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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 962-981
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Ministerial Adviser Appointments
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Issues
 Header Item Ministerial Expenditure
 Header Item Ministerial Adviser Appointments
 Header Item Ministerial Transport
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Broadband Services Provision
 Header Item Labour Court Recommendations
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Issues
 Header Item NewERA Remit
 Header Item Departmental Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Hydraulic Fracturing Policy
 Header Item Petroleum and Gas Exploration

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 962-981

Appointments to State Boards

 962. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the total number of board appointees he has made since he came to office; the names, salaries and expenses of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37353/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I wish to advise the Deputy that since taking office on 9th March 2011 I have made 35 appointments to the boards of bodies under the aegis of my Department and the Minister of State, Deputy O’ Dowd, T.D., has made 10 appointments. Details of the 45 appointments are set out below together with details of the remuneration which may be paid in respect of such appointments.

  The Deputy will be aware that the One Person One Salary policy introduced by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform provides that serving public sector employees are not eligible to receive remuneration in relation to their membership of boards of State bodies. The Deputy will also be aware that non-public sector board members may choose to voluntarily waive their fees as a matter of personal choice in recognition of the current difficult economic circumstances. Both of these policy initiatives of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform have been brought to the attention of the bodies under the aegis of my Department. Consequently, the remuneration details in the table below refer to fees that may be payable and are not indicative of fees actually being received by board members. The payment of board members’ expenses is an operational matter for each State body.

  In addition since these appointments were made one of the members of the board of SEAI, Michael Conlon, has resigned.

  TABLE

Body Appointee Fee Band
An Post Mr Donal Connell

Mr James Wrynn

Mr Paul Henry
Category 1

Chair: €31,500

Director: €15,750
Bord na Móna

Ms Denise Cronin

Mr. John Horgan

Ms Elaine Treacy
Category 2

Chair: €21,600

Director: €12,600
EirGrid

Dr Gary Healy

Ms Regina Moran

Mr Liam O’Halloran

Ms Bride Rosney

Ms Doireann Barry*
Category 2

Chair: €21,600

Director: €12,600
ESB Ms Noreen Wright

Mr Seamus Mallon
Category 1

Chair: €31,500

Director: €15,750
Irish National Petroleum Corporation (INPC)

Mr Sean Fitzgerald

Mr Vincent Caffrey

Ms Aoife MacEvilly

Mr Aidan Donnelly
Category 2

Chair: €21,600

Director: €12,600
National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA)

Ms Aoife MacEvilly Category 4

Chair: €8,978

Director: €5,985
TG4

Mr. Micheál Seoighe

Ms. Mairéad Ní Cheoinín

Mr. Joe Connolly

Mr. Des Geraghty

Ms. Andrēa Ní Ēalaithe

Ms Mairead Nic Suibhne

Ms. Michelle Ní Chróinín

Siún Ní Raghallaigh
Category 2

Chair: €21,600

Director: €12,600
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

Ms Julie O’Neill

Mr. Edgar Morgenroth

Mr. Michael Conlon

Ms. Anne Farrell

Mr. Declan Waugh

Ms. Michelle Green

Mr. Brian Carroll
Category 3

Chair: €11,970

Director: €7,695
Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA)

Mr. Paul Holden

Mr. Seamus Ratigan
Category 3

Chair: €11,970

Director: €7,695
Ordnance Survey Ireland OSI

Mr. Ronan O’Reilly

Ms. Anne Butler

Mr. Robin Simpson

Dr. Enda Howley

Dr. Denis Keliher

Ms. Marion Coy

Mr. Justin Gleeson

Ms Sandra Ryan

Mr. Padraic Jordan

Mr. Oliver Hickey
Category 3

Chair: €11,970

Director: €7,695


*No fee applicable

Departmental Expenditure

 963. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will detail, in tabular form, the total photography costs for his Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37369/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table below. The booking of photographers is managed by the Department’s Press Office in each case.

  Photography Costs: Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, February 2011 - August 2012 inclusive.

