Written Answers. - Semi-State Sector.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

110 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport his plans for the redeployment of the CIE holding company's staff in regard to his proposal to break up the CIE group and to abolish the CIE holding company; his proposals for the carrying out of each of the functions currently performed by this company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2727/03]

Joan Burton

Question:

132 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Transport the way in which it is intended to deal with CIE's accumulated debt in regard to his proposals to split CIE into three independent companies; the total amount of the debt at the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2732/03]

Phil Hogan

Question:

158 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Transport the implications, including cost, for the abolition of CIE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2635/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110, 132 and 158 together.

Following the announcement of my proposals for reform of public transport to the public transport partnership forum in November 2002, I have had a series of discussions with the CIE board, the subsidiary boards and representatives of the CIE unions. In advancing the restructuring of the CIE over the next few weeks, I will be establishing a restructuring implementation group, including representatives from the Department of Finance, my Department, CIE and its three operating subsidiaries, to take forward the detailed administrative and legislative groundwork necessary to give effect to restructuring.

The starting point will be the consultancy report into the technical and financial implications of a proposed restructuring of the CIE companies. The report highlights that a number of key issues, including the treatment of debt, claims liability, pensions and property allocation will determine the success of the restructuring. No final decisions have been taken on dealing with these issues as yet. It will be a matter for the restructuring implementation group to address these issues and ensure the effective implementation of the restructuring. It is not possible for me to put an exact cost on the restructuring of CIE. However, given the constraints on the Exchequer it would be my intention to conduct the restructuring without imposing any great additional cost burden on either the Exchequer or the CIE group. The level of accumulated debt in CIE was €224.8 million at 31 December 2001.

When announcing my reform proposals, I indicated that arrangements will be made to redeploy staff who work in the holding company. Initial proposals as to redeployment were made in the consultancy report and these will now be further considered under the auspices of the restructuring implementation group. I am also committed to consultation with the trade unions on the implementation of the restructuring of CIE. At a meeting yesterday I invited the unions to submit a short paper to the restructuring implementation group, identifying their principal concerns about the restructuring. The restructuring implementation group will also be available to discuss these issues with the unions.
Question No. 111 answered with Question No. 102.