Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has published an end-of-year report for his Department which shows significant progress made in the nine months since the new Government took office.
- A realistic Capital Investment Plan has replaced Transport 21 and the National Development Plan, including plans to link the two LUAS lines and the deferral of Metro North and the DART Underground;
- Tight budgetary discipline has been applied and current expenditure came in on target, while on capital there was a small underspend and a carry-over approved of €8.5 million;
- LUAS extension to Citywest opened - expected to result in 4 million additional passengers annually;
- 60 buses delivered to Bus Éireann to enhance PSO services on commuter routes into Dublin and provincial cities;
- Extra €60 million allocated to repair 650 km of regional and local roads, supporting 720 jobs for one year;
- Seven national road projects under construction, and preliminary works underway on a new River Liffey bridge;
- As part of the Jobs Initiative €15 million has been re-allocated to public transport projects;
- Where other governments failed, this Government has introduced integrated ticketing in Dublin under the leadership of Minister of State Alan Kelly, with the recent introduction of the Leap Card for use on Dublin Bus, Luas, Irish Rail, Dart and commuter rail services;
- The number of passengers using State airports will increase modestly in 2011 following three years of steep decline;
- A streamlined system of support for regional airports from 2012 has been launched;
- A significant report has been commissioned into options for the future ownership and operation of Cork and Shannon Airports. Proposals will be brought to Government in the New Year;
- Significant progress has been made in reducing road deaths;
- Compulsory alcohol testing of drivers involved in a road collision where injury has occurred has been introduced, along with new lower blood alcohol levels;
- Regulations brought in requiring learner drivers to undertake lessons from qualified driving instructors before sitting a driving test;
· Phased roll-out of Real Time Passenger information (RTPI) system for Dublin Bus stops is underway, with around 320 signs in place and roll-out in Cork also underway;
- A review of taxi industry regulation was initiated and chaired by Minister of State Kelly. The report will be completed early in the New Year;
- Symposiums in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford to engage with key stakeholders and fulfil Programme for Government proposal to roll out public bikes schemes in the regional cities.
- The number of visits from overseas is on track to see growth for the first time since 2007, with growth over the first ten months of 7.4%;
- Employment in the tourism sector is up over 6,000 after seasonal adjustments over the last two quarters;
- As part of the Jobs Initiative a series of measures were introduced to assist the tourism sector, including the 9% VAT rate and lower employers’ PRSI;
- Also as part of the Jobs Initiative a three pronged strategy was announced to encourage inbound tourism;
- A new bilateral air services agreement between Ireland and the UAE was negotiated to further develop links;
- Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative The Gathering was announced for 2013;
- The visits of Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama were utilised in full to promote Ireland as a visitor destination;
- Significant ongoing investment in tourism projects.
- Funding secured for two new rounds of sports capital with the first in 2013 to enhance modest sporting facilities throughout the country;
- The Government approved a strategy for the incremental development of the National Sports Campus;
- Minister of State Michael Ring is chairing a high-level coordinating group to look at opportunities for Ireland from the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
- More transparency in selecting State board members, with members of the public invited to apply;
- The NRA/RPA merger is proceeding; the Irish Aviation Authority will be merged with the Commission for Aviation Regulation; and a review of the tourism functions of Shannon Development has been initiated;
- Oireachtas Committees now have a direct input into drafting new legislation, such as the Road Traffic No.2 Bill and a proposed Clamping Bill;
- Chairpersons designate must now appear before the relevant Oireachtas Committee before being appointed – seven have appeared to date;
- Restructuring of CIE group of companies completed with new non-executive chairpersons to lead CIE Group and its three subsidiaries.
The full end-of-year report is available below:
Contact: Nick Miller 086 6992080
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