Road Projects

Questions (36)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

36. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when work will commence on the Gort to Tuam motorway in County Galway; the amount of Exchequer funding provided for this road in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14995/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.  

The Gort-Tuam PPP projects is one of a number of road projects identified in the Government's Financial Stimulus Package. Discussions with funders regarding the conclusion of the Gort-Tuam contract are close to finalisation. Once the contract has been concluded and signed the NRA will be in a position to prepare the project implementation schedule. The NRA has allocated €3.25m to the project in 2014.

Tourism Employment Data

Question No. 38 answered with Question No. 23.

Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 12.

Questions (37)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

37. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which job opportunities continue to emerge throughout the tourism sector; the areas that have shown greatest promise in this regard in each of the past four years to date; the extent to which the sector is most likely to impact positively on the live register, with particular reference to job opportunities for young persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15138/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Tourism continues to make a significant contribution to employment in Ireland's economy and the Government has strongly supported employment growth in the sector, in particular through the reduced VAT rate.  The most recently published figures by the CSO show that, seasonally adjusted, employment in Accommodation and Food Services increased by 17,300 or over 14% to 137,100 in the twelve months to the end of December 2013.  This compares favourably with the seasonally adjusted employment figures for the same quarter in 2010, 2011 and 2012 which were 121,400, 121,500 and 119,800 respectively. Fáilte Ireland estimates that total tourism employment (when other parts of the sector such as conferencing, attractions and festivals are included) is now approaching 200,000.

Expectations across all areas of the tourism sector for 2014 are very positive.  In 2013, more than half of tourism businesses (54%) surveyed by Fáilte Ireland increased employment and, looking at anticipated growth in tourism for the year ahead, Failte Ireland estimates that employment in the sector could increase by between 6,000-8,000 in 2014. This is based on projected overseas demand and trade sentiment for the coming season. To help the industry grow earnings and jobs in 2014 and beyond, the Government has provided funding through Fáilte Ireland to deliver a programme of supports to tourism businesses, including developing visitor experiences, growing digital presence and increasing international sales.

Question No. 38 answered with Question No. 23.
Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 12.

Transport Infrastructure Provision

Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 23.

Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 40.

Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 12.

Question No. 44 answered with Question No. 23.

Questions (40, 42, 59)

Seán Kyne

Question:

40. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the transport infrastructure that has been undertaken during the course of the current capital investment plan; the priorities for any future plan and the steps being taken to ensure that investment on transport infrastructure is made in a way which benefits all of the regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15125/14]

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Jerry Buttimer

Question:

42. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the transport infrastructure that has been undertaken during the course of the current capital investment plan; the priorities for any future plan and if he will furnish specific details on the projects, both planned and undertaken, in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15153/14]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

59. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the level of engagement his Department has in the development of regional transport infrastructure and service planning; the extent of his Department's involvement in the proposed Dublin mayor's office in terms of transport policy and provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15151/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 40, 42 and 59 together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The Government's current capital investment programme runs until 2016 and is necessarily limited by the State's financial circumstances.  The emphasis to date has been on the need to direct these limited resources to the maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure. My key annual priorities, including investment priorities, over the last 3 years are published on my Department's website as are annual progress reports for each. Further details of investments can be found in the Department's Annual Reports which are also published on the Department's website, http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/minister-and-department-priorities.  

The main investments in the transport sector come under the responsibility of the National Transport Authority, the National Roads Authority and, in respect of the national rail network, Irish Rail.  I have therefore referred the Deputies' questions on the detail of the specific projects in the current capital plan to the agencies for direct reply, including projects in the Cork region.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.  

Consideration of a new Government capital investment plan beyond 2016 will begin shortly in association with the upcoming Capital Expenditure Review. It is at only at this stage that priorities can be finalised. In this context, work on a Strategic Framework for Investment in Land Transport is ongoing within my Department. The completion of this work and its publication in 2014 is one of my priorities for this year.  This framework will allow us to identify the types of investment that can enhance economic productivity, but also recognise that meeting the needs of people is a critical aspect of transport infrastructure provision. A steering group is guiding this work and stakeholders and advisers such as Forfás have been involved in identifying the issues. To ensure that wider stakeholder needs and concerns are fully addressed, a public consultation on a draft framework will take place this summer.

