Varadkar, Leo

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 742 No. 1

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Priority Questions - State Airports

Was asked: when he intends to make a decision on the future of the three State airports following receipt of the three individual submissions from the airports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The State Airports Act 2004 provides the framework for the establishment of Shannon and Cork as independent airports. As part of the restructuring process at the time, the boards of Cork and Shannon ...More Button

I am interested to hear that Fianna Fáil is now against the separation of the three State airports, as it was that party’s original policy. Was it properly thought through at the time? Was there eve...More Button

Priority Questions - Light Rail Project

Was asked: when the recommendations of the review of the proposed capital projects of metro north, BXD, the DART airport linkup and the DART underground will be published; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

As the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in respect of public transport. Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority,...More Button

Metro west has not been scrapped. It still exists as a long-term project. The railway reservation will be maintained. It is not appropriate to spend more money on consultants, lawyers and so on if ...More Button

I expressed my view previously that I would be in favour of the sale of State assets if the money could be reinvested in the economy. I would very much like to see that reinvestment in transport proj...More Button

Priority Questions - Public Transport

Was asked: if he will clarify the expected cuts to Dublin Bus subvention rate after the next budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Priority Questions - Rural Transport Services

Was asked: if he is committed to funding the rural transport scheme in view of a recent value for money and policy review and the introduction of a new pilot scheme; when he intends to publish the value for mo...More Button

Priority Questions - Road Network

Was asked: if he will remove the land freeze operating in Wexford in relation to the proposed Oilgate to Rosslare harbour motorway, County Wexford, in view of the fact that the National Roads Authority has con...More Button

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding for the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road project...More Button

I will travel to Wexford this evening to attend a dinner and I will speak at a conference in Rosslare in the morning so I will have two opportunities to travel the road tomorrow and have a good look a...More Button

There is no such thing as a freeze in planning law. Local authorities and the NRA should be pragmatic in how they deal with these reservations. They should not allow a shopping centre to be built bu...More Button

Other Questions - Tourism Industry

Was asked: if he has carried out any studies into the effect of the 9% VAT reduction, the halving of the lower rate of PRSI and also the effect of the growth incentive scheme on tourism numbers; and if he will...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the recent jobs initiative impacted on visitor numbers to Ireland in the July to September period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the tourism sector has managed to prevail in the ongoing economic climate; the degree to which the industry is likely to expand over the next five years; and if he will make a st...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 6, 14 and 217 together. The jobs initiative introduced a 9% VAT rate from 1 July on a range of services, including hotels and restaurants. The Government also halved...More Button

The measures only commenced in July. Therefore, it will be a few months before we have the statistics from July, August and September. That will give us a chance to judge the effect of them then. T...More Button

I do not have figures on how many of the industry players have passed on the reductions. They are required to pass it on in law in the sense that the rate is not 13.5% anymore — it is 9% — but one ca...More Button

I will check out the Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford tonight and we will find out. The major objective of the Government in doing it was to sustain and create jobs in the sector, not necessarily to make...More Button

Other Questions - Travel Tax

Was asked: if he is continuing to meet with the airlines in relation to the abolition of the air travel tax; his plans in the event that he fails to reach any agreement on additional passenger numbers or new r...More Button

The Minister for Finance announced the proposed suspension of the €3 travel tax as part of a three-pronged strategy aimed at increasing inbound tourism in the jobs initiative in May. This strategy in...More Button

I will elaborate as much as I can but nothing is finalised yet. It is not that I am holding back information but that matters have not been fully decided yet. The new Government found itself in the ...More Button

That is true.More Button

The approximate amount of money we will take in because we have not abolished the tax between now and the end of the year is €9 million. Half of that is being made available to Tourism Ireland for co...More Button

I would rather not do that because it is just a one-off fund. It will not be there forever so one might be able to hire someone for three or four months and then they would be gone. I do not know wh...More Button

Other Questions - Bus Passenger Information Systems

Was asked: his plans to roll out real time passenger information systems for bus users outside of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority, NTA, on 1 December 2009, the implementation of infrastructure projects in the greater Dublin area, such as the real time passenger info...More Button

