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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 183 - 197
 Header Item Seirbhísí Eitilte
 Header Item Plean Reatha Teanga
 Header Item Limistéir Oidhreachta Nádúrtha
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Issues
 Header Item Statute Boundaries Issues
 Header Item Broadcasting Service Provision
 Header Item Energy Resources
 Header Item Electricity Transmission Network
 Header Item Broadband Services Provision

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 817 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 183 - 197

Seirbhísí Eitilte

 183. 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 coiste stiúrtha bunaithe ag an Roinn le féachaint i ndiaidh an staidéir atá le déanamh ar riachtanas an PSO do na seirbhísí aeir chuig na hoileáin Árann; agus má tá, an bhfuil ionadaí ó na hoileáin ar an gcoiste; agus cén chaoi a bhfuil sé i gceist ionchur na n-oileánach a chinntiú sa staidéar seo; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [43584/13]

 184. 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 na dátaí ó Mhárta 2011 go dáta a tionóladh an Coiste Monatóireachta ar na seirbhísí iompair do na hóileáin; cén uair a bheidh an chéad chruinniú eile den choiste; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh.  [43586/13]

 185. 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 comhairliúchán a rinneadh le pobail na nOileán maidir leis an athbhreithniú ar na seirbhísí aeir chuig na hoileáin Árann; cén t-ionchur a bhí acu maidir leis na téarmaí tagartha; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [43587/13]

 188. 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 measúnú ar an tseirbhís aeir go hÁrainn faoi rialacháin 1008/2008 AE; cén fáth go gcaithfear é a dhéanamh anois; ar chuir AE aon tuairisc faoina leithéid; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [43592/13]

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. 183 to 185, inclusive, and 188 together.

Mar is eol don Teachta, tá mo Roinn ag lorg tairiscintí ó chomhlachtaí chun tabhairt faoi athbhreithniú ar an tseirbhís aeir a chuirtear ar fáil d’Oileáin Árann faoi Oibleagáid Seirbhíse Poiblí faoi Rialacháin 1008/2008 den Aontas Eorpach. Tá an t-athbhreithniú sin á dhéanamh anois mar go bhfuil gá lena leithéid faoi na Rialacháin ós rud é go raibh deireadh tagtha le tréimhse an chonartha 4 bliana a bhí i bhfeidhm don tseirbhís aeir.

Bhí pobal Oileáin Árann curtha ar an eolas roimh ré faoin athbhreithniú seo a bhfuil na téarmaí tagartha ag teacht leis na Rialacháin. Glactar leis go mbeidh ar na comhairleoirí a cheapfar cur chuige cuí a aimsiú chun tabhairt faoi athbhreithniú neamhspleách ar an tseirbhís aeir, lena n-áirítear dul i ndáil chomhairle leis na páirtithe leasmhara.

Maidir le cruinnithe ó Mhárta 2011 den choiste monatóireachta ar na seirbhísí iompair d’Oileáin Árann, is féidir liom a chur in iúl don Teachta gur tionóladh cruinnithe ar na dátaí seo a leanas: 19 Bealtaine 2011, 3 Feabhra 2012, 7 Meán Fómhair 2012 agus 25 Eanáir 2013. Níl dáta socraithe don chéad chruinniú eile den choiste monatóireachta.

Plean Reatha Teanga

 186. 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 uair a tháinig an plean reatha teanga atá ag an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí i bhfeidhm; an bhfuil sé i gceist plean nua a aontú go luath; ar tharla comhráití idir an dá Roinn maidir le seirbhísí a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge do phobal na Gaeltachta agus, má tharla, an ndéanfaidh sé cur síos ar nádúr na gcomhráití sin, le sonraí na n-éileamh a bhí ag a Roinn san áireamh; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh.  [43588/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Tháinig scéim teanga reatha na Roinne Coimirce Sóisialaí i bhfeidhm ar 1 Meitheamh 2007. Leagtar amach sa scéim sin teanga na bealaí éagsúla trína ndéanfaidh an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí seirbhísí éagsúla dá cuid a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge do phobal na Gaeltachta agus don phobal i gcoitinne thar shaolré na scéime. Mar is eol don Teachta, bíonn feidhm ag scéim teanga ar feadh tréimhse trí bliana ón uair a dhaingnítear í nó go ndaingnítear scéim nua, cibé acu is déanaí.

