Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (226)

Tom Fleming

Question:

226. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will examine an additional submission by a club (details supplied) in County Kerry in respect of its need for funding from 2014 capital sports grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23655/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The 2,036 applications received under the 2014 Sports Capital Programme are currently being assessed. All applications and supporting documentation had to be submitted online by the deadline of 5 p.m. on Monday 10 March.  In fairness to all applicants, this deadline is being strictly applied. Therefore, no further information submitted after the deadline can be taken into account by the officials in the Department in their assessment of applications received.

Tourism Project Funding

Questions (227)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

227. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 224 of 7 May 2014 when a detailed response will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23666/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Further to the parliamentary question referred to by the Deputy, I regret the delay and I understand that a letter on the matter was sent to him by Fáilte Ireland on 28 May.

Driver Licence Renewals

Questions (228)

Martin Heydon

Question:

228. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the options open to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in relation to the renewal of a tractor licence which has lapsed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23693/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Statutory responsibility for the management and operation of the driver licensing service rests with the Road Safety Authority. It is a legal requirement for drivers to carry a valid licence of the appropriate category whenever they drive on public roads. A driving licence may be renewed up to ten years after it has lapsed without the requirement to undergo a driving test. In cases where the applicant for renewal of a licence is over seventy, they must also provide eyesight and medical reports. Once a licence has lapsed for more than ten years, the individual will be treated as a learner and must start from the beginning of the learner driver process.

Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme

Questions (229)

Finian McGrath

Question:

229. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will support the deferred members of the Irish airline superannuation scheme who have made contributions over 30 years given that it is being annihilated by the trustees of the fund, and make this a priority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23797/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Resolution of the funding difficulties in the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS), where there is a deficit of over €760 million, is a matter for the Trustees, the companies participating in the Scheme, the members and the Pensions Board. The deficit in the scheme has arisen over the years as the companies and the members did not put enough into the scheme to match the benefits that were expected/promised. Resolution of the issues will involve contributions from all the parties involved.

There are over 5,000 deferred members of the scheme and I do understand their concerns in relation to the funding of the scheme. However, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have no function in relation to the administration of the IASS. While I am keen to see a solution, this is primarily a matter for the trustees, the members of the scheme, the companies participating in the scheme and the Pensions Authority, which is the regulator of such pension schemes.

Pension schemes are closely regulated under Irish and European pension law and the Pensions Authority is the statutory regulator. There are prescribed procedures and limitations in place governing any reductions in pension rights introduced to address funding difficulties in a scheme such as the IASS. Pensions policy  is primarily a matter for my colleague the Minister for Social Protection, Ms Joan Burton T.D. The trustees are required by law to act in the best interests of all members: active, deferred or pensioner. The letter from the trustees to the employers and unions earlier this year concerning amendments to the scheme formally requested them to give appropriate consideration to the position of the deferred members in further discussions.

Following consultations between my Department, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Irish Business and Employers Confederation and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, an Expert Panel was set up to investigate how a resolution of the industrial relations issues relating to the IASS could be resolved. The Panel is due to make its final report in the next two weeks. In the course of its deliberations the Panel met with representatives of the deferred pensioners.

Taxi Regulations

Questions (230)

Robert Dowds

Question:

230. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the new taxi regulations under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 will take effect; and when the Act will be fully commenced. [23844/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Statutory Instrument No. 163 of 2014 completed the commencement of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 in April this year with the exception of section 49. The National Transport Authority also introduced new small public service vehicle (SPSV) regulations on 7 April which introduce new measures provided for under the Act as well as consolidating and replacing the existing SPSV regulations. Section 49 of the Act relating to making a fixed payment following service of a summons in order to pre-empt a court hearing will be commenced in tandem with similar provisions for road traffic offences.

Sports Capital Programme Data

Questions (231)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

231. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he will announce the list of successful organisations that will receive funding through the sports capital programme 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23867/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Applications received under the 2014 Sports Capital Programme are currently being assessed by officials in my Department. Every application will be assessed by one official and reviewed by another. Given the number of applications received and the detail contained therein, this process will take a number of months to complete. I hope to announce allocations later this year.

Cycling Facilities Provision

Questions (232)

Pat Deering

Question:

232. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the criteria that were used when selecting the successful cycle routes under the first and second round of the national cycle network funding scheme 2014-2016; the scoring that each successful application received; the subsequent level of funding that each successful cycle route was allocated; if there will be another round of NCN funding to follow; where the River Barrow, Carlow Town - St. Mullins proposal is currently placed on the short list; and the importance in his view of developing the River Barrow corridor for leisure and economic purposes. [23880/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

In August 2013, my Department announced a funding call for the National Cycle Network Funding Scheme 2014 to 2016. The criteria in respect of applications was made clear from the outset. The Department was seeking to fund high quality, safe, off-road greenway routes that would have the potential to be world class trip attractors. It was clear from the criteria that successful projects would need to show capacity as a tourism and day trip attraction and, where feasible, as a transport corridor for local use. A scoring matrix was established to reflect the criteria and all applications received a score out of 100. A number of projects were selected for site visits and a recommendation for funding was then made by the associated assessment team to me, for the NCN Programme. The scores attributed to the successful projects were as follows: Galway to Moycullen Greenway (66), Glenbeigh to Cahirciveen (65) and Clonea to Durrow (55). These projects received €2 million, €3.4 million and €898,000 respectively.

In relation to the "second round" of funding, I presume the Deputy is referring to the recently announced stimulus package where €10 million was allocated to the delivery of greenways as part of a €200 million national infrastructure package. The criteria applied to this funding was slightly different as projects were prioritised on the basis of capacity to deliver infrastructure within a short timeframe in order to maximise the stimulus effect. The River Barrow, Carlow Town to St. Mullins greenway project is considered a good quality project with potential to generate economic activity as a local and regional amenity. I will continue to explore alternative funding streams for such projects given the associated potential.

It is also worth noting that the EU Structural Funds Programme 2014 to 2020 is currently being finalised and there may be significant opportunities for cycle infrastructure development under Interreg and the Rural Development Programme. I understand that many local authorities are already positioning themselves to avail of such opportunities.

Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme

Questions (233)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

233. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the expert panel tasked with investigating the way a final resolution of the industrial relations issues with the IAS scheme can be secured has reported its findings to his Department; the findings of the panel; if any action will be taken to carry out the recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23899/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The resolution of the funding difficulties in the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS) is a matter for the trustees, the companies participating in the scheme, the members of the schemes and the Pensions Authority. However, following consultations among the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, IBEC and ICTU, an Expert Panel was established on 3 March 2014 to carry out an investigation of how the industrial relations issues relating to the scheme could be resolved. The Expert Panel's most recent Statement was issued on 30 May saying that the Panel expects to complete its work and make a final report back within two weeks.