Company Event Date Occasions Cost €
Maxwell Photography 13/06/2011 Government convenes Next Generation Broadband Taskforce 340.92
Maxwell Photography 27/07/2011 Age Action Silver Surfer Launch (pre shoot) 274.97
Maxwell Photography 23/09/2011 Minister Rabbitte stock photos available for widespread media use 409.58
Maxwell Photography 24/10/2011 Minister Rabbitte welcomes EU Commission Telecoms specialists to Dublin 552.67
- (1) 16/11/11 Launch of Irish Anti Botnet Website (anti cyber crime initiative)  
Maxwell Photography (2) 27/11/11 Publication of the Government’s Affordable Energy Strategy 1,052.70
Fennell Photography 09/12/2011 Cunningham Awards, Geological Survey of Ireland, University Geology Project Competition Awards 510.75
Jason Clarke Photography 10/01/2012 Launch of Community Outreach Campaign - Digital TV Switchover 492.00
Jason Clarke Photography 13/01/2012 Launch of SMS 112 Emergency Service 492.00
Jason Clarke Photography 06/02/2012 Nationwide rollout of high speed broadband to second level schools 492.00
Jason Clarke Photography 01/03/2012 Minister Rabbitte launches Digital Outreach programme 492.00
Maxwell Photography 02/05/2012 Next Generation Broadband Taskforce Launch 485.85
Jason Clarke Photography 28/05/2012 Launch of Renewable Energy Strategy Report 492.00
Jason Clarke Photography 22/08/2012 Conjugate Margins Conference (Petroleum) 492.00
Jason Clarke Photography 30/08/2012 Launch of National Broadband Plan 492.00
- - Total €7,071.44

Departmental Expenditure

 964. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will detail in tabular form the total cost of providing entertainment for his Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which entertainment was provided; the entertainers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion; if there is a policy regarding the booking of entertainers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37441/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte No entertainment has been provided for my Department since I came into office. There is no specific policy regarding the booking of entertainers but it is not intended to incur any expenditure under this heading unless the Deputy has worthwhile proposals from experience that he would like me to consider.

Departmental Expenditure

 965. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the amount spent on food and drink by his Department; if he will provide a breakdown of what this involved; the occasions on which food and drink was provided; those present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37457/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  My Department’s spending on official entertainment adheres to the policy set out in circular 25/2000; the strictest economy is observed and the expenditure on Irish public officials is incidental to that of other persons that the Department is required to host during the ordinary conduct of its business. Similarly in relation to meetings and conference costs, refreshments are generally only provided where delegations or external stakeholders are being hosted.

In 2011 expenditure on official entertainment was €5,364. The majority of this amount, €4,398, was related to the visit of a foreign delegation of 12 from the International Energy Agency involved in conducting a review of Ireland’s energy policy. The sum was spent on the provision of meeting facilities, incidentals, tea, coffee and meals for 5 full days and an official dinner. In addition to the official entertainment costs, approximately €13,800 from the Department’s budget for meetings and conferences was spent on refreshments (water, tea, coffee etc).

So far in 2012 my Department has spent €836 on official entertainment. Costs associated with providing refreshments at meetings and conferences have totalled approximately €6,494 to date. Given the large volume of meetings, conference and events and the public nature of some of these it is not possible to give a detailed breakdown of what was involved or who was present.

Departmental Expenditure

 966. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the amount spent on hair and make-up by his Department since he came to office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37473/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  My Department incurred no expenditure on hair and make-up over the period in question.

Ministerial Adviser Appointments

 967. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the number and names of all special advisers, special press advisers, or any other type of Ministerial adviser in his Department; the name of the Minister / Minister of State to whom he reports; the salary of each advisor now; the salary of each advisor at the time they were appointed; if any salary increase was asked for; if this was granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37489/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte There are two Special Advisers, Mr Finbarr O’Malley and Mr Simon Nugent, employed in my Department. Both were appointed by the Government, on my behalf, with effect from 28 March 2011 and 11 April 2011 respectively. My Department requested sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to appoint my Special Advisers at salary rates commensurate with their previous remuneration. Sanction was granted to appoint Mr O’Malley at a salary rate of €83,337 per annum and Mr Nugent at a salary rate of €97,200 per annum. Mr O’Malley was awarded an increment on the Principal Officer Standard pay scale with effect from 28 March 2012, following one year’s satisfactory performance in the post, bringing his current salary to €86,604. This is line with the terms of his appointment. Mr Nugent’s salary has not increased as it is not linked to a pay scale and the awarding of increments does not apply in his case.

Consultancy Contracts Issues

 968. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will provide detail in tabular form of the names of all external public relations and consultancy persons and organisations used by his Department for the years 2011 and 2010; the amount paid to each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37505/12]

 970. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will detail in tabular form the amount paid on external public relations and communications consultants since February 2011; the reason for the payment; the name of each organisation used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37538/12]

 971. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will detail in tabular form the amount paid to consultants since February 2011; the name of each organisation used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37554/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I propose to take Questions Nos. 968, 970 and 971 together.

