Brennan, Seamus

Tuesday, 14 October 2003

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 572 No. 3

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Ceisteanna – Questions. - Departmental Bodies.

Tá sé ag teacht.More Button

The Deputies will love it when it comes.More Button

Priority Questions. - Rail Network.

Was asked: when the attention of his Department was drawn to the plans to close the DART line at weekends; the alternative measures being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The DART system is now almost 20 years in operation and has provided an excellent level of service to users over that period. Apart, however, from the normal level of maintenance which one would expec...More Button

As I stated, in the course of normal, regular meetings with the management of Irish Rail, officials of my Department were informed in general terms of preparatory work on the project in question. At m...More Button

As regards the use of DMUs on the DART line, I will bring the matter to the attention of Irish Rail to ascertain if such a measure would meet its needs from an operational point of view. During yester...More Button

As my Department was not informed of the details of the scheduling six months in advance, the Deputy is not accurate.More Button

That is also inaccurate. The Deputy's proposal on the use of DMUs relates to an operational matter. It appears to be a good idea and I will pass it on to the company to see if it will take it on board...More Button

Priority Questions. - Road Network.

Was asked: his plans in respect of the Red Cow roundabout; the timescale for this work; the implications for the commencement of the Tallaght Luas line; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has been assured by the Dublin Transportation Office and the Railway Procurement Agency that, under the current scheme, Luas, which has its own over-bridge and will travel on its own ded...More Button

Within a couple of weeks I should be able to give a final decision on these matters. There are some options. First, however, it depends on whether one accepts that the Red Cow roundabout is a problem....More Button

I do, and I have said it many times.More Button

Which question does the Deputy want me to tackle? I have said many times that I regard the Red Cow roundabout as a problem. It carries 90,000 cars per day, it is a major intersection of the M50 and th...More Button

—on these matters but I have to draw conclusions. The NRA takes a medium-term view. It tells me that the roundabout needs a substantial upgrade. The €300 million figure quoted in the newspaper is not ...More Button

What is the Deputy's view?More Button

I do.More Button

That is two of us. If the Deputy gets her colleague on board, we will be in business.More Button

I did not say that. The Deputy should read the record.More Button

I said I heard of its decision last night. The first I heard of that decision was this morning.More Button

The Deputy is trying to have it both ways and in Opposition that is possible. She is asking me to separate them but without a delay occurring. That is not possible.More Button

No, the second part was about—More Button

The Deputy's second question asked me to ensure there will be no delay in the opening of the Tallaght line. If we separate the track, as the Deputy and I favour, it will not open on time.More Button

If we attempt to separate the train track from the road on that roundabout, the Luas will not open on time.More Button

I will make a decision on this matter in a couple of weeks. However, if work is done on the roundabout, it will delay the Luas. There is no way around that.More Button

That is because the NRA is not necessarily the agency to do it.More Button

I wish I had hours to explain this to the Deputy but I do not.More Button

Priority Questions. - Public Transport.

Was asked: if he will report on the progress of negotiations with worker representatives on public transport and the future of CIE.More Button

I am anxious to consider the genuine concerns of CIE employees regarding the reform of public transport and the future of CIE and how it might impact on their livelihoods and future careers. However, ...More Button

With regard to the London model, passenger numbers are at their highest level in London since 1969 and it has the highest level of bus kilometres operated since 1963. It is experiencing the fastest gr...More Button

I published my plans in full in a paper I delivered to the National Public Transport Forum almost a year ago. I laid out in my reply the extensive discussions going on. My plans are therefore very muc...More Button

The plans were to open the markets to competition and dissolve the CIE holding company and establish three separate independent companies so that they could provide choice to the public of the city a...More Button

It is a framework, and the details of plans within it can and will be worked out. I confirm that I will not have legislation ready this session, and perhaps not even next. However, I expect to enact l...More Button

Priority Questions. - Air Services.

Was asked: if he will consider introducing an exemption from the high travel tax charges on domestic flights from Cork, Shannon and Dublin Airports, in view of the fact that the national carrier no longer serves...More Button

Since there is no Government tax imposed on air travel in Ireland, I assume the Deputy is referring to the airport charges levied by Aer Rianta on airlines using State airports. As I stated in my repl...More Button

I agree with the broad thrust of what the Deputy is trying to do, namely, bring about cheaper internal flights, particularly from Shannon to Dublin. I very much accept that. We will do so by tackling ...More Button

That is a good thought, and there is no reason that it would not do it. The Deputy will be aware of my plans to establish a separate Shannon Airport authority. This morning the Government cleared the ...More Button

Priority Questions. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the reason he has not given permission for the streamlining of the Bus Éireann service between Ballina and the Holyhead-Dún Laoghaire ferry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department gave permission to Bus Éireann on 3 October 2003 for all the changes which it sought to its bus services from Ballina and Sligo to Dublin, including changes to services connecting with f...More Button

I regret the delay that has occurred in respect of this matter. I acknowledge and admire the Deputy's persistence, which has helped to focus people in terms of having a decision made in time for annou...More Button

I will draw the Deputy's comments and requests to the attention of the company, which already receives substantial resources from the taxpayer.More Button

Other Questions. Bus Deregulation.

