Road Traffic Legislation

Questions (705)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

705. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the current legal position of sulkie racing on public highways; if a ban on this activity is proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31608/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

There are no specific legal provisions relating to the operation of sulkies on public roads. Under current road traffic legislation, I, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, have power to make general regulations for the control of traffic, including the parking of vehicles in public places and, while the Gardaí have been successful in bringing prosecutions for the racing of sulkies, I believe that the law in this area requires further examination. I have asked my Department, in consultation with the Gardaí, to review the current legislation governing the use of animals on public roads, to determine if tighter controls are necessary.

Traffic Calming Measures

Questions (706)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

706. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the need for traffic calming or other measures to slow traffic will be considered at a location (details supplied) as four children have been knocked down there in recent months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31546/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants. My Department has allocated over €400 million for works on regional and local roads in 2013.  From this allocation, Dublin City Council has been allocated over €7.7 million. However, the initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded from these grants is also a matter for the local authority.

On behalf of the Department, the National Roads Authority (NRA) will shortly invite applications for funding in 2014 under the Low Cost Safety Improvement Grants Scheme.  The criteria for grant approval under this grants scheme are based on accident data, inspection of sites, locations showing demonstrable hazard and discussions between the local authority and the NRA.   It is open to the Council to prioritise works at Marewood Crescent and include them among its proposals for funding. Alternatively, the Council may fund these works through its own resources or to seek to use some of the monies recently allocated to Dublin City Council in June 2013 for such works.

Rail Services

Questions (707)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

707. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the intended start date for construction of a rail stop at Crusheen on the Ennis to Galway line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31562/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department's capital funding for rail infrastructure was reduced last year in order to support the emergency funding required for the CIE Group. As a result of the reduced capital funding Irish Rail have had to re-evaluate their planned capital programme to 2016 with the priority being to protect existing assets and to maintain safety standards. In the context of this, I have asked Irish Rail to revisit their current proposals for Crusheen rail stop which have a construction cost of in the order of €2 million and see if a lower cost alternative is feasible. It is my intention to provide for a rail stop at Crusheen.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (708)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

708. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of temporary clerical officers who have been employed by his Department over each of the past three years; the number of those who have been retired public-civil servants; his views on whether his Department should employ retired staff in these positions in view of the level of youth unemployment here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31581/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department has employed one temporary clerical officer (TCO) in the last 3 years.  The TCO was appointed to cover a Shorter Working Year absence in the Department's public office in Cork in the period July to October 2010.  The cover was required due to the fact that it is a small office and it would not have been possible to maintain service delivery commitments without the assistance of the recruitment of the TCO. This TCO was recruited through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and was not a retired member of staff. The Department has not otherwise temporarily filled clerical officer posts vacated over the summer holiday period.

Road Safety Issues

Questions (709)

Tom Fleming

Question:

709. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 757 of 14 May 2013, if he will provide the National Roads Authority's response to same in respect of the blackspot bend on the Miltown/Castlemaine road at Cloonmore-Rathpook, County Kerry; his views on the response regarding urgent provision of funding to address ongoing hazards to the public on this highly trafficked road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31603/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and 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. Within its capital budget it is a matter for the NRA to assess projects and determine priorities. I have, therefore, forwarded the Deputy's Question to the NRA for further reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Rail Network

Questions (710)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

710. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline the details regarding the slippage of land near a rail line (details supplied) in County Wicklow; to outline when the events occurred and the measures Iarnród Éireann-Irish Rail are taking on the matter; if a permanent solution will be put in place by them to ensure the long-term use of rail services along that line; if it has met with the local authority to discuss this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31641/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  Matters relating to ongoing maintenance of rail lines including maintenance required arising from slippage of land between Bray and Greystones  Stations in County Wicklow is a day-to-day operational issue for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance and I have no function in such matters.

Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the Chief Executive of Iarnrod Eireann for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days. For the Deputy's information I should also advise that this year €90 million is being provided by my Department to Iarnroid Eireann under the Railway Safety Programme to cover essential safety related works including embankment strengthening. The identification and prioritisation of such works is a matter for Iarnroid Eireann.