  The total amount of expenditure by my Department from its consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews budget in the years 2010 and 2011 and for the first eight months of 2012 is set out in table 1.

  My Department administers a very diverse and complex brief, and procurement of specialist consultancy advice is necessary to enable the Department to discharge its responsibility in this regard. This includes major projects such as an intensive and nationwide campaign on Digital Switchover, strategic review of oil refining capability, complex telecommunications contracts such as the MANs and the National Broadband Scheme, and oversight of compliance with the Corrib consent conditions (the cost of which is recouped from the developer). In procuring these specialised services, my Department always seeks to ensure value for money and the keeping of expenditure to the minimum necessary. In this regard, the Deputy might note that expenditure from my Department’s consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews budget has reduced from €2.249m in 2008 to €1.372m in 2011.

  The Department also necessarily incurs some expenditure on outsourced services as part of programme expenditure, an element of which is consultancy in nature. The overall spend for this consultancy element is set out in table 2.

  My Department will continue to keep spending on all consultancies to a minimum consistent with ensuring the necessary expertise is available to discharge the Department’s wide and complex brief.

  Details of expenditure on consultancy is set out in the tables.

  Table 1.

Period 2010 2011 Jan – 12 Sep 2012
Amount €1.257m €1.372m €0.539m


  Table2
Period 2010 2011 Jan – 12 Sep 2012
Amount €0.675m €1.338m €0.975m


Administrative Consultancy Expenditure in 2010:

Consultant Purpose Amount

Communications - -
Norcontel (Ireland) Ltd Supervision of testing of new ECAS system 95,541.60
PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS Liberalisation of Irish Postal Services Market 15,125.00
Economic and Social Research Institute ESRI Programme of Research in Communications 75,000.00
    185,666.60
Broadcasting - -
Indecon Review of designated events of public importance 73,386.49
Energy - -
Steelhenge Crisis and Risk consulting Energy Emergency Arrangements (Avogadro) 5,545.91
Eric van Rongen Report on Health Issues re HVDC Cable Technology 3,630.75
A & L Goodbody Solicitors Legal Advice 65,037.50
IBI Corporate Finance Financial Advice 98,800.00
Fergus B Cahill Independent Chairman of Elec Trans Assets Analysis 6,464.64
Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment NI Energy Emergency Arrangements (Refund) -1,476.27
    176,002.53
Natural Resources - -
Keane Offshore Integrity Ltd Corrib Verification Process 74,421.97
Committee Members Consent Conditions Monitoring Committee 9,512.02
David Fox Associates Petroleum Engineering Support 210,421.98
Clare Morgan Geophysicist Consultancy 65,342.90
AEA TECHNOLOGY plc Assessing of EIS according to Section40 Apps 5,155.35
AMEC Environment & Infrastructure UK Ltd (Entec)   145,204.99
Environ uk ltd Assessment of Corrib Gas Pipeline 91,799.18
Mr. Ben Dhonau Provision of Specialist Geoscience Advice 35,723.13
    637,581.52
Corporate Support - -
KPMG Financial Advisor to DCENR 157,300.00
Murray Consultants Ltd. Media Services 12,206.42
Ernst & Young Financial Advice 12,402.50
Committee Members DCENR Audit Committee 2,736.00
    184,644.92
- - 1,257,282.06


  Programme Consultancy Expenditure in 2010:
Consultant Purpose Amount

Subhead B1 – ICT Programmes - -
Mason Communications NBS Consultancy 95,538.96
Magnum Opus Interim MSE 144,741.60
  MANs Phase 2 Project Management 132,297.48
Magnum Opus MSE Process Management 80,150.40
    452,728.44
Subhead C5 – Grants to DTT - -
Behaviour & Attitudes Limited DTT 49,912.50
Subhead E1 – Petroleum Services - -
Xodus Group Strategic Environmental Assessments 150,631.89
Subhead E2 – Mining Services - -
(AEGIS MEDIA IRL) Brindley Advertising Ltd. Avoca Mine Public Meeting 1,575.37
CDM (Camp Dresser & Mc Kee Irl Ltd) Avoca Mine Public Meeting - Support 12,705.00
Cantab Consulting Advice in relation to closure of Galmoy Mine 7,893.38
    22,173.75
- - 675,446.58


