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Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Update: Glenalbyn Swimming Pool

Minister Ross and Cllr Donnelly at a packed public meeting concerning the re-opening of Glenalbyn Swimming Pool, May 2017.

Since the closure of Glenalbyn Swimming Pool in December 2013, both Minister Ross and Independent Stillorgan Cllr Deirdre Donnelly have worked tirelessly to get the pool re-opened. From protests to public meetings both have worked to ensure that the local community get their pool back ASAP.

At the County Council meeting in March 2018 Cllr Deirdre Donnelly raised the issue of funding for Glenalbyn Pool. She was assured by the DLRCoCo Chief Executive, Philomena Poole that the €10m put aside for Glenalbyn was still there and was available to progress the pool. The meeting was webcast and this is on public record.

In order to avoid further delay in getting Glenalbyn Pool rebuilt, in late 2017 Minister Ross initiated a mediation process between Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club by engaging the services of an official mediator from Sport Ireland to assist with the progress of talks.

At the Council meeting on Monday May 14th 2018 a motion was passed to expand the boundary of the Draft LAP for Stillorgan 2018 – 2024 to include the Glenalbyn site. However, the money is still being provided by the Council for the development of Glenalbyn pool regardless of whether the Glenalbyn site is included in the Stillorgan LAP. Therefore the expansion of the Stillorgan LAP to include Glenalbyn is irrelevant to the development of the pool. Council management have confirmed this on several occasions.

In sum, the finances are assured and the Chief Executive of DLRCoCo has committed to the provision of Glenalbyn Swimming Pool, irrespective of whether it is included in the Draft LAP for Stillorgan 2018 – 2024.

Press Release: €30M Grants Scheme for Improved Sports Facilities and Equipment

21/12/2016 | Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D. and the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’ Donovan T.D., announced today that €30m is being made available under the Sports Capital Programme to develop sports infrastructure around the country.


In this regard, online applications will be accepted from the 23rd January to the 24th February, 2017. Clubs not previously registered on the Department’s online application system need to do so in advance of this date and the Ministers encouraged clubs to register now. The guide to making an application was also published on the Department’s Sports Capital Programme website today ( ).

Minister Ross stated “I am delighted that this funding is being made available. The Sports Capital Programme aims to foster an integrated and planned approach to developing sport and recreation facilities and it has transformed the sporting landscape of Ireland with improvements in the quality and quantity of sporting facilities in virtually every village, town and city in the country. The new €30 million programme provides an opportunity for further improvements and I would urge all organisations with a suitable project to consider making an application”.

The Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan highlighted some of the changes to the terms of the new programme. “The Programme for Government contains the aim of allocating sports capital grants on an annual basis and since being given responsibility for sport, I have been struck by the huge level of interest in the Sports Capital Programme across so many different sporting disciplines. I was determined to make the application process as simple as possible and in this regard we have significantly shortened the application form, issued new guides for completing the form and my Department is also arranging a series of regional workshops in the new year to assist applicants. The upcoming holiday period provides a good opportunity for clubs to get registered on, familiarise themselves with the guide and undertake any other preparatory work in advance of formally submitting their application”.

Clubs who wish to register on the Department’s online system can do so now at Once registered, all applications must be made on the same website. The system will be open for applications from the 23rd January. A guide to making an application and a link to YouTube video instructions is also available on the website.

Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
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Press Release: Road Traffic Bill 2016 passes

20/12/2016 | Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD today welcomed the passing of the Road Traffic Bill 2016 by the Oireachtas.


The Bill contains a series of reforms dealing with drug driving; written off vehicles; mutual recognition of driver disqualifications between Ireland and the UK; uninsured drivers; and a new optional 20km/h speed limit in built-up areas among other measures.

The main provisions outlined in the Bill are detailed below:

Drug Driving

An Garda Síochána have been given new powers to test drivers for drugs at the roadside. Current provisions for Mandatory Alcohol Testing (MAT) checkpoints will be extended to provide for Mandatory Intoxication Testing (MIT) checkpoints testing drivers for both alcohol and drugs.

