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Ryan, Eamon

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Telecommunications Services

I thank Deputy McGrath for raising this important issue. As he is aware, the provision of electronic communications services, including the repair and restoration of telephone services, occurs wit...More Button

I recognise, as the Deputy said, how vital telecommunications services are to citizens for so many aspects of their daily lives, especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic. I and officials ...More Button

One of ComReg's functions is to determine the scope of the universal service obligations, USO, for the Irish market and to decide which undertaking should be designated as the universal service p...More Button

Eir provides a customer guarantee scheme for repairs. It provides two months' telephone exchange line rental credit where faults are not repaired within two working days from the date the fault ...More Button

I reiterate that ensuring the performance of the requirements of this USO by Eir is a statutory function of ComReg. As Minister, I have no role or function in this area. ComReg is directly acco...More Button

As the Deputy has raised the issue here, I will ensure that his question and associated concerns will be raised directly with ComReg and ensure it is aware of the debate we have had tonight. It ...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to instances in which the rollout of broadband by Eir is stopping just yards away from a person’s house yet they cannot access it; if his attention has been further ...More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract signed in November last. The Deputy’s constituents can check the Eirc...More Button

Was asked: his views on suggestions that a microgrant scheme will be set up to allow rural households that do not have access to fibre broadband to invest in alternatives; if his attention has been drawn to t...More Button

 As set out in the Programme for Government, ensuring access to high-quality internet connections for people across Ireland is essential to the development of all parts of our country, sociall...More Button

Was asked: if Adelaide Street, Dún Laoghaire will be brought into the State intervention area to provide high speed broadband (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Adelaide Street, Dún Laoghaire is located in the BLUE area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie.

  BLUE area...More Button

Was asked: if fibre broadband will be put in place for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The premises referred to is located in the BLUE area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie.

  BLUE are...More Button

Was asked: when a family (details supplied) will be provided with a fibre broadband connection; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The premises referred to in the question is located in the BLUE area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. BLUE areas are not in...More Button

Telecommunications Services (Continued)

I hope the new national broadband scheme that we are rolling out, and about which I will be answering questions later, will close the gap where there is a shortage of service and an inability for c...More Button

Where that is not possible, there is competition. Rival services such as SIRO are rolling out high-quality broadband to tens of thousands of houses. Competition is a way to make sure that other...More Button

At the same time, and as I said in my original response, there is a universal service obligation on Eir. It is ComReg's job to monitor, manage and, where appropriate, reprimand companies if they...More Button

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Note: Ministerial and Departmental titles have been updated in the Question text in anticipation of the relevant Government orders to give legal effect to the Taoiseach’s announcement in Dáil...More Button

Electricity Generation

Was asked: the actions he will take to remove the barriers blocking the growth of rooftop solar panels here, including the lack of a long-term payment system for excess electricity sold back to the grid, the ...More Button

The programme for Government commits to the development of microgeneration and to letting people sell excess power back to the grid by June 2021. The climate action plan that my predecessor introd...More Button

A microgeneration working group, chaired by my Department, is examining an enabling framework which tackles existing barriers and establishes suitable supports within relevant market segments. T...More Button

My Department has engaged with ESB Networks on grid capacity and connection issues, and with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI, on a review of the solar PV scheme in order to capt...More Button

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is reviewing the planning exemptions for solar installations in consultation with my Department, and has agreed in principle to provide fo...More Button

My Department has also engaged external advisors to identify possible support options for microgeneration. A proposed support mechanism will be outlined in a public consultation in the coming mo...More Button

The SEAI launched a pilot microgeneration scheme in July 2018 for domestic customers. To date, 3,691 applications have received grant support totalling €9 million, saving approximately 3 kt of c...More Button

In September 2019, ESB Networks commenced the roll-out of the smart meter programme for all domestic and business premises which is due for completion in 2024. To date, 120,000 smart meters have...More Button

I have not seen that research but I will read it if the Deputy could forward it on to me. I will happily respond to the Deputy once I have read and reviewed it. I agree with the Deputy. Roof aft...More Button

I have seen it in action. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to visit the Fair Play café in Ringsend, one of the community energy projects that have just received support of €29 million. The caf...More Button

EirGrid provided me with analysis a year or two ago when I was an Opposition spokesperson, as the Deputy is now. I asked what level of solar power could be generated on roofs.More Button

Electricity Generation (Continued)

I am going on memory, but I understand if we had 700,000 houses with solar panels on their roofs and 45,000 businesses that would provide 5% of our total power supply. That may not sound significa...More Button

We will be using a lot of power at a distributed level as we move towards electrifying the transport and heating systems. We will need every source of power and I am committed to the development...More Button

The roll-out is starting. While everything in this country has been somewhat delayed by Covid, I do not think it has been particularly badly affected. The initial delivery comprised 250,000 meter...More Button

The Commission for Energy Regulation, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities and the Data Protection Commissioner have strong and stringent rules around the use of any data and the purpose fo...More Button

National Broadband Plan

Was asked: his plans on the fast-tracking of the Nation Broadband Plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of good reliable broadband to ensure that citizens across Ireland can avail of remote working, education and other essential online facilities. ...More Button

The national broadband plan State-led intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland, NBI, under a contract signed last November. The national broadband plan network will offer use...More Button

While substantial progress has been made to date, the Covid 19 pandemic has had an impact on the delivery of the fibre network. The extent of this impact is currently being assessed and NBI has ...More Button

My Department is engaging with NBI to explore the feasibility of accelerating aspects of the national broadband plan roll-out to establish the possibility of bringing forward premises which are c...More Button

Exploring the potential to accelerate the network roll-out is being undertaken in parallel with the measures required to mitigate delays arising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which must be...More Button

I will discuss local matters in County Wexford. I will happily put the rest of the reply on the record for the benefit of other Deputies.More Button

The national broadband plan is seeking to accelerate the development of this scheme. It has been delayed somewhat, as I said in my previous reply, due to Covid. Part of the difficulty is that s...More Button

To bring it back to the Deputy's county, some 22,000 houses out of the 82,900 premises in Wexford are in an area which will be provided with high-speed broadband through State-led intervention. ...More Button

Deputy Murphy will also be aware that part of the plan involves the development of broadband connection points as the first phase. That involves the fast-tracking of the delivery of services. I...More Button

The Deputy is correct. The reason we are looking to accelerate and explore the national broadband operators is because the Covid pandemic showed the importance of remote working and the urgency of...More Button

We are considering accelerating aspects of the plan. It has been scheduled, after several years of preparation, to be a six and seven year process. Those discussions are very serious and have b...More Button

It will require a lot of analysis to accelerate any elements of it. I will not promise that until we know that it can be delivered in real time. The Covid pandemic has created difficulties in t...More Button

Such cases are the reason the State is putting money into this project. We have had differences in the House in terms of how it should be delivered and what the exact contact arrangements should be.More Button

Was asked: the expected progress that will be made with the roll-out of the national broadband plan in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The national broadband plan, NBP, State-led intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland, NBI, under a contract signed last November. As I outlined in my reply to Deputy Murphy ear...More Button

As of 15 September, design work is complete or ongoing in target townlands across 21 counties and steady progress is being made with more than 91,000 premises surveyed to date. This activity is ...More Button

The national broadband plan has delivered significant employment opportunities with National Broadband Ireland directly employing some 140 staff and more than 500 people are now working on the pl...More Button

