Header Item Written Answers Nos. 592-616
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Military Aircraft Landings
 Header Item Greenways Development
 Header Item Garda Powers
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Data
 Header Item Tourism Data
 Header Item Action Plan for Rural Ireland
 Header Item Drugs in Sport
 Header Item Transport Infrastructure Ireland Funding
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Ports Development
 Header Item Drogheda Port Company
 Header Item Drogheda Port Company
 Header Item Drogheda Port Company
 Header Item Drogheda Port Company
 Header Item Córas Iompair Éireann
 Header Item Driver Test
 Header Item Taxi Licences Renewals
 Header Item Driver Licensing Exchange Agreements
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Transport Policy

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 939 No. 3
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 81 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 592-616

Departmental Funding

 592. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the public funding supplied to trade unions and representative bodies in 2015 and 2016 from his Department in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9095/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible. I will request the relevant bodies under the aegis of the Department to reply directly to the Deputy with the information requested in respect of their organisation.

Military Aircraft Landings

 593. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if an aircraft (details supplied) which arrived at Shannon Airport on 12 February 2017, but which left Shannon on 13 February 2017, sought and received permission to transport soldiers, weapons or munitions through Shannon Airport; the reason this aircraft is using a civilian call sign while on a military operation when in Irish airspace and when landing at Shannon Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8202/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The airline operating the flight referred to by the Deputy applied for an exemption under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order 1973. My Department carried out the standard consultation procedure in relation to the application and an exemption was granted for the flight. This exemption was for the unloaded personal weapons of the troops on board the aircraft. Call signs are a matter for the airline concerned.

Greenways Development

 594. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the number of greenways that are completed and under construction on a national level; if there is a national policy to expand on the number of greenways and to maintain them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8494/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Attached in the following table are details of the greenway/cycle routes for which funding was granted to local authorities by my Department since 2009. It is a condition of grant award that the ongoing maintenance of completed infrastructure rests with the local authority. It should be noted that other greenway/cycle projects have been/are being progressed by local authorities either using own resources or with funding sourced from other Government Departments or EU programmes.

My Department is intent on building on the work achieved to date and is currently developing a new Strategy for the future development and funding of greenways. The proposed Strategy will include the approach to be taken by authorities and agencies tasked with delivering greenway infrastructure. The Department will undertake a public consultation process in the near future to inform the development of the new Greenways Strategy and all interested parties will have the opportunity to give their views on such issues as part of this public consultation process.  

It should be noted that the projects constructed to date with funding from my Department are a mix of on-road and off-road and while some cannot be considered "greenways" in the strictest sense they do feed into the expansion of a network of cycle routes.

The following cross border greenway proposals were awarded funding in 2016 under the INTERREG VA Programme.  These projects will be co-funded by my Department and will be delivered over the seven year period to 2023. 

- Carlingford Lough Greenway

- Ulster Canal Greenway (Phase 2)

- North West Greenways Network

The Programme for Government also commits to providing additional capital funding for various tourism projects, including greenways.  I will be seeking to deliver this additional funding in the context of the mid-term review of the Capital Plan and the Greenways Strategy, when completed, will provide the basis for the future development of Greenways around the country in the coming years.

Greenway/Cycling projects funded

All projects completed unless otherwise stated

Projects funded 2009-2011

YearLocal AuthorityProjectStatus
2009Galway CityFisheries Field 
 Dublin CityDublin City Premium Route 
 South DublinAdamstown to Grand Canal 
 KerryTralee to Fenit 
 CorkCarrigaline Walking and Cycling Network 
 CorkCarrigaline to Crosshaven cycle route 
 CorkPassage West to Rochestown cycle and walking route 
 LeitrimCycleways Carrick-on-Shannon 
 MayoGreat Western Greenway 
 MayoWestport Town Greenway 
 Dun Laoghaire RathdownThe Metals Cycleway 
 FingalSkerries Balbriggan Cycleroute 
 LimerickLimerick Nenagh Cycle track 
 LimerickGreat Southern Trail extension 
 Longford TownRoyal canal cycle and walkway 
 WestmeathMullingar cycle network extension - Ballinaqgh to Shandonagh 
 WaterfordThe Track walking and cycling route 
 LeitrimShannon Erne cycle/walkway 
 LimerickNenagh Loop cycle/walkway 


