Dáil Éireann - Volume 515 - 07 March, 2000

Written Answers. - Rail Safety.

96. Mr. Higgins (Dublin West) asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if she will meet representatives of an association (details supplied) to discuss its concerns regarding safety on the rail network in view of independent expert criticisms of Iarnród Éireann's proposal, A New Deal for Locomotive Drivers. [6600/00]

97. Mr. Higgins (Dublin West) asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if she will examine the very serious safety issues raised in the report commissioned by an association (details supplied) which are not simply the basis of industrial relations between Iarnrod Éireann and the locomotive drivers. [6601/00]

Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 97 together.

The new arrangements for locomotive drivers contained in A New Deal for Locomotive Drivers are an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann. I have no function in relation to this matter.

The responsibility for railway safety rests with Iarnród Éireann and I have been informed by the company that it has commissioned consultants Halcrow Transmark to carry out a risk assessment of the new arrangements.

My Department is in the process of developing a new statutory framework for railway safety, based on the outline which I announced last December. As I indicated in my reply to a parliamentary question on 23 February, my Department is available to meet all interested parties to listen to their views on, and suggestions for, the new framework. I understand that officials of my Department will shortly meet representatives of the association in that context.