Was asked: his plans for bus deregulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: further to his recent statement that his plans for bus deregulation in Dublin will provide choice for the consumer, the way in which this will be the case; and the reason he has not opted to franchise...More Button

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to the implementation of the proposals contained in his statement to the public transport forum on 7 November 2002; the timetable for the legislation required to ...More Button

Was asked: his plans for bus deregulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for bus competition; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68, 84, 112, 149 and 157 together. A high quality and efficient public transport system is essential to sustaining the economic and social progress made in Ireland in ...More Button

I do not have any proposals to establish five separate agencies.More Button

The Deputy stated that I am going to establish five new authorities. The Department of Transport is already in place.More Button

To which authorities is the Deputy referring?More Button

I do not propose to establish any new regional authorities.More Button

I have no proposals to establish regional authorities. The Department of Transport is already in place and a new regulatory authority could be put in place or that job could be allocated to an existin...More Button

It is too early to make a statement in that regard. If there is rapid expansion in an area of Dublin and new services, which cannot be procured on a commercial basis, are required and the State decide...More Button

When I talk about choice I mean the taxpayer and the State, the ordinary person. If the yellow bus company wins a parcel of routes through tendering to a regulator, and there is X number of public com...More Button

If the Deputy is arguing for total deregulation, where buses—More Button

I am justifying it on the basis—More Button

I will never satisfy the Deputy in these matters. After we enter franchising, I can see no reason the change of franchises on a regular basis would not become normal practice. As things stand, if a se...More Button

I have read what the leader of the Deputy's party has said in recent speeches about the need for public services to be competitive.More Button

I accept what the Deputy's leader has said and think he is correct. When we carve the market, and in guaranteeing CIE 75% of the market initially, it is important that we are able to group profitable ...More Button

The Deputy and I will not agree on this. While I am not in favour of a monopoly in public transport, the Deputy is.More Button

It is about providing additional services and letting the private sector into the market.More Button

I will not satisfy the Deputy on this matter. She appears to support the continuance of the monopoly.More Button

Is the Deputy in favour of no change and no competition?More Button

We will do that too. We will also franchise existing routes. This year's subsidy to Bus Éireann is almost €60 million.More Button

Taxpayers are workers too and have rights.More Button

I appreciate what the Deputy's leader has said. I believe in a competitive system, the Deputy does not. I do not favour the continuation of a monopoly. The Deputy and I will not agree on this. The Dep...More Button

I do not have a detailed costing for the regulatory authority. It will have to be funded by the industry. I foresee it being a fairly slim organisation.More Button

I have no doubt the Deputy will do that. It may be that an existing organisation can take on the role. It is something I am taking a close look at.More Button

That is exactly what I am trying to do. I am trying to introduce additional capacity.More Button

If we introduce extra players they will bring buses with them. Therefore, we will have more buses on the streets and more services for passengers. It is important to point out that Bus Éireann and Dub...More Button

I have no proposals to appoint an interim regulator. The legislation will lay down the regulatory regime. The Deputy is right about integrated ticketing – I would prefer to have it fully in place. I a...More Button

The RPA is overseeing this in the short term. It has already entered into agreement with one bus company and is talking to CIE about the issue. It will probably be possible to have some integrated tic...More Button

There is a service level agreement between the Department and Dublin Bus. A set of agreements have been signed with CIE in recent weeks. I cannot be definitive on the mechanism of how this will play o...More Button

I am not in position to pin down the exact number of buses anyone will have. We will talk to the trade unions about whatever broad understandings we have in the NDP.More Button

The extra capacity will come from the extra buses we are providing. I think we are providing 90 new buses this year.More Button

No, the Deputy has to listen to this.More Button

The Deputy asked where the extra buses would come from and I have told her. The 90 new buses are coming from the public sector this year.More Button

The Deputy asked where the extra buses are coming from.More Button

We are not privatising anything here.More Button

We are opening the market to public transport, to non-Bus Éireann and non-Dublin Bus services. That is what we are trying to do.More Button

We are in the middle of serious discussions at present with the trade unions as to how to implement this. I wish I knew where the Opposition stood on these issues.More Button

Is the Opposition for opening the market or not? I cannot get a straight answer.More Button

I am for it. Is the Deputy for opening the market?More Button

I will answer if the Deputy answers it. (Interruptions).More Button

If Deputies want to continue the monopoly they should stand up and say so.More Button

The Opposition is supposed to have views.More Button

My views are clear.More Button

I do not know if Opposition Deputies are for or against breaking it up. They know where I stand but I cannot figure out where they stand.More Button

Other Questions. Bus Deregulation. - CIE and Aer Rianta.

Was asked: if he will report on his talks with ICTU leaders concerning Government plans for the future of CIE and Aer Rianta.More Button

Was asked: the discussions which have taken place in recent weeks between the transport unions in CIE and his Department officials regarding reform of CIE; and the timetable that he envisages for the break-up of...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding his discussions with the CIE group of trade unions on the future of CIE; when the last meeting was held; when the next meeting is planned; the progress which has been made with ...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on a meeting with a delegation from ICTU on 15 July 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 69, 71, 109 and 117 together. In relation to the discussions between my Department and the CIE group of unions on the reform of the regulatory framework for public t...More Button

There is no requirement for me to put that proposal to the EU. We will work out the details of the debt between the three companies. I have made an announcement already about the overall shape of this...More Button

The heads of the Bill were adopted this morning by the Cabinet and it has now gone for drafting. I hope the legislation can clear the Attorney General and the drafting process—More Button

The question is about Aer Rianta—More Button

—but it is fully my intention to preserve the pension rights of everybody. I will ensure there is no diminution in pension rights. That is not at issue. Written Answers follow Adjournment Debate.More Button

Order of Business.

