Donohoe, Paschal

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2014 [Seanad]: Second Stage

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."More Button

I thank the House for facilitating the introduction of this Bill at such short notice. The Bill involves technical amendments to existing legislation to deal with issues related to the endorseme...More Button

Deputies will recall that, in the Road Traffic Act 2014, which was passed by the House last year, provision was made for the adjustment of penalty points for certain offences, for the endorsement...More Button

When preparing the Commencement Order, an oversight in the legislation was detected in my Department. The Road Traffic Act 2002, which first established the fixed charge notice and penalty point...More Button

The other issue that the Bill addresses also relates to the endorsement of penalty points. Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 2002 provides the basis on which penalty points can be endorsed on a ...More Button

Section 2 of this Bill seeks to address both of the issues to which I referred. The section also provides clarity on a situation where an offence has been committed but the appropriate penalty p...More Button

Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2014 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Continued)

I contacted the Office of the Attorney General on this point and received comprehensive advice which pointed out that the legal vacuum caused by the commencement of section 8 of the 2014 Act could ...More Button

The issue that has arisen relates to a flaw at the end of the process of receiving penalty points, that is, the point at which they are attached to a driver's licence after he or she has accepted...More Button

When the fault in legislation was detected in the week before last, I instructed my Department immediately to cease issuing advice to drivers who had paid the fixed charge notifications that thei...More Button

I introduced a Committee Stage amendment in the Seanad which has become section 3(4) of the Bill. The purpose of this subsection is to make it clear that section 3(1) is not intended to infringe...More Button

The fixed charge notice and penalty points system has played an important part in enhancing road safety and has been very effective since its introduction in 2002 as part of a suite of measures i...More Button

The Bill provides a means of addressing inadvertent errors that took place in recent months. I am satisfied that its enactment will correct these errors and provide, in accordance with the previ...More Button

I again thank the House for facilitating the Bill. I am sure Deputies will appreciate the urgency of the matter. The Bill is being introduced to ensure the robustness and integrity of a system ...More Button

He still does.More Button

I thank all Deputies for their contributions this afternoon in what has been a constructive discussion of the Bill. I was struck by the tone in which all Deputies addressed the matter. There was ...More Button

Let us consider the array of different issues and challenges with which we engage. Making our roads safe and the peace process in Northern Ireland are unique in this regard. They are two areas ...More Button

Many different questions have been put to me and I will respond to them presently. One of things that makes those of us in political life stop and think sometimes is the question of how to make ...More Button

My colleagues have put various points of detail to me in respect of the legislation and I will respond to each in turn. Five common areas were touched on by almost all Deputies in their contribu...More Button

The first theme picked up by several Deputies was the notion of the unfairness of the penalty points system and the view that it is being used by agencies of the State to collect revenue or earn ...More Button

Another charge levied against the penalty points regime is the notion of unfairness and the idea that in some way penalty points are meant to target people. One statistic is worth reflecting on ...More Button

It is bad enough that a life per day was being lost on our roads. Not so long ago there were far more lost. While nobody wants penalty points, their breadth and implementation have made a very im...More Button

Many colleagues raised the operation of the NCT centres, particularly after the changes that took place in the penalty points regime in respect of the test. It is not a case of a new charge bein...More Button

The third theme Deputies raised was the change in the requirement for people with a learner permit to have a driver with them. This is not a new offence but it attracts penalty points. Deputy F...More Button

This year 28% of people who lost their lives on our roads were between the ages of 16 and 30. That figure is equal to 53 lives. I feel I am obliged to consider measures that will reduce that fi...More Button

The final theme articulated by several Deputies was the notion of retrospection and its consequences in the law. Deputy McNamara is approaching it in a deeply principled manner because of his co...More Button

I meant the retrospective creation of new offences. I was incorrect.More Button

I understand his concern about the retrospective nature of what is being proposed. I will be very happy to deal with his point on Committee Stage, but for now, I will sketch out my two principles ...More Button

It is a point at which liability has been accepted. For this reason - Deputy Michael McNamara may understand this better than I do-----More Button

Deputies have raised a large number of detailed points on which they expect me to respond. However, I will conclude on this point.More Button

The acceptance of liability means that this issue will not end up in court and is, as a consequence, a civil law issue. The guiding point for me in all of this has been that I am not proposing t...More Button

If the Acting Chairman will forgive me, I propose to address quickly a number of specific points raised by Deputies. I fully concur with Deputy Timmy Dooley's statement that while the error is t...More Button

Deputy Dessie Ellis asked whether I would take this approach to other items of legislation for which I was responsible. I will do so. I am aware of the Deputy's particular interest in drug test...More Button

