IRELAND NEEDS TO be “wiser” about how it invests in transport because of a lack of funding, Minister Leo Varadkar has said.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport made the comment in a speech on his priorities during Ireland’s EU presidency to the European Parliament’s Transport Committee this week.
“Ireland, like many other countries, is not in a position to invest financially [in] transport at the same levels as before,” he said.
That does not mean we can’t invest in transport, it simply means we need to be wiser about how and where we invest.
Minister Varadkar told the committee that Ireland has a very strong track record on road safety which he is keen to maintain and improve upon.
We do not have a monopoly on wisdom in this area and in that context, I plan to host a major conference on road safety in Dublin during our Presidency in order to facilitate an exchange of good practice in relation to this critical issue for European citizens. The focus of the conference will be on serious injuries and will take place on 28th March in Dublin Castle.
He noted that the Vice President will address the conference against a backdrop of some new European initiatives in the area of injury prevention.
Air passenger rights
Minister Varadkar said that Air Passenger Rights is also a “much anticipated dossier” which he will progress in Council once the Commission finalise their internal deliberations on it.
“We expect these proposals to clarify issues such as the rights of passengers, particularly in cases of flight cancellations, delays and denied boarding,” he said.
He said they would hope to take this to the June Transport Council with a view to passing it to Lithuanian colleagues to open discussions with the transport committee.
The Minister also spoke about the Passenger Ship Safety proposal, which comes near the first anniversary of the Costa Concordia accident, and which he said will be promised over the course of the next six months.
He did note, however, that any proposals have “an ever-narrowing window of opportunity for successful conclusion”.