Header Item Written Answers Nos. 329-339
 Header Item Air Services Provision
 Header Item State Airports
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Road Maintenance
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Ministerial Transport
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 798 No. 1
Unrevised

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Written Answers Nos. 329-339

Air Services Provision

 329. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his preferred options for the future development of Ireland as an international hub for air transport; the extent to which he expects the various airlines to participate in such a project with resultant economic benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15555/13]

 330. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his preferred options for the future development of the airline passenger industry with particular reference to the role he sees for the major carriers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15556/13]

 334. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his preferred options in regard to the future development of the air transport passenger sector with particular reference to the respective roles of Aer Lingus and Ryanair and any possible merger; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15560/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 329, 330 and 334 together.

The overarching goal of our current strategy for the aviation sector as outlined in my Department's Statement of Strategy 2011-2014 is to ensure that it supports Ireland's economic and social goals in a safe, competitive, cost effective and sustainable manner and ensures maximum connectivity between Ireland and the rest of the world.

Within this context, one of my key priorities is the successful restructuring of Shannon airport. A key initiative for the new merged Shannon entity will be the development of an international aviation services centre in and around the airport.

In a wider national context, the Deputy may be aware that I have launched a process to develop a national aviation policy. Taking account of the issues that were raised at an initial Conference late last year, I published an Issues paper for consultation on my Department's website on 1 March 2013. Rather than stating any preferred options, I have invited contributions from the industry and all stakeholders about what measures should be included in a new aviation policy to facilitate the continued development of all aspects of the sector in Ireland and to maximise its contribution to the economy.

Following receipt of submissions, a draft National Aviation Policy Statement will be issued in the second half of 2013. That will provide further opportunity for stakeholder input before the adoption of the policy in early 2014.

  Questions Nos. 331 and 332 answered with Question No. 58.

State Airports

 333. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the extent to which he and his Department continue to monitor passenger volumes at the various national, international and regional airports throughout the country with a view to addressing any issues likely to affect their viability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15559/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar My Department regularly monitors passenger numbers at all Irish airports. As the Deputy will appreciate, trends in these numbers are key indicators of the underlying airport business. The viability of those airports is a matter, in the first instance, for the Board and management of those entities.

  Question No. 334 answered with Question No. 329.

Tourism Promotion

 335. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to develop winter tourism here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15642/13]

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 contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

Road Maintenance

 336. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to reward local authorities that are less dependent on central Government funding for road maintenance and repair. [15643/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

In determining the annual non-national road grant allocations, the overall objective is to resource each local authority in as fair and equitable a manner as is possible within the Exchequer resources available and using a well established methodology which is applied equally to all local authority areas. I do not currently have any plans to reward, or otherwise, individual local authorities as circumstances differ considerably between them in terms of road lengths, population numbers and other relevant factors.

Tourism Promotion

 337. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if recent State initiatives to develop winter tourism has yielded positive results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15644/13]

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 contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

Ministerial Transport

 338. 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 the full cost of ministerial transport and the breakdown of this cost between salaries, mileage allowance and other travel costs for Ministers and Ministers of State in his Department for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15680/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The total cost of drivers in 2012 (including salary, overtime, extra attendance and expenses) for myself and the two junior Ministers in my Department amounts to €263,145. Total Ministerial mileage paid in 2012 is €57,305. Total subsistence paid to Ministers in 2012 is €15,950. Information regarding other travel costs i.e. flights, is being prepared and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Road Improvement Schemes

 339. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide special grant to widen and provide ancillary services, footpath and lighting to the road from Ballyspillane Industrial Estate, Killarney, extending to SPA GAA complex (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15689/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

The Department has allocated a total of €349.462 million to local authorities for works on regional and local roads in 2013. Of this figure a total of €13,809,639 has been allocated to Kerry County Council. This figure is in addition to the funds that the Council will allocate from their own resources to such works.

My Department recently wrote to local authorities offering additional flexibility this year by allowing Councils to transfer resources into their discretionary grant from their Restoration Improvement Grant to ensure funding is targeted at the areas which are most in need. When doing so councils have been asked to focus on maintenance and rehabilitation works.

The Department's moneys for roads have now been fully allocated.


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