Broadband connection points, BCPs, are a key element of the national broadband plan providing high-speed broadband in every county in advance of the roll-out of the fibre to the home network. So...More Button

My understanding is that there is not a decision to go from the centre out to the periphery. In fact, the whole nature of the broadband plan is that it will have to jump over most villages and tow...More Button

The surveying work being done at the moment is to make sure we get the design right and that will determine the choice. It is not on the basis of which is closest to the centre or which is further...More Button

To answer the Deputy's question, wherever that 10% may be, the whole purpose, as I said in response to an earlier question, is to try to accelerate the programme so they are delivered within five...More Button

One of the few positives, if there are any-----More Button

To answer those two questions first, there was a strategic decision in the application of fibre that the vast majority would be delivered in this manner. It is only the very last percentage most d...More Button

Unfortunately, the reason these areas are selected and are in the amber region is because there was not existing infrastructure other than the existence of telegraph poles, wooden poles, Eir pole...More Button

To answer Deputy Ó Cuív's questions, it is my understanding that there has been an increase in the uptake of broadband in those areas which is being provided with the SIRO network, the Eir networ...More Button

Was asked: the number of premises surveyed to date within the amber area, by county, as part of the national fibre network roll-out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy does not expect a county by county breakdown but I will give the figure for County Louth of the number of houses surveyed so far. Based on the information available on 15 September, I c...More Button

Was asked: if a more definitive timeline can be provided for the rollout of high-speed broadband in County ClareMore Button

Design work is complete or ongoing in target townlands across 21 counties and steady progress is being made with over 91,000 premises surveyed as at 15 September. This activity is increasing week o...More Button

  Question No. 70 answered orally.    More Button

Was asked: the engagement he has had in relation to the national broadband plan in seeking to accelerate its rollout as committed to under Balanced Regional Development in the Programme for Partnership Govern...More Button

The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of good reliable broadband to ensure that citizens across Ireland can avail of remote working, education and other essential online facilities. ...More Button

While substantial progress has been made to date, the Covid 19 pandemic has had an impact on the delivery of the fibre network. The extent of this impact is currently being assessed and NBI has c...More Button

My Department is continuing to engage with NBI to explore the feasibility of accelerating aspects of the NBP rollout to establish the possibility of bringing forward premises which are currently ...More Button

Exploring the potential to accelerate the network rollout is being undertaken in parallel with the measures required to mitigate delays arising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which must be ...More Button

Was asked: the areas in County Cork which will be connected first in view of recent announcements regarding the rollout of the National Broadband Plan. More Button

Was asked: the status of the rollout of rural broadband in west County Cork to deal with the hundreds of black spot areas that do not have adequate broadband. More Button

Was asked: the status of the rollout of the National Broadband Plan in County Cork; the areas which will be connected first within the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the priority areas identified in County Cork for roll out of the National Broadband Plan. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82, 91, 92 and 161 together.  

  The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Irela...More Button

Was asked: the status of the planned improvements to rural broadband in County Kerry. More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract signed on 19 November last to roll out a high speed and future proofe...More Button

Was asked: his plans to accelerate the national broadband plan to schools in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to accelerate the national broadband plan to facilitate remote working in homes and business in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the progress being made on implementing the national broadband plan, with a particular emphasis on the roll-out of same in County Clare.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89, 104 and 160 together. 

  The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) ...More Button

Was asked: the number of new connections to homes and businesses that will be completed in 2020 in counties Laois and Offaly, respectively by the national broadband plan. More Button

Was asked: the number of homes and businesses in counties Laois and Offaly, respectively, that will be connected to high speed broadband by the national broadband plan in 2020. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 100 together. 

  The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under...More Button

Was asked: his plans to fast-track the delivery of the national broadband plan in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government; the cost implication this will have; and if he will make a statement...More Button

The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of good reliable broadband to ensure that citizens across Ireland can avail of remote working, education and other essential online facilities. ...More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract signed last November. The NBP network will offer users a high speed...More Button

While substantial progress has been made to date, the Covid 19 pandemic has had an impact on the delivery of the fibre network. The extent of this impact is currently being assessed and NBI has c...More Button

My Department is currently engaging with NBI to explore the feasibility of accelerating aspects of the NBP rollout to establish the possibility of bringing forward premises which are currently sc...More Button

Exploring the potential to accelerate the network rollout is being undertaken in parallel with the measures required to mitigate delays arising as a result of Covid-19 which must be the primary f...More Button

Was asked: the timetable for the roll-out of broadband in counties Cavan, Monaghan and Meath; the details of alternative provisions that have been put in place to facilitate students and persons having to wor...More Button

Was asked: the areas of County Cavan which will have broadband infrastructure upgraded in 2020 in view of recent reports that the county is to be prioritised for the rollout of the National Broadband Plan; an...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97 and 99 together. 

  The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under ...More Button

Was asked: the status of the rollout of the national broadband strategy in north County Dublin as of September 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract signed on 19 November last to roll out a high speed and future proofe...More Button

  Question No. 104 answered with Question No. 89.More Button

Was asked: the steps he has taken to ensure a speedy roll-out of the National Broadband Plan to ensure persons in rural Ireland can work from home.More Button

Was asked: the status of the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan including promised properties, delivered properties and the timeline for each by county in tabular form.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 141 and 163 together. 

  The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) unde...More Button

Was asked: when broadband will be rolled out in Kiladoran, Delvin, County Westmeath (details supplied).More Button

The Question refers to a premises which is located 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...More Button

Was asked: the estimated cost of the National Broadband Plan in 2020.More Button

My Department estimates that the spend on the National Broadband Plan in 2020 will be approximately €60m.More Button

  Question No. 163 answered with Question No. 141.More Button

Was asked: if a company (details supplied) will receive assistance with the provision of broadband in view of the effect it is having on its business and potential expansion; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

The premises referred to is located in the BLUE area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. BLUE areas are not included in the St...More Button

Was asked: the expected progress in the delivery of nationwide high speed, high quality broadband over the next five years; the way in which this will contribute to the creation of job opportunities in both r...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the provision of broadband in all areas nationally is progressing; if he anticipates the provision of services to the blank spaces between services within a reasonable time with...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 184 and 186 together. 

