O'Rourke, Mary

Tuesday, 13 February 2001

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 530 No. 3

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Priority Questions. - Industrial Disputes.

Was asked: the number of industrial relations disputes within Aer Lingus in the past six months; the various groups within the company which engaged in industrial action; the number of days lost; and if she will...More Button

Over the past year, Aer Lingus management has been negotiating with all sections of the workforce, either through direct talks or using the State industrial relations mechanisms in relation to claims ...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his comments and all Members who have communicated with me or thought of me. It is very difficult. We all have jobs to do and I understand that, that is why I am here today. Als...More Button

In reply to the question about the three wise men, the National Implementation Body was set up when the PPF was renegotiated and is working hard, doing its best to resolve this dispute. The Deputy ask...More Button

Priority Questions. - Management of State Enterprises.

Was asked: her views on whether the decision by the ESB board to reject the privatisation of the company is in the best interests of its customers and the future of the economy; and if she will make a statement ...More Button

Policy in relation to State enterprises is set out clearly in the Programme for Government. This provides that the Government, working within the framework of a social partnership approach, will ensur...More Button

That statement arose out of a radio interview on the Sunday and naturally the newspapers picked up on it. The ESB would be best served by such a partial privatisation. I respect the decision of the bo...More Button

While it had a strategic partner, Telecom Éireann was fully privatised. I remain of the view that partial privatisation is the best route but I respect that the board has taken a decision, which it ha...More Button

The ESB has embarked on that. I followed the Californian story. It makes sorry reading for whoever handled it.More Button

Priority Questions. - Electricity Price Increase.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the ESB's intention to seek an increase in the price of electricity to consumers; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I no longer have a function in relation to electricity prices. Decisions about increases in the price of electricity are now a matter for the Commission for Electricity Regulation in accordance with R...More Button

I do not have the precise figures sought by the Deputy but I will arrange for them to be sent to him. The profits in 1998 were £196 million and £216 million in 1999. Increases in fuel prices, especial...More Button

I have asked an official in my Department to assess the impact of a price increase on the CPI because we are all aware that any price increases rebound on it. The regulator is charged with considering...More Button

Priority Questions. - Company Take Over

Was asked: if having consulted her advisers, she has now established the implications of the possible take over of a company (details supplied) which had agreed to the purchase of the Irish National Petroleum Co...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the announcement of the proposed acquisition of the Tosco Corporation by Phillips Petroleum was very recent, and the full implications are still being considered by my Dep...More Button

I and my officials were surprised at the latest developments. The INPC and the Department have been in direct contact with the Tosco Corporation regarding the announcement by Phillips Petroleum and we...More Button

Developments may have taken place in the past week of which I am not aware. However, as far as I know, my Department has had no direct contact with Phillips; the contact was with Tosco. In relation to...More Button

When the issue came to light last August, that was one of the main points I thought would constitute a stumbling block because clearly there would be strong environmental concerns. Before the recent i...More Button

Priority Questions. - Public Transport.

Was asked: if she will report progress on the establishment of a greater Dublin transport authority; and the way in which the public transport procurement agency and public transport regulation body fit into its...More Button

The cross-departmental team on infrastructure and public private partnerships has prepared detailed proposals for changes in the institutional arrangements relating to land use and transport in the gr...More Button

I agree with the Deputy in relation to the regulatory body and the procurement function, which is a mechanical aspect. The point about the multiplicity of agencies is no longer relevant because people...More Button

Yes, that is what we are doing. The land use and transport body would act both as transport authority and public transport regulatory body for the greater Dublin area. The Cabinet is due to take the d...More Button

Other Questions. - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: if she has received correspondence from the office of the EU Competition Commissioner confirming that an ESB subsidiary had violated European law by securing a connection to the national grid; and if ...More Button

I have not received correspondence from the office of EU Competition Commissioner, Mr. Mario Monti, confirming that an ESB subsidiary had violated European law by securing a connection to the national...More Button

I will answer the second question first. I am satisfied. Any move from a monopoly situation in any industry or arm of industry is always bound to be not as quick or as trouble free as one would hope. ...More Button

Yes. I had not thought of that.More Button

I have to be conscious that it is not just the Department of Finance that listens to everything one says in Dáil Éireann. Mr. Monti might well read the transcripts at some stage so I will not respond ...More Button

Other Questions. - Rail Safety.