  Tá obair sa treis idir oifigigh mo Roinne agus oifigigh na Roinne Coimirce Sóisialaí le tamall anuas chun an dara scéim teanga a aontú. Ag féachaint do na hathruithe a tháinig ar fheidhmeanna na Roinne sin in 2011, áfach, iarradh ar an Roinn i mí Lúnasa na bliana sin a chinntiú go gclúdófaí feidhmeanna uile na Roinne athstruchtúrtha sa dréacht dara scéim teanga. Tuigim go ndéanfar gach iarracht an obair seo a thabhairt chun críche chomh luath agus is féidir. Sa chomhthéacs seo, ní miste na dúshláin faoina gcaithfidh comhlachtaí poiblí feidhmiú i láthair na huaire agus na srianta atá orthu dá réir maidir le hacmhainní foirne agus buiséid a aithint.

  Is fiú a nótáil go n-aithnítear sa Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge  2010-2030 an gá atá le socruithe cuí a dhéanamh chun cur leis an líon oifigeach sa Státchóras atá in ann feidhmiú go dátheangach agus go mbunófar na socruithe sin de réir a chéile, ag aithint na srianta earcaíochta atá ann faoi láthair. Chomh maith leis sin, tá sé ráite sa Straitéis go ndéanfar cláir oiliúna teanga a fhorbairt chun cur le líon na n-oifigeach sa Státchóras atá in ann seirbhísí a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge. Faoin gcomhaontú seirbhíse maidir le cúrsaí oiliúna agus córas creidiúnaithe Gaeilge do Státseirbhísigh atá aontaithe idir an Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe agus mo Roinnse ó mhí Feabhra na bliana seo, tá céimeanna sa treis faoi láthair chun feidhm chuí a thabhairt do mholtaí ábhartha na Straitéise sa réimse seo. Tá mé dóchasach go gcuideoidh na bearta seo le soláthar seirbhísí i nGaeilge ó ranna agus oifigí Stáit i gcoitinne.

Limistéir Oidhreachta Nádúrtha

 187. 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 Ealaíon cé na socruithe atá déanta le plean bainistíochta a chur i bhfeidhm ar na limistéir oidhreachta nádúrtha ar na hOileáin Árann, céard iad na socruithe atá déanta chun é seo a dhéanamh i gcomhpháirt le pobal na nOileán; an mbeidh cúiteamh ar fáil faoin bplean do na húinéirí áitiúla; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh.  [43589/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Is togra taispeána é togra AranLIFE a chuirfear i bhfeidhm ar na trí Oileán Árann thar thréimhse 4 bliana ó 2014-2017. Níl sé i gceist ag mo Roinn plean iomlán bainsistíochta a chur i bhfeidhm ar na hoileáin ach, ag baint úsáide as maoiniú LIFE+, déanfar iarracht dea-chleachtais bainistíochta caomhantais na bhfeirmeoirí áitiúla sna limistéir atá ainmnithe faoi líonra Natura 2000  ar na trí oileáin a fhorbairt agus a léiriú. Bainfear leas as eolas agus taithí áitiúil feirmeoireachta, mar aon le saineolas na gcomhpháirtithe eile sa togra, chun dul i ngleic leis na dúshláin a bhaineann le feirmeoireacht oileánda agus chun stádas caomhantais na limistéar ainmnithe a fheabhsú.

  Meastar go bhféadfadh thart ar 70 feirm (suas le 1,011 heicteár de thalamh Natura ) ar fud na dtrí oileán a bheith bainteach go díreach leis an togra. Is é €2,597,685 an buiséad measta iomlán do thogra AranLIFE. Tiocfaidh 75% de mhaoiniú an togra ó chlár maoinithe LIFE+ an Aontais Eorpaigh agus tiocfaidh an 25% eile den mhaoiniú ó na comhpháirtithe eile, i.e., An Roinn Talamhaíochta, Foraoiseachta agus Mara, Fáilte Éireann, Comhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe agus An Chomhairle Oidhreachta, chomh maith le tacaíocht ó mo Roinn féin. Beidh Teagasc agus An Institiúid Teicneolaíochta, Sligeach, rannpháirteach chomh maith.

