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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 170-186
 Header Item Turbary Rights
 Header Item Irish Language Issues
 Header Item Oibreacha Feabhsúcháin do Scoileanna
 Header Item Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla
 Header Item Calafoirt agus Céanna
 Header Item Scéimeanna Tacaíochta Gaeltachta
 Header Item Airport Development Projects
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Warmer Homes Scheme Applications
 Header Item Microgeneration Support Scheme
 Header Item Better Energy Homes Scheme Inspections
 Header Item Telecommunications Services Provision
 Header Item Wind Energy Development
 Header Item Foreshore Licences Applications

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 76 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 170-186

Turbary Rights

 170. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the provision made in the 2013 Estimate to purchase bog to facilitate the relocation of turf cutters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57589/12]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Any funding required in 2013 for land purchase or lease, in the context of the relocation of turf cutters to non-designated bogs, will be provided from within the heritage programme of the Vote of my Department or from within the allocation to my Department from the Environment Fund.

Irish Language Issues

 171. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the position in relation to the Irish Language Act; the discussions he has had with the Culture Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57630/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley In the context of the Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrews Agreement, the Government continues to follow developments closely in relation to the proposed Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland, as well as the overall enhancement and protection of the Irish language in that jurisdiction. The Government remains fully committed to the implementation of those agreements, including the provisions relating to the Irish language. All parties to the Good Friday Agreement recognised the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language and the languages of the various ethnic communities, as part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland. Under that Agreement, the British government committed to a range of measures to promote the Irish language and to facilitate and encourage its use in public and private life, where there is appropriate demand.

  In the St. Andrews Agreement, the British government committed to introducing an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and to working with the Northern Ireland Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language. Since the restoration of the devolved institutions on 8 May 2007, the question of an Irish Language Act for Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive. In terms of recent developments, I should mention that my counterpart, the Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA, launched a public consultation process earlier this year on a draft Strategy for protecting and enhancing the development of the Irish language in Northern Ireland. This public consultation process ended on 27 November 2012. I understand that the development of such a strategy is a commitment in the Northern Ireland Executive's Programme for Government 2011-2015.

Oibreacha Feabhsúcháin do Scoileanna

 172. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an bhfuil iarratas faighte aige ó Scoil Shailearna, Indreabhán nó ó Chomharchumann Shailearna ar pháirc imeartha a thógáil taobh ó thuaidh den scoil, cén dul chun cinn atá déanta maidir leis an iarratas; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [57713/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Bhí áthas orm a bheith in ann deontas de €161,242 a cheadú do Chomharchumann Shailearna Teo le déanaí i leith raon ábhar agus oibreacha éagsúla. Chomh maith leis sin, cheadaigh mé deontas de €13,957 do Scoil Náisiúnta Sailearna chun páirc spraoi a fhorbairt ar mhaoin na scoile.

Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla

 173. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan cén dul chun cinn atá déanta maidir leis an athbhreithniú ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003; cén toradh a bhí ar an gcomhairliúchán poiblí faoin Acht; agus cén uair atá sé i gceist bille a fhoilsiú ag éirí as an bpróiseas seo; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [57714/12]

 174. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan cad é líon na bpleananna teanga a aontaíodh le comhlachtaí Stáit i mbliana faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [57715/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley I propose to take Questions Nos. 173 and 174 together.

  Mar atá ráite agam roimhe seo, tá sé aitheanta nach bhfuil córas na scéimeanna teanga faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla gan laigí, agus gur próiseas casta atá ann scéimeanna a aontú agus a dhaingniú. Tá sé tábhachtach a chur san áireamh fosta gur féidir leis an bpróiseas sin a bheith dúshlánach do chomhlachtaí poiblí, go háirithe leis an mbrú ar acmhainní, mar atá i láthair na huaire.