National Cycle Network Funding Programme 2012-2013 - Projects funded

YearLocal AuthorityProjectStatus
2012Carlow/Kilkenny44.5km cycleway linking Carlow to Paulstown to Kilkenny. 
 Clare 4km cycleway linking Ennistymon to Lahinch 
 Donegal195.5km cycle route between Donegal Town and Newtowncunningham 
 Fingal3km cycle link from Ashtown to Blanchardstown 
 Kerry1.2km extension to existing cycle/pedestrian route from Killarney to Fossa  
 Limerick3km extension to the Great Southern Trail (GST) from Abbeyfeale Town to Rathoran. 
 Louth6.3km greenway from Omeath and Carlingford 
 Mayo 8.8km greenway from Castlebar to Turlough Park 
 Meath3km cycle/walkway from Drogheda Ramparts to the Oldbridge Estate entrance. 
 Monaghan4.5km cycle route through Monaghan Town  
 North Tipperary2.8km extension to the existing N52 walkway/cycleway  
 Offaly 16.8km of dedicated cycle lanes along the R420 from Tullamore to Moate  
 Roscommon20km of dedicated cycle lanes along the former N6 between Athlone and Ballinasloe (funding withdrawn due to inability to deliver project) 
 Waterford City3.2km cycleway between Tramore and Waterford City 
 Waterford Co6.4km cycleway between the City Outer Ring Road to Tramore  
 Westmeath 11.3km upgrading of canal tow path from Boardstown Bridge to county Boundary 
*Outside of the NCN Programme Kerry Co Council received funding of €200,000 in 2012, approved in 2010, to complete the Tralee/Spa/Fenit 1.8km cycleway.

National Cycle Network Funding Programme 2014-2016 - Projects funded

YearLocal AuthorityProjectStatus
2014KerryPhases 2 & 3 of the Glenbeigh to Reenard Trail from Glenbeigh to Cahirciveen (26km)ongoing
 GalwayGalway to Moycullen Greenway (12.4km)ongoing
 WaterfordClonea to Durrow Greenway (7.2km) (completed) 


Reallocation of NCN Funding from current programme - July, 2016

YearLocal AuthorityProjectStatus
2014KildareKildare section of Dublin to Galway Greenwayongoing
 MeathMeath section of Dublin to Galway Greenwayongoing
 LongfordAbbeyshrule to Longford Bridge, Ballymahon (15.2km) (extension to Mullingar to Abbeyshrule Greenway) 
 Westmeath Garrycastle to White Gates (2.2km) (extension to the Mullingar to Athlone Greenway) 


Stimulus Funding 2014 - Projects funded

YearLocal AuthorityProjectStatus
2014Clare Phase 1 of the West Clare greenway from Ennis to Ballymacquiggan (5km) 
 KerryPhase 1 of the Glenbeigh to Reenard Trail from Cahirciveen to Reenard Point (Fertha Greenway) (5.7km)ongoing
 KerryTralee Fenit Trail - Phase 1 Rock Street to Casement Station (.42km) 
 KildareArthur's Way Greenway - Leixlip to Oughterard via Celbridge/Castletown (25km) 
 LimerickPatrickswell to Limerick City cycleway (4.14km) # 
 Mayo Monasteries of the Moy (14km) - part funding of overall project 
 RoscommonBoyle to Lough Key Forest Park (24km) - part funding of overall projectongoing
 TipperaryClonmel to Carrick-on-Suir Greenway (20km)ongoing
 WaterfordKilmeaden to Bilberry Greenway (20km)  
 Westmeath Athlone to Mullingar Greenway (40km)# 
 Westmeath Coolnahay to the County Boundary (14.4)# 


#additional funding awarded to Kildare (104k); Limerick (155k); and Westmeath (3.2m)

Garda Powers

 595. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will give gardaí the power to seize vehicles of unaccompanied learner drivers that have been stopped at that moment in which they are found to be driving unaccompanied and-or without L plates, and-or should they have contravened any other road traffic offence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8642/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​Currently, An Garda Síochána has the power to detain vehicles in a number of circumstances, such as where the vehicle is untaxed, uninsured, or does not have an NCT. An extension of this power to cover vehicles being driven by unaccompanied learners would require an amendment to section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994, and I would like to advise the Deputy that this is something that I am willing to consider in the context of future road traffic legislation.