  The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) unde...More Button

Was asked: if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; the status of the matter regarding the National Broadband PlanMore Button

The Question refers to a premises which is located 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...More Button

National Broadband Plan (Continued)

I did not hear that and in my role in opposition I was always in support of the need for the plan at significant cost, but I believe it is worthwhile. The excuses the Deputy has mentioned as to Co...More Button

That will strengthen the case and accelerate the roll-out of the national broadband plan because the need for it is ever clearer by the day.More Button

  Questions Nos. 68 and 69 replied to with Written Answers.More Button

North-South Interconnector

Was asked: the estimated cost of undergrounding the North-South Interconnector compared to the current plan; the date on which the cost comparisons were calculated; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

The North-South Interconnector is critical to improving the efficient operation of the single electricity market and increasing security of electricity supply across the island of Ireland. It will...More Button

The option of undergrounding the line has been assessed on several occasions over the years. Most recently, my Department published an independent study in October 2018 on undergrounding the int...More Button

The decision last week by the Minister for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland to grant full planning permission to the project means that the project has now been fully consented both North and S...More Button

I believe that this important new cross-Border infrastructure will significantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy into the power system, will bring economic benefits to the region a...More Button

This is a real issue of concern for the Deputy’s constituents and for many of the people in this House and the people they represent. It is an issue that goes back a long time. I first engaged on...More Button

This is a technically complex issue when one looks into it but I would have to say that the Deputy’s colleagues in the administration in Northern Ireland, where Sinn Féin are in power, have agreed ...More Button

I will conclude on that.More Button

By all means, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle.More Button

Was asked: the recent representations he has received on the need to underground the North-South interconnector in view of the recent decision in Northern Ireland to grant planning permission for the North-So...More Button

As I said earlier, the North-South interconnector is critical to improving the efficient operation of the single electricity market and increasing security of electricity supply across the island o...More Button

The decision last week by the Minister for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland to grant full planning permission to the project means that the project is now fully consented North and South. Sinc...More Button

I now expect EirGrid and ESB Networks to engage openly and extensively with those living closest to the route of the interconnector. In that regard I note that EirGrid has already set in place a...More Button

I believe that this important infrastructure will meet the objectives I mentioned earlier. While EirGrid and ESB Networks are engaging with the community, it would not be appropriate for me to b...More Button

The Deputy is representing the concerns of his constituents here, as he is absolutely right to do. This has been a highly difficult process for everyone. As well as the planning process and the o...More Button

I will answer Deputy O'Rourke's questions first. I stand here on behalf of the Irish Government in all its elements, just as the Minister, Ms Mallon, is representative of the Administration up Nor...More Button

-----on the basis that this is a critical project for maintaining an all-island approach to energy. If we break that and lose an all-island approach to energy, it will be very expensive for househ...More Button

Was asked: if his Department plans to engage with communities in counties Cavan, Monaghan and Meath along the route of the proposed North South Interconnector; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that...More Button

The North South Interconnector is critical to improving the efficient operation of the Single Electricity Market and increasing security of electricity supply across the island of Ireland. It will ...More Button

The option of undergrounding the line has been assessed on several occasions over the years. Most recently, my Department published an independent study in October 2018 on undergrounding the inte...More Button

The decision last week by the Minister for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland to grant full planning permission to the project means that the project is now fully consented North and South.More Button

I expect EirGrid and ESB Networks to engage openly and extensively with those living closest to the route of the interconnector. In that regard I note that EirGrid has already set in place a vari...More Button

I believe that this important new cross-border infrastructure will significantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy into the power system, will bring economic benefits to the region a...More Button

Renewable Energy Generation

Was asked: the way in which he plans to grow the number of community owned renewable energy projects in view of the recently approved results of the RESS auction; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I did not mean to misinterpret Sinn Fein’s position and I am happy to come back to discuss the North-South interconnector if I did.More Button

The programme for Government recognises the importance of community involvement as new energy infrastructure is installed. Specifically, the programme for Government commits to ensuring that com...More Button

Was asked: if research has been carried out into the potential job creation both direct and indirect in the anaerobic and biogas systems industry for both small and larger scale operations; if he will provide...More Button

A wide range of research, including on the potential job creation impact, has been carried out by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, research institutions and industry representative orga...More Button

Was asked: the estimated cost of increasing SEAI funding for supports to businesses for microgeneration and energy retrofitting, respectively by 50%.More Button

The Programme for Government commits to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade) and to achieving net zero emissions...More Button

Was asked: if he plans to make grid connection for renewable energy projects more accessible and affordable; his further plans for renewable projects to share grid connection assets in which technically possi...More Button

The Programme for Government commits to producing a whole-of-government plan setting out how we will deliver at least 70% renewable electricity by 2030 including recommendations for how the deploym...More Button

Grid connection policy is the responsibility the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), Ireland’s independent electricity and gas regulator. The Enduring Connection Policy (ECP) is the sys...More Button

Sharing of grid connections between renewable energy technologies has significant potential to reduce the costs of deploying renewable energy to the grid. It is understood that single owner hybri...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to reduce dependency on fossil fuels in the next five years by way of renewable energy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Programme for Government confirms that a reliable supply of safe, secure and clean energy is essential in order to deliver a phase-out of fossil fuels.   ...More Button

  Question No. 177 answered with Question No. 175. More Button

Renewable Energy Generation (Continued)

It is my intention that communities all over the country should be able to generate electricity and reap the benefits in their own localities from the sale of that electricity. In that regard, I a...More Button

The answer is "Yes". I am in contact with the energy regulator because if we go back to a position where Ministers or politicians are directly regulating the price of electricity, it would lead to...More Button

The Deputy is absolutely right. Templederry is a great example. However, it is only an early example. As I said, I would like to see 100 Templederrys and if we got that we would look at the next...More Button

Electric Vehicles

Was asked: the status of the electric vehicle strategy, promised in the programme for Government, which will ensure that charging infrastructure stays ahead of demand; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

The programme for Government published in June this year commits to publishing an electric vehicles strategy which will ensure charging infrastructure stays ahead of demand. Preliminary work has a...More Button

The needs analysis took into account a range of considerations including the importance of ensuring adequate charging infrastructure along the main commuting routes; the location of charging infr...More Button

The analysis estimated that there will be a sufficient number of fast chargers in place to meet the needs of 75,000 EVs by 2022. However, it is critical that we continue to monitor this capacity...More Button

My Department is also working closely with local government, including the Local Government Management Agency and the County and City Management Association, to ensure we can address the key issu...More Button

Additional work on the strategy is currently being planned to address key strategic considerations, including regulatory and legislative requirements, the need for geospatial analyses, the financ...More Button

It is my intention to publish the strategy as early as possible in Quarter 1 2021.More Button

Once completed, the strategy will provide a key framework for ensuring we continue to have sufficient infrastructure in place to keep ahead of demand, while also ensuring that appropriate plannin...More Button

The Deputy is absolutely right. The development of chargers right across the country is critical because even if a person living in south Dublin wants to go to Leitrim, he or she would want to mak...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the implementation of EV charging points nationwide since funding was announced in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I thank the Deputy for the question. She is correct that the Government is fully committed to supporting the significant expansion and modernisation of the EV charging network over the coming year...More Button

We have committed €10 million from the climate action fund to promote the charging network, and this has leveraged a further €10 million investment from ESB to reach the €20 million fund the Depu...More Button

To date, 159 of the 22 kW chargers have been replaced, and the programme to upgrade 22 kW chargers to 50 kW chargers has commenced, with ten installations in place. In addition, the first three ...More Button

In addition to the ESB project, my Department provides support through the SEAI public charge point scheme. This scheme has been in place since September 2019 to provide funding to local authori...More Button

With regard to Wicklow Council, to date the response from local authorities has been very low. This is a well-supported and well-funded project and it is designed to make it easy for the council...More Button

I have full confidence in the ESB to deliver on its commitments in this regard. Ireland was actually one of the first countries in the world to get a national network. To go back ten or 12 years,...More Button

The Government has been supportive of local authorities through this most difficult time. Regarding the loss of commercial rates, the Government is guaranteeing to step in and offer support. The ...More Button

Was asked: his plans to increase the availability of public charging points for electric cars nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of electric vehicle charging points by capacity installed in each county to date since funding was announced in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 159 together. 

