Road Safety Issues

Questions (268)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

268. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of local authorities that have reviewed their speed limits; his views regarding local authorities that have not done so; if his attention has been drawn to the large number of locations nationwide on the roads network with inappropriate speed limits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29877/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Road Traffic Act 2004 establishes default speed limits that apply to defined categories of roads and which can only be changed by county and city councils through the making of special speed limit bye-laws, and  Section 9 of that Act sets out the range of special speed limits that may be set by local authorities through such bye-laws. Statutory responsibility for the setting of special speed limits is vested in members of county and city councils. To assist in setting these special speed limits, my Department issued Guidelines for the Application of Special Speed Limits to all local authorities in January 2011 and the onus is on local authorities to take them into account in relation to any special speed limits which they set.

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide advice and guidance in relation to the making of speed limit bye-laws by county and city councils for the purpose of applying special speed limits. After taking the guidelines into account it is considered best practice for local authority officials to advise the elected members of their respective councils on what a suitable speed limit regime should be for different roads in their areas of responsibility. For new roads the local authority would have access to the the relevant technical information relating to the speed for which the road was designed.

As part of a Direction given by the then Minister in January 2011, all local authorities were requested to undertake an assessment of special speed limits in their functional areas. I do not believe that the local authorities sufficiently engaged with this direction and as a result in 2012, I announced that a review of speed limits would be undertaken and to that end, my Department established a stakeholder group to progress this work. The Automobile Association, An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority, the National Roads Authority, representatives of local authorities and the National Transport Authority accepted my invitation to participate in the Working Group. As the Deputy will appreciate, this is an issue which requires detailed consideration. I anticipate that the Group will report to me shortly, and I will give careful consideration to any recommendations contained in their Report.

Sports Funding

Questions (269)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

269. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if submissions made by governing bodies of sporting organisations, in receipt of State funding, to the Irish Sports Council are available for public scrutiny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29908/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Irish Sports Council, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the promotion, development and co-ordination of sport, including responsibility for the allocation of funding to the National Governing Bodies of Sport.

As the Deputy’s question relates to submissions made to the Irish Sports Council, I have referred it to the Council for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

Public Transport Initiatives

Question No. 271 withdrawn.

Questions (270)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

270. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for an integrated transport system for the entire island of Ireland; the discussions or meetings he has had with his counterpart in Stormont on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29910/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the  Deputy will be aware, transport was specifically identified in the Good Friday Agreement as one of the key areas for North/South cooperation and consequently is one on which the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) meets in Sectoral format. The Council meets in this format in order to make decisions on common policies and approaches in the area of transport including areas where there may be scope to better integrate transport provision throughout the island.

The most recent NSMC meeting in Transport Sectoral format took place on 17th April in Armagh. The meeting was attended by Alex Attwood MLA, Minister for the Environment in Northern Ireland, Danny Kennedy MLA Minister for Regional Development in Northern Ireland, and me. Amongst the agenda items for this meeting was an update on the A5 and A8 major road projects; a progress report on the work which is underway to allow for the mutual recognition of penalty points; a review of the ongoing cooperation in the areas of road user and vehicle safety as well as a discussion on EU matters which impact on the transport sector in the two jurisdictions. Other items which have previously featured on the agenda at NSMC Transport meetings have included the All Island Freight Forum, developments on the Dublin/Belfast Rail line and cross-border community based rural transport.

The next NSMC meeting in Transport Sectoral format is scheduled for 28th November 2013.  I look forward to the very positive cooperation in the transport area continuing and to availing of any other beneficial opportunities for north/south cooperation, including in relation to an integrated transport system, in the future.

Question No. 271 withdrawn.

Capital Expenditure Programme Issues

Questions (272, 273)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

272. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a list of transport infrastructure projects that he has submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for consideration for funding through stimulus measures. [29978/13]

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Timmy Dooley

Question:

273. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a list of transport infrastructure projects that he intends to submit for consideration for funding through the recently announced Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. [29979/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 272  and  273  together.

The general approach I have taken is to keep under review projects at various stages of planning and design which have been evaluated and appraised with a view to having a pipeline of suitable "shovel ready" projects ready to avail of any funding opportunities that may arise.  I have also put considerable emphasis on the need to direct resources to the maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure. In line with this overall approach three road projects have been included in the Government's Infrastructure Stimulus package announced in July 2012 - the N17/N18 Gort to Tuam PPP together with the N25 New Ross Bypass and the N11 Gorey to Enniscorthy PPP.  In addition under the investment plan announced recently by the Government an additional €50million has been made available to fund maintenance and repair work on regional and local roads. Should further funding become available in the future my aim will be to develop a balanced package of measures covering infrastructure maintenance, safety schemes and targeted development  projects across the transport sector.  Of course the actual composition of such a package would depend on if and how much additional funding becomes available.

Fáilte Ireland Expenditure

Questions (274)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

274. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the €213,000 in funding by Fáilte Ireland which he recently announced for the restoration of Shackleton Gardens in Dublin 15; and provide a timeframe for this expenditure. [29980/13]

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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 advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Tolls

Questions (275)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

275. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a chronology of his knowledge since becoming Minister, of proposals to introduce multipoint tolling on the M50, particularly in the context of his comments from September 2011 when he indicated his view that it would be fairer to have 60c tolls at different points. [29982/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

A proposal to widen the carriageway and upgrade the junctions over most of the M50 was approved by An Bord Pleanála in 2005. Conditions were attached to the permission which included the development of a scheme of demand management measures. The NRA in conjunction with the relevant local authorities have been working on such a scheme.  

