Departmental Funding

Questions (764)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

764. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide in tabular form the level of Departmental funding allocated to SITT rural transport service for 2007-2013 inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8238/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I am advised by the National Transport Authority that funding dispersed to Seirbhís Iompair Tuaithe Teoranta (SITT) Rural Transport Programme (RTP) for 2007 to 2012 inclusive and an indicative amount for 2013, is set out in the table below.  Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta Teoranta (MFG) went into liquidation in September 2011 and SITT stepped into the role of ‘temporary provider’ of the RTP within the MFG geographical area in Donegal during 2011.  This funding is shown in a separate table also underneath.

-

RTP Funds - Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Free Travel Pass Funds – Department of Social Protection

2007

€136,819.00

€14,041.00

2008

€190,408.00

€11,840.00

2009

€274,509.00

€19,564.00

2010

€292,131.00

€19,357.00

2011

€272,350.00

€26,314.00

2012

€225,589.00

€35,292.00

2013*

€114,635.00

€18,379.00

Total

€1,506,441.00

€144,787.00

Total All Funds

€1,651,228.00

* This is an indicative allocation for the period January to June 2013.

The above figures relate to SITT for the delivery of the RTP within SITT’s own catchment area.

  Below are the amounts dispersed to SITT for the MFG area 2011 to 2012 and an indicative amount for 2013.

Year

MFG Area: RTP Funds DTAS

MFG Area: FTP Funds DSP

2011

€96,487.00

 -

2012

€213,094.75

€18,766.00

2013*

€103,396.00

€10,951.00

Total

412,977.75

29,717.00

Total All Funds

€442,694.75

* This is an indicative allocation for the period January to June 2013.

Public Transport Provision

Questions (765)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

765. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will request Bus Éireann to reinstate the the discontinued bus service at Raheen/Burncoat/Kilbehany along the Cork to Dublin bus route due to the considerable inconvenience caused to rural users of that service. [8244/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The provision of services is an operational matter for Bus Éireann in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to both for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Driver Licences

Questions (766, 791)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

766. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the concerns of the pharmacy sector in respect of the loss of driver photo ID business arising from the awarding of a contract to the National Driver Licence Service; if he will explain the process involved in the awarding of the contract and the reason pharmacies were not allowed to tender for it in view of the fact that many have made a significant investment in equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8257/13]

View answer

Terence Flanagan

Question:

791. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of pharmacies regarding the fact that photographic ID services have been awarded to National Driver Licence Service and that pharmacies have not been able to tender or quote for providing the service, that pharmacies also have concerns that they have invested in state of the art equipment and will now not reap the benefits of same; if he has considered mandating hard copy printed ID as the method by which photo ID images are to be collected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8726/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 766 and 791 together.

The Government decided in 2011 to centralise driver licence provision, following an examination of the options for driver licensing which found that a centralised system would offer enhanced security and consistency, and be more efficient and cost-effective.    The Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Act 2012 provides for the RSA to become the central driver licensing authority in Ireland.  This came into effect on 12 January 2013.

The new system involves three contracted elements, a card production facility, a front office for engaging with the customer, and a back office to process applications.  All three are to be overseen by a specialist unit based in the RSA in Ballina.

The setting of specifications and conditions related to the tender processes for the three contracts was a matter for the RSA. I had no power to intervene, and, I understand, the contractors have now been appointed.

Driver Licences

Questions (767)

Finian McGrath

Question:

767. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on a submission (details supplied) regarding phorographic ID services. [8290/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Government decided in 2011 to centralise driver licence provision, following an examination of the options for driver licensing which found that a centralised system would offer enhanced security and consistency, and be more efficient and cost-effective. The Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Act 2012 provides for the RSA (not the NRA) to become the central driver licensing authority in Ireland.  This came into effect on 12 January 2013. 

The new system involves three outsourced elements, a card production facility, a front office for engaging with the customer, and a back office to process applications.  All three are to be overseen by a ‘centre of excellence’ based in the RSA itself.   The card licence is standardised across the European Union and therefore there must be consistency in the quality and standard of information used.  The photograph will be digital and will not be stuck on to the card in the way it is to the current paper licence.  The capture of the photograph is included in the fee for the licence.  As the system develops, the SAFE2 ID standard will be implemented, at which point the only option will be the digital photo taken at the Front Office Network.