  Mar is eol don Teachta, tá athbhreithniú ar chóras na scéimeanna teanga mar chuid den athbhreithniú atá ar siúl faoi láthair ag mo Roinn ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla. Maidir leis an athbhreithniú sin, tá anailís déanta ar na haighneachtaí go léir a fuarthas faoin bpróiseas comhairliúcháin poiblí. Chomh maith leis sin, tá breithniú ar an gcás do leasú na reachtaíochta ag teacht chun críche agus tá súil agam go mbeidh ar mo chumas moltaí cuí i dtaca leis sin a chur faoi bhráid an Rialtais sar i bhfad.

  Tá 9 scéim teanga daingnithe go dáta i mbliana, rud a chiallaíonn go bhfuil 108 céad scéim teanga san iomlán daingnithe ón uair gur tháinig Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla i bhfeidhm. Sa bhreis air sin, tá 122 dréachtscéim á n-ullmhú ag comhlachtaí poiblí faoi láthair agus tá plé leanúnach agus gníomhach ar siúl ag oifigigh mo Roinne le comhlachtaí ina dtaobh sin. Tá mé dóchasach go mbeidh toradh dearfach ar an bplé sin agus go mbeidh tuilleadh scéimeanna á ndaingniú agam go luath.

  Tá sé tábhachtach a threisiú go bhfanann forálacha gach scéim teanga atá daingnithe i bhfeidhm go dtí go n-aontaítear scéim nua. Tá sonraí maidir leis na scéimeanna uilig atá daingnithe go dáta, mar aon leis na scéimeanna atá a n-ullmhú faoi latháir, ar fáil ar shuíomh gréasáin Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga, www.coimisineir.ie.

Calafoirt agus Céanna

 175. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an bhfuil soláthar déanta i meastacháin 2013 maidir le tairiscint a iarraidh chun cé Inis Oírr a fhorbairt; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh.  [57716/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Mar is eol don Teachta, tá an leithdháileadh do mo Roinnse i dtaca le gnóthaí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta agus Oileán foilsithe don bhliain 2013. Beidh soláthar de tuairim is €0.68m ar fáil d'fhorbairtí caipitil ar na hoileáin don bhliain seo chugainn. Is figiúr táscach é seo, faoi réir na Meastachán a bheith foilsithe agus faofa i mí Feabhra 2013. Tuigfidh an Teachta, ar ndóigh, nach leor an soláthar sin le go mbeidh ar chumas mo Roinne cuidiú le Comhairle Contae na Gaillimhe tabhairt faoi mhór-fhorbairt ar an gcé ar Inis Oírr in 2013.

Scéimeanna Tacaíochta Gaeltachta

 176. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan cén soláthar atá déanta i meastacháin 2013 do Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [57717/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Mar is eol don Teachta, tá an leithdháileadh do mo Roinnse i dtaca le gnóthaí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta agus Oileán foilsithe don bhliain 2013. Beidh soláthar reatha de tuairim is €6.723m ar fáil don bhliain seo chugainn do na Scéimeanna Tacaíochta Gaeltachta, lena n-áirítear Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge. Is figiúr táscach é seo, faoi réir na Meastachán a bheith foilsithe agus faofa i mí Feabhra 2013. Cé go bhfuil laghdú tagtha ar an allúntas ón mbliain seo caite, tá mé ag súil go mbeidh mé in ann na seirbhísí túslíne sna réimsí seo – ar nós na mná tí agus na coláistí Gaeilge – a chosaint oiread agus is féidir.

Airport Development Projects

 177. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the progress made to date in providing air terminals at the airstrips on Inisbofin and Cleggan; if it is intended to build these in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57731/12]

 178. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan his policy in relation to the provision of a subsidised air service to Inishbofin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57732/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley I propose to take Questions Nos. 177 and 178 together.