  Government is fully committed to supporting a significant expansion and modernisation of the electric vehicle chargi...More Button

Was asked: if his Department will be legislating for the use of electronic scooters; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I intend to legislate for e-scooters in accordance with the Programme for Government. This will involve identifying and developing appropriate amendments to primary legislation across a range of co...More Button

My officials are currently looking at how progress towards the commitment can be made in light of the foregoing, noting that experience overseas has shown that a change of regime may have conseq...More Button

Electric Vehicles (Continued)

This refers to the earlier question on solar power. Under the SEAI sustainable communities programme, a range of communities around the country are considering innovative mechanisms to develop cle...More Button

EV sales to date have been relatively slow by comparison with what we expected but the period of slow uptake will come to an end. We are going to see all the car companies starting to deliver a ...More Button

The benefits to local community in this regard will be significant. That is why I have drawn attention to the fact that local authorities would be representing their communities by availing of tha...More Button

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Was asked: the extent to which progress is being made towards the reduction of emissions in line with EU and international targets without negative impact on the agrifood sector; if it is possible at this sta...More Button

The next ten years will be critical if we are to address the climate and biodiversity crisis which threatens our safe future on this planet. The programme for Government commits to an average 7% p...More Button

On Ireland's existing 2030 EU target to reduce greenhouse gases in the non-ETS sector by 30%, the climate action plan written by my predecessor sets out the policies and measures to achieve this,...More Button

Was asked: if Ireland has submittedits long-term strategy on greenhouse gas emission reduction to the EU following public consultation; if so, if he will provide the submission; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

Substantial work has been undertaken in developing Ireland’s Long-term Strategy to 2050 and it will be brought to Government for consideration and approval in the coming months, ahead of being subm...More Button

Was asked: the action he has taken to date or plans to take to accelerate compliance with emission-reduction targets while at the same time ensuring that the agri-food sector is not damaged; and if he will ma...More Button

The next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate and biodiversity crisis which threatens our safe future on this planet. The Programme for Government commits to an average 7% per an...More Button

It is important to recognise that the European Commission has just presented its plan to increase its ambition to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, from its existing target of 40% to at...More Button

These developments at EU level, along with the step change in climate ambition set out in the Programme for Government, will need to be reflected appropriately in the next iteration of the Climat...More Button

Far reaching policy changes will de developed across every sector. For agriculture, these will include:More Button

- Building on Ireland's relative carbon efficiency in food production and ensuring the delivery of the measures identified by Teagasc to the fullest extent possible.More Button

- Delivering an incremental and ambitious reduction in the use of inorganic nitrogen fertiliser through to 2030.More Button

- Transforming the scale of organic farming, with delivery of a fair price for farmers at its heart.More Button

- Developing a new strategy to expand afforestation, particularly Close to Nature Forestry and agro-forestry.More Button

- Rapidly evaluating the potential role of sustainable bioenergy.More Button

- Introducing a transformational programme of research and development, to ensure Ireland is at the cutting edge of scientific and technological innovation, including in: the bioeconomy; marine s...More Button

Land-use offers significant potential to sequester additional carbon and provide a new source of family farm income and rural economic benefit. While the achievement of such improvements is not a...More Button

It is important that the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) protects farm incomes and sectoral supports consistent these objectives, and the National Economic Plan frontloads investment that i...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that carbon emissions throughout the EU are measured equally with a view to ensuring that the more developed countries in the EU do not have the advantage over expanding economie...More Button

The next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate crisis which threatens our safe future on this planet. The Programme for Government commits to an average 7% per annum reduction in ...More Button

The 40% greenhouse gas target is implemented by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR). The EU ETS limits emissions from more than 11,000 heavy energy-us...More Button

Following agreement reached in late 2017, the revised ETS Directive (EU) 2018/410 sets out the arrangements for Phase IV (2021-2030). Ireland recognises the importance of the ETS as the EU’s main...More Button

The ESR sets targets for Member States based on GDP per capita and the cost-effectiveness of domestic emissions reductions within individual Member States. The final agreement sets Ireland a targ...More Button

It is important to recognise that the European Commission has just presented its plan to increase its ambition to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, from its existing target of 40% to at...More Button

Ireland has supported increased climate ambition at EU level through the European Green Deal, while asserting the importance of cost-effectiveness and fairness across Member States in pursuit of ...More Button

  Question No. 186 answered with Question No. 184.More Button

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Continued)

The European Commission has just presented its plan to increase its ambition to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, from its existing target of 40% to at least 55% compared with 1990 leve...More Button

These developments at EU level, along with the step change in climate ambition set out in the programme for Government, will need to be reflected appropriately in the next iteration of the climat...More Button

Absolutely. I hope we will shortly be able to consider such a review mechanism in the context of a new climate action Bill which will amend the 2015 Act. We hope to put in place a framework of th...More Button

A prosperous and secure future for Irish agriculture is best served under our new climate plan. Central to that plan will be a new land use plan which starts, first and foremost, with a vision for...More Button

Just Transition Commissioner

Was asked: the actions he has taken to date to implement the recommendations of the report by the just transition commissioner. More Button

The first progress report of the just transition commissioner, Mr. Kieran Mulvey, was published on 22 May. The report reflects a comprehensive engagement with relevant...More Button

Since the Deputy and I discussed this matter, I have had meetings with Mr. Mulvey, the ESB and the manager of Offaly County Council to discuss it. I am fully aware of the concerns in this matter, ...More Button

Just Transition Commissioner (Continued)

I am sure the Deputy is fully aware that the only reason tenders for removal of the existing plant had to be advertised was that it was a condition of the original planning permission. The Europea...More Button

The ESB was required to put that advert in as a condition of a planning permission and it has to operate within the law. Yes, we should be open to alternative uses. The reality with the plant its...More Button

Climate Action Plan

Was asked: the engagement he has had to date with the North Atlantic Seaboard Climate Action Regional Office particularly in relation to climate adaptation at local level; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

In January 2018, my Department entered into a five year financial commitment of €10 million to establish four Climate Action Regional Offices, CAROs. One of these CAROs covers the Atlantic seaboar...More Button

It is my intention to try to provide the resources to ensure local authorities can serve their communities by preparing for the climate future that is ahead of us. The Bill I referred to earlier, ...More Button

Climate Action Plan (Continued)

I welcomed the Supreme Court judgment at the time and I still do. The amendments we will make to the Act will, I hope, reflect the judgment and set in place, as I said earlier, the graduated budge...More Button

Without being critical of any one council, I should reflect that in the series of meetings I had throughout the country, particularly on the July economic stimulus, I encouraged councils to make ...More Button

  Questions Nos. 75 to 77, inclusive, replied to with Written Answers.More Button

Climate Change Policy

Was asked: the status of the proposed green new deal as part of the climate action (amendment) Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement. The Eur...More Button

In recognition of the investment required to decarbonise our economies, the EU’s €750 billion Next Generation EU recovery package and €1 trillion budget require that money can only be spent on pr...More Button

The Programme for Government has a Green New Deal for Ireland as a core mission. It commits to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduc...More Button

The purpose of the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill is to strengthen the governance structure in supporting Ireland's response to climate breakdown. The Bill, which the Government committed to int...More Button

- Set the 2050 decarbonisation target in law.More Button

- Provide for the adoption of five-year carbon budgets, setting maximum emissions by sector.More Button

- Strengthen the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council, including in relation to proposing appropriate carbon budgets.More Button