Other Questions - Sale of State Assets

Was asked: if he will confirm his position on the sale of the Government’s share in Aer Lingus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his plans for the State stake in Aer Lingus and the rationale for these plans. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 11 together. These questions relate to the sale of the Government’s stake in Aer Lingus. The Government recently considered the various options open to it in te...More Button

The only definite decision that has been made by the Government on the sale of State assets is the sale of a minority stake in the ESB but there are a lot of other candidates for further State asset s...More Button

Aer Lingus is a private limited company and is traded on the stock market. It is not a State-run company by any means. It just happens to be a private company in which the State has a 25% stake.More Button

There is no question of Ryanair taking over Aer Lingus. The European Commission has ruled that it may not do so on competitive grounds, and I support that. In fact, Ryanair has expressed a willingne...More Button

That is probably more a question for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin, or the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, than for myself. In the programme for Government, howev...More Button

Aer Lingus is a private company and so is Ryanair. Therefore we do have private companies that control air access to Ireland. That is already the case. It is also the case for Britain, for example,...More Button

Other Questions - Road Network

Was asked: if he has been notified of an application by Wexford County Council for an additional €3 million in funding for the Oilgate to Rosslare motorway project, County Wexford; the action he will take rega...More Button

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding of the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects...More Button

I am conscious of the difficulties that arise in this case. This is a very wide corridor of 300 m to 400 m, which if narrowed down to a more precise corridor would make life easier for many of the la...More Button

I do not think the area should be sterilised. In my view, the NRA and the local authorities need to be pragmatic when it comes to planning applications in cases such as this. Both my Department and ...More Button

Other Questions - Sports Capital Programme

Was asked: the way he will ensure sports funding will prioritise projects which increase participation in sport on a local and national level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Other Questions - Public Transport

Was asked: his views on public transport and the State’s role in its provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Other Questions - Taxi Licences

Was asked: his views on providing public house owners in isolated rural areas with taxi licences; and his plans in relation to same. More Button

Was asked: when the findings of the taxi review group will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his views on whether it is fair and equitable that, based on an arbitratory criterion, that is, taxi licence number, that some licenceholders are not allowed to drive a taxi that is more than nine y...More Button

Other Questions - Ferry Operations

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the significant threat to jobs, pay and conditions among a company (details supplied) and Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company employees at Dún Laoghaire Harbour, as a re...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the significant threat to jobs, pay and conditions among a company (details supplied) and Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company employees at Dún Laoghaire Harbour, as a re...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 204 together. Officials from my Department maintain regular contact with the ports and various shipping companies and have been kept apprised of Stena Line’s m...More Button

I have not yet met representatives of Stena Line but I will make contact with them to put whatever pressure I can on them regarding this route but a service is provided all year round from Dublin Port...More Button

It is incorrect to state the company is losing €10,000 a day. However, I would like the Deputy to send me the information he has and I will look into it because we cannot have a situation where the b...More Button

Written Answers - Sports Capital Programme

Was asked: his plans to establish a new sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if the sports capital programme will reopen; if he will provide information on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17 and 22 together. Under the Sports Capital Programme, funding is allocated to sporting and to voluntary and community organisations at local, regional and national l...More Button

Written Answers - Public Transport

Was asked: the method used to monitor and audit public transport Dublin city bus usage; if such method takes into consideration the number of disabled users with permits and the number of retired free travel pe...More Button

Written Answers - Tourism Promotion

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the work of the high level co-ordinating group which is identifying opportunities that might arise from the proximity of the London Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2...More Button

Written Answers - Cycle Facilities

Was asked: his plans to develop a cycle path in the Boyne Valley between Trim and Drogheda; the way he plans to promote such initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Meath County Council carried out a feasibility study for a cycle route along the Boyne Valley linking Trim to Drogheda, which was completed in early 2010. The study estimated the cost of such a schem...More Button

Written Answers - Policy on Volunteering

Was asked: the way he intends to increase volunteerism in sport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness

Was asked: the extent to which he and-or his Department has examined the costs affecting the transport and tourism sectors with particular reference to identifying and isolating those costs currently having th...More Button

My Department has no direct control of transport costs in general but keeps under review costs arising from the services provided through our agencies. Cost competitiveness is a key consideration for ...More Button