Sports Capital Programme Data

 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 the amount of grant aid allocated by way of sports capital and RAPID programme funding towards the provision of the sports facilities in a school (details supplied); the conditions attached to the grant aid; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the school authorities now propose to close down the entire gym and use the area as classrooms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8060/17]

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 The organisation referred to by the Deputy was allocated a total of €800,000 in grants under the Sports Capital Programme. I understand that an additional €240,000 in RAPID top-ups was also allocated. The grantee and the Department entered into a Deed of Covenant and Charge for the amount of the grants, including the top-ups, which, inter alia, requires that the facility be kept in sports use for a minimum of 15 years from the date of the last payment of the grant. The last payment made by my Department was in 2008. Officials from my Department will be engaging further with the grantee on this matter.

Tourism Data

 597. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the total number of visitors on the Wild Atlantic Way in 2014, 2015 and 2016; the percentage of visitors that visited counties Sligo and Donegal in each of those years, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8104/17]

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 The collection of official statistics is primarily a matter for the Central Statistics Office (CSO) which comes under the remit of the Department of the Taoiseach. The CSO does not, however, provide a regional or county level breakdown of statistics in their monthly 'Overseas Travel' publication. I am aware that Fáilte Ireland provides an estimated regional breakdown of overseas visits on an annual basis, based on research of its own as well as available CSO statistics. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question on to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please contact my private office if a response is not received within ten working days.

Action Plan for Rural Ireland

 598. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the steps he proposes to take to ensure the commitment in the Action Plan for Rural Ireland to promote funding for local improvement scheme roads grants is fulfilled; the money to be allocated to these roads this year in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8140/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the local authority's 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. Maintenance of private laneways/roads not taken in charge by local authorities is the responsibility of the landowners concerned. Due to the major cutbacks in roads funding it was necessary for the Department to cease making separate allocations to local authorities in respect of LIS. The approved scheme remains intact and local authorities can use a proportion of State grant funding for LIS should they wish to do so. While there is a modest increase in funding for roads this year, it will take some years yet under the Capital Plan to restore "steady state" funding levels for regional and local roads. The primary focus has to continue to be on the maintenance and renewal of public roads. Local authorities can continue to use a proportion of their Discretionary Grant for the Local Improvement Scheme in 2017.

In light of the provision in the Programme for Government indicating that, as the economy recovers, the Government will promote increased funding for Community Involvement and Local Improvement Schemes, I will review the scope for making a separate grant allocation once the planned Review of the Capital Plan is completed.

Drugs in Sport

 599. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will provide a breakdown of WADA-approved drug testing of Irish athletes and sports categories over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [8178/17]

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 ​Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the promotion, development and co-ordination of sport. This includes responsibility for the area of anti-doping, including testing of athletes. I have referred the Deputy's question to Sport Ireland for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland Funding

 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 if Transport Infrastructure Ireland will fund a project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8230/17]

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 operation of individual road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII)  under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Improvement Schemes

 601. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the status of the proposed Ardee bypass; when work on the bypass will take place; the available details surrounding the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8250/17]

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. Within its annual budget the planning, design and implementation of individual road projects, such as the Ardee Bypass is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. As indicated previously to the Deputy,  the Ardee Bypass was not included in the Capital Plan published in September 2015. Decisions on the transport elements of the Capital Plan were framed by the conclusions reached in my Department’s Strategic Investment Framework for Land Transport. Based on the findings in that report it is envisaged that maintenance and renewal of the road network will continue to be the main priority over the next period and the bulk of the roads capital budget, approximately €4.4 billion, is earmarked for such essential work with a further €600 million allocated for implementation of the PPP road programme which is already underway. In this context the Ardee bypass was one of a range of projects that it was not possible to include given the overall funding envelope available. As regards the possibility of additional funding within the Plan period, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is now commencing the Capital Plan review and has indicated that the additional capital funding for allocation totals €2.6billion. While there is a strong case for additional funding for the transport sector, there are a multitude of possible national, regional and local projects around the country, the cost of which far exceed available funding and unfortunately, this means that only a limited number can be considered for funding.

