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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 449-468
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Rail Passengers Data
 Header Item Legislative Programme
 Header Item Driver Test Waiting Lists
 Header Item Road Projects Status
 Header Item National Driver Licensing Service
 Header Item Brexit Negotiations
 Header Item Coast Guard Services
 Header Item National Driver Licensing Service
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item Brexit Preparations
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item Park and Ride Facilities
 Header Item Coast Guard Services
 Header Item Coast Guard Services
 Header Item Coast Guard Services
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Sports Organisations
 Header Item Light Rail Projects

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 449-468

Taxi Regulations

 449. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the regulations as published for approval of community transport services as defined by Part 7 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10288/19]

 450. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross his views on a National Transport Authority form (details supplied); if the form is valid; if not, if a copy of the most recent valid form will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10289/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 449 and 450 together.

  As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

  The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which now operates under the Local Link brand.

  In addition, the regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, is a matter for the NTA under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

  Noting this I have forward the Deputy's Questions to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Rail Passengers Data

 451. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the number of passengers commuting daily from each of the stations from Heuston to Newbridge inclusive in each of the years 2004 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10325/19]

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

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Legislative Programme

 452. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross his plans to update the Road Safety Authority Act 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10367/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross It is my intention to examine the Road Safety Authority Act 2006, in consultation with the Road Safety Authority, to determine if amendments are required, and if so, to prepare the necessary legislation.

Driver Test Waiting Lists

 453. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if a maximum waiting time will be introduced for driver tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10370/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The Driver Testing Service is provided by the Road Safety Authority. The Authority's target for a national average waiting time for a driving test is no longer than ten weeks. The current average wait time is just over nine weeks.

Road Projects Status

 454. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Information on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Zoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the status of works being carried out on the N71 in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10376/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, improvement and maintenance of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. 

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

National Driver Licensing Service

 455. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross his views on whether it is appropriate that the National Driver Licence Service charges a fee of €35 to replace stolen licences in cases in which the holder of the licence has a crime reference from gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10388/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within ten days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Brexit Negotiations

 456. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he has made representations in order to ensure that Irish licence holders will continue to be able to drive legally in Northern Ireland. [10400/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, has indicated it will continue to recognise EU driving licences after Brexit, which of course will include Irish licences.

  Further information from the UK side is available here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/prepare-to-drive-in-the-eu-after-brexit

Coast Guard Services

 457. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he will reverse his decision to disallow the Irish Coast Guard from using blue lights and sirens when responding to an emergency call out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10401/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross There is no change in the policy in relation to use of blue lights and sirens on Coast Guard vehicles. Under SI 694 and 695 of 2011, Coast Guard vehicles can be fitted with blue lights and warning devices. Arising from a safety review internally, the Coast Guard issued a clarification to its volunteers in relation to how these blue lights and warning devices (sirens) should be used on public roads. This instruction sets out the existing position as regards their use while driving on public roads and it mirrors best practice in other Emergency Services for untrained “Blue-light” drivers.  The issue of training Coast Guard volunteers and full-time staff in the correct and safe use of Blue Lights and sirens is being addressed as part of the Coast Guard’s Safety and Risk Work Plan.

  Any legislative changes in relation to the use of blue lights and sirens would require a policy assessment which would have to take account, inter alia, of the need to balance the safety of staff, whether full-time or voluntary, members of the public as well as those to whom the Coast Guard is responding.

National Driver Licensing Service

 458. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if additional resources will be made available to the National Driver Licence Service in order to address increased demand for licence swaps in view of the decision of the UK to withdraw from the European Union. [10405/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within ten days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Brexit Issues

 459. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he has discussed with an organisation (details supplied) or another body the possibility of amending legislation or introducing new legislation in order to ensure that UK licences continue to enjoy the same status as they currently receive. [10406/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I have not discussed the introduction nor amendment of legislation on this matter with the Automobile Association nor any other lobby group, whether Irish or foreign.

Brexit Preparations

 460. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross his plans to introduce legislation to ensure that holders of UK driver licences will be able to drive here legally and will retain the possibility of exchanging their licence for an Irish licence, even if the United Kingdom exits the European Union in March 2019. [10407/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross My Department is reviewing potential arrangements for the exchange of UK driving licences if the UK exits the European Union. These arrangements may involve a formal foreign driver licence exchange agreement and the implementation of the relevant legislation.

Bus Éireann Services

 461. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he in conjunction with the NTA can investigate the possibility of allowing the 101 Bus Éireann service to pick up passengers between Dorset Street and Dublin Airport (details supplied); and if the ways in which the service could be rolled out across other routes within Dublin city will be investigated. [10417/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The issues raised are a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA), in conjunction with Bus Éireann, and I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Park and Ride Facilities

 462. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross his plans to identify a bus park and ride facility on the N7 near Rathcoole, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10429/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The National Transport Authority (NTA) have statutory responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including the provision of Bus Park and Ride facilities.

