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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 475-486
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item State Bodies Abolition
 Header Item National Car Test
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Rail Passengers Data
 Header Item Bus Éireann Fleet
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Regional Airports
 Header Item Road Network

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 475-486

Departmental Funding

 475. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the amount in the multi-annual capital plan allocated for the development of long distance walking and cycling routes for the years 2015 to 2017, inclusive; the amount spent in each year for the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46780/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Under the National Cycle Network Funding (NCN) Programme 2012-2013 my Department awarded funding of €7 million to local authorities for the delivery of 16 cycleway/greenway projects of varying scale.

  The second tranche of NCN Funding for the years 2014-2016 awarded funding totalling €6.3 million to three local authorities for the delivery of off road greenway projects in Kerry, Galway and Waterford.

  A further 11 cycling/greenway projects shared in funding from the Government Stimulus Package for Infrastructure Projects, €10 million of which was earmarked for the delivery of greenways.

  There is no figure for the funding of walking/cycling routes post 2016.

  Details of the above mentioned projects can be viewed on the Department's Smarter Travel website
www.smartertravel.ie.

  Separately, while the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport provides funding for capital investment in tourism, the allocation of these funds is a matter for the board and management of Fáilte Ireland.  The Department’s role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of national policy and it is not engaged in the administration of tourism–related grant programmes.

  I have referred the Deputy’s question to Fáilte Ireland and asked the authority to provide the Deputy with the information requested in this regard.

  Please contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

State Bodies Abolition

 476. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his views on the planned dissolution of the Railway Procurement Agency, RPA, and the transfer of its staff to the National Roads Authority, NRA; if the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations 2003 and/or the TUPE EU directive of 2001 provisions will apply to the staff of the RPA who are being transferred to the employment of the NRA; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46838/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I understand the proposed dissolution of RPA and the movement of its staff and functions into NRA would constitute a “Transfer” for purposes of the EU TUPE Directive.

  Having regard to the implications of the TUPE Directive, the legislative provisions applying to the transfer of RPA staff will, subject to the advice of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, reflect the terms of the agreement concluded in July 2014 between the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Services Committee of ICTU in relation to the transfer of public servants between public sector organisations.

National Car Test

 477. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will postpone the introduction of penalty points for failure to display a valid national car test certificate pending a clearing of the current test backlog; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46019/14]

 489. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the national car test; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [47211/14]

 497. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his views on increasing the notification period for national car testing from 90 days to 120 days in recognition of the exorbitant time it takes to secure an appointment; and his views on improving management of the winter high demand for annual testing. [47295/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 477, 489 and 497 together.

Changes to the penalty points regime which came into effect yesterday, 8 December, were legislated for under the Road Traffic Act 2014. These changes relate to a range of measures, including the National Car Test (NCT) system. The commencement of these provisions was tied to a periodic update of the Garda PULSE system. The update of PULSE involves extensive preparation and a long lead-in time.

It has, for some years, been an offence to use a vehicle on public roads without a valid NCT certificate. Prior to yesterday’s change, this offence involved a direct summons to court and the assignment of 5 penalty points on conviction. The provisions in the 2014 Act bring this offence within the fixed charge notice system. An alleged offender will now be issued with a fixed charge notice and, on payment of the €60 charge, will have 3 penalty points assigned to their licence. The driver will, of course, continue to have the option of going to court where 5 points will still apply on conviction.

Enforcement of the relevant legislation is a matter for An Garda Síochána.  If a person’s NCT test date is imminent, it will be a matter for the Gardai to use their discretion. However, responsibility rests with owners and users of vehicles to ensure their vehicles are in compliance with the law.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) informs me that it is able to deal with current demand and has also run a campaign to get people to book early, as the test may be undertaken up to 90 days in advance of the due date without affecting the expiry date of the new certificate. This system, which is in place since September, is to ensure that owners have ample time to have their vehicle tested before their current NCT certificate expires and there are no plans to increase this voluntary early test period.

The RSA also advise me that the vast majority of car owners, including those who require an early test, will receive an NCT appointment within 28 days.  The average waiting time for a full test in the month of November was 11.35 days. I understand from the RSA that the availability of appointments on the NCT website is not a reflection of the total number of slots available to customers. The NCTS website clearly advises customers that if they cannot obtain a suitable slot online to contact the NCTS call centre directly on (01) 413 5992.

