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Bruton, Richard

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (Continued)

We have a task force, chaired by the Minister of State, Deputy Canney, that works on filling gaps and ensuring closer co-operation in the delivery of mobile and broadband services outside the inter...More Button

Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Continued)

I move amendment No. 32:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

  Section 8, as amended, agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 33:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 34:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 35:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I thank the Deputy for the amendment and for raising the issue of the single electricity market. As he outlined, we had a useful debate on the issue in committee and the House recognised the impor...More Button

There are a number of reasons it is not appropriate to accept this amendment. In the first instance, I am satisfied that the single electricity market committee has all the powers it needs. In ...More Button

This amendment is not necessary in the first instance. It would be inappropriate to seek to have an independent regulator report to the Minister. Under existing legislation, independent bodies ...More Button

I regret that I am not in a position to accept the amendment.More Button

The regulation for the single electricity market is based on legislation, North and South.More Button

It is not based unilaterally on legislation provided by the Oireachtas and, therefore, we cannot unilaterally introduce changes to the legislation that underpins this, which is what the Deputy seek...More Button

In the second instance, it is important to emphasise the independence of regulators both North and South who participate in the committee. They are not answerable to the Minister and, as require...More Button

We are confident that the regulation of the single electricity market, as overseen by the single electricity market committee, is appropriately structured, has the necessary powers and does not n...More Button

Renewable Energy Incentives

Was asked: if grant funding is provided for anaerobic digesters; if not, his plans to introduce same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The REFIT3 support scheme, which is funded by the public service obligation paid by electricity consumers, has supported the development of anaerobic digestion facilities via a high-efficiency comb...More Button

Under Project Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan sets out an allocation of €300 million for the rollout of the scheme for the period up to 2027. More Button

Electricity output from anaerobic digesters will also be eligible for support under the forthcoming Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. The high level design of this scheme was approved by Gove...More Button

In November, I announced the seven successful projects from the first Call for Applications under the Climate Action Fund. One of the successful projects, the Gas Networks Ireland GRAZE Gas proje...More Button

My Department is also examining potential options to support the production of biomethane from anaerobic digestion and its injection into the gas grid. More Button

Climate Change Policy

Was asked: the engagement he has had with Met Éireann in regard to the language used by weather forecasters on climate change; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Met Éireann, Ireland’s National Meteorological Service, comes under the remit of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, as a line division of that Department. Met Éireann is the l...More Button

The NAF recognises that the availability of accurate, consistent and authoritative data, information and analysis specific to Ireland is crucial to how effective we are in developing our climate ...More Button

Was asked: the way in which the €22 billion of the €116 billion investment package within Project Ireland 2040 will go towards the objective of transitioning to a low carbon and climate resilient society; and...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, I am currently preparing an All of Government Climate Plan which will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. I am ...More Button

Broadband Service Provision

Was asked: if a school (details supplied) will receive fibre optic broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The school referenced by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AM...More Button

The Deputy makes reference to the school’s proximity to a nearby commercial deployment of high speed broadband. This deployment is part of eir's commercial roll out of high speed broadband to 300...More Button

eir’s rural investment in high speed broadband is an entirely commercial undertaking, and not part of the planned State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms ...More Button

Decisions made by private telecommunication operators relating to the roll out and siting of infrastructure to provide high speed broadband services throughout Ireland are undertaken on a commerc...More Button

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address o...More Button

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of c...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether rural areas continue to be sidelined in view of the fact that only 58% of households in County Leitrim have broadband access compared to 86% in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown; and if h...More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access to all premises in Ireland, including those in rural Ireland. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial...More Button

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I will bring a recommendation to Government in relation to the NBP in the coming weeks.More Button

Energy Schemes

Was asked: if, further to the current pilot, it is planned to roll out the SEAI warmth and wellbeing scheme nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Warmth and Wellbeing Scheme was established in 2016 as a joint energy and health policy initiative with the Department of Health and cross Government support from the Department of Employment A...More Button

The scheme was piloted in HSE Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) 7, specifically Dublin 8, 10, 12, 22 & 24. Over 900 homes in the pilot area have now been upgraded with an investment of €20m...More Button

National Broadband Plan

Was asked: his views on the State-led intervention under the national broadband plan; when a decision on the procurement process will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investmen...More Button

The NBP procurement process is now at the final stage. My priority is to bring the procurement process to a fair and impartial conclusion and I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in r...More Button

Inland Fisheries

Was asked: if a further bye-law will be introduced to give protection to wild brown trout in seven State-owned salmonid lakes in view of the court ruling on Bye-Law No. 964 of 2018; the timeframe for the intr...More Button

Was asked: if a new bye-law is to be introduced following the court decision on Bye-Law No. 964 of 2018; if Inland Fisheries Ireland will have no capacity or capabilities to do stream enhancements programmes;...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 414 and 415 together.More Button

I have asked my Department to reflect over the coming period on legal advice and on the outcome of proceedings in the context of intended Bye-laws going forward. I have requested a report on the ...More Button

