Header Item Written Answers Nos. 584-607
 Header Item Bus Éireann Staff
 Header Item Public Transport Initiatives
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Car Theft
 Header Item Public Transport
 Header Item Olympic Games Ticketing Arrangements
 Header Item Road Projects Status
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Tourism Funding
 Header Item Rail Services Provision
 Header Item Roads Maintenance Funding
 Header Item Health and Safety Regulations
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Staff Data
 Header Item Dublin Airport Authority
 Header Item Airport Development Projects
 Header Item Tourism Funding
 Header Item Airport Development Projects
 Header Item Haulage Industry Regulation
 Header Item Ports Development

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 924 No. 1
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 584-607

  Question No. 584 answered with Question No. 573.

Bus Éireann Staff

 585. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the rationale for not providing Bus Éireann drivers in County Cork with a hepatitis C vaccination when bus inspectors are provided with such a vaccination despite a number of assaults on drivers recently. [29407/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Public Transport Initiatives

 586. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to extend the use of the Leap card on Irish Rail outside Dublin.  [29457/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the development, operation and maintenance of the Leap Card system.

  Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Safety

 587. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to set up a licensing system for car sellers to regulate the industry and put a stop to unregulated sellers who may be selling cars that are not roadworthy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29466/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The question of the licencing of car sellers, which is a commercial sales activity, comes within the remit of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

My Department is concerned that a number of fatalities have occurred as a result of motorists using inexpensive and sometimes unroadworthy vehicles. However, I understand that in a number of such instances, the drivers of this particular category of vehicle have tended to ignore road traffic legislation and frequently have no driver licence or compulsory insurance. In addition, many of these vehicles are not compliant with legal roadworthiness requirements and do not have current certificates of testing from the National Car Testing Service (NCT).

Under road traffic legislation, the NCT testing regime is designed to increase the safety of road going vehicles. Enforcement of this legislation is a matter for the Garda Síochána.

Road Safety

 588. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to introduce a system whereby vehicle mechanics are required to register, in order to stop unqualified personnel operating vehicle repair services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29467/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​Action 99 of the Road Safety Strategy 2013 - 2020 provides for a review of the options available for ensuring that the quality of work carried out by vehicle maintenance and repair services is of a consistent minimum standard so that vehicle owners and the general public can be assured that the vehicles in use on our roads comply with the minimum legal and safety standards.

I understand that the Road Safety Authority, who have lead responsibility for this action within the Strategy, with the support of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the National Standards Authority of Ireland, which are the relevant authorities in relation to consumer protection and standards, are currently in the process of examining this issue.

Car Theft

 589. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to make vehicle trackers mandatory to ensure stolen vehicles can be recovered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29468/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​While the offence of taking a vehicle without the lawful authority of the owner is provided for in Road section 112 of the Traffic Act 1961, matters relating to the investigation and consequent recovery of stolen vehicles are a matter for An Garda Síochána.

  European Regulations set out the Type Approval requirements for Member States to adopt, so that no Member State may impose any additional requirements that would present a barrier to the cross border trade in motor vehicles across the EU.

  While such tracking devices are currently available for purchase by individual car owners for fitting to their vehicles, the choice to purchase and use such a device is entirely a matter for the individual citizen.

  As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, my primary function in relation to road traffic is to promote and ensure that the most appropriate and best practice road safety and vehicle engineering safety standards are implemented, so that any potential road traffic collisions and consequent injuries and fatalities on Ireland's road network are reduced.

  Given mine, and the Road Safety Authority's primary remit in promoting road safety, and the necessity to meet with EU Type Approval requirements in relation to vehicle standards, I have no proposals to introduce regulations mandating the fitting of vehicle tracking devices to track stolen vehicles.

Public Transport

 590. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross when he expects the heads of the planned bill on the regulation of rickshaws to be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29479/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The Deputy will recall, that in response to some concerns - primarily of a safety nature - both Dublin City Council (DCC) and the NTA obtained legal advices in relation to their respective powers to regulate pedal-powered rickshaws. Discussions have recently taken place, between DCC and the NTA, who have agreed a proposed approach to regulating pedal-powered rickshaws, which would require the drafting and introduction of primary legislation.

My Department is now engaged with the NTA to clearly frame the policy to guide any detailed legislative drafting, with passenger safety the key focus.  I will consider the legislative proposals which emerge when this work has been progressed.  It is only after I have had the opportunity to consider the proposals submitted to me that I would be in a position to outline an indicative legislative timeframe.

