Childhood Obesity

Questions (291)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

291. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in view of the high levels of childhood obesity here and in view of the fact that sport and exercise can tackle that problem if he will consider providing funding to companies (details supplied) in order that they can have a presence in every town here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35696/13]

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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 the allocation of funding for programmes aimed at increasing the levels of participation in sport.  I have referred the Deputy’s question to the Irish Sports Council for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

Air Traffic Control Services

Questions (292)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

292. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to alter existing levels of air traffic control coverage at any of the three State airports, in view of the strategic regional and national importance of Cork Airport; the steps being taken to ensure that viability of the airport is maintained and that air traffic control services will be maintained for late arrivals, new business, early cargo flights, medical evacuation and emergency services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35764/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I have been made  aware by the IAA that it is considering the introduction of limited restrictions in its air traffic control services at Cork Airport as a result, in particular, of low night-time traffic levels at the airport. In this context, however, it is necessary to bear in mind that under the provisions of the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993, one of the IAA's principal objects empowers the company to decide, as it sees fit, the extent to which it should operate and manage terminal navigation services at any of the three State airports, including Cork Airport. Accordingly, I have no statutory function in relation to this matter.  

I understand that the IAA has decided to postpone for a six-month period its decision on the implementation of a modified air traffic control service at Cork Airport during which time traffic levels during the night-time will be monitored. This monitoring of the operational and commercial environment at the airport is designed to ensure the provision of an air traffic control service appropriate to the level of traffic at Cork Airport, including a continuous 24 hour operation if the traffic demand requires. The IAA has advised Cork Airport that the changes under consideration would have had no impact on medical evacuation or emergency flights.

I believe that the IAA has arranged a consultation meeting in Cork in August that will also be attended by the operators of Cork Airport as well as local business representatives. This initiative will provide an excellent forum for the interested parties involved to present their concerns and interests and I am confident that a satisfactory outcome can be achieved.

Swimming Pool Projects

Questions (293)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

293. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding a facility (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35766/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Killarney Town Council received allocations of €1.5m under the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) and €3.8m under the Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme (LASPP) in relation to the swimming pool and leisure centre in Killarney.  The retention amount of the LASPP grant (€380,000) remains to be drawn down.  

I am informed that an issue has arisen in relation to the guarantee for the roof. I understand that the main contractor did not pay the subcontractor in full for roofing works and the subcontractor has possession of the relevant warranty.  Killarney Town Council are, however, of the view that Killarney Sports and Leisure Campus Ltd have no obligation in law to the subcontractor and have discharged all of their obligations to the main contractor who was paid in full following a conciliation process.

While the Department appreciates the subcontractor’s difficulty the position remains that his contractual linkage is with the main contractor and not with Killarney Town Council or with Killarney Sports and Leisure Campus Ltd.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (294)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

294. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of retired civil or public servants who have been retained by his Department, since January 2013, on a short-term contract or consultancy basis where normal abatement rules do not apply. [35851/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Since January 2013 my Department has used the services of 4 retired civil or public servants where normal abatement rules did not apply.  Two were engaged for workplace investigations and two were engaged to chair interview boards.

Haddington Road Agreement Savings

Questions (295)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

295. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a yearly detailed breakdown of the sectoral measures, and accompanying savings, for the duration of the Haddington Road agreement applicable in his Department and-or non-commercial State sponsored bodies under the aegis of his Department. [35868/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The measures applying to my Department and Agencies under the aegis of my Department, are set out in the relevant sectoral collective agreement under the Haddington Road Agreement, in this case the Civil Service and NCSSBs.

As stated by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Haddington Road Agreement will facilitate a reduction of €1 billion in the public service pay and pensions bill by 2016. In relation to my Department, the savings arising under the Agreement have been incorporated in the Department's revised estimate for 2013 and further details for 2014 and 2015 will be incorporated in the vote allocation in the context of the overall estimates process.

Road Projects Status

Questions (296, 297)

Niall Collins

Question:

296. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has had a briefing from Louth County Council on the stalled Narrow Water Bridge project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35915/13]

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Niall Collins

Question:

297. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to provide central Government funding support for the Narrow Water Bridge project to ensure that the project goes ahead and that European and Northern Ireland funding is not lost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35916/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 296 and 297 together.

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.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for each local authority.

 My Department has been in regular contact with the parties involved in the project referred to by the Deputy and I have been kept informed of developments.

Unfortunately, on the basis of the tender prices received, the cost of the project is well beyond that projected.  Louth County Council would be required to fund the shortfall and as it is beyond their capacity to do so, a decision to put the project on hold has had to be made. 

Due to budget cut backs my Department has had to curtail its own investment on major new / improvement projects in recent times to focus available funds on necessary maintenance and repair work and therefore is not  in a position to make up the shortfall identified. While my Department would be willing to consider helping to make up some of the shortfall, Louth County Council and the Department of Regional Development would also have to do so.

There does not appear to be strong support for doing this given the need to prioritise road maintenance and restoration over new projects and the fact that there are many other new bridge and new road projects that have a much higher benefit to cost ratio than Narrow Water. I am very disappointed that it has not been possible to find a contractor willing to build the bridge for the estimated cost.

Bus Éireann Services

Questions (298)

Tom Fleming

Question:

298. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will request Bus Éireann to provide a bus shelter at a location (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35920/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue of bus stop improvement is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with the relevant transport provider and 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.

Road Improvement Schemes

Questions (299)

Tom Fleming

Question:

299. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide funding for a section of road (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35927/13]

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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.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.  In July last year local authorities were invited to submit applications for consideration for funding in 2013 under the Specific Improvement Grants Scheme.  Kerry County Council applied for funding for ten projects under this grant category but the road at Kilsarton Cross Currow to Cockhill was not among the Council’s applications.

The Department’s Strategic and Specific grant schemes are scheduled to be discontinued from 2014 onward in order to focus monies on the repair and maintenance of regional and local roads. The small amount of funding available for major schemes will focus on projects already under construction or that the Department is  committed to. 

It is also important to reiterate that the role of Exchequer grants for regional and local roads is to supplement Councils like Kerry County Council in their own resources spending in this area and it is open to the Council to undertake this work from its own resources. 

The 2013 regional and local road grants have now been fully allocated and there are no further funds available from which an additional allocation could be made.