Was asked: her views on a memorandum drawn up by her Department which outlines the failure of Iarnród Éireann to reply to letters from the Railway Inspectorate seeking information on rail safety; and if she will...More Button

I am concerned that Iarnród Éireann is not providing full and timely information to the Railway Inspectorate of my Department in relation to safety aspects of the company's operations. A lack of adequ...More Button

I could not agree more with the Deputy. Last Sunday's Sunday Independent opened many eyes with regard to how matters were managed between 4 and 22 June 1997. I do not wish to go into that in detail. I...More Button

I am aware of the time frame involved in the above instance and agree that a huge amount of detail was published. I do not know where that came from and I gather, from inquiries made, that there is mo...More Button

The Bill, which will update legislation from the mid-19th century onwards, is undergoing a public consultation process which is due to conclude by the end of March. Following the outcome of that consu...More Button

Other Questions. - Natural Gas Grid.

Was asked: the position in relation to the North-South gas pipeline; if the promoters of the pipeline have accepted the argument for a public service levy; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Other Questions. - Nuclear Plants.

Was asked: her views on the resumption of German shipments to Sellafield following the previous suspension of such shipments; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Other Questions. - Rail Services.

Was asked: if she will bring forward plans to double the track capacity on the northern suburban line.More Button

Was asked: if a proposal has been presented to Government which would involve constructing a rail spur in the vicinity of Clontarf Station to serve the Spencer Dock area and also alleviate the chronic congestion...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the travel difficulties for passengers at peak travel times on DART services; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if investment will be forthcoming from Government to pay for a doubling of track capacity on the northern suburban line north of Connolly Station, Dublin, the construction of a double rail spur to byp...More Button

Was asked: the proposals she has for new or improved public transport services on the north side of Dublin; and the precise time frame for implementation in this regard.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 37, 58, 86, 89 and 90 together. I have raised with Iarnród Éireann concerns expressed to me regarding travel difficulties for passengers at peak times on the DART. The...More Button

Written Answers. - ESB Privatisation.

Was asked: if she has been briefed recently on the privatisation intentions of the ESB; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: her views on the recent decision by the board of the ESB not to proceed with the privatisation of the company; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 38 and 82 together. I refer the Deputy to my reply to Priority Question No. 29 which I answered earlier.More Button

Written Answers. - Tuskar Rock Air Crash.

Was asked: if the report of the international investigators on the Aer Lingus Viscount crash off Tuskar Rock was presented to her in early December 2000 as anticipated by her in her reply to Parliamentary Questi...More Button

At the request of the international investigators following an oral progress report to me on their work on 1 December 2000, I have agreed to extend the timeframe for receipt of their report up to the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the conditions that apply with regard to the health and safety of passengers and commuters on public transport systems, the health and safety inspections which have been carried out on the DART system...More Button

The health and safety of passengers and commuters on public transport systems is the statutory responsibility of the companies providing such services. Section 7 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at ...More Button

Written Answers. - Oil Supplies.

Was asked: the safeguards built into the agreement with a company (details supplied) which provide for the continued operation of both the Whitegate refinery and Bantry terminals to ensure the supply of petroleu...More Button

The non-binding heads of agreement signed in July 2000 by the Irish National Petroleum Corporation, INPC, and Tosco Corporation include a commitment by the latter to operate, and invest in the develop...More Button

Written Answers. - Air Accident Investigations.

Was asked: when the air accident inquiry by the investigations branch of her Department into the Futura Boeing 737 accident at Shannon on 30 November 2000 will be concluded; the matters being investigated by the...More Button

The air accident investigation unit, AAIU, commenced its formal investigation into the Boeing 737-800 accident at Shannon 30 November 2000, the day of the accident. The cause of the accident is being...More Button

Written Answers. - Airport Safety Regulations.

Was asked: her views on reports that Aer Rianta has breached safety regulations by locating car parks in red zones at Dublin Airport.More Button

I am informed by Aer Rianta that it does not have car parks located in the red zones at Dublin Airport. The essential purpose of the so-called red zones at airports is to control the erection of build...More Button

Written Answers. - CIE Property.

Was asked: the amount of surplus property owned by CIE and which is to be sold by the company in order to comply with the recent Government order; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the lands to be disposed of following the review of CIE's surplus property portfolio; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 52 together. Consultants carried out an independent review of CIE property in 1999 and in the light of developments in the property market since then they provi...More Button

Written Answers. - Job Losses.

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the decision by the ESB to shed 2000 jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In preparation for full competition, the ESB has been in detailed negotiation with its unions on a further major round of change in the company. In that context, the company last year presented me wit...More Button

Written Answers. - Semi-State Bodies.

