Rail Services

Questions (271, 272)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

271. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has held any discussions with Iarnród Éireann regarding the substantial problems that commuters have been experiencing with reduced carriage services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45373/13]

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Terence Flanagan

Question:

272. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether it would be justified for Iarnród Éireann to increase its fares by up to 10.3%, as has been apparently approved by the National Transport Authority, in view of the poor service that commuters have been subjected to as a result of fewer carriages being made available at peak times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45376/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 271 and 272 together.

I refer the Deputy to my reply to the Topical Issue on this matter on Tuesday 22nd October. I also met with the Chief Executive of Irish Rail yesterday and raised the concern of Deputies with regard to the issue of reduction of the number of Dart carriages at certain times.  In some cases, Irish Rail have already responded and re-introduced larger carriages to accommodate passengers. He agreed to continual monitoring of carriage levels to ensure they match passenger demand.  

Public transport fares are a matter for the various operating companies in conjunction with the National Transport Authority, which has responsibility for regulating the maximum fare on public service routes. I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to both the NTA and Irish Rail for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Improvement Schemes

Questions (273)

Seán Kenny

Question:

273. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when funding will be provided by the National Transport Authority for improvement works at a roundabout (details supplied) in Dublin 13. [45417/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Sustainable Transport Measures Grants Programme in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), which includes the project in question, comes under the remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA).  This Programme facilitates investment in the various Quality Bus Corridor, cycling/walking, safety and traffic management projects throughout the seven local authorities in the GDA region.

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 10 working days.

Taxi Regulations

Questions (274)

Finian McGrath

Question:

274. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the total sum that has been spent since 2008, by the former Commission for Taxi Regulation and now the National Transport Authority, to support the development and provision of infrastructure to facilitate and support the operation of small public service vehicles in all local authority areas; if he will provide a breakdown of the total amount spent on all or any projects; and the number of local authorities that applied for financial assistance, and the number that were refused. [45444/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I gave an answer to the Deputy's question on the 26th of September.  Under Sections 11 and 50 of the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has powers to give financial assistance to Local Authorities for the development of infrastructure for the small public service vehicles services.  I indicated that the question would be referred to the NTA for a more detailed reply.  

I regret that on this occasion the NTA did not receive the information request from my Office. However, this has now been rectified and the NTA has confirmed that it will expedite the matter and forward the relevant information to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Aviation Industry Regulations

Questions (275)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

275. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the Irish Aviation Authority has noted that an advisory panel to the United States Federal Aviation Administration has recommended allowing personal electronics to be used throughout flights, including during take-off and landing; if such discussions have been held regarding a similar arrangement within the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45456/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The subject matter of this question, i.e. the possible use of personal electronics during flights within the European Union, is an operational aviation safety issue and, as such, is a matter for the Irish Aviation Authority.  I have referred the question to them for direct reply and I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within 10 working days.

Road Signage

Questions (276)

Tom Fleming

Question:

276. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will request Kerry County Council to re-erect a directional sign at Kilcummin Cross indicating the scenic route to Cloghane and Brandon as tourists and passers-by are currently bypassing this area; if he will take into consideration that this is a huge loss to the local community, businesses, taxpayers and rate payers in these difficult economic times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45465/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, including bridges, 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 or bridges are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the Council.  

Under the Traffic Acts the Council is the authority responsible for the provision of all traffic signs within its functional area. The Traffic Signs Manual provides details of the traffic signs which may be used on roads in Ireland, including their layout and symbols, the circumstances in which each sign may be used and rules for positioning them.  This Manual was updated in November 2010 replacing the 1996 edition.  

Within the framework of the Traffic Signs Manual it is a matter for the Road Authority to determine the extent of signage on its local and regional roads. When undertaking this function it is important for the Road Authority to have regard to road safety and to provide clear and consistent signage. This will assist in avoiding roadside 'clutter' and reduces the potential for distracting drivers by providing too much or inconsistent information.

Driving Licence Issues

Questions (277)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

277. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that persons who were born in the North of Ireland are now on driving licences being designated as Northern Irish; if he will explain this practice; if he will work to ensure the licensing process respects the divergence of opinion among Irish persons on nationality North and South (details supplied). [45466/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

EU Directive 126/2006 requires Member States to introduce a Plastic Card Licence with effect from January 2013. Under the provisions of the Directive, the information to be contained on the face of the new form of licence is uniform across Member States. The new licence contains a field that provides 'Date and Place of Birth' of the licence holder.  There is no requirement on the licence for an entry describing a driver's nationality.