Under the new measures, Gardaí can ask drivers to undergo a preliminary drug test for cannabis, cocaine, a range of opiates (including heroin and morphine) and a range of benzodiazepines (including diazepam and flurazepam).

Speaking after the passing of the Bill Minister Ross said: “The new powers given to the Gardaí to test for drugs at the roadside will allow them to test for a wide range of drugs which could not be previously tested for. These represent 95% of all drugs found by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in samples sent to it for confirmatory testing in 2015.”

Minister Ross added that; “drivers taking opiates and benzodiazepines prescribed by their doctors, [who are taking these prescribed drugs in accordance with their prescriptions, and are not impaired], have nothing to fear from the new measures. However, drivers abusing drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines and opiate and driving while impaired will face a minimum disqualification of 4 years for their first offence and 6 years for their second and subsequent offence.”

A new offence of driving/being in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle with the presence of three illicit drugs (Cannabis, Cocaine, and Heroin) has also been introduced. This means that for the first time drivers found above new legal thresholds for these drugs will commit an offence without An Garda Síochána having to prove impairment as is currently the case under existing legislation.

In seeking to address concerns of those prescribed Sativex (which contains cannabis) for illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, the Minister introduced in the Bill a medical exemption certificate for those prescribed with Sativex so that they do not fall under the new offence. This will ensure that they cannot be arrested for driving with cannabis in their system. He warned however, that if such drivers are impaired, they face the same sanctions as other drivers under existing drug driving legislation.

Written-off vehicles

The Minister said that; “In addition to current legislation on defective vehicles, the provisions in this Bill change the current arrangements between the insurance industry and my Department in relation to domestic write-offs from ‘voluntary’ to ‘statutory’. All insurers will be statutorily required to notify my Department of category A (irreparable and fit for scrap only) and category B (useful for viable spare parts only) write-offs so that these vehicles’ records can be locked down on the National Vehicle and Driver File and their circulation prevented.”

Mutual Recognition of Driving Disqualifications with the UK

The Bill will give effect to an agreement with the UK on mutual recognition of driver disqualifications which was signed in October 2015. If a driver is disqualified in the UK they are automatically barred from driving abroad, as they do not have a valid licence. However, if a driver from the UK is disqualified from driving in Ireland, the ban applies only in Ireland, the country that imposed it. The person could still drive in UK or anywhere else. The Minister commented that; “The provisions to back up the new agreement on mutual recognition of driver disqualification between ourselves and the UK will ensure that dangerous drivers who are a risk to the public are kept off the roads in both jurisdictions.”

20km/h Speed Limit

The Bill creates a new option for local authorities to impose a special speed limit of 20km/h in built-up areas. This will be in addition to the existing possible speed limits for built-up areas of 50km/h, 40km/h and 30km/h. The Minister added that; “the new speed limit option has been introduced following the Jake’s Legacy campaign. This was set up following the tragic death of six year old Jake Brennan who was killed in a road traffic incident in the housing estate where he lived. A new special speed limit of 20km/hour is now being made available for local authorities to impose where they see fit.”

Uninsured drivers

The increasing number of uninsured drivers is a huge concern and one of the issues identified to tackle this problem has been the Garda Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system which is reliant on information provided by the insurance industry in respect of insured drivers. While this data set has proven to be unreliable to date, the Bill provides for detailed information that the insurance industry must now provide which will address this exact issue.

The Minister said that; “This is a very vital provision which will allow for the establishment of the Insured and Uninsured Database by Insurance Ireland and MIBI which will provide reliable data to An Garda Síochána to enable them to detect uninsured drivers and take them off our roads.”

Measures to ensure that drivers convicted in court have penalty points endorsed on their driver record

The Bill provides for a new requirement for the presiding judge to ask a driver convicted in court for a driving offence to produce their licence to the court. The court will then record the licence details, or the fact that it was not produced with failure to produce a licence an offence. Speaking today, the Minister said; “This new provision addresses a significant loophole in our legislation whereby some drivers were escaping having their penalty points recorded on their licences following conviction in court.”

