Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 7 Feb 1979

Vol. 311 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Urban Public Transport.


asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if, in view of the energy policy of the Government and the recognised energy savings attached to public transport, he will increase the capital funds to CIE for the improvement and development of public transport systems in urban areas.


asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he will request the Transport Consultative Commission to give priority to the application by CIE to electrify the suburban rail system and to report within three months so that a decision may be made on the electrification of the suburban rail system.


asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport the steps, if any, he proposes to take to improve public transport in urban areas, now that the White Paper, page 45, paragraph 5.12, has stated the Government's intention to pursue policies which will enable public transport to meet the needs of economic and social development.


asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he, or any of his officials, received a copy of the conclusion of the RTE programme "Prime Time" which dealt with a commuter race; and, if so, if he will make a statement on the relative performance of the different modes of transport.

(Dublin South-Central): With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I propose to take Questions Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 10 together.

CIE's capital allocation is fixed each year by the Government as part of the capital budget, with due regard to the requirements of urban public transport.

When setting up the Transport Consultative Commission I asked that priority be given to an examination of the problems in relation to the provision of urban passenger transport services, particularly in the Dublin area, and the commission have initiated their investigations in this matter. I have no doubt that the commission's deliberations will cover all relevant considerations, including energy conservation and the relative merits of alternative modes of transport. The implications for investment in public transport of whatever recommendations are made by the commission will, of course, have to be considered in due course.

CIE's proposals for the electrification of the Howth-Bray suburban railway are at present being considered independently of the studies being carried out by the Transport Consultative Commission but a decision on these proposals has not yet been taken. If these proposals are approved, it follows that CIE's capital allocation will be increased, as necessary, to provide for the implementation of the proposals.

Is that the reply? In relation to Question No. 10 which the Minister combined with Question No. 6, would the Minister state if anyone in his Department watched the RTE programme "Prime Time" last week?

(Dublin South-Central): Not in my Department but information was transmitted from CIE.

Do I understand from the Minister that nobody in the Department of Tourism and Transport watched the programme or reported to him on it?

(Dublin South-Central): I have a report from CIE on the contents of the programme.

Is it the situation that nobody in the Department actually saw the programme or was able to comment on it directly to the Minister?

(Dublin South-Central): No.

I understood the Minister to say in reply to my three questions that he had no doubt that the Transport Consultative Commission would review this matter. Are we still in the realm of doubt or can the Minister explicitly request them to do it?

(Dublin South-Central): With regard to which aspect?

This was specifically to look at the matter of electrification. Am I correct in assuming that there was an inference in the White Paper that consideration of the electrification proposal might be postponed until such time as the commission had adjudicated on all the terms of reference?

(Dublin South-Central): The terms of reference would include the lot but they were asked particularly to direct their attention to the urban road transport and rail services in Dublin as distinct from the rest of the terms of reference submitted to them.

Will the Minister state if his Department are in a position to make a decision, positive or negative, on the application for electrification in advance of any decision that the commission might make with regard to urban transport in the Dublin area?

(Dublin South-Central): Yes. I stated in my reply that the investigation carried out was independent of the commission.

Does not the Minister consider that a decision made by the Department in relation to electrification would have enormous consequences on any set of decisions that the commission might make with regard to urban transportation?

(Dublin South-Central): I cannot prejudge the decision of the Government. If they consider it necessary to refer the recommendation back to the commission for their observations they can do so.

I think this is the fourth time that I have formally asked the question since coming into this House. On behalf of the daily commuters, I am asking the Minister when will we get a decision as distinct from a review or a commission's report on the application for electrification?

(Dublin South-Central): Consultations are taking place with the various Departments. We expect to have the matter before the Government very shortly.

With respect, "very shortly" is a moveable feast. Will the Minister of State give the House some indication at this stage? Are we talking about weeks, months or years?

(Dublin South-Central): I cannot give an exact indication of when the Government will make their decision. We have the necessary documentation ready and will present it to the Government in the very near future. It is entirely a matter for the Government. I cannot say when they will make a decision.

Will the Minister of State say when he or his senior Minister will come to a decision on this matter, as distinct from a Cabinet decision?

(Dublin South-Central): We can only make recommendations to the Government.

There are two questions arising from that reply. The first is, has the Minister of State made any recommendations to date? I gather he has not.

(Dublin South-Central): We have recommendations ready to submit to the Government.

Are they positive or negative?

(Dublin South-Central): I cannot reveal that. The Government will decide when we make a submission. We have certain recommendations for them.

That is progress of a kind.