The Lakes in question have long been designated, as a matter of policy, for management primarily for the benefit of wild brown trout and that policy designation remains. I am advised by IFI that ...More Button

Salmon are afforded specific protection via established fisheries policy and annual conservation legislation. Ireland’s protection of salmon is considered best in class internationally. Ireland c...More Button

- Annual scientific and management assessments of each distinct genetic salmon stock;More Button

- Ensuring harvest (by angling or commercial means) of salmon is only permitted from rivers with sustainable reproductive capacity;More Button

- Closing rivers to salmon which are below sustainable reproductive capacity;More Button

- Opening rivers to catch and release angling to ensure catch records contribute to annual assessments;More Button

- Licensing of salmon angling and commercial fishing and tagging of harvested salmon and recording/reporting of catches (angling and commercial);More Button

- Annual legislation which defines the status of each river and what if any surplus is available;More Button

- Annual legislation to regulate salmon angling and separately to regulate commercial fisheries.More Button

In addition, Ireland is at the forefront within NASCO of ensuring that protection measures are in place by international agreement in distant feeding grounds to which salmon migrate. More Button

The salmon management regime also applies to sea-trout over 40cms in length and the potential to extend similar or other protections to other game species could be considered in the light of conc...More Button

While management of salmon (and sea–trout over 40cms) involves multiple secondary legislation of national and local application, there is one Bye-law in relation to Pike which establishes a daily...More Button

I am advised by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) that the latest research, published in August 2018, reveals that pike appear to have changed their prey preference and now predominately eat roach. ...More Button

The research also found that pike and brown trout could live together within relatively large deep lakes with strong stream connectivity however in small, low-complex systems pike introductions c...More Button

I am confident in IFI’s capacity to deliver priority instream project works. IFI continues to deliver the more strategic, complex projects itself using, where necessary, appropriate external expe...More Button

To that end, my Department has separately funded project officers for IFI to promote capacity building and a collaborative approach within the sector and to address shortfalls in expertise within...More Button

The officers engage with these groups to progress projects through governance and into delivery phase. IFI has also established a pre-approved panel of experts that may be accessed by third parti...More Button

During 2018 IFI and the Office of Public Works (OPW) signed an agreement to build on existing good practices and develop a framework to support high level collaboration. Both organisations have o...More Button

Prospecting Licences

Was asked: the details of all town lands in which a prospecting licence for minerals exploration has been granted or renewed between 2011 and February 2019; and the details of all town lands in which a prospe...More Button

In the case of every public consultation on a Prospecting Licence grant or renewal, the full list of townlands to be encompassed by the Prospecting Licence Area is published in the newspaper advert...More Button

Energy Policy

Was asked: if there is a policy on importing fracked shale gas in view of the recent ban on fracking; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the policy on building new fossil fuel infrastructure; if past support for LNG infrastructure will be reassessed in view of the recommendations of a recent report by an organisation (details suppli...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 417 and 418 together.More Button

Successive governments have underlined the commitment to move from a fossil fuel-based electricity system to a low-carbon power system. Almost two thirds of renewable energy used in Ireland comes...More Button

It is widely recognised that Ireland needs to make a step change in its climate ambitions and I have secured Government approval to develop an all of Government plan which will set out the action...More Button

In all projected transitions to a low carbon economy by 2050, gas will continue to play a role in sustaining the transition. It plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the...More Button

In relation to LNG projects, commercial developers have proposed a number for development, including the Shannon LNG project and another project in Cork. Final investment decisions for these proj...More Button

The production, sourcing, buying and selling of natural gas produced outside this jurisdiction, would also be an operational matter for the undertakings involved. Any undertaking would be require...More Button

Was asked: the possibility of Ireland committing to a fossil fuel phase out date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am leading on the development of an All of Government Plan, which will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. This involves working with...More Button

Mining Licences

Was asked: the public consultation processes in place for mining objections; if further mining will be permitted in areas where a community has expressed its opposition to same; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

Applications for Mining licences/leases are subject to a consultation process under Section 18 the Mineral Development Acts 1979. The Minister is required to publish a notice in at least one nation...More Button

Waste Management Regulations

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 495 of 26 February 2019, if a more comprehensive response will issue which deals with the matters raised directly.More Button

Further to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 495 of 26 February, there is nothing which expressly prohibits a service fee being charged as part of a pricing plan used by a household waste coll...More Button

- a national standardised list of items that can go into the recycling bin;More Button

- a ‘Master Recycling’ programme, in partnership with environmental NGOs, which rolled out over 650 workshops nationwide;More Button

- the Stop Food Waste programme, which provides comprehensive information about the food that is wasted and how to prevent it to both householders and businesses;More Button

- information on how to use the organic bin appropriately, at www.brownbin.ie.More Button

To further assist in the provision of information to the public, my Department, in conjunction with the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices, launched a new website in November 2018, www.my...More Button

EU Directives

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 499 of 26 February 2019, if his attention has been drawn to a perceived anomaly in the response concerned (details supplied); he will retract his previous resp...More Button

