Week’s events; transport investment, RSA’s Christmas launch, tourism on the up…

27th November, 2015

As our economic performance improves and more people go back to work, our debt and deficit levels are being reduced. This gives us more space to plan for future investment in the areas that need it most. One such sector is transport, which is currently dealing with increasing passenger numbers year on year. This week, I announced two developments in this area. The first was in respect of an order being placed for seven new trams for the Luas Cross City project, which will serve an additional 10 million journeys when it comes on stream in 2017. The other was an Irish Rail public consultation process for Connolly Station timetables for 2016 which includes, among other plans, a proposal for improved weekday frequency for the DART – going from every 15 to every 10 minutes, and an extra express morning peak service from Dundalk/Drogheda. In order to keep the country moving and build on the progress we are making investments such as these are vital.


Later in the week I joined the Road Safety Authority in calling for motorists not to drink and drive in the run up to the Christmas period (or ever!). Research carried out by them suggests that one in ten people admitted to consuming alcohol before driving in the past 12 months. This is a shocking statistic which demonstrates that there is still much work to be done to convey the personal responsibility people have when they get behind the wheel of a car. The RSA also revealed the startling fact that two thirds of pedestrians killed on Irish roads had consumed alcohol. With all of this in mind, I encouraged people to make plans for getting home after a night out during the festive season; whether that’s booking a taxi or a hackney, planning a lift or organising one of the group to be the designated driver for the night. This week Coca-Cola introduced their Christmas jumper car – a world first, apparently – which will be travelling around the country dishing out prizes to nominated deserving designated drivers. You can log on here for details: www.Designated Driver.ie to find out more about an initiative that is designed to help keep people safe on the roads this Christmas.


We had more good news on the tourism front this week with the CSO reporting a 12.8% increase in overseas visits to Ireland for the first ten months of 2015. In an attempt to improve next year on the success we’ve seen in the sector this year, I launched the New Year’s Festival which, it is expected, will draw tens of thousands of visitors to ireland right from the beginning of the year (details at www.NYFDublin.com).


In the Dail this week, I had a Topical Issue on the need for a second bridge over the River Liffey in Celbridge to relieve traffic congestion. At the very beginning of the week, I spend the day in Shannon meeting Shannon Chambers, Shannon Airport and addressing 200 delegates at the Shannon Chamber’s Christmas lunch where I spoke about the importance of aviation, not just to the region but to Ireland as a whole.


I called in on the people of North King Street and Church Street this week, to hear what they had to say and, as ever, how I can be of assistance to them.