1. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his intentions with regard to the State’s holding in Aer Lingus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57533/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Air Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): The question relates to the Minister’s intentions concerning the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus. This shareholding is one of the assets included in the State asset disposal programme and the Government has agreed that the shareholding is to be sold at an appropriate time but only when market conditions are favourable and at an acceptable price to be agreed by Government. A steering group has been estab...

2. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has met with the Department of Justice or An Gárda Siochána to discuss the enforcement of taxi regulations and to aid in the crackdown on illegal drivers, cloned licences and other such offences. (Question 57239/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Taxi Regulations)

(Deputy Alan Kelly): I met with the Garda Commissioner as recently as last month on the matter of enforcement. To enforce the taxi regulations, including pursuit of the offences mentioned in the Deputy’s question, the role of the Garda Síochána is critical to support the work of the enforcement officers of the National Transport Authority, NTA, who have responsibility for nationwide enforcement in this regard.
Action 24 of the taxi regulation review report proposes strengthening the collaborati...

3. Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has examined the competitive impacts of the Shannon Airport support package on neighbouring airports such as Ireland West Knock and on the region it serves; his national aviation priorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57537/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Regional Airports)

(Deputy Alan Kelly): In the first instance, there is not a support package in place for Shannon Airport. The Deputy will recall that the Minister for Finance announced in his recent budget speech that he will put in place measures to facilitate the construction of hangars and ancillary facilities that will be key to attracting additional aviation sector organisations. However, these are based on an appreciation of the contribution that aviation can make nationally. They are aimed at attractin...

4. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way he will help put in place a viable hotel industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57534/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Tourism Industry)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): The Government has implemented a range of measures to support the tourism and hospitality industry, including hotels. VAT has been reduced to 9% on accommodation and restaurant services and this lower rate will continue throughout 2013. The visa waiver scheme is encouraging visitors from emerging markets to add Ireland to their trips when they are visiting the UK. Also, the halving...

5. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on discussions held on the 28 November 2012 of the North/South Ministerial Council meeting in Armagh on tourism and Tourism Ireland Limited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57752/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - North-South Ministerial Council)

(Deputy Michael Ring): I attended the 13th meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council in tourism sectoral format in Armagh on 28 November. The Northern Ireland Executive was represented by Ms Arlene Foster, MLA, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, and Ms Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA, Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Tourism Ireland’s chairman, vice chairman and chief executive officer also attended.  
The meeting provided a good opportunity to discuss tourism performance for the ...

6. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the changes he plans to make to penalty points; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57197/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Penalty Points System)

(Deputy Alan Kelly): This year marks the tenth anniversary of the introduction of a system of penalty point offences in this country.  Earlier this year, the Department undertook a review of the system to determine whether any changes would be appropriate.  The finalised review was forwarded to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications for its consideration.
Several adjustments to the current system were recommended. These include an increase in the number of penalty points...

7. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the implication for transport policy in view of the fact that the proportion of commuters using cars to travel to work has risen from 57% to 69% over the past 30 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57225/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Transport Policy)

Deputy Alan Kelly: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 and 32 together.
According to the census in 2011 around 1.14 million people drove to work or were passengers in a car, representing 69% of commuters. That was very similar to 2006 when around 1.18 million people drove to work or were passengers in a car. Despite the fall in car commuting numbers, due to lower numbers in employment, car mode share was higher in 2011, standing at 69% of commuters compared to 66% in 2006, which I noted with di...

8. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a detailed breakdown in terms of amount received, location, and names of the clubs in disadvantaged areas who received funding in the 2012 round of the sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57257/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Sports Capital Programme)

Deputy Michael Ring: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 12 and 19 together.
I am glad to report that €10.2m or almost 40% of the value of recent local sports capital allocations was allocated to projects located in designated disadvantaged areas.   I will supply the Deputy with a list of all of the allocations to projects in disadvantaged areas. There are no plans for another round of the sports capital programme at the moment but I hope that, if funding becomes available, it will be possible ...

9. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if CIE has received the €36 million subvention announced in July 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57230/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Public Transport)

(Deputy Alan Kelly): On 24 July, the Government decided to provide additional PSO funding of €36 million to CIE to ensure that the companies could continue to operate for the rest of 2012.  This would bring the total PSO subvention for this year to €278 million, higher than the subvention level for 2010, and the fifth highest level of subvention ever. In November, €16 million of the additional subvention was paid by the National Transport Authority to CIE and the remaining allocation of €20 mil...

10. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for taxi branding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57207/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Taxi Regulations)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the regulation of the taxi industry under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003, and is also the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011, including the implementation of the taxi “branding” as set out in that Report.  
Action 31 of the Taxi Regulation Review Re...

11. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on works being carried out on the Luas BXD project; the total spend on the project so far and current estimate for the cost of the completed project. (Question 57236/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Rail Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): The National Transport Authority was established on 1st December 2009 and responsibility for the provision of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area, such as LUAS Broombridge, now comes under the remit of the Authority. 
There has been extensive engagement between the Railway Procurement Agency, Dublin City Council, Dublin Bus and other stakeholders over the last number of yea...

12. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the next round of funding will be available under the sports capital programme; the amount to be allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57263/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Sports Capital Programme)

Deputy Michael Ring: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 12 and 19 together.
I am glad to report that €10.2m or almost 40% of the value of recent local sports capital allocations was allocated to projects located in designated disadvantaged areas.   I will supply the Deputy with a list of all of the allocations to projects in disadvantaged areas. There are no plans for another round of the sports capital programme at the moment but I hope that, if funding becomes available, it will be possible ...

13. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding that is being provided by the National Transport Authority for the expansion of Dublin Bikes this year and in follow on years; if he will be supporting the further expansion of the scheme; if he will be in a position to ensure this is implemented quickly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57255/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Cycling Facilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): This question is about the expansion of the Dublin Bikes scheme. Currently, I understand that the National Transport Authority is working with Dublin City Council  to enable the first phase of this expansion to progress.  I am informed that this phase is focussed on expanding the scheme eastwards into the Docklands and westwards to Heuston Station.  Discussions are on-going at present wi...

14. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures he will take to ensure the up keep of the State’s road network to maintain safety and quality conditions in view of cutbacks in Budget 2013. (Question 57237/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Roads Maintenance)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): This Question concerns the maintenance and upkeep of the roads network.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport has responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Specifically, the improvement and maintenance of individual national roads is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under sections 17 and 19 of the Roads Acts 1993 (as am...

15. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to put in place measures to increase the capacity of the Luas to deal with high volumes of passengers at the Heuston stop such as building a link between the Red Line and Green line filtering passengers off the Red Line before Heuston via Fatima stop. (Question 57243/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Rail Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) in December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as LUAS, comes under the remit of the NTA.   
Given the limited availab...

16. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide details of any new projects he expects to receive funding from the €56 million provided for tourism product development between 2013 and 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57266/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Tourism Promotion)

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): The Government’s Medium Term Exchequer Framework 2012-2016 includes provision for significant investment in tourism product development, in recognition of the contribution that capital investment in tourism can make to increasing visitor numbers in the medium term and to sustaining economic recovery. The allocation of funding to specific tourism capital investment projects is the respo...

17. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the way the €7million allocated for the Gathering in the 2012 Budget will be spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57262/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Departmental Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): This question relates to the funding allocated to Fáilte Ireland to enable it to deliver The Gathering Ireland 2013 initiative. 
 A total of €7 million has been allocated from within the 2013 budget of the Department to support the Gathering. The funding will be utilised in supporting festivals and events that are being staged as part of the Gathering; engaging with communities to e...

18. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he is satisfied regarding the adequacy of the budget for his Department to meet in full the projected requirements in the coming year; the extent if any to which any unforeseen expenditure will be provided for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57194/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Departmental Budgets)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): My Department’s 2013 Budget allocations are published and available on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform website. My Departments Vote 31 Gross allocation for 2013 is €1,658m comprising of a Capital expenditure allocation of €900m and a Current expenditure allocation of €758m.
As part of the Estimates and budgetary processes, my Department consulted with the Department of Pu...

19. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide details of the clubs and organisations who do not own their own land and or do not have a long term lease who received funding in the first round of the sports capital programme 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57258/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Sports Capital Programme)

Deputy Michael Ring: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 12 and 19 together.
I am glad to report that €10.2m or almost 40% of the value of recent local sports capital allocations was allocated to projects located in designated disadvantaged areas.   I will supply the Deputy with a list of all of the allocations to projects in disadvantaged areas. There are no plans for another round of the sports capital programme at the moment but I hope that, if funding becomes available, it will be possible ...

20. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will report on the upcoming new road strategy for 2013 to 2020; the measures that he believes should be included in the new strategy; if this will include roadside drug testing measures (Question 57251/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Road Safety Strategy)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): The Road Safety Authority is in the process of preparing the next Road Safety Strategy, which will cover an 8-year period from 2013 to 2020. The aim of the Strategy, like all previous, will be to save lives and prevent injuries by reducing the number and severity of collisions on our roads.
The Strategy will contain key, definable actions that will seek to achieve this overall aim and to ...

21. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in view of the fact that he plans to reduce Fáilte Ireland’s budget from €63.3 million in 2013 to €53.2 million by 2015, his views on whether this will have a negative impact on the tourist industry in terms of visitor numbers and employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57260/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Departmental Agencies Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): This question relates to the budget allocation to Fáilte Ireland.
Next year is particularly significant for Irish tourism and Minister Varadkar has allocated a special incremental €7 million from within the Department’s overall budget for the Gathering Ireland 2013 initiative. This €7 million is included in Fáilte Ireland’s overall current Grant-in-Aid provision of €63.3 million,alth...

22. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures he will take to assist the hotel industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57201/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Tourist Accommodation)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): I refer the Deputy to my answer on this topic to Priority Question 4 of today.
 ...

23. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he or any State agency has tendered for an adviser in relation to the State’s 25% shareholding in Aer Lingus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57217/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Sale of Aer Lingus)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): This question concerns the Government’s shareholding in Aer Lingus.
A Steering Group has been established to examine the potential options for the disposal of the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus and the issues that may need to be addressed in the context of the disposal of this shareholding. The Steering Group is chaired by my Department and comprises representatives from the Department of Finance, the Department of Public Expe...

24. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of money collected from road tolls to date in 2012; the amount of this money taken in by the State; if he will provide a breakdown based on the road the tolls were collected from and the companies operating them. (Question 57245/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Road Tolls)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): This Question is about outlining the income from road tolling.
 The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, has responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The implementation of individual national road schemes, including Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects which provide for tolling, are matters for the National Roads Authority (NRA)...

25. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for aviation in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57203/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Aviation Sector)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): My Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011-2014 outlines the over-arching goal for the aviation sector, which is to ensure that it supports Ireland’s economic and social goals in a safe, competitive, cost-effective and sustainable manner and to ensure maximum connectivity for Ireland with the rest of the world.
Within this context, one of my key priorities for next year is the development...