Marine Safety

Questions (240, 241)

Seamus Kirk

Question:

240. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his Department's strategy on saving lives in man overboard situations; if his Department will consider making it compulsory to wear personal alert systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32421/13]

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Seamus Kirk

Question:

241. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if in view of the recent tragedies in the fishing industries, he is considering making it compulsory for an alert system to be worn if a fisherman goes overboard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32422/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 and 241 together.

Ireland's maritime safety agenda is constantly being developed in line with developments across the maritime sector, including internationally recognised safety conventions, safety standards, codes of practice, and the promotion of a culture of safety among those who go to sea for leisure or to earn their living.

I am at present considering the need for a new national maritime safety strategy and how such a strategy could be progressed in an integrated way for the sector. I expect to complete this consideration shortly. The focus of this strategy will be on the development of a culture of safety amongst seafarers and the crucial role of regulation and enforcement.

All fishing vessels, regardless of size, are required to carry a satellite emergency position-indicating radio beacon, EPIRB, appropriate to their size and the sea area in which they operate. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has recommended that all fishing vessels carry automatically activated float free EPIRBs and the issue of personal locator beacons, PLBs, has been recommended for examination.

My Department has been working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Bord Iascaigh Mhara on the legislative and financial supports for a series of maritime safety measures focused on the fishing community, including the mandatory use of automatically activated float free EPIRBs and PLBs. Later this month I, along with my colleague Minister Coveney, will launch a joint initiative targeting increased safety in the fishing industry, concentrating on an integrated package of measures including mandatory training and grant aid for mandatory safety equipment. PLBs, used in conjunction with a Lifejacket, should enhance search and rescue efforts, including Man Over Board incidents. These measures are designed to enhance safety for fishermen and in parallel to promote a culture of safety within the industry.

Public Transport Initiatives

Questions (242)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

242. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline the service provided by the new Real Time Ireland application by the National Transport Authority, integrating all real time arrival information services from Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, DART, Irish Rail and Luas; if the application development was publicly procured; the total cost of the application to date and if he will clarify any outstanding payments; if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the number of downloads that have occurred to date of the application available for download on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Android marketplace for smartphones and tablet devices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32407/13]

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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 provision of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) comes under the remit of the NTA. In addition one of the Authority's principal functions is to promote the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network.

Noting this, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Driving Licence Issues

Questions (243)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

243. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether the measure contained with the Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2013 regarding the graduated driver licence system and the two-year period after a person passes their driving test in the novice category to have N plates is excessive; his views on whether a shorter timeframe such as six months or 12 months would be more appropriate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32431/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The novice driver category is one of nine measures developed by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) as part of a Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDLS) for Ireland. The RSA developed these measures following extensive study and public consultation. There is a great deal of international research and evidence to show that novice drivers are, as a group, at risk due to lack of experience, sometimes compounded by a mistaken sense that once qualified they may have little more to learn.  The idea of placing restrictions on novice drivers is therefore well grounded in evidence.

The choice of a two-year period for the novice category is also based on international experience.  It coincides with the preferred novice period in a number of other jurisdictions. In some other cases the novice period is as much as five years. One point of the novice period is to underline and impress on recently qualified drivers that the learning process does not end with the passing of the test, and that there are important improvements which develop only with experience. This takes time, and I am satisfied that a two-year period is an appropriate span for the category.

I plan to introduce the Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill, which provides for the two-year period for novice drivers, in the Oireachtas as soon as possible and there will be an opportunity to discuss the matter then.

Roads Maintenance Issues

Questions (244)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

244. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will clarify the basis on which Kildare County Council carried out improvements, upgrading and maintenance on a regular basis on the road serving the properties of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare while now maintaining that the road in question is not taken in charge and citing a requirement under the 2009 Act to the effect that the residents involved are required to obtain a court order to continue to enjoy the rights and entitlements they have enjoyed since the 1970s; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32464/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

It is my understanding that the road referred to is a private road and is therefore not a matter for my Department.  Furthermore I understand the Act referred to by the Deputy maybe the Land and Conveyance Act 2009, this being the case my Department has no function in the matter

National Transport Authority

Questions (245)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

245. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding that the National Transport Authority, NTA, has made available for the provision of a footpath and improved alignment at a location (details supplied) in County Wicklow; the amount of the allocated funding that has been drawn down by the local authority to date or has been spent by the NTA to date; when he expects the project works to commence and when they are to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32533/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the provision of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area and the regional cities. Wicklow comes under the remit of the NTA as the county is part of the Greater Dublin Area.

The NTA provides funding to local authorities for a range of schemes to benefit pedestrians, including footpath and junctions improvements, under the Sustainable Transport Management Grants programme.

I have forwarded your request to the NTA and I have asked it to forward the information to you directly.

Bus Éireann Services

Questions (246)

Robert Troy

Question:

246. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will reverse the changes being made to the 6.15 a.m. express Bus Éireann service from Mullingar (details supplied); if he will consult with Bus Éireann and ask for this decision to be reversed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32577/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The scheduling and timetabling of buses is an operational matter for Bus Éireann in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and not one in which my Department has any role.  I have forwarded your question to the company for direct reply and to the NTA for information. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.+