Olympic Games Ticketing Arrangements

 591. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the projected timeline of the State's inquiry into the Rio Olympic ticketing scandal; when the inquiry is due to begin; and when it is expected to conclude. [29482/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The non-statutory inquiry to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the distribution of tickets for the Rio Olympic Games and related matters commenced on 19 September 2016.

  The inquiry is being led by former High Court judge, Mr Justice Carroll Moran. Under the Terms of Reference for the inquiry, Judge Moran has been asked to present a report, setting out the findings and any recommendations of the inquiry, within 12 weeks of its commencement.

  While it is intended that Judge Moran will conclude the inquiry with the allotted time, I would be prepared to consider an extension beyond that period if circumstances require it.

Road Projects Status

 592. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the plans in place to complete the Enniscorthy and New Ross bypass; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29495/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects (including the Enniscorthy to Gorey Scheme and the New Ross Bypass) is a matter for the Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

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

Road Network

 593. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to improve the N25 road network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29499/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects (including the N25)  is a matter for the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly known as the NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

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

Tourism Funding

 594. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the supports and resources, both human and financial, provided by the State to the south east to support tourism as an economic driver; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29501/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan In relation to tourism, my Department is primarily involved in the development of national tourism policy and the supporting tourism in specific regions is a matter for the two State tourism agencies, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

Tourism Ireland is responsible for the overseas promotion of the island of Ireland as a tourism destination, whereas Fáilte Ireland is responsible for supporting the development of the Irish tourism industry.

  Accordingly, I have referred your question to the two tourism agencies for further information and direct reply with regard to supports and resources for tourism in the south-east.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Rail Services Provision

 595. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to increase capacity for a train service (details supplied); his plans to upgrade the rail line from Greystones to Bray from a single track to a double track in order to improve connectivity from County Longford and County Louth to Rosslare Europort; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29515/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding for public transport.  The day to day operations of our heavy rail system, including rolling stock requirements, are a matter for Iarnród Éireann in consultation with the National Transport Authority.

Noting the responsibilities of Iarnród Éireann in this regard, I have forwarded your reply to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my office if you have not received a reply within 10 working days.

Roads Maintenance Funding

 596. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will consider providing funding for the road to Aranmore Island lighthouse, Tory Island lighthouse and the Aranmore Island ring road in recognition of their importance to the tourism infrastructure on the islands that are on the Wild Atlantic Way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29517/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​I understand the roads in question are local roads, the improvement and maintenance of which is the statutory responsibility of Donegal County Council in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993.

  Works on those roads are funded from the local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants.  In January this year, Donegal County Council was allocated €20m in respect of the regional and local roads programme for 2016.  These local authorities also received additional funding to repair damage arising from the severe weather earlier this year.

The selection and prioritisation of works to be funded each year under the Restoration Maintenance, Restoration Improvement and Discretionary Grant programmes is a matter for the local authority and grant monies under all of these programmes is made available for the maintenance and repair of regional and local roads.

Health and Safety Regulations

 597. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the health and safety framework of each commercial and non-commercial State agency; when the health and safety policy of each was last reviewed; when the safety statement of each was last reviewed; if each body has a health and safety committee and when this was last elected; if each has a health and safety representative and when this person was last elected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29558/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The information requested by the Deputy is a matter for the Agencies.  I have forwarded the Deputy's question to them for direct response.  If the Deputy does not receive a reply within 10 working days please contact my private office.

Departmental Agencies Staff Data

 598. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the gifts or hospitality given to employees to attend overseas sporting or musical events during 2015 in respect of all commercial and non-commercial agencies; the locations of such visits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29559/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The matter of the receipt of gifts or hospitality by employees of the commercial and non-commercial agencies under my Department's aegis, is a matter for the State Bodies themselves.  I have forwarded the Deputy's question to all of the Department's State Bodies for their direct response.  If the Deputy does not receive a reply within 10 working days please contact my private office.

  Question No. 599 answered with Question No. 571.

Dublin Airport Authority

 600. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the daa's growth incentives for 2017; when these will be notified; the reason for the delay in revealing these incentives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29602/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The issues raised by the Deputy in relation to the daa's growth incentive scheme are operational matters for the daa which has the statutory responsibility for the management, operation and development of the airport.

  Therefore, I have forwarded the question to the daa for their attention and direct reply to the Deputy.  If the Deputy does not receive a reply from the daa within ten working days, please advise my Private Office.

Airport Development Projects

 601. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the reason for the 30% rise in the projected cost of the second runway at Dublin Airport; if the planned length of the runway is necessary for the demand anticipated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29603/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The issues raised by the Deputy in relation to the proposed second runway at Dublin Airport are operational matters for the daa which has the statutory responsibility for the management, operation and development of the airport.

