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. 190-201
 Header Item Medical Aids and Appliances Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Data
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Noise Pollution Legislation
 Header Item Railway Stations Upgrade
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Public Transport
 Header Item Sport and Recreational Development
 Header Item Driver Licence Renewals
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Taxi Regulations

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 839 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 65 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 190-201

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

 190. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason for the delay in providing a person (detail supplied) in Dublin 10 with hearing aids.  [19879/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive Community Audiology service administers and monitors hearing tests for adults who are at risk for hearing loss. Appointments for the audiology service are sent in a strict chronology according to clinical priorities and date of receipt of referral. The HSE has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Medical Card Data

 191. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide a breakdown in tabular form of the number of persons granted a discretionary medical card in County Donegal over each of the past five years; the number of persons in County Donegal who hold a discretionary medical card; the number of persons in County Donegal who have previously held a discretionary medical card but have subsequently lost their medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19905/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available. However, I have asked the Health Service Executive to supply this information to me and I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Hospital Services

 192. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of persons in County Donegal who have been diagnosed with age macular degeneration; the number of these who travel to County Sligo on a six weekly basis to receive Avastin eye injections; the reasons this treatment cannot be offered in Letterkenny General Hospital, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19906/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Noise Pollution Legislation

 193. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the legislation in place on the maximum amount of noise that a car exhaust can emit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19772/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Vehicles in use on Irish roads must meet the standards specified in the Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicles) Regulations 1963. These require vehicles to be fitted with a silencer or other device that will reduce exhaust noise to a reasonable level.  Article 85 of these Regulations prohibits the use in a public place of a vehicle which causes excessive noise. The Regulations also prohibit the alteration of an exhaust silencer in such a way that the noise emitted is increased.

  New cars with EC Type Approval must meet the noise levels specified in Directive 70/157/EC.  This sets a limit of 74 dB for vehicles equipped with a petrol engine and 75 dB for vehicles equipped with a diesel engine. The current NCT exhaust noise limit is set at 99 dB which is deemed to be an acceptable maximum limit.

  However, I am aware that certain vehicles are fitted with standard exhaust systems when presented for their test and are subsequently retrofitted with modified, noisy exhaust systems once they have passed. This ensures that they pass the engine emission and exhaust noise aspects of the NCT test.

  To combat this, I understand that the RSA works closely with An Garda Síochána to ensure that an effective enforcement strategy is in place to control the noise emitted from these vehicles between successive NCT tests and that An Garda Síochána have purchased sound measurement equipment which is being used at roadside enforcement checkpoints throughout the country. The penalty on conviction is a fine which, depending if there have been previous similar convictions, may not exceed €2,000 and/or, at the discretion of the court, imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.

  Where infringements are thought to exist, affected parties may wish to contact their local Garda station in order that they may be able to step up their enforcement activities.

Railway Stations Upgrade

 194. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to relocate Plunkett Station to the Waterford city side of the River Suir in view of the disruption caused to services by the severe weather at the start of this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19734/14]

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.  Issues relating to individual train stations, including their location on the network, are a matter for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance.

  Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to Iarnród Éireann.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Safety

 195. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the criteria for establishing a 30 km speed limit in a residential area under existing legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19774/14]

 196. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if it is possible for dense urban residential areas (details supplied) to be designated as 30 km per hour zones; if not if he will consider amending the legislation to provide for such areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19775/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 195 and 196 together.

  The Road Traffic Act 2004 provides that elected members of County and City Councils may make bye-laws in order to set special speed limits to roads in their administrative area. The application of the special speed limits must be in accordance with Road Traffic Act 2004 (Section 9(9)) - Guidelines for the Application of Special Speed Limits issued by the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2011.

  A 30 km/h speed limit may only be applied at locations where there is a current or expected concentration of vulnerable road users. For that reason, its general application is limited to housing estates, roads in urban centres with no distributor function and access ramps to motorways or dual carriageways with low radii curves.

  As part of the process of making Special Speed Limit bye-laws, Local Authorities must first consider the level of concentration of vulnerable road users and evidence of road collisions in which vulnerable road users were involved. Local Authorities must also undertake a public consultation on the draft proposals seeking observations from the public or other interested parties.

