Abortion Legislation

Questions (240)

Billy Timmins

Question:

240. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health the persons who framed the terms of reference for the expert group on the A, B and C report on abortion; if there were draft guidelines; the persons involved in drawing up the terms of reference and the brief they received from him on the matter; the groups or organisations that were requested to supply recommendations; and if they were selected, the person who selected and approved the nominations; how often and when the group met and if the discussion notes are available; the members, if any, that resigned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21892/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I wish to inform the Deputy that the terms of reference for the Expert Group on the Judgment in A, B & C v Ireland were initially drawn up by the relevant officials in my Department, with reference to the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights. They were discussed by Government and approved on the 29th November 2011.

The membership of the Expert Group was chosen and appointed by the Minister, in consultation with the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, and agreed by Government. In terms of its composition, it was agreed that, in order to fulfil its remit, the Group would require experts representing the fields of obstetrics, general practice, psychiatry, law, public policy and professional regulation. The Irish College of General Practitioners, the Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, An Bord Altranais, the Medical Council and the Office of the Attorney General were asked to put forward nominations to the Expert Group. The Group therefore consisted of members who have been selected on the basis of their medical, legal, and policy expertise. The Chair of the Group, the Honourable Justice Mr Sean Ryan, is a High Court Judge. One member of the Expert Group resigned.

The Expert Group met nine times during the period January to November 2012. Minutes of each meeting are held in the Department of Health.

Abortion Legislation

Questions (241)

Billy Timmins

Question:

241. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health the way the new protection of life during pregnancy Bill (details supplied) would have affected the way Savita Halappanavar was treated, in view of the fact the medical assessment of her on the Monday and Tuesday was that there was not a real and substantial threat to her life and in view of the independent expert (details supplied) it was to late too treat her after mid-morning on the Wednesday; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21893/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

While it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the Savita Halappanavar case at this time, I wish to inform the Deputy that the intention of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is to bring legal clarity to cases where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of a pregnant woman which may only be averted by termination of pregnancy. Head 2 of the Bill aims to set out the law on situations in which termination of pregnancy is permissible where there is a risk of loss of life from physical illness if it is established as a matter of probability that:

- there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother; and

- this risk can only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy.

It is my hope that the Bill will assist medical professionals by clarifying the circumstances in which doctors can intervene where a woman’s life is at risk. It is my hope that the new proposed legislation will save women's lives and protect the unborn and give clarity to medical professionals taking care of their patients.

Road Projects Contracts

Questions (242)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

242. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of the public private partnership deal that the National Roads Authority signed on his Department’s behalf regarding the N11 upgrade in County Wicklow; when he expects construction work to commence; when he expects the road to be fully open; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21618/13]

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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. 

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.

Road Projects Expenditure

Questions (243)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

243. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount his Department has spent to date on the A5 dual carriageway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21713/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The State has contributed £22 million Sterling to date towards the A5 project.

Road Safety Issues

Questions (244)

David Stanton

Question:

244. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 613 of 30 April 2013, if he will, in the context of any future changes to EU legislation on roadworthiness testing, seek to have that legislation changed to allow vehicles to be tested by reference to the date of a vehicle's test date where the car has been pre-declared off the road as part of a legal process regulated by a member state; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21785/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As I outlined in my reply  to the Deputy on April 30th, roadworthiness testing throughout the EU is undertaken in conformity  with EU Directive 2009/40, which stipulates the intervals between test dates, which are derived by reference to the date of a vehicles’ initial registration.  EU law requires that vehicles must be tested on the fourth anniversary of their initial registration, and every two years thereafter.  In Ireland, as an additional element of national road safety policy, vehicles older than ten years must be tested annually. 

In July 2012 the EU Commission published a set of proposals which sought to amend Directive 2009/40 and following which the Council of Ministers for Transport, in December 2012, reached a General Agreement on those proposals. The General Agreement does not provide for the amendments suggested and there are no such amendments proposed. However, the Deputy's proposal will be kept under consideration. 

Traffic Calming Measures

Questions (245)

Seán Kyne

Question:

245. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if any standard designs for traffic calming measures, such as ramps exist; and if directions will be given to local authorities on the construction of traffic calming features in order that the quality and durability of same will be assured across the country. [21813/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

While my Department is responsible for general legislation in regard to traffic matters, it does not have a direct role in relation to local traffic management, including traffic calming, which is a matter for the relevant local authorities. Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 empowers such authorities, in the interest of the safety and convenience of road users, to provide such traffic calming measures as they consider desirable in respect of public roads in their charge. 

To support the provision of such traffic calming measures, a non-statutory Traffic Management Guidelines Manual was published in 2003 jointly by the then Department of Transport, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Dublin Transportation Office and distributed to each road authority setting out guidance on best practice.  Guidance is given in Chapter 6 on traffic calming, including the types of roads on which particular types of traffic calming measures are appropriate.  Section 13 of that Chapter deals with the specific details of speed ramps and other such measures.  The Guidelines can be accessed from the National Transport Authority website (www.nationaltransport.ie).

Driving Tests

Questions (246)

Seán Kyne

Question:

246. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide details on the way the standard of driving test examination are assured across the country particularly in view of the extraordinary differences in pass rates from centre to centre. [21814/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has statutory responsibility for all aspects of driver testing. I have passed the Deputy's question to the RSA for direct reply. If no response has been received within ten days, the Deputy should contact my office. I have passed the Deputy's question to the RSA for direct reply. If no response has been received within ten days, the Deputy should contact my office.