The Programme for Government commits to direct any relevant funding under the European Green Deal towards decarbonising projects such as renewable energy, retrofits, ecosystem resilience and rege...More Button

Was asked: if he will establish an interdepartmental working group on climate action and biodiversity issues with the effect of coordinating and integrating nature-based solution into climate action policy ac...More Button

The Programme for Government recognises that the next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate and biodiversity crises which threaten our safe future on this planet. Nature-based sol...More Button

In terms of integrating nature-based solutions into climate action specifically, from 2021 onwards, emissions and removals from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry will be included in the EU F...More Button

In addition, the Programme for Government recognises that land-use offers significant potential to sequester additional carbon, as well as providing a new source of family farm income and rural e...More Button

This cross-Government work will be overseen and coordinated by the Cabinet Committee on Environment and Climate Change which I Chair; and which covers environment, climate, water and biodiversity...More Button

More generally, I look forward to working with my colleagues the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, who has primary responsibility for biodi...More Button

Was asked: the way in which he plans to poverty proof and disability proof new climate action legislation going forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Programme for Government commits to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade) and to achieving net zero emissions...More Button

- Set the 2050 decarbonisation target in law.More Button

- Provide for the adoption of five-year carbon budgets, setting maximum emissions by sector.More Button

- Strengthen the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council, including in relation to proposing appropriate carbon budgets.More Button

In terms of managing the transition to a carbon neutral and resilient society and economy, the Programme for Government recognises that it is vital there is adequate time and effort devoted to wo...More Button

In terms of those in poverty, all additional carbon tax revenue, estimated at €9.5 billion over the next ten years, will be hypothecated into a Climate Action Fund. This Fund will be utilised ove...More Button

- Ensure that increases in the carbon tax are progressive by spending €3 billion on targeted social welfare and other initiatives to prevent fuel poverty and ensure a just transition.More Button

- Provide €5 billion to part fund a socially progressive national retrofitting programme targeting all homes but with a particular emphasis on the Midlands region and on social and low-income ten...More Button

- Allocate €1.5 billion to a REPS-2 programme to encourage and incentivise farmers to farm in a greener and more sustainable way. This funding will be additional to funding from the Common Agricu...More Button

The Programme for Government also commits to publishing a Just Transition Plan, to frame the work of the Just Transition Commissioner, and ensuring that financing is available, including through ...More Button

More generally, all Government decisions must consider fully their impact on those in poverty and with disabilities. In terms of legislating in the area of disability, policy responsibility for w...More Button

Was asked: when the Climate Action Council will undertake a comprehensive review of the climate mitigation potential of forests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Our forests provide eco-system services, support biodiversity, and contribute to climate mitigation through acting as carbon sinks. Forestry can also provide important resources for sustainable bio...More Button

Specifically in relation to the carbon mitigation potential of forests, from 2021 onwards, emissions and removals from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry will be integrated into the EU Framew...More Button

The Programme for Government recognises that land-use offers significant potential to sequester additional carbon and provide a new source of family farm income and rural economic benefit. While ...More Button

Was asked: if funding to local authorities will be ring-fenced for the employment of key climate action staff on county councils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

In January 2018, my Department entered into a five year financial commitment of €10 million to establish four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) - Atlantic Seaboard South; Atlantic Seaboard No...More Button

The Climate Action Bill, which I intend to publish shortly, further strengthens the role of Local Authorities in climate action. It sets out legislative requirements for each Local Authority to p...More Button

To build the necessary capacity, my Department is engaging with the CAROs in relation to the development and implementation of a new Local Authority climate action training programme. This progra...More Button

While decisions on staffing are a matter for each individual Local Authority to consider within their allocated funding, it will be important that they have the capacity and expertise to support ...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the cross-departmental micro generation working group set up under action 30 of the Climate Action Plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

  Awaiting reply from the Department.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to move towards accelerating the programme of emission-reduction targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the ten steps most likely to achieve the greatest progress in achieving climate action targets; the time frame within which he plans or expects to meet such targets; and if he will make a statement...More Button

I propose to take Question Nos 175 and 177 together.More Button

The next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate crisis which threatens our safe future on this planet. The Programme for Government commits to an average 7% per annum reduction i...More Button

This step-change in ambition will be challenging and require fundamental changes in so many parts of Irish life, but I believe that Ireland can and will rise to this challenge. In doing so we wil...More Button

- Delivering a National Aggregated Model of Retrofitting reaching over 500,000 homes by 2030, as part of the EU Renovation Wave.More Button

- Learning from district heating pilot projects to launch a scaled-up programme.More Button

- Accelerating the electrification of the transport system, including electric bikes, electric vehicles, and electric public transport.More Button

- Developing a strategy for remote working and remote service delivery, taking advantage of the opportunity for a rapid roll-out of the National Broadband Plan.More Button

- Ensuring an unprecedented modal shift in all areas by a reorientation of investment to walking, cycling and public transport.More Button

- Developing a new Sustainable Rural Mobility Plan.More Button

- Introducing a transformational programme of research and development, to ensure that Ireland is at the cutting edge of scientific and technological innovation in meeting our climate targets.More Button

- Developing a major drive to realise the immense potential of Ireland's offshore renewables.More Button

- Devising a systemic programme of sectoral audits of the commercial and industrial sector to underpin, area by area, strategies to meet the new national targets.More Button

- Expanding and incentivising micro generation, including roof-top solar energy.More Button

- Developing a new strategy to expand afforestation, particularly Close to Nature Forestry and agro-forestry.More Button

- Transforming the scale of organics farming, with the delivery of a fair price for farmers at its heart.More Button

- Building on Ireland's relative carbon efficiency in food production and ensuring the delivery of the measures identified by Teagasc to the fullest extent possible.More Button

- Delivering an incremental and ambitious reduction in the use of inorganic fertiliser through to 2030.More Button

- Rapidly evaluating the potential role of sustainable bioenergy.More Button

- Completing and implementing a major Waste and Circular Economy Action Plan.More Button

The objective to be carbon neutral is at the heart of the European Green Deal and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement. The European Commission has ...More Button

€30.4 billion is allocated for investment in climate action over the lifetime of Ireland's National Development Plan 2018 – 2027 (NDP), and the Programme for Government commits to legislating to hy...More Button

Failure to accelerate emissions reduction will have far reaching negative impacts on the economy and the public finances; undermine the long-term, sustainable competitiveness of the economy; and ...More Button

Energy Efficiency

Was asked: the status of the introduction of a new scheme for retrofitting of homes as of September 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings ov...More Button

The development of a new retrofit plan to achieve these targets is well underway.  This process has included reviewing the experience of existing schemes in Ireland, consultation with stakeholder...More Button

SEAI grant schemes will be a central element of the Government’s approach to achieving our retrofit targets. The July Stimulus package commits to increasing the SEAI budget by €100 million in 202...More Button

By announcing this additional €100 million funding as part of the July Stimulus, the Government is providing certainty to the sector so that they can continue approved programmes of work, bid int...More Button

  Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, answered orally. More Button

Was asked: the number of additional jobs which will be supported in the midlands through the funding provided in the July Stimulus for retrofitting.. More Button

The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets for the number and depth of residential retrofits to be completed by 2030. The targets are to retrofit 500,000 homes t...More Button