Noting their responsibility in relation to this matter, I have forwarded your query to the NTA for their consideration and direct reply.  Please notify my office if you have not received a reply within 10 working days. 

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Coast Guard Services

 463. 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 reason a ban on the use of emergency blue lights and sirens by Irish Coast Guard teams is being implemented; and if this decision will be revised in view of the risk it poses to persons in need of emergency attendance by the coast guard. [10447/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross There is no change in the policy in relation to use of blue lights and sirens on Coast Guard vehicles. Under SI 694 and 695 of 2011, Coast Guard vehicles can be fitted with blue lights and warning devices. Arising from a safety review internally, the Coast Guard issued a clarification to its volunteers in relation to how these blue lights and warning devices (sirens) should be used on public roads. This instruction sets out the existing position as regards their use while driving on public roads and it mirrors best practice in other Emergency Services for untrained “Blue-light” drivers.  The issue of training Coast Guard volunteers and full-time staff in the correct and safe use of Blue Lights and sirens is being addressed as part of the Coast Guard’s Safety and Risk Work Plan.

  Any legislative changes in relation to the use of blue lights and sirens would require a policy assessment which would have to take account, inter alia, of the need to balance the safety of staff, whether full-time or voluntary, members of the public as well as those to whom the Coast Guard is responding.

Coast Guard Services

 464. 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 reason the Irish Coast Guard has never been placed on a statutory footing particularly in view of the fact that Ireland is an island nation. [10448/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross On 15 February 2017 as a Commencement Matter in the Seanad, I comprehensively addressed the matter of Coast Guard Services and the proposition that the Coast Guard should be designated as a stand-alone primary response agency. Legislating for a stand-alone agency is an inherently complex task and the volunteer dimension of the Coast Guard's activities adds to that complexity.  The test for any such designation, given the complexity of the legislation and associated costs, is the added value it would bring. The Coast Guard is functioning very effectively as a Division of my Department and its role is supported through various legislative instruments.  For that reason, I advised at the time that it was difficult to identify any benefit or added value for legislation of this nature.

An Irish Coast Guard Authority Bill was proposed by Deputy Troy during 2018. Once the Bill has been progressed further, I will be happy to consider the matter once again and provide my views.

Coast Guard Services

 465. 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 if the request by an organisation (details supplied) to implement an urgent review of coast guard management and personnel will be agreed to. [10449/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The Coast Guard has no knowledge of the existence of the group named in the PQ other than through an anonymous email circulated to Oireachtas members.  As matters stand there is only one body in place to represent the interests and concerns of the Coast Guard volunteers which is the Coast Unit Advisory Group (CUAG). This group was established over 20 years ago. It comprises 6 volunteers elected by the volunteers. It has functioned as a sounding board for concerns from the volunteers and provides a platform for raising issues in relation to equipment, training, procedures, etc.  The CUAG has not called for a review of the Coast Guard.

On the broader question of reviewing the Coast Guard, there are various processes currently underway to address recommendations arising from the recent MCIB report into the fatal accident involving a Coast Guard boat in Kilkee and the recommendations arising from the recent AQE Report on the oversight of SAR aviation operations - all of which are relevant to the management and operation of the Irish Coast Guard. 

In November, I established a Search and Rescue Framework Review Group under an external chairperson to undertake a review of the current SAR Framework document, including follow-up to the relevant MCIB recommendations.  This document sets out the roles and responsibilities of those organisations involved in SAR in Ireland and the relationships between them. External expertise has been procured to assist the Review.  This work is progressing well and should be completed this Summer.

Rail Services

 466. 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 Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the estimated amount it would cost Iarnród Éireann if the number of security contracted staff increased by a further 20% based on 2018 figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10468/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The issue raised is a matter for the 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 response within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Sports Organisations

 467. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the status of competing karate governing bodies to date; and if he will ensure that no athlete affiliated to either body is forced to miss an upcoming Olympic qualification event as a result of the present situation. [10494/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the promotion, development and co-ordination of sport in Ireland. This includes responsibility for the recognition of sporting organisations as National Governing Bodies.

I have referred the Deputy's question to Sport Ireland for direct response. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within ten days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Light Rail Projects

 468. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if there has been a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the impact of the closure of the Luas green line for the purposes of upgrading it to become part of MetroLink. [10496/19]

 476. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the estimated cost of the proposed MetroLink route between Charlemont and Sandyford. [10648/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 468 and 476 together.

  The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area, including MetroLink.

  Noting their responsibility in relation to this matter, I have forwarded your query to the NTA for their consideration and direct reply. Please notify my office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A


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