The operation of the tender processes for the outsourced elements was a matter for the RSA, I had no power to intervene in it, and the contractors have already been procured.

National Car Test

Questions (768)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

768. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of revenue generated annually from national car testing since its introduction; the amount generated from re-tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8320/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

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. As the subject matter of this Question is the responsibility of the RSA I have referred it to them for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my Office if a reply has not been received within ten days.

Air Services Provision

Questions (769)

Alan Farrell

Question:

769. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the level of his engagement and consultation with the European Union Regulators on the proposed Ryanair bid for Aer Lingus; the influence he will have on its decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8324/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Following detailed consideration of the most recent offer by Ryanair for Aer Lingus the Government  decided  that it was not prepared to support the offer because of the significant negative impact that the Government considers the offer would have on competition, connectivity and employment in the Irish air transport market.

The European Commission is conducting a detailed examination of the Offer under EU Merger Control Rules and it has consulted a wide range of stakeholders, including my Department, on the remedies packages put forward by Ryanair to address the competition concerns identified by the Commission in its initial review. Many of the details of these remedies have been reported in the media and as reported, they do not satisfy the Government's concern about connectivity, competition or employment. The Government has made this point on a number of occasions, including in my public statement of the 12th of February 2013.

The deadline for the European Commission's decision in this case is March 6th.  Notwithstanding recent media reports of the outcome of the Commission's investigation, the Government awaits the Commission's formal decision which we expect in the coming weeks.

Fáilte Ireland Issues

Questions (770)

Peter Mathews

Question:

770. Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to assist an organisation (details supplied) with their international festival on 24 and 25 May 2013; if funding will be made available to assist with transportation costs for the visiting choirs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8327/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland.  I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.

Taxi Regulations

Questions (771)

Seán Kenny

Question:

771. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of permits that the Dublin Airport Authority issued to taxi drivers to pick up fares at Dublin Airport for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; the criteria required by taxi drivers in order to obtain a permit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8355/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The matter raised by the Deputy in relation to the number of permits that the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) issued to taxi drivers at Dublin Airport falls within the operational responsibilities of DAA and I have referred the question to the company for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten working days.

Rail Services

Question No. 773 answered with Question No. 111.

Questions (772)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

772. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if tickets can now be purchased on-line for all Irish Rail services; if the on-line option is not available on all services, when same will be available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8399/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is an operational matter for Irish Rail and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Question No. 773 answered with Question No. 111.

Railway Stations Upgrade

Questions (774)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

774. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the issue of the lack of availability of electronic ramps in Irish rail stations can be addressed; if his attention has been drawn to the difficulty it is causing for persons with disabilities particularly in the DART stations in Clontarf and Killester which are in the vicinity of the Central Remedial Clinic which accommodates a significant number of wheelchair users who require public transport. [8409/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department is funding an on-going programme of accessibility improvement grants to upgrade existing public transport infrastructure and facilities. This includes funding for the upgrading of Iarnród Éireann stations to ensure they are accessible to people with mobility, sensory and cognitive impairments. Funding in the region of €48 million has been provided to the company for this purpose since 2006. This programme is being administered on behalf of my Department by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

I understand that Iarnród Éireann’s current policy is to have a portable wheelchair ramp at all stations and they are also located on board Inter City trains. A member of staff must be available to safely deploy the ramp for use. In relation to electric ramps the company advise that due to the variability of the interfaces between trains and platforms (including curved platforms, platforms of different heights) the only possible option for electric ramps is for them to be permanently fitted on board trains.  In effect due to their complexity this would require that they are  built into the train when it is first constructed.  The company is committed to such a requirement when ordering new rolling stock in the future.  

I am also informed by Irish Rail that they are in discussions with the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) regarding the use of Killester Station by wheelchair users. It was agreed that Iarnród Éireann would put in place an agreed protocol to assist wheelchair users when travelling on DART services. If the CRC are agreeable to this protocol it will be implemented throughout the DART network.

