Tourism Capital Investment Programme

Questions (299)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

299. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will report on the strategic investments his Department plans to make under the tourism capital investment programme; and if he will outline the way the funding provided for this programme will be spent. [26292/13]

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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 response is not received within ten working days.

Taxi Regulations

Questions (300, 301)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

300. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason people who sit the SPSV knowledge test are not being provided with information on the specifics of their results in terms of area and route knowledge therefore making it difficult to improve on their weak points. [26420/13]

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Dessie Ellis

Question:

301. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider introducing taxi licences specific to certain large urban and suburban areas to recognise the difference between the knowledge requirements for drivers in areas (details supplied). [26421/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 300 and 301 together.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the regulation of the taxi industry under the provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009, including the development and administration of the Skills Development Test. Your correspondence has been forwarded to the NTA for direct reply. If you do not receive a response within ten working days please notify my private Office.

Rural Transport Programme

Questions (302)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

302. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the rural transport scheme. [26466/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Local Development Companies (LDCs) are known by a number of different names nationwide, including Local Area Partnerships, LEADER Partnerships, Integrated Development Companies as well as Local Development Companies. The Programme is administered by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. The future of the LDCs is a matter for that Department.    

An overall budget of €9.133 million has been allocated by the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport to the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) for 2013, representing a small decrease on the 2012 allocation of €9.77 million, at a difficult time financially. My aim is to strengthen the RTP by ensuring a more efficient delivery structure by maximising integration with other state transport services and by making the programme a sustainable part of the public transport system. This is in line with the Programme for Government commitment to maintain and extend the RTP with other local transport services.  To this end national responsibility for local and rural transport services integration, including the RTP, was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1 April 2012, putting such services in a broader transport context.

I am well aware of the very valuable work done by RTP Groups in identifying and delivering the transport needs of their local community.  However, given that resources are limited and that the Value for Money and Policy Review of the RTP, published last year recommended organisational restructuring to achieve efficiencies and the better alignment of the 35 RTP groups with local authorities, it is necessary that the current delivery mechanisms and structures are examined and revised.  Current structures are not sustainable if the required efficiencies and savings are to be achieved. If these are not achieved then with the limited resources available services will decline. Work has been underway over the last six months to determine the optimal structure for the delivery of rural transport from an efficiency and service perspective. This has involved consultations with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the County and City Managers Association and the Rural Transport Network.

I have not as yet taken any decisions on restructuring. I am awaiting proposals from the NTA when they have concluded their deliberations and discussions but I am hopeful to be in a position to recommend a new structure in the near future which will allow for the maximising of spend on services and the reduction of administration costs. I will ensure that any future structure for the RTP will be based on community input, local flexibility and involving the voluntary sector.  Rural Transport by its nature is community-based and this will remain under any new structure.

Departmental Budgets

Questions (303)

Seán Fleming

Question:

303. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has received any indicative figure from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform regarding the fiscal adjustments his Department will be asked to make in 2014 and 2015; the size of those adjustments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26555/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Expenditure Report 2013 published by the Department of Expenditure and Reform in the context of Budget 2013 sets out the target for savings €56m in 2014 in gross current expenditure.  In preparation for the 2014 Estimates and Budgetary processes, my Department is, at the request of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, seeking to identify measures that could yield additional savings in gross current expenditure for 2015 and 2016. It will be a matter for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to publish the outcome of these deliberative processes in due course.

Road Projects Status

Questions (304)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

304. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding a road project (details supplied) and if the project will be given precedence under any European stimulus project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26559/13]

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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. The route is recommended for inclusion in the Trans European Comprehensive Road Network along with a number of other routes across the country.  No specific funding stream is available for works on these routes.  The final decision on the inclusion, or otherwise, of specific routes has not yet been reached.

  As mentioned above, responsibility for the sequencing of any works on TENS route, will rest with the NRA and the relevant local authority.  Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.