The Commission document published on 28 May 2018 contained a 90% collection rate for plastic bottles by 2025, as pointed out by the Deputy. However, this changed very early on during negotiations b...More Button

In that context, I was pleased to see that both a political agreement was achieved by the Member States and the European Parliament before the end of 2018 and also that the collection target has ...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 500 of 26 February 2019, (details supplied), his views on the perceived disproportionate consultation with a company by his Department in relation to the singl...More Button

Repak were not the only experts consulted in relation to the proposed EU directive on single use plastics. In consideration of the above proposal, relevant experts were consulted as the need arose....More Button

In relation to consultation with Repak, the Deputy should note that Repak operates under an approval from the Minister to act as a national compliance scheme for packaging. Producers of packaging...More Button

Under the terms of their approval, they are tasked with ensuring Ireland meets its EU targets under the Packaging Directive and to report to the Minister annually on progress. They are also oblig...More Button

In relation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee Report, this was shared with Repak in the interest of ensuring that the information contained therein was accurate.More Button

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 505, 507 and 508 of 19 February 2019 and 501 and 502 of 21 February 2019 (details supplied), if the revision of the EU nationally determined contribution to ...More Button

I am conscious that Ireland remains substantially short of the targets which have been set previously. I have secured government approval to develop an all of government plan, which will set out th...More Button

Energy Data

Was asked: the most up to date figures on Ireland's energy mix, including percentages for the national provenance of energy in tabular form; the progress of Ireland in relation to 2020 and 2030 renewable ener...More Button

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is the official source of energy data for Ireland. They develop and maintain comprehensive National and sectoral statistics for energy production,...More Button

Waste Management

Was asked: the modulation of fees within the extended producer responsibility systems such as a company (details supplied) in order to effect a tangible decrease in the level of packaging waste and avoid EPR ...More Button

The Waste Framework Directive was amended in 2018 and introduced a new requirement for EPR schemes to modulate the financial contributions paid by producers by 2023. The objective of this new provi...More Button

National Clean Air Strategy

Was asked: the actions he plans to include in the national clean air strategy; and the expected breakdown of funding.More Button

Recent scientific evidence indicates that air pollution is more damaging at lower concentrations than was previously understood. With that in mind, I am committed to bringing forward Ireland's firs...More Button

In relation to funding of other measures, a key element of the strategy is that it will be integrative in nature, ensuring that air quality considerations are taken into account in decision makin...More Button

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Was asked: if a connection to the fibre optic network in an area will be arranged for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Faithlegg National School is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas ...More Button

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address o...More Button

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of c...More Button

Was asked: the status of high-speed broadband in an area (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The...More Button

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address o...More Button

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of c...More Button

State Bodies

Was asked: the oversight responsibilities his Department has towards ESB International and its investment projects abroad; and if he will report on the projects of ESB International taking into consideration ...More Button

ESB is a commercial State body with its own Board. Investment projects by ESB and its subsidiaries are an operational matter for ESB.   In terms of oversight, my role, as Minister, i...More Button

Radio Broadcasting

Was asked: if he will address a matter regarding radio legislation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

National and local radio makes an enormous contribution to the lives of individuals and communities in this country. I fully appreciate the difficulties faced by the independent broadcasting sector...More Button

In addition, the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill contains a provision to allocate funding to the BAI from TV Licence receipts. This would provide up to a maximum of 50% of the annual cost of the BA...More Button

Food Poverty

Was asked: if measures will be introduced to prevent food waste by supermarkets in order that usable food can be diverted to those in need; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

While supermarkets are directly responsible for the disposal of only 2% of food waste, their influence across the supply chain makes them central actors in combatting our national food waste proble...More Button

- signing up to the ‘Food Waste Charter’ thereby creating a long-term partnership between the retailer and the EPA’s food waste prevention programme supported by my Department;More Button

- collecting and sharing food waste data to measure and manage food waste, andMore Button

- signing up to the food donation network ‘Foodcloud’.More Button

'Foodcloud’ is an online platform that connects retailers and charities. Using a smartphone app, charities are alerted to the availability for collection of surplus food in local shops. This arra...More Button

Food donation is an important part of the response to our food waste problem as it recognises the value of food in society beyond its economic price. Given the scale of food wasted across product...More Button

Recent revisions of EU waste legislation put increased emphasis on food waste prevention and measurement. The European Commission is exploring further food waste measures with Member States and I...More Button

Broadcasting Sector

Was asked: his plans to implement the recommendations of the report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the future funding of public service broadcasting; if...More Button

The Working Group on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting was set up by government decision in July 2018 to examine options for the reform of TV licence collection, taking account of r...More Button

As I noted in the Debate on local radio in the Dail last Thursday, state aid rules have to be considered regarding the issue of a public service broadcast fund for the independent radio sector. More Button

The independent radio sector already benefits from the BAI Sound and Vision Scheme which is funded from 7% of the net TV Licence fee receipts. The Scheme provided over €494,000 towards 77 differe...More Button