Driver Licences

Questions (160)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

160. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport the procedure used by the Road Safety Authority, RSA, to renew a learner permit when a learner driver has been disqualified and their permit expires before the disqualification period ends; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7040/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

This is an operational matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

Driver Licences

Questions (161)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

161. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport the number of times the Road Safety Authority, RSA, has renewed and issued a learner permit or driver licence to a driver that was serving a disqualification as they were unaware of the disqualification; the number of times the RSA informed gardaí of such an error; and the number of permits and licences issued in error that were later retrieved from the driver by gardaí. [7041/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I am passing the Deputy's question to the Road Safety Authority for direct reply. If a reply has not been received within 10 working days, the Deputy should contact my office.

Driver Licences

Questions (162)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

162. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport his plans to introduce a new power for the Road safety Authority, RSA, to revoke a driver licence in cases in which a licence holder no longer meets or never met the requirements for holding a licence; if so, if this will include learner permits; the details of the plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7042/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to provide for the power to revoke a driving licence in the current Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. The provision will allow for the revocation of a driving licence on the grounds that the application for the licence was made fraudulently, or that the eligibility criteria for granting a licence can no longer be met by the holder of the licence.

At present, I do not have plans to provide for the revocation of learner permits.

Legislative Reviews

Questions (163)

Kieran O'Donnell

Question:

163. Deputy Kieran O'Donnell asked the Minister for Transport if he will address a request (details supplied) with regard to the registration of Euro 6 step C vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7070/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Under Regulation 3(b)(xi) of the Road Safety Authority Act (Conferral of Functions) Order (S.I. No. 477 of 2006), the decision to issue an extension to end-of-series derogations is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). I have therefore referred the question to the RSA for direct reply. I would ask that the Deputy contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

I am however advised that an extension to existing end-of-series derogations for M2 and M3 category vehicles has been granted up to 31 August 2021 and that this matter is being kept under review in light of the continuing impact of Covid-19.

Bus Éireann

Questions (164)

Carol Nolan

Question:

164. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Transport the reason new buses being supplied or contracted to Bus Éireann no longer have the capacity to accept bicycles in their storage space; his views on whether this limits the opportunity for cycle tourism and the use of greenways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7091/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport but the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including the provision of the PSO bus fleets.

I am unaware of the specific issues the Deputy refers to; however, noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply with regard to fleet provision for Bus Éireann. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Local Authority Funding

Questions (165)

Thomas Gould

Question:

165. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Transport if funding is available to local authorities to conduct universal design walkability audits, particularly in reference to participant recruitment. [7131/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including active travel infrastructure.

Details of individual projects, including the funding available, are matters for the NTA and the relevant local authorities, accordingly I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Questions (166)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

166. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport the employment status of persons working for a company (details supplied) following the awarding of the contract for the operation of the M50 toll system by the National Roads Authority and who previously worked for another company; the redundancy arrangements in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7134/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the operation and management of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. This includes responsibility for the procurement process associated with the national roads programme. In that regard, TII, as a statutory body, operates under the Public Procurement Guidelines which are set at national level.

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

Driver Licences

Questions (167)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

167. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport if he will address a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7205/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Irish driver licensing law operates within a framework of EU law. It is important to remember that driver licensing law exists to ensure that people licensed to drive on our roads meet high standards of safety. The standards for testing drivers are set at EU level. If you are resident in Ireland you must have a EU licence. The Deputy will be aware of this from his previous position in Government with responsibility for Diaspora matters.

Ireland does not have a driving licence exchange agreement with the United States of America, therefore a USA licence can not be exchanged for an Irish licence. Indeed, as the licensing authorities in the USA are generally the States (as with Canada), any exchange agreement could only be reached with individual States. However due to the mutual recognition for exchange purposes among States, any State's licence must be assessed by the standards of all the States.

Bilateral agreements on licence exchange are reached only when the relevant authorities in each jurisdiction have studied and compared the two licensing regimes, so that each side can be satisfied that they are compatible.

As Ireland does not have an exchange agreement with the USA, there is no recognised standard of testing which people have met. In that regard, it is worth noting that the road safety record of US States are generally not comparable with those of EU Member States.

Individuals with licences issued by States in the USA are required to go through the national driver learning process in order to obtain an Irish driving licence. In recognition of holders of a full but non-exchange licence, such applicants can avail of the shorter Essential Driver Training of 6 lessons instead of the usual 12, and will not have to wait the usual minimum of 6 months before taking a driving test.

There is a distinction between motorists visiting Ireland and those living in Ireland. For non-residents, currently under the Convention on Road Traffic 1949 (Geneva Convention), drivers from Contracting States carrying a valid driver’s licence can drive on each other’s roads for up to a year.

