Driver Licence Applications

Questions (966)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

966. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an appointment system will be implemented permanently at the National Driver Licence Service centres; or if this system is in place temporarily until the high demand currently being experienced ceases; the action that is being taken to address this high demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22276/14]

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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), and I do not have a direct role in these matters. I understand from the RSA that the new appointments service will be a permanent feature of NDLS public offices.  This will be more convenient for the public.  

There is a high level of demand for driver licensing services year-round.  When the NDLS first came on stream last October, there were a number of difficulties, and backlogs developed.  The NDLS put a measures in place to address these problems, as a result of which there has been a great improvement in turnaround of applications, and the backlog has essentially been eliminated.

In particular, the NDLS has taken a number of measures to address demand at its public offices since opening.  These include: providing extra staff at centres experiencing high demand; additional training (which will increase efficiency and therefore throughput of customers); and plans to open two new centres, one in Dublin and one in Cork, this summer.  

In the longer term, people who have already been through the SAFE 2 level ID verification system via the NDLS will not have to present themselves in person when applying.  In due course, it will also be possible for people who have ID verification to SAFE 2 standard from the Department of Social Protection to apply without appearing in person at an NDLS Centre either. These measures will significantly reduce demand at NDLS offices in the longer term.

Dublin Bus Services

Questions (967)

Finian McGrath

Question:

967. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the Dublin Bus No. 14 bus route; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22285/14]

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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.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Vehicle Registration

Questions (968)

Martin Ferris

Question:

968. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way a person using a commercial vehicle for private use, which is taxed as private, can avoid paying commercial rates when using toll bridges. [22333/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The statutory power to levy tolls on national roads, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into toll agreements with private investors in respect of national roads is vested in the National Roads Authority (NRA) under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Roads Act 2007).

Noting the position above, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NRA for direct response.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (969)

Finian McGrath

Question:

969. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding a sports capital grant in respect of a club (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22336/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I can confirm that an application has been submitted by the organisation referred to by the Deputy under the 2014 Sports Capital Programme and the Deputy's support for the project is noted. The applications are being assessed and I hope to announce allocations later this year.

Private Bus Operators

Questions (970)

Clare Daly

Question:

970. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the implications on the Nifti bus service of the efforts of the National Transport Authority to bring this service under the remit of the Flexibus service in Meath. [22370/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Following a Government Decision in January 2012, responsibility for the integration of local and rural transport services, including management of the Rural Transport Programme (RTP), was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012. This includes responsibility for the implementation of the restructuring of the RTP announced by me on 9th July 2013.  

I have forwarded your question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Road Network

Questions (971)

Helen McEntee

Question:

971. Deputy Helen McEntee asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he or his Department received proposals from Meath County Council over the past ten years to construct a bridge over the River Blackwater in Navan, County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22386/14]

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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.

This Department has no record of any proposals from Meath County Council in respect of the construction of a bridge over the River Blackwater in Navan.

Irish Language

Questions (972)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

972. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he will implement Conradh na Gaeilge's recommendations regarding road signs on which the text in Irish is as prominent and large as that in English on a trial basis. [22447/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I have asked the National Roads Authority (NRA) to pilot scheme of newly-designed road signs that will give the Irish language parity with English on the country’s roads. The newly designed information signs, which will use the test ‘Turas’ typeface and colour differentiation to highlight both languages, are based on recommendations outlined in a study commissioned by Conradh na Gaeilge.

Currently, the ‘Transport Heavy’ alphabet is the prescribed typeface used for directional information signage. While the text and dimensions of this typeface are clearly defined and detailed in Chapter 2 of my Department’s Traffic Signs Manual 2010, clarification is yet to be received from Conradh na Gaeilge in relation to the exact technical details employed in the ‘Turas’ typeface. Although the NRA has identified a number of locations where these newly designed signs might be trialled, the manufacture and erection of such signage is not yet possible until these technical details are provided.

Road Projects Expenditure

Questions (973)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

973. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of funding that his Department is committed to making available in each year between now and 2017 for the purposes of constructing the Athy southern distributor road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22498/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, 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 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. As the Deputy will be aware, this is a crucially important project to Athy and the south Leinster region. Unfortunately during the 14 years of Fianna Fáil led government that preceded this Government, when there was unprecedented funding available for roads projects, this project was not meaningfully advanced. 