Deputy Finian McGrath asked what the consequences would have been if the penalty points in the relevant cases had been erased. This goes to the heart of the question Deputy Michael McNamara pose...More Button

Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice raised the issue of GoSafe vehicles, which I addressed. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the reason there had been no pre-legislative discussion of the Bill. The reason is...More Button

The Minister of State, Deputy Michael Ring, noted the importance of having a derogation in respect of an aspect of the haulage industry. I am aware of the issue he raises. More Button

Deputy Michelle Mulherin raised the issue of the national car test, one to which I referred. More Button

Deputies Willie Penrose and Thomas P. Broughan have raised an issue that is at the heart of the difficulty I face, namely, the need to consolidate road traffic legislation. Deputy Willie Penrose...More Button

I hope Deputy Thomas P. Broughan is following the debate in his office. He has asked me on a number of occasions to outline the position on funding for information technology that would allow us...More Button

I will consider the detailed points raised by Deputy Robert Dowds on penalty points applied in the future. More Button

I have responded to the best of my ability to the points raised by Deputy Michael McNamara.More Button

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked whether I would come before the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications to discuss some of the points he had raised. I will do so. More Button

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan raised the issue of inconsistent speed limits. A review of this issue was published earlier this year and its implementation is under consideration. More Button

Deputy Jerry Buttimer also raised the issue of NCT centres, one to which I referred. More Button

In the past three hours many Deputies have raised detailed points in a constructive manner. I appreciate the indulgence shown by the Acting Chairman, Deputy Catherine Byrne, in allowing me to re...More Button

Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2014 [Seanad]: Committee and Remaining Stages

  Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.More Button

Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2014 [Seanad]: Committee and Remaining Stages (Continued)

I thank the Deputy. With regard to how I view the Deputy's amendments, I am very pleased that I changed the merchant shipping Bill because the Deputy pointed to an issue. As he will recall, I fel...More Button

It is an important principle in regard to how we consider legislation, and particularly how we consider amendments that are put forward to me from Members of the Opposition, that they are evaluat...More Button

With regard to some of the specific points, the Deputy made a point about the penalty actually changing because of this legislation being, I hope, enacted by the Dáil later today. With respect, ...More Button

How this would work in practical terms is that if somebody believed he or she would get three penalty points across the period of greatest concern for the Deputy, he or she would receive three pena...More Button

In regard to the reference made to the European Court of Human Rights and the role of that body of law in Irish law, as somebody who has had responsibility for European affairs, I wish to make cl...More Button

The Deputy asked for the rationale for the "saver" clause in this Bill. The sole reason this is included and that I ask the support of the House for it is to make explicit that the passage of th...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

  Section 3 agreed to.More Button

  Section 4 agreed to.More Button

  Title agreed to.More Button

  Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.More Button

  Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."More Button

I wish to record my appreciation for the manner in which this Bill has been dealt with by the Dáil. I acknowledge the approach taken by Deputies in regard to its scrutiny and dealing with this cha...More Button

Departmental Reports

Was asked: if his Department has published its annual report for 2013.More Button

As stated to the Deputy in Dáil Question No: 744 of the 15th July 2014 my Department's Annual Report for 2013 was published on 25th June.More Button

National Car Test

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the inability of persons to make appointments for car testing with the National Car Test, more than three months prior to the date of their intended appointment; ...More Button

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for the delivery of the National Car Test.  Th...More Button

In anticipation of the current strong demand for tests arising from the recent changes the penalty points regime, the RSA has run a campaign over the past few months to encourage people to book t...More Button

I have no proposals to extend this advance period. I would however, encourage people to avail of the advance booking facility. The RSA informs me that the advance booking period of 90 days does n...More Button

Was asked: the current waiting time for an appointment for the national car test in the test centre in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has overall responsibility for the operation, oversight and delivery of the National Car Test and as such, statistics relating to NCT waiting times at any particular...More Button

Was asked: if he will address the serious concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding the national car test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Changes to the penalty points regime which came into effect on 8th December last were legislated for under the Road Traffic Act 2014.   Those changes relate to a range of measures, including the Na...More Button

I understand from the Road Safety Authority that any car owner should receive an NCT appointment within 28 days and that in order to meet this standard, in some cases, the National Car Testing Se...More Button

The RSA has run a campaign over the past few months to encourage people to book early, as the test may be undertaken up to 90 days in advance of the due test date without affecting the expiry dat...More Button

Enforcement of the relevant legislation is a matter for An Garda Síochána. If a person’s NCT test date is imminent, it will be a matter for the Gardaí to use their discretion. However, responsibi...More Button

  Question No. 584 answered with Question No. 582.More Button

Public Transport

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

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 582 and 584 together.    

