Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1172-1181
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Public Transport Subsidies
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Air Services Provision
 Header Item Sale of State Assets
 Header Item Departmental Funding

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 788 No. 1
Unrevised

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Written Answers Nos. 1172-1181

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Question No. 1172 answered with Question No. 1170.

Tourism Promotion

 1173. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his Department or relevant State agency will consider a marketing fund to support golf clubs in their efforts to attract golfers from the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1626/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar 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 do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 1174. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if there are any top up grant available for organisations that have recently been approved for funding under the sports capital programme where they are based in disadvantaged areas for example under the Clár programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1628/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Under some previous rounds of the Sports Capital Programme, extra "top-up" funding was allocated to grantees in designated disadvantaged areas.  This funding was provided by the Department with responsibility for CLAR and RAPID programmes - currently the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

No such funding was allocated by that Department to grantees under the 2012 round of the Programme and any further queries in relation to this matter are more appropriate to my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

Public Transport Subsidies

 1175. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on introducing legislation to address the problem of public transport passengers putting their feet on seats (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1687/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar This is a matter for CIÉ and its subsidiary companies.  The Deputy should note that both Dublin Bus and Irish Rail already have bye-laws in place where the prohibition of feet on seats is stated.  Bus Éireann also intends to adopt bye-laws which will also have a similar prohibition.  Bye-laws are also in place in respect of Luas operations that may be used to prohibit passengers putting feet on seats. I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the companies for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Taxi Regulations

 1176. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the current requirements for taxis in relation to the fitting of decals by an authorised supplier; if the presence of a decal is now a requirement for passing the annual suitability test for taxi drivers; if there are any supports available for taxi workers for the fitting of a decal in view of the fact that it may cost up to €250 to have their car upgraded in this way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1700/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly In line with Action 31 of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011, the National Transport Authority (NTA) made regulations on 20 December 2012 under statutory instrument no. 535 of 2012, requiring a semi-permanent decal to be affixed to taxis and wheelchair accessible taxis. With effect from the 1st January 2013 the approved external signage is a requirement for the grant or renewal of the vehicle licence or for the transfer of the licence to a different vehicle.

The aim of the branding is to provide greater recognition of taxis, promote greater professionalism of the industry and to reduce the potential for unlicensed vehicles to operate as taxis. The introduction of branding is a positive move for the industry and there is no financial support being provided for compliance with the new requirements.

Ministerial Meetings

 1177. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he has received a request from the board, or representatives of SMAE, of Ireland West Airport Knock for a meeting; and when he will be in a position to meet them. [1821/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Since coming to office, I and senior officials of my Department have already had a number of meetings and engagements with the Chairman and managament of Ireland West Airport Knock.  As regards a meeting with the Board of the Airport, arrangements have been made for the Taoiseach and myself to meet the Board  in the coming weeks.

Air Services Provision

 1178. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will outline the basis for his assertion that the recent actions in relation to Shannon Airport will have no impact on the operations of Ireland West Airport Knock; if he will outline the safeguards in place to prevent Shannon from targeting Knock Airport for airline routes or passenger business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1822/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As the Deputy is aware, the Government decided in November to proceed with the separation of Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and to merge it with a restructured Shannon Development to form a new integrated Shannon entity in public ownership. The Order specifying the date of separation of Shannon Airport from the DAA was executed last month following its approval by both Houses of the Oireachtas and, as decided by Government, that date was 31st December 2012.  On that day, the assets and business of Shannon Airport were transferred from the DAA to the Shannon Airport Authority (SAA).

All Irish airports should operate to a commercial mandate and I have stressed on numerous occasions that regional airports, including Ireland West Airport Knock, must work towards achieving operational viability over the near term. In this regard, apart from the consideration of restructuring the State-owned airports, I have also endeavoured to rationalise the system of State support for the regional airports not owned or controlled by the state including those in the ownership of private companies and trust  and the Government now has a settled policy in relation to those airports.

