DÁILQUESTIONS WITH THE MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT ON COLLEGE GREEN

  1. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport   his views on the proposed College Green traffic management measures, including their impact on persons visiting and holidaying in the city centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [15606/16]

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I would like to ask the Minister about the consultation held on the College Green traffic management measures. I submitted views on behalf of constituents, as did other citizens and representatives. Are these views being taken seriously? A former Minister, former Deputy Noel Dempsey, who has some involvement with traders in the centre of Dublin believes Dublin City Council was proceeding to change traffic at the location without adhering to, listening to or reading the documents and submissions made.

Deputy Shane Ross: My views on this issue are pretty much irrelevant. While I have responsibility for road traffic legislation, traffic management is a matter for the local authorities. The Deputy might wish to raise any concern he may have about the proposed College Green traffic management measures with Dublin City Council. Regarding the impact of measures on visitors and holidaymakers, the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland, has a formal consultative role under the legislation governing the planning system. It would not be appropriate for me to impinge on that statutory operational role. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy’s question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Will he advise my office if he has not received a reply within ten days?

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: The proposal is a very attractive one in general terms, in that it will create a major new pedestrian area beside the cross-city Luas service. In the 18th century the likes of Theobald Wolfe Tone who founded the Republic could stroll from Trinity College Dublin across to Parliament House and watch Henry Grattan and Henry Flood arguing the case for full Irish independence. Although our Parliament was independent, this was not an independent state. In theory, the proposal is attractive. However, Dublin Bus and other public transport operators have expressed grave concerns that it will make north-south connectivity in Dublin much more difficult. The matter is within the Minister’s remit and we will have to proceed very carefully on it. There are already connectivity issues for people like me who live on the north side and work in this quadrant of the city. This connectivity could be disrupted. Trades people need to drive independently. Other workers who cannot use public transport are in the same boat. There is a significant issue, although, in general terms, the proposal seems to be incredibly attractive. I have also made the point that we need more initiatives on the north side of Dublin, particularly in the north inner city. We have discussed this issue a lot in recent times. There are all kinds of initiative south of the Liffey. A visitor to the city recently thought, in looking at Dublin, that there were two cities, one on the north side and one on the south side.

Deputy Shane Ross: I do not have any particular function in the matter in terms of traffic management and my personal view might not matter. However, I would be prepared to discuss it with the Minister of State to see if it has implications for tourism. If it will have an adverse effect on tourism, I will re-examine the matter.