Ports Development

 602. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Drogheda Port Company has invested a substantial sum in its 50% stevedoring subsidiary; the amount the State through the Drogheda Port Company originally invested by way of shares in the subsidiary; the amount currently due by way of long-term credit extending back to 2002; the repayments which have been made in the past five years on this long-term debt, which dates back to 2002; the amount of a provision, which has been made against both this share investment and the other amounts due to the port company by the subsidiary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8306/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross In accordance with the Harbours Act 1996 (as amended) Ministerial consent was granted to Drogheda Port Company for the establishment of a  subsidiary company in February 2000. The establishment, financing and operation of the subsidiary company, by Drogheda Port Company, is in line with its statutory powers. I am not involved in day to day operational matters in any port company. The issues raised by the Deputy are matters for the Drogheda Port Company Board.

Drogheda Port Company

 603. 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 if his Department has allocated, or plans to allocate further funding to the Drogheda Port Company's stevedoring subsidiary in 2016 and 2017; if a provision is proposed against this investment; if the other shareholder will match the port's investment in the subsidiary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8307/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​I wish to advise the Deputy that no funding has been allocated to Drogheda Port in 2016 or 2017 for any activity. National Ports Policy 2013 clearly outlines that all ports must operate on commercial basis without recourse to the Exchequer. There is no State funding for any port company. The funding by Drogheda Port Company of its subsidiary is a matter for the company.

Drogheda Port Company

 604. 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 status of the future of Drogheda Port Company's stevedoring subsidiary, which is understood to be part owned, to the tune of 50%, by a British group in view of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8308/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​I wish to advise the Deputy that Fast Herco Ltd, a UK registered company, holds a 50% stake in Drogheda Port Company's stevedoring subsidiary, Fast Terminals Ltd. Drogheda Port Company has advised that it does not see Brexit as having an adverse impact on this shareholding.

Drogheda Port Company

 605. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Drogheda Port Company has not yet published annual audited accounts for the years 2014 and 2015; the way these reports can be obtained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8309/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​Drogheda Port Company Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2015 are  available on the Drogheda Port Company website. Annual reports and accounts of all port companies are required to be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas, when approved by Government. This has been done for the years in question. All laid documents, including the Drogheda Port Company accounts, are available to view on the Oireachtas website  http://opac.oireachtas.ie/.

Drogheda Port Company

 606. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the building of a warehouse by the Drogheda Port Company on its property in Drogheda; the property which has been acquired by Drogheda Port Company since 2010; if this property is for the use of the port's 50% subsidiary (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8310/17]

 607. 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 views on the rationale for Drogheda Port Company's investment in property since 2010, the way this investment might have altered the competitive position of stevedores within Drogheda port; if the Drogheda Port Company should have targeted investment on refurbishing the training walls at the mouth of the Boyne to improve navigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8311/17]

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. 606 and 607 together.

  Drogheda Port Company is one of eight State commercial port companies established and operating pursuant to the Harbours Acts 1996-2015. The Minister for Transport ,Tourism and Sport is the principal shareholder in the port company and his relationship with the company is governed by both the Harbours Acts and the Companies Act.

  As a limited liability company, the port is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of its harbour and is directly answerable to its Board of Directors. As ports operate as commercial companies, I am not involved in day to day operational issues in any port company.

  Decisions by Drogheda Port Company in relation to the acquisition or disposal of land or buildings, remedial works and capital infrastructure are matters for the Board.

Córas Iompair Éireann

 608. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 656 of 7 February 2017, the reason the joint receivers were entitled to an extension under the terms of the 1998 master development plan agreement to a CIE site in Dublin (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8324/17]

 610. 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 the number of NAMA controlled sites that CIE has an interest in and their locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8341/17]

 611. 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 the amount and-or proportion of rents and-or capital receipts CIE has received since the 1998 master development agreement in relation to a site in Dublin (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8373/17]

 612. 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 for the Tara Street Station site; if CIE has applied for planning permission to develop the site; if CIE has engaged a selling agent in relation to the site; if the tender process has commenced in relation to the site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8375/17]

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. 608, and 610 to 612, inclusive, together.

  The issues raised are matters for Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) and I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to CIÉ for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Driver Test

 609. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will expedite an application for a driving retest for a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8327/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The operation of the driver testing service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority, and I have no power to intervene in individual cases. I have therefore referred the Question to the Authority for direct response. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten days.