It is contagious.More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Management.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the already serious traffic chaos that exists throughout Dublin city arising from Luas and various road works; the way in which this is likely to be affected by the ...More Button

I make no apology for the fact that significant investment is taking place on a number of major infrastructure projects around Dublin. Unfortunately, the nature of the projects involved means that dis...More Button

Written Answers. - Roads Funding.

Was asked: if his Department has received a request from the National Roads Authority for an additional ?300 million in funding for 2004 which it says it needs to complete the road building programme by 2010; th...More Button

My Department works closely with the National Roads Authority on the funding and management of the national roads programme, as set out in the National Development Plan and, in conjunction with the Na...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the position regarding his proposals for the restructuring of CIE; the discussions he has had with the trade unions representing CIE workers on these proposals; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

In my statement to the Public Transport Partnership Forum in November 2002 I set out my proposals to dissolve CIE and establish Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann as independent commerci...More Button

Written Answers. - State Airports.

Was asked: his plans for Dublin Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for the break up of Aer Rianta; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the basis on which he took the decision to dismantle Aer Rianta and establish separate com panies to run Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports; the way in which it is proposed to allocate the assets of Ae...More Button

Was asked: his plans for Cork Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for Shannon Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he remains committed to breaking up Aer Rianta.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74, 83, 95, 103, 133 and 140 together. There are two main issues in An Agreed Programme for Government relating to the future of Aer Rianta and the State airports. The...More Button

Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Was asked: the plans he has to address the driving test back log; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the current pass rate of the driving test; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the total number of applicants awaiting driving tests at the latest date for which figures are available; the average waiting time; the progress made to date in his discussions with the Department of ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75, 113 and 142 together. The total number of applicants awaiting a driving test as at 10 October 2003 is 127,781. The current average waiting time nationally for a dr...More Button

Written Answers. - Dublin Port Tunnel.

Was asked: if he has yet received the report he commissioned from consultants to determine if the Dublin Port tunnel is being built to an adequate height; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has appointed consultants to review the feasibility, safety implications and cost of raising the height of the Dublin Port tunnel, including the evaluation of various options to achieve ...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: his detailed business case for a metro line; the cost benefit analysis he has done for this project; the way in which his recently announced proposals to procure a metro on a PPP basis at an estimated...More Button

The Railway Procurement Agency has submitted to my Department the business case, including a cost benefit analysis, for the PPP procurement of phase 1 of the metro. As the estimated costs were substan...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Was asked: if he has received a report from Irish Rail on the future of rail freight business here which he said on 3 April 2003 would be available within weeks; and if he will make it available to the Houses of...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, I believe that every effort should be made by Irish Rail to develop its rail freight business. Since the publication of the strategic rail review earlier this year, my Departme...More Button

Written Answers. - Regional Airports.

Was asked: the Government's position on the Shannon stopover; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if the current US bilateral agreement will remain in place until the European Union and the US have finalised their discussions on a new open skies policy; and if he will make a statement on the matte...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 92 together. Following unanimous agreement by the Council of Transport Ministers on 5 June, to give the European Commission a mandate to negotiate an open aviat...More Button

Written Answers. - Aviation Safety.

Was asked: his views on a report (details supplied) amending Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3922/91 on the harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the serious concerns of the Irish Airline Pilots Association and the European Cockpit Association regarding some of the provisions of the European Parliament report ...More Button

Written Answers. - Light Rail Project.

Was asked: his plans for the completion of Luas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for the completion of the Luas construction works; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when the Luas lines will be opened up to commuters; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81, 120 and 155 together. The Railway Procurement Agency has advised that, based on its projections, the current timetable for completion is May 2004 for the Tallaght ...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Regulations.

Was asked: if he has received the speed limit review report; the changes he intends to make; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he intends to publish the report of the review group on speed limits; when the revised speed limits will be brought into operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his proposed changes to the speed limit on roads; the estimated cost of these changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82, 151 and 412 together. The broadly based working group that I established earlier this year to carry out a comprehensive review of the present speed limit structure...More Button

Written Answers. - Roads Projects.

Was asked: the progress to date on the delivery of the inter-urban motorways; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The current positioning on the upgrading of the major inter-urban routes is as follows: M1 – Dublin to Border: This route is complete to motorway standard to south of Dundalk. The two remaining projec...More Button

Was asked: the implications of the spatial strategy for the roads programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, the national spatial strategy supports the development of a high quality network of roads and public transport services to facilitate more balanced regional development. As...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Accidents.

Was asked: the detail of the report which he has received from the railway inspecting office on the circumstances of the Cahir rail accident; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The chief railway inspecting officer of my Department attended the scene of the incident on 7 October, the day of the incident and again on Thursday, 9 October 2003. Following these visits, the chief...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Management.

Was asked: the date of his last meeting with Dublin City Council; the agenda for the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have arranged to meet with Dublin City Council on 3 November 2003 to discuss matters relating to traffic and transportation in the greater Dublin area.More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Network.

