79. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the setting up of a forum for public transport as committed to in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17767/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018)
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As the Deputy is aware, following on from a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government and as further committed to in the latter part of 2017, work is underway in the Department on reviewing public transport policy “to ensure services are sustainable into the future and are meeting the needs of a modern economy”. As part of this review, I as Minister am committed to convene and host a round-table policy discussion forum with a wide range of stakeholders from across the public transport and related sectors.
The objective of this event is to facilitate an open and inclusive exchange of views from interested parties on the potential challenges and competing priorities likely to arise in the future across all aspects of public transport provision including economic, social and environmental considerations. It is expected that the discussions will inform and enrich the policy review work currently on-going within the Department.
While I have been keen to hold this event, rather disappointing it has not been possible up until now owing to a series of industrial disputes and threatened industrial action. As the Deputy will understand I was not prepared to have such a discussion against the backdrop of an ongoing or a pending dispute.
However, I am now pleased that in very recent days there has been a development on the industrial relations front which means that there is no longer an ongoing dispute or threatened action. Therefore, I am now in a position to confirm that this roundtable will go ahead. I expect to issue details and invitations to all stakeholders from later today.