The National Roads Authority was established by the Roads Act 1993. Its functions are subject to directions and guidelines as may be given by the Minister. It is the duty of the Authority to secure the provision of a safe and efficient network of national roads.
For that purpose, it has overall responsibility for the planning and supervision of works for the construction and maintenance of national roads and such other functions in relation to construction and maintenance of national roads as are assigned by the act. In performance of its functions, the Authority is to consider the needs of all road users.
The Minister may by regulations assign to the Authority additional functions in relation to the construction and maintenance of roads from time to time as he considers appropriate.
The Authority may in relation to national roads or proposed national roads prepare and arrange preparation for the design, construction, programs of maintenance works and schemes for the provision of traffic signs. It may secure the carrying out of construction and maintenance works and the provision of facilities for the parking of cars.
It may allocate money and make money payments in relation to construction and maintenance. It may specify standards in relation to the construction and maintenance of roads. It may carry out or arrange to carry out or assist in carrying out training, research and testing activities in relation to any of its functions.
The Authority may provide any amenities and facilities including service areas, rest areas and laybys for the safety and convenience of road users. It may undertake landscaping, planting and similar activities in the interest of amenity and the environment. It may provide artistic features.
The Authority shall so far as possible arrange the functions above are performed in its behalf for the relevant road authority. However, what the Authority considers it would be more convenient, expeditious or effective or economical that the function can should be performed by it, it may do so.
No action or other proceeding shall lie or be maintainable against the Authority any committee delegate, performing functions delegated to it, a road authority or body providing services to the Authority for the recovery of damages in respect of personal injury, damage to property or other loss alleged to be caused or contributed to by failure of the Authority to perform or comply with any functions conferred in it.
The Authority shall not be liable for damage caused as a result of any failure to maintain a national road. Damage includes loss of property, life and personal injury.
Development consisting of works of any work by or with the direction of the Authority in relation to construction, maintenance of a national road or other public road or anything incidental to it is exempted development for the purpose of the Planning and Development Act. Accordingly, a grant of planning permission is not required. Other obligations may arise.
Where a decision is made to perform a function other than through a road authority, the Authority is empowered notwithstanding any other enactment to perform the function including acquisition of land for that purpose and doing things necessary for the purpose or performance of the function.
Land may be acquired by agreement or by compulsory acquisition made by the Authority and submitted for confirmation to the Minister. The relevant provisions in relation to compulsory acquisition apply. Prior to acquiring land, the Authority must obtain an independent valuation.
The Landlord and Tenant Acts do not apply to lettings by the Authority or any road authority performing its functions under the Act.
The Authority make direct a roads authority to
- make a motorway scheme and submit it for approval,
- make an application to the Minister for a bridge order,
- make a protected road scheme e
- acquire land by CPO,
- submit the CPO to the Minister for compulsory acquisition,
- prepare an environmental impact statement,
- prepare designs for specified construction or improvement works
- enter contracts for specified construction or maintenance works,
- undertake specified construction or maintenance works,
- prepare or arrange program of maintenance works,
- prepare or arrange preparation of a scheme for the provision of traffic signs, provides specified by traffic signs.
Notwithstanding other legislation the road authority must take the measures necessary to comply with the direction.
Before issuing a direction above in relation to works which would if carried out require contravention of the development plan or a special amenity order the Authority must publish notice in a newspapers circulating in the area, serve notice on the road authority where it is not the planning authority requesting its objections and representations if any and consider them before making the direction.
Prior to making a direction other than the above, the NRA must consult with the road authority concerned.
The Authority shall in accordance with terms and conditions specified by the Minister prepare programs and other documentations that may be required for the purpose of making or supporting an application to the European Union for financial assistance whether by way of grants or loans in respect of national roads.
It must be submitted to the Minister for approval. He may approve this with modifications, approve it or refuse approval. The Authority shall with the consent of the Minister assist in promoting the case for a financial assistance by the EU in respect of national roads.
The Authority may make recommendations in writing to a planning authority in relation to any of its road functions as to the content of the development plan and such recommendations shall be considered by the planning authority. In performing functions in relation to the construction and/or improvement of national roads, the Authority shall consider the proper planning and development of the area where the road is situated consider the effects the works would have on the environment of the area concerned and have regard to the provisions of the development plan any special amenity order or preservation order.
Where in the performance of its functions, the NRA proposes that a national road be constructed along a particular alignment and the appropriate road authority objects to that alignment, the road authority may make representations which the Authority must take into account. If the agreement is not reached, the road authority may make representations to the Minister. The making of representations is a reserved function.
The Authority may make recommendations to the Garda Commissioner in relation to the performance of its function under the Road Traffic Act. The Commissioner shall have regard to the recommendations and the performance of its function. The Minister shall consult with the Authority before making an order in relation to a national road under the Road Traffic Act, making regulations under the provisions of the RTA or making regulations in relation to national roads.
The Minister may make grants he thinks fit as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance out of monies provided by the Oireachtas towards the capital and current expenditure of the Authority. The grant shall be made having regard to the maintenance requirements of national roads.
The Authority has power to borrow money with the consent of the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Finance. Its maximum aggregate borrowings under the original legislation was £500 million. The Minister of Finance after consulting with the Minister may guarantee he borrowing. Monies may be advanced from the Central Fund to the Authority.
The Minister is to appoint the members of the Authority. There should be between 10 and 14 members. Each member shall be a person who has wide experience in competence in relation to road, transport, industrial, commercial, financial, environmental, local government, the organization of workers or administration.
The terms of office is up to five years. The person holds office on such terms as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance determines. The chairman or other members may be paid such remuneration if any or allowances as are determined by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance. Members whose term of offices expire shall be eligible for reappointment.
The chief executive is appointed by the Minister. He shall hold office on such terms and subject to such remuneration as a Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance may determine.
The Authority may appoint employees in such number with the consent of the Minister and the Minister of Finance as is determined. There was provision for transfer of staff of public authorities to the Authority on its establishment in December 1993. There are provisions for continuity of the terms and conditions of employment and pension scheme.
The Authority may contract for services including services of staff on such terms as may be agreed. The road authority may provide services including services of staff to the Minister and other road authority. Any public authority may provide services to the Authority including services of staff, required for the performance of the Authority’s function.
The usual restrictions on members of the Authority being members of House of Oireachtas or European parliament apply. The members of the Authority shall not also be members of a local Authority.
There are the usual provisions for superannuation and pension arrangements.
Members of the Authority and other persons performing functions or employees must declare any interest they have. It includes an interest in land, dealings or a profession or occupation which may conflict with the activity of the Authority. The register of interests must be available for inspection at the headquarters of the Authority during office hours. A copy may be obtained by any person in payment of a fee.