The July Stimulus package commits to increasing the SEAI budget by €100 million in 2021. This additional funding will be focused on community retrofit schemes, retrofit schemes supporting those i...More Button

It is estimated that the additional €100 million announced in the July Stimulus will support 3,200 direct and indirect jobs throughout the country. As such, the additional funding will benefit no...More Button

In addition, the Midlands retrofit project is a key action in the Climate Action Plan and will provide evidence of the benefits and challenges of delivering retrofit through an aggregated, area-b...More Button

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Was asked: his objectives in bringing the quality and standard of communication networks here up to best international standards with particular reference to high-speed broadband and mobile telephone coverage...More Button

As set out in the Programme for Government, ensuring access to high-quality internet connections for people across Ireland is essential to the development of all parts of our country, socially and ...More Button

The Programme for Government also commits to the development of a new National Digital Strategy. This strategy will ensure that  the increased level of national connectivity being delivered by th...More Button

Ireland has considerably improved its performance in the connectivity dimension, as reflected in the Digital Economy and Society Index, and is now ranking 6th among EU countries, up from 11th in ...More Button

Over the last 5 years, Ireland has been the fastest growing Member State in the EU in respect of connectivity and I have no doubt that this trend will continue, in particular as the NBP network b...More Button

Question No. 79 answered orally. More Button

Was asked: his plans in relation to enhancing connectivity in view of the large number of the workforce now working from home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As set out in the Programme for Government, ensuring access to high-quality internet connections for people across Ireland is essential to the development of all parts of our country, socially and ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the communications system nationally is adequately developed in line with the need to compete internationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the current or proposed provisions are sufficient to ensure the efficacy of the communications networks here with particular reference to the need to enable the business sec...More Button

Was asked: his mission statement for the development of the range and quality of the mobile telephone system here in line with modern expectations and international standards; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to modernise and increase the capacity and quality of the telecommunications system in all areas nationally in the course of the next five years; and if he will make ...More Button

Was asked: the mission statement he has set for his Department in terms of addressing the most important issues in the communication networks sector over the next five years; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 to 182, inclusive, together. More Button

As set out in the Programme for Government, ensuring access to high-quality internet connections for people across Ireland is essential to the development of all parts of our country, socially an...More Button

High speed connectivity will support a broad range of policy priorities and will allow for : the expansion of remote health monitoring and diagnosis; cloud based services and connected devices; d...More Button

So as to ensure that nobody is left behind in a digital divide, the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract sig...More Button

The Programme for Government also commits to the development of a new National Digital Strategy. This strategy will ensure that  the increased level of national connectivity being delivered by th...More Button

Ireland has considerably improved its performance in the connectivity dimension, as reflected in the Digital Economy and Society Index, and is now ranking 6th among EU countries, up from 11th in ...More Button

Over the last 5 years, Ireland has been the fastest growing Member State in the EU in respect of connectivity and I have no doubt that this trend will continue, in particular as the NBP network b...More Button

Mining Industry

Was asked: if he plans to continue to issue prospecting and mining licences for minerals in or near Natura 2000 sites; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

All applications for prospecting licences are subject to environmental screening which takes into account designated sites including Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, Natural...More Button

Proposed Legislation

Was asked: if the planned climate action (amendment) Bill will include a ban on fracked gas and oil; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The purpose of the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill is to strengthen the governance structure in supporting Ireland's response to climate breakdown. The Bill, which the Programme for Government comm...More Button

  Questions Nos. 91 and 92 answered with Question No. 82.More Button

Electricity Supply Board

Was asked: his plans for the demolition of two ESB midlands stations located at Shannonbridge, County Offaly and Lanesborough, County Longford; the reason the repurposing of the plants will not take place; an...More Button

While the management of ESB-owned facilities is the responsibility of the Board and management of ESB, discussions are underway with the Company to set up a group to look at the future of the plant...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware the first progress report of the Just Transition Commissioner, Mr Kieran Mulvey, was published on 22 May. Government is already acting on a number of the recommendatio...More Button

Waste Management

Was asked: the status of plans included in the recently published Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Earlier this month I launched a new national waste policy for the period 2020-2025, “A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy”.  The overarching objective of this plan is to drive the shift away ...More Button

The plan has been developed following an extensive engagement process with stakeholders and the general public including a high level stakeholder forum in September 2019, a formal public consulta...More Button

My officials have now commenced the process of putting detailed plans in place to ensure the successful delivery of the over 200 detailed actions outlined in the plan over the next five years. Th...More Button

  Question No. 99 answered with Question No. 97. More Button

  Question No. 100 answered with Question No. 93.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the classification of agricultural waste plastic in view of the costs and restrictions on export imposed by an office (details supplied) as a result of hipping agricultural f...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the agricultural waste plastic levy with respect to independent contractors (details supplied); if he is satisfied that the current arrangement ensures parity within the indu...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 143 and 144 together. 

  The National TransFrontier Shipment Office (NTFSO) which operates under the auspices of Dublin City Council, is Ire...More Button

Was asked: the estimated cost of bringing waste collection services back into public ownership.More Button

Was asked: his views on the positive environmental impacts that would result from returning waste management to local authority control; if such a move will be supported; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 and 166 together.  148 and 166 together.

  Earlier this month I launched a new national waste policy for the period 2020-2025, “A W...More Button

Was asked: his plans to reintroduce a grant to help defray the cost of disposing of incontinence products for persons with lifelong medical incontinence.More Button

My Department has been examining this issue in detail for some time and has engaged with relevant stakeholders, including representative organisations and the HSE, in an effort to see how best to s...More Button

Since mid-2017, a range of charging options have operated, which encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste. This provides flexibility to waste collectors to develop various servic...More Button

Earlier this month I launched a new national waste policy for the period 2020-2025, A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy. This plan contains a range of measures to empower households throug...More Button

Was asked: the evidence base for prioritising the buy-one-get-one-free offers measure in relation to the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department launched the Waste Plan for a Circular Economy on 4 September 2020. The new plan contains a specific chapter on food waste, which outlines a number of actions to tackle th...More Button

  Question No. 166 answered with Question No. 148.More Button

Craoltóirí Seirbhíse Poiblí

Is craoltóir seirbhíse poiblí náisiúnta neamhspleách é RTÉ a bhfuil a shainchúram agus a oibleagáidí leagtha amach san Acht Craolacháin 2009 agus, dá bharr sin, níl aon ról ag an Aire ina chuid oib...More Button

Warmer Homes Scheme

Was asked: the steps he is taking to speed up the process of applications for the warmer homes scheme; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that homeowners in County Galway that are in receipt of fuel ...More Button

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). To date over 142,000 homes have received free upgrades under...More Button

Although the budget for the scheme has been significantly increased in recent times, the current very high level of demand does directly impact waiting times. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, the w...More Button

The Climate Action Plan includes a commitment to review ways to improve how current energy poverty schemes target those most in need, including how to reduce waiting times. Recommendations in rel...More Button

The July Stimulus commits to increasing the SEAI budget by €100 million in 2021. This additional funding will be focused on community retrofit schemes, retrofit schemes supporting those in energy...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland will not permit warmer home scheme contractors to carry out essential external insulation works for appl...More Button

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). To date over 142,000 homes have received free upgrades under...More Button

Departmental Correspondence

Was asked: the status of correspondence from this Deputy to him (details supplied).More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract signed on last November to roll out a high speed and future proofed b...More Button

