Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
Business of Joint Committee
Deputy Kate O'Connell is substituting for Deputy Noel Rock. Before we begin, I remind members to switch off their mobile telephones as they interfere with the recording equipment. We will now go into private session.
We are now in public session and I again remind members, witnesses and those in the Public Gallery to switch off their mobile telephones as they interfere with the recording equipment.
Before commencing our main business I wish to deal with correspondence and EU scrutiny. No. 307 is an email from Deputy Catherine Murphy deferred from the meeting of 11 July last requesting hearings in the autumn on the regulation of sales of second-hand aircraft to offshore commercial entities. I invite the Deputy to discuss it.
There are almost 5,000 jobs in aircraft leasing in this country. We are one of the biggest operators in the aircraft leasing sector. However, there is a lack of transparency about who the aircraft are sold on to and that might compromise the industry. There has been evidence that some aircraft that have been sold have been used for purposes such as leaving remote airfields in Russia to go to Syria. That could cause us problems.
I ask that the Irish Aviation Authority as the body responsible for the aircraft register be invited in to discuss what protections need to be put in place.
The clerk will make that arrangement if it is agreed. Agreed.
No. 308 is an email from Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh. As the Senator is absent, we will deal with that when he arrives or at our next meeting.
No. 309 is a letter from Ms Maria McKenna, LocalLink requesting an opportunity to appear before the committee to discuss the opening up of LocalLink to public procurement. It is proposed that we convene a meeting on this matter in early autumn. Is that agreed? Agreed.
Nos. 310, 311 and 315 are emails and letters from the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eamon Ryan and Senator Humphreys requesting that a Ranelagh residents group comes before the committee to give its perspective on MetroLink, which is the subject of today's meeting.
No. 312 is an email from Deputy Munster forwarding a request from Deputy Joan Collins regarding the BusConnects plan and requesting that the unions appear before the committee, which is also the subject of today's meeting.
No. 313 is an email from Mr. Tony O'Brien, aviation services division, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, in response to a query raised at a meeting of the select committee on 11 July regarding visa requirements for UEA citizens. It is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 314 is an email from Mr. Michael O'Connor, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, requesting a timeline for the general scheme of the airport noise regulation Bill. Mr. O'Connor has been informed that the committee is happy to meet with the Minister on the Bill as soon as he is ready to do so. Is that agreed?
I sent an email to the committee asking for a change in the running order of today's business. I presume it is not deliberate, but according to the schedule we are first meeting the National Transport Authority, NTA, on its proposals for BusConnects, following which we will meet the unions. This does not make sense. I do not know who thought it was practical to order the business in this way. The reason we invited the unions is they represent the workers who provide the service and we wanted to hear their concerns about the BusConnects plan and to be then flag them to the NTA. I do not know who oversees the schedule.
I would like to raise another issue. Last December, when we met the IAA and the Irish Air Line Pilots' Association, IALPA, which represents pilots, IALPA was deterred on two or three occasions from raising its concerns with the committee. The reason given for this was the dispute between Ryanair and IALPA which was before the courts. The committee agreed to hold off on the issues on the basis of a firm commitment that once that court case was concluded it would be so informed and another meeting could be rescheduled. This court case concluded last December. It is an absolute disgrace that this committee was not informed that this was the case. It was only when I queried it in light of the current Ryanair strikes that it came to light that the case concluded last December but the committee was not told.
A response of "Right" is not okay. I want to know why the committee was not told. One cannot help but be suspicious given the IALPA representatives were prevented from addressing the committee on two or three occasions.
Yes, but the committee was not made aware of that until, at my request, the committee secretariat sought clarification on the matter. There is no reason for the committee not being informed between December and last week.