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Brennan, Seamus

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 Nbr. 4


Arts Bill, 2002: Second Stage (Resumed).

The Minister is being modest.More Button

Railway Safety Bill, 2001: Order for Second Stage.

I move: “That Second Stage be taken now.”More Button

Railway Safety Bill, 2001: Second Stage.

I move: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”More Button

I am pleased to introduce the Railway Safety Bill, 2001, to the House. The primary purposes of the Bill are to establish an independent statutory public body, the Railway Safety Commission, with wi...More Button

One of my main priorities as Minister for Transport will be to continue the good work of my predecessor, Senator O'Rourke, in improving railway safety. There is a wide consensus of opinion that the...More Button

Following a derailment at Knockcroghery in November 1997, my predecessor commissioned an independent review by consultants led by IRMS of all aspects of the safety of Iarnród Éireann'...More Button

In March 1999, the Government approved a €546 million railway safety investment programme, to be implemented between 1999 and 2003. The programme is proceeding satisfactorily. Up to the end of...More Button

I intend to seek Government approval in the near future for the reconvening of the railway safety task force to make recommendations for a new five-year railway safety investment programme, to comm...More Button

The Railway Safety Bill, 2001 is designed to put in place a modern regulatory framework for railway safety. During the drafting of the Bill, careful consideration was given to the IRMS recommendati...More Button

I propose to outline briefly the main provisions of the legislation, which is separated into 11 parts. Part 1 includes standard provisions in regard to such matters as the short title, interpretati...More Button

Earlier this year, the EU Commission published its proposals for a new railway safety directive. The Commission proposes that railway accident investigations should be a function of a separate perm...More Button

Section 14 provides that the railway safety commission will comprise up to three members. It is my intention to initially appoint one but I will keep under review the need to increase this in light...More Button

Section 16 provides that the two other railway inspecting officers of my Department will transfer to the commission on its establishment. It is envisaged the commission will have a permanent staff ...More Button

Part 3 places general duties of care on railway undertakings, persons working on railways and other persons. Section 38 states it will be the general duty of a railway undertaking to ensure, in so ...More Button

Part 4 deals with safety management systems, safety cases and related issues. Section 41 requires that a railway undertaking implement a formal safety management system and describe that system in ...More Button

Sections 46 and 47 relate to the assessment of the safety management system by independent experts, and the submission and acceptance of the safety case by the commission. The commission will issue...More Button

Part 5 deals with the investigation of railway incidents. It provides for three possible approaches – an investigation by the railway undertaking, an investigation by the commission or a trib...More Button

Section 55 empowers the commission to investigate any railway incident. The purpose of an investigation by the commission will not be to bring a criminal prosecution but to improve railway safety b...More Button

Part 6 deals with the making of regulations in relation to specified matters and the review of legislation by the commission. Part 7 addresses the enforcement powers of inspectors of the commission...More Button

Sections 73 to 76 give a range of powers to inspectors to take enforcement action where the operation of a railway undertaking is likely to pose a risk to safety or where a person is contravening a...More Button

The purpose of an improvement notice will be to enable the commission to require that a railway undertaking or other person rectify, by a specified date, a failure to comply with the Bill. This pow...More Button

A prohibition notice will enable the commission to require a railway undertaking or other person to immediately cease an activity that poses an immediate and substantial risk to the safety of passe...More Button

Part 8 deals with the establishment of the railway safety advisory council and sets out its membership and functions. The council will comprise 14 members including representatives of railway under...More Button

Part 9 sets out a detailed regime for the testing of specified safety critical staff of railway undertakings for intoxicants, that is, drugs and alcohol. This is a significant innovation in the are...More Button

Section 84 places a number of duties on these safety critical workers. They must not have a level of alcohol in their bodies above the specified limit at a material time and must not be under the i...More Button

Section 86 requires a railway undertaking to appoint a medically qualified person to take samples from safety critical workers in accordance with the agreed code of conduct and procedures. Section ...More Button

These provisions give railway undertakings strong legal powers to deal with intoxication through internal disciplinary procedures and place substantial legal obligations on railway employees with s...More Button

Part 10 of the Bill deals with works on a public road in the vicinity of a railway and also to infrastructural works on the railway. In framing this part of the Bill, my Department had in mind the ...More Button

My Department came to the conclusion that the best way to avoid a similar occurrence here was to require a road authority or any other party that is planning to carry out works near a railway, such...More Button