Was asked: her proposals for the future of Aer Rianta; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As I stated in reply to Dáil Question No. 293 on 30 January 2001, my Department will continue to give careful consideration to the issue of Aer Rianta's corporate future. The issues involved are compl...More Button

Written Answers. - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: if she has been briefed on the impending closure of the ESB generating station at Bellacorrick, County Mayo, and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The ESB 40 MW peat fired electricity generating station at Bellacorrick was scheduled for closure in 2004. However, in February, 2000, I announced details of a tripartite agreement between my Departme...More Button

Written Answers. - An Post.

Was asked: if she has received a report on the final conclusions of the discussions between An Post and the Irish Postmasters' Union; if so, the recommendations made therein; if it is intended to implement the r...More Button

I have not yet received the final conclusions of the discussions between An Post and the Irish Postmasters' Union under the chairmanship of Mr. Phil Flynn.More Button

Written Answers. - Gas Supplies.

Was asked: if she has received a report predicting a possible shortfall in gas supplies in the winter of 2002; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if she has received a report predicting a possible shortfall in gas supplies in the winter of 2002; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Airlines Superannuation Scheme.

Was asked: if she is in a position to deal with the concerns of the Retired Aviation Staff Association in relation to the Irish airlines general employees superannuation scheme; and if she will make a statement ...More Button

Was asked: if she will focus once more on resolving the long standing injustice done to retired aviation staff who require a sum of £76 million at least, to be injected into the pension fund according to the sch...More Button

Was asked: the progress made to address the concerns of the Retired Aviation Staff Association which she undertook to raise with the relevant authorities following the meeting with a delegation of the associatio...More Button

Was asked: if Aer Lingus will be required to contribute its share of past co-ordinated moneys into the company pension scheme to the satisfaction of the Retired Aviation Staff Association prior to any moves towa...More Button

I propose to take Question Nos. 50, 84, 85 and 91 together. To assist Deputies in this matter, I refer to my reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 298, 303 and 309 of 30 January 2001 which deals with ...More Button

Written Answers. - Air Services.

Was asked: about the steps she is taking to encourage the re-establishment of a direct Cork-Belfast air service.More Button

It is my policy to facilitate and encourage a wide range of reliable, regular and competitive commercial air services to and from airports in Ireland in the interest of Irish trade, industry and touri...More Button

Written Answers. - Dublin Airport.

Was asked: if she has recently written to Ryanair rejecting the proposal to build a second terminal at Dublin Airport.More Button

Was asked: if she has recently written to a company (details supplied) rejecting the proposal to build a second terminal at Dublin Airport.More Button

I propose to answer Question No. 53 and Question No. 83 together. I should clarify at the outset that, in recent correspondence between myself or my Department with Ryanair, I did not reject the conce...More Button

Written Answers. - Aer Lingus Flotation.

Was asked: if she remains committed to the flotation of Aer Lingus, and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am committed to implementing the Government's decision of 14 December 1999 in relation to the Aer Lingus IPO once the present industrial relations issues have been resolved. The precise timing for ...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Was asked: about the proposals that are included in the national development plan for the upgrading of the rail link between Dublin and Kildare; and for the extension of the Arrow commuter service to Monasterevi...More Button

The national development plan provides a detailed strategy for the enhancement of suburban rail services in the greater Dublin area. The quadrupling of the rail track, including upgrading of signallin...More Button

Written Answers. - European Union Postal Services.

Was asked: about the outcome of the EU Council of Ministers' meeting on 22 December 2000 regarding postal services in the European Union; the steps she took at the meeting; her plans to ensure the continued avai...More Button

The EU Council of Ministers' meeting on 22 December 2000 failed to reach a common position on a proposal for a directive amending Directive 97/67 EC with regard to the further opening to competition o...More Button

Written Answers. - National Development Plan.

Was asked: the degree to which the targets set out in the national development plan will be met in terms of expenditure and completion of works; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In so far as my Department is concerned, I am confident that, while there will be variations within programmes, overall the targets set out in the national development plan for the period 2000-06, in ...More Button

Written Answers. - Nuclear Plants.

Was asked: if the United Kingdom's nuclear installations inspectorate has responded to the RPII's recommendations in relation to safety improvements required concerning the storage of high level radioactive wast...More Button

The RPII has been maintaining contact with the UK nuclear installations inspectorate – NII – regarding the implementation of the safety improvement recommendations contained in the RPII's report of De...More Button

Written Answers. - Company Take Over.