Railway Stations Upgrade

Questions (775, 776)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

775. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the job of caretaker at a train station (details supplied) in County Sligo will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8447/13]

View answer

Michael Colreavy

Question:

776. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when a ticket machine will be put in place at a train station (details supplied) in County Sligo. [8448/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 775 and 776 together.

The issues raised are matters for Irish Rail and I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Improvement Schemes

Questions (777)

Joe Carey

Question:

777. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will report on progress regarding the development of the N17 - N18 Gort to Tuam motorway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8451/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

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 implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

The N17/18 Gort-Tuam project was identified in the Government's Financial Stimulus Package announced in July 2012. As the Investment and Capital Expenditure Framework 2012-2016 did not include a financial provision for this project, an additional multi-annual allocation is required to cover the Exchequer element of the project costs.  As the allocation of such funds is related to the planned sale of State assets, clarification has been sought from the Department of Public Expenditure on the timelines involved. Once appropriate funding arrangements are put in place, the NRA will be in a position to prepare the project implementation schedule.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.

Air Services Provision

Questions (778)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

778. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views regarding Flybe's agreement with Ryanair to assist in its bid for Aer Lingus; if his attention has been drawn to concerns that the selling off of Irish regional routes to Flybe could lead to the destruction of the Irish aviation industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8516/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy will be aware, the European Commission is conducting a detailed examination of Ryanair's offer for Aer Lingus under EU Merger Control Rules.

Following detailed consideration of the most recent offer by Ryanair for Aer Lingus the Government  decided that it was not prepared to support the offer because of the significant negative impact that the Government considers the offer would have on competition, connectivity and employment in the Irish air transport market.

As part of its examination of the offer, the European Commission has consulted a wide range of stakeholders, including my Department, on the remedies packages put forward by Ryanair to address the competition concerns identified by the Commission in its initial review. Many of the details of these remedies have been reported in the media and as reported, they do not satisfy the Government's concern about connectivity, competition or employment. The Government has made this point on a number of occasions, including in my public statement of the 12th of February 2013.

Promoting competition among airlines serving the Irish market is at the heart of the Government’s aviation strategy and the continued presence of at least two strong competing airlines serving Ireland’s air transport needs is regarded as important. At the moment, we are fortunate to have two very strong and profitable airlines operating in Ireland and the competitive dynamic between the two companies has brought significant benefits for Irish consumers.  The Government wants to see continued competition in the market.

The deadline for the European Commission's decision in this case is March 6th.  Notwithstanding recent media reports of the outcome of the Commission's investigation, the Government awaits the Commission's formal decision which we expect in the coming weeks.

Coast Guard Services

Question No. 780 answered with Question No. 108.

Question No. 781 answered with Question No. 111.

Questions (779)

Tom Barry

Question:

779. Deputy Tom Barry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will acknowledge the work of Coast Guard volunteers; if he will continue to maintain support for them and other volunteer rescue units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8524/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I am delighted to place on record how highly I and my Department value the  service provided by Coast Guard Volunteers and I am committed to fully supporting their work, management and training, coupled of course with an on-going focus on increasing efficiencies and effectiveness in providing a better service to those in peril on our coastline and inland waters.

The Volunteer Units are an integral part of the overall Coast Guard services delivery and consists of approximately 950 volunteer members, divided into 49 coastal units. Their primary roles include cliff rescue, boat operations and shoreline searching, together with a number of secondary roles relating to support for An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive.

I am also cognisant of the work provided by the volunteers involved in other community rescue services who have declared themselves as resources available to the Coast Guard on a 24/7 basis. Grant aid to assist with their work has been retained at the existing level in 2013.

Question No. 780 answered with Question No. 108.
Question No. 781 answered with Question No. 111.

Road Traffic Accidents Data

Questions (782, 785)

Alan Farrell

Question:

782. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a county breakdown of road fatalities from 2002 to 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8648/13]

View answer

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

785. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a county breakdown of road fatalities in 2012; if he will provide comparable figures for each of the past ten years; and if he will concede that improvements on major motorway infrastructure is a contributory factor in the reduction in fatalities on our roads. [8654/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 782 and 785 together.

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) responsibility for the collection and analysis of structured information on road traffic collisions now lies with the Road Safety Authority.

Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the Road Safety Authority for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.