Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 27 February 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
Business of Joint Committee
We are now in public session. The minutes of the meetings of 6 and 14 February have been circulated. Are they agreed? Agreed. I turn now to correspondence. On No. 2019/401, it is proposed to note this correspondence and to forward it to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross. Is that agreed? Agreed. On Nos. 2019/402A and 2019/402B, it is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed. Is it agreed to note No. 2019/403? Agreed.
It is proposed to note the concerns raised in No. 2019/403 and forward it to the Minister of State with responsibility for sport, Deputy Griffin, for his observations. Is that agreed? Agreed. It is proposed to consider Nos. 2019/404A and 2019/404B as part of the committee's work programme. The clerk has brought the following to my attention. The correspondence concerns the reappointment of Maurice O'Gorman to the board of Galway Harbour Company for a two-year period. He was before the committee last April. If members feel we need to bring him in again, that is no problem. Alternatively, we could consent to him continuing in office for the two years. I am in the hands of the committee entirely. The correspondence consists of an email from Mary Daly in the office of the Minister, Deputy Ross, dated 11 February stating that the Minister has consented to the reappointment of Maurice O'Gorman for a two-year period. Mr. O'Gorman came here last April. There is no problem bringing him in again. It is just that it would be to ask the same questions he was asked the last time.
Is the proposal that the committee consents to the reappointment of Mr. Maurice O'Gorman agreed to? Agreed. Correspondence Nos. 2019/405A and 2019/405B were considered at our meeting of 14 February when we agreed to reschedule the meeting with the Football Association of Ireland for 10 April.
I was not in attendance at the last meeting. On the appearance of Mr. John Delaney, I note that the financial controller has resigned and will leave the FAI at the end of March. I presume that whatever discussion comes up will involve financial matters. I am concerned that the meeting will not be as thorough as it might need to be in that circumstance. I just raise that concern.
He gave commitments on rural transport and should be here to answer questions and be scrutinised. It is unreal to say "due to pressure of work" when this is his job. He has made commitments and is transferring his responsibilities to others. He should be here to answer questions, in particular when rural transport is on its knees.
I am only making the point that we have asked him to make himself available. It is quite right that the Minister should be here. He cannot be here today but we have asked for him to be here as soon as possible.
It is unusual. Previously, when we sought to have the Minister attend and there was a clash in his diary, he would say that he would be available on such a day. This is the first time he has not indicated an alternative date. He did not actually say there was a clash in the diary, he referred to the pressure of work and his busy schedule. I would place a bet that if one went to the Members' bar at 11 a.m., the Minister would be there having his elvenses. He has deferred the matter to another organisation this morning and he has not offered an alternative date. That is out of sync with what, in fairness, he normally does. We have asked him to attend to discuss issues before. When he has not been able to come on the proposed date, he has always offered an alternative.
I am in the members' hands. According to the minutes of 14 February, we asked to reschedule the meeting. The letter did not issue yet because we were to discuss the issue today. We will issue the invitation again and ask the clerk to make contact with the Minister's private secretary to fix a date as soon as possible and certainly within the next couple of weeks.
We are now in public session. The clerk has explained that our last meeting was a private meeting and there was no public part of that meeting. It is a decision of this committee that all correspondence must be dealt with in public. This is the first opportunity we have had to discuss this formally as a committee. The consensus is that it will issue today and that the clerk will make direct contact with his private secretary and he will inform us of the outcome of that immediately.
Is that agreed? That is agreed.
On No. 2019/407, it is proposed to note this correspondence because they will appear before the committee this morning. No. 2019/408 is on the proposal to arrange a visit to the Coast Guard marine rescue co-ordination as soon as possible. We are trying to do that.
I believe we have all received correspondence from the Coast Guard outlining its grave concerns particularly on how the directive on the blue lights and sirens would impede its ability to respond to an emergency. We should invite not just senior Coast Guard representatives, but also staff and volunteers, including the volunteers who have raised grave concerns with this latest directive. I propose to invite them to appear before the committee.
That is fine. Is that agreed? Agreed. We will ask the clerk to arrange that.
On 2019/409, it is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed. On 2019/410A and 2019/410B, it is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed. On 2019/411, it is proposed to note this correspondence and forward it to the National Transport Authority, NTA, for comment. Is that agreed? Agreed. On 2019/412A and 2019/412B, it is proposed to note this correspondence. That relates to the issue that arose earlier on the Football Association of Ireland. We have the names of the people who can take that other issue. Rea Walshe proposed that John Delaney, CEO; Fran Gavin, director of competitions; Rea Walshe, corporate affairs and licensing director; Karen Campion, director of business partnerships and strategy; and Ruud Dokter, high performance director, would come to our meeting on 10 April. Senator O'Mahony asked about the financial director.
We can do two things. We can ask the FAI if the person concerned is no longer employed by the organisation. I do not know what the case is. The Senator may wish to have that included specifically. From our perspective the meeting is about corporate. The clerk has advised me that the chief executive officer is the person accountable for that issue before us.
It is an email received from Pádraig Kelly from the office of the Minister of State with responsibility for mental health and older people, Deputy Jim Daly, dated 18 February regarding the upcoming joint committee meeting on rural taxis, thanking us for his invitation to appear. He has other commitments and he has suggested another witness to appear who is actually here today.
On Nos. 2019/414A and 2019/414B, it is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed. On No. 2019/415, it is proposed to note this correspondence. That is about the people appearing today. Is that agreed? Agreed. On No. 2019/416, Deputy Rock is not here at the moment but he had expressed concerns about the MetroLink and suggested that we should have a discussion with representatives of the NTA on it. The matter was also raised in the Dáil. It would be in order for the clerk to invite representatives from the NTA to appear before the committee to discuss BusConnects and MetroLink as soon as we can. Is that agreed? Agreed.
On Nos. 2019/417A and 2019/417B, it is proposed to note this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 2019/418 is an email from Deputy Eamon Ryan regarding the metro for the southside of Dublin. The committee has decided that this item will be considered as part of our work programme. We will inform the Deputy that we will soon invite the relevant representatives to appear.