Was asked: the progress regarding the possible reopening of the rail link to Midleton in east Cork and the development of Kent Station in Cork; the estimated cost of both of these developments; when he expects t...More Button

The Cork suburban rail proposals are currently under consideration in the context of the implementation of the strategic rail review. An implementation group comprising officials from my Department an...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Was asked: when the new road safety strategy will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he expects to receive the report of the high level group on a new road safety strategy for the years 2003 to 2005; when it is intended to publish the report; the steps he intends to take to deal ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 and 108 together. The programme for Government states that a three-year road safety strategy will be developed and will target speeding, drink-driving, seat-belt we...More Button

Written Answers. - Light Rail Project.

Was asked: if his Department has reviewed the possibility of joining the two Luas lines via the construction of an overground Luas line in the city centre; and if he will ask the RPA and the Dublin Transpor tati...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the progress in regard to each of the three Luas lines; the original estimated cost in respect of each and the final anticipated cost; the original planned opening date for each a...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied with the current rate of progress in regard to the construction of the Luas lines; if his attention has been drawn to claims that the project was on track and on schedule in mid-200...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 91, 119 and 128 together. The Dublin Transportation Office's A Platform for Change, which is the blueprint for transportation needs in the greater Dublin area provides...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Was asked: if it is intended to introduce random testing of drivers for alcohol levels; if it is intended to reduce the permitted blood-alcohol level; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government is committed to the development of a new road safety strategy that will apply for the next three years. The new strategy, which is being prepared by the high level group on road safety,...More Button

Written Answers. - Roads Funding.

Was asked: the actions he intends to take following on the key recommendation contained in the Indecon report on the mid-term evaluation of the economic and social infrastructure operational programme that the G...More Button

The recommendation in the report by Indecon Economic Consultants on the mid-term evaluation of the economic and social infrastructure operational programme, that the provision of motorway-high quality...More Button

Written Answers. - Transport Policy.

Was asked: his plans to set up an overall framework outlining a clear strategy for transport over 20 years as outlined in his statement on 12 September 2003.More Button

The establishment of an integrated Department of Transport last year has allowed us to focus more clearly on improving our transport system overall. To this end, we are concentrating on four key goals...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Network.

Was asked: if he has appointed consultants to carry out the new study on the potential of the western rail link; the timeframe for such a study; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the plans he has to progress the western rail corridor in view of the strategic rail review; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97 and 156 together. The strategic rail review provides the Government with a policy framework for the future development of rail passenger and rail freight sectors in...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Management.

Was asked: if there are any plans to devise a new flyover system to deal with chronic traffic problems at the Red Cow roundabout; the nature of the proposals being considered; the likely cost of the plan; the li...More Button

The planning, design and implementation of individual national projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority in co-operation with the relevant local authority. I understand from the National R...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recent claim by the managing director of transport for London (details supplied) that traffic congestion in Dublin was now among the worst in the world; the step...More Button

The policy of tackling congestion requires particular focus on the promotion of public transport. A key element of this focus is the delivery of quality bus corridors in a more aggressive way. To date...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Regulations.

Was asked: the position in his Department's discussions with the NRA regarding the request from Bus Éireann for permission to use the hard shoulder on roads between Dublin and satellite towns in order to counter...More Button

I am anxious to ensure that as many practical measures as possible are taken to improve public transport flows and reduce congestion throughout the country. Bus Éireann, in particular, is being affect...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Management.

Was asked: the organisational system that will be put in place for the hosting of the Velo City cycling conference in Dublin in June 2005; if the State will be able to support such an event; if the Dublin Port t...More Button

The Velo City cycling conference will be jointly hosted by the Dublin Transportation Office with Dublin City Council. Both of these agencies have hosted international technical conferences in the rece...More Button

Was asked: the date of his last meeting with the DTO; the agenda for the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I met with the DTO on 24 September 2003. During the course of this meeting, I discussed with the board my views on the development of public transport in Ireland and also the various projects which th...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: if the report of the inter-departmental committee on rural public transport found that four out of ten rural dwellers have no access to even a basic bus or rail service; the steps being taken to addre...More Button

The report of the inter-departmental committee on rural public transport puts forward proposals for the development of a rural public transport policy. The report was published on my Department's webs...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Was asked: the main causes of fatal and serious road traffic accidents; and the steps proposed to confront them.More Button

The Road Safety Strategy 1998 – 2002 prioritised a systematic and co-ordinated set of measures for preventing and reducing road accidents. It established quantified targets for achieving its objective...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Management.

Was asked: his proposals for the future decision-making structures for transport and traffic in the greater Dublin area; the status of the proposed greater Dublin land use and transport authority; if his attenti...More Button

My priority for public transport regulatory reform is the establishment of this body. I am mindful of the significant work already under way on the integration of land use and transport through the dr...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Was asked: if he is satisfied that less than 3% of the national roads budget is invested in special safety projects; the length of the new national dual carriageway roads which are built with a separating crash ...More Button

Expenditure by the NRA on specific road safety measures on the national roads network over the period 1999-2003 averaged €14 million per annum. This has funded activities for remedial measures at high...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the date of his last meeting with Irish Rail; the agenda for the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I met the board of CIE on 11 December 2002. At that meeting I discussed with the board my policy in relation to both public transport in Ireland and also my views regarding CIE and the CIE group of co...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Was asked: the action he intends to take to address the disruption caused by DART works over the next 18 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the details of the number of extra buses which will be provided on the routes affected by the weekend closure of the DART; and the breakdown of the number of extra buses for routes (details supplied) ...More Button

Was asked: the action he intends to taken to address the disruption caused by DART works at weekends; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 111, 118 and 163 together. I refer the Deputies to my answer to Priority Question No. 63 which I answered earlier. Question No. 112 answered with Question No. 68. Ques...More Button

Written Answers. - Taxi Regulations.