  Administrative Consultancy Expenditure in 2011:
Consultancy Purpose Amount €
Communications - -
Deloitte & Touche Communications Policy Consultancy 45,919.50
Economic and Social Research Institute ESRI Programme of Research in Communications 75,000.00
PA Consulting Group National Digital Research Centre 29,040.00
    149,959.50
Energy - -
Purvin & Gertz  Inc Strategic Case for Oil Refining Requirements 154,688.65
Fergus B Cahill Independent Chairman of Elec Trans Assets Analysis 1,446.36
IBI Corporate Finance Financial Advice on Elec Transmission Asset Review 18,150.00
OHH Energy Independent Commission Meath Tyrone Power Lines 36,109.29
2B Energy Independent Commission Meath Tyrone Power Lines 32,284.71
Elimark AB Independent Commission Meath Tyrone Power Lines 34,134.85
    276,813.86
Natural Resources - -
SLR Consulting ( Ireland Ltd Core Library Holdings Review 39,688.00
Jenny Deakin GWPS 1,750.00
Arthur Cox Solicitor Legal Advice on the Corrib Gas Pipeline 161,297.04
Arthur Cox Solicitor PAD - Legal Advice in Relation to Seven Heads Gas Field 2,420.00
David Fox Associates Petroleum Engineering Support 181,254.74
Clare Morgan Geophysicist Consultancy 64,904.40
Keane Offshore Integrity Ltd Corrib Verification Process 141,733.26
Committee Members Consent Conditions Monitoring Committee 538.05
AMEC Environment & Infrastructure UK Ltd (Entec) Assessment of Corrib Gas Pipeline 22,918.94
Environ uk ltd Assessment of Corrib Gas Pipeline 14,928.81
Environ uk ltd Monitoring of Corrib Gas Consent Conditions 99,352.95
    730,786.19
Corporate Support - -
Murray Consultants Ltd Media Services 8,349.00
KPMG Fees Account Financial Advisor to DCENR (KPMG Secondment) 133,100.00
Iron Mountain P&T Pension Consultancy 30,430.19
Ernst & Young Financial Advice 12,402.50
Dept of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Irish Commitment to Reducing Admin Budget by 25% 14,000.00
Committee Members Consultancy to Audit Committee 4,446.00
Ronan Tierney (Tierney & Associates ) Temporary Head of IAU 11,560.34
    214,288.03
- - 1,371,847.58


  Programme Consultancy Expenditure in 2011:
Consultant Purpose Amount

Subhead B1 – ICT Programmes - -
PA Consulting Implementation of National Post Codes System 339,942.24
Magnum Opus Ltd MSE for Contract Management 66,792.00
Magnum Opus Ltd Interim MSE Costs 50,062.00
Analysys Mason Ltd. NBS Consultancy 207,826.97
    664,623.21
Subhead C5 – Grants to DTT - -
Latinollo Ltd (Trading as McConnell’s) National Digital Switchover Campaign 574,897.18
Subhead E1 – Petroleum Services - -
Xodus Group   76,353.86
Fugro Survey Ltd IOSEA 4 (Irish Offshore) 805.67
    77,159.53
Subhead E2 – Mining Services - -
Dr. Michael Johnson Silvermines Vegetation Study

1,210.00
Dr. Michael Johnson Silvermines Vegetation Management Review 5,848.68
CDM (Camp Dresser & Mc Kee Irl Ltd) Sampling of Gortmore and Silvermines Vegetation 13,890.80
    20,949.48
- - 1,337,629.40


  Administrative Consultancy Expenditure in 2012:
Consultancy Purpose Amount €
Communications - -
Deloitte & Touche Procurement Advice on Sensitive Comms Issue 12,054.00
Indecon National Broadband Plan 28,167.00
Analysys Mason Ltd. National Broadband Plan 30,522.45
    70,743.45
Energy - -
Purvin & Gertz  Inc Strategic Case for Oil Refining Requirements 39,311.55
Kylemore Services Security of Ireland’s Access to Commercial Oil Supplies 367.50
Reidy Brophy Limited Security of Ireland’s Access to Commercial Oil Supplies 7,100.00
OHH Energy Independent Commission Meath Tyrone Power Lines 5,012.57
Elimark AB Independent Commission Meath Tyrone Power Lines 4,653.36
    56,444.98
Natural Resources - -
Petroleum Infratructure Programme Fund Petroleum Engineering Support 3,780.00
David Fox Associates Petroleum Engineering Support 95,851.23
Clare Morgan Petroleum Engineering Support 6,918.75
Clare Morgan Geophysicist Consultancy 41,272.65
Keane Offshore Integrity Ltd Corrib Verification Process 42,604.00
Committee Members Consent Conditions Monitoring Committee 2,174.19
Environ uk ltd Monitoring of Corrib Gas Consent Conditions 117,828.48
    310,429.30
Corporate Support - -
KPMG Fees Account Financial Advisor to DCENR 12,129.17
Pricewaterhouse Coopers Financial Advisor to DCENR 49,200.00
Cloda Ryan Pension Advisor Services 3,439.47
Committee Members Consultancy to Audit Committee 1,368.00
Tierney & Associates Temporary Head of IAU 35,738.88
    101,875.52
- - 539,493.25


