Business of Joint Committee

I remind members to turn off their mobile phones completely as they may interfere with the broadcasting and recording equipment, even when left in silent mode.

The minutes of the meeting of 30 January have been circulated. Are they agreed to? Agreed.

We will now deal with correspondence. No. 2019/397 is an email about the international transport forum to be held in Leipzig. It is proposed that the Chairman, one other member and one official attend. Is that agreed? Agreed.

The next items are No. 2019/398(a), (b) and (c). No. 2019/398(a) is a communication I received via email from the office of the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, about rural taxi proposals. There is also a letter from the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, regarding a proposal to make transport services available in rural Ireland. There is an earlier communication which Deputy Troy brought before the committee at the last meeting. Based on that message, would it be in order for the Minister, representatives of the National Transport Authority and other parties to appear before the committee on 27 February?

I will have to check my diary first. I do not have it with me.

Of course. We will also check ours.

The Chairman is right. A number of weeks ago I submitted a proposal that we call in the various stakeholders, including the NTA, the bodies that represent the taxi industry, companies such as Uber that use technology to assist in connecting people who want to travel from one point to another, the Minister and relevant officials. It is critically important that we designate at least one meeting to discuss how we can address the current deficiencies in rural transport services. I urge the Chairman to arrange such a meeting at the earliest opportunity.

The proposal the clerk to the committee has received is that we hold a special meeting on 27 February, to which we should invite the parties mentioned. We have submitted the request to the Minister and appreciate that he has to check his diary. We will also invite the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, and the other parties that have written to us. Is that acceptable to members? Yes, it is. We will go ahead with it.

I have no problem with the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, coming, but will he be coming as a witness or to be part of the committee?

He will be invited because he wrote to us. He is entitled to attend.

Without question, he is entitled to attend. I am only asking whether he will be coming as-----

He knows no more about our proposal to meet on that date than the Minister did today. It is an important issue. There is no bar on anybody coming. We will come back to the Deputy on the issue. We will send the invitations and see what happens.

The Government should have brought all of these proposals before the committee before the legislation which has caused the problem was introduced. Why are we talking about these things now when they should have been brought before us three months ago when the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport was bringing forward the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018? It is annoying.

I appreciate the Deputy's point, but this is about constructive engagement with everybody who has written to the committee. That is where this item arose. Is it agreed that we go ahead with the proposal? Agreed.

No. 2019/399(a) is an email that was sent by the clerk in respect of correspondence received from Mr. Stuart Gilhooly. No. 2019/399(b) is a draft letter to be issued to Mr. Gilhooly on behalf of the committee and further correspondence received from Mr. John Paul Byrne about the same correspondence. It has now issued.