Was asked: the level of progress on the establishment of the Office of the Taxi Regulator and the proposed new taxi council; the details regarding the review of the issue of accessibility to taxis; and the progr...More Button

Was asked: when the planned national taxi advisory council will be established; the proposed role and membership of the council; when a permanent taxi regulator will be appointed; and if he will make a statement...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 137 together. The Taxi Regulation Act 2003 was enacted in July 2003 to provide a legislative basis for the establishment of a Commission for Taxi Regulation an...More Button

Written Answers. - National Car Test.

Was asked: the current pass rate of the NCT; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

For 2003 to date, the NCT pass rate on initial test is 52.7% with 90.2% of retested cars passing the test.More Button

Written Answers. - Strategic Rail Review.

Was asked: if a special implementation group to oversee the rail investment programme has been set up, as he promised in April 2003; if so, its composition; and when the first quarterly report on the rail invest...More Button

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to his consideration of the strategic rail review; his views on the recommendations made in the report; if it is intended to implement the recommendations; the ti...More Button

Was asked: the plans for the implementation of the strategic rail review; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116, 145 and 150 together. The strategic rail review is the most significant review and rigorous analysis of the rail sector ever undertaken in Ireland and provides th...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Traffic Offences.

Was asked: if he intends to privatise the fixed speed cameras; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Together with my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, I am pursuing the early engagement of the private sector in the operation of speed cameras. The objectives are to improve...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recent comments from the National Safety Council in which it claimed that recent reductions in road deaths cannot be sustained with its assertion of the woeful a...More Button

I have noted the comments which were made by the chairman of the National Safety Council and which represented his personal view. The successful implementation of the road safety strategy which has re...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: his views on the strong advice from a person (details supplied) to exclude consultants and advisers from the metro project and to keep it under the tight control of the State; and if he will make a st...More Button

The discussions I have had with Professor Melis on the development of the Dublin metro were most valued, given the international reputation of metro de Madrid gained by the speedy extension of their s...More Button

Written Answers. - Port Development.

Was asked: if his Department has discussed a policy for the future enlargement of Rosslare Port; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy is aware, Rosslare Port is operated by Irish Rail under the umbrella of the Fishguard and Rosslare Harbours Company. Significant investment has been made in the port in recent years to u...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: if he expects to present a business case proposal for a Dublin metro to Cabinet; and if such a proposal will include a connection to Swords as the first construction phase of the metro.More Button

Was asked: his plans for the metro; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding plans for the construction of a metro system in Dublin; the estimated cost; the likely timeframe for construction and completion; when the route will be finalised; and if he wil...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 125, 130 and 136 together.More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Accidents.

Was asked: the implications of the Cahir rail accident on the future of the Waterford-Limerick rail line; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I do not expect the de-railment which happened at Cahir on Tuesday last to have any implications for the future of the Limerick Junction to Waterford railway line. I gave a commitment in the House on ...More Button

Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Was asked: the plans he has to reform the current driving test; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am currently reviewing the driver testing and licensing system with a view to bringing in changes that will lead to improved driver behaviour. In the licensing area I am examining a range of reforms...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Network.

Was asked: if he intends to review the Roads Act 1993 (details supplied) with a view to upgrading the national secondary roads of strategic importance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A comprehensive review of the national and regional road system was concluded in 1994 with the Roads Act 1993 (Declaration of National Roads) Order 1994 and the Roads Act 1993 (Declaration of Regiona...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Traffic Offences.

Was asked: his views on the operation to date of the penalty points system; the number of drivers who have received penalty points to date; if there have been disqualifications to date based on the number of poi...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has to review the implementation of the penalty points system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if liaison has taken place with Northern Ireland authorities with a view towards the standardisation of penalty points legislation throughout the island; his plans that such liaison should take place;...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has to address the delays in issuing penalty points; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 131, 134, 159 and 161 together. Penalty points are being applied to the driving licence records of those convicted of speeding, seat-belt wearing and insurance offence...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has to ban the use of mobile phones while driving; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have been advised by the Attorney General that the present regulations prohibiting the use of mobile phones by drivers, and which are based on the 1961 Road Traffic Act, are open to challenge in the...More Button

Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Was asked: the number of drivers on provisional licences; the average waiting time for driving tests; and his views on whether the current position in this regard is conducive to road safety.More Button

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, which holds and administers the national driver file, has advised me that the number of provisional licence holders was 358,845 as at ...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Management.

Was asked: the proposals he is considering to address serious concerns regarding the impact of the Luas line on traffic at the Red Cow roundabout; if he is considering proposals to put the Luas line on stilts at...More Button

Was asked: his plans for the Luas intersection at the Red Cow roundabout; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the progress to date in resolving potential road and rail chaos at the Red Cow roundabout; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 138, 139 and 433 together. My Department has been assured by the Dublin Transportation Office, DTO, and the Railway Procurement Agency, RPA, that under the current sch...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Traffic Corps.