  Questions Nos. 610 to 612, inclusive, answered with Question No. 608.

Taxi Licences Renewals

 613. 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 his attention has been drawn to the fact that taxi drivers in Waterford city have to go to Kilkenny city in order to have their vehicles certified as an SPSV, that this is an additional cost on taxi drivers often resulting in the loss of a day's income and that any repairs have to happen in Kilkenny; his plans to rectify this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8378/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The regulation of the small public service vehicle industry, including the administration of the vehicle suitability test, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Driver Licensing Exchange Agreements

 614. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if driving licences are accepted from some Canadian provinces in view of the fact the holder of a licence from the province of British Columbia cannot transfer to an Irish licence without preparing for and sitting a driving test here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8393/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​Irish driver licensing law operates within a framework of EU law, which sets minimum standards to be met in order to obtain a driving licence. On this basis, we have exchange of driving licences with other EU Member States. In the case of non-EU States, we may reach bilateral agreements on driver licence exchange. Reaching bilateral agreements is not a simple matter. It requires the relevant authorities in both jurisdictions to compare the two licensing regimes in detail, in order for each side to be satisfied that the standards of the two systems are compatible. On the Irish side, this task is undertaken by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). For some time now, the RSA has been working with the Canadian authorities with a view to mutual recognition of driving licences. However, as Canada operates driver licensing at provincial rather than national level, we must reach agreements with each individual province. To date, agreements are in place with three of the ten provinces - Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Ontario.

The RSA is working to reach agreement with the remaining provinces. I understand that it is likely that the next such agreement will be with British Columbia, but that it is not possible at this stage to give a precise date for when this will happen.

Road Projects

 615. 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 if a road (details supplied) in County Kerry will receive funding for bridge works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8481/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the local authority's 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. While notification of the flooding damage in Cahersiveen, including the culvert on the Killoe Road, was received from Kerry County Council in October 2016, all available funding under the Severe Weather Grant made available to local authorities last year on the basis of additional funding sanctioned by Government had been allocated by then and no separate allocation could be made. Kerry County Council had to  prioritise the works that could be completed within their Severe Weather grant and it is understood that the Council did undertake some remedial works in the Caherciveen area but not on this particular culvert. This project would need to be addressed within the normal allocations made available to the Council or the Council's own resources as all available grant funding for 2017 has now been allocated.

In this context my Department  allocates funding to Local Authorities under a Bridge Rehabilitation Grant Programme. Under this programme local authorities submit a list of bridges in order of priority for consideration for funding. Kerry County Council were allocated €237,637 under this programme in 2017 but the Council did not submit an application for reconstruction of the culvert at Killoe Road.

Transport Policy

 616. 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 the proposed nature of the relationship between the NTA's transport strategy for the greater Dublin area and the new national planning framework; and his views on whether this document will be redundant once the new NPF is finalised. [8518/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​Under the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, the preparation of a Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) is a statutory function of the National Transport Authority (NTA). In preparing its Transport Strategy, the NTA is required to have regard to a number of matters, including the National Spatial Strategy and local authority development plans. The Act also specifically requires the NTA to ensure the Strategy is consistent with the GDA's regional, spatial and economic strategy, including any relevant regional planning guidelines. The Strategy itself is subject to update and review every six years and at each review point, adjustments can be made to reflect relevant prevailing circumstances. Both my Department and the NTA have been involved in the process of the development of the new NPF and this input will continue over the coming months in finalising the work. The Transport Strategy states its purpose as establishing "the framework for transport provision necessary to achieve the land use vision set out in the Regional Planning Guidelines". That land use vision is the statutory responsibility of relevant local authorities, the regional assembly and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government at national policy level. The crucial link between the GDA transport strategy and the forthcoming NPF will arise at regional level. There is much to be done therefore before the impact on the Transport Strategy can be assessed.

  I should also point out in the context of this work that the Issues and Choices paper recently published as part of the public consultation for the NPF- Ireland 2040: Our Plan makes reference to the unique statutory relationship between the GDA regional spatial and economic strategy and the GDA Transport Strategy. The paper notes that an extension to other parts of the country of the approach that already exists in the GDA would greatly strengthen the levels of integration between land use planning and transport planning across the country.


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