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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 63-82
 Header Item Driver Test
 Header Item Driver Test
 Header Item Driver Test
 Header Item Driver Test
 Header Item National Car Test
 Header Item National Car Test
 Header Item Driver Test
 Header Item National Transport Authority
 Header Item Driver Licences
 Header Item Electric Vehicles
 Header Item Parking Regulations
 Header Item Departmental Budgets
 Header Item Córas Iompair Éireann
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Railway Stations
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1002 No. 6

First Page Previous Page Page of 110 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 63-82

Driver Test

 63. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if the new online urgent driver test service for essential workers is fully operational, with invitations for test dates being sent out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43703/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton The RSA have set up a dedicated webform at https://www.rsa.ie/en/RSA/Learner-Drivers/The-Driving-Test/Request-an-urgent-driving-test/ to allow customers to assess whether they qualify for an urgent test appointment and if so, to submit an application for same.

  If the applicant’s request is accepted, they will be placed on a short notice list and may be called for a test with as little as one days’ notice. While there is some capacity for urgent test slots, the Road Safety Authority (RSA)'s capacity to make these available in all cases will be limited.

Driver Test

 64. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the number of urgent driver tests received from essential workers for each driver test centre in County Donegal since the launch of the new online urgent driving test request service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43704/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton As this is an operational matter for the Road Safety Authority (RSA), I have referred your question to the Authority for direct response. If you do not receive a response within 10 working days, please contact my office directly.

Driver Test

 65. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the number of driver test cancellations received for each driver test centre in County Donegal since the launch of the new online urgent driver test request service; the number of test date invitations that were issued to essential workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43705/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton As this is an operational matter for the Road Safety Authority (RSA), I have referred your question to the Authority for direct response. If you do not receive a response within 10 working days, please contact my office directly.

Driver Test

 66. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if a test date will be offered to an essential worker (details supplied) who registered with the new online urgent test date service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43706/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton As this is an operational matter for the Road Safety Authority (RSA), I have referred your question to the Authority for direct response. If you do not receive a response within 10 working days, please contact my office directly.

National Car Test

 67. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are no available appointments at NCT centres in County Donegal to facilitate those who require an inspection for VRT purposes; if extra appointments will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43708/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton I must advise the Deputy that all matters relating to vehicle registration tax, including the operation of the vehicle registration process carried out by Applus Car Testing Service, are matters for the Revenue Commissioners.

  Please note that the National Car Test (NCT) is an entirely separate function undertaken by Applus on behalf of the Road Safety Authority.

National Car Test

 68. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if an appointment will be made available at an NCT centre in County Donegal for a person (details supplied) to facilitate an inspection for VRT purposes in December 2020 to prevent increased charges which will be applied in January 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43709/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton I must advise the Deputy that all matters relating to vehicle registration tax, including the operation of the vehicle registration process carried out by Applus Car Testing Service, are matters for the Revenue Commissioner.

  Please note that the National Car Test (NCT) is an entirely separate function undertaken by Applus on behalf of the Road Safety Authority.

Driver Test

 69. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if a driver test will be expedited in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43717/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton The scheduling of candidates’ driving tests is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and as Minister, I have no power to intervene in individual cases. Therefore I have sent your question to the RSA for direct reply.

National Transport Authority

 70. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan when he plans to fill the two vacant positions on the board of the National Transport Authority; if he will appoint at least one person with a background in rail transportation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43762/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Section 14(1) of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, as amended by Sections 29 and 30 of the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009, provides that the National Transport Authority (NTA) shall consist of a Chairperson and 11 ordinary members, who perform and carry out the functions of the NTA in accordance with the Acts, and that appointments to the Authority are made by the Minister for Transport.

  The legislation specifies that (other than for the three ex officio appointments required by the legislation), appointments are made from persons who, in the opinion of the Minister, have wide experience in relation to transport, industrial, commercial, financial, land use planning or environmental matters, the organisation of workers or administration.

  The NTA has responsibility for the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network and the provision of public transport infrastructure.

  As Minister, I will continue to have regard to the need for an appropriate mix of experience across relevant areas, including rail, when filling vacancies on the NTA Board, such as the two current vacancies, which will be subject to an open process faciltiated by the Public Appointments Service early in 2021.