In conclusion, the Minister commented that; “the Road Traffic Bill 2016 is a major step forward in many areas – the fight against drug driving in particular. Its other provisions will also improve our laws and help to keep all of our citizens safer on the roads, and to keep dangerous drivers off them. I look forward to the signing of this Bill into law, and I am looking forward to implementing its provisions as soon as possible.”

Unaccompanied learner drivers

We know, unfortunately, that there is a real and continuing problem with learner drivers who persist in driving unaccompanied on our roads despite this being illegal. The question of responsibility regarding owners who knowingly allow learners to drive their cars unaccompanied has been highlighted by the family of Geraldine and Louise Clancy, who were tragically killed in an incident for which an unaccompanied learner driver was found responsible. Speaking today, the Minister said “I was pleased to be able to work with my parliamentary colleagues on this extremely important Bill, and to include an amendment proposed by Deputy Imelda Munster TD, with regard to unaccompanied learner drivers. Learners who drive unaccompanied are committing an offence, and I think it is reasonable to see people who knowingly facilitate this offence as sharing a responsibility for it.”

The Minister added that he “will engage with the Office of the Attorney General as quickly as possible in the new year to ensure that this provision is sufficiently robust for early commencement and enforcement.”


Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
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Press Release: 2016 Christmas & New Year Anti Drink Driving Campaign

Stark and devastating detail in the latest ‘Crashed Lives’ ad from the RSA released today.

| December 1st 2016 | 

Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister Shane Ross TD has praised the parents of a little boy – killed by a drunk driver – for their bravery and generosity in leading the Christmas and New Year campaign against drink driving.

In an emotional and hard-hitting speech, Minister Ross saluted Gillian and Ronan Treacy, who lost their four-year-old son Ciaran in a head-on collision with a drunk driver in 2014.

Crashed Lives

The story of Gillian and Ronan – together with the Emergency Services who attended the scene of the collision and the medical team who fought to save Ciaran’s life while his mother was treated for horrific injuries – is told in stark and devastating detail in the latest ‘Crashed Lives’ ad from the RSA released today.

Minister Ross said:

“I just say ‘we salute you.’ It’s a fantastically brave and courageous thing to have done for everybody in the country and I have no doubt that you will save lives by what you’ve done today – by allowing this film to be made.”

At the event, which was also attended by the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and RSA Chairwoman Liz O’Donnell, Minister Ross said;

“Today we are here to try, with Gillian and Ronan’s help, to ensure that it [this tragedy] doesn’t happen again and that’s what this campaign is all about. I don’t think we can dismiss road deaths as ‘somebody else’s’ problem. Our message here today is that it is all our problem. It’s not just that we shouldn’t be drinking and driving ourselves but that we have a public duty in our daily lives to discourage other people from doing it. Drink driving kills, maims and shatters lives.”

“We did think that drinking and driving had become socially unacceptable, that it was a generational thing, only acceptable in the 80’s and 90’s and that it had ended.

This is not true. The reality is that it is a serious problem. And it has either dipped and is now resurrected, or it actually never went away. That is something that we, as legislators, and the Road Safety Authority and everybody in their daily lives have got to recognise and say, ‘we need to renew our crusade to stop people drinking and driving’.”

Minister Ross noted that road deaths this year are up by 20% and said that this is “completely and utterly unacceptable”.

He added, “I think this might indicate to us a more serious message – that while campaigns have been successful in their own way, that they are not enough – that we in government and in joint ventures and crusades with the RSA should look at other ways to combat this, as well as work in tandem.”

“The figures show the quite devastating reality that in 38% of fatal accidents alcohol played a part – alcohol was there, was consumed. Those figures come from 2012 and I’m told by those who work in the area that anecdotally things have gotten much worse since then. So this is urgent and it’s not anything we can claim to have beaten in any way. The trend is upwards and we have to do something about it.”

