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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1-12
 Header Item Aviation Policy

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 976 No. 5

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Written Answers Nos. 1-12

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].

  Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, answered orally.

Aviation Policy

 7. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the status of his plans to create a single national aviation regulator; and when the legislation and logistics of this plan are expected to be introduced. [51989/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As the Deputy is aware, the Government has approved a proposal to separate the Irish Aviation Authority’s air navigation service provision functions from its aviation safety and security regulatory functions, and merge these regulatory functions with the Commission for Aviation Regulation. The objective is to have a single aviation regulator responsible for economic, safety and security regulation and a standalone air navigation service provider. This is in line with emerging best international practice. It provides a sounder governance and organisational basis for enhancing regulatory functions into the future, which is needed to match the ever growing regulatory demands – particularly in aviation safety and security - emanating from the EU and ICAO.

As regards the current status, I can advise the Deputy that a high level project management board has been established, comprising senior officials from my Department, the Chief Executive Officer of the IAA and the Aviation Commissioner. Project governance and implementation structures have also been established, including numerous working groups, which have been charged with carrying our due diligence on matters such as finance, international/ EU regulations and law, and HR matters. This work – which is detailed and in some areas highly technical in nature – is on-going. Once the due diligence is complete, I expect the high level project management board to consider the outcome of that process, examine options arising and make recommendations to me.

The overall approach to the reform is wholly in accordance with established practice for structural reform processes within the Irish public sector. There will be appropriate staff consultation throughout the process. There has already been engagement with the main staff representative body – FORSA – and in all eventualities the commitment is that staff will transfer to the new structures on no less favourable terms and conditions, unless otherwise negotiated.

Recognising that such reform has a number of complex components, I am mindful of the need to manage the transition to the proposed new arrangements for aviation regulation in a careful and methodical manner. That includes in relation to the eventual enactment of supporting legislation. While good progress is being made, there are still a number of stages to navigate on the way to the production of a draft Bill that can be put forward to the House for consideration.

This is an important project for the future of aviation regulation in Ireland. While the changes involved may be complex they also provide a new opportunity for enhancing existing provisions. Throughout the change process, senior management in both organisations will ensure that business as usual continues for all external stakeholders.

  Questions Nos. 7 to 12, inclusive, answered orally.

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