  My Department has engaged consultants to complete the design and tendering process for the construction of terminals at the airstrips on Inishbofin and at Cleggan. This work is ongoing. No decision has been made in relation to the provision of a subsidised air service for Inishbofin but this matter, and associated issues, remain under consideration by my Department.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 179. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the reason a person (details supplied) was not entitled to a top up on their REP scheme payment and the interim payment from his Department as they are farming in the Twelve Bens Area of Connemara and have a right to put sheep on the mountain; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57738/12]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The top-up on an individual's REP Scheme payment and the Interim Payment from my Department applies to the management of sheep flocks on the Twelve Bens/Garraun Complex and Maumturk Mountains SACs. According to my Department's records, the individual referred to by the Deputy is a cattle only farmer and therefore not entitled to compensation under my Department's scheme.

Warmer Homes Scheme Applications

 180. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding an application to the warmer homes scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57403/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the Better Energy Warmer Homes programme. Better Energy: Warmer Homes provides assistance to upgrade privately owned homes built prior to 2006 with energy efficiency measures. Measures provided under the programme include attic insulation, wall insulation, lagging jackets, efficient lighting and energy advice.

  Queries in relation to individual applications are an operational matter for the SEAI and a dedicated hot line can be reached at 1800 250 204. In addition, the SEAI has established a specific email address for queries from Oireachtas members which can be sent to oireachtas@seai.ie and will be dealt with promptly.

Microgeneration Support Scheme

 181. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if the micro energy scheme will be continued; and if additional supports will be put in place to encourage the installation of micro generation systems. [57419/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Electric Ireland has been offering a 9c/kwh feed in tariff, on a commercial basis, to domestic microgenerators since February 2009. No other electricity supply company has to date chosen to enter the market and to offer a microgeneration feed-in-tariff on a commercial basis, although the Commission for Energy Regulation invited them to do so. Previously, a joint ESB/Electric Ireland microgeneration support scheme for the domestic sector offering a total of 19c/kwh (comprising €10c/kwh from ESB Networks combined with the 9c/kwh from ESB Customer Supply (now Electric Ireland)) ran for 3 years (February 2009-February 2012) and had a take up of between 500 and 600 installations. In terms of current supports, it is noteworthy that the REFIT scheme operated by my Department does not set lower limits. There are currently some very small hydro plants operating in the scheme, as well as some small landfill gas and anaerobic digestion (AD) plants.

  In REFIT 3, covering the biomass sector, the tariff structure is weighted in favour of smaller scale developments, with a higher tariff being offered for AD plants of less than half a megawatt and biomass CHP plants that are less than 1.5MW.

REFIT 3 Tariffs

  i. AD CHP (units less than or equal to 500 kWe) 15c per kWh

  ii. AD CHP (units of greater than 500 kWe) 13c per kWh

  iii. AD (non CHP) (less than or equal to 500 kWe) 11c per kWh

  iv. AD (non CHP) (units of greater than 500 kWe) 10c per kWh

  v. Biomass CHP (units less than or equal to 1500kWe) 14c per kWh

  vi. Biomass CHP (units of greater than 1500kWe) 12c per kWh.

  The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has been asked to provide my Department with analysis of other means through which the microgeneration sector could be supported, apart from through a feed-in-tariff funded from the Public Service Obligation. In 2009 SEAI initiated a pilot microgeneration programme. This involved 42 installations of various microgeneration technologies. A final monitoring report on the performance of the installations and learning from the programme is awaited from SEAI. This will inform future policy development. In view of falling technology costs, the Department has also asked SEAI to update analysis on the costs of varying levels of support for microgeneration technologies, with a view to considering how the sector could be supported going forward.

Better Energy Homes Scheme Inspections

 182. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will provide details of the number of inspections that were carried out by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in 2012 to ensure compliance with minimum standards for the installation of external wall insulation; the number of the total inspections carried out which failed to meet minimum standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57556/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the Better Energy Programme. Better Energy: Homes provides financial assistance to private homeowners who wish to improve the energy performance of their homes. Fixed grants are provided towards the cost of a range of measures including attic insulation, wall insulation, heating systems upgrades, solar thermal panels and accompanying Building Energy Rating (BER). From the start of 2012 to the 30 November 2012 the scheme has disbursed over €27million in Exchequer funds and supported the delivery of over 67,000 energy efficiency measures in over 24,000 homes.