Written Answers - Sports Funding

Was asked: the number of sports inclusion disability officer positions filled and vacant at this time; his plans to increase participation in sports and physical activity by persons with a disability; and if h...More Button

Written Answers - Garda Vetting of Personnel

Was asked: the efforts he has made to improve the Garda vetting process as rolled out by the Irish Sports Council to ensure that the process is not only comprehensive, efficient and effective but also prompt; ...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Bodies

Was asked: his views on whether CIE is a strategically important State asset; and if so, his plans to retain it in State control. More Button

CIÉ and its three operating subsidiary companies are important State assets. However, it must be recognised that they are unique semi-state companies, in that they are in receipt of significant amoun...More Button

Written Answers - Corporate Social Responsibility

Was asked: if he or agencies under his auspices practice and support the concept of corporate social responsibility; if so, if he will provide examples of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I fully support the concept of corporate social responsibility across the broad spectrum of corporate activities in Ireland especially in the case of the public sector. Social responsibility is a fund...More Button

Written Answers - Value for Money Reviews

Was asked: when he will publish the findings of the pilot scheme and the value for money report carried out on the rural transport programme. More Button

Written Answers - Penalty Points System

Was asked: his plans to apply penalty points to all drivers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Part 5 of the Road Traffic Act, 2010 amends existing provisions relating to the endorsement of penalty points and disqualifications of national driving licence holders by making these provisions appli...More Button

Written Answers - Road Safety

Was asked: his views on new EU regulations being proposed regarding the use of motorbikes. More Button

Proposed new Regulations regarding motorcycle standards are under discussion in the EU at present. I am informed that the proposed Regulations relate only to vehicle standards, not to the vehicle’s us...More Button

Written Answers - State Bodies

Was asked: the total expenditure in 2010 on consultants fees by the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that travel expenses are being paid to a board member for eight mee...More Button

The Deputy has asked a number of separate questions, which I will address in order. Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company’s publically available annual accounts for 2010 detail that the company spent €230,00...More Button

Written Answers - Sporting Organisations

Was asked: the extent to which he has had discussions with the various sporting organisations with a view to addressing any issues arising from the current economic situation; the degree to which debt has affec...More Button

Written Answers - Sports Funding

Was asked: the steps he is taking to secure adequate levels of funding for sport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The level of funding for sport will be considered as part of the 2012 Budget process, which is currently underway. More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Appointments

Was asked: his plans to appoint members to the board of National Sports Campus Development Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

There is currently one vacancy on the board of the National Sports Campus Development Authority. A further seven members whose terms of office have expired are continuing to hold office under section ...More Button

Written Answers - Tourism Promotion

Was asked: the meetings he has had or plans to have with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment from the Northern Ireland Assembly regarding tourism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, tourism was specifically identified in the Good Friday Agreement as one of the key areas for North/South cooperation, and consequently it is one of the sectors on which th...More Button

Written Answers - Public Transport

Was asked: when he will be releasing the findings on the viability of metro north, BXD, the DART extension and DART underground; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Business Cases in respect of Metro North, Luas Line BXD and the Dart Underground are available on the National Transport Authority’s website- nationaltransport.ie. A preliminary Business Case fo...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: the amount the State is paying private companies each month to make up shortfall in traffic numbers. More Button

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The implementation of individual national road projects...More Button

Written Answers - Air Services

Was asked: the progress made in developing new routes and additional capacity in airports here; the estimated impact this will have on tourist numbers visiting Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the market for air services in the EU is fully liberalised so it is a matter for carriers to decide what routes to serve; there is no scope for Government intervention in ...More Button

Written Answers - Public Transport

Was asked: the amount of public money from the Exchequer that is granted to Dublin Bus; his plans to privatise Dublin Bus; if he has any influence over the services that are provided and if he will consider est...More Button

Was asked: the policy incentives in place or which he intends to put in place to encourage greater take up of public transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Road Network

Was asked: the amount of revenue the State is raising on average a month from road tolls. More Button

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The implementation of individual national road projects ...More Button

Written Answers - Taxi Regulations

Was asked: when he expects to receive the report of the taxi review group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts

