Seanad debates

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014: Committee Stage (Resumed)

 

Sections 34 to 43, inclusive, agreed to.

SECTION 44

7:05 pm

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Cathaoirleach of Seanad; Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Amendments Nos. 18 to 21, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

Government amendment No. 18: In page 37, line 22, to delete “unlawfully parked in any place in the airport” and substitute the following:“parked contrary to bye-laws made under this section or parked without payment of the charge fixed for its parking”.

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Minister, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Amendments Nos. 18 to 21, inclusive, are technical adjustments to the provisions of section 44 which deal with amendments to the airport by-laws as set out in the 2004 Act. They do not change the substance of what is already provided.

Amendment No. 21 is provided solely for legal clarity. The airport by-laws have always provided that the airport authorities may regulate parking at airports. Airports have charged for parking and for removing clamps, etc., for many years.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 19: In page 37, lines 23 and 24, to delete “and the amount of any fee to be paid in respect of such removal”.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 20: In page 37, line 26, to delete “and the amount of any fee in relation to such,”.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 44, as amended, agreed to.

NEW SECTION

Government amendment No. 21: In page 38, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following: “Airport may make charges for vehicle parking and removal of immobilisation devices, etc.45. A company (within the meaning of section 15 of the Act of 2004) or, with the consent of the Minister, an airport which is not a company, may provide parking facilities and fix charges in respect of the parking of a vehicle at its airport and for the removal of an immobilisation device fixed to a vehicle or a vehicle removed, detained, stored, released or disposed of under bye-laws made under section 15(3)(o) of the Act of 2004.”.

Amendment agreed to.

SECTION 45

Question proposed: "That section 45 stand part of the Bill."

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Minister announced this morning controls on clampers in general which has been generally welcomed.

Question put and agreed to.

Sections 46 to 49, inclusive, agreed to.

NEW SECTION

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I move amendment No. 22:


In page 43, after line 25, to insert the following:
“Criteria for efficient airport investment and operation
50. The Commission for Aviation Regulation shall publish reports in regard to State airports and comparable international airports stating—(a) passengers per employee,
(b) work load units per employee,
(c) operating cost per work load unit,
(d) capital cost per work load unit,
(e) aircraft movements per employee,
(f) aircraft movements per runway,
(g) passengers per airport gate,
(h) passengers per square metre of terminal, and
(i) other measures of performance indicators deemed appropriate by the Commission.”.
The Minister and I are at one that we need these measurements for the efficiencies of airports. Since we started these deliberations, there was another determination of the maximum level of airport charges by the Commission for Aviation Regulation, CAR, dated 29 May 2014. The Minister, I understand, was considering whether the Department, the commission or the Central Statistics Office, CSO, would publish the information. We have a legacy problem of excessive capital investment in our airports and the premature building of terminals. The regulator has many suggestions which have come to light since we put down these amendments and so forth.
Will the Minister decide on Report Stage where is the best place to put this useful information when deciding investment plans at airports, as he suggested earlier that he welcomed this proposal? We have a very competitive aviation business and we need airports to be competitive internationally.

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Cathaoirleach of Seanad; Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

This amendment has already been discussed.

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

This is why these indicators of efficiency should be in place. More have come to light since I put this amendment down. They are offered to the Minister in that spirit. The Parliament and the Minister need that information from which we can judge whether airport charges are correct and capital investment proposals are worthwhile at the time which they are proposed.

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Cathaoirleach of Seanad; Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Is the Senator pressing the amendment?

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I would prefer to hear the Minister’s response if I may. There may be agreement and, therefore, it may not be necessary to press the amendment. I do not wish to detain the Minister unnecessarily-----

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Cathaoirleach of Seanad; Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Minister has responded already on this amendment.

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Minister, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I am at one with the Senator in that we need to have much better statistics on transport, to have them independently collected and published regularly. We are getting there. The Irish Maritime Development Office already publishes an excellent statistical bulletin and reports. The National Transport Authority now has the power to collect transport statistics for public transport. For the first time, it has the legislative authority to require private transport operators to hand over their statistics which will be helpful in planning the bus network. I agree we need a similar set-up for the airports and aviation sector. I am not sure whether it needs to be written into legislation or that CAR is the right body to do it.

Will the Senator withdraw the amendment and I will deal with it in the context of aviation policy, picking the right body to do it whether it will be the Irish Aviation Authority, IAA, the CSO or the Department?

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister for his response. I look forward to working with him on these efficiency and productivity measures. I will not press the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 50 agreed to.