Cycling Facilities

Questions (278)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

278. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he intends to provide money to CIE to secure the disused railway line from Tralee, County Kerry, to the Kerry border for use as a greenway in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45468/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to his Parliamentary Question No. 278 of 4th July 2013 and the subsequent letter to him from the CIÉ Group Secretary of 19th July 2013.  The position regarding ownership of the line remains unchanged.   

Both my Department and CIÉ are fully supportive of the development of greenways along disused rail lines and recognise the benefits of these initiatives to the local economy through tourism related opportunities as well as the benefits to the community from a transport and recreational perspective.  My Department recently announced the provision of €6.5 million to the Local Authority National Cycle Network (NCN) Funding Programme to fund the development of such infrastructure.  As part of the competitive process for the funding, priority will be given to cycleway projects that are off road and have the potential to be world class trip attractors in their own right.   

It will be a matter for local authorities to identify those projects that are most closely aligned with the criteria set out in the funding call and to work with interested parties and key stakeholders such as CIÉ to secure any necessary lands or infrastructure along the proposed routes.

Vehicle Registration Issues

Questions (279)

Denis Naughten

Question:

279. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the average turnaround time for the re-registration of vehicles with the vehicle registration unit in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45509/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Notifications relating to the re-registration of vehicles with new owner names are received in the offices of my Department in Shannon in two forms. Paper based notices, principally through completion of the relevant portion of the Vehicle Registration Certificates (VRC), account for 60% of overall transactions while online notifications by motor dealers through www.motortrans.ie  account for 40%. Returns in respect of 2013 to date indicate that the VRC based notifications are processed within 3 working days of being received in the office while online notices are processed within 1 day.

The law requires that the seller must notify the change of ownership. It is expected that some 850,000 ownership changes will be processed in my Department in 2013.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (280)

Seán Fleming

Question:

280. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the expenditure adjustment that will be made within his Department in 2014; the full-year impact of expenditure measures that will be taken in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45591/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department’s gross allocation for 2014 will be €1.58 billion. This represents a 5% reduction on the 2013 allocation. While my capital funding remains similar to 2013 levels, this adjustment includes a €75m reduction on the current expenditure side of my Department's Vote, in line with commitments made under the Comprehensive Expenditure Review.  The precise distribution and implications of these cuts will be confirmed in Revised Estimates later in the year.   

With the budget available to me, the key objectives in the transport sector next year are:

- to continue development of the LUAS Cross-City project;

- to sustain investment in heavy rail to maintain safety levels across the network;

- to invest further in enhancing the quality of public transport through, for example, the renewal of bus fleet for Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus PSO routes;

- to build on our investment in public transport, cycling and walking facilities in key population centres;

- to invest further in our Smarter Travel programme, with a new round of Active Travel Towns; a second phase of the National Cycle Network (NCN); further rolling out of bike-sharing schemes; and the further development of Smarter Travel Workplaces and Campuses and Green School Travel programmes; and

- to implement the restructuring of the Rural Transport Programme.

Roads are also a key portion of the transport budget.

As regards major roads projects, the budget allocation for next year will see:

- the completion of Belturbet and Ballaghadereen by-pass schemes;

- further progress on the N11 Arklow - Rathnew/ N7 Newlands Cross PPP scheme;

- further progress on N17/N18  Gort/Tuam, M11 Gorey/Enniscorthy & N25 New Ross Bypass;

- completion of the R402 Enfield Edenderry Strategic Scheme.

On the expenditure side for tourism, I am happy to report that the allocation of €123m to the tourism programme for next year will be increased through the Stimulus measures announced by Minister Howlin in his budget speech.  This funding will enable Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to deliver key  initiatives which can build on the success of the Gathering and a very good performance of the sector in 2013.

At €69m, the overall sports allocation for 2014 is down €5m on 2013. However, I am happy to report that the additional funding from the Stimulus plan for 2014 announced by Minister Howlin will benefit the Sports sector and should ensure that the overall budget available in 2014 will exceed the monies available this year.  This will enable us to launch another round of the Sports Capital Programme and commence work on the long outstanding Indoor Arena at the National Sports Campus. This is welcome news for community sports clubs across the country and will increase participation in sports. Clubs will be able to apply for essential works like new changing rooms, pitches, lighting and other projects for the second time since this Government took office. It will also mean that we will be able to fund regional projects as happened with the last programme.

The precise breakdown of this funding will be determined as part of the Revised Estimates process once there is clarity on the overall amount of funding available from the proceeds of the sale of the Lottery Licence.