  Programme Consultancy Expenditure in 2012:
Consultant Purpose Amount

Subhead A3 – ICT Programmes - -
Analysys Mason Ltd. National Broadband Scheme 41,737.80
Analysys Mason Ltd. Kelvin Project 6,157.66
Mason Hayes & Curran Post Codes 25,719.30
PA Consulting Post Codes 140,367.60
    213,982.36
Subhead A5 – Information Society and eInclusion - -
VBF Technology Cyber Security 26,773.60
UCD CCI Cyber Security 41,010.98
    67,784.58
Subhead B7– Grants For Digital Terrestrial Television   -
Latinollo Ltd. (Trading as McConnell’s) Digital Switchover Campaign 681,328.40
    Subhead D3 – Petroleum Services
Xodus Group Ltd. Scientific and Environmental Assessment of the Irish and Celtic Seas 12,151.32
- - 975,246.66

Ministerial Expenditure

 969. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the gross annual salary costs for his private and constituency offices at present; the same figures for this time last year; the same figures for any Ministers of State in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37522/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The total gross annual salary costs of the private offices and constituency offices of Ministers and Ministers of State are outlined in the tables.

- Minister’s Private Office
- Annual Salary Cost
September 2011 €406,562
September 2012 €436,900
- Minister’s Constituency Office
- Annual Salary Cost
September 2011 €161,269
September 2012 €190,499
- Minister of State’s Private Office
- Annual Salary Cost
September 2011 €129,729*
September 2012 €70,930*
- Minister of State’s Constituency Office
- Annual Salary Cost
September 2011 €109,434
September 2012 €103,154
  The staffing complement in all cases is within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Guidelines.

* A new Private Secretary to the Minister of State was appointed in July 2012. As the new Private Secretary is an employee of Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, to which Department the Minister of State is also assigned, the salary costs borne for by that Department.

  Questions Nos. 970 and 971 answered with Question No. 968.

Ministerial Adviser Appointments

 972. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the political activities of each special adviser, special press advisers, or any other type of ministerial adviser in his Department; if any of them were members of a political party; if so the parties to which they belonged; if any of them are or have been elected local authority members; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37570/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The restrictions under the terms of the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour on civil servants engaging in political activity do not apply to Special Advisers and they can engage in political activity or join political parties if they wish. These are not matters for which my Special Advisers are accountable to me under their contracts of employment.

Ministerial Transport

 973. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the amount spent by his Department on drivers and ministerial transport since February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37586/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Since the formation of the new government in March 2011 and the revised transport arrangements for Ministers introduced in May 2011, the total cost incurred in the provision of transport to the Minister and Minister of State at my Department amounts to €260,076.25 to date. This amount consists of salary costs of €221,709.25 (including employer’s PRSI) for four civilian drivers and €38,367 mileage expenses for official travel undertaken by the Minister and Minister of State. As stated by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the decision to discontinue the provision of State cars for Cabinet Ministers (with the exception of An Taoiseach, An Tánaiste and the Minister for Justice) has reduced the cost to the Exchequer on average by 65%.

Departmental Reports

 974. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the total amount spent since February 2011 on external reports commissioned by his Department, including payments from ministerial allowances, details of the consultants employed and costs of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37618/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I wish to advise the Deputy that the total expenditure from February 2011 to date on external reports commissioned by my Department is €575,042 and details of the consultants responsible for these external reports are set out in tabular form. The complex and diverse nature of my Department’s brief requires use of outside consultants. The bulk of these studies referred to below are technical and specialist in nature and were necessary to enable the Department to discharge its responsibilities in the areas concerned. I have set out in a separate reply extensive details of expenditure on consultancy services by my Department and the context in which these arise. The reports listed below formed subsidiary elements of those services in a number of instances.

  Payments from Ministerial allowances are not a charge on my Department’s Vote and are not a matter for my Department.

