Week’s events: New Luas contract, Irish Rail, Ireland & adventure travel

7th September, 2014


Monday began with the signing of the new five year, €150 million operating Luas contract. The contract was won, after a competitive tendering process, by Transdev, who already hold the current contract. Luas has been a phenomenal success since it was first introduced to Dublin back in 2005. In its first year it carried 22 million passengers. Last year, that number rose to 30 million, demonstrating the success of the light rail system and its suitability to the capital. Part of the contract, which runs until 2019, includes responsibility for integrated testing, commissioning and testing and the trial running phases of Luas Cross City, which will, once and for all, join up our Red and Green Luas lines. Once complete, the Luas Cross City will make it even easier for people to get to where they want to be, which is sure to have a significant and corresponding increase in passenger numbers in the years to come.




In the early hours of Wednesday morning agreement was reached at the Labour Relations Commission, between management and unions at Irish Rail. This saw the threatened industrial action which had been planned for this weekend and 21st September called off. All parties to the dispute should be commended for their efforts in coming to a resolution, which unions will vote on in four weeks’ time. Wednesday also saw the Cabinet reconvene after the summer break.




On Thursday, I headed for Kerry to attend the countdown to the Adventure World Travel Summit, which is taking place in Killarney from 6th -9th October. The Summit, which is run by the Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA) and is being organised in conjunction with Failte Ireland, will see 700 of the most influential global decision makers in the adventure travel industry (buyers, media, industry representative) from 60 different countries coming to Ireland to find out what makes Ireland a good adventure travel destination. Yesterday’s event brought 50 local adventure travel/hospitality providers together in anticipation of their arrival and the excitement in the room was palpable. Towards the end of the day we had a live link-up with the US President of ATTA, Shannon Stowell, who was in the States, and ATTA’s European Executive Director, Chris Doyle, who was in Macedonia, tell us why Ireland, with its spectacular landscape, natural beauty and outstanding hospitality was chosen as this year’s host. I have no doubt that this Summit will offer a considerable boost to the industry here and place us firmly on the global adventure tourism map.




More locally, I had a number of meetings this week with various local Residents’ Associations and Community Groups about issues of concern to them; notably the importance of maintaining local Council services, anti-social behaviour and the creation of a statutory Local Area Plan for Stoneybatter.




Dublin Central Fine Gael members were out in force leafleting and canvassing across the constituency, with teams out in Cabra, Phibsborough and Arbour Hill this week.




And huge numbers attended the open-day in Grangegorman DIT campus on Thursday where local community groups availed of the opportunity to view the refurbished St. Brendan’s Hospital site. The first 1,000 students will begin their studies there next week, which is very exciting after all the years of trying to get this project off the ground. I wish them all the very best of luck. As I do, this weekend, to Tipperary and Kilkenny fans everywhere.