State Bodies

Was asked: if further details will be provided in relation to the €100 million in additional funding for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland announced as part of the July stimulus for 2021; if the amo...More Button

The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, including our homes, with targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Buil...More Button

SEAI grant schemes will be a central element of the Government’s approach to achieving our retrofit targets. The July Stimulus package commits to increasing the SEAI budget by €100 million in 202...More Button

By announcing this additional €100 million funding as part of the July Stimulus, the Government is providing certainty to the sector so that they can continue approved programmes of work, bid int...More Button

 More Button

Fuel Poverty

Was asked: the status of an ESRI report regarding fuel poverty due to be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer to the reply to Question No. 159 of 8 September 2020. More Button

While policy matters relating to taxation are a matter, in the first instance, for my colleague, the Minister for Finance, the Programme for Government makes a number of clear commitments in rela...More Button

The Programme underlines that carbon tax has an important role to play in addressing behaviours with negative externalities, in this case greenhouse gas emissions. It, therefore, commits to incre...More Button

The Programme for Government also commits to hypothecating all additional carbon tax revenue into a Climate Fund raising an estimated €9.5 billion over the next ten years. This Fund will be utili...More Button

- Ensure that the increases in the carbon tax are progressive by spending €3 billion on targeted social welfare and other initiatives to prevent fuel poverty and ensure a just transition.More Button

- Provide €5 billion to part fund a socially progressive national retrofitting programme targeting all homes.More Button

- Allocate €1.5 billion to a REPS-2 programme to encourage and incentivise farmers to farm in a greener and more sustainable way. This funding will be additional to funding from the Common Agricu...More Button

Given the importance of a strong evidence base for policy decisions, my Department is undertaking a programme of work with the ESRI to examine the distributional benefits of utilising carbon tax ...More Button

This work builds upon a significant volume of research has been undertaken in recent years, by the ESRI and others, into the distributional impacts of carbon tax. This research has helped to info...More Button

Environmental Policy

Was asked: his views on introducing ecocide as criminal offence in legislation.. More Button

Was asked: his views on the fact that the Irish State is working with other countries towards ecocide becoming a recognised crime in international law through the relevant EU and UN bodies.More Button

I propose to take Questions No 157 and 158 together. More Button

The next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate and biodiversity crises which threaten our safe future on this planet. It is imperative that we protect our biodiversity and natur...More Button

Ireland engages actively through the EU to support the development of ambitious global responses to these challenges, in particular through the United Nations. A number of UN Framework Convention...More Button

Ireland recognises that multilateral responses are crucial to tackling environmental and climate-related challenges, and my Department engages with relevant EU and UN structures to support these ...More Button

  Question No. 160 answered with Question No. 89. More Button

  Question No. 161 answered with Question No. 82. More Button

Was asked: the steps he plans to take to reduce dependency on plastic; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

On 4 September this year I launched the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy.  This Plan contains ambitious measures for dealing with plastic packaging and single use plastic and details how th...More Button

The Waste Action Plan also commits to a range of measures to reduce packaging waste. These include steps to make all producers of packaging subject to an extended producer responsibility scheme a...More Button

Energy Policy

Was asked: if anaerobic and biogas systems form part of the carbon reduction plan as part of Ireland’s obligations under the European Green Deal and in the formulation of future energy planning in the setting...More Button

The Programme for Government, the National Energy & Climate Plan, and the Climate Action Plan all support the use of biogas produced from anaerobic digestion as a means of contributing towards ...More Button

Air Pollution

Was asked: if the expanded smoky coal ban will apply to Rush, County Dublin.More Button

Rush has been a part of the Fingal administrative area Low Smoke Zone since 31 August 2012. The ban on the sale, marketing, distribution and burning of bituminous coal in that area is contained in ...More Button

Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff Scheme

Was asked: when the next auction under the renewable energy support scheme will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the percentage of renewable energy projects that have been successful under the recent RESS auction; his plans to support and incentivise more investment in renewable energy projects; and if he wil...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 171 together.   

  The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is an auction-based scheme which invites renewable elec...More Button

Public Transport

Was asked: the way in which the cost of producing electricity here compares with other countries throughout Europe with particular reference to maintaining competitiveness throughout industry; and if he will ...More Button

The Programme for Government commits to providing the reliable supply of safe, secure and clean energy in order to deliver a phase-out of fossil fuels. This means Ireland must deliver on its commit...More Button

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost of halving all public transport fares and for providing free public transport to all persons in full-time education.More Button

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the regulat...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: the estimated cost to restore the CIÉ subvention to 2008 levels.More Button

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.More Button

Since 2010, the award of public service obligation (PSO) funding falls under the independent statutory remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA). The allocations to the transport companies...More Button

The 2008 Exchequer expenditure on PSO was €308.6m. For 2020, the aggregate Exchequer allocation provided under Budget 2020 was €288.7m, but the actual expenditure this year will be far higher th...More Button

Cycling Policy

Was asked: the estimated cost of constructing one covered bike shelter; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning ...More Button

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 1...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: the number of cycling officers employed in local authorities nationwide; the estimated cost of employing one cycling officer for one year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In line with the objectives of the National Cycle Policy Framework my Department works closely with local authorities in relation to relevant matters, particularly in relation to cyclin...More Button

Was asked: the number of organisations which wrote to either him or his predecessors or the National Transport Authority in support of the implementation of the Greater Dublin Area Cycling Network of the Nati...More Button

As Minister for Transport I am very much committed to encouraging a greater uptake in the numbers walking and cycling. The new Programme for Government – Our Shared Future sets out an ambit...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: if the wearing of helmets by cyclists will be made compulsory; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Making the wearing of helmets compulsory for cyclists is an issue which has arisen a number of times over the years. It is a long-standing Government policy to recommend and promote the wearing of ...More Button

However, opinion is divided internationally on whether the wearing of safety helmets is best achieved through the introduction of statutory requirements or through other strategies. Making the w...More Button

The matter was considered in the context of the preparation of the Road Safety Strategy 2013 – 2020. Although the Strategy strongly favours encouraging the use of helmets, it stopped short of re...More Button

It is my view that the wearing of cycle helmets is better achieved by way of educational and publicity campaigns rather than by pursuing a punitive approach to the issue, particularly having rega...More Button

Was asked: if he has considered making the wearing of helmets by cyclists mandatory; and his plans to update legislation regarding cycling in view of the big uptake in use and the hazard posed by some practic...More Button

Making the wearing of helmets compulsory for cyclists is an issue which has arisen a number of times over the years. It is a long-standing Government policy to recommend and promote the wearing of ...More Button

However, opinion is divided internationally on whether the wearing of safety helmets is best achieved through the introduction of statutory requirements or through other strategies. Making the w...More Button

The matter was considered in the context of the preparation of the Road Safety Strategy 2013 – 2020. Although the Strategy strongly favours encouraging the use of helmets, it stopped short of re...More Button

I am of the view that the wearing of cycle helmets is better achieved by way of educational and publicity campaigns rather than by pursuing a punitive approach to the issue, particularly having r...More Button

Road Network

Was asked: the total spend on roads in each of the years 2016 to 2019 and to date in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the road projects that were funded in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 192 and 193 together.

