Dáil Éireann - Volume 412 - 05 November, 1991

Written Answers. - Public Transport Accident Investigations.

18. Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications if he will review arrangements in relation to the investigation of serious public transport accidents; and if he has satisfied himself that such inquiries and investigations should only be carried out by the public transport company.

Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications (Mr. S. Brennan): I am confining my answer to the investigation of rail and aircraft accidents which fall within my direct area of responsibility. The Minister for the Environment has responsibility for the investigation of road accidents and the Minister for the Marine has responsibility for the investigation of marine accidents.

Iarnród Éireann investigate all railway accidents and subsequently submit reports to my Department. These reports are examined by the railway inspecting officer who may inspect accident locations and seek additional information regarding the circumstances of accidents. The railway inspecting officer makes recommendations to prevent similar accidents in the future.

In addition, under the Railways Acts, I am empowered to appoint an inspector to conduct public inquiries or investigations into serious railway accidents. There is also provision in the Act for the appointment of any person or persons [58] possessing legal or specialist knowledge to assist the inspector.

In regard to aircraft accidents, the Air Navigation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations, 1957, set out the arrangements which apply to the investigation of aircraft accidents which occur in or over the State. Under these Regulations, I am empowered to appoint an inspector of accidents to investigate accidents covered by the regulations. I am also empowered to direct the holding of a public inquiry into any such accidents.

I am satisfied with the existing arrangements regarding the investigation of railway and aircraft accidents.