Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme

Questions (19)

Clare Daly

Question:

19. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if it is his view that problems in the Dublin Airport Authority pension scheme are an impediment to the secure development of the airport authority. [15142/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

This question relates to the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS), a multi-employer scheme which involves the employees of Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) along with Shannon Airport Authority, Aer Lingus and the now defunct SRT Technics.  I refer the Deputy to my answer to Priority Question No. 1 earlier today which addresses the current difficulties with this pension scheme.  Notwithstanding these difficulties, I am satisfied that the DAA is complying with its statutory responsibility to manage, operate and develop its airports in line with its commercial mandate.

Sports Events

Questions (20, 27)

Alan Farrell

Question:

20. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress to date toward the hosting of the rugby world cup; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15129/14]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

27. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which discussions continue to develop with sporting organisations with a view to maximisation of tourism opportunities in association with the rugby world cup or other such sporting events; the extent to which the economic benefit in such circumstances has been quantified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15139/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 27 together.

Last November the Government considered a Memorandum on the discussions and analysis to date on a potential bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.  While the Memorandum identified a number of challenges, the great potential of the event is also clear and I believe that hosting the Rugby World Cup on a cross-border basis in 2023 would be a great opportunity for Northern Ireland and Ireland.  In response to the Memorandum, the Government expressed strong support for the proposal and for the conduct of further work to get to the stage of making a formal decision to bid. 

In order to progress the matter further, Minister Ring and I met with Minister Arlene Foster and Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, who are the Ministers respectively responsible for tourism and sport in the Northern Ireland Executive, in Armagh on 22 January.  We agreed to establish a working group to examine some key issues further and to report back to Ministers in the Summer.  The working group, chaired by Hugo MacNeill, has held two meetings to date with the next meeting scheduled to take place on 11 April.  I look forward to receiving their report. 

More broadly, the hosting of major sports events can deliver additional international visits and helps to put Ireland onto travel itineraries as a holiday destination.  I am supportive of the ongoing efforts of the Tourism Agencies and the National Governing Bodies of Sport to attract international events, subject, of course, to an assessment of the costs/benefits involved in any State financial support.  With this in mind, I look forward to the Giro d'Italia coming to Ireland next May.

Legislative Programme

Question No. 22 answered with Question No. 10.

Questions (21, 46)

Pat Breen

Question:

21. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the status of the Shannon aviation services and miscellaneous provisions Bill 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15042/14]

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Joe Carey

Question:

46. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position in relation to the State airports (Shannon group) Bill; when it is expected that the Bill will be enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14974/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 46 together.

The State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014 was circulated to relevant Government Departments on Monday last, 31st March along with a draft Memorandum for Government for any observations by those Departments prior to seeking the Government's approval to publish the Bill. Subject to such approval, I expect that the Bill will be printed and published later this month and I hope that it can be enacted by the summer recess.

Question No. 22 answered with Question No. 10.

Sports Capital Programme Administration

Questions (23, 38, 41, 44, 54, 58)

Charles Flanagan

Question:

23. Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he will announce confirmation of successful applicants under the current round of sports capital funding. [14997/14]

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Heather Humphreys

Question:

38. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the sports capital programme 2014; the number of applications received on a county basis; if special consideration will be given to clubs and organisations who were not successful under the last round of the programme; when he expects to announce the successful applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15140/14]

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Sandra McLellan

Question:

41. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a full and detailed update on the sports capital grant; and if he will prioritise areas of social need and those sharing services, or if funding will be evenly distributed across all counties. [15099/14]

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Ray Butler

Question:

44. Deputy Ray Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15003/14]

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Joe Carey

Question:

54. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update in relation to the sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14973/14]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

58. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the sports capital programme. [15063/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 23, 38, 41, 44, 54 and 58 together.  

I was delighted that Minister Ring was able to launch the 2014 round of the Sports Capital Programme earlier this year. €40 million is available for allocation. The application period closed on Monday 10 March. A list of all applications, broken down by county, will be published on the Department's website shortly.  In excess of 2,000 applications were received by my Department by the closing date.  

The applications will first be checked by officials in the Department to see if they are valid and then assessed against criteria that are designed to give higher scores to applications that will increase participation, where facilities will be shared, that are from designated disadvantaged areas, that have not received funding in the past and are ready to be progressed as soon as possible. Minister Ring will announce the allocations as soon as possible after the assessment process has been completed later this year.

