Road Traffic Offences

Ceisteanna (256)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

256. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the penalties that would apply to a HGV vehicle caught travelling at 101 kilometres an hour in a 50 kilometres an hour zone; his plans to change the penalties that would apply in this circumstance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3483/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

At present, a person caught exceeding the speed limit will receive a fixed charge notice, requiring them to pay a fixed charge of €80 within 28 days.  If they do not pay within 28 days, they have a further 28 days within which they may pay the charge plus 50%.  If no payment is made within 56 days, court proceedings are begun.  When a summons to court is sent, there is a so-called 'third payment option' included, permitting the person to pay the fixed charge plus 100%.  If they do so no later than 7 days before date of the court hearing, court proceedings will be discontinued.  If they pay the fixed charge at any of the three stages of this process, they will also receive 3 penalty points on their licence record.  The amount by which they have exceeded the speed limit is not taken into account in this current system. 

If the person does not pay the fixed charge and is subsequently convicted in court, they will receive a fine of up to a maximum of €1,000 for a first offence, and up to €2,000 for a second or subsequent offence.  In the case of a third or subsequent offence within a 12-month period, they will receive a fine up to a maximum of €2,000 and/or up to 3 months in prison.  In all cases following conviction in court they will receive 5 penalty points.

I believe that a system of graduated speeding penalties, which would see higher sanctions for breaking the speed limit by greater amounts would be fairer and more proportionate than the current system, as well as acting as a deterrent to excessive speeding.  It would also be in line with the legislation on alcohol, where people who drive over the limit receive higher penalties if they are over the limit by higher amounts.

Specific proposals for the penalties in question are to be considered by a Cabinet committee on 31 January, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on possible penalties for specific brackets of speeding offences before Government has discussed and agreed them. 

Bus Services

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (257)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

257. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to install a bus shelter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3498/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport infrastructure including the provision of bus shelters. I am advised that the NTA has developed a strategy for determination of investment in the installation of bus shelters around the country. 

In light of the NTA's responsibility in this area, 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 10 working days. 

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Motor Insurance

Ceisteanna (258)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

258. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the situation for many young drivers that hold learner permits and are unable to obtain car insurance (details supplied); the measures he has taken or plans to take to rectify same; if he has considered a special scheme for young drivers in which they are charged a set insurance rate which increases if they commit a driving offence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3508/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Insurance companies are private companies. Neither my Department nor the Central Bank of Ireland has the power to direct insurance companies on the pricing of insurance products. The EU framework for insurance expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products. The provision of insurance cover and the price at which it is offered are commercial matters for insurance companies and are based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept and adequate provisioning to meet those risks. These are considered by insurance companies on a case by case basis.

Consideration is given to the age of the driver, the type of car, the claims record, driving experience, the number of drivers, how the car is used, etc. Insurers do not all use the same combination of rating factors, prices vary across the market and consumers are free to choose. Insurance companies price in accordance with their own past claims experience, for example, where the age of a car is a factor, different insurance companies would use different age thresholds. The Cost of Insurance Working Group is looking at the circumstances behind the cost of motor insurance and how to improve the situation, but will still not be able to directly affect the actual costs of motor insurance. A copy of the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report and subsequent updates can be found here:

http://www.finance.gov.ie/what-we-do/insurance/the-cost-of-insurance-working-group/.

Insurance Ireland operates a free insurance information service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to obtaining insurance. All calls regarding refusal to quote, or quotations that are so excessive as to be in effect a refusal, should be directed to Insurance Ireland by phone at (01) 676 1820, by email at declined@insuranceireland.e u or by post at 5 Harbourmaster Place, IFSC, Dublin 1 quoting the Declined Cases Agreement.

Road Projects Status

Ceisteanna (259)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

259. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of a road project (details supplied) in County Donegal; if information will be provided with regard to matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3517/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant County or City Council, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the Council. 

Prior to the financial crisis, applications for funding for road improvement projects would have been considered as part of the Specific Improvement, and Strategic Regional and Local Road Grant Schemes. However, the extent of the cutbacks in grant funding during the crisis meant these grant schemes had to be curtailed after 2013 because expenditure on maintenance/renewal was falling well short of what was required to adequately maintain the regional and local road network.

The NDP does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network but it will take some years yet to reach the level required for the adequate maintenance and renewal of the network. For this reason there is limited scope at present for funding projects under the Specific and Strategic Grant Programmes. 

Any projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under the Specific and Strategic Grant Programmes are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case basis. All projects put forward by local authorities for consideration must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code and my Department's Capital Appraisal Framework and it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind. 

Under the capital project appraisal process a Preliminary Appraisal has to be submitted in relation to each proposed project.  Once an appraisal is received it is assessed taking into account other competing projects and the overall roads budget. A Preliminary Appraisal has been received from Donegal County Council and is currently under review.

It is expected that regional and local road allocations for 2019 will be notified to local authorities shortly.  

