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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 472-491
 Header Item Public Transport Review
 Header Item Ports Facilities
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Rail Network Expansion
 Header Item Cycling Facilities Funding
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item Rail Services Provision
 Header Item Rail Services Provision
 Header Item Tourism Data
 Header Item Tourism Policy

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 472-491

Public Transport Review

 472. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if a detailed study of the subventions to public transport and public bus services in European cities comparable with Dublin will be carried out.  [43648/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I am always cautious about drawing direct comparisons between funding levels of public transport in different countries and cities.  There are a whole range of issues which can potentially distort the picture and which must be examined to ensure a like for like comparison is being made.  Public transport operations in other European cities will differ substantially depending on a variety of factors such as population density, market structure and transport infrastructure. The OECD has also highlighted a number of potential issues including data availability/comparability.

  Nonetheless, in reviewing public transport policy in line with the Programme for Government commitment, my Department intends, in conjunction with the National Transport Authority, to again look at possible international comparators relating to the funding of public transport.

  As part of the spending review 2017 the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform produced a paper entitled Public Service Obligation (PSO) Funding for Public Transport which provides an overview analysis of State funding of public transport. That paper is available at http://www.per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/PSO-Transport-2.pdf.

Ports Facilities

 473. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the traffic volumes (details supplied) at Rosslare Europort in each of the years 2013 to 2016, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43662/17]

 474. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the financial performance of Rosslare Europort (details supplied) at the port in each of the years 2013 to 2016, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43663/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 473 and 474 together.

  The Deputy is aware that Rosslare Europort is unique among the State owned ports as it is not a company operating under the Harbours Acts, but is instead operated as a division of Iarnród Éireann.

  I have therefore forwarded the Deputy's questions to Iarnród Éireann for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Road Network

 475. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the position regarding upgrading the N24 Limerick to Waterford road to motorway standard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43681/17]

 476. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the steps he will take to examine road connectivity between Rosslare Europort and the west of the country; his plans to link the M11, N24, M3, M4 and M7 in view of the importance in increasing direct accessibility between the west and continental Europe, avoiding likely UK customs delays post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43685/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 475 and 476 together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and 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 Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 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 TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within 10 working days..

Road Network

 477. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to link the M11, N24, M3, M4 and M7 in view of the importance in increasing direct accessibility between the west and north west of Ireland and continental Europe, particularly when taking into account the likely UK customs delays post-Brexit; the steps he is taking to examine road connectivity between Rosslare Europort and the west of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43688/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and 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 Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 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 TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within 10 working days..

Road Network

 478. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the steps he will take to examine road connectivity between Rosslare Europort and the west of the country; his plans to link the M11, N24, M3, M4 and M7 in view of the importance in increasing direct accessibility between the west and continental Europe, avoiding likely UK customs delays post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43689/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and 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 Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 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 TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within 10 working days..

Road Network

 479. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the steps he will take to examine road connectivity between Rosslare Europort through the south midlands, midlands and the west of the country; his plans to link the M11, N24, M3, M4 and M7 in view of the importance in increasing direct accessibility with continental Europe, avoiding likely UK customs delays post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43697/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and 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 Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 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 TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within 10 working days..

Driver Licences

 480. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the progress which has been made to extend the number of jurisdictions with which a reciprocal agreement is in place for the purpose of driving licence exchange; if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties which are being faced by emigrants returning home from countries with which no such mutual agreement exists but where they hold a valid driving licence as issued by the competent licensing authority in the relevant jurisdiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43746/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Ireland has driver licence exchange with all other EU Member States as a part of EU law, and in addition has bilateral agreements with a number of other jurisdictions.  The list of jurisdictions with which we have bilateral agreements is available on the website of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). 

In August, I signed into effect the most recent agreement, which is with British Columbia.  This represents the fourth Canadian province with which we have such an agreement, and these four provinces represent over half of the Canadian population.

It is important to understand that driver licensing exists in the interests of public safety.  We test drivers to a high standard to ensure, insofar as we can, that they are fit to drive safely on our roads.  When an agreement with another jurisdiction is proposed, the RSA and the licensing authorities in the other jurisdiction must compare the two systems so that each side may be satisfied that the two regimes apply comparable standards.  We cannot make agreements with particular jurisdictions because it may be convenient, at the expense of safety.

Where there are no such agreements in place, drivers taking up residence here must pass through the Irish learner system.  I recognise that this creates a burden in terms of time, cost, and inconvenience.  My officials have been in discussion with the Minister for the Diaspora on how we can reduce this burden. 

The major source of both time and cost is that people in this situation are currently required to undergo the 12-lesson 'Essential Driver Training' programme before taking the driving test.  I believe that this burden can be significantly reduced, and my officials are currently discussing details of how to do so with the RSA with a view to having a shorter programme in place early next year.

Road Projects

 481. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan Information on Aindrias Moynihan Zoom on Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if the positions of safety officer and safety adviser have been filled by Cork County Council in relation to the clearance of the route for the proposed N22, Macroom bypass presently being undertaken by a contractor for Cork County Council; the names of the persons appointed to those positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43808/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and 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 Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the relevant local authority - in this case Cork County Council. 

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within 10 working days..

Bus Éireann Services

 482. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if the schedule and destination points of the 109 Bus Éireann route will be reviewed; if reverting to the previous schedule and route will be considered; if he will address a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43817/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA), in conjunction with Bus Éireann, and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if a response is not received within ten working days.

  The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Road Improvement Schemes

 483. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross when funding will be allocated to a road (details supplied) in east County Galway. [43820/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads (RLR) in Galway is the statutory responsibility of Galway County Council, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is a matter for the local authority.