In order to ensure that the works delivered under the scheme have been completed to an appropriate standard, a proportion of properties are inspected by suitably qualified personnel, in accordance with published checklists, to ascertain compliance with relevant aspects of the Technical Specification and Code of Practice. The Code of Practice and quality inspections, combined with contractor sanctions and contractor technical bulletins comprise an integrated approach to quality which ensures that measures are implemented to a high standard, where works are not up to standard that defects are remedied and that standards of workmanship among contractors are continuously improving.

Up to mid December 2012, SEAI paid out 5,515 grants to home owners for external wall insulation and almost 1,000 (18%) were inspected by SEAI. Of the external wall insulation works inspected, 80% had zero or minor issues to be rectified. In 20% of cases, the standards achieved were not satisfactory, and the contractors were required to revisit the house and rectify the issue. In cases where the installations do not meet the minimum standards, it is practice that grant payment is withheld until resolution of the issue is confirmed.

Telecommunications Services Provision

 183. 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 contact the mobile telephone service providers and notify them of the problems with the service in the Castlecove, Caherdaniel and Derrynane areas in south Kerry; the plans they have to improve this service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57572/12]

 185. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte in view of concerns in relation to the poor mobile telephone coverage in parts of the country, if he has outlined to the mobile telecommunications companies the need to invest to provide adequate mobile telecommunications infrastructure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57600/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 185 together.

  The authorisation of telecommunications service providers generally and the award of spectrum licences including the imposition and monitoring of associated quality and coverage requirements for the spectrum rights to provide mobile telephony services are statutory functions of the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) under the Communications Regulation Act, 2002 as amended. The provision of mobile phone networks and services is undertaken by telecommunications service providers who operate in a fully liberalised market under licences provided by ComReg. These licences require MNOs to, inter alia, provide a minimum level of national population coverage.

  The design of the network is a matter entirely for the operator concerned and operators tend to exceed their minimum coverage requirements for commercial reasons. Given that mobile telephony services are a radio based technology, they are however, affected by several factors, including topography (the surroundings, trees, terrain, buildings etc.) and the capacity of the network (the amount of subscribers on the same base station at a given time). Notwithstanding this, the recently concluded multi-band spectrum auction, has released spectrum, which was previously unavailable for mobile operators and industry has signalled that this should result in enhanced services being rolled out from 2013.

Wind Energy Development

 184. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if the Irish wind industry rules can be updated to protect residents from the known nuisance of the low frequency noise as some counties have a limit of 20dB on LFN.  [57597/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The existing Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Wind Energy Development (published by the Department of Environment in 2006), state that in general, noise is unlikely to be a significant problem where the distance from the nearest turbine to any noise sensitive property is more than 500 metres. The Guidelines also advise planning authorities to seek evidence that the types of turbines proposed in a particular development will use best current engineering practice in terms of noise creation and suppression and provide quite specific limits in the permissible increases in noise above background noise from wind energy developments in order to protect neighbouring properties.

In order to ensure that Ireland continues to meet its renewable energy targets and at the same time ensure that wind energy does not impact negatively on local communities, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government – in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources – will undertake a targeted review of certain aspects of the Wind Energy Guidelines 2006. It is not clear at this point that low frequency noise is a particular issue, but as part of the focused review of the guidelines, noise will be one of the topics examined. It is intended that the Departments would consult fully with a wide range of stakeholders including An Bord Pleanála, the Environmental Protection Agency, industry and community groups, as part of this review process. The focused review is expected to report by end-2013.

  Question No. 185 answered with Question No. 183.

Foreshore Licences Applications

 186. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the reason there is a discrepancy between the charges for foreshore licences in Kenmare, County Kerry, in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry and other licences granted in Kenmare Bay. [57386/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan My Department is taking legal advice on the issues arising in this case. In the circumstances it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this time.


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