Rail Network

Questions (711)

Seán Kenny

Question:

711. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will request the chief executive officer of Iarnród Éireann to carry out works at locations (details supplied) as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31740/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  Matters relating to improvements at individual railway stations, including maintenance works at Howth Junction and Donaghmede stations, are day-to-day operational issues for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance and I have no function in such matters. Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Safety Strategy

Questions (712)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

712. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the implementation of Action 94 of the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020; and if he will provide a date for publication of the report. [31779/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Action 94 of the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020 provides that a feasibility report will be completed on the establishment of independent post-collision engineering assessment to review fatal and serious injury cases including on-site engineering inspections. My Department is identified, in the Strategy, as the lead Department for implementing the Action by Quarter 3 of 2013. A consultation process with the identified support agencies will begin shortly and the report will be completed in due course.

Driving Instruction Regulation

Questions (713)

Clare Daly

Question:

713. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the regulations governing the courses provided by driving schools for those wishing to become driving instructors in the context of the huge surplus of such people; and the amount of money it is costing them to take the courses. [31800/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Road Traffic (Driving Instructor Licensing) (No. 2) Regulations 2009 sets out the requirements for a person wishing to be registered as an approved driving instructor. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) regulates driving instruction, and maintains a register of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). In order to be registered as an ADI, a person must pass three tests, or receive exemption from one or more of those tests on grounds of verifiable qualifications.  The tests are set by the RSA in accordance with the above Regulations.

Action 32 of the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020  commits the RSA to ‘Develop and Implement a programme for the compulsory initial and periodic training for driving instructors.’  This should bring greater clarity for both prospective driving instructors and their trainers. There is no limit on the number of people who may be registered as ADIs at any given time, and likewise no limit on the number of people who may choose to train as driving instructors.  I do not believe that it would be appropriate to limit either by regulation.

Roads Maintenance

Questions (714)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

714. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to provide funding to Donegal County Council to allow it make a provision for funding or resources to citizens whose roads are not maintained by Donegal County Council; if his attention has been drawn to the number of roads in the county that are not maintained by the council; the serious condition of these roads; if he has discussed this issue with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31803/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants. Donegal County Council has been allocated over €22.4 million from my Department to supplement its own input for 2013.

My Department recently launched a pilot Community Involvement Scheme for works on regional and local roads.   This scheme is aimed at works on local roads which would only be considered for funding towards the end of a Council’s road programme after more heavily trafficked routes had been dealt with.   This is a voluntary scheme and is available to give local communities the opportunity to have these works completed where they would not normally be considered for funding. Applications closed earlier this year and allocations have been made. Its uptake will be examined later this year and assessed for its potential to continue beyond 2013.

With regard to private roads, the improvement and maintenance of these roads are in the first instance a matter for the landowner.  Local authorities may however provide assistance to the public for these private roads under the Local Improvements Schemes.   Local authorities may use up to 7% of their Discretionary Grant towards such schemes should they wish. It is important to reiterate that the role of Exchequer grants for regional and local roads is to supplement Councils like Donegal County Council in their spending in this area. I have regular discussions with my colleagues in Government in relation to the road network and road grants and this has included both the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as the Minister of State at that Department.

Roads Maintenance

Questions (715)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

715. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the National Roads Authority has received a submission from a local authority regarding the provision of funding to amend a stretch of road (details supplied) in County Wicklow; if funding will be made available for making the particular section safer for motorists; when he envisages any such funding being made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31814/13]

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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. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act. 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.

Light Rail Projects Provision

Questions (716)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

716. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider expanding the planned extension of the Luas line Broombridge railway station, Dublin, by a further tram stop in order that it will include the Ashtown area, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31823/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

 As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.   Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) in December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as Luas Light rail projects, comes under the remit of the NTA. Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days. The Deputy will be aware that there is a direct rail connection between Broombridge Station and Ashtown Station.

National Transport Authority

Questions (717)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

717. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on funding to complete an unfinished footpath on the Cockhill Road, Stamullen, County Meath. [31826/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. My Department has allocated over €400 million in regional and local road grants to local authorities this year. From this allocation, Meath County Council is being provided with over €13.5 million. It is open to Meath County Council to fund these works either from its Discretionary Grant allocation or alternatively from its own resources should it so wish.