  Nuair a bheidh foireann an togra ceaptha go luath i 2014, tabharfar cuireadh d'fheirmeoirí na dtrí oileán spéis a léiriú i bpáirt a ghlacadh go deonach sa togra. Eagrófar cruinnithe poiblí chun an togra a phoibliú agus a mhíniú. Gheobhaidh feirmeoirí a bheidh páirteach sa togra íocaíocht as oibreacha comhaontaithe a chur i gcrích mar chuid den togra. Beidh méid na híocaíochta ag brath ar phlean bainistíochta a bheith aontaithe i gcás gach feirm.

  Question No. 188 answered with Question No. 183.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Issues

 189. 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 if he will provide details of the legal right to compensation under the regulations implementing the habitats directive here where current turf cutting or farming practices that do not require a licence or planning permission are impinged on by the 1997 regulations; if he is satisfied that such compensation has been made available to all affected persons affected by the regulations; the amount of compensation paid out each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43633/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997 have been revoked and replaced by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.

  Under the 2011 Regulations, as under the 1997 Regulations, compensation is payable from my Department where a person has been refused consent by me for a prescribed activity within a European site that he or she has been undertaking in the five year period prior to the refusal.

  However, compensation schemes have generally been put in place, where required, without the need to undergo a formal legal process under the Regulations. Such schemes include:

- a comprehensive compensation scheme for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog habitat nominated for designation as special areas of conservation under the EU Habitats Directive;

- a voluntary bog purchase scheme. The voluntary bog purchase scheme is closed to new applicants;

- small-scale farm plan schemes, which support farmers in adopting appropriate management practices in the Natura 2000 network. It should be noted that the main farm plan scheme operated by my Department is currently closed to new applicants.

  While my Department has the lead role in relation to the implementation of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, significant funding is provided through the rural development programme, operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which provides for a range of supports for farmers, including payments in respect of sites nominated for designation under the Directives.

  The amount of compensation paid under the various schemes operated by my Department since 1997 is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Statute Boundaries Issues

 190. 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 if he and or his Department are aware of the situation in respect of a boundary dispute whereby Ordnance Survey Ireland reversed its previous decision, which resulted in a change of existing physical boundaries in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43622/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I have no function in respect of the matter set out in the Question.

  In accordance with section 4(2) of the Ordnance Survey Ireland Act 2001 the function of OSi regarding statute Boundaries is 'to provide the necessary technical support to the Chief Boundary Surveyor in the performance of his or her duties in delimiting statutory boundaries and the delineation of such boundaries on maps'.

Broadcasting Service Provision

 191. Deputy Noel Harrington Information on Noel Harrington Zoom on Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding DAB radio service to rural communities, especially where FM radio coverage is extremely bad (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43087/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte DAB, or Digital Audio Broadcasting, uses digital technology for broadcasting radio signals. The main advantage of digital over analogue technology is that it can be used to accommodate more radio services into less spectrum or frequencies. Regarding signal coverage, my understanding is that a DAB transmitter is expected to provide slightly less coverage than an FM transmitter. This means that if an FM transmitter was replaced by a DAB transmitter, there may be no DAB signal at all in areas where there had previously been a poor FM signal.

  In regard to the general provision of DAB services, the Broadcasting Act 2009 provides for the development of digital radio in Ireland. This Act gives RTÉ the power to establish and operate a multiplex for the purposes of providing a digital sound broadcasting service and gives the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) responsibility for licensing spectrum in respect of digital sound broadcasting services. In addition, it provides that the primary responsibility for ensuring the development of commercial digital radio rests with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

  In regard to the current availability of DAB services in Ireland, RTÉ operates a DAB service from five sites around the country and there is also a commercial trial DAB service operating from Three Rock Mountain near Dublin. I should also mention that the 2009 Act permits analogue sound broadcasting contractors to be retransmitted in a digital format on UPC and other cable television systems and a number of radio services are available in a digital format via this medium. These include RTÉ radio services and a number of local and national sound broadcasters.

  While there are no plans at present to rollout DAB services on a national basis, the BAI will continue to monitor and consider the potential for the development of digital radio in Ireland. In this regard, the BAI has supported various DAB trials, has organised research and will further discuss the potential for DAB or other types of digital radio services through stakeholder meetings in 2013 and 2014.

  Finally, it should be noted that the national radio services are available on SAORVIEW and SAORSAT.

