Minister Varadkar publishes Annual Report 2013

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has published his Department’s Annual Report for 2013, which outlines key milestones achieved by the Department last year.

“At the start of 2013 I set out 25 key priorities. The Department’s annual report shows that 19 of these priorities were fully achieved during the year, with the remaining six substantially or partly achieved. The report also shows the progress made on targets set out in the Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011-2014,” Minister Varadkar said.

“Key successes included staging The Gathering, re-starting the PPP roads programme, launching a new Ports Policy, and starting work on Luas Cross City. Shannon Airport had an excellent first year as an independent airport, reversing five years of successive passenger decline with a marginal increase in passenger numbers on 2012 and justifying the Government’s decision to grant independence.”

Some of the results include:
• Contributing to the Government’s deficit reduction and job creation efforts;
• Staging The Gathering, which secured the highest number of overseas visits since 2008;
• Starting work on the Luas Cross City project;
• Re-starting the PPP roads programme after a four-year gap, with work underway on the N7 Newlands Cross and Arklow-Rathnew schemes;
• The National Transport Authority announcing plans for the future operation of the PSO bus market including tendering 10% of the market;
• Newly-independent Shannon Airport growing passenger numbers for the first time in five years;
• New facilities developed at the National sports Campus including a new equestrian arena, gymnastics and pentathlon facilities, multi-sport pitches and a sport pavilion;
• New Road Safety Strategy published, implementation underway;
• The number of Leap card users increased to 378,000, exceeding targets.

“These priorities have helped us to show that even in tough times, real progress can be made,” Minister Varadkar said.

The report in both Irish and English is published here.

Action Taken in 2013 on Key Ministerial Priorities

Priority

Progress

Implement planned budget savings bringing the Department in on budget at the end of 2013 to help reduce the Government’s budget deficit. Completed
Commence preliminary works on the Cross City Luas

 

Completed. The in-filling of cellars was completed ahead of target, utility diversion works are on schedule, and the main construction contracts will be announced later in 2014.
Realise ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’, meeting the target of 325,000 additional visitors and €170 million in additional revenue.

 

Completed.  Visit numbers increased by 7.2% in 2013, with visits from North America up by 13.9%.  The Gathering has played a significant part, with its impact estimated at an incremental 250 – 275,000 visits.
Restart the PPP roads programme by commencing work on the N7 (Newlands Cross), N11 (Rathnew) and N17/18 (Gort-Tuam) projects

 

Partially complete.  Work is underway on the N7 and N11 projects, the first road PPP to get underway in four years.  The Gort to Tuam project is being progressed and is expected to start in the first half of 2014.
Develop new facilities at the National Sports Campus including access roads and multi-use pitches and a pavilion

 

Completed. Completed projects this year include Sport HQ, multi-sport pitches, a sport pavilion, the new equestrian arena, gymnastics and pentathlon facilities.
Resolve the CIE financial situation without recourse to additional subvention

 

Partially complete. CIE has arranged new banking facilities and did not require additional subvention at the end of the year.  The company achieved passenger and revenue targets set out in the business plan.
Upgrade the Leap Card with additional products with a 2013 target of over 300,000 card users by year-end

 

Exceeded.  The Leap Card had 378,000 users at the end of 2013 and a range of new products have been produced.
Restructure the Rural Transport Programme giving it a permanent and sustainable role within the Irish public transport system and further its integration with State-sponsored transport. Completed.  New structure of 18 Transport Co-ordination Units (TCU) announced in July 2013.
Develop and maintain a smartphone app to allow consumers verify that their taxi driver is licenced, make the taxi consumer complaints procedure available online and ensure that those convicted of certain serious crimes cannot work as taxi drivers

 

Completed.
Establish the independent Shannon Airport – and restore the airport to passenger growth

 

Completed. Shannon was given full independence on January 1st 2013 and has halted the decline in passenger numbers.  New routes have been announced to the US, Britain and Europe.
Launch a new Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020

 

Completed and implementation is underway.
Meet the objectives set down for the Irish Presidency of the Council of Transport Ministers and Council of Sports Ministers

 

Completed.
Determine the structure of the public service (PSO) bus market, secure funding of the CIE companies post-2014, and re-organise Irish Rail by year’s end.

 

The National Transport Authority has announced its plans for the future operation of the PSO bus market including the tendering of 10% of it.  Work on Irish Rail’s re-organisation continues and is expected to be completed in 2014.
Launch the new plastic card licence and implement the nationwide review of speed limits

 

The speed limit review has been completed and published.  There are some teething problems with the launch of the new driving licence service but the move to a centralised service is the right one in the long term.  It will provide better service, value for money and greater security.  The process has improved greatly in the first quarter of 2014.
Promote Sport (Physical Education) as an examination subject The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has developed proposals to change the way physical education (PE) is delivered at both junior and senior cycle in post-primary schools.  These proposals are in line with the Ministers’ priority in this area to promote sport (physical education) as an examination subject.
Pass the Road Traffic, Vessels Registration, Taxi, Sport Ireland, Vehicle Clamping and Shannon Bills The Taxi Bill and Road Traffic Bill have been enacted.  The Vessels Registration was published.  Sport Ireland, Vehicle Clamping, and Shannon Bills will be before the Houses in 2014.
Publish the new Ports Policy The policy to radically overhaul Ireland’s commercial ports and give Government a more hands-on role in the maritime ports was published in March 2013.
Complete the consultation phase for the new Aviation Policy and begin work on a Tourism policy review Both final policies will be published in 2014.
Implement a Maritime ‘Safety at Sea’ initiative Launched, including an Action Plan to improve Maritime Safety and Marine Emergency Response Services
Launch and pilot a new scheme for community involvement in the maintenance of minor local roads Completed.  Pilot scheme launched and deemed to be successful.
Progress schemes to encourage cycling and walking and bring the Mullingar to Dublin section of the proposed coast-to-coast greenway to shovel-ready status and launch a new Active Travel Towns competition Partially complete. Fifteen projects were funded.  The section from the Meath/Westmeath county boundary to Mullingar was constructed in 2013 from funding under the National Cycle Network Funding (NCN) Programme.
Establish bike-sharing schemes similar to Dublin Bikes in other regional cities Bike sharing schemes have been agreed for Cork, Limerick and Galway
Report on the feasibility of an Irish Museum of Sport The Committee established by Minister Ring continued its work on examining the feasibility of developing a Museum of Sport.  The Committee will report on its deliberations when their work is completed.
Complete the merger of NRA and RPA Significant progress has been made.  The Heads of the Bill have been approved by Cabinet and legislation is being prepared.
Special sports capital programme for boxing and local authorities Allocations made