  Therefore, I have forwarded the question to the daa for their attention and direct reply to the Deputy.  If the Deputy does not receive a reply from the daa within ten working days, please advise my Private Office.

Tourism Funding

 602. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will consider an application for funding by a group (details supplied) which has applied for funding under the Fáilte Ireland major capital grant scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29609/16]

 603. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross when the Fáilte Ireland major capital scheme will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29611/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 602 and 603 together.

  The primary role of my Department in relation to tourism lies in the area of national tourism policy.  It is not directly involved in the funding or development of individual projects, which is a matter for the tourism agencies.  The assessment of any applications for funding made in respect of individual grant schemes, including funding for tourism capital, is an operational matter for the Board and Management of Fáilte Ireland.

  I launched Fáilte Ireland's new Capital Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects on 8th June 2016.  The scheme provides for investment to develop new, or boost existing, tourism experiences and attractions across Ireland.  The scheme will run from 2016-2020.  The first call for applications closed on 22nd August 2016.  Fáilte Ireland is currently assessing the applications received under this scheme. Further details of the scheme may be found on the Fáilte Ireland website at the following link:

http://www.failteireland.ie/Supports/Identify-Available-Funding.aspx   

  I have asked Fáilte Ireland to reply directly to the Deputy with any further information about the process.  Please contact my private office if you not hear within ten working days.

Airport Development Projects

 604. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the nature of his engagement with Waterford Regional Airport since his announcement to commit extra capital funding to the airport; if the extra funding is dependent on the airport securing a new commercial carrier; if progress has been made in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29631/16]

 605. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if any of the €800,000 capital funding announced by his Department for Waterford Airport can or is being used to extend the runway at the airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29632/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 604 and 605 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, since VLM Airlines ceased its services to Birmingham and Luton earlier this year, there have been no scheduled air services at Waterford Airport.  Securing routes and negotiating deals with airlines are commercial matters for the airports themselves and I understand that the airport authorities in Waterford are currently endeavouring to source an alternative carrier.

Last month I announced €2.7 million in funding support for the four regional airports, including €870,000 for Waterford, for safety and security projects under the Regional Airports Programme 2015-2021. The authorities in Waterford Airport are fully aware that this funding is contingent on them securing a replacement carrier for VLM and on the airport having a sustainable future.

None of the funding earmarked for Waterford will be used to extend the runway at that airport. Funding supports for capital expenditure under the Regional Airports Programme are confined to assisting the four airports concerned  with implementing necessary safety and security related projects.  Development projects which are designed to expand capacity, such as the proposed runway extension at Waterford, are a commercial matter for the airports themselves and are outside the scope of the Programme.  I understand that the airport authorities are pursuing local interests for funding in relation to that project.

Haulage Industry Regulation

 606. Deputy Declan Breathnach Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to sign the 42 tonnes derogation on vehicle weights for five axle articulated vehicles into legislation in line with France and other countries; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the restriction to 39 tonnes for these vehicles has resulted in an 8% drop in productivity for these vehicles; if he will make available a report issued by Transport Infrastructure Ireland on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29633/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​I refer the Deputy to my reply to PQ 21082/16 of 12 July on the ending of the 42 tonne derogation for five axle articulated vehicles which outlines the reasons for the removal of the derogation.

The report dealing with the ending of the 42 tonnes / 5 axles articulated vehicle combinations, which is referred to, has been made available and has already been examined by the Irish Road Haulage Association. It was the subject of a quite detailed and technical discussion at the meeting between the IRHA and this Department prior to the announcement of my decision to end the derogation.

Ports Development

 607. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the marketing strategies or programmes in place to support Waterford and Rosslare ports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29646/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The Port of Waterford Company is a State owned commercial company and as such my Department has no involvement in the day to day operations of the company.  The Company is directly responsible for its own marketing strategies.  I understand that the Port of Waterford has recently launched its Business Plan (2016-2020). This plan sets out the ambitions and planned activities of the Company for the next 5 years and provides a clear and transparent basis for engagement with all stakeholders. In 2015, the port recorded a 10% increase in its bulk throughput and an 11% increase in throughput in the Load-on-Load-off area.

  Iarnród Éireann is responsible for the management and operation of Rosslare Europort and as with any commercial business that includes developing marketing strategies and programmes which might deliver increased business for the port. The Company is assisted in that regard by a Stakeholder Advisory Group which meets quarterly and whose membership is comprised of a diverse range of local and regional interests including  tourism, business, fishing, port users, unions and management representatives. In 2015, Rosslare port recorded a 4% increase in commercial traffic when compared with 2014 while the number of passenger cars/motorcycles etc. using ferries at the port increased by 2%.


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