I believe that these measures will give rise to some degree of increased competition not only between the State airports but also between them and the regional airports, including Knock and Kerry airports. The measures we are taking are focused on increasing the overall number of passengers to and from Ireland through increased efficiencies and attracting new aviation business that would otherwise not be based in Ireland which will have a beneficial national impact.

I am confident that the measures will form the basis for sound, sustainable, airport businesses into the future that will support the growth of these sectors and help drive Ireland’s economic recovery. Furthermore, I am confident that there is a role for all remaining airports in providing scheduled air access for Ireland including IWAK, Shannon, Donegal, Waterford and Kerry. I know the Deputy will be aware of the importance of transatlantic connections and access to Heathrow through Shannon to the West of Ireland including his constituency and that he will want to see the airport's decline halted.

Sale of State Assets

 1179. Deputy John Browne Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans for the sale of Rosslare Harbour Port, County Wexford; if he is currently having it evaluated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1866/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I have no plans in relation to the sale of Rosslare Port. However, I have recently appointed consultants, Indecon, to undertake a strategic review of the current and future role of Rosslare Port. The consultants have been asked to assess the port’s current commercial and operational efficiency and advise as to whether the port is maximising its potential and make recommendations as to the optimal ownership and operational structure for the port. The consultants are expected to report in early April. For the Deputy's information, I have asked that the local Oireachtas members be consulted as part of this process.

Departmental Funding

 1180. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a list of the bodies, other than statutory bodies, that were fully funded by his Department in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1912/13]

 1181. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a list of the bodies, other than statutory bodies, that were partially funded by his Department in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2043/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1180 and 1181 together.

Details of the funding arrangements for activities under the aegis of my Department, including allocations to specific statutory and non-statutory bodies, are set out in the Annual Estimates volumes that are available on the appropriate websites. My Department runs two grant programmes: The Sports Capital Programme and the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme. The Irish Sports Council are responsible for the administration of the Grants Scheme for National Governing Bodies of Sport. Details of Sports Capital Programme payments in 2012 will be available from the Department’s website www.dttas.ie before the end of this week.

My Department part funds the operation of the Rural Transport Programme. The funding is channelled through the National Transport Authority (NTA) and disbursed by POBAL on their behalf to Rural Transport Groups.  The table below lists the Rural Transport Groups which receive funding from my Department through NTA and  POBAL.

List of Bodies
Avondhu Blackwater Partnership Limited
Bantry Rural Transport Partnership Limited
Ardcarne Kilmore Roscommon Rural Transport Limited
Bealach - Páirtnéireacht Iompair Áitiúil Chonamara Teoranta
Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary Rural Transport Company Limited
Clare Accessible Transport Limited
Comharchumann Chleire Teoranta
Community of Lougharrow Social Project
County Limerick and North Cork Transport Group Limited
County Sligo LEADER Partnership Company Limited
Déise Link Limited
Galway Rural Development Company Limited
Inishowen Development Partnership
IRD Duhallow Limited
Kerry Community Transport Limited
Kilnaleck and District Community Co-op. Society Ltd
Laois Transport for Rural Integration Programme Limited
Latton Social Services and Development Limited
Longford Community Resources Limited
Louth LEADER Partnership
Mayo North East Leader Partnership Company Teoranta
Meath Accessible Transport Project Limited
Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta Teoranta
North Fingal Rural Transport Company Limited
North Tipperary Leader Partnership
Offaly and Kildare Community Transport Limited
Offaly Integrated Local Development Company Limited
Rural Lift Ltd
Seirbhis Iompair Tuaithe Teoranta
South and East Cork Area Development Partnership Limited
South East Galway Integrated Rural Development Limited
South Kildare Community Transport Limited
South West Wexford Community Development Group
Westmeath Rural Community Transport Association Limited
Wexford Local Development
Wicklow Rural Partnership Ltd


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