When I took over as Minister for Transport I undertook a review of tolling policy.  Having reviewed the position and in the context of budgetary measures increasing VAT and carbon tax I came to the decision in late 2011 that new tolls would not be introduced during my term as Minister for Transport. In relation to the M50 specifically, the likely impact of multi-point tolling will be to push vehicles on to other roads and through local communities. At present, congestion is not the problem that it was when An Bord Pleanala granted permission to the M50 upgrade, but it will re-emerge as an issue if and when the economy recovers. At that point we will need a joined-up solution to deal with congestion across the Greater Dublin Area, and not just on the M50.

Road Safety Issues

Questions (276)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

276. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 502 of 25 September 2012, the latest update on the speed limit review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30005/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Review Group has made significant progress in this complex and highly technical area and I expect to receive the Final Report from the Group very shortly.  

As I mentioned in Dail Eireann previously,  I hope to submit the Report to the Oireachtas Committee on Transpolrt and Communications for their views and I will give careful consideration to implementing any recommendations that emerge from that process.

Public Sector Staff Data

Questions (277)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

277. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of persons employed within the public sector by his Department or agency and by grade for each year of the five consecutive years for which the most recent data is available. [30460/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The breakdown of staff numbers as whole-time equivalents (WTE) in the Department of Transport for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 together with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport numbers from 2011 to the end of May of 2013 are set out in the table below.  There were substantial staff reductions in 2009 and 2010  due primarily to incentivised early retirements, incentivised career break schemes and latterly due to staff redeployment to other Departments.

  The underlying trend of substantial reductions continued to apply in 2011 and 2012. It should be noted that the total figure for 2011 disguises this trend because it includes 43.25 WTE which transferred into the Department as a result of the creation of the new Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport following the change of Government. 

GRADE

year ended 2008

year ended 2009

year ended 2010

year ended 2011

year ended 2012

2013  (to end May)

Secretary General

1

1

1

1

1

1

Assistant Secretary

6

4

4

5

5

5

Principal Officers

21.4

16

14.9

17.7

17.4

18.2

Assistant Principal Officers

51.83

39.83

36.63

43.23

41.2

41.4

Administrative Officers

8

7

7

6.8

7.8

7

Higher Executive Officers

82.03

76.43

72.43

72.56

68.26

67.26

Executive Officers

88.93

83.73

79.56

76.54

69.11

69.11

Staff Officers

18.7

16.9

17.1

14.1

13.3

13.3

Clerical Officers

151.26

139.56

134.56

128.16

119.06

118.06

Ministerial - Advisers

2

2

3

2

2

2

Ministerial - Personal Assistant

2

1

2

3

2.25

3

Ministerial - Personal Secretary

3

1

2

3

3

3

Ministerial - Civilian Drivers

2

0

0

6

6

6

Head Services Officer

1

1

1

1

1

1

Services Officers / Attendants / Storekeeper

 

15.3

15.3

13.3

12.3

11.5

11.5

Telephonists

2.03

2.03

2.03

2.03

1.3

1.3

Chief Aeronautical Officer

1

1

1

1

1

1

Aeronautical Officer Grade I

2

4

4

4

3

4

Aeronautical Officer Grade II

2

1

1

1

1

0

Principal Adviser

1

1

1

1

1

1

Senior  Adviser

1

1

1

1

1

1

Engineering Inspector

1

1

1

0

0

0

Draughtsman

1

0

0

0

0

0

Inspector

1

1

1

1

1

1

Accountant Grade 2

1

1

1

1

0

0

Accountant

0

0

0

1

1

1

Legal Adviser

1

1

1

1

1

1

Financial Adviser

0

1

0

0

0

0

Statistician

1

1

1

1

1

1

Sustainability Adviser

1

1

1

1

0.8

0.8

Transport Planner

0

1

1

1

0

1

Staff Engineer

1

1

1

1

0

0

Director Irish Coast Guard

1

1

1

1

1

1

Assistant Director ICG

1

1

1

1

1

1

Chief Engineer

1

1

1

1

1

1

Manager Coastguard

1

0

0

0

0

0

Regional Controller ICG

2

2

2

2

2

2

Deputy Divisional Controller

2

3

3

2

1

1

Divisional Controller

2

1

0

2

2

2

Electronics Officer

3

3

3

3

2

2

Engineering & Operations Officer

1

1

1

1

1

1

Radio Officer Grade III

24

24

23

27

29

28

Station Officer

23

20

17

13

11

11

Training & Operations Officer

3

4

4

3

3

3

Coastal Unit Sector Manager

0

3

3

3

3

3

Chief Surveyor

1

1

1

1

1

1

Deputy Chief Surveyor

1

1

1

1

1

1

Principal Radio Surveyor

1

0

0

0

0

0

Marine Radio Surveyor

1

1

1

1

1

0

Surveyor (Officer in charge)

2

1

1

1

1

1

Surveyor

18

25

25

24

24

24

Stagiare

0

1

1

0

0

0

TOTAL

559.48

517.78

495.51

497.42

465.98

463.93

I have asked the State agencies under the aegis of my Department to provide the Deputy with the information requested.  If you do not receive a reply from the agencies within ten working days, please advise my private office.