In relation to the Dublin Mayor, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government consulted with my Department on the Statement attached to the Forum Report and my Department has given its views of the implications of the proposals. Given the decision of Fingal County Council to block a plebiscite, the matter is now in abeyance.

Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 23.
Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 40.
Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 12.
Question No. 44 answered with Question No. 23.

Tourism Policy

Question No. 46 answered with Question No. 21.

Questions (45)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

45. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on his Department's review of tourism policy. [15143/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Tourism Policy Review was launched on 11th September 2013 by Minister Ring and me through the publication of an issues paper and request for submissions. 174 submissions were received from a wide variety of interested parties and a detailed analysis of all responses is under way.  In addition to inviting submissions, I decided to carry out a series of workshops around the country with regional tourism stakeholders, in the last quarter of 2013.  The workshops, which were chaired by either Minister Ring or me, were intended to allow a more focused conversation around the kinds of issues raised in our discussion document and were a very useful way to explore some of the key issues directly with tourism sector stakeholders.  

Reflecting the diverse nature of tourism itself, a wide range of issues are emerging from the consultation.  They include, but are not confined to, the role of local authorities in tourism (especially in light of the Gathering); the scope for cooperative marketing between public and private sectors; the continuing importance of the visa regime in the context of developing markets; the importance of maintaining the quality and skills of those working in tourism; the importance of competitiveness, and the potential for innovation in tourism. The views raised and other relevant evidence and analysis are currently being considered, feeding into the drafting of the new policy which I aim to have finalised in the first half of this year.

Question No. 46 answered with Question No. 21.

Swimming Pool Programme Applications

Questions (47)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

47. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will indicate the discussions he has had with the local authorities in relation to the swimming pools programme; if it is expected to reallocate funding in the near future toward advancing new builds and refurbishments of pools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15150/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I recently met with a representative from the City and County Managers' Association to discuss a number of matters, including the Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme.  My priority in relation to this Programme is to deal with existing projects and no decision has been taken on reallocating funding from these projects.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (48)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

48. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of times he has met the CIE chief executive officer, the Dublin Bus CEO, the Iarnród Éireann CEO and the Bus Éireann CEO this year and in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15137/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As I indicated in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 504 of 4th March last, I have periodic meetings with the CEO and Chairman of CIÉ and the three subsidiary companies. I have held one meeting this year with each of Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, which included the relevant Chief Executive. In 2013, I held two such meetings with Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann, three meetings with Bus Éireann and four meetings with CIÉ.

Roads Maintenance

Questions (49)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

49. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will request that the National Roads Authority develop a design standard for regional county roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14996/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

There are design standards in place depending on type of road. These standards are set out in The Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS). I have no plans at present to request the National Roads Authority (NRA) to update these design standards. I am happy to arrange for the Deputy to meet with the NRA to discuss this matter in greater detail if he so desires.

State Bodies Mergers

Questions (50)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

50. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way it is envisaged that the relationship between the National Transport Authority and the new body arising from the merger of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency will be structured in the future; if the delivery of transport infrastructure will be improved in terms of strategic regional planning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15152/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The new NRA/RPA merged entity will retain all the existing functions of both bodies. The relationship with the NTA will be as currently set out in the Dublin Transport Authority Act, 2008 in relation to the RPA for light rail, and in relation to the NRA as regards national road infrastructure within the Greater Dublin Area. The new merged body will continue to undertake public transport infrastructure projects on receipt of direction from the NTA to perform delivery functions on its behalf in the Greater Dublin Area, and it will receive funding from the NTA in respect of those projects.

In relation to roads the new Body will remain as the Sanctioning Authority for national roads and will receive funding directly from my Department in this regard. Funding allocations and work programmes will be based on the priorities set out in the relevant capital plans, currently the Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework.

The benefits arising from the sharing of expertise within the new organisation will strengthen its capacity to interact with central government, local government and other relevant agencies, such as NTA, in formulating strategic plans and delivering key transport infrastructure projects.

Regional Road Network

Questions (51)

Anthony Lawlor

Question:

51. Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the proposed interchange to facilitate the Kerry Group at Osberstown, Naas, County Kildare; if he will provide details of the funding available to complete the project; and when he expects it to commence in order to prevent traffic difficulties on the opening of the facility. [15044/14]

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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.

As the Osberstown Interchange project is under consideration by An Bord Pleanála, there has been no discussion of funding options for the construction of this project with Kildare County Council.