Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Electric Vehicles (Continued)
 Header Item National Broadband Plan Implementation
 Header Item Bord na Móna

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 990 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 43 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton] The upgrading will continue. We will also have the local authority ones I have mentioned. Meath County Council has an opportunity to apply to participate in the scheme that involves 400 additional chargers. I am sure that at the Deputy's urging, the council will get in its application quickly.

Deputy Thomas Byrne: Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne I am trying to work out where are the four fast chargers. There is one between Ashbourne and Ratoath and there is one in Navan. I do not know whether the Minister is including the two on the M4, which are just over the border in County Kildare. Maybe the Minister could list them. I have an electric car.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I will get the list for the Deputy.

Deputy Thomas Byrne: Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne Are the other two fast chargers at the Applegreen facility?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I will find out.

Deputy Thomas Byrne: Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne If the Minister can do so, it would be appreciated. I drive around the county. I know where they are. I use them. They are simply absent in many of the towns in my constituency of Meath East. This is a big problem. There are simple things that we could do. The Minister must do what is needed to fund them. Local authorities should not be allowing service stations to be developed without chargers. That is a very simple thing that could happen immediately. More and more petrol stations are opening, or reopening after being refurbished subject to planning, without being required to have electric car chargers from the start. This must change. It could happen without any Government money. Somebody must end this inaction by telling local authorities to do this. I hope that when the Department makes a submission on county development plans, including the County Meath plan, it will recommend that local authorities should insist on the installation of these chargers as part of their strategies. I think that can be done as well as providing money and plans.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I agree. The planning system already provides certain conditionality. New buildings with ten parking positions must have a charger. From 2025, every building that has 20 parking places will need to have a charger. The Deputy has proposed that we make a change in respect of service stations. I think many of them are planning the installation of these facilities. I suppose this has been triggered by the plan to introduce a charge for fast chargers. That gives people in the private sector an incentive to install such chargers. I believe we will see growth in public chargers and an increase in these alternative sources. Of course the optimum which we try to encourage is for people to charge their cars at home at night.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

 10. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of premises which will be passed each year during the deployment of the national broadband plan.  [49337/19]

Deputy Tom Neville: Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville I would like the Minister to tell us how many premises will be passed each year during the deployment of the national broadband plan.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The national broadband plan is the Government's plan to roll out high-speed broadband to the 1.1 million people who live and work in almost 540,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms and 695 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service. The contract to deliver this service was signed on 19 November. Work will begin immediately. A deployment plan will be made available by National Broadband Ireland, NBI, shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first two years. Over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high-speed broadband within the next four years. Approximately 300 community centres, schools, library hubs and local GAA halls in every county will be connected to high-speed broadband during 2020 to enable communities to get free public access to high-speed broadband. A list of these community centres is available to view on the high-speed broadband map on my Department's website. NBI will pass approximately 10,000 premises by the end of 2020 and approximately 115,000 premises by the end of 2021. Between 70,000 and 100,000 premises will be passed each year thereafter, with the roll-out of the network competed by 2026.

Deputy Tom Neville: Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville I welcome the roll-out of the national broadband plan. This new superhighway communications infrastructure will combat isolation in rural Ireland and foster population growth and development. This issue has been raised at the doors in recent years in the context of remote access, remote working, reduced commuting times and the compliance concerns of the farming population. A great deal of documentation has to be uploaded through web portals by those involved in farming and by people in rural Ireland who are seeking to avail of various services. High-speed broadband is needed for such uploading, for businesses like website design and for retail. A great deal of bandwidth is needed to design websites. Will the actual roll-out of the plan be done through the local authorities? Are there teams in place, particularly in County Limerick, to decide on which areas outside the hubs that have been chosen will be moved on first? I ask the Minister to make a statement on this matter.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I agree that the future potential of this technology is way beyond the benefit-to-cost ratios we use. It was estimated that there would be a 4% rate of participation in remote working, but we heard this morning that the rate is already 10% and is growing rapidly. I think that will be really valuable for people. It will allow companies to move to more regional locations because they will have confidence that these connections will be available. The roll-out of the broadband connection points has been agreed with local authorities, which have been involved in the selection of such points. NBI will set up the process of providing the 150 Mbps wireless connection to those points. With the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development, we will ensure those centres are properly equipped and functioning so people can use them. There will be different types and different standards of broadband connection points to meet different needs. There will be a sort of hierarchy of what they will deliver. All of them will be in place by 2020. The Deputy also asked about the detail of the wider roll-out. The country is being divided into 110 different boxes, each of which contains approximately 5,000 premises. As I understand it, the company will publish its full roll-out in early January. It has guaranteed that every county will have active laying of fibre during 2021.