Driver Licences

 71. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the status of plans to provide a driver licence to asylum seekers currently residing in Ireland. [43764/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Currently, Ireland does not issue driving licences to applicants for international protection (asylum seekers) as their residency status in the State is not yet determined.

Having said that, as set out in the Programme for Government, the current policy not to allow applicants for international protection access to a driving licence will be changed. To provide for this, there are a number of complex legal, administrative and technical issues to consider and resolve.

Officials in my Department and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are working on these measures at present, but it is not possible to give a definitive date yet for when these changes will be in place. However, I can assure the Deputy that my officials are working hard, in close cooperation with all the stakeholders, to make this happen.

Electric Vehicles

 72. Deputy Darren O'Rourke Information on Darren O'Rourke Zoom on Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the number of applications for wheelchair-accessible electric vehicle grants for SPSVs in 2019 and 2020: the number of individual grants awarded in both years; the value awarded in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43783/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) sector, including administration of grants for wheelchair accessible electric SPSVs, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

  Accordingly, I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. 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 51

Parking Regulations

 73. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan Information on Cian O'Callaghan Zoom on Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the plans in place to address illegal parking on footpaths and walkways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43910/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Information on Hildegarde Naughton Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton Parking on a footpath or walkway is illegal under the current Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking Regulations), as amended, and carries a fixed charge of €40, rising to €60 if not paid within 28 days.

Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 2010 grants powers to the Minister for Transport to make regulations prescribing different amounts for fixed charge notice offences. The Department keeps these charges under constant review and can intervene to impose increases where it is deemed appropriate.

Most recently, for example, in March 2018 the previous Minister, Mr. Shane Ross, increased the fixed charge for the offence of parking in a disabled bay from €80 to €150 in response to evidence presented by An Garda Síochána and by disability representative groups of a sharp rise in non-compliance.

For clarification, enforcement of illegal parking is a matter for the Garda Síochána and for individual local authorities.

While the Department is open to the possibility of introducing similar increases for other parking offences such as that of parking on the footpath, such changes will require engagement both with An Garda Síochána and with the local authorities so as to ensure fairness and proportionality and to take into account issues of implementation and enforcement.

Departmental Budgets

 74. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the current budgets in his Department for social media advertising for 2021; and the campaigns behind each budget line in tabular form. [44032/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan For the purpose of this response, “social media platforms” has been interpreted as solely these and no other form of digital advertising.

My Department currently engages in organic social media posting on social media platforms, in order to connect members of the public with important issues in the transport sector. To date in 2020, there has been no expenditure associated with social media advertising, and currently there is no expenditure planned for 2021.

Córas Iompair Éireann

 75. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan when the new pension scheme for train workers will come into effect. [44089/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport in Ireland.

  The CIÉ Group has two pension schemes, namely the Regular Wages Scheme (“RWS”) and 1951 superannuation scheme (“1951 Scheme”), of which all employees of the subsidiary companies, including Irish Rail, are members. Issues in relation to CIÉ pension schemes are primarily a matter for the trustees of the schemes, the CIÉ Group and their employees.

  In relation to the RWS, it is understood that the Scheme Trustees are progressing a funding proposal and a draft of the Statutory Instrument is currently being prepared by CIE’s external legal advisors.

  Concerning the 1951 scheme, I understand that proposals related to the scheme were referred to the Labour Court, and a recommendation which emerged on 23rd November is currently being considered by both the Trade Unions and the Company.

  I have therefore referred the Deputy’s question to CIÉ 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 51

Rail Network

 76. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he will consider an issue (details supplied) in relation to train fares; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44102/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

  The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the regulation of fares in relation to public passenger transport services. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Railway Stations

 77. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he is considering upgrade works at Newbridge train station, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44103/20]

 78. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he is considering upgrade works at Athy train station, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44104/20]

 79. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he is considering upgrade works at Kildare town train station, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44105/20]

 80. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he is considering upgrade works at Monasterevin train station, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44106/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 to 80, inclusive, together.

  As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including, in consultation with Iarnród Éireann, the planning and development of rail infrastructure.

  Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, and to ensure the Deputy receives a detailed update of the status of the proposed project, I have referred his question to the NTA for a more detailed reply.