Part 11 of the Bill deals with various procedural matters such as prosecution and service of notices. Section 94 provides that specified classes of records relating to accident investigations by a ...More Button

However, the commission or a tribunal will be able to disclose these records where, in its opinion, the benefit to the public interest of doing so outweighs any adverse impact on a current or futur...More Button

This section has been included following careful consideration of comments received from Iarnród Éireann, its trade unions and the Public Transport Partnership Forum. Also, similar pr...More Button

The intention of these provisions is to improve railway safety by encouraging the co-operation of parties involved in railway incidents, through the reassurance of confidentiality and thus enhancin...More Button

Only the specified records relating to railway incident investigations will be excluded from the Freedom of Information Act. I will be requesting the Minister for Finance to apply the Freedom of In...More Button

The provisions of section 94 are based on the view that, on balance, the public's right to travel safely outweighs the public's right to know. Perhaps some Deputies may disagree with this view and ...More Button

The new regulatory framework, together with the major investment which this Government continues to make in our railways, will lay the bedrock for safe railway travel in the future and will provide...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Regulations.

Was asked: if he will adjust by-laws to allow motorbike users access to bus lanes which would bring Ireland in line with other European countries where bus lanes are open to more environmentally friendly and ...More Button

The use of bus lanes in this country is provided for in the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations, 1997, the primary purpose of which is to facilitate and promote bus based public transpor...More Button

An overriding concern is the carrying capacity of bus lanes and the potential that their primary role to provide bus priority could be undermined if other vehicles are allowed access. Having regard...More Button

I understand that the position in relation to access to bus lanes in the United Kingdom generally reflects the position here and have no proposals at present to amend the existing provisions.More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Network.

Was asked: if any part of the railway line linking Sligo with Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Rosslare via the western rail corridor is at immediate or impending risk of downgrading or closure; if funding for...More Button

I have no plans to downgrade or close any part of the railway system nor have I received any recommendation from Iarnród Éireann to do so. My Department is currently overseeing a majo...More Button

Was asked: when Iarnród Éireann intends to complete the upgrading of the Ennis to Limerick railway line.More Button

I am informed by Iarnród Éireann that renewal of the Limerick to Ennis line is currently under way and ten miles are programmed for completion in 2002. The section will be completely ...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Estimates.

Was asked: the details of the appropriations-in-aid raised by his Department in 2000 and 2001; his estimate for the outturn for 2002; and the percentage yearly increase in each subhead.More Button

Details of appropriations-in-aid for the years 2000, 2001 and up to 18 June 2002 are in respect of the former Department of Public Enterprise. As the Deputy will appreciate, this Vote is in the pro...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the following table:More Button

*Estimate shows receipts up to 18 June 2002 in respect of subheads transferring to other Departments.More Button

#Estimate shows anticipated receipts from 19 June 2002 in respect of subheads transferring to the Department of Transport.More Button

The 2002 Estimate, which is in respect of the newly formed Department of Transport, is not directly comparable to the 2001 Department of Public Enterprise Vote.More Button

Was asked: the revenue from charges related to public services which his Department approves to be raised by agencies under his aegis, which are not included in appropriations in aid for 2000, 2001 and 2002.More Button

Details of revenue raised from public service charges for 2000, 2001 and up to 18 June 2002 are in respect of the former Department of Public Enterprise. As the Deputy will appreciate, this Vote is...More Button

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland, RPII – The RPII earns income from various services which it provides in relation to:More Button

Product certification – the certification of Irish export produce for radioactivity content; dosimetry and instrument calibration service – measuring radiation doses received by those w...More Button

licence fees – regulating by licence the custody, use, manufacture, disposal, etc. of radioactive substances and apparatus.More Button

The income in respect of these services is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - National Car Test.

Was asked: the reasons for a NCT test for taxi and hackney drivers for new vehicles; the reason it takes three weeks of a delay for same to be carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A certificate of suitability is required before a small public service licence can be issued for a vehicle irrespective of whether it is a new or used vehicle. The inspection for such a certificate...More Button

Under the terms of its contract, NCTS is required to carry out a test within 28 days of the date of the making of a request for a test. The company consistently offers test appointments in a shorte...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: the total estimated cost of changes, including the dis-use of old stationery, the purchase of new letterheads, stationery, and changes to websites and so on and all other costs incurred as a result...More Button

The costs associated with changes such as stationery, new letterheads, website etc., are unlikely to exceed €11,000. The website was in the course of revision prior to the change in Department...More Button