Deputy Tom Neville: Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville I want to digress slightly from this issue by referring to the question of advertising mechanisms in community radio stations, which has been raised with me. Obviously, broadband will have an influence on this. It has been suggested to me that the advertising model for community radio stations is quite restrictive. A community station in my local area, West Limerick 102, has been running since 2005. The area from which it is allowed to gain advertising is confined to the region from which it broadcasts. It cannot go outside that area when it is looking for advertising. I will give the Minister an example of what I am talking about. The station in question cannot go to the next town or the next parish to-----

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I think this is a different issue.

Deputy Tom Neville: Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville I understand that, but this is in relation to online advertising.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I mean-----

Deputy Tom Neville: Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville I believe the Acting Chair may have an interest in this area. I ask for his indulgence.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy Okay.

Deputy Tom Neville: Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville Will the Minister re-examine the advertising model for community radio stations? Strictly speaking, a radio station that is broadcasting from Rathkeale, for example, should not take advertisements from Adare, which is the next town, or from Limerick city. These community services have an impact on people in the area. There is a symbiosis between the city and the county. The directly elected mayor is coming. I am raising this issue in the context of online advertising, which has changed the landscape for these radio stations.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy In my view, the Deputy's supplementary question is not related to Question No. 10. However, I will allow the Minister to respond if he wishes to do so.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I will have to get the Deputy a separate briefing on this matter. I presume it is tied up with the licence issued by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to the relevant local station. I do not know what is the process for amending a licence. I will revert to the Deputy.

Bord na Móna

 11. Deputy Gino Kenny Information on Gino Kenny Zoom on Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will meet trade unions representing Bord na Móna workers; his views on their demand that Bord na Móna management attend the Workplace Relations Commission to discuss issues relating to a just transition for their members; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [49437/19]

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I will allow Deputy Bríd Smith to introduce this question, which is in the name of Deputy Gino Kenny.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I must say I learn something new every day when I come into this place. I have learned today that under the same question, a Deputy can skip from the national broadband plan to community radio advertising in a couple of seconds. I am just amazed.

Deputy Tom Neville: Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville I was asking about online advertising, which is affecting local community radio stations

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I must remember that trick as a way of getting a neat little video of myself out ASAP. Question No. 11 happens to be about Bord na Móna and the just transition. I ask the Minister to meet the trade unions representing Bord na Móna workers to hear their views. The unions are demanding that Bord na Móna management attend the Workplace Relations Commission on the question of a just transition for their members.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I assure the Deputy that I have met representatives of the Bord na Móna workers on a number of occasions in recent months. I met the workers most recently on 11 November last, when myself and a number of my Cabinet colleagues visited the Lough Boora Discovery Park and Lough Ree power station. I also met Mr. Tom Donnellan, who is the CEO of Bord na Móna, and Mr. Pat O'Doherty, who is the CEO of ESB, on that date. This followed previous meetings I had held with the worker directors of Bord na Móna, representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Bord na Móna group of unions, and the chief executives of both companies following An Bord Pleanála's decision with regard to the west Offaly power station. I have also met the midlands regional transition team and the regional skills forum on achieving a just transition for the midlands.


Last Updated: 21/07/2020 10:24:40 First Page Previous Page Page of 43 Next Page Last Page