Sports Funding

Questions (24)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

24. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has considered implementing a cross-departmental funding approach, similar to that which applies in the North of Ireland, for Special Olympics Ireland. [15145/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I acknowledge the excellent work that Special Olympics Ireland does in promoting sport and competition for people with intellectual disabilities.  My Department continues to support Special Olympics Ireland and I am pleased to say that in 2014, the Irish Sports Council is providing funding of €1.4m to the organisation through its programme of core grant funding for National Governing Bodies of Sport. Indeed, Special Olympics Ireland has been the single largest beneficiary of core grant funding from the Irish Sports Council since 2007, receiving over €16m between 2007 and 2014.  

Special Olympics is about much more than sport. It has wider benefits for people with an intellectual disability by contributing to their health, well-being, education and social inclusion. I am aware that in Northern Ireland funding for Special Olympics is provided on a cross departmental basis.  I would support the implementation of a similar funding arrangement here in recognition of the wider benefits for people who participate in Special Olympics. This is an issue which can be considered in the context of the development of a new Sports Policy Statement, which is underway in my Department.

Public Service Obligation Services

Questions (25)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

25. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for the continuation of some form of subsidy for flights between counties Kerry and Dublin; if he recognises the economic importance to County Kerry of the continuation of these flights and the importance that the flights hold for the viability of the airport itself; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15127/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the current Public Service Obligation (PSO) air services Scheme, which includes the Kerry-Dublin route, ends in November this year. In the context of the significance of the PSO route to the airport, just over 10% of all passengers using the airport last year travelled on the Kerry-Dublin route. The policy on regional airports post 2014 is currently being developed in my Department. This policy will reflect the recommendations arising out of the recently published IWA Knock Study Group, which are being incorporated into the draft National Aviation Policy and must also comply with the revised EU Guidelines on State-Aid, which were adopted by the Commission on 20 February 2014.

No decisions have yet been made in respect of future PSO supports for the Kerry-Dublin or any other route at this stage. It is intended that a PSO tender competition for the Donegal/Dublin and Kerry/Dublin routes will be organised for 2015.  As the Deputy appreciates, my Department cannot write a blank cheque and the final decision on whether or not to maintain PSO supports will only be taken when the outcome of the tender process is known.

There is only a limited budget of some €12m per annum available for the Regional Airports Programme post 2014, with an average cost per annum for the two PSO routes from Kerry and Donegal of over €7.5m, based on existing figures. Best use of that limited budget must be made in the context of maintaining and developing the four regional airports – Donegal, IWA Knock, Kerry and Waterford.

Sports Capital Programme Applications Data

Question No. 27 answered with Question No. 20.

Questions (26)

Pat Deering

Question:

26. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of sports capital applications received for County Carlow in tabular form showing the number in the less than €50,000 bracket, €50,000 to €100,000, €100,000 to €150,000, €150,000 to €200,000 and greater than €200,000; and when the announcement of successful applications will be made. [14991/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The information sought by the Deputy is set out in the following table.  These figures may vary slightly as applications are examined e.g. if it is discovered that the amount sought is inconsistent with other information provided in the application form. 

Number of applications submitted

Amount sought

20

Less than €50,000

4

€50,001 - €100,000

3

€100,001 - €150,000

3

€150,001 - €200,000

2

€200,001 +

Question No. 27 answered with Question No. 20.

Public Transport Initiatives

Questions (28)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

28. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the work he will do to ensure that streamlining of urban bus services as seen in the recent Swiftway plan does not mean the end of routes which serve certain estates and communities off main thoroughfares which were deemed appropriate for specific service. [15146/14]

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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), such as the proposed routes for the Bus Rapid Transit System (Swiftway), and the provision and licensing of bus services generally come under the remit of the NTA.  Therefore, I have forwarded 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.

Sports Organisations

Questions (29)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

29. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he or his Department have made any contact with Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland to discuss the decision not to send the Irish team to the Boccia World Championships. [15144/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Irish Sports Council (ISC), which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body responsible for the promotion, development and coordination of sport which includes statutory responsibility for the recognition of sporting organisations as National Governing Bodies of sport, including Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland, and the allocation of funding to same. I have referred the Deputy's question to the Irish Sports Council for direct response. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

Tourism Promotion

Questions (30)

Martin Heydon

Question:

30. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to develop a similar tourism offering to the Wild Atlantic Way for the east of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15124/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I have no direct role in this matter. However, I understand that in 2014 a particular focus for Fáilte Ireland is to explore the development of a tourism proposition of scale and singularity for the South and East, similar to the Wild Atlantic Way, primarily based on the abundance of cultural and heritage assets in the area - much of which has benefitted from significant capital investment by Fáilte Ireland in recent years.   

