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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 278-285
 Header Item Exploration Industry Data
 Header Item Salmon Hardship Scheme Issues
 Header Item Electricity Transmission Network
 Header Item Electric Vehicle Grants
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item Public Services Provision
 Header Item Telecommunications Services Provision

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 278-285

Exploration Industry Data

 278. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte further to Parliamentary Question No. 285 of 23 October 2012, if he will provide in tabular form by year, the receipts and expenditure in respect of a company (details supplied) for each of the years 2000 to 2012. [55393/12]

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 As set out by the Minister for Public Service and Reform in his replies to Parliamentary Questions numbers 285 of 23 October 2012, 79 of 26 September 2012 and 493 of 18 September 2012, the terms applicable to the Kinsale gas field are governed by a 1959 Oil Exploration and Development Agreement which sets out the regime of royalties, tax and rentals that apply. I should point out that the 1959 Agreement now relates to the Kinsale lease area only and that the fiscal terms applying to oil and gas exploration and production have been amended on a number of occasions since, most recently in the 2008 Finance Act which introduced a new profit resource rent tax of up to 15% in addition to the 25% corporate tax rate previously applying.

  The royalties and expenditures in respect of Marathon Petroleum/PSE Kinsale are set out in the table below, please note that the figures for year 2000 are in punts. I should also point out that the amount paid in tax from the Kinsale gas field is a matter between the company and the Revenue Commissioners and is not included in the table.

Year
Royalties received

(000)
Remittances Paid

(000)
2000
£6,950
£5,239
2001
€8,180


€16,198
2002
€7,306


€13,752
2003
€5,071


€8,496
2004
€4,900
€6,244
2005
€5,080


€1,748
2006
€12,231


€5,836
2007
€4,931


€0
2008
€9,611
€11,677
2009
€2,114


€4,743
2010
€2,572


€6,333
2011
€3,904


€2,868
2012
€3,955
€2,603

Salmon Hardship Scheme Issues

 279. Deputy Emmet Stagg Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte further to Parliamentary Question No. 423 of 30 June 2009, if he will provide the names and addresses of 1,171 applicants for the salmon hardship scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55664/12]

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 2009, the number of commercial salmon fishing licences available for issue was governed by the Control of Fishing for Salmon Order, 2009 (S.I. No. 142, 2009). Licences were issued then by the Regional Fisheries Boards, now Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). I am advised that a total of 149 commercial salmon licences were issued in 2009. A further 28 licences have been issued by the Loughs Agency in respect of the Foyle area under the provisions of the Foyle Area (Control of Drift and Draft Net Fishing) (Amendment) Regulations 2007.

The Salmon Hardship Scheme was established following the cessation of the interceptory mixed stock fishing for wild salmon. The scheme was administered at the time, on behalf of my Department, by Bord Iascaigh Mhara and by the Loughs Agency in respect of the Foyle area.

The detailed information sought by the Deputy is not held in the records of my Department. However, I am arranging for a copy of the Deputy’s question to be conveyed to Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Loughs Agency for direct reply to the Deputy.

Electricity Transmission Network

 280. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the reason his Department has assumed responsibility for a non-ionising radiation monitoring programme in relation to the monitoring programme for the east west interconnector magnetic field [55293/12]

 281. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the criteria for independence applied to the formation of the independent monitoring programme for Eirgrid's east west interconnector's magnetic field and its members, including when and where the positions were advertised; the person who appointed them; their names and their terms of reference. [55294/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I propose to take Questions Nos. 280 and 281 together.

Responsibility for non-ionising radiation lies with the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government. However, I and the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, TD, agreed to the appointment of an independent expert panel to consider and comment on data and report on Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) emissions in relation to the East West Interconnector (EWIC) electricity cables. The independent panel is made up of three experts in their respective fields, one of whom (appointed by Minister for Health) is an expert in epidemiology. Another (appointed by me as Minster for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources) is an electrical engineering expert. The third member of the independent panel (chosen jointly by both Ministers) is an acknowledged international expert in high-voltage electricity grid systems. I would stress that these are three independent highly qualified experts who will report on and publish their findings on EMF emissions in relation to the EWIC.

The independent panel met for the first time on Friday, 23 November 2012 and was provided with an introductory briefing on the background and context to the establishment of the panel. There was a brief discussion on the approach to be taken in relation to the work of the panel. The work programme of the panel is being progressed and the next meeting of the panel is planned for January 2013, after which a first set of measurement data and commentary will be made publicly available.

