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Implementing alignment, transport

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, announced that nominations had been sought from parties invited to participate in the Alignment Implementation Group (Dail Eireann, Debates, 5th February 2013, 17).  He told Willie O’Dea (FF, Limerick city) that the group would be chaired and managed by his department and comprise representatives from local government (the City and County Managers Association), Pobal and local development (the Irish Local Development Network).  It would be open to the group to invite other stakeholders to contribute as required.  The group would contribute to the practical arrangements necessary to give effect to the new local structures, including the socio-economic committees and support actions for the capacity building of the committees, local authorities and local development companies.  It would convene its first meeting shortly.


Meantime, the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Alan Kelly, told the Seanad that since April 2012 the National Transport Authority had been assigned responsibility for the integration of local and rural transport (Seanad Eireann, Debates, 12th February 2013, 46-9).  A new high-level transport committee had been established to manage a partnership approach and he expected it to present a number of projects over the coming months that would test the level of integration that could be achieved across school, Rural Transport Programme (RTP) and health services.  28 RTP groups were involved in working groups for integrated transport in some way.  Work was under way to determine the optimal structure for the delivery of rural transport, with discussions taking place between the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the City and County Managers Association and the Rural Transport Network in the context of aligning the new structure with the local authorities.  He hoped for agreement in the second half of the year.  The current structures of the RTP were not sustainable if required efficiencies and savings were to be achieved.  If they were not achieved, services would decline.