Was asked: his plans for a Garda traffic corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the proposals made to date with regard to the establishment of the dedicated traffic corps, promised in An Agreed Programme for Government; when he expects that the corps will be established and opera...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 141 and 144 together. The programme for Government contains a commitment relating to the establishment of a dedicated traffic corps. As I have already indicated in thi...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Network.

Was asked: if the two results indicators applying to the roads programme as part of the evaluation of the economic and social infrastructure operational programme are the time savings on each of the major inter-...More Button

The economic and social infrastructure operational programme contains the following performance indicators for the national roads development programme: two output indicators – the extent of completio...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which his Department is in touch with the various local authorities throughout the country with a view to ensuring the development of a proper urban road network that goes some way towar...More Button

The upgrading of the national road network, including the provision of by-passes of towns and villages to reduce traffic congestion, is a matter for the National Roads Authority which is responsible i...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the position regarding his proposals for the restructuring of CIE; the discussions he has had with the trade unions representing CIE workers on these proposals; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

In my statement to the Public Transport Partnership Forum in November 2002, I set out my proposals to dissolve CIE and establish Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann as independent commerc...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Regulations.

Was asked: when he intends to re-introduce the promised regulations regarding the maximum height of commercial vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Road Network.

Was asked: the discussions he intends to have on the reform of the NRA as outlined in his statement of 12 September 2003.More Button

As part of the measures being taken to accelerate delivery of the national roads development programme the National Roads Authority has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out a review of the arra...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: if he has received an application for a fares increase from the CIE group of companies; the level of increase sought; the response he has given to the application; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

An application for a fares increase has been received from CIE. The application covers a wide range of fares for bus and rail services. The proposals from Bus Átha Cliath and Bus Éireann are for a fla...More Button

Was asked: the details of the public relations contract for Iarnród Éireann's DASH project; the name of the company involved; the value of the contract; the reason it failed to notify passengers of the proposed ...More Button

Was asked: when Iarnród Éireann placed an advertisement with local radio stations outlining its proposals to close DART lines for periods during the next 18 months; when this was withdrawn; the reason it was wit...More Button

Was asked: if Iarnród Éireann presented any proposed public information campaigns to his Department with regard to the upgrade of the DART programme; and if funding for such public information campaigns require ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 154, 423 and 443 together. In common with the normal practice for projects of this nature, the contract associated with the public information campaign for the DART up...More Button

Was asked: the way in which and when he intends to meet his commitments under the NDP to increase the Dublin Bus fleet.More Button

Dublin Bus and bus users have benefited significantly from funding under the national development plan. Since 2000 the Exchequer has provided more than €80 million to the company for investment in new...More Button

Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Was asked: if he intends to abolish provisional driving licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Over the years various changes have been made to the regulatory conditions under which provisional licences have effect. I am considering whether further changes are desirable in this regard. In parti...More Button

Written Answers. - EU Funding.

Was asked: the main features of the proposed EU investment plan for transport here; the total amount of money likely to be available from the EU; when it is expected that this funding will become available; if h...More Button

As part of a review of the guidelines for the TransEuropean Transport Networks, which were adopted by the Council and European Parliament in 1996, a high level committee of the member states, the Van ...More Button

Written Answers. - National Car Test.

Was asked: the plans he has to review the NCT; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Network.

Was asked: the date of his last meeting with the RPA; the agenda for the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I met the board of the Railway Procurement Agency, RPA, on 4 September 2003. During the course of this meeting I discussed with the board my views in relation to the development of public transport in...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: if he intends to model the Dublin public transport system along the lines of the so-called London model; and if so, the reasons therefor.More Button

My proposals for regulatory reform in the bus market in Dublin are based on a substantial body of research commissioned by the European Commission, my Department and jointly with the social partners. ...More Button

Written Answers. - Light Rail Project.

Was asked: the supervision role of his Department in the Luas project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Railway Procurement Agency, which is responsible for the delivery of the Luas project, has confirmed to me that the agency complies with the requirements of the code of practice for the governance...More Button

Written Answers. - Ministerial Responsibilities.

Was asked: the status of the commitment in the programme for Government to establish a traffic corps; and the discussions and actions which he has taken in this regard in the past three months.More Button

The programme for Government contains a commitment relating to the establishment of a dedicated traffic corps. As I have already indicated in this House, I support the implementation of this proposal ...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Records.

Was asked: if his Department has a corporate policy, a departmental strategy and an electronic docu ment and record management system in place in connection with electronic records; the system in place to preser...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 1063 of 30 September 2003 which set out the position as regards policy. In the reply, I stated that I have asked my Department to examine moving to a per...More Button

Written Answers. - Light Rail Project.