Public Transport

 197. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the body responsible for setting times for the operation of bus lanes; if his attention has been drawn to how uncoordinated these are on a single route (details supplied) and if he will arrange for this case to be standardised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19798/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The statutory responsibility for these matters lies with the relevant local authority, and I have no function in this area.  I would therefore advise the Deputy to raise the matter with the local authority in question.

Sport and Recreational Development

 198. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the steps he is taking to promote sailing as a sport and to encourage and support children to take up sailing and learn the essential skills; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19801/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Irish Sports Council, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the promotion, development and co-ordination of sport, including the allocation of funding for the National Governing Bodies of Sport. As this question is a matter for the Irish Sports Council, I have referred it to the Council for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

Driver Licence Renewals

 199. 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 his plans to review the rule whereby people cannot renew their driver licences more than three months in advance in view of the fact that the rule prevents many emigrants, who might be home for a short holiday period, from renewing their licence while they are here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [19856/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Prior to 2004, the period within which an application could be made to renew a driving licence was only one month before expiry. In that year, this was changed to three months before expiry.

I am satisfied that the period of up to three months before the expiry of a driving licence within which people can apply for renewal is adequate and reasonable, and I have no plans to change it.

I understand that, in the case of Irish driving licence holders living outside the country, the National Driver Licence System (NDLS) has arrangements in place whereby a person renewing a licence can do so without the necessity to return to Ireland. The Deputy should contact the NDLS to obtain details of this arrangement.

Taxi Regulations

 200. 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 if he will provide justification for the fact a licensed taxi driver (details supplied) who paid a considerable sum of money to acquire a taxi licence and has reached retirement age is concerned the taxi licence cannot be sold or transferred to the person's child, who is currently out of work, and now the person faces a considerable financial loss as a result; and if he will reconsider the position of the Taxi Regulator. [19885/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly  Action 14 of the Taxi Regulation Review Report, 2011, recommended the prohibition on the transferability of small public service vehicle (SPSV) licences with effect from 1st October 2012. The underlying principle for the recommendation was that a licence should determine a person's suitability to carry out a function and it should have no monetary value or be traded on the open market. The Report's recommendations were widely published to the industry, including through the National Transport Authority's and industry updates as well as on the various taxi forum websites.

It was intended that the measure would be introduced with effect from 1st January 2013 by way of regulations to be made by the National Transport Authority who have responsibility for the regulation of the taxi sector. However, it was concluded that it would be more appropriate to include such a provision in primary legislation.

The measure was therefore included in Section 14(1) of the Taxi Regulation Act, 2013 which was commenced with effect from the 6th April 2014.

Taxi Regulations

 201. 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 if he will investigate a situation (details supplied) whereby a person has identified that any erosion of permitting taxis to use bus lanes when on the way to pick up passengers will have a detrimental effect on an industry which has been under considerable pressure for some time and taxi drivers feel that such a move is anti-competitive in view of the fact that all off-duty buses continue to have the lanes available to them at all times; and if he will reconsider this matter and commit to a process of consultation with the taxi industry in advance of any proposed change. [19909/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Bus lanes have been put in place, at some expense to the public, to provide on-street priority for buses.  Their aim is make public transport more attractive by increasing the speed and reliability of bus journeys.  When bus lanes were first introduced, it was agreed to allow taxis to use with-flow bus lanes while in service.  This was a decision based on the fact that taxis are available for on-street hire. The National Transport Authority advise that the reference in section 11.4 of the recently published Integrated Implementation Plan to potential restrictions on the use of with-flow bus lanes by taxis, relates to possible interventions which might have to be considered in the future in specific circumstances.

Where high capacity public transport corridors, such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or Luas extensions, are being implemented, it may be necessary, at certain locations, to assess whether all of the taxis seeking to use the Bus/BRT or Bus/Luas lane can be accommodated without impeding the high capacity vehicles.  It is not an acceptable outcome of such infrastructure investments if the level of taxi usage diminished the effectiveness and efficiency of the BRT or Luas facility.

The principle that will be operated is that where taxis can be accommodated without delaying or impacting the operation of the BRT or Luas vehicle, they will continue to be able to use the Bus/BRT or Bus/Luas lane.  However, where they would create delays to the BRT or Luas service, then consideration may have to be given to additional local restrictions to address that issue.


Last Updated: 24/04/2020 14:46:55 First Page Previous Page Page of 65 Next Page Last Page