Consultancy Name Purpose of Consultancy Cost €
Dr Michael Johnson Silvermines Vegetation Study 5,848
Camp Dresser McKee CDM Sampling of Gortmore and Silvermines Vegetation 13,890
Purvin & Gertz Strategic Case for Oil Refining requirements 193,997
PA Consulting Group National Digital Research Centre 29,040
OHH Energy Ltd Independent Commission on Meath Tyrone Power Line 41,120
Elimark Independent Commission on Meath Tyrone Power Line 38,786
2B Energy Independent Commission on Meath Tyrone Power Line 32,284
Indecon Economic Consultants Economic/Socio-Economic Analysis of options for rollout of next generation broadband 28,167
SLR Consulting Core Library Holdings Review 39,688
Jenny Deakin Preparation for the Graigue Group Water Scheme Report 1,750
Xodus Group Ltd Scientific environmental assessment of the Irish and Celtic Seas (SEA) 88,463
Environ UK Ltd Review of the 2010 Corrib Gas Pipeline EIS Submission 31,487
Analysys Mason Analysis of options for potential State intervention in the rollout of next generation broadband 30,522

Broadband Services Provision

 975. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the broadband options available to persons (details supplied) in County Mayo; when will the broadband be made available through the rural broadband service; if is it possible to connect to the Atlantic fibre optic cable; and if so, the cost of doing so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37702/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Ireland’s telecommunications market has been liberalised since 1999 and since then has developed into a well-regulated market, supporting a multiplicity of commercial operators, providing services over a diverse range of technology platforms. Details of broadband services available on a county-by-county basis can be found on the Commission for Communications Regulation’s (ComReg) website at www.callcosts.ie.

  The Government has undertaken a number of initiatives to bring broadband to those parts of the country where commercial operators have been unable to offer services on a commercial basis. In the case of one such intervention, namely the National Broadband Scheme (NBS), services are available to 1,028 Electoral Divisions (ED) including 112 EDs in County Mayo, which are listed in Appendix I. The Rural Broadband Scheme (RBS) was launched last year in recognition of the fact that despite the widespread availability of broadband throughout Ireland, there still remained individual premises that were unable to receive broadband provision. This Scheme is aimed at making a basic broadband service available to un-served premises in rural non-NBS areas.

  My Department received 49 eligible applications from County Mayo. The details of applicants have been passed to the commercial operators participating in the Scheme. The names of these companies and the area where they operate can be found on the following link:

http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Communications/Communications+Development/Rural+Broadband+Scheme/Participating+Internet+Service+Providers.htm.

  The companies involved have now sought to provide services to applicants over the period from April to the end of July 2012 and are in the process of providing data to the Department on connections. Where a commercial service is offered the State cannot intervene. I await the outcome of this phase of the scheme.

  The question of obtaining a connection directly to an undersea fibre optic cable is not a matter in which I have any function. It would be a commercial matter to be pursued with the owners and operators of the cables in question and any telecommunications operator who wishes to interconnect with the cable separately. I can confirm that my Department has sought EU State Aids clearance, to provide new fibre optic cables in ducts owned by the State from Galway to Mayo. It is expected that this infrastructure will enhance broadband services in the region generally.

  While basic broadband services are available throughout Ireland, the challenge now is to accelerate the roll out of high speed services. This Government’s recently published National Broadband Plan entitled “Delivering a Connected Society – A National Broadband Plan for Ireland” aims to facilitate the provision of high speed broadband to every home and business in the State over the lifetime of the Government.

  The plan has the following headline targets:

70Mbps - 100Mbps to more than half of the population by 2015;

At least 40Mbps, and in many cases much faster speeds, to at least a further 20% of the population and potentially as much as 35% around smaller towns and villages; and

A minimum of 30Mbps for every remaining home and business in the country – no matter how rural or remote.

  As a first step in this plan, my Department will engage with the commercial service providers to identify those parts of the country which the commercial market will serve. This task will be essential to avoid displacing investments already made and being planned by the commercial service providers. The exercise is also required in order to meet EU Commission State Aid requirements.

  Thereafter a public procurement will be announced to provide minimum levels of high speed broadband services across the country.

