Before we begin, I remind members to turn off their phones as they interfere with the recording equipment. With members' agreement, we will continue in private session.
Business of Joint Committee
The Chairman had to be excused so I will act as Chair for the rest of the session. I remind members of the committee and those in the Public Gallery to turn off their mobile phones completely as they interfere with the recording equipment.
Before we commence the main business of today's proceedings, I wish to turn to some housekeeping matters. The minutes of the meeting of 18 September 2019 and 25 September 2019 have been circulated. As there are no matters arising, are the minutes agreed? Agreed.
The first item of correspondence is item 2019/518A and 2019/518B. 2019/518A is an email received from Maria Mulvany, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, dated 20 September 2019, attaching a letter from Michael Nolan, chief executive officer, CEO, of Transport Infrastructure Ireland. No. 2019/518B is the aforementioned letter from Mr. Nolan and it advises the joint committee that he will not be able to accept an invitation to appear before the committee due to prior commitments. There is also reference to the fact that the road in question, the R132, is a regional road and does not fall within the remit of Transport Infrastructure Ireland. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 2019/519A is an email received from Sally Hogan of Brian Lynch & Associates, dated 26 September 2019, attaching a letter from Mr. Brian Lynch - No. 2019/519B - regarding the Comptroller and Auditor General's special report of 2017 on the provision of school transport. No. 2019/519C is a second email received from Sally Hogan of Brian Lynch & Associates, dated 30 September 2019, attaching a second letter from Mr. Brian Lynch - No. 2019/519D - regarding the Comptroller and Auditor General's special report of 2017 on the provision of school transport. Is the correspondence noted?
I suggest we write to Bus Éireann to get a formal reply to Mr. Lynch's concerns. We can then take the matter from there.
We will also send a copy to the Joint Committee on Education and Skills.
I dealt with similar issues when I was Chairman of this committee. The correspondence raises a serious matter and it is important Bus Éireann gives us its view on it. The allegation is that a profit was made from the school transport scheme and that the scheme was used to the advantage of Bus Éireann. I very much support the idea of getting answers and seeing how we proceed with the matter.
We will come back to the Senator. Correspondence No. 2019/520 is an email received from Mr. Michael Cawley, chairperson designate of Fáilte Ireland, dated 30 September 2019, concerning his scheduled meeting with the joint committee on Wednesday, 2 October 2019. I propose that we note this correspondence.
No. 2019/521 is an email received from Mr. Chris Smith from the office of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, dated 1 October 2019, regarding an invitation for the Minister to appear before the joint committee on 16 October next. Mr. Smith state that the Minister will be out of the country at that time and will, therefore, not be able to accept the invitation.
No. 2019/522 is an email received from the office of Deputy Jonathan O'Brien, dated 1 October 2019, requesting that the joint committee change the agenda for the meeting on 2 October 2019 to include a hearing with the Football Association of Ireland. We discussed this matter in private session. It is proposed to note the correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 2019/523A is an email received from the office of Deputy Catherine Murphy, dated 1 October 2019, attaching two files from cyclist.ie. No. 2019/523B is a press release from cyclist.ie and No. 2019/523C is correspondence from cyclist.ie. We have agreed that Deputy Murphy will discuss this and it will be included in the work programme for a later meeting. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 2019/524A is an email received from Mr. Colm McGinty of Sport Ireland, dated 1 October 2019, attaching correspondence from Mr. John Treacy, chief executive officer of Sport Ireland. No. 2019/524B is a letter from Mr. Treacy regarding an invitation to appear before the joint committee. We discussed this matter in private session and it is proposed to note the correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.