Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
Business of Joint Committee
I ask members to switch off their mobile phones as they interfere with the broadcasting and recording equipment, even when left in silent mode.
The first item on the agenda is correspondence. No. 2018/356 is an email, dated 13 November 2018, received from Mr. Jim Ryan which was forwarded by Deputy Munster. Mr. Ryan asks if the joint committee will conduct a serious investigation into the poor behaviour of cyclists in the light of his experiences while commuting to work. I invite Deputy Munster to discuss the issue.
It is very clear to me, although it might not be clear to the Deputy. Perhaps twice a week, I see cyclists cycling the wrong way in traffic, breaking the lights, coming towards me and travelling in the opposite direction to the traffic. One does not see them in time. I do not know if that is the Deputy's experience, but it is certainly mine. It is an important issue.
That is not the case at all. The email was sent by the gentleman in questin and forwarded by Deputy Munster and discussed here. I do not mind what the Deputy does. If he does not wish to come in for the discussion, he can do that; it does not matter. I am just trying to help people.
For example, Dublin City Council will have plans for changes that are likely to happen. It will also have some intelligence on behaviour at pinch points and so forth. If we are to do something, the discussion should be reasonably comprehensive. It should not be one dimensional but multi-faceted.
I would not take from the citizen who wrote to express his concerns. It is good that he recognises it as a serious issue for him and it is also a serious issue for us. In that context, the Deputy is absolutely right. Deputy Munster proposed that we include it in the work programme for 2019 and that is what we agreed to.
I am sorry, but I was merely asking whom we would be inviting. Are we going to reach the stage where if somebody writes to the committee about somebody else breaking the rules of the road, we will invite him or her to appear before an Oireachtas committee? That would not be wise or prudent. I fully support Deputy Catherine Murphy's suggestion that we adopt a multi-faceted approach and invite the advocacy groups for those who are trying to promote and encourage the increased use of bicycles as a method of transport in the city. That is what should happen.
That is a very good idea and the point has been well paid, but I commend the gentleman in question for writing to the committee.
No. 2018/357, (A) and (B), is an email addressed to me, dated 14 November 2018, received from the office of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, concerning the general scheme of the Taxi Regulation (Amendment) (Rickshaw) Bill 2018. A copy of the general scheme of the Bill is attached. As it is the subject of this meeting, we will note the correspondence.
No. 2018/358, (A) and (B), is an email, dated 15 November 2018, receivedc from Mr. Aidan Flynn, general manager of Freight Transport Association Ireland. Part (B) is a press release entitled, Lack of fuelling sites parks cleaner HGV ambitions. The second item of correspondence is entitled, Draft Brexit agreement would keep Ireland trading. It is proposed to note the correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 2018/360 is an email, dated 19 November 2018, sent to the joint committee by Paul Kelly Clark concerning a meeting with Mr. Jim Meade, chief executive officer of Irish Rail, at Connolly Station on Wednesday, 21 November, and a meeting with Mr. Stephen Kemp of Bus Éireann at Busáras on the same day. The meetings took place last week and I am happy to update the committee, if members so wish.
Both meetings were very productive and I am glad that I attended both of them, but I have a concern. When I checked the committee schedule for the week on the website on the Sunday, there was no work scheduled to be done by this committee. I tend to make my arrangements a week in advance, especially as I have to commute from my constituency. We should know a week in advance if something is happening. We should receive greater than 24 or 48 hours notice. However, I accept what the Chairman was trying to do and it was a worthwhile excursion, but in the future we should have a minimum notice period.
I agree. The problem was the Minister had dropped out and the slot had become vacant. Excuse me, that is a reference to today's meeting. The Vice Chairman who is a member of the Deputy's party had organised a trip to Cork on that date which did not go ahead as there was a problem with the date which had been fixed and there was nothing other than the visit to Cork arranged for that day. When it was cancelled at the last minute, we thought it would be a good idea, notwithstanding the short notice, to do what we did. As the Deputy said, the meetings were very useful. Certainly, I learned a great deal from them. If any other member wishes to visit the people in question, he or she would benefit from it.
I was unable to go.
Deputies from Kildare North and Kildare South met representatives of the National Transport Authority approximately a week ago and one of the matters discussed, as the members know, was overcrowding on trains at peak times. At the meeting we were told the refurbishment of 29 carriages would not proceed because of the prohibitive cost involved. They were talking about seeing if it would be possible to lease trains from other countries, but that is not as straightforward as it might seem because of the width of the rail gauge here. Was anything outlined on how to deal with overcrowding?
All of those matters were discussed. We wanted to examine issues such as signalling and delays on commuter train services, especially on the northern line. At an earlier meeting Deputy Troy had referred to the state of Busáras. That was the origin of the meeting. We have a briefing document, but it may be very helpful to invite representatives of Irish Rail to discuss such matters and give the topic priority in our work programme. It is a critical point and as the demands on Irish Rail increase, we should know exactly what is going on with the strategy, particularly in the context of the national transport plan.
We know what happened at the meeting and will get them here. I do not think what the Deputy said is untrue, but it is of grave concern to me, as it is to the Deputy. Is she happy for us to invite representatives of Irish Rail to appear before the committee?
If we are to include it in the work programme, there have been a number of announcements on changes to sustainable transport, etc. There was an issue related to BusConnects and the assumption that there was capacity on the rail network, but there really is not at peak times. If we are to invite representatives of some of the public transport providers to appear before the committee, there should be a theme.
I would be happy if the Deputy could give us a proposal in that regard. The meeting happened because I was trying to support the views of members of the committee, as expressed to me. The visit to Cork had been cancelled and we wanted to do something productive. I am delighted the Deputy has raised this issue and I am very happy for it to be included in the work programme. I am very happy to hear of correspondence or proposals from members, as it is what we are here to consider. In my time as Chairman we have not refused to do anything suggested by a member. Deputy Catherine Murphy can make her suggestions and we can ensure the committee will take full and proper notice of them.
The next item is an email, dated 19 November 2018, received from Ms Jillian Harpur, Embassy of France, concerning an invitation to attend a breakfast meeting on 23 November in the Gibson Hotel with a number of French locally elected officials, Members of the French Parliament and transport officials from the French Ministry of Transport. A copy of the email was circulated last week and it is proposed to note the correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed?
I was not able to make it, but some members were to attend. However, they are not here.
No. 2018/362 is an email, dated 22 November 2018, received from Deputy Catherine Murphy requesting that the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport invite representatives of the Football Association of Ireland and Mr. John Delaney to appear before it to update it on its governance and strategies and the challenges it was facing, domestically and internationally. Mr. Fran Gavin and Mr. Eamon Naughton may also be invited to outline some of the background to the challenges facing the national league.
We are all familiar with this matter. We had before us at the beginning of last year the chief executives of the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Football Association of Ireland. Essentially, we discussed matters of governance. We are not in the business of sitting here and talking about who should be the football manager. That is not my proposal. There are issues concerning the development of sport, which is one aspect of our remit. It is fair to say there is a certain degree of underperformance and that we could do with teasing it out. It should be included in our work programme.
If the committee agrees, we should certainly do what the Deputy has proposed. If any member can think of other parties or persons we ought to invite to appear before us, he or she should let the clerk know and we can circulate the names.