As regards speed limits, the application of Special Speed Limits, i.e. speed limits other than the default speed limits, are provided for in Section 9 of the Road Traffic Act 2004, which gives local authorities the power to make bye-laws ("special speed limit bye-laws") in respect of any specified public road or specified part of a public road or specified carriageway or lane of a public road within its administrative area.  Under the Act, local authorities are required to give notice to and consider representations from, any borough or town in the administrative county concerned and also the Garda Commissioner. The public must be informed by way of Press Notice in at least two daily newspapers.

It is also open to the Council to draw up a scheme to improve safety at this location and to seek funding for such a scheme in its application to the Department for Safety Improvement Works for 2018.

Rail Network Expansion

 484. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the position regarding the provision of a new train station at Pelletstown; if delays in the provision of funding could see planning permission for the station expire; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43848/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area.

  Noting this, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if a reply is not received within 10 working days.

Cycling Facilities Funding

 485. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if funding is being provided for enhancing cycling routes along the Navan road from the Ashtown roundabout to the quays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43850/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As part of the Bus Connects bus network transformation programme, I have secured significant funding to construct a number of high quality Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) schemes across the Greater Dublin Area. One of these schemes, the Blanchardstown-UCD BRT, is planned to run along the Navan Road route corridor between Dublin City and Blanchardstown. The proposed scheme is currently at design stage and the scheme will be developed taking the needs of cyclists, pedestrians and all other road users into account.

  I have referred this question to the NTA for direct reply as it will be able to provide more detailed information on the current status of the Blanchardstown-UCD BRT proposals. Please advise my private office if a response is not received within 10 working days.

  The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Road Projects

 486. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross further to the appointment of consultants to oversee the design of the new bridge at Ballina-Killaloe, if the CPOs connected to the project have commenced; the timeframe for the conclusion of the project; his plans to upgrade the Ballina, Birdhill Road and Killaloe bypass as part of this investment. [43858/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross 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 a matter for the local authority.

The Shannon Bridge Crossing at Killaloe is one of a number of schemes included in the Capital Plan 2016-2021 designed to address bottlenecks on the road network. The bridge is the 1st phase of the Shannon Crossing/Killaloe Bypass/R494 upgrade scheme.  In planning the construction schedule for individual projects included in the Plan, account has to be taken of the annual budgets in the Capital Plan and the need to phase different sections of projects to manage the available budgets. 

Following the conclusion of the judicial review relating to the Shannon crossing/Killaloe Bypass/R494 scheme, it is now a matter for the local authority (Clare County Council) to progress the scheme. Clare County Council has been provided with an allocation of €500,000 in 2017.

No decisions have been made as yet in relation to the timing of the construction phases for the Killaloe Bypass/R494 sections of the overall scheme.

Driver Licences

 487. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if the right to drive D class vehicles will be reinstated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43874/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority, and I have no role in 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.

Rail Services Provision

 488. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will instruct Irish Rail to provide a motorised buggy service to bring persons with limited mobility from the station hall down the platform at Heuston Station to the trains; if he will fund the provision of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43893/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross In Budget 2018 I secured multi-annual funding of almost €30 million over the next four years to continue the programme of retro-fitting older, existing public transport facilities to improve their accessibility features. This effectively doubles the previously planned investment amount. 

Allocation of that funding is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA). I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if a response is not received within ten working days..

Rail Services Provision

 489. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross when he last formally met the CEO of Íarnrod Éireann; the issues discussed; when the next meeting will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43912/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I last met the then Chairman and CEO of Iarnród Éireann on the 28th June 2017 and received an update from them on a range of issues, including the financial position of the company and engagement with the Safety Regulator. I also met with the CEO in Connolly Station on 12th September 2017. I also met with the new Chairman designate on 2nd October last. At that meeting we discussed his impending appointment as Chairman and the challenges and opportunities he envisages in that role.

I meet the Chairs and CEOs of CIÉ and its subsidiaries on a regular basis, or as the need arises. In addition to these meetings, I am of course briefed by my Department on any relevant issues which arise during the course of normal administrative and corporate governance related contact between my Department and the companies in question. .

Tourism Data

 490. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the net worth of tourism to Ireland in economic terms in each of the years 2011 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43914/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Tourism is a hugely important indigenous sector in the Irish economy and provides employment in all parts of the country. There is no single indicator in the national accounts which determines the net worth of tourism to Ireland in economic terms. Fáilte Ireland do publish a figure for total tourism revenue using data from the CSO and some other sources and this is available on the agency's website. For ease of reference, the overall figure published by Fáilte Ireland is reproduced below but further detail is available from the agency. Equivalent figures for 2017 to date are not available.

Year Total Tourism Revenue
2016 €8,308m 
2015 €7,689m
2014 €6,851m
2013 €6,164m
2012 €5,652m
2011 €5,293m

Tourism Policy

 491. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the proportion of the annual tourism budget which is spent on research and development of the tourism product; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43915/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The total budget for tourism in 2017 is almost €122m. This includes funding for our two tourism agencies Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, the tourism marketing fund and for tourism product development. The capital allocation for tourism product development in 2017 is €12.450m, representing 10.2% of the overall tourism budget. A detailed breakdown of the tourism budget is provided in the 2017 Estimates Volume for the Transport, Tourism and Sport Vote.  

  I am pleased to have secured an increased capital allocation for tourism product development in the Mid-term review of the Capital Plan, bringing the total available for spending in the four year period from 2018 to 2021 to almost €108 million.   

  My Department's role in relation to tourism lies in the area of national tourism policy.  It is not directly involved in research and development of the tourism product.  That is a matter for the Board and Management of Fáilte Ireland. 

  Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

  The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.


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