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Varadkar, Leo

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 Nbr. 3


Leaders’ Questions

Has Deputy Finian McGrath’s time been taken up?More Button

We do not have a crystal ball.More Button

Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Financial Resolution

I move:More Button

Written Answers - Penalty Points System

Was asked: if he considering proposals to introduce penalty points for the offence of failing to display L [506]plates and/or being unaccompanied by a qualified driver; and if he w...More Button

Currently, where the holder of a learner permit is detected driving a mechanically propelled vehicle when not accompanied by and under the supervision of a qualified person, where so required, they...More Button

Written Answers - Driver Licensing

Was asked: when he intends to introduce the proposed new R plate requirement for newly qualified drivers; if legislation will be required in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The proposal to introduce an R plate for newly qualified drivers is one of the nine measures which together will add up to a graduated driver licensing system (GDLS) for Ireland, as recommended by ...More Button

It is my intention to provide in legislation for many of the elements of GDLS, including the R plate requirement, and these will be addressed in the next Road Traffic Bill, which will commence dra...More Button

Written Answers - State Airports

Was asked: the assessment formal or otherwise that has been carried out to ascertain the ramifications in airport competition terms of the decision to create a new entity comprising Shannon Airport and Shanno...More Button

Was asked: his plans to ensure the future viability of Shannon Airport in view of the halfing of traffic into the airport in recent years to approximately 1.5 million annually.More Button

Was asked: the person who will fund the major capex programmes for the new independent Shannon Airport going forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the commitment made for working capital provision in addition to debt write off for the new entity comprising Shannon Airport and Shannon Development as announced; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 533, 549, 556 and 557 together. More Button

Following on from the Booz Report on the future ownership and operation of Cork and Shannon Airports, the Government has decided in principle to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Aut...More Button

Questions in relation to the future of the Airport, its funding and its debt along with airport competition issues are among the matters to be considered by the Steering Group in the first instance.More Button

I should make it clear, however, that it is envisaged that the new merged entity, while remaining in public ownership, would have a commercial mandate with no recourse to Exchequer funding.More Button

Written Answers - Road Safety

Was asked: if he will make funding available to the National Roads Authority to allow them grant an application made by Westmeath County Council to install public lighting for the length of an entire village ...More Button

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 individua...More Button

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.More Button

Was asked: his views on proposals to include road safety on the reformed Junior Certificate Cycle. More Button

In the first instance, the Junior Certificate is a matter for the Minister for Education and Skills and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. However, I believe that the reformed Jun...More Button

Whilst we have made significant progress in relation to road safety in recent years, we need to continue to focus on ways of making our roads safer. A key factor in road safety is driver behaviour ...More Button

Was asked: his views on proposals to include road safety on the reformed Junior Certificate Cycle. More Button

In the first instance, the Junior Certificate is a matter for the Minister for Education and Skills and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. However, I believe that the reformed Jun...More Button

Whilst we have made significant progress in relation to road safety in recent years, we need to continue to focus on ways of making our roads safer. A key factor in road safety is driver behaviour ...More Button

Written Answers - Road Network

Was asked: if he will confirm the costs incurred in the construction of the southern ring road around Limerick and outline the overspend as it relates to the works on the Nenagh and Limerick area and Anaholty...More Button

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 individua...More Button

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.More Button

Written Answers - Job Initiatives

Was asked: the position regarding the measures contained with the jobs initiative that pertained to tourism. More Button

Was asked: his views on extending the lower VAT rate which was introduced with the jobs initiative in 2011 and has had a very positive impact on tourism across the regions and in particular in sustaining and ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 536 and 544 together.More Button

The Jobs Initiative in May last year recognised the vital contribution of tourism to employment, economic activity and foreign revenue earnings. The VAT reduction on a range of tourism services fr...More Button

Following discussions with the Minister for Finance, I was able to confirm last week that the lower rate of VAT will be maintained during 2013. This will allow businesses, tour operators and custo...More Button

2011 saw a welcome recovery in overseas visitor numbers with year-on-year growth of 6%. According to preliminary results from the Fáilte Ireland Hotel Survey, for the first nine months of 20...More Button

I understand that industry and trade partners are positive about prospects for the year, with reports of advance bookings and inquiries being up on this time last year and they are hopeful we can a...More Button

Written Answers - Tourism Promotion

Was asked: if he will provide an update on his plans for the Gathering. More Button

I presented proposals for “The Gathering Ireland 2013” at the Global Irish Economic Forum last October. Fáilte Ireland is the lead agency for the implementation of the initiative and has put...More Button

A new website has also gone live with information on how people can play their part in the event. In addition, social media channels are already on stream to promote the event and engage prospectiv...More Button

The domestic launch of the Gathering Ireland 2013 took place last Friday 11th May 2012 in Dublin Castle at an event attended by An Taoiseach, An Tánaiste, Minister of State Ring and I. The...More Button