  Electoral Divisions (ED) Covered by the NBS in County Mayo

ADDERGOOLE  ED 157002
AGHAGOWER NORTH  ED 157003
AGHAGOWER SOUTH  ED 157004
AGHAMORE  ED 157005
AILLEMORE  ED 157006
AN GEATA MOR THEAS  ED 157007
AN GEATA MOR THUAIDH  ED 157008
ARDNAREE NORTH  ED 157010
ATTYMASS EAST  ED 157012
ATTYMASS WEST  ED 157013
BALLINCHALLA  ED 157019
BALLYCASTLE  ED 157022
BALLYCROY NORTH  ED 157023
BALLYCROY SOUTH  ED 157024
BALLYNAGORAHER  ED 157028
BALLYOVEY  ED 157029
BALLYSAKEERY  ED 157030
BANGOR  ED 157031
BARROOSKY  ED 157032
BEKAN  ED 157033
BELDERGMORE  ED 157034
BELMULLET ED 157036
BOHOLA  ED 157037
BRACKLOON  ED 157038
BUNAVEELA  ED 157040
BUNDORRAGHA  ED 157041
BURRISCARRA  ED 157043
CALLOW  ED 157044
CAPPAGHDUFF  ED 157045
CARAUN  ED 157046
CARROWMORE  ED 157047
CLARE ISLAND  ED 157050
CLOGHER  ED 157052
CLOGHER  ED 157053
CLOGHERMORE  ED 157054
CLOONMORE  ED 157056
COOLNAHA  ED 157058
COONARD  ED 157059
CORRAUN ACHILL  ED 157060
COURSE  ED 157061
CROAGHMOYLE  ED 157062
CROAGHPATRICK  ED 157063
CROSSMOLINA SOUTH  ED 157066
CUILDOO ED 157067
CULNACLEHA  ED 157068
DALGAN  ED 157069
DEEL  ED 157070
DERRY  ED 157071
DERRYLOUGHAN  ED 157072
DOOCASTLE  ED 157073
DOOEGA  ED 157074
DRUMMIN  ED 157075
ERRIFF  ED 157077
FORTLAND  ED 157078
GARRYMORE  ED 157079
GLENAMOY  ED 157080
GLENCASTLE  ED 157081
GLENCO  ED 157082
GLENHEST  ED 157083
GOOLAMORE  ED 157084
HOLLYMOUNT  ED 157085
HOUNDSWOOD  ED 157086
ISLANDEADY  ED 157087
KILBEAGH  ED 157088
KILCOMMON  ED 157090
KILFIAN EAST  ED 157091
KILFIAN SOUTH  ED 157092
KILFIAN WEST  ED 157093
KILGARVAN  ED 157094
KILGEEVER  ED 157095
KILKELLY  ED 157096
KILLALA  ED 157097
KILLAVALLY  ED 157098
KILLEDAN  ED 157099
KILMACLASSER  ED 157100
KILMAINE  ED 157101
KILMEENA  ED 157102
KILSALLAGH  ED 157104
KILVINE  ED 157106
KNAPPAGH  ED 157107
KNOCK SOUTH  ED 157109
KNOCKADAFF  ED 157110
KNOCKNALOWER  ED 157111
LACKAN NORTH  ED 157112
LACKAN SOUTH  ED 157113
LETTERBRICK  ED 157114
MAYO  ED 157118
MEELICK  ED 157119
MOUNT FALCON  ED 157120
MUINGNABO  ED 157121
MUINGS  ED 157122
MURNEEN  ED 157123
NEALE  ED 157124
NEWBROOK  ED 157125
NEWPORT EAST  ED 157126
NEWPORT WEST  ED 157127
OWENBRIN  ED 157128
OWENNADORNAUN  ED 157129
PORTROYAL  ED 157131
RATHHILL  ED 157132
RATHOMA  ED 157133
ROSLEE  ED 157134
SALLYMOUNT  ED 157135
SHESKIN  ED 157136
SHRULE  ED 157137
SLIEVEMAHANAGH  ED 157138
SONNAGH  ED 157140
SRAHMORE  ED 157142
TAGHEEN  ED 157145
TAWNYNAGRY  ED 157146
TOOCANANAGH  ED 157147
TUMGESH  ED 157149

Labour Court Recommendations

 976. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will supply a list of all Labour Court recommendations that have been issued in respect of his Department and organisations under his aegis that have not been complied with in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37749/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte My Department, since its formation in June 2007, has had no involvement with the Labour Court. Information in respect of bodies and agencies under the aegis of my Department is a day to day matter for those organisations and my Department does not have the information sought by the Deputy. I will, however, request the relevant Agencies and bodies under the aegis of my Department to respond directly to the Deputy in the matter.

Departmental Agencies Issues

 977. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding setting up a new agency called smartgrid which will incorporate EirGrid and ESB Networks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37821/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte In July 2011, the Government decided that, in the context of the EU Third Energy Package, the ownership of the electricity transmission network is to remain with ESB while the operation and development of the transmission network will continue to be the responsibility of EirGrid. Ownership and operation of the electricity distribution network will remain with ESB. ESB Networks owns the transmission and distribution networks.