Cycling Facilities Provision

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (260)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

260. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the discussions to date which have taken place between Irish Rail and Fingal County Council regarding the planned Broadmeadows Way cycle and pedestrian route in County Dublin; his plans to ensure assistance is provided to progress this regional greenway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3585/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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

I am not aware of any such discussions as referred to by the Deputy; however, I have referred the question to Iarnród Éireann for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

More generally, the Deputy will be aware that my Department provides substantial funding to the NTA for the development of cycling infrastructure across the Greater Dublin Area and indeed the wider State. It is a matter for the local authority to engage with the NTA as regards any potential assistance that may be afforded a particular cycling project.  

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (261)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

261. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of meetings he has attended since the beginning of September 2018 with his officials to discuss and prepare for Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3604/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Overall responsibility for Brexit matters within my Department is vested in the Management Board both collectively and individually on a sectoral basis. The Coordination and oversight of analyses and planning is assigned at Principal Officer Level to the Policy and EU Division of the Department while the Tourism Marketing Policy and Impact Assessment Division oversee the tourism impacts.

A Departmental Brexit Committee, comprising the Heads of Function of all relevant Divisions and sectors, is established and meets monthly. Its role is to ensure a cohesive and informed approach to identifying, planning and acting on Brexit issues across all areas of the Department.  Each Head of Function is responsible for liaising with their respective State Bodies in identifying the implications and preparing for Brexit

I meet with Management Board members, Heads of Functions, and other officials on a day-to-day basis on all matters which fall under the remit of the Department, including either specifically on Brexit actions and planning as they arise or generally as part of wider discussions. I also discuss issues including Brexit with officials by phone where required and also receive written briefings on specific issues or Brexit issues generally.  It would not be possible to quantify this level of interaction. 

Sports Capital Programme

Ceisteanna (262)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

262. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the final allocation of 2018 sports capital grants will be completed. [3613/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme opened for applications on Friday 7 September and the application period closed on Friday 19th October.  By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. 

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents.  These applications were assessed first and €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January. 

For the first time, applicants who have submitted incorrect documentation under this round will be given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a number of months to have all applications assessed. Accordingly, I expect that it will be at least the second quarter of this year before the full set of allocations under this current round of the programme are announced.  

Rural Transport Services Provision

Ceisteanna (263)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

263. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the consideration he has given to facilitate the development of a model (details supplied) of taxi service to help address the challenges of connectivity for persons living in rural Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3614/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Deputy refers to a specific company, which is licensed as a dispatch operator in Ireland.  

In Ireland, carrying passengers in a car for a payment is regulated under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. That Act provides for regulating the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry including taxis, hackneys and other similar activities. The Act requires the holding of an SPSV licence for the vehicle and also one for the driver, in order to carry passengers for hire or reward. The regulatory regime places no quantitative restriction on the number of licences in place.

The regulatory regime requires drivers to be Garda vetted, to have demonstrated knowledge both of industry standards and of the areas in which they will be working, to have a vehicle meets specific safety standards, to have appropriate insurance in place, and to operate to an appropriate standard of service, within a pricing system. 

The focus of the regulatory regime to protect the consumer and to help personal safety. These are vital objectives and must continue to be central to how the SPSV industry is operated and regulated. Within this context, there is also a need to evolve and be open to new technologies and innovation. In this regard, there is now widespread use of technology in the SPSV industry, and such innovations are of benefit to both consumers and operators.

As regards the specific issue of transport connectivity in rural Ireland, the Deputy will be aware that the NTA has responsibility for providing integrated local and rural transport. This includes responsibility for the Rural Transport Programme which now operates under the "Local Link" brand. The number of services has been expanded in recent years and spending on the programme has increased substantially also. In recent months, the NTA has been conducting a pilot scheme to test evening and night-time services as part of the Rural Transport Programme. This pilot was recently extended and future arrangements will be informed by an evaluation of its experience.

Bus Services

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (264)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

264. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the feedback that has been received into the pilot link bus service that was extended to evenings and weekends in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3617/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which now operates under the Local Link brand.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, 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 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Light Rail Projects

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (265)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

265. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of tram sets operating on the Luas green line (details supplied); the overall planned percentage increase in passenger capacity of all trams operating on the green line over the period 2018 to 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3677/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport in the Greater Dublin Area, including the Luas Green Line.

In light of the NTA's responsibility in the matters raised, I have referred the Deputy's question to the Authority for a more detailed reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Juvenile Offenders

Ceisteanna (266)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

266. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she met with the Minister for Justice and Equality or officials from his Department regarding revelations in September 2018 which showed that a person that was deemed likely responsible for the murder of a person in the Leinster region had benefited from at least eight different youth liaison officers. [3493/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I am aware of the media reports that the Deputy refers to.

However, this matter falls solely under the remit of the Minister for Justice and Equality and therefore there has not been meetings between myself and the Minister for Justice and Equality or officials from his Department  regarding this matter.