Was asked: the projected passenger volumes annually and daily at peak hours, which will be carried by each Luas line when they are fully operational; his estimate of the operating subsidy which will be needed to...More Button

Current RPA estimates of patronage of the Luas lines suggest a total annual patronage of approximately 20 million passengers on the network in a fully operational year. This translates as a daily Luas...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the projected distribution of peak hour passengers into Dublin city when Luas is fully operational, distinguishing the numbers travelling by bus, by DART, by Luas, by private car and by motorcycle and...More Button

The Dublin Transportation Office has just recently updated its traffic model and revised traffic projections are currently being produced. These are expected shortly. I have asked the DTO to forward t...More Button

Was asked: his projections for the operating subsidy on Dublin Bus, on the DART and on Luas per passenger and as a percentage of passenger revenue.More Button

The subsidy for Dublin Bus was €56 million in 2002 which equates to around €0.4 per passenger journey and to 36% of the passenger revenue. The operating subsidy for DART services was €15.5 million in ...More Button

Was asked: the cost of the Luas fleet per carriage and per passenger of capacity; and the way in which this compares with the cost per bus of the Dublin Bus fleet and per passenger of capacity.More Button

I understand from the Railway Procurement Agency that the cost per unit of the 26 30-metre trams purchased for the Luas line from Tallaght to Connolly Station was €1.458 million, while the unit cost o...More Button

Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Waterford will be called for a driving test; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A driving test will be arranged as soon as possible for the person concerned.More Button

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to anger among motorists in relation to having two penalty points put on their licences for not wearing a seat belt while passengers on buses are exempt from wearing se...More Button

Written Answers. - Air Services.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Aer Lingus can offer cheaper flights than the no-frills sector.More Button

This is a day-to-day operational matter for the company.More Button

Written Answers. - EU Aviation Regulations.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the concerns expressed by the Irish Airline Pilots Association regarding the proposed rest periods between flight duties which are under consider ation in the contex...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the views of the European Committee for Aircrew Scheduling and Safety; and if he will reconsider the proposal to be put before the EU Council of Transport Ministers ...More Button

Was asked: if he will consider and adopt the latest scientific and medical evidence available in proposed legislation affecting flight and duty time limitations.More Button

Was asked: the action his Department has taken or will be able to take in seeking an amendment to the proposed EU legislation, PE 315.705-A5-0263/2002, amending Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3922/91 to ensure tha...More Button

Written Answers. - Taxi Deregulation.

Was asked: the action he will take regarding the recommendations of the European petitions committee regarding taxi hardship cases.More Button

Was asked: the situation regarding the regulation of taxis and the compensation scheme established for hardship cases as a consequence of the deregulation of the taxi industry.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 407 and 420 together. The Government has approved the implementation on a phased basis of the recommendations of the taxi hardship panel which was the independent thre...More Button

Written Answers. - Ministerial Transport.

Was asked: the cost to the State of providing transport expenses to each individual Minister of State since the formation of the Government.More Button

The cost to the State of providing transport expenses for mileage to the Minister of State for Transport since the formation of the Government amounts to approximately €8,000.More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: if a new licence issued to an operator providing a public transport service will be on condition that all buses operated will be to a low floor, easy access specification.More Button

Private bus operators are licensed to provide public transport services in accordance with the provisions of the Road Transport Act 1932. The Act does not make specific reference to the provision of a...More Button

Written Answers. - National Car Test.

Was asked: if he plans to gain feedback from motorists in relation to their experience of the NCT; if so, the form this will take, in view of the value of feedback for the improvement of service delivery and for...More Button

Was asked: his views on the public perception of the NCT; the response his Department is receiving from customers of the test; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the discrepancies in the severity of NCT testing and consequent extraordinarily high or low pass rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Future of Aer Rianta.

Was asked: his proposals for the future of a hotel group (details supplied); if it is proposed to privatise the hotels; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am giving detailed consideration to the future of the Great Southern Hotels group in the context of the Government decision of July last to restructure Aer Rianta and establish the three State airpo...More Button

Written Answers. - Taxi Regulations.

Was asked: the regulations regarding the approval of a car on a first-time basis for taxi operation; the reason an NCT type test is required; if a car has to be of a certain age or model for an MOT test to be ne...More Button

Written Answers. - Semi-State Companies.

Was asked: if the Government has had recent discussions with Aer Lingus on a merger with a major carrier in order to prepare a new EU/US open skies agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Neither my Department nor I have had any discussions with Aer Lingus on a merger with a major carrier in preparation for a new EU/US open skies agreement.More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Network.

Was asked: if he will give consideration to the recent submission of a company (details supplied) on a proposed new rail link from Shannon Airport linking Ennis and Limerick; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

I have recently received the company's submission regarding the proposal for a new rail link to Shannon Airport. In order to explore the concept further I intend to meet with representatives of the co...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Accidents.

Was asked: if Iarnród Éireann will initiate new safety railway checks on all bridge crossings and railway crossings on roads on Iarnród Éireann's network as a result of the recent railway accident at Cahir, Coun...More Button

I have been informed by Iarnród Éireann that it is examining all bridges on its network of similar construction to the Suir River viaduct, at Cahir, County Tipperary. This examination is, I understand...More Button

Written Answers. - Computerisation Programme.

Was asked: the amount which his Department spent in 2002 on information technology software licences; the percentage of this budget which was spent on products of a company (details supplied); if his Department ...More Button

My Department spent just over €382,000 on the purchase of software in 2002, the bulk of which related to the purchase of a new financial system. Of the total expenditure, just over 6% was spent on the...More Button

Written Answers. - Official Engagements.