  The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority in ac...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

National Vehicle and Driver File

Was asked: the number of licensed State-owned vehicles on the NVDF in 2018, 2019 and to date in 2020; the number of hybrid and electric vehicles in those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The number of licensed State owned vehicles licensed (with current motor tax) on the NVDF as at 31 December 2018, 2019, and 31st August 2020, broken down by fuel type, is provided in the tabular ta...More Button

Road Traffic Accidents

Was asked: the methodology used to calculate road collisions; if it includes data from An Garda Síochána and insurance companies; if other data is included; if near misses are included; and if he will make a ...More Button

I would like to start by stating, respectfully, that it would have been helpful if the Deputy could have been clearer about which collisions he is concerned with and for what purposes. There are m...More Button

Motor Tax

Was asked: the estimated annual yield for motor tax projected for 2021; the yield in each of the past five years; the way in which the funds were allocated; and his plans for allocation of the funds in 2021.More Button

Gross motor tax receipts for the years 2015 to 2019 are set out in the table below.

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Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) has not received a reply from the motor tax office.More Button

I have no function in relation to turnaround times in motor tax offices, which operate under the local authority system. I would suggest that contact be made directly with the relevant local author...More Button

Driver Test

Was asked: the current level of driver tests being carried out per week compared to this time in 2019; when normal testing levels will resume; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Specific details on numbers of tests are an operational matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred this part of the Question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask th...More Button

As you can appreciate, Covid 19 has had a profound effect on the delivery of services. The Driver Test service has seen its weekly capacity reduced significantly in order to comply with occupatio...More Button

My Department is remaining in close contact with the RSA who are examining ways of increasing the number of tests within the current health constraints. Both my Department and the RSA remain com...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will be facilitated in relation to a driver test; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The operation of the Driver Testing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority.

  I have therefore referred the question to the Authority for direct rep...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Road Projects

Was asked: when the feasibility study on the proposed Julianstown bypass, County Meath will commence; when the process will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Wo...More Button

The main focus of expenditure under the National Development Plan (NDP) is on the maintenance and renewal of the regional and local road network and implementation of the 12 regional and local ro...More Button

In relation to the appraisal of possible measures to manage traffic in the vicinity of Julianstown, the Department understands that Meath County Council intends to carry out an origin-destination...More Button

It should be noted that all proposed projects must now comply with the revised Public Spending Code published in December 2019. An important change to the Public Spending Code is the introduction...More Button

The purpose of the Strategic Assessment Report is to examine the rationale for a proposed project and to ensure the strategic alignment of projects with Government policy, including the National ...More Button

Was asked: the status of a roads project in County Kildare (details supplied); the timeline for completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Wo...More Button

Project Ireland 2040 identifies a programme of regional and local road improvement projects to be progressed with grant support and the Athy Southern Distributor Road is one of those projects. I...More Button

Implementation of the Athy scheme is the responsibility of Kildare County Council. Grant funding of €3.5 million has been allocated to the Council for this project in 2020. My Department recently...More Button

Road Safety

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to a number of incidents nationally involving cars that have been sold to underaged, unlicensed and uninsured drivers and the harm that is being done nationwide due ...More Button

Under section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 2004, it is an offence to supply a mechanically propelled vehicle to a minor. A person found guilty of this offence is liable on summary conviction to a fi...More Button

There is no legal requirement to hold a valid driving licence or car insurance in order to purchase a vehicle, nor should there be. A person - an adult - may purchase and own a vehicle which ano...More Button

Enforcement of the Road Traffic Acts and the enforcement of criminal law generally is a matter for the Gardaí.More Button

Travel Trade Sector

Was asked: if capacity of the travel agent industry to survive the Covid-19 crisis has been assessed; and if a special range of supports will be developed in view of the particular circumstances of the sector...More Button

Was asked: his plans to help save jobs in the travel agents industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am aware of the serious difficulties arising for Irish licensed travel agents and tour operators in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the catastrophic collapse of overseas travel and tourism. More Button

The sector continues to benefit from a range of State supports made available for SMEs - including the wage subsidies - and the State is also providing a special financial guarantee under a Refu...More Button

I know that businesses in the sector are looking for more, and the Irish Travel Agents Association has made representations on behalf of its members for additional financial supports in the form ...More Button

Railway Stations

Was asked: when Kishogue rail station will open; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibil...More Button

However, it is my understanding that the works needed to allow Kishogue station to open will be completed later this year. An official opening date for the new station has not yet been establishe...More Button

Was asked: the location of a commemorative plaque (details supplied) which was removed from Gormanston train station; the date on which it will be reinstated; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport. More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Rail Network

Was asked: if he will ensure that Irish Rail communicates the methods used in its MCA matrices to residents affected by the DART+ upgrade in Dublin West in an accessible format such as a printed leaflet befor...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide details of the houses that will be affected as per the DART+ public consultation pack in MCA 1, Section 3.1 Noise and Vibration and 3.2 Air Quality and Climate (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: if Irish Rail will provide all documentation (details supplied) related to the creation of two documents used for the DART+ public consultation in Dublin West.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 205, 206 and 207 together.

I have no doubt that the Deputy welcomes the transformative programme of investment planned under DART+ which will provide a sus...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Taxi Data

Was asked: the advice given by the National Transport Authority to his Department or other Departments on the issue of taxi drivers and the impact of Covid-19 on their work practices and income and their need...More Button

Since March of this year, the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority (NTA), the statutory regulator have been in constant communication, working together and in conjunction wi...More Button

Among the measures available to support SPSV operators are the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Enterprise Support Grant, which is available to assist eligible self-employed recipients who c...More Button

Self-employed SPSV operators, who were profitable in 2019 but not in 2020 due to COVID-19, may be able to avail of an income tax relief allowing for up to €25,000 of losses from this year to be o...More Button

Bus Services

Was asked: the number of individual service cancellations on PSO funded Bus Éireann services scheduled to have operated from Sligo bus depot since 1 March 2020; the estimated number of passengers affected by ...More Button

As the Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport. More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

  Question No. 213 answered with Question No. 202.More Button

Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Was asked: if TII is in receipt of correspondence from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to a project (details supplied); the engagement of TII with the Department of Public Expendit...More Button

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the ...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Road Safety Authority

Was asked: when he will fill the number of vacancies on the board of the Road Safety Authority.More Button

A recruitment process with the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to fil vacancies on the Board of the Road Safety Authority was advertised at the end 2019 with a closing date in January 2020.
...More Button

Departmental Funding

Was asked: the annual departmental funding allocated to the Dublin bikes rental scheme and other similar public rental schemes operating in counties Cork and Galway since the inception of each scheme.More Button

Was asked: if there are departmental plans to open up new public rental schemes.More Button

Was asked: the details of future allocated departmental budget to the Dublin bike rental scheme.More Button

Was asked: the departmental funding provided or allocated for the expansion of the Dublin bikes scheme as laid out in the Dublin bikes Strategic Planning Framework 2011-2016 document.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 216 to 219, inclusive, together.More Button

As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to sustainable mobility infrastructure. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations includin...More Button

Noting the NTA's responsibilites in the matter, I have referred your questions to the NTA for a more detailed reply . Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 worki...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button

Taxi Regulations

Was asked: if there will be an extension to the National Transport Authority’s rules compelling taxi drivers to replace their cars after either 10 or 15 years in view of the current crisis facing the taxi sec...More Button

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including SPSV licensing, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation A...More Button

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51More Button