SECTION 51

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Cathaoirleach of Seanad; Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Amendments Nos. 23 to 26, inclusive, are related and amendments No. 24 and 25 form a composite proposal. They can be discussed together.

Government amendment No. 23: In page 44, to delete lines 8 to 21 and substitute the following:“ “ ‘retailer’ and ‘organiser’ have the meaning assigned to each of them, respectively, in the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act 1995; ‘sufficient evidence of security’, in relation to a package, means sufficient evidence of security for the refund of money paid over and for the repatriation of a consumer in the event of insolvency of the retailer or organiser of the package in compliance with the requirements of— (a) section 22 of the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act 1995, or (b) if the retailer or organiser is established in another Member State, measures giving effect to Article 7 of Council Directive No. 90/314/EEC of 13 June 19901 in the other Member State;”,”.

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Minister, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

These amendments are of a linguistic nature and do not change the effect of the existing text in section 51. The amendments insert phrases from the EU package travel directive so the text relates more exactly to the language used in that directive. For instance, “retailer” and “organiser” is inserted instead of package provider. These amendments also add the phrase “established in the State” to make it clear the provisions of the 1982 travel trade Act applies only to businesses established in Ireland. Clarity is provided as to what carrying on a business in the State means under the 1982 Act, including that business can be carried out in Ireland at a distance as in by e-commerce by a business established in another member state. The amendments also make it clear that the 1982 Act relates only to travel commencing in Ireland destinations outside of Ireland.

Amendment No. 26 is a technical amendment to make it clear for the avoidance of doubt that the provider referred to in the section is a provider of travel services established in the State. It also makes clear the penalties provided in the section only apply to businesses established in this State.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 24: In page 44, to delete lines 23 to 38, and in page 45, to delete lines 1 to 13 and substitute the following: “ “Restriction on carrying on business as tour operator 4. A person established in the State, shall not carry on business as a tour operator in the State or hold himself or herself out, by advertisement or otherwise, as carrying on such business unless he or she—(a) is the holder of a licence granted under section 6 to carry on such business, or (b) being a retailer or organiser of packages established in the State, has—(i) sufficient evidence of security in respect of packages offered for sale or sold by him or her, and (ii) has provided a notification to that effect, in the English language, to the Commission for Aviation Regulation before carrying on such business.Restriction on carrying on business as travel agent 5. A person established in the State, shall not carry on business as a travel agent in the State or hold himself or herself out, by advertisement or otherwise, as carrying on such business unless he or she—(a) is the holder of a licence granted under section 6 to carry on such business, or (b) being a retailer or organiser of packages established in the State, has—(i) sufficient evidence of security in respect of packages offered for sale or sold by him or her, and (ii) has provided a notification to that effect, in the English language, to the Commission for Aviation Regulation before carrying on such business.Requirements on a retailer or organiser of packages established in another Member State carrying on business in State 5A. (1) A retailer or organiser of packages whose place of establishment is in another Member State shall not carry on business, including on a temporary basis, either physically or at a distance, as a retailer or organiser of packages or hold himself or herself out, by advertisement or otherwise, as carrying on such business in the State unless he or she—(a) has sufficient evidence of security in respect of packages offered for sale or sold by him or her in the State, and (b) has provided a notification to that effect, in the English language, to the Commission for Aviation Regulation before carrying on such business in the State.(2) A tour operator or travel agent, whose place of establishment is in another Member State, other than a retailer or organiser of packages, may carry on business in the State, including on a temporary basis, either physically or at a distance. (3) In this section, ‘carrying on business in the State’ means the sale of travel services in the State for travel which commences within the State to destinations outside the State.”,”.

Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 25: In page 45, to delete lines 16 to 22 and substitute the following: “ “Offence – contravening section 4 or 5 and penalties 20. (1) A person who carries on business, or holds himself or herself as carrying on business—(a) as a tour operator, retailer or organiser of packages, in contravention of section 4, or (b) as a travel agent, retailer or organiser of packages, in contravention of section 5,”.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 51, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 52

Government amendment No. 26: In page 46, line 31, to delete “the provider” and substitute “a provider established in the State”.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 52, as amended, agreed to.

Schedules 1 and 2 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments.

7:15 pm

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Cathaoirleach of Seanad; Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

When is it proposed to take Report Stage?

Photo of Pat O'NeillPat O'Neill (Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Next Thursday.

Report Stage ordered for Thursday, 19 June 2014.

Sitting suspended at 6.50 p.m. and resumed at 7.15 p.m.