Free Travel on Aer Lingus

Questions (718)

Finian McGrath

Question:

718. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will confirm that a person (details supplied) still enjoys free travel on Aer Lingus. [31975/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Aer Lingus is a publicly listed company. The question relates to an operational matter for the company in which the Minister has no function.

Air Accident Investigations

Questions (719)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

719. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will clarify the process of selection as regards air accident inspectors as it pertains to the report regarding the crash of IAC PC9 aircraft in which a person (details supplied) lost his life, as it has been brought to the attention of this Deputy that one of the inspectors was in fact the safety officer who had assessed the aircraft prior to the crash; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31986/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy will recall, as Minister for Defence at the time of the accident he and the then Minister for Transport agreed jointly that the investigation into the Air Corps PC 9 accident would be conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of my Department, pursuant to Regulation 27 (1) of S.I. No. 205 of 1997 Air Navigation (Notification and Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Regulations, 1997.

Investigations by the AAIU are carried out strictly in accordance with international and European provisions. This includes seeking the assistance of relevant expertise from the aircraft operator, manufacturer or other interested parties as required. These experts come under the control of the AAIU Investigator-in-Charge as provided for in the regulation. Regulations provide for investigations to be held in private and are confidential. The sole purpose of such Investigations is the prevention of future accidents and incidents and not to apportion blame or liability. As the AAIU is independent in the conduct of its investigations, I do not propose to become involved in individual investigations.

Taxi Regulations

Questions (720, 721)

Clare Daly

Question:

720. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline the legislative or regulatory basis where it specifies that a vehicle over 15 years of age can not be a taxi. [32030/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

721. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reasons the age of a vehicle is being pushed as a defining criteria in suitability of taxi vehicles against the backdrop of national car testing and other standards which must be adhered to. [32031/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 720 and 721 together.

The regulation of the taxi industry, including issues pertaining to vehicle age limit, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003. The NTA is also the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011.

The NTA carried out a consultation on vehicle standards as part of the Taxi Regulation Review in 2011 which recommends strengthening vehicle standards. Action 10 of the Review Report recommended that the 9 year vehicle age limit should apply at licence issue or renewal for all new taxi or hackney vehicles entering the fleet.  Vehicle licences issued since January 2009 have been on the basis of a 9-year age limit on the vehicle. Existing vehicles in the fleet licensed prior to 1 January 2009 can operate up to 14 years of age subject to 6-monthly NCT testing and NTA licence renewal assessment.

The aim of these measures is to promote vehicle standards so as to improve passenger and road safety.  It is envisaged that, over time, all vehicles older than nine years will be removed from the taxi and hackney fleet. The NTA made revised vehicle standards regulations in this regard under Statutory Instrument No. 48 of 2013.

Leader Programmes Funding

Questions (722)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

722. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding Leader funding and approval in respect of a running track (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32051/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Department of Transport Tourism and Sport does not allocate LEADER funding, though it is consulted before grants are awarded to organisations where there is a sporting element involved.  My Department has not received any documentation on the application referred to by the Deputy.

Public Transport Initiatives

Questions (723)

Tom Fleming

Question:

723. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to introduce a pilot scheme for electrical or hybrid transport system for the State transport companies here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32160/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) on 1st December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), comes under the remit of the NTA.

Among the general objectives of the Authority in accordance with Section 10 of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 is the development of an integrated transport system which contributes to environmental sustainability and social cohesion, and promotes economic progress. In this context the Authority also provides funding  for the procurment of Public Services Obligation (PSO) vehicles by  Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. In the light of the NTA's responsibility in this area I have referred the Deputy's question to the Authority for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

Rural Transport Programme Issues

Questions (724)

Robert Troy

Question:

724. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport not to make the proposed changes to the rural transport scheme in County Longford. [32190/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

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 1st 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 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.

The NTA have made recommendations to me for a new structure which will allow for the maximising of spend on services and the reduction of administration costs. I will announce my decision in the next couple of weeks.

I am ensuring that any future structure for the RTP will be based on community input, local flexibility and involving the voluntary sector. Decisions surrounding matters such as door-to-door transport will continue to be made at local level and with the input of the voluntary and community sector. Rural Transport by its nature is community-based and this will remain under any new structure.