Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has today (Sunday) presented an overview of his priorities for the Department for the year ahead. Minister Varadkar said he would aim to implement the following matters during 2012, in conjunction with Ministers of State Alan Kelly and Michael Ring. Additional objectives will be pursued as the year progresses.
- Implementing planned savings and bringing the Department in on budget at the end of 2012 in order to help the Government to meet definite targets.
- Begin work on new strategic road projects including the N11 (Arklow to Rathnew), N5 (Ballaghaderreen), and the N7 at Newlands Cross. These projects will improve journey times and economic competitiveness. A special one-off programme to target accident blackspots and bad bends on the national road network;
- Publish legislation to regulate the clamping of vehicles on privately-owned land;
- Build on the progress made in 2011 on road safety by introducing further measures, such as improved roadworthiness testing for commercial vehicles, further enhancement of the penalty points system, and plastic card driving licences, among other measures;
- Decide on the future structure and role of the State airports (Dublin, Cork and Shannon);
- Publish a new Ports Policy to chart the way forward for the ports sector;
- Take initial steps to achieve greater competition in the bus market, and separate railway ownership from operation, in order to comply with European law;
- Publication of the Taxi Review Group report by Minister Alan Kelly, and implementation of its key findings;
- The continued roll-out of the Leap Card in Dublin and the advancement of real-time passenger information technologies and services; publication and implementation of plan to integrate local transport services; and take further steps on smarter travel and carbon reduction programme to facilitate more walking and public transport journeys.
- Drive preparations for The Gathering 2013, Ireland's biggest ever tourism initiative which aims to bring an additional 300,000 tourists to the country in 2013, including the international launch of the initiative over Patricks Day 2012;
- Aim to increase tourist visitor numbers by around 4.5% and increase air access to Ireland.
- Minister Michael Ring to award a new round of Sports Capital Grants to improve and repair local sports facilities, as part of the long-awaited return of Sports Capital funding;
- Advance the National Sports Campus by beginning work on Sports HQ.
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Press Office. John Carroll (087) 4113278.
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