Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
61. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide details of the nomination and election process for the taxi advisory committee; if there are vacancies on same at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29787/20]
There are currently five vacancies on the Advisory Committee on Small Public Service Vehicles (commonly referred to as the Taxi Advisory Committee). There are two vacancies in the special interest or expertise categories, two vacancies in the small public service vehicle and driver interests category and one vacancy in the consumer interest category. I will shortly ask the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to launch an open process - through the State Boards facility administered by PAS - for filling these positions on the Advisory Committee.
As the centralised provider of recruitment, assessment and selection services for the Civil Service and other public bodies, PAS aims to provide an open, efficient and effective gateway and process to identify top quality people for consideration by Ministers for appointment to State Boards. Adopting this approach will help to ensure a fair and transparent process, enabling all interested persons with suitable experience to apply to be considered for appointment to the Committee.
The Advisory Committee has played an important role in advising my Department and the National Transport Authority (NTA) on the issues facing the industry and on how to assist it through the pandemic and ensure its future sustainability. The Committee submitted a report in July with a number of recommendations and since then my Department has worked with the Committee to examine how these can be addressed. The report has been shared with other Government Departments and has served as a useful basis for engagement to ensure that SPSV operators, many of whom are self-employed, are able to access to the greatest extent possible the range of measures Government has introduced to support businesses through these difficult circumstances.
The Advisory Committee, which is established under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013, enjoys a broad membership with members representing driver interests, dispatch operators, passenger interests, and official stakeholders such as local Government and An Garda Síochána. This diversity of representation, combined with members' commitment to having a well-functioning and effective SPSV sector, is a real strength of the Committee. It has been and will remain the central focus of engagement with the SPSV sector for my Department in relation to issues affecting the sector, including the impact of COVID-19. In addition, the National Transport Authority, as statutory regulator for the sector, will of course continue to engage with the industry and communicate regularly with individual SPSV operators in relation to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.