Tourism Project Funding

Ceisteanna (280)

Arthur Spring

Ceist:

280. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if grant aid is available to new or start-up travel companies, especially companies that aim to target non-traditional markets in a bid to attract additional tourists to Ireland. [36191/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department's role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of national policy and it is not involved in the administration of tourism funding programmes.  Fáilte Ireland provides a range of business supports to individual tourism businesses throughout the country, but they do not provide grants for business expansion.  To access these supports the company should contact Fáilte Ireland's dedicated customer support team.   

I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for additional information and direct reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not hear within ten working days.

New businesses should also consider approaching a Local Enterprise Office (LEO) which is in a position to offer a range of grants including grants for feasibility studies and business expansion.  There is a network of 31 LEO offices across the country.

Public Transport

Ceisteanna (281)

Robert Dowds

Ceist:

281. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when and if there will be an end to the freeze in taking on permanent staff in Irish Rail. [36251/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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 response within ten working days.

Public Transport Initiatives

Ceisteanna (282)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

282. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of implementing in full the swiftway bus rapid transit plan put forward by the National Transport Authority; the cost of implementing the Swords to city centre plan only; the cost of implementing the UCD to Blanchardstown plan only; the cost of implementing the Clongriffin to Tallaght plan only; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36275/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for developing public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects. 

Under this statutory remit the NTA,  in its Implementation Plan 2013-20, has identified that BRT schemes could play a significant role in the improvement of public transport in the Dublin region and has accordingly proposed three BRT schemes for Dublin, of which the Swords/ Airport corridor has been prioritised.  However the Plan also states that implementation of the schemes is subject to availability of funding.

I have made no  decision as regards  the development of these routes as yet and no formal application or request has  been received in that regard by my Department  from  the NTA. 

I will however be considering the BRT option as well as other competing projects for the Dublin region having regard to the outcome of studies underway on the other major public transport projects proposed in recent years for Dublin  and in the context of priorities and funding available under the next capital plan.

The NTA have advised me that preliminary estimate ranges for the three BRT routes are as follows:

- Swords/Airport to City Centre - €150 million to €200 million;

- Blanchardstown to UCD - €150 million to €200 million; and

- Clongriffin to Tallaght - €200million to  €250 million.

Road Projects Expenditure

Ceisteanna (283)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

283. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of completing the M7 Naas to Newbridge bypass upgrade scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36276/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects (such as the Naas to Newbridge Bypass Upgrade Scheme) is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

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

Taxi Licences Renewals

Ceisteanna (284)

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

284. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a person (details supplied) has been allowed to continue to operate an SPSV for hire given his or her conviction for issuing a death threat in 2011; and if, under new legislation, the person's status will be in question. [36288/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The licensing authority for small public service vehicle (SPSV) driver applications or renewals is currently An Garda Síochána while the licensing authority for SPSV vehicle applications or renewals is the National Transport Authority (NTA). The provisions relating to the suitability of a person to hold a licence contained in Section 10(1) of the Taxi Regulation Act, 2013, apply to both the driver and vehicle licence.

In relation to the driver licence in this instance, I would advise that you raise the matter with An Garda Síochána.

I have referred the matter of the vehicle licence to the NTA for its consideration and direct reply to you.

  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Public Transport

Ceisteanna (285)

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

285. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding commuter fare increases (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36290/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is the statutory body with responsibility for overseeing the delivery of public transport services and also regulation of fares charged by all operators, including Iarnród Éireann.

I have already stated that I do not propose any further reductions in the overall public transport subvention which is allocated to the NTA. The allocation and payment of the subvention to all operators, including the amount payable to Iarnród Éireann, is decided by the NTA in accordance with their Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract with the company.  

 I have referred 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.

Driver Licences

Ceisteanna (286)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

286. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the progress in negotiations to introduce an exchange programme for Irish driving licence holders with Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36293/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), which takes responsibility for the negotiation of mutual recognition of driving licences with other jurisdictions, has been engaged for some time with the Canadian provinces with the assistance of the Irish Embassy in Ottawa. It was decided to prioritise negotiations with Ontario due to the large number of Irish living there. 

Reaching an agreement is not a straightforward process. It involves the licensing authorities in both jurisdictions closely comparing the two systems to be sure that they are compatible. 

 As you may be aware, an agreement to allow for the mutual exchange of driving licences between Ireland and Ontario was concluded recently.  This was the first such agreement between Ireland and any of the Canadian provinces, and I believe the fact that it has been reached should help to expedite progress with the other provinces. 

I understand from the RSA that they have made very substantial progress with Newfoundland & Labrador and I hope to see an agreement in place shortly.

Parking Provision

Ceisteanna (287)

Eoghan Murphy

Ceist:

287. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding his discussions with the National Transport Authority on the feasibility of a pilot partial footpath parking scheme for a limited number of specific locations in Dublin, as per previous replies. [36320/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Further to the response provided by my predecessor to Dáil Question No. 205 of 18 June, officials within my Department wrote to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with regard to a review of the issues arising from footpath parking and, in consultation with all interested parties, to consider the possibility of introducing a pilot partial footpath parking scheme. 

I understand that the NTA is currently examining the matter and will issue a response soon.

State Airports

Ceisteanna (288)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

288. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the current debt level at the Dublin Airport Authority; if he will provide a breakdown of this debt as it pertains to Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36323/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy will be aware, Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has statutory responsibility to operate, manage and develop Dublin and Cork Airports and, as provided in the recently enacted State Airports (Shannon Group) Act 2014, Shannon Group has similar responsibilities in respect of Shannon Airport since 5 September last.  As such the debt level at all three airports is a matter for DAA and Shannon Group respectively.   

The 2013 Annual Report and Accounts for the DAA and Shannon Airport Authority (which had responsibility for Shannon Airport at that time) was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and can be found in the Library of the Houses.

Deer Hunting

Ceisteanna (289, 290, 291)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

289. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures being taken to stop illegal hunting of deer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36198/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

290. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will consider introducing a tagging system for deer hunting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36199/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

291. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of deer that were killed illegally last year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36200/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 289 to 291, inclusive, together.

Deer hunting licences are issued by my Department on an annual basis under the Wildlife Acts. On average just over 4,400 such licences have been issued each year in the past five hunting seasons. The hunting season for deer is regulated by the Open Seasons Order, which prescribes the periods for hunting different deer species. These periods vary depending on the gender and age of the deer, which reflects the conservation needs of the species concerned.

In addition, hunters must comply with a range of requirements contained in the Wildlife Acts, which relate to the type of firearm used, the use of vehicles, hunting at night and the use of lamps. Persons hunting deer without a deer hunting licence or failing to comply with any of the requirements of the Wildlife Acts would be guilty of an offence. I have no plans at this time to introduce a tagging system in addition to these requirements.

My Department does not have data on the number of deer killed illegally each year. Staff from my Department's National Parks and Wildlife Service have, however, carried out an increased number of patrols, including night patrols, where there has been information available in relation to incidents of increased illegal deer killings. Persons involved in such activity may be subject to prosecution. Both staff from my Department and An Garda Síochána have worked diligently on such prosecution cases.