Thursday, 4 April 2019
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
295. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the report on the maritime transport forum 2008 can be accessed on the website of his Department; if not, if it will be made available; and if there are developments or public documents on the issues persons with disabilities experience at ports here since 2008. [15736/19]
The 2008 Report of the Maritime Passenger Transport Forum can be accessed on my Department’s website under Publications and at the following link:
The Forum was established to oversee the implementation and review of the Maritime Passenger Transport section of the Department’s Sectoral Plan prepared under the Disability Act 2005. The 2008 Report made a number of recommendations which have since been implemented, including access audits on a range of domestic passenger ships and the harbours/landing places from which they operate, the provision of disability awareness training for passenger vessel owners/operators, and the preparation of “Guidelines for Accessible Maritime Passenger Transport” in conjunction with the National Disability Authority, which were launched in March 2010. The Guidelines contain a range of practical advice and information for all those involved in providing maritime transport services including passenger vessel owners and operators, port operators and local authorities.
A review of the Department’s Sectoral Plan for Accessible Transport under the Disability Act 2005, Transport Access for All, was published in 2012 and is available to view on the Department’s website, covering all modes of transport including Maritime:.
. The Plan contains some user feedback on the experience of travelling by passenger vessel or ferry as reported by persons with disabilities.
A web page for the provision of travel information to people with reduced mobility, launched in June 2012, brings together information on a range of transport modes including Ferries and Ferry ports. It is located on the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) website “Transport for Ireland” and can be viewed via the following link: .
The European Union (Rights of Passengers when Travelling By Sea and Inland Waterway) Regulations 2012 [S.I. No. 394 of 2012], which apply from 18 December 2012, give full effect to Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway. The NTA is the national enforcement body for the purposes of the EU Regulation in Ireland. Further information is available on the NTA website and the Department has also published Information Notes containing general information on the Regulation including a document for passengers:
In recent years the Department has pursued a number of initiatives in an effort to support improvements in maritime passenger transport accessibility, including a Monitoring Programme during 2012 and 2013 to inform the Department about the extent of voluntary accessibility improvements that have been made to passenger boats and ships and related services. Arising from the findings, further disability awareness training for passenger vessel owners, operators and crew was provided, most recently in 2016.
The Department does not have current information regarding recent developments or experiences at individual ports. It is suggested that any queries in relation to a particular port might be directed to the port authority concerned.
There are three international ferry ports in the State: Cork, Dublin and Rosslare. The passenger facilities in these ports are either operated by state owned companies or in the case of Dublin Port by the Ferry Terminal Operators. These companies recognise the importance of delivering a high quality service to all passengers including those with disabilities.
The Department’s Accessibility Consultative Committee continues to provide a forum for engagement between Departmental officials and representatives of the Disability Stakeholders Group, the National Disability Authority and other relevant Agencies. No particular issues in relation to ports have been raised at recent meetings of the Committee.