  The issues raised are matters for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with the ...More Button

Was asked: if he will ensure that there is an increased security presence on the DART and particularly at Donaghmede/Howth Junction and Kilbarrack DART stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The issue raised is a matter for Irish Rail and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.      

  Please advise my pri...More Button

Local Authority Functions

Was asked: his views on the stated view of Dublin City Council that primary legislation is required to regulate the carrying of passengers by rickshaws in the city of Dublin; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

Rickshaws are pedal cycles pursuant to road traffic legislation and fall subject to the requirements applying to pedal cycles when used on the road.  More Button

Local authorities regulate many activities at local level through bye-laws made under local government legislation in keeping with Government policy on the devolution of responsibility for local ...More Button

I am aware that Dublin City Council has identified concerns that the powers available to it to make by-laws relating to rickshaws pursuant to local government legislation. The question of whether...More Button

Legislative Measures

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

The Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2014 is currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas. When passed into law it will provide that all penalty points incurred following the payment of a fixed charge no...More Button

I am advised by the Attorney General that the proposals being put forward in this Bill are compatible with the Constitution. The Bill does not introduce any new offences or make any behaviour an ...More Button

The passing of this legislation will not preclude a person from taking any legal challenge regarding the endorsement of penalty points on their licence record.More Button

Traffic Regulations Implementation

Was asked: the legislation that outlaws cycling on the footpath; his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the Garda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Footpaths are restricted to pedestrians only, as defined in section 2 of the Roads Act 1993.  By definition, cyclists are therefore excluded from using footpaths.    

&...More Button

Rail Network Safety

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

The issues raised are matters for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann. I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to the NTA and Iarnród Éireann for direct repli...More Button

Departmental Programmes

Was asked: the priorities in his Department for the remainder of the term of this Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In addition to the commitments under the Programme for Government that fall within the responsibility of my Department, the additional priorities of my Department are the:   
More Button

Severe Weather Events Expenditure

Was asked: his plans to approve further funding to Galway County Council for storm remedial and prevention works sent to the directorate for fire and emergency management on 7 April 2014; and if he will make ...More Button

There were a number of severe weather events from late 2013 into 2014.   After the December/January damage the Government acknowledged that the budgets of Local Authorities and relevant Departments...More Button

The Department was in contact with local authorities at various points during the year in relation to progress on works required to repair damage caused to roads by severe weather and to establis...More Button

  In addition to the €14.1m,  works to the value of some €2.1 million (including a carryover of €730,000 for Galway County Council) are due to be undertaken in 2015.More Button

Regarding the later phase of severe weather from 27 January 2014 to 17 February 2014, no decision has been taken by Government regarding funding to repair damage to roads.  Local authorities will...More Button

Public Transport Provision

Was asked: the funding allocated to construct bus shelters for Dublin Bus over the past three years; his plans for new bus shelters for 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for developing public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA). In addition their functions have been extended t...More Button

Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.More Button

Road Projects Expenditure

Was asked: the cost to the Exchequer of planting trees along the Portlaoise and Monasterevin bypasses prior to their opening in 2003 and 2004, respectively, which trees have subsequently been felled apparentl...More Button

Was asked: the cost incurred by the National Roads Authority in felling trees adjacent to the N7 in counties Laois and Kildare without having obtained licences for tree felling contrary to the Forestry Act 19...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 593 and 594 together.

  As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the n...More Button

Regional Road Network

Was asked: if he will make funds available for road resurfacing on Strand Road in Sandymount, Dublin 4, in view of the fact the current road cannot facilitate the volume of traffic and large trucks which uses...More Button

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads (such as the R131 Strand Road, Sandymount) is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of ...More Button

Departmental Staff Career Breaks

Was asked: if he will provide, in tabular form, the number of staff in his Department currently on a sabbatical-career break broken down by zero to six months, six to 12 months, one to two years, two to three...More Button

The information as requested by the Deputy is set out in the table.

Duration...More Button

Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: if he will provide, in tabular form, the total photography costs for his Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which...More Button

Photography costs incurred by my Department are on its website at the following link. It is the policy of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport that photography costs are kept to a minimu...More Button

Was asked: the total amount spent on external IT consultants by his Department in 2010 to 2013, inclusive, and to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since the formation of my Department on the 9th March 2011 there has been no engagement with external IT consultants.More Button

Was asked: if his Department has renegotiated external IT consultancy contracts and costs since March 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

My Department has not engaged in any external IT consultancy contracts since March 2011.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide, in tabular form per annum, all external consultant reports commissioned by his Department since March 2011; the costs per report; the company involved; the title of the report; ...More Button

Was asked: the total legal costs incurred by his Department in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and estimated for 2014.More Button

Was asked: the total external public relations costs incurred by his Department in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and estimated for 2014.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 603, 605 and 610 together.