Was asked: the total expenditure in 2010 on consultants fees by the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that travel expenses are being paid to a board member for eight mee...More Button

The Deputy has asked a number of separate questions, which I will address in order. Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company’s publically available annual accounts for 2010 detail that the company spent €230,000...More Button

Written Answers - Driver Licensing

Was asked: his plans to amend the legislation and or regulations regarding the requirements that those holding a driving licence from a country or a state in the USA which does not have an exchange driving lice...More Button

Irish law governing recognition of foreign driving licences operates within the framework of EU driver licensing law. The essential criteria for recognition of foreign licences are, therefore, the exi...More Button

Written Answers - Taxi Regulations

Was asked: his plans to increase the number of taxi regulation enforcement officers form the current nine officials who are under the remit of the National Transport Authority in view of the thousands of taxi v...More Button

Was asked: if he will direct the National Transport Authority to examine the operation of illegal taxi ranks in towns and cities across the country which prohibit many drivers who are working from legal ranks f...More Button

Was asked: if the National Transport Authority has reported to him on the percentage of taxi vehicles across the country which are complying with the new regulation on the display of a county sticker which came...More Button

Was asked: if the taxi regulator division within the National Transport Authority is still permitted to issue new regulations through statutory instruments even though a complete review of the taxi industry is ...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Funding

Was asked: if he has received an application under the smarter travel initiative for essential works in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if funding will be made available for the schem...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be in a position to proceed with the various capital projects in the transport sector; if he expects funding to become available for these projects; and if he will m...More Button

Funding for transport capital projects for the period 2012-2016 will be determined in the context of the capital review currently underway. Once the level of funding available is known the transport ...More Button

Written Answers - Road Network

Was asked: the extent to which public private partnerships are likely to be used to fund projects in the transport sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

A comprehensive review of capital spending is now underway, the results of which will form the basis of the new National Development Plan(NDP). Priorities for funding in the transport sector for the p...More Button

Written Answers - Public Transport

Was asked: the extent to which bus and rail fares here compare with those applicable in adjoining and or competing jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Road Network

Was asked: the extent to which efforts are made to provide low noise road surfaces in view of the emphasis on such in other jurisdictions and the high level of complaints from persons adjacent to roads or moto...More Button

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual ro...More Button

Written Answers - Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Was asked: the extent to which the transport sector has been able to meet carbon reduction targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness

Was asked: the extent to which comparisons have been made between transport costs here and those prevailing in other jurisdictions; the degree if any to which such costs can be reduced thereby improving econom...More Button

International comparative data on transport costs are not readily available from respected international statistical sources such as Eurostat and the International Transport Forum. My Department has n...More Button

Written Answers - Sport and Recreational Development

Was asked: the extent to which it is expected that the sporting sector can positively assist economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Tourism Industry

Was asked: the extent to which he continues to have contact with the tourism sector with particular reference to the hotel industry and the need to address the issue of those costs now most negatively affectin...More Button

Was asked: the issues identified during discussions he has had with the stakeholders in the tourism sector with particular reference to costs affecting the industry; the extent to which it has been possible to...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 219 and 220 together. I remain in regular contact with major stakeholders in the tourism sector, including hotels, which keeps me advised of issues of concern to the ...More Button

Written Answers - Bóithre Réigiúnacha

Was asked: cén dul chun cinn atá déanta maidir le dearadh an Bóthar Nua R336 go Conamara ó dheireadh an Chuarbhóthair timpeall ar Ghaillimh, atáá phleanáil, go Scríb; cén uair a bheadh súil aige go mbeadh an b...More Button

Tá feidhm reachtúil ar gach údarás bóthair bóithre réigiúnacha agus áitiúla a fheabhsú agus a chothabháil ina limistéar de réir fhorálacha alt 13 d’Acht na mBóithre, 1993. Is ábhar é don údarás áitiúi...More Button

Written Answers - Tourism Industry

Was asked: his plans to maximise the potential of food tourism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have referred the Deputy’s Question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. He should advise my private office if he does not receive a re...More Button

Was asked: his views on the potential of winter tourism here; his plans to see that potential maximised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have referred the Deputy’s Question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. She should advise my private office if she does not receive a ...More Button


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