Was asked: his plans to attract cycling tourism into County Louth; the steps he has taken on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have referred the Deputy’s question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you...More Button

Was asked: his plans to attract cycling tourism into County Louth; the steps he has taken on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have referred the Deputy’s question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you...More Button

Written Answers - Tourism Industry

Was asked: his views on the prospects for Irish tourism during the course of 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

According to the Central Statistics Office, there were over 6.5 million overseas visits to Ireland in 2011 — an increase of 6% on 2010 and the first growth since 2007. This was supported by...More Button

Looking to 2012, I am confident of achieving our target of a 4.5% increase in overseas visits for the full year. While overall visits decreased marginally in the first quarter of 2012, prospects ...More Button

Many factors should improve tourism performance in 2012, including increased capacity of around 3% on summer flights into Ireland and the most competitively-priced hotel rooms in Western Europe, as...More Button

The tourism agencies are promoting many exciting events this year, including the grand finale of the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway and the Notre Dame-Navy American football game at Dublin’s Aviv...More Button

Was asked: his views on the prospects for Irish tourism during the course of 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

According to the Central Statistics Office, there were over 6.5 million overseas visits to Ireland in 2011 — an increase of 6% on 2010 and the first growth since 2007. This was supported by...More Button

Looking to 2012, I am confident of achieving our target of a 4.5% increase in overseas visits for the full year. While overall visits decreased marginally in the first quarter of 2012, prospects ...More Button

Many factors should improve tourism performance in 2012, including increased capacity of around 3% on summer flights into Ireland and the most competitively-priced hotel rooms in Western Europe, as...More Button

The tourism agencies are promoting many exciting events this year, including the grand finale of the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway and the Notre Dame-Navy American football game at Dublin’s Aviv...More Button

Written Answers - Smarter Travel

Was asked: if he will consider incorporating the Smarter Transport Bill 2011 into upcoming legislation. More Button

Was asked: if he will consider allowing road authorities to make by-laws for the provision and use of charging bays on public roads for electrically powered vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles; and if he wil...More Button

Was asked: if will consider incorporating the Smarter Transport Bill 2011 into upcoming legislation. More Button

Was asked: if he will consider allowing road authorities to make by-laws for the provision and use of charging bays on public roads for electrically powered vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles; and if he wil...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 540, 541, 545 and 546 together.More Button

I am keen to encourage the use of electric cars and car clubs as part of my Department’s Sustainable Transport agenda, and changes to legislation to allow road authorities to make bye-laws wo...More Button

I support the substance of the proposals which Deputy Murphy has made. If the Smarter Transport Bill 2011 does not receive time for debate in the Oireachtas in the coming months, I will seek to inc...More Button

Was asked: if he will consider incorporating the Smarter Transport Bill 2011 into upcoming legislation. More Button

Was asked: if he will consider allowing road authorities to make bye-laws for the provision and use of charging bays on public roads for electrically powered vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles; and if he wi...More Button

Was asked: if will consider incorporating the Smarter Transport Bill 2011 into upcoming legislation. More Button

Was asked: if he will consider allowing road authorities to make bye-laws for the provision and use of charging bays on public roads for electrically powered vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles; and if he wi...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 540, 541, 545 and 546 together.More Button

I am keen to encourage the use of electric cars and car clubs as part of my Department’s Sustainable Transport agenda, and changes to legislation to allow road authorities to make bye-laws wo...More Button

I support the substance of the proposals which Deputy Murphy has made. If the Smarter Transport Bill 2011 does not receive time for debate in the Oireachtas in the coming months, I will seek to inc...More Button

Written Answers - Motor Taxation

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding motor tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Departments in line with eGovernment objectives are required to identify opportunities which will optimise online service availability for customers and at the same time deliver much needed cost sa...More Button

The issuing of email tax renewal notices has recently commenced on a pilot basis to vehicle owners in one local authority area, Wicklow, which has a big urban/rural profile as well as significant ...More Button

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding motor tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Departments in line with eGovernment objectives are required to identify opportunities which will optimise online service availability for customers and at the same time deliver much needed cost sa...More Button

The issuing of email tax renewal notices has recently commenced on a pilot basis to vehicle owners in one local authority area, Wicklow, which has a big urban/rural profile as well as significant ...More Button

Written Answers - Public Private Partnerships

Was asked: his position in relation to the provision of transport infrastructure by the public private partnership mechanism; his views on whether the successful passing of the Stability Treaty might expedite...More Button

The use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a delivery mechanism for capital investment, where appropriate, is kept under review. More Button

A number of road PPP projects have been successfully delivered in recent years. The successful awarding of a major PPP contract is challenging at any time but is particularly challenging in circums...More Button

I should point out that the Galway Outer Bypass is the subject of a referral to the European Court of Justice at present and as such the issue of access to funding does not arise pending clarificat...More Button