  The information requested by the Deputy is published on my Department's website and can be found at the following li...More Button

Public Relations Contracts Data

Was asked: if he will provide in tabular form, the use of external public relations firms employed by his Department since coming to office; the list of uses of the external public relations firm; the interna...More Button

The Department reviewed its procedures in 2012 concerning photography and PR costs incurred by the Department. It was agreed that such costs should be incurred only where essential, and where poss...More Button

Appointments to State Boards

Was asked: if he will provide the number of appointments to State boards under his Department's remit made since March 2011 to date; the number of vacancies on State boards under his Department's remit since ...More Button

Details of appointments to State Boards are available on my Departments website at the following link via More Button

Freedom of Information Requests

Was asked: if he will provide, in tabular form per annum since 2009 and to date in 2014, the total number of freedom of information requests received by his Department; the total refused; the total granted; t...More Button

The data requested by the Deputy are provided in the Table.     

  FOI Requests received in the Department between 2009 and 2014 (to 17 Dec.)More Button

Departmental Staff Expenses

Was asked: if he will provide, in tabular form, the total amount spent per annum in 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014 on staff subsistence payments and taxi payments; if his Department has been audited for...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy regarding subsistence and taxi payments is set out in the table.    

  My Department has been audited recently by the ...More Button

  Question No. 605 answered with Question No. 603.More Button

Aviation Issues

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the Irish Aviation Authority has the IT infrastructure and resources necessary to prevent any interruption in operations in Irish airspace; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

I am satisfied that the Irish Aviation Authority undertakes the necessary investment to ensure that its infrastructure and resources facilitate the effective delivery of air navigation services in ...More Button

Was asked: the route that tankers bringing aviation fuel to Dublin Airport take from Dublin Port; the health and safety precautions that are in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Legislation governing the carriage of dangerous goods by road is based on the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods By Road (ADR).  Current regulations are pub...More Button

While my Department does not have a function in relation to the routing of tankers carrying aviation fuel from Dublin Port to Dublin Airport, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NRA for ...More Button

Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.More Button

Airport Development Projects

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the proposal to build a second runway at Dublin Airport; the current capacity of Dublin Airport to engage new business; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding usage of the runways at Dublin Airport; his plans for a new runway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 607 and 613 together.  More Button

The matters raised by the Deputies in relation to the usage of the runways at Dublin Airport, current capacity at the airport and proposals to build a second runway fall within the operational re...More Button

I would like to add, however, that the National Aviation Policy currently being finalised by my Department, supports measures to ensure that the infrastructure necessary for the airport's positio...More Button

Sports Capital Programme Data

Was asked: the number of sports capital programme applications that were made in 2014; the number of these that were rejected; the reason for their rejection; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide, in tabular form by county, basis the percentage of the sports capital programme fund allocated in 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014; the total funds allocated by county in those ye...More Button

Aviation Industry Regulations

Was asked: his plans to move the aviation safety mandate from the Irish Aviation Authority to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has statutory responsibility for regulating safety in the Irish aviation industry under the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993.  I have no plans to move the safety...More Button

  Question No. 613 answered with Question No. 607.More Button

Was asked: the EU directives that are in place to prevent pilot fatigue; if he is satisfied that all airlines are implementing same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are a number of European Regulations in force covering flight time limitations for pilots. The main Regulations concerned are Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91, Regulation (EU) No. 965/2012 and Com...More Button

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has statutory responsibility for regulating aviation safety in the State including ensuring airlines are complying with EU Regulations on flight time limitation...More Button

If you do not receive a response from the IAA within ten working days, please contact my private office.More Button

Aviation Policy

Was asked: the way his aviation plans for fair competition will work; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The draft National Aviation Policy was published in May 2014. The draft policy proposes that a liberal approach should be taken by my Department to any requests from non-EU and non-US airlines to s...More Button

Submissions in response to the draft policy were invited up to the end of July and over 70 were received. The issue of fair competition is a live one in international aviation at present and many...More Button

Transport Infrastructure

Was asked: his views on the transport options being put to public consultation for north Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Earlier this year, following a public procurement process, the National Transport Authority (NTA) appointed Aecom, a firm specialising in transport engineering, to identify optimum medium term/long...More Button