26. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to deliver on proposals by Ireland West Airport, Knock to create 500 new jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57253/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Regional Airports)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 45 together. 
Plans for the development of the privately-owned regional airports, including Knock Airport, are a matter for the management of those airports. However, both I and officials of my Department have met with the Chairman and senior management of Knock airport on a number of occasions over the past six months regarding their future plans for developing the airport.
I have rationali...

27. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will clarify his statement regarding Shannon Airport when he welcomed enormous possibilities for additional military flights; the kind of military flights he was referring; his views on the use of Irish airspace by foreign military forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57241/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Shannon Airport Facilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): The Deputy’s question relates to comments by Minister Varadkar regarding flights related to the on-going transiting of military personnel through Shannon airport. While they are often described as military flights, they are in fact civilian flights as they are civilian charter aircraft. Because they carry military personnel and equipment, the flights are subject to the provisions of the A...

28. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on his action plan to address concerns regarding maritime transport and marine emergency response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57214/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Search and Rescue Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): The Deputy’ question relates to the development of the action plan relating in response to Value for Money (VFM) reports on the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) and the Marine Survey Office (MSO).
The recommendations of the two reports focus on achieving efficiencies through better utilisation of existing resources and the deployment of resources to areas they believe constitute significant gaps ...

29. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update in installing wi-fi on public transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57211/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Public Transport)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.
In the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), funding for the implementation and development of public transport infrastructure projects, such as the installation of wi-fi on both buses and trains, is provided by my Department to the National Transport Authority (NTA) for allocation to projects and programmes. Noti...

30. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the rationale for the continuation of the sitting of the SPSV licence entry test in view of the oversupply of SPSV drivers on the road currently. (Question 57240/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Taxi Regulations)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): As part of the Taxi Regulation Review 2011, the examination of the broad issues for future regulatory policy was assisted by an economic analysis of the taxi market carried out by the consultants, Indecon. The analysis found that a fall in demand for SPSV services over a 3-4 year period had not been matched by a corresponding level of exit from the industry, leading to a clear problem of ...

31. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide details of the sports capital grant in terms of the total amount in new funding; the amount allocated thus far; the amount of funding still to be allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57259/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Sports Capital Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 46 together. 
€30m is available to me to allocate to successful applicants under the 2012 round of the Sports Capital Programme.  I recently announced almost €26m in provisional allocations for local projects under the 2012 SCP and will shortly be announcing a further €4m in provisional allocations in respect of non-local projects.
 ...

32. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in view of the most recent data from the Central Statistics Office which shows continued and marked increases in numbers commuting by car for both workers and school students, the measures he intends in order to reverse this trend over the lifetime of this Government; in particular, the initiatives he intends for the Greater Dublin Area, where 55% of commuters travel to work by car; the measures he intends to implement to reduce the numbers of school students travelling to school by car; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57196/12 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...

33. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide in tabular form, a detailed breakdown of his Department’s funding for sports in Budget 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57256/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Departmental Budgets)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): The funding allocated to each of the sport subheads in my Department’s vote for 2013 is as outlined in the table. 
2013 Allocation
 Subhead Subhead Capital Current - - €m €m D3 Grants for Sporting Bodies (Sports Capital Programme) 12.5  - D4 Grants for provision and renovation of Swimming Pools 5.6  - D5 Irish Sports Council  - 43.153 D6 National Sports Campu...

34. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the proposed new Road Traffic Bill will be published; the main new measures comprised in the Bill including any proposed new penalty point offences, including reduced thresholds for learner drivers, N-plates for new drivers for a period of two years and the non-display of L-plates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57250/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Proposed Legislation)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Government approved the General Scheme of the new Road Traffic Bill for formal drafting on 11 December 2012. The next step is for the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to examine the General Scheme in consultation with my officials, with a view to producing a formal draft of the Bill. The General Scheme has been published on my Department’s website. It is in the nature of such examination and drafting that it is not possibl...

35. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has considered expanding the Leap card to allow it to be used for the Dublin bikes schemes; if he will bring this proposal to the National Transport Authority and Dublin City Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57254/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Public Transport Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): Responsibility to develop, procure, implement, operate and maintain the integrated ticketing Leap Card system in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) became a function of the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 30th September 2010.
I understand from the NTA, however, that they have had initial discussions with the Dublin Bikes scheme and are currently reviewing the options for in...

36. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if any additional funding will be made available to support some of the clubs which were not allocated money under the 2012 sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57138/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Sports Capital Programme Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): There are no plans to allocate Sports Capital Programme funding to clubs who were unsuccessful under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme, though of course it will be open to such clubs to apply under the next round of the programme.
 ...

37. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline his involvement in developing the transport element of the connecting Europe facility; if he will state the specific projects that he is likely to fund through the various financial instruments available under the facility; if it is the his preference to fund road infrastructure from the fund; if so, the proportion of funds available to Ireland that are intended to go to road infrastructure; if he will state his priorities for the forthcoming EU Council presidency in relation to EU transportation development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57190/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - EU Funding)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) was published by the Commission on 19 October 2011. The CEF forms part of the Multi Annual Financial Framework for 2014 to 2020 and the proposed Regulation sets out how €50bn funding will be used to invest in transport, energy and telecoms infrastructures and networks over that time period. The Annex to the Regulation sets out ten so-called “core transport corridors” across the EU.
In Ireland’s ...

38. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the upgrading of the N22 Ballyvourney to Ovens Road, County Cork; if he envisages that this road will be constructed in the foreseeable future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57248/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Road Improvement Schemes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.
Generally, in relation to the capital funding of the national road network, it must be...

39. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a detailed account of the plans to merge Shannon Development’s functions with Fáilte Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57261/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - State Agencies)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Government decided in May 2012 to restructure Shannon Development and to transfer its enterprise support functions to Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, and its tourism functions to Fáilte Ireland. The transitional arrangements associated with these moves were examined over the following months as part of the work of a Change Management Task Force.
This decision was confirmed by Government on 27th November as part of the broader d...

40. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the work he is doing to ensure the best integration of taxis into the Dublin transport network in advance of the development of the LUAS BXD project, including ensuring sufficient ranks are provided especially during construction stages. (Question 57242/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Taxi Ranks)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) on 1st December 2009, the provision of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as Luas Broombridge, now comes under the remit of the NTA.
The construction of the Luas Broombridge project (also referred to as the Luas BXD Project) was approved by An Bord Pleanála in August of this year and advance works will commence next year.
Every effort ...

41. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way he plans to reduce the tourism marketing fund by 5%; where he expects the savings to come from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57265/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Tourism Promotion)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): The question relates to the allocation for the Tourism Marketing Fund in 2013.
The overall provision for tourism services in 2013 is approximately €140 million across a diverse range of activities. Within this, the Tourism Marketing Fund has a provision of over €37 million. While this represents a reduction of 5% on the 2012 allocation, it will enable Tourism Ireland to fully implemen...

42. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which he expects the various bodies under his aegis to be in a position to make a sizeable or important contribution towards economic recovery in the coming year; if he has identified particular areas in the tourism, transport or sporting sectors that are likely to present specific opportunities in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57195/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - State Agencies)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Programme for Government sets out the measures which the Government are taking to achieve economic recovery. The Programme places a heavy emphasis on tourism as one of the key areas for the generation of employment and also on the delivery of effective transport services. The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 is  designed to have 100,000 more people in work by 2016 and 2 million people in work by 2020. The net 100,000 jobs over the nex...

43. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider further financial incentives to increase the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the State’s taxi fleet. (Question 57238/12 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 . Among the principal functions of the NTA, as provided for under Section 9 of that Act, is the promotion of access to small public service vehicles by persons with disabilities.
It is a matter for the NTA to decide on the future approach to incentives for ...

44. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the criteria used to determine the way the €26 million of funding for sports capital grants was allocated to sports clubs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57137/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Sports Capital Programme Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): All applications received under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme were first checked to ensure eligibility and then eligible applications were initially assessed against the following criteria (the final 4 criteria only apply to regional and national projects):
 Selection Criteria Increase in the levels of active participation/ improved standards of sporting performance, especi...

45. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will report on discussions with the management of Ireland West Airport, Knock County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57252/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Regional Airports)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 45 together. 
Plans for the development of the privately-owned regional airports, including Knock Airport, are a matter for the management of those airports. However, both I and officials of my Department have met with the Chairman and senior management of Knock airport on a number of occasions over the past six months regarding their future plans for developing the airport.
I have rationali...

46. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in view of the fact that €12.5 million has been allocated for capital spending on sport for 2013 and that this represents a fall of €5.5 million 30% on the 2012 allocation, if he will provide details of the national and regional projects he intends to fund in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57264/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Sports Capital Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 46 together. 
€30m is available to me to allocate to successful applicants under the 2012 round of the Sports Capital Programme.  I recently announced almost €26m in provisional allocations for local projects under the 2012 SCP and will shortly be announcing a further €4m in provisional allocations in respect of non-local projects.
 ...

47. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to set out interim targets in relation to funding levels for overseas development aid to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57462/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Overseas Development Aid Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello) (Deputy Joe Costello): The Government is strongly committed to Ireland’s aid programme. The programme prioritises the fight against global poverty and hunger and is consistently rated internationally as one of the most effective in the world. It is strongly focused on the poorest countries and communities in sub-Saharan Africa, prioritising investments in the areas of education, health, good governance, food ...

48. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has considered a proposal (details supplied) in relation to visas for highly skilled jobs and the undocumented Irish in the US; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57480/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Undocumented Irish in the USA)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The Government continues to attach particular importance to the welfare of the Irish abroad in general and especially to the position of undocumented Irish immigrants in the United States. A resolution of the situation for undocumented Irish will continue to be pursued by the Government in our ongoing contacts with the US Administration and Congress. The advice of Ireland’s friends and contacts within the US Administra...

49. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will follow up the case of a person (details supplied) with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in view of the reported cases of repeated police harassment they have been subjected to and their current incarceration on contested grounds. (Question 57523/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Northern Ireland Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The question refers to a matter that is before the courts concerning the possible illegal activities of a private individual. Respecting the integrity and strength of the judicial process in Northern Ireland, I do not consider it appropriate to make any public statements that would undermine that process. However, while no institution is above criticism, it is important to recall that the completion of the devolution of...

50. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to Parliamentary Question No. 1 of 17 October 2012, if contact has been made with the Justice Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive or with other Departments or agencies on a cross-Border basis to deal with serious anti-social driving practices on the N54-A3 road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57527/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Anti-Social Driving Practices)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): As the Deputy is aware from my answers to previous questions on this matter, the issue of anti-social driving practices on the N54/A3 road is not a matter for the North South Ministerial Council. However, I did take the opportunity at the NSMC Plenary meeting in Armagh on 2 November, to bring the issue to the attention of my colleagues from the Northern Ireland Executive. The seriousness of the issue of anti-social driv...