The recent changes to the penalty points system represent a further important contribution to making our roads safer for all users.

Issues with road traffic legislation arose last week which have revealed that technical legislative amendments may be required in relation to the operation of penalty points. I am awaiting advice from the Attorney General's Office on the matter and would propose to bring any required legislative amendments to the Oireachtas in the coming days.

Road Network

 478. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will report on those instances nationally where two national primary routes meet or intersect at a crossroads; the special measures taken to manage traffic volumes where such intersections occur; if it is the policy of his Department that the intersection of national primary routes at a crossroads should remain a permanent feature of our roads network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46934/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and  funding in relation to the national roads programme.

  The construction, improvement and maintenance of individual national roads, is a matter for the National Roads Authority under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Noting this 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.

Rail Passengers Data

 479. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the average number of commuters who used Howth Junction-Donaghmede DART station on a weekly basis in the years 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46957/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe 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.

Bus Éireann Fleet

 480. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the current strength of the Bus Éireann fleet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46958/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe 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 response within ten working days.

Taxi Regulations

 481. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on  Zoom on  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe in order to increase the supply of wheelchair accessible vehicles, WAVS, if he will intervene to extend the deadline for taxi drivers wishing to avail of the WAV grant from the National Transport Authority in order to have the ownership of their new vehicles. [46992/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013, including responsibility for administering the current grant scheme for wheelchair accessible vehicles.

  It is not open to me to issue a policy direction to the Authority in relation to any specific case.

  I have therefore referred the details of the particular case you raised to the NTA for direct reply to you.

  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Road Network

 482. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if the National Roads Authority will examine a stretch of highly dangerous road (details supplied) in County Kerry; if a resolution plan will be prepared to make this section of road safer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47014/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe 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, such as the N70 is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act. 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.

Regional Airports

 483. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the annual cost to the Exchequer of the regional air services public service obligation for the Donegal to Dublin route; the number of passengers that utilise the service per annum in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47039/14]

 484. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the annual cost to the Exchequer of the regional air services public service obligation for the Kerry to Dublin route; the number of passengers that utilised the service per annum in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47040/14]

 485. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the amount of State aid paid to each regional airport in the years 2009 to 2013, inclusive, and to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [47045/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 483 to 485, inclusive, together.

  Under the current Regional Airports Programme, Exchequer support is provided to Donegal, Waterford, Kerry and IWA Knock airports through the Capital Expenditure Grants Scheme (CAPEX) and the Operational Expenditure Subvention Scheme (OPEX).  Exchequer support is also provided under the Programme through a Scheme for subventing Public Service Obligations (PSO) air services operating between Kerry and Dublin and Donegal and Dublin, which is paid directly to the operating airlines.

  Contracts will be signed shortly to operate PSO services on these two routes for the three year period commencing 1 February 2015.

  Expenditure under the first two Schemes for the years 2009 to date is set out in the following table:

Total

Expenditure

(€000)
2014 (to 30/11/2014 - (€000)2013 - (€000)2012 - (€000)2011 - (€000)2010 - (€000)2009 - (€000)
Donegal432 3391112,154631165
IWAK1,6912,6681,2896651,5844,319
Kerry451,1782,1841,349-45
Waterford1491,4832,5672,0681,6081,718
Galway---2,5321,8901,416
Sligo---624395398
Total2,3175,6686,1519,3926,1088,061


  The average cost per annum for the two PSO air services is approximately €7.5m.  Passenger numbers travelling on both PSO air service routes since 2009 are detailed as follows:
Passenger Numbers 20132012201120102009
Donegal21,40419,79625,18731,45436,582
Kerry32,88731,00327,17864,520101,442

Road Network

 486. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will seek an immediate EU derogation for Tipperary County Council to begin to realign a series of dangerous bends on the R-498 Nenagh-Thurles road at Latteragh, County Tipperary; the steps his Department has taken to address this dangerous situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [47051/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe 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.

Under Section 51 of the Roads Act 1993, a road authority is required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in respect of a proposed road development which is not exempt from the Environmental Impact Assessment process and submit the EIS to an Bord Pleanála.

Where An Bord Plenála considers that a proposed road development is likely to have significant effects on the environment it can direct the road authority to prepare an EIS and if a road authority considers that any proposed road development is likely to have significant effects on the environment it has to inform An Bord Pleanála and the Board can direct it to undertake an EIS if it is of the same view. As Minister for Transport I do not have a role in this process.


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