question to the agency for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Mountain Rescue Service

 1289. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will report on the progress of his Department at designing a capital grant scheme to assist mountain rescue teams in securing new equipment vital to the tasks they carry out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14171/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As I outlined in response to a previous question on a related issue, I have asked my officials to consider the introduction of  a modest capital grant scheme for mountain rescue activities. However, there are significant constraints on my Department's overall capital budget. Furthermore, there are other capital demands arising from my primary responsibility to provide a marine emergency response service. My officials have discussed this matter earlier in the year with Mountain Rescue Ireland and as outlined to them, it will be some time later this year before it can be established whether there is any capital funding that could be utilised for mountain rescue services.


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