As these are matters for the board and management of Fáilte Ireland and are not subject to my approval, I have asked the agency to reply directly to you on this matter.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Cycling Policy

Question No. 32 answered with Question No. 10.

Questions (31)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

31. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to make cycling in Dublin city and all cities safer for commuters; the number of accidents involving cyclists last year; the number of cyclist fatalities last year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15135/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the provision of public and sustainable transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area and the regional cities. The NTA provides funding to local authorities for a range of schemes to benefit cyclists, including the provision of infrastructure, and other measures to improve safety for commuters under the Sustainable Transport Management Grants Programme. Given this, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct response on their investment in cycling infrastructure. If you do not receive a response within ten days, please contact my private office.  

There were five cyclist fatalities last year, out of a total of 190 deaths on our roads.  The RSA informs me that provisional analysis - and I must stress that this is provisional - indicates that approximately 690 cyclists were involved in collisions in 2013. We will continue to encourage cycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of travel.  At the same time, we recognise that cyclists are particularly vulnerable road users.  The current Road Safety Strategy, which runs from 2013 to 2020, contains a number of measures to ensure greater safety in cycling.  These include: education to promote use of personal protection equipment and high visibility clothing; developing a standardised road safety cycling proficiency training programme for schools; and evaluating the cost-benefit of reducing VAT on personal protection equipment.

Question No. 32 answered with Question No. 10.

Road Projects

Questions (33, 248)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

33. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will recommend the progression to construction of the road between counties Kerry and Cork via Ballyvourney and Macroom in the forthcoming Government stimulus plan; if he recognises the economic and social importance of the improvement of this route; his views on whether a PPP approach bundled with the Dunkettle interchange would be the most suitable way to progress the building of this road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15128/14]

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Brendan Griffin

Question:

248. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will prioritise the construction of the new Cork-Kerry road from Ballyvourney to Ovens via Macroom; if he sees the economic and social importance of this new road for County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15673/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 33 and 248 together.

The general approach I have taken to future capital projects is to keep under review projects at various stages of planning and design which have been evaluated and appraised in order to have a pipeline of suitable "shovel ready" projects ready to avail of any funding opportunities that may arise. The projects mentioned are among these.  However as the Deputy will appreciate, I must prioritise the maintenance and upkeep of existing infrastructure. 

I understand from the NRA that the Ballyvourney to Macroom scheme, which has been approved by An Bord Pleanála and where land is being acquired, is suitable for consideration as a PPP in the future and could be included in a project bundle. For the next capital programme, my aim will be to develop a balanced package of measures covering infrastructure maintenance, safety schemes and targeted development  projects across the transport sector for inclusion.  The actual composition of such a package will depend on the level of funding available.

National Cycle Network

Questions (34)

Charles Flanagan

Question:

34. Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the tourism and recreation initiatives for the midlands currently under consideration by his Department. [14998/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Under the latest funding call for the National Cycle Network Programme 2014 to 2016, applications were received from both Laois and Offaly County Councils.  Laois, in partnership with Kildare and Carlow County Councils, submitted an application in respect of the River Barrow Cycling Trail.  Offaly County Council also submitted an application for funding for a feasibility study in respect of a project from Clonmacnoise to Banagher Marina.  These applications represent 2 out of 38 applications received under this phase of the Programme.  An announcement of successful projects is expected to be made in the coming weeks.   

Decisions on tourism initiatives are a matter for the board and management of Fáilte Ireland and the question has been passed to the agency for direct reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply with ten working days.

Road Traffic Legislation

Questions (35)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

35. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures he will take to facilitate the enactment of further provisions of the Road Traffic Acts which have yet to be commenced. [9465/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

It is long-standing practice to commence sections of Road Traffic Acts only when relevant agencies are in a position to implement or act upon the provisions involved. In respect of the Road Traffic Act 2014, I signed an order commencing, with immediate effect, sections 9, and 14 to 26 on 20th March.  The same order provides that sections 3 to 5, and 7 and 8, will come into effect from 1st August 2014.  

I have yet to establish commencement dates for sections 6, and 10 to 13 but my Department will continue to liaise with the Gardaí, the Road Safety Authority and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety to determine when arrangements will be in place to deal with the provisions involved.  

As regards sections of previous Road Traffic Acts that have not yet been commenced, my Department keeps in regular contact with the State agencies concerned to establish progress in relation to the finalisation of appropriate measures to allow for commencement.