Minister Ross added that the Road Traffic Bill went through committee stage yesterday and should be passed before Christmas.

“This has some pretty sensible laws to combat drug driving, speed driving in housing estates and more efficient court procedures, “ he said.

“I think we have to recognise that we’re going to have to take some hard decisions in order to stop this curse which is taking away lives – young and old – and causing so many tragedies. I have been working with the Tánaiste in other forums and we will be absolutely determined to – if not remove – then reduce this scourge.

And the part played by Gillian and Ronan here today in doing that is something to which I think we should all pay tribute.”

Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport | 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093 | | (Enable Javascript to see the email address)


RSA and An Garda Síochána launch October Bank Holiday Weekend Campaign

| 27 October 2016 |


With the clocks going back this weekend, heralding darker days, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have today urged road-users to ensure they can be clearly seen when out on the roads. The most effective way to do this is to wear high visibility clothing such as a high viz vest or a Sam Browne belt when walking, cycling or motorcycling and by ensuring you have working lights on your bicycle, motorcycle and car.

Over the past five years, six people have been killed and 33 people have been seriously injured during the October Bank Holiday Weekend.* The RSA and An Garda Síochána are reminding road-users to ‘be safe and be seen’, particularly on poorly-lit rural roads. A study conducted by the RSA in November 2015 monitored the high visibility wearing rates of 3,990 motorcyclists and 17,637 pedal cyclists. The study found that:
• 58% of motorcyclists were observed wearing high visibility clothing, an increase of 21% when compared to 2014
• 50% of pedal cyclists were observed wearing high visibility clothing, an increase of 20% on 2014 wearing rates
• Wearing rates were more prevalent among private cyclists (54%) than cyclists using public bike schemes (33%)
• 80% of all pedal cyclists had some reflective material on them.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD said: “The evenings will get much darker from this weekend on, so it is even more important that pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists wear high visibility clothing when out on the road. Don’t put your life, or the lives of others, at risk by making it difficult for other road-users to see you.”

The RSA also conducted a survey of the attitudes and behaviours of over 1,000 road-users towards wearing high visibility clothing. Over one third (41%) of pedestrians said they always or often wear reflective gear such as a high visibility jacket, vest or belt when out walking. This was a decrease of 8% when compared to 2014. The survey also found that those living in rural areas were more likely to wear high visibility gear than those in urban areas (43% v 16%).

Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “It is very encouraging to see that high visibility wearing rates are increasing among motorcyclists and cyclists. It really is critical that road-users ensure they are visible to others on the road, every time they go out for a walk, cycle or on the bike. Don’t leave it to chance or expect other road-users to see you – it might be too late before they do. For parents and guardians, if your child walks or cycles to school, make sure they can be seen by ensuring they wear reflective clothing and have working lights on their bicycle. If your child gets the bus to school, it’s also important that they can be seen at the bus stop by the bus driver and other road-users.”

The RSA and An Garda Síochána are also urging motorists to ensure their lights are in working order. An observational study conducted by the RSA in November 2015 found that 1 in 10 (8%) vehicles surveyed had at least one defective light. This was more prevalent on rural roads than urban roads, and vehicles were more likely to have defective front lights (5%) than rear lights (3%).

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid, An Garda Síochána said: “Driving a vehicle with defective lights is extremely dangerous and unacceptable. In simple terms, other road-users could mistake a vehicle with only one working light for a motorcycle or bicycle. It could also impair your ability to see pedestrians on the roads. As winter approaches, it is vital that we take proper care of our vehicles. That means fixing problems as soon as they happen and taking care to ensure our vehicles are in proper roadworthy condition, at all times.”