Electric Vehicle Grants

 282. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he has considered extending the grant support for electric vehicles beyond December 2012. [55345/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The VRT reliefs for electric vehicles (up to €5,000), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (up to €2,500), and hybrid and flexible fuel vehicles (up to €1,500), which were due to end on 31 December 2012, have been retained for a further 12 months to end December 2013.

EU Directives

 283. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte in view of possible gas and oil finds off the Irish coast, his plans for Ireland to sign the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a global standard ensuring transparency of payments from natural resources. [55399/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  I assume the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a global standard ensuring transparency of payments from natural resources' is a reference to Chapter 9 of the proposed Accounting Directive (Com (2011) 684) and which Chapter is intended for inclusion in the proposed Transparency Directive (COM (2011) 683). I understand that both Directives are currently under negotiation in the EU.

Whatever provisions in these matters, if any, are adopted in the context of these proposed Directives, will require to be transposed into the legislation of all Member States. On a more general note, payments that could be made to the State resulting from the on-going exploration for our natural resources of oil or gas fall into two main categories. The first category relates to application and administration fees, along with rental fees in respect of licensed acreage. The second category relates to tax paid on profits, from production of oil or gas. The level of fees, or tax, to be paid is set down in the relevant legislation and licensing terms, the details of which are in the public domain.

Public Services Provision

 284. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte further to Parliamentary Question No. 237 of 4 December 2012, if he will provide a list of all new services across his Department that have been tested for external service delivery since March 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55427/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte My Department is taking the opportunity to utilise external delivery of new non-core services as set out in the Public Service Reform Plan agreed by Government in November 2011.

  I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is the designated Market Surveillance Authority in Ireland for the EU Directives on Ecodesign and Labelling of energy-related products and for the EU Regulation on Tyre Labelling. The Ecodesign and Labelling Directives were transposed into Irish law in May and July 2011 respectively and the Tyre Labelling Regulations were transposed in November 2012. My Department is obliged to implement an effective market surveillance regime and carry out surveillance activities to ensure that regulated products meet the requirements of the applicable legislation.

  Such activities include:

- Inspection of products on the Irish markets;

- Analysis of technical documentation and test reports;

- Product testing in accredited laboratories.

  The technical capacity and expertise to carry out the above activities is not presently available in my Department and these services were outsourced as required to suitable market actors through public tendering processes. The first such contract was awarded in November 2012.

Telecommunications Services Provision

 285. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the possibility or likelihood of the provision of high-speed broadband in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare with particular reference to their business needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55567/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Government’s National Broadband Plan, which I published in August, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed services of at least 30 Mbps are available to all of our citizens and businesses, well in advance of the EU’s target date of 2020, and that significantly higher speeds are available to as many homes and businesses as possible.

  The National Broadband Plan for Ireland commits to high speed broadband availability across the country – specifically:

- 70 Mbps – 100 Mbps will be available from the commercial market operators to more than half of the population by 2015;

- At least 40 Mbps, and in many cases faster speeds, to at least a further 20% (and potentially as much as 35%) of the population during the lifetime of the Government;

and

- A minimum of 30 Mbps for every remaining home and business in the country, also during the lifetime of the Government.

  During the preparation of the National Broadband Plan, the commercial market operators indicated that they expect to provide 70 Mbps to 100 Mbps services to 50% of the population by 2015. The areas to be provided with those services will be determined by the commercial market operators.

  One of the first steps in delivering on the 30 Mbps and 40 Mbps commitments will be the completion of a formal national mapping exercise to determine the exact position in relation to commercial service providers’ existing and planned broadband services throughout the country.

  The National Broadband Plan contains a commitment that my Department will undertake a full mapping exercise in respect of high speed broadband deployment. The mapping exercise will identify the areas of the country where there is market failure in the provision of high speed broadband services. It will also identify where the market is expected to succeed and fail in the delivery of high speed broadband over the coming years. Until that process is complete, the precise areas of the country which will require State intervention will not be known. I would reiterate however, that the Government remains committed to the delivery of the speeds referred to above, to ensure that all parts of Ireland, including areas such as Carbury, County Kildare, will have at least 30 Mbps connectivity.

I would also suggest that the person in question keeps in touch with broadband service providers in the County Kildare area to ascertain what services and speeds are on offer. The Communications Regulator, ComReg, has details on its website, www.callcosts.ie as to services providers in each county.


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