I acknowledge, due to suspension of the driver testing services in the first 2020 lockdown, along with the health protocols since resumption of service and the further curtailing of services during subsequent level 5 restrictions, a significant backlog has developed.

The need to once again return to level 5 restrictions for reasons of public health will inevitably impact further on delays to driver testing. During the level 5 period, driving tests will be available only to those who are involved in essential services, including essential retail work.

The Road Safety Authority is examining ways of increasing the number of tests within health constraints with an eye to resuming wider testing after level 5. This includes increasing the number of testing staff to help reduce and, over time, eliminate the backlog. Sanction has recently been provided to hire 40 additional temporary driver testers, along with 36 approved for retention or rehire in 2020.

Land Development Agency

Questions (168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173)

Duncan Smith

Question:

168. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport the discussions he has had with the Land Development Agency with regard to the Coonagh-Knockalisheen Road and Moyross, County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7208/21]

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Duncan Smith

Question:

169. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport the basis for the decision not to construct the entire Coonagh-Knockalisheen Road, as outlined in the 2013 Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan and in the 2007 Fitzgerald report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7209/21]

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Duncan Smith

Question:

170. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport the public consultation, meetings and engagements that have taken place with regard to the revised plans for the Coonagh-Knockalisheen Road; the details of the revised plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7210/21]

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Duncan Smith

Question:

171. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport the timeframe for construction for the revised plans for the Coonagh-Knockalisheen Road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7211/21]

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Duncan Smith

Question:

172. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport the consultation he or his Department has had with the Industrial Development Authority, IDA, with regard to the Coonagh-Knockalisheen Road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7212/21]

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Duncan Smith

Question:

173. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport the status of and his views with regard to phases 1 and 2 of the Limerick northern distributor road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7213/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 to 173, inclusive, together.

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. State grants, where applicable, are intended to supplement the funding allocated to the maintenance and improvement of roads by local authorities from their own resources.

The National Development Plan (NDP) does provide for the gradual build-up in funding for the road network but funding is not yet at the level needed for the adequate maintenance and renewal of regional and local roads. For this reason the primary focus for capital investment continues to be the maintenance and renewal of the network with some limited investment in road improvement schemes. In this context a number of regional and local road improvement projects were identified for development, subject to necessary approvals, in the NDP and the construction of a Coonagh to Knockalisheen Distributor Road (CKDR) is one of those schemes. Even though the CKDR was submitted and approved by An Bord Pleanála as a stand alone scheme, I am aware that the scheme is sometimes referred to locally as Phase 1 of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road.

Under the Public Spending Code, capital projects are subject to review and approval at a number of stages. As required under the Code, Limerick City and County Council submitted a recommendation regarding the award of a contract for the construction of the main CKDR scheme. Following careful consideration of this project, and close engagement with the Moyross community and Limerick City and County Council, the full completion of the Coonagh – Knockalisheen Road has now been approved. This road scheme will take account of the overall development needs of Limerick, and will be complemented by sustainable transport features such as improved pedestrian / cycle accessibility for Moyross, improved Active Travel measures linking LIT, Mary Immaculate College, UL, and City Centre and the designation of one lane of the Dual Carriageway in each direction as a bus lane.

As regards the Limerick Northern Distributor Road, under the NDP there is no Exchequer regional and local road grant funding in place to progress the scheme through the planning process to construction stage.

Trans European Transport Network Programme

Question No. 175 answered with Question No. 151.

Questions (174)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

174. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport the status of progress of the County Donegal Trans-European Transport Network, TEN-T, project; when persons can be informed as to when the project will commence; the way in which persons can receive the clarity of information in the absence of face-to-face meetings from the national roads and design office; if they will be open to public platforms to have a questions and answers session regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7279/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. This is also subject to the Public Spending Code Guidelines and the necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you on the status of this project and the form of a public consultation.

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

Question No. 175 answered with Question No. 151.

Road Projects

Questions (176)

Neale Richmond

Question:

176. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Transport the status of funding for works to the Blackglen Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7285/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), including cycling infrastructure.

Details of individual projects are matters for the NTA and the relevant local authorities, accordingly I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Road Safety

Questions (177, 178)

Alan Dillon

Question:

177. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Transport the status of a proposed reduction to the speed limit on the N60 as it passes through Breaffy Village, County Mayo; the reason for the delay given it has been ongoing for more than five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7286/21]

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Alan Dillon

Question:

178. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Transport if Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, has received a report (detail supplied); if so, when it expects to have reviewed the report; if a copy can be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7287/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 177 and 178 together.

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the operation and management of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you on the status of a proposed speed limit reduction on the N60.

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