To help drivers stay alert behind the wheel over the Bank Holiday Weekend, the RSA and Applegreen will provide free cups of coffee to drivers between 2pm and 8pm on Friday 28 October and Monday 31 October at participating service stations. Simply say ‘RSA’ or ‘Driver Reviver’ to the till operator to avail of a free coffee. A list of participating stations is available at

To date this year, 159 people have been killed on Irish roads, an increase of 32 when compared to the same period last year.

For more information on the correct use of lights, visit: To order high visibility materials, visit


For further information, please contact:
RSA Communications Office: 096 25008
RSA Communications Manager: 086 388 1009
Garda Press Office: 01 6662071

Press Release: Minister Ross hails landmark environment agreement at Aviation Summit in Montreal

Minister Ross hails landmark environment agreement at Aviation Summit in Montreal

| Friday 07 October 2016 |


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, T.D., today (7 October 2016) welcomed the landmark agreement reached between almost 200 countries at a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal. The agreement seeks to curb CO2 emissions from international aviation and has been strongly supported by the aviation industry and by international representatives of airlines and airports.

GMBM (Global Market Based Measure) Scheme to combat CO2 emissions

The agreement, described as a Global Market Based Measure, is to start in 2021 and aims to move quickly towards a carbon-neutral growth situation in international aviation from then onwards. The scheme involves the offsetting of CO2 emissions from international aviation through the use of offsetting credits generated from environmentally beneficial projects. It is to be phased in over a six-year period from 2021. Ireland, along with 43 other European countries, has decided to participate from the start of the scheme.

This agreement, Minister Ross said, “is a truly historic event because it is a global agreement where countries from every part of the world have signed up to do their bit to combat climate change. Although aviation activity currently accounts for less than 5% of total CO2 emissions, every sector has to play its part, and this is especially true for the aviation sector where the level of activity is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead as aviation traffic increases in line with world economic growth”. World leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference – COP 21 – in Paris made very clear commitments to global action to combat climate change, in particular to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2°C, whilst pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to. 1.5°C. That meeting entrusted to ICAO the task of delivering an approach to tackling carbon emissions in aviation. ICAO has now responded to that challenge. As a result the aviation sector will be the first to adopt binding global carbon reduction targets.

Minister Ross added “This agreement is a key element of the response of the aviation community to the Paris Agreement. I am delighted to indicate that Ireland has taken a strong leadership role in this area. The agreement, which has been supported by all European Union States marks the culmination of years of work. A total of 65 countries, including Ireland, have committed to participation in the scheme from the initial voluntary phase commencing in 2021. It is not realistic to expect that every country can participate in the scheme from the start because of various developmental and technological reasons but Ireland and Europe are in that position and it is right that we back that up with a firm and decisive commitment to action to address the legitimate and vital objectives set out in the Paris Agreement last December.”

Ireland wins election to Council of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)

Minister Ross also welcomed Ireland’s successful election to the ICAO Council, the 36-member governing body of ICAO. “This is a very important and influential body in the field of international aviation and it has a pivotal role in developing worldwide aviation policies and practises. It will in particular have a key role to play in the coming years in overseeing the detailed implementation and mechanics of the new CO2 scheme. Ireland greatly appreciates the honour of being elected to ICAO’s governing body and is determined to make its voice heard in a telling and constructive way.”


Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport 01 604 1093 / 01 604 1090 | (Enable Javascript to see the email address)

Initial Publication Date: 07/10/2016

Press Release: Ministers announce a further €1.4 million in Dormant Accounts funding for sport

Ministers announce a further €1.4 million in Dormant Accounts funding for sport

| Tuesday 04 October 2016 |


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan TD, today announced a further investment package of €1.4 million in Dormant Accounts funding for sport.

Today’s investment follows the announcement of almost €1.5 million in Dormant Accounts funding for sport in July and €1 million for sports projects in North East Inner City Dublin last month.

The investment of €1.4 million is being allocated to National Physical Activity Plan measures for disadvantaged communities and will be administered by Sport Ireland.