Energy Resources

 192. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding geothermal energy here in the future; if the energy and technology used is the same as that used in fracking, and his plans to consult with the public in seeking approval for the use of such technology.  [43251/13]

 193. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding the geothermal industry; his plans for the future regulation of the industry in view of the lack of the primary legislative framework for the exploration, development and commercialisation of geothermal energy  [43252/13]

 194. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte in relation to geo therrmal energy and its development hre, if there are subsidies available to support renewable projects like GT Energy and his views on the preparation to harness the power of GT Energy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43253/13]

 196. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte his plans to set up an advisory group to report on the impact and implications of seeking to use geothermal energy here; and the likely finance required to extract and use GT Energy and the implications it might have for the employment market. [43267/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I propose to take Questions Nos. 192 to 194, inclusive, and 196 together.

Exploiting deep geothermal energy for electricity production faces a number of challenges in Ireland, including the depths to which drilling would have to be conducted as well as finding a use for the waste heat. Supporting electricity from deep geothermal is likely to be very expensive and it is not one of the technologies supported by renewable energy feed-in tariffs.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has supported a number of studies into geothermal energy, including “Play Fairway Analysis of the Geothermal Potential of Ireland”. Proposed projects may also be considered for funding under the SEAI's Renewable Energy Research, Demonstration and Development programme.

In regard to the question of regulation of the industry, a draft Geothermal Energy Development Bill is available on my Department's website. The intention of the Bill is to create a legislative framework to facilitate the exploration for, and development of, geothermal energy resources. Key elements will include exploring (prospecting) for geothermal energy, regulation of developments above a certain level of capacity, environmental practices, and safety. The policy objective is to facilitate development of both large and small scale systems. It is expected that the Geothermal Energy Development Bill will be published in the second half of 2014.

The processes for the production of deep geothermal energy are different to those used for hydraulic fracturing. For large projects, which require deep geothermal energy extraction, such as power generation or district heating, it may involve drilling two boreholes - one to bring water to the heat source and a second to bring the heated water back to the surface to be used for energy. Sand and chemicals are not used and it does not require the fracturing of rocks. Any proposed geothermal projects would be subject to the planning legislation, including as appropriate the requirements for a full Environmental Impact Statement and public consultation. Currently, there are no large geothermal installations in Ireland.

Electricity Transmission Network

 195. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the reason EirGrid proposed super pylons section of Grid 25 in Kildare South are not being buried underground; and if he has discussed this issue with the local community who have serious concerns about living close to these pylons. [43255/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte This is an operational matter for EirGrid and not one in which I, as Minister, have a role or function.

  Question No. 196 answered with Question No. 192.

Broadband Services Provision

 197. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte his views on the progress of the implementation of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43300/13]

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 2012, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed broadband is available to all citizens and businesses. This will be achieved by providing

- a policy and regulatory framework that assists in accelerating and incentivising commercial investment, and

- a State-led investment for areas where it is not commercial for the market to invest.

Since the publication of the Plan, investments by the commercial sector are underway in both fixed line and wireless high speed broadband services. ComReg has put in place a new regulatory regime for fixed line Next Generation Access and for service bundles, both of which are designed to incentivise the rollout of services by service providers. ComReg’s multiband spectrum auction, completed in 2012, is also enabling the rollout of advanced mobile broadband services.

In order to progress the State-led investment for areas where it is not commercial for the market to invest, a full procurement process must be designed and EU State Aids approval must be obtained. My Department is engaged in a comprehensive mapping exercise of the current and anticipated investment by the commercial sector to identify where the market is expected to deliver high speed broadband services over the coming years. The results of this mapping exercise will inform the precise areas that need to be targeted in the State-led investment as envisaged in the National Broadband Plan.

Intensive technical, financial and legal preparations, including stakeholder engagement, are ongoing. The procurement process for the approved intervention will be carried out in accordance with EU and Irish procurement rules and it is expected that it will be launched in 2014.

Implementation of the National Broadband Plan will be complemented by the National Digital Strategy which I launched in July last. The first phase of the National Digital Strategy targets specific segments of society, aiming to improve digital adoption and to realise the economic and social benefits that digital technologies can bring.

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, I am committed to ensuring that all parts of Ireland have access to high speed broadband, with a view to ensuring that all citizens and businesses can participate fully in, and maximise the benefits of, a digitally enabled economy and society.


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