Departmental Funding

Questions (266)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

266. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding available from his Department for active retirement groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18335/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department does not currently provide any funding to active retirement groups.  However, funding has been provided to active retirement groups in the past through the Sports Capital programme.

EU Directives

Questions (267)

Derek Nolan

Question:

267. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will clarify the way Council Directive 2012/36/EU affects the requirements of categories C, C1 and D testing vehicles; if the current requirements are in excess of those requirements; when it is anticipated that such standards will be introduced; the status of requirements under Directive 2006/126/EC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18346/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Directive 126 of 2006 is the EU driver licensing directive.  Among other aspects of driver licensing, this directive sets out minimum requirements to be met by vehicles used in driving tests.  These are described in Annex II, section 5.2 of the directive.

Directive 36 of 2012 made a number of changes to the vehicle requirements for tests, relating to categories A1, A2, A, C and CE.  Directive 36 does not change the vehicle standards for tests in relation to categories C1 or D.

Ireland is compliant with the requirements of Annex II, section 5.2 of Directive 126 of 2006, as amended.  The current requirements in this regard are to be found in Schedule 5 of the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 537 of 2006), as substituted by Schedule 2 the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 467 of 2013).

All of these documents are available in the public domain.

Driving Test Regulations

Questions (268)

Derek Nolan

Question:

268. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether requiring all driver testing vehicles to require ABS brakes is potentially dangerous and, given that many vehicles on the road do not have ABS brakes, new drivers will therefore not have experience of driving such vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18347/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

It is not the case that all vehicles used in driving tests must have anti-lock brakes (ABS). However vehicles used in tests for categories C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D, DE must have ABS. The requirements for vehicles to be used in driving tests are set at EU rather than national level, under section 5.2 of Annex II to Directive 2006/126/EC, as amended by Directive 2012/36/EU.  The EU standards are minima.  Member States may choose more stringent criteria, but not less stringent criteria.  In all of the categories mentioned above, the EU legislation explicitly requires that the vehicle used in the test have ABS.  Member States do not therefore have the option to choose otherwise.

Road Improvement Schemes

Questions (269)

Arthur Spring

Question:

269. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if emergency funding will be provided to upgrade the condition of the stretch of road in County Kerry between Coolgarrive Cross and Coolcorcoran on the L3018 in the interest of public safety. [18348/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As I outlined in my response to Questions Nos. 679 and 681 of 15 April 2014 regarding local roads in Kerry, 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 roads such as the L3018 are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants.

The Department has allocated a total of €145 million to local authorities for the Restoration Improvement Grant Programme (RI) in 2014. Of this figure a total of €6.55 million has been allocated to Kerry County Council. The selection and prioritisation of works to be undertaken, taking into account available grant funding, is a matter for the local authority. Local authorities do have flexibility in relation to re-prioritising RI schemes as necessary.

It is, therefore, open to Kerry County Council to re-prioritise its RI programme to include these schemes, to fund works from its Discretionary Grant or to progress such projects through its own resources.

Tourism Employment

Questions (270, 271)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

270. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide in tabular form the number of direct and indirect tourism jobs by county for the south east and Munster; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18371/14]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

271. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide in tabular form the value of the tourism industry in the south east and Munster on a county basis for the past ten years; the projected value for the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18372/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 270 and 271 together.

The collection and publication of official statistics is primarily a matter for the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which falls under the aegis of the Department of the Taoiseach. The most recent CSO Quarterly National Household Survey, in February, reported that seasonally adjusted employment among accommodation and food providers increased by 17,300 to 137,100 from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the equivalent period in 2013.  That is an increase of 14.4% in the year to  Quarter 4 2013. The CSO does not provide a county breakdown of statistics and these are not compiled separately by my Department or Fáilte Ireland. I am not, therefore, in a position to provide a breakdown of tourism jobs by county for the South East and Munster as requested. In addition to the 137,100 jobs recorded  in the QNHS, Fáilte Ireland estimates that total tourism employment when other parts of the sector such as conferencing, attractions and festivals are included is now close to 200,000.

The CSO Tourism and Travel Statistics record revenue figures from overseas markets. The 2013 figures, released at the end of March, show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors (excluding fares) for 2013 rose by 11.9% to €3.262 billion compared with 2012. The CSO does not provide a regional breakdown of statistics in their monthly 'Tourism and Travel' publication.

I am aware that Fáilte Ireland provides an estimated regional breakdown of overseas and domestic revenue on an annual basis, based on its own  research and available CSO statistics. These and other regional statistics are easily accessible in the research section of the Fáilte Ireland website www.failteireland.ie under Regional Statistics and Reports.

National Driver Licensing Service

Questions (272)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

272. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the review of the new national driving licence service that took place over the past two weeks (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18408/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS) is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA).  I have no role in the internal operations of the NDLS, and the review in question was a matter for the RSA.  I have therefore referred the question to the RSA for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

National Driver Licensing Service

Questions (273)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

273. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the Road Safety Authority will consider setting up a national driver licence service sub-office in Inishowen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18432/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority, and I have no role in choosing office locations.  I have therefore forwarded this question to the Authority for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

State Airports

Questions (274)

Michael McGrath

Question:

274. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to implement the recommendations of a company (details supplied) in respect of the operation of Cork Airport; his plans for the future development of the airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18480/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the 2011 Booz & Co. Report on the Future Ownership and Operation of Cork and Shannon Airports found that Cork Airport performs well under DAA ownership and management and operates to a sustainable business model.   Following on from this report the Government decided in November 2012 that the existing ownership of Cork Airport by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) would be maintained for the present.

The Deputy will also be aware that DAA has statutory responsibility to operate, manage and develop both Dublin and Cork Airports and as such the future development of Cork Airport is a matter for the Company.  Given these responsibilities and conscious of the need to address falling passenger numbers at Cork, DAA is actively engaged with a wide range of airline customers to continue to promote the airport and its hinterland.  It has also established a Development Council for Cork Airport to provide for strong engagement with, and alignment among, key stakeholders in the Cork region.  This Council will serve to foster a common understanding, particularly at local level, of issues of concern, potential opportunities for growth and the operating performance of the airport. I wish the Council success in its endeavours as we all want to see a prosperous Cork Airport.