Was asked: the implications for the proposed sale of the assets and liabilities of the Irish National Petroleum Company Limited arising from the possible take over of the buyer (details supplied); and if she wil...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to an earlier question which I answered.More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the total capacity of the public transport system and network which services the Dublin area; the capacity available at peak travel times; the estimated number of persons who could avail of a public t...More Button

The Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) Strategy 2000 – 2016 entitled “A Platform for Change” noted that, based on the last detailed survey carried out in 1997, a total of 249,000 person trips occurred...More Button

Written Answers. - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: the proposals in regard to the long-term development of the electricity industry with particular reference to increasing generating capacity in line with requirements; and if she will make a statement...More Button

As a result of the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999, sponsored by me, approximately 31% of the electricity market is now open to competition. This will rise to 40% in 2002 and to 100% in 2005. This me...More Button

Written Answers. - Natural Gas Grid.

Was asked: the studies which have been carried out and the ones in progress in relation to bringing a natural gas supply to County Sligo; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Air Services.

Was asked: the total number of commuters recorded through Dublin Airport for 2000; the numbers for each of the past years 1995 to 2000; the progress on the development of a rail link to Dublin Airport; and if sh...More Button

Dublin Airport had its busiest year so far in 2000 in terms of passenger movements with an overall traffic increase of more than one million bringing passenger numbers to 13.8 million, an increase of ...More Button

Written Answers. - Marine Radioactivity Monitoring Programme.

Was asked: the findings to date with regard to the ongoing marine radioactivity monitoring programme; the ongoing research into radiological impacts; the assessment of any potential risks; and if she will make a...More Button

Written Answers. - Regional Airports.

Was asked: her position with regard to the provision of State funding for the future development of Cork Airport and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Aer Rianta funds its capital development programme at each of the three State airports, including Cork Airport, from its own resources without recourse to Exchequer funding. Aer Rianta's current devel...More Button

Written Answers. - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: the extent to which the national grid has adequate electricity reserves; if these reserves are sufficient to meet current and anticipated requirements and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer the Deputy to the replies I gave to previous Dáil questions on this subject on 19 October 2000 – Questions Nos. 77 and 79 – and 29 November 2000 – Question No. 68. Eirgrid registered a new all...More Button

Written Answers. - Air Services.

Was asked: the extent to which efforts have been made to resolve disputes in Aer Lingus, with particular reference to the need to ensure that the company is on a healthy financial and industrial relations footin...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 28 of 13 February 2001 on this matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: the total number of operators now involved in the provision of telephone service with particular reference to land lines; the extent to which the customer has received benefit in terms of reduced cost...More Button

Was asked: the total number of operators currently involved in the provision of mobile phone service; if the issue of further licences is contemplated in this area; if regard is being had for the need to ensure ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95 and 96 together. The licensing of fixed and mobile telephony is a matter for the Office of the Director of Telecommunications Regulation. According to a report publ...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Was asked: the extent to which the refitting and refurbishing of the Dublin-Maynooth railway line has been completed; the full extent of the extended service now to be provided and if she will make a statement o...More Button

Was asked: when the full upgraded service anticipated on the Maynooth-Dublin rail link will be operational; if the necessary rolling stock is available for this purpose and if she will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to an industrial dispute which prevents the envisaged enhanced rail service on the Kilcock-Maynooth-Leixlip-Dublin rail route; if efforts are being made to bring about ...More Button

Was asked: the total number of commuter trains available for use on the Kilcock-Maynooth-Leixlip-Dublin rail route; the likely number of daily passengers to be accommodated; the way in which this compares with t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97, 98, 100 and 103 together. I have no statutory function in this matter which is a day-to-day function of Iarnród Éireann. The company informs me, however, that the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Industrial Disputes.

Was asked: the number of industrial disputes currently ongoing at Dublin Airport; the number of companies involved; the efforts being made to bring about a resolution and if she will make a statement on the matt...More Button

Employees involved in ground handling operations for British Midland at Dublin Airport are involved in a dispute concerning that company's proposals to transfer the operations to a new company. Certai...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the degree to which Bus Átha Cliath and Iarnród Éireann have upgraded and increased their fleets; the degree to which new vehicles are wheelchair friendly; and if she will make a statement on the matt...More Button

Over the past two years, Bus Átha Cliath has taken delivery of a total of 440 new buses, comprising 165 replacement buses and 275 additional vehicles. Of these, 245 are wheelchair accessible, includin...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Was asked: the extent to which Iarnród Éireann has adequate resources to meet requirements in respect of locomotives and rolling stock and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The national development plan – NDP – provides for a substantial enhancement in public transport. The NDP provides for an investment of in excess of £1 billion in railway infrastructure, an important ...More Button


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