As part of the State Assets disposal programme, the Government has decided to dispose of some of ESB’s non-strategic power generation capacity. ESB will remain a vertically integrated utility, positioned more competitively in the all island energy market and in due course in the integrated European Market. The Government has reiterated its commitment to retaining the electricity networks in State ownership as national strategic infrastructure, critical for the delivery of secure, sustainable and competitive energy supplies. There are therefore no plans to proceed with setting up a new agency to incorporate EirGrid and ESB Networks.

NewERA Remit

 978. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding plans and proposals to merge Bord na Móna and Coillte; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37822/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Government has established the NewERA shareholder executive as a business unit within the NTMA. Its functions include the corporate governance from a shareholder perspective of a number of commercial State companies including Bord na Móna and Coillte.

The Government is also progressing a programme of State asset disposals, including consideration of the sale of certain Coillte assets (excluding the sale of land), which is likely to include sale of harvesting rights to Coillte’s forests. Work is currently underway, with advice from NewERA, on considering how to structure such a sale transaction, which includes consideration of the implications of such a potential sale for the future role and structure of Coillte.

My Department, along with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland is currently finalising a Bioenergy Strategy, which will be published in the coming months. This will set out in detail the actions required to optimise the potential of Ireland’s bioenergy resources and how these resources can contribute to Ireland’s renewable energy targets for 2020.

The Bioenergy Strategy will have implications for clients of these businesses of both Coillte and Bord na Móna. Further development of plans for a merger between Coillte and Bord na Mona will have regard to the outcome of these processes.

Departmental Staff Recruitment

 979. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding recruiting persons with a disability; the number of persons currently employed in his Department; the number of persons with a disability who have been employed since 1 January 2011 to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37833/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The total number of people currently employed in my Department is 244 full time equivalents of which 5.7% of staff have disclosed a disability. My Department is meeting the statutory 3% target of employment of people with a disability under the Disability Act 2005 and this target is monitored on an annual basis. There has been no recruitment of staff with a disability during the period 1 January 2011 to date in 2012.

Hydraulic Fracturing Policy

 980. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will support a ban on fracking particularly in relation to the dangers of contamination of surface and ground water. [37955/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd In October of last year, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct research and advise on the environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing as a means of extracting natural gas from underground reserves. On 11 May 2012, the EPA published its preliminary research into the environmental aspects of shale gas extraction in the form of a small desk based study, which was carried out by the University of Aberdeen.

The study provides an introduction to the environmental aspects of fracking including a review of regulatory approaches used in other countries and areas for further investigation and research such as geological principles of relevance in fracking and shale gas extraction, potential environmental impacts and establishing best environmental practice. While the study is a preliminary study it will inform the development of the terms of reference for a much more detailed research study to be commissioned by the EPA later this year. The terms of reference for this more extensive research are currently being drawn up by a steering group including representatives from the EPA and my Department.

The outcome of the further research to be commissioned by the EPA will assist in a robust scientific based assessment of any future application proposing the use of this technology. I can confirm that until there has been time to consider the second stage of the EPA research, the use of hydraulic fracturing in exploration drilling will not be authorised.

Petroleum and Gas Exploration

 981. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte with regard to the exploration companies drilling for oil off our coasts, his views on whether it is right and proper that the State should gain financially from a successful oil drilling exploration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38315/12]

 994. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will review the deal with the international exploration companies who are seeking oil beneath Irish waters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38817/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd I propose to take Questions Nos. 981 and 994 together.

My core policy is to maximise the benefits to the State from exploration for and production of our indigenous petroleum resources, while ensuring that activities are conducted safely and with due regard to their impact on the environment and other land/sea users. While there have been some discoveries of oil off our coasts none have been declared commercial to date. The only commercial discoveries of gas are the Kinsale area fields which are currently in production and the Corrib gas field which is still in development.

The principal direct financial benefit to Ireland from successful exploration comes in the form of the tax paid on profits from petroleum production. The relevant tax provisions are set down in the Finance Acts and provide for a tax take of between 25% and 40%. There are no individual financial deals entered into with individual exploration companies. The tax terms, which were last revised in 2007, seek to strike a balance between the desire to maximise the financial return to the people of Ireland from successful exploration and the need to set the terms at a level that will encourage exploration companies to invest in exploration in the Irish offshore, taking account of the fact that such companies can also instead of investing in other countries which have experienced greater relative success in terms of the number of commercial discoveries made.


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