Minister Ross said: “I am delighted to announce a further €1.4 million in funding for sport measures through the Dormant Accounts Fund, to go along with the €2.5 million already announced this year and my Department’s €47.3 million to Sport Ireland in 2016. This investment will support new and existing initiatives and will greatly contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and communities right across the country.” Minister O’Donovan said: “This funding will support the delivery of actions for disadvantaged communities under the National Physical Activity Plan. My Department has worked closely with Sport Ireland, the Local Sports Partnerships and National Governing Bodies for sport to ensure the comprehensive programme of initiatives resulting from this funding will give more people with disabilities and those from socially, economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity.”

Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Sport Ireland, said: “Following on from previous investment in Community Sport and Physical Activity Hubs we are already seeing the benefit to local communities and sports organisations. All of the initiatives funded under the Dormant Accounts Fund will make it easier for people to get involved in and engage in a more active and healthier lifestyle.”

Highlighting the initiatives’ contribution to the National Physical Activity Plan, John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland commented: “In line with the objectives of the National Physical Activity Plan, this investment allows Sport Ireland, in conjunction with the National Governing Bodies for Sport and the Local Sports Partnership, play a lead role in making sure that more people are more active on a regular basis.”


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Initial Publication Date: 04/10/2016

Press release: Ireland ‘candidate’ to host World Cup Rugby 2023

Ireland ‘candidate’ to host World Cup Rugby Finals 2023

| Tuesday 04 October 2016 |


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan TD, today welcomed the formal announcement from World Rugby that Ireland’s application to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 has progressed to the Candidate phase.

The Ministers noted that the Candidate phase of the process will commence on November 1. Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 is supported by Governments North and South and we will continue to support the bid during the next phase of the competition. Both Ministers have no doubt that Ireland’s array of stadia, established tourism infrastructure, strong transport links and vibrant economy will ensure that Ireland can stage a memorable World Cup in 2023.


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Press Release: Heroin, cannabis and cocaine on a par with alcohol

Heroin, cannabis and cocaine on a par with alcohol.

| Saturday 01 October 2016 |


Under new legislation Gardai will be able to conduct roadside tests if they suspect that motorists are driving under the influence of drugs. Speaking this week in the Dail as he announced the new Road Traffic Bill 2016, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD said: “The technology is now available to enable An Garda Siochana to test for drugs at the roadside, analogous to the way in which they already conduct roadside tests for alcohol.

Drivers who are caught with heroin, cannabis or cocaine above the specific threshold will face a fine of up to €5,000 or a maximum of six months in prison or both. This puts the presence of these three drugs in drivers on the same basis as the presence of alcohol.”

Mr Ross also noted that the Bill provides the essential underpinnings for these new measures by empowering the Medical Bureau of Road Safety to test for concentrations of the specified drugs and also empowering the Bureau to test and provide to An Garda Siochana the devices for roadside testing.

He said: “If anyone doubts that we need to take action in this area, I would advise them to have a look at the 2014 Annual Report of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, the latest such report available. This showed that 58% of the 1,158 specimens tested for drugs were positive for at least one drug. Even worse, the report also revealed that 53% of the specimens that tested positive for drugs tested positive for two or more drugs. What effect would that have on a driver? What kind of person gets behind the wheel in that state? If we cannot trust these people to act responsibly, we must act to give An Garda Siochana the tools to protect us from these people, and indeed to protect them from themselves.”

Mr Ross added: “Some people may argue that these new offences are excessive. They are not. These drugs can have a serious impact on ability to drive, and making their presence in drivers an offence is not more excessive than the law we already have for the presence of alcohol.”

A person convicted under the new provisions will also face a consequential disqualification from driving for a minimum of one year for a first offence and a minimum of two years in the case of a second or subsequent offence. This compares to a more complex table of disqualifications for the presence of alcohol, ranging from minimum of 6 months to a minimum of 6 years. The difference is due to the fact that alcohol limits are divided into a number of bands.

Disqualification under the existing drug driving laws for drug driving while impaired is a minimum disqualification of 4 years.