Question No. 544 answered with Question No. 536.More Button

Questions Nos. 545 and 546 answered with Question No. 540.More Button

Was asked: his position in relation to the provision of transport infrastructure by the public private partnership mechanism; his views on whether the successful passing of the Stability Treaty might expedite...More Button

The use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a delivery mechanism for capital investment, where appropriate, is kept under review. More Button

A number of road PPP projects have been successfully delivered in recent years. The successful awarding of a major PPP contract is challenging at any time but is particularly challenging in circums...More Button

I should point out that the Galway Outer Bypass is the subject of a referral to the European Court of Justice at present and as such the issue of access to funding does not arise pending clarificat...More Button

Question No. 544 answered with Question No. 536.More Button

Questions Nos. 545 and 546 answered with Question No. 540.More Button

Written Answers - Regulatory Impact Assessments

Was asked: the number and description of any regulatory impact assessments that have been undertaken by his Department on legislation or proposed legislation since 9 March 2011; the stage in the legislative/p...More Button

My Department has completed five Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIA) since 9 March 2011 as follows: Proposed merger of Railway Procurement Agency and the National Roads Authority — a summary an...More Button

In addition, my Department has a further two RIAs which are currently in progress. These are: the transposition of Directive 2010/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October...More Button

Was asked: the number and description of any regulatory impact assessments that have been undertaken by his Department on legislation or proposed legislation since 9 March 2011; the stage in the legislative/p...More Button

My Department has completed five Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIA) since 9 March 2011 as follows: Proposed merger of Railway Procurement Agency and the National Roads Authority — a summary an...More Button

In addition, my Department has a further two RIAs which are currently in progress. These are: the transposition of Directive 2010/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October...More Button

Written Answers - Rail Services

Was asked: if part of the upgrade Wifi enabled Irish Rail fleet can be used for the Dublin-Belfast route. More Button

The issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann. I have referred the Deputy’s question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do...More Button

Question No. 549 answered with Question No. 533.More Button

Was asked: if part of the upgrade Wifi enabled Irish Rail fleet can be used for the Dublin-Belfast route. More Button

The issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann. I have referred the Deputy’s question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do...More Button

Question No. 549 answered with Question No. 533.More Button

Written Answers - Regional Airports

Was asked: the plans he has for the development and support of Ireland West Airport Knock, County Mayo, in conjunction with plans for Shannon Airport, County Clare, as announced to ensure that both regions ar...More Button

Any developments in relation to Ireland West Airport Knock are a matter for the management of that Airport which is a privately owned entity. More Button

While a decision in principle have been taken in relation to Shannon Airport, a Steering Group which is shortly to be established by myself and the Minister of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation will b...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has for the development and support of Ireland West Airport Knock, County Mayo, in conjunction with plans for Shannon Airport, County Clare, as announced to ensure that both regions ar...More Button

Any developments in relation to Ireland West Airport Knock are a matter for the management of that Airport which is a privately owned entity. More Button

While a decision in principle have been taken in relation to Shannon Airport, a Steering Group which is shortly to be established by myself and the Minister of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation will b...More Button

Written Answers - Public Transport

Was asked: when the post implementation review of the abolition of the 19 bus route in Dublin due on 27 February 2012 will be published; and the work he is undertaking to ensure that local persons receive ans...More Button

The issue raised is an operational matter for Dublin Bus. I have referred the Deputy’s question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a repl...More Button

Was asked: when the post implementation review of the abolition of the 19 bus route in Dublin due on 27 February 2012 will be published; and the work he is undertaking to ensure that local persons receive ans...More Button

The issue raised is an operational matter for Dublin Bus. I have referred the Deputy’s question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a repl...More Button

Written Answers - Appointments to State Boards

Was asked: the appointments made by him to State boards under the remit of his Department since March 2011 that were advertised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question 259 of the 28th March, 2012 in which I set out the new procedures for appointments to State boards which have applied since my Department advertised them ...More Button

Was asked: the appointments made by him to State boards under the remit of his Department since March 2011 that were advertised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question 259 of the 28th March, 2012 in which I set out the new procedures for appointments to State boards which have applied since my Department advertised them ...More Button

Written Answers - National Cycle Policy

Was asked: the National Cycle Policy, the steps he has taken to further investment in cycling infrastructure here; the individual projects that have been furthered since he took office; his plans for further ...More Button

Was asked: the National Cycle Policy, the steps he has taken to further investment in cycling infrastructure here; the individual projects that have been furthered since he took office; his plans for further ...More Button

Written Answers - Cycle Facilities

Was asked: if assessments have been made of abandoned railway lines across the State and the feasibility of developing these into cycle ways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if assessments have been made of abandoned railway lines across the State and the feasibility of developing these into cycle ways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button