In contrast, the Government recently approved  a €1m allocation to Kildare County Council to carry out design works on the Athy Bypass and prepare its submission to An Bord Pleanála. Once this work is done,  funds will be made available to Kildare County Council to bring this project through An Bord Pleanála and to construction. These funds will be made available through my Department’s Strategic Roads Grand fund. Given the issues that are involved in the planning process, it is not possible to be definitive on timelines at this particular point. This is the case for all major road projects.

Integrated Ticketing

Questions (974)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

974. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he expects the scholar rate to be available via Leap card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22510/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and 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.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (975)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

975. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the criteria required for rickshaws to operate in Dublin city centre; and the licence and insurance requirements needed. [22530/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Rickshaws are technically classified as bicycles for the purposes of road traffic legislation and must therefore comply with legislation insofar as it applies to bicycles. The insurance provisions of the Road Traffic Acts apply to mechanically propelled vehicles only.  Therefore there is no legal requirement under the legislation for rickshaws to be insured.  

I understand that Dublin City Council is currently examining the possibility of introducing bye-laws to provide a framework for the operation of rickshaws in the City.  This is entirely a matter for the Council, and my Department has no role in this process.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (976)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

976. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 673 of 13 May 2014, the outstanding documentation his Department is waiting for from club (details supplied) and from South Dublin County Council. [22534/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I can confirm that my Department is awaiting documentation from South Dublin County Council (SDCC), including a declaration form, a current tax clearance certificate and a letter consenting to the club drawing down the grant directly. My Department is also awaiting current bank details and a current tax clearance for the club. A current tax clearance certificate for the approved contractor is also required.

Appointments to State Boards

Questions (977)

Alan Farrell

Question:

977. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the criteria for the appointment of members to the board of a given transport co-ordination unit; the measures he has taken to ensure fair and transparent representation on each board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22613/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Following a Government Decision in January 2012, responsibility for the integration of local and rural transport services, including management of the Rural Transport Programme (RTP), was assigned to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1st April 2012. This includes responsibility for implementing the restructuring of the RTP announced by me on 9th July 2013.  

The new RTP structure involves the establishment of 18 Transport Co-ordination Units (TCUs) in place of the existing 35 RTP Groups currently delivering the service. The TCUs are private companies and the appointment of Board members is a matter for the companies themselves. I have no function in the matter.  

In the context of the process to establish the new TCUs I have forwarded your question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Taxi Regulations

Questions (978)

Damien English

Question:

978. Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider the establishment of a new category of SPSV licence for situations where non-standard taxi, hackney and limousine services are to be provided, such as the introduction of SPSV licence for tuk-tuk style vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22619/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is a matter for National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.  

On foot of a proposal to introduce tuk tuk vehicles to Dublin, I understand that the NTA is open to examining the issues around making regulations to establish a new category of SPSV licence to cater for such vehicles and has suggested to the project promoter to meet with the Taxi Advisory Committee who advise the NTA on such matters.

Fishing Vessel Licences

Questions (979)

Ciara Conway

Question:

979. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will examine a case (details supplied); if his Department can assist or provide guidance in having this vessel registered a 345 kW on the on the Irish registry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22671/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The following is the position in relation to the case raised by the Deputy. Before registration in Ireland a vessel must comply with the relevant Irish and EU Regulations. In relation to the kilowatt issue, EU regulations introduced mandatory changes to the arrangements for certification of propulsion engine power for fishing vessels whose propulsion engine power exceeds 120 kilowatts (kW). The Marine Survey Office (MSO) of my Department is the competent authority for certification of engine power in accordance with these requirements.

The MSO understands that the vessel in question was registered as a UK fishing vessel prior to January 2014 with a registered power of 403kW.  Documentation submitted to the MSO to date, while indicating a de-rating of 345kW, refers to compliance with UK legislation that predates the relevant EU regulations by several years and does not confirm that the maximum power has been determined in accordance with the more recent EU-wide requirements. The MSO is currently seeking clarification from the UK authorities in relation to the certification of the engine power and has informed the vessel owner of this situation.      

Rail Network

Questions (980)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

980. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the use of old train track rails by the fishing industry; if his attention has been drawn to a recent shortage of same; the efforts being made to ensure that these assets are redeployed to the fisheries sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22704/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for Irish Rail and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.