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Press Release: Ministers welcome CSO figures showing overseas visits are up by 12.3%

Ministers welcome CSO figures showing overseas visits are up by 12.3%.

| Thursday 29 September 2016 |


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan TD, today welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 12.3% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first eight months of 2016 compared to the same period of 2015. 

Commenting on the figures, Minister Ross said: ‘It is heartening for all those whose livelihoods depend on the tourism sector to know that Ireland’s appeal as a vibrant, welcoming and economical tourist destination continues to grow.

The figures today confirm an excellent first eight months of 2016 and summer period for Irish tourism, with all of our main overseas markets showing good growth levels. Visitors from North America are up 15.4% when compared to the same period in 2015. This is of great importance to the Irish tourism sector as visitors from North America tend to stay longer and spend more than the average visitor. I’m also very pleased to see an increase in visit numbers from our closest neighbour, Great Britain, an important and much valued guest.

The continued growth in overseas visit numbers is a clear signal that the policies being pursued by Government are the right ones to support the sector.

At a meeting of the Tourism Leadership Group last Monday (26th September), Minister O’Donovan and I reviewed progress on the Tourism Action Plan 2016-2018. My Department and the tourism agencies are working closely with the tourism industry to prepare effectively for an ever more competitive international tourism market, and I am pleased to note the considerable progress already made with regard to implementation of the Tourism Action Plan.’ Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:  

  • At over 6.5 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 12.3% in the first eight months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. For the three-month period from June to August 2016, overseas trips to Ireland also increased by 10.8%.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 11.2% for January to August 2016, to 2,309,000 visits and by 10.8% for the June to August period.
  • North America registered an increase of 15.4% for January – August 2016 (1,203,600 visits) and an increase of 13.2% in the June – August 2016 period;
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 13.4% for January – August 2016 (2,673,600 visits) and by 10.5% for the three months from June to August 2016 compared to the corresponding period of 2015.
  • Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 366,600 for the first eight months of 2016 (representing an increase of 2.7%) and increased by 4.7% for the three months from June to August.

Commenting on today’s statistics, Minister O’Donovan stated: ‘CSO data released today shows that, yet again, overseas visitors continue to come to our shores in record numbers. The number of visitors over the summer season increased by 10.8% when compared to the same period in 2015. The success of the tourism sector has led to real jobs with 220,000 people now employed in the tourism sector. While the peak summer season is now behind us, there are still many festivals to look forward to around the country.’

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘Today’s figures indicate that this was the best ever month of August for Irish tourism, with more than 1.125 million arrivals recorded. It was also the best January to August period for overseas visitors to Ireland, with more than 6.55 million arrivals, representing an increase of +12.3% – 718,600 additional overseas visitors when compared with the first eight months of 2015. Our aim is to ensure that 2016 is another record-breaking year for Irish tourism. We have seen exceptional results from North America for January to August – up +15.4% on the same eight-month period in 2015. I also welcome the strong increase in British visitors (+13.4%). Mainland Europe has also turned in a superb performance (+11%), with important markets like Italy, Spain, France and Benelux all recording really good growth. This was a strong performance and reflects the sentiment we are hearing from our travel partners overseas, including tour operators and carriers, as well as tourism businesses here at home. We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. Our extensive autumn campaign is in full swing – aimed at boosting late-season travel to Ireland from around the globe and keeping this momentum going.’

Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, welcomed today’s figures and emphasised: ‘These figures confirm that we are heading for a record year for Irish tourism in 2016. This performance underlines the importance of the tourism sector and the role that recent growth has played in the national recovery, particularly in terms of increased earnings and employment – with an estimated 220,000 people now employed in the industry.

The priority now must be to sustain this growth into the long term. This will need a continued favourable environment for tourism businesses on the ground and for air access into the country. Fáilte Ireland – through new brands such as the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East – is focused on significantly sharpening our overseas appeal but tourism businesses also have a part to play and must remain competitive if Ireland is to continue to be attractive to potential international visitors.’


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