Transport Infrastructure Provision

Questions (639, 642)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

639. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a breakdown of the projected cost of the Swiftway project; and on the State's progress in securing the funding for the project in its entirety. [15188/14]

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Timmy Dooley

Question:

642. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the National Transport Authority's proposals for a bus rapid transit system in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15222/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 639 and 642 together.

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), such as the proposed routes for the Bus Rapid Transit (Swiftway) system comes under the remit of the NTA. The  NTA is examining  3 BRT (Swiftway) routes, Swords/Airport to City Centre, Blanchardstown to UCD and Clongriffin to Tallaght.

Under the current capital plan (Infrastructural and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium  Term Exchequer Framework), funding is only available for the initial design and planning for a small number of BRT schemes. These schemes, of which Swords /Airport has been identified by the NTA as the priority, will be included for consideration with other projects in deciding on priorities for the next capital plan post-2016.  The priority post 2016 will continue to be to protect existing investment and maintain safety standards.  If there are additional funds after that, there will be many competing demands and  only projects which are affordable, have a strong business case and demonstrate how they will increase public transport usage will be included for consideration. Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputies question to the NTA for direct reply.  Will they please advise my private office if they do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Regional Road Network

Questions (640)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

640. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline in tabular form by county the money spent by his Department on local road maintenance for 2013 and planned for 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15220/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Details of the regional and local road grant payments to County Councils are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Dáil Library.  Details of the 2014 regional and local road grant allocations to each county council are also available in the Dáil library.

Tourism Promotion

Question No. 642 answered with Question No. 639.

Questions (641)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

641. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline in tabular form by county the money spent by his Department on tourism promotion for 2013 and planned for 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15221/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I have no direct role in this matter. These are decisions for Tourism Ireland Limited (as the body responsible for promoting the island of Ireland as a visitor destination overseas) and Fáilte Ireland and are not subject to my approval.  I have referred the Deputy's question to both Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive replies within ten working days.

Question No. 642 answered with Question No. 639.

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

Questions (643)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

643. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will seek further capital infrastructure funding following the sale of Bord Gáis Energy; the number of capital projects in tabular form which are at planning stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15223/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department's capital vote for 2014 is over €980 million, some of which is being funded from the proceeds of the sale of the National Lottery Licence announced at Budget time.  Decisions around the proceeds from the sale of Bord Gais is a matter for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in consultation with his Cabinet colleagues.

  There are certainly capital programmes and projects within my Department which would benefit from additional capital funding arising from this or similar initiatives.  Most of the capital infrastructure programmes in my Department are managed by Agencies under my remit.  I have forwarded the Deputy's request to the NTA, CIE, NRA and NSDCA to provide details of capital projects at planning stage.  Will he please advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within 10 working days.

While my Department supplements funding for the improvement and maintenance of the regional and local road network, the initial selection and prioritisation of these works are a matter for each local authority in line with their statutory responsibilities. The Tourism Product Development Scheme, administered by Fáilte Ireland, is fully committed and new applications are not being accepted at this time. In general, projects under the Scheme are not directly planned or implemented by Fáilte Ireland, which instead grants funding to project promoters subject to various conditions.  I have forwarded the Deputy's request to Fáilte Ireland to provide details of the grants awarded under the Scheme.

  Similarly, the Sports Capital Programme provides grants to local and regional sports clubs and organisations.  A full list of the grants is available on the Department's website - www.dttas.ie. In line with Government policy, all port infrastructure development is funded on a commercial basis without recourse to the Exchequer. That said, I am aware that a number of our State commercial port companies have significant development proposals at differing stages of the planning process and both Dublin and Galway have recently lodged planning applications under the strategic infrastructure development process.

As regards other significant capital projects currently at planning stage, the following table provides the details requested.

Smarter Travel

Regional Cities Public Bike schemes

-                   

Sections of the Dublin to Galway greenway                                                                      

-

Elements of Smarter Travel Areas Demonstration Projects                                                   

Coastguard Stations

Ballyglass

-

Greystones

-

Westport

-

Doolin

Sports Events

Questions (644)

Alan Farrell

Question:

644. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress to date toward the hosting of the Euro 2020 Championships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15224/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The FAI are preparing a bid to host part of the European Soccer Championships in 2020.  The bid must be submitted to UEFA by 25 April 2014 and the outcome will be known by late September.  I fully support the bid.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (645)

Dan Neville

Question:

645. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding funding for a camogie club; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15242/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Sports Capital Programme provides funding to assist in the development of sports facilities and the provision of sports equipment.  It provides funding towards sports clubs, voluntary and community groups, national governing bodies of sport and local authorities. The Sports Capital Programme in 2014 was an on-line process and organisations had to register on the OSCAR system by 5pm on 7 February 2014 and the closing date for receipt of applications was 5 pm on 10 March 2014.

Mountain Rescue Service

Questions (646)

Brian Walsh

Question:

646. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide details of all funding provided by his Department to mountain rescue organisations in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15287/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I wish at the outset to acknowledge the excellent work done by mountain rescue organisations in Ireland. My Department is responsible for administering payment of grants to all the mountain rescue teams in Ireland. These teams, staffed by volunteers,  are called upon to operate in all weather conditions and provide a hugely important service. The grant scheme is managed by the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) as Chair of the National Co-ordinating Committee for Mountain and Cave Rescue. The IRCG similarly administers payments of grants to other rescue organisations such as the Community Rescue Boats of Ireland (CRBI) and the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation (ICRO).