Was asked: the meetings, formal and informal, of European Union Councils relevant to his position or portfolio held since June 1997; the number of such meetings personally attended by him; and the details of the...More Button

The information sought by the Deputy concerning attendance at EU Transport Council meetings is published on the website of the Council of the European Union, http://ue.eu.int A summary of that informa...More Button

Written Answers. - EU Directives.

Was asked: the EU Directives relevant to his Department which are awaiting implementation; the nature of the directives; when each was passed by the Council of Ministers; the date for implementation; if the Gove...More Button

The answer to the Deputy's question is in the following table. EU Directives awaiting implementationMore Button

Written Answers. - State Airports.

Was asked: the monthly figures from January 2003 to date for the numbers of civilian aircraft seeking permission to transport military personnel and weapons and munitions through Shannon Airport or through Irish...More Button

The numbers of aircraft seeking permission for landings or overflights in each month is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: the amount paid by his Department to the Irish Aviation Authority from January to September 2003 in reimbursement for the exemption of foreign military aircraft from overflight charges under the Euroc...More Button

Under a Eurocontrol, European Organisation for the safety of Air navigation, multilateral agreement to which Ireland is a party, various categories of flights: flights under visual flight rules, fligh...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Was asked: if he has received details of the projected cost that will be involved given the cancellation of the projected works on the DART upgrade project for September 2003; and if he has made representations ...More Button

I am aware that following discussions with Irish Rail, Dublin Bus has agreed to enhance significantly the necessary level of bus services along its existing routes on the DART corridor while the DART ...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: the reason the proposed new QBC corridor on the N31 is to be introduced in two stages with the road sections within the Dublin City Council area reportedly due to be completed significantly ahead of t...More Button

Mount Merrion Avenue lies entirely within the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area. A bus priority is being installed on the avenue to link Blackrock village and DART station with the N11.More Button

Written Answers. - State Airports.

Was asked: if patriot missiles and mark 77 air-drop incendiary bombs were carried in cargo planes that refuelled in Shannon Airport in the context of the Iraq war; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Most requests for exemptions under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order, 1973, are received from civilian air carriers carrying military troops with the...More Button

Written Answers. - Traffic Management.

Was asked: the way in which he foresees the traffic to be effectively managed against the backdrop of refurbishment of the DART and various Luas roadworks; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The issue of traffic management in the context of the DART and Luas projects is a day-to-day matter for the specific local authorities concerned, which work very closely with Irish Rail and the RPA. ...More Button

Written Answers. - Light Rail Project.

Was asked: the number of locations at which the Luas line is over ground and travels on or crosses at busy intersections; if sufficient research has gone into likely traffic movement in the future; and if he wil...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that these operational issues are primarily matters for the public bodies involved, in particular, the Railway Procurement Agency. However, I will ask the RPA to consider t...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Was asked: the action being taken to deal with various accident blackspots throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Measures to deal with accident blackspots on the national road network are a matter for the National Roads Authority, NRA, and local authorities concerned. As the Deputy will be aware, my Department p...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Was asked: when the bus services to north Kildare are likely to be enhanced; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The matter raised is an operational issue for Bus Éireann and Bus Átha Cliath. However, Bus Éireann has informed me that it has increased its services to Kilcock by 50% since 1998 and to Cel bridge, S...More Button

Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Was asked: when extra rolling stock is likely to be made available to facilitate commuter requirements on the Kildare, Newbridge, Sallins, Hazelhatch to Dublin commuter rail routes; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

Iarnród Éireann is currently taking delivery of 80 new diesel railcars and approximately 20 of these will be allocated to the Kildare line. This will mean that peak capacity will be increased from 2,2...More Button

Was asked: when extra rolling stock is likely to be made available to facilitate commuter requirements on the Kilcock, Maynooth, Leixlip, Confey to Dublin commuter rail routes; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

A much improved service was introduced by Iarnród Éireann on the Maynooth line in 2001 following Exchequer investment of €50 million on doubling the track, new signalling and 20 new diesel rail cars. ...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether overcrowding on the Kildare, Newbridge, Sallins, Hazelhatch commuter rail links to Dublin constitutes breaches in health and safety standards; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether overcrowding on the various commuter trains serving Kilcock, May nooth, Leixlip and Confey to Dublin constitutes a breach in health and safety standards; and if he will make a sta...More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that all commuter rail links serving the various towns in Kildare to Dublin are in compliance with health and safety standards; and if he will make a statement on the matte...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 439 to 441, inclusive, together. Iarnród Éireann has statutory responsibility for ensuring that all the safety requirements of the Transport Acts and the Safety, Healt...More Button

Written Answers. - State Airports.

Was asked: the status of the recent ERM report on public safety zones which was commissioned by his Department; his views on the findings of this report; the actions which he proposes to take to implement its re...More Button

The environmental resources management, ERM, report, which makes recommendations for public safety zones in the vicinity of Cork, Dublin and Shannon Airports is now complete. The report was formally s...More Button

Written Answers. - Dublin Port Tunnel.

Was asked: the details of the review which he is undertaking of the height of the Dublin Port tunnel, of the percentage of heavy goods vehicles which will be unable to use the tunnel, and of the feasibility of a...More Button

My Department has appointed consultants to review the feasibility, safety implications and cost of raising the height of the Dublin Port tunnel, including the evaluation of various options to achieve ...More Button


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