  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Road Projects

 81. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the position on the provision of a new road (details supplied) in County Kildare. [44107/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. State grants, where applicable, are intended to supplement the funding allocated to the maintenance and improvement of roads by local authorities from their own resources.

The National Development Plan (NDP) does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network but funding is not yet at the level needed for the adequate maintenance and renewal of regional and local roads. For this reason the primary focus for capital investment continues to be the maintenance and renewal of the network with some limited investment in road improvement schemes. In this context 12 regional and local road improvement projects were identified for development, subject to necessary approvals, in the NDP and the construction of a Distributor Road to the south of Athy connecting to the N78 is one of those schemes.

Under the Public Spending Code and the terms and conditions applying to regional and local road grants, capital projects are subject to review and approval at a number of stages. In this context Kildare County Council has submitted the contract documentation for the main Athy scheme construction contract to my Department for review.

The project will be subject to further consideration before a decision is made on whether the tender process proceeds.

Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

 82. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Iompair Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan cad iad na pleananna atá ag a Roinn chun seirbhísí faoina riar a chur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge, chun cur le líon na seirbhísí atá ar fáil trí Ghaeilge faoina riar, agus chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, le linn 2021. [44164/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Tá mo Roinn tiomanta gach iarracht a dhéanamh freastal ar chustaiméirí ar mian leo a gcuid gnó a dhéanamh leis an Roinn trí Ghaeilge de réir théarmaí Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Mar chuid den tseirbhís don phobal, tá Oifigeach Gaeilge ceaptha ag mo Roinn agus oifigigh Roinne aitheanta ar féidir leo seirbhís a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge.Tá seoladh ríomhphoist tiomnaithe ann freisin chun comhfhreagras leictreonach trí Ghaeilge agus deasc chabhrach teileafóin a éascú chun déileáil le fiosrúcháin ó bhéal.

De réir Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003, tá Scéim Teanga 2018-2021 ullmhaithe agus foilsithe ag an Roinn agus tar éis comhairliúcháin phoiblí le déanaí, tá obair ar siúl faoi láthair ar leagan nua a bheidh ar fáil i 2021.

Críochnaíodh an Dara Céim do Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) 2019 sa Dáil ar 8 Deireadh Fómhair. Is é príomhchuspóir an Bhille ná Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 a leasú ionas go mbeifear in ann feabhas a chur ar sholáthar seirbhísí phoiblí trí Ghaeilge agus líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge a earcaítear sa tseirbhís phoiblí a mheadú. Tá tacaíocht an Rialtais faighte roinnt leasuithe a mholadh a láidróidh an Bille. Tá an Rialtas tiomanta an Bhille a bhrú ar aghaidh a luaithe agus is féidir. Beidh Céim an Choiste ag tosú ar an 20 Eanáir.

Ceadaíonn an Bille Coiste Comhairleach reachtúil um Sheirbhísí Gaeilge a bhunú d’fhonn soláthar sheirbhísí poiblí trí Ghaeilge a mhéadú agus a fheabhsú. Bunófar an Coiste Comhairleach tráth nach ndéanaí ná sé mhí tar éis an Bhille a bheith achtaithe. Leagtar amach feidhmeanna an Choiste Chomhairligh sa Bhille, lena n-áirítear Plean Náisiúnta a fhoilsiú ar mhaithe le soláthar seirbhísí poiblí trí mheán na Gaeilge a mhéadú. Beidh an Plean Náisiúnta ullmhaithe agus curtha faoi bhráid an Aire tráth nach ndéanaí ná dhá bhliain tar éis a bhunaithe. Déanfar tuairisciú rialta ar an dul chun cinn trí tuairisc gach dara bliain ón Choiste Chomhairligh, a bheidh le cur chuig an Aire, an Coimisinéir Teanga agus le leagan os comhair na Tithe. Tabharfaidh sé seo leibhéal trédhearcacht d’obair an stáit chun soláthar sheirbhísí poiblí trí Ghaeilge a mhéadú agus a fheabhsú.

Cuirfidh oifigigh ó mo Roinn moltaí i bhfeidhm a eascróidh as tograí chun Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 a leasú agus a leathnú.


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