In administering this grant, the IRCG meets Mountain Rescue Ireland and relevant statutory bodies each year to review grant requests in accordance with a framework agreed some years ago. Over the past five years this grant funding scheme has provided €1,026,560 to Irish mountain rescue teams and management organisations.  

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

269,682

247,654

177,065

164,258

167,901

Coast Guard Services

Questions (647)

Dara Calleary

Question:

647. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the investments made in extending broadband to all Irish Coast Guard bases; if he will confirm, on a base-by-base basis, if each base is currently connected to a broadband network and the speed of the connection in each base; and the investment in broadband made at Waterford Coast Guard base. [15290/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled and a response will be provided within ten working days.

Regional Road Network

Questions (648)

Dara Calleary

Question:

648. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline all grants paid in 2013 and to date in 2014 in respect of a road development (details supplied) in County Kildare; the purposes of this investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15291/14]

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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. Details of the regional and local road grant payments to Kildare County Council are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Dáil Library.  Details of the 2014 regional and local road grant allocations and projects to each county council are also available in the Dáil library.

Driver Licences

Questions (649)

Eamonn Maloney

Question:

649. Deputy Eamonn Maloney asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when a graduated driving licence system will be introduced here; if existing holders of a full driving licence, who have passed their test within the two years prior to GDL being introduced, will be subjected to the same restrictions as those who pass their driving test after the introduction of GDL; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15326/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Ireland has been progressively introducing a Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDLS) for some time.  GDLS is a stepped approach to the driver learning process which focuses on acquisition of skills and experience rather than solely on passing a driving test. There is no one internationally accepted model of GDLS.  Instead, it consists of a number of components which can be selected according to which are most appropriate to the context of an individual country.  The Road Safety Authority published in September 2010 a list of nine components for a GDLS for Ireland.  This followed wide-ranging study and consultation.  The nine measures are being introduced on a phased basis.  Three of the nine measures were introduced before the present year, including for example compulsory lessons for learner drivers.  The recently passed Road Traffic Act 2014 includes three more - a minimum of logged driving experience before learners can take the test; a new category of novice driver, covering the first two years of full licence; and a lower disqualification level of seven penalty points for learners and novices. The new provisions regarding novices will be commenced from 1 August 2014.  The legislation will not apply retrospectively.  The new provisions will therefore apply only to people who qualify after the date of commencement.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (650)

Joan Collins

Question:

650. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has received an application submitted by Sligo Borough Council for a sports capital grant in respect of funding for the Sligo Fair Green project; if his attention has been drawn to the importance of this project for families and households in the urban area; when decisions will be made in respect of the sports capital grant applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15334/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I can confirm that an application has been received.  I hope to announce allocations later this year. I have noted the Deputy's support for the project.

Dublin Bus Services

Question No. 652 answered with Question No. 623.

Questions (651)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

651. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the situation with Dublin Bus No. 40 route which no longer passes the Charlestown Shopping Centre following recent changes; if he is aware that the new route also excludes the McKelvey estate, which has no regular bus service despite the many elderly and infirm residents there; his plans to ensure better accessibility to public transport routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15335/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Dublin Bus and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Will he please advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Question No. 652 answered with Question No. 623.

Tax Code

Questions (653)

Seán Kyne

Question:

653. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to the reduction of the air travel tax to 0%, if his Department is engaging with airlines and airports with a view to establishing additional routes, particularly to and from regionally-based airports, which are essential for enhancing accessibility for, among others, economic and tourism reasons. [15420/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy will be aware, the reduction in the travel tax to zero that was announced as part of Budget 2014 will be effective from April 2014. This was designed to generate additional air capacity and services to Ireland for the business and tourism sectors. 2013, the year of the Gathering, was the best year for inbound tourism since 2008. I intend 2014 to be even better thanks to the Wild Atlantic way, better value for money and competitive and direct air access.  In line with the zero travel tax both Irish and foreign airlines announced 34 new routes/services at Irish airports for the 2014 season.  My focus as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport is to encourage airlines and our airports to generate even more direct air services into Ireland in the years ahead.

Regional Road Network

Questions (654)

Seán Kyne

Question:

654. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the traffic situation in Claregalway has been brought to his attention; if his attention has been drawn to the substantial population growth which the district has experienced and the corresponding effects on transport; if the relief road planned will be part of the next programme of investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15440/14]

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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. Given the current financial position it has been necessary to reduce the grant allocations for major new road schemes and for major realignment schemes.  The main focus has to be on the maintenance and repair of roads and this will remain the position in the coming years. The small amount of funding available for major schemes will focus on projects already under construction or that this Department is already committed to. I am aware of the traffic issues the Deputy describes. However, the preliminary cost estimate given in the 2010 Feasibility Study Report for the Claregalway inner relief road was approximately €21 million.  The Council was allocated €50,000 towards the design of the Báile Chláir Inner Relief Road in 2013.  However the reality is that my Department is not in a position to commit funding to the construction of a relief road for Claregalway at this stage. Any future consideration of a relief road would also take account of progress on the M17/18 project and its potential impact on traffic levels in Claregalway.