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White, Alex

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


National Broadband Plan Implementation

Was asked: the status of the timeline to connect all premises under the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The national broadband plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high-quality, high-speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combi...More Button

In November 2014, I published a national high-speed coverage map for 2016. The areas marked in blue on the map represent those areas that will have access to commercial high-speed broadband serv...More Button

Over 40 responses were received following the publication of the national broadband plan proposed intervention strategy last July. Non-confidential versions of these submissions are being publis...More Button

There is an absolute commitment to doing this and it is not just a commitment; we are delivering on the plan I outlined to the Dáil as a new Minister in July 2014. As I reminded the Deputy before ...More Button

The operators, including Eir, have put forward plans and proposals for the period 2016 to 2020. My Department and I have assessed those proposals and particularly their credibility from a financia...More Button

Was asked: when the roll-out of high-speed rural broadband under the national broadband scheme will commence; the minimum speed of the proposed service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The national broadband plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high-quality, high-speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a comb...More Button

Last November, I published a national high-speed coverage map for 2016. This map is available at the broadband website. The areas marked blue represent those areas that will have access to comm...More Button

The map allows all members of the public, be they business or residential, to see whether their premises or home will have access to commercial high-speed broadband services by the end of 2016 or...More Button

It is anticipated that there will be speeds of at least 30 Mbps. I emphasise that it is at least 30 Mbps because occasionally this is misreported or misunderstood as being up to 30 Mbps. It is ...More Button

Meanwhile, my Department continues to review the technical and financial detail relating to potential new commercial investment proposals. As I indicated earlier, I expect to proceed to formal p...More Button

On the last issue the Deputy raised, I again emphasise it will be a minimum of 30 Mbps. The Deputy is correct. Given the exponential improvement in the technology and what is now possible, this s...More Button

I have already given the House information on the timescale. This is not step 1; this is step 3, as I have indicated. Step 1 was the publication of the map a year ago. Step 2 was the strategy in...More Button

We expect to cover 85% by 2018.More Button

I take the Deputy's point about fibre. However, we cannot specify a technology. We have to be technology-neutral.More Button

Under state aid rules, we cannot do that. I agree with the Deputy that fibre is likely to be the technology we need to deliver these services but we cannot specify it. I have already told the Hou...More Button

It will take between three to five years to build it.More Button

It will take between three to five years.More Button

It starts next year. There will certainly be delivery of product in 2018 because I have given figures in respect of that. The last house will be covered some time before 2020.More Button

I accept that people are frustrated but when they have high-speed broadband, they will be very satisfied that we have done the right job.More Button

Was asked: if the national high-speed broadband scheme will be rolled out to the most isolated areas first, as they are the least likely ever to receive a commercial high-speed broadband service; and if he wi...More Button

The Government's National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved t...More Button

Was asked: the status of the commitment to provide high-speed broadband to every house and business in County Donegal and the deadline for this; if the Government has failed the people of County Donegal, give...More Button

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achi...More Button

Was asked: when the updated area intervention map for the national broadband plan will be published; if he is aware of concerns that delays with private operator investment for expansion are occurring on acco...More Button

The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a comb...More Button

While I have no input into formulating the plans of commercial operators, I can assure the deputy that the Department strongly encourages commercial investment under the National Broadband Plan. ...More Button

The European State Aid Guidelines for Broadband require Member States to thoroughly evaluate any commercial plans so as to ensure that State Aid is confined to those areas where commercial invest...More Button

The Department has undertaken a comprehensive assessment of commercial investment plans submitted to date and has recently published a document 'Mapping future high speed broadband networks', whi...More Button

Was asked: the ownership of the broadband infrastructure as part of the national broadband plan intervention strategy; the cost to the public Exchequer; and the date for the construction of this project.More Button

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achi...More Button

Was asked: if and when high-quality, high-speed broadband will be provided in all urban and rural areas; if the frustrations experienced by the domestic, business and commercial sectors due to the lack of th...More Button

The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a comb...More Button

Was asked: the status of the commitment to provide fibre broadband to every house and business in County Donegal; the deadline for this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achi...More Button

Was asked: his plans to roll out broadband to rural areas in west Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a comb...More Button

Was asked: the status of the proposed 30 megabits per second broadband network for all houses by 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achie...More Button

Was asked: if he will tackle the inadequate broadband service to houses and businesses in County Kerry; the number of premises that will be connected to high-speed broadband via State intervention and commerc...More Button

Was asked: if he will tackle the inadequate broadband service to houses and businesses in Cork county and city; the number of premises that will be connected to high-speed broadband via State intervention and...More Button

Was asked: if he will tackle the inadequate broadband service to houses and businesses in Waterford county and city; the number of premises that will be connected to high-speed broadband via State interventio...More Button

Was asked: if he will tackle the inadequate broadband service to houses and businesses in County Tipperary; the number of premises that will be connected to high-speed broadband via State intervention and com...More Button

Was asked: if he will tackle the inadequate broadband service to houses and businesses in Limerick county and city; the number of premises that will be connected to high-speed broadband via State intervention...More Button

Was asked: if he will tackle inadequate broadband service to houses and businesses in County Clare; the number of premises that will be connected to high-speed broadband via State intervention and commercial ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 601 to 606, inclusive, together.

  The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has acces...More Button

Energy Policy

Was asked: if and how he will encourage semi-State companies such as Bord na Móna, Coillte and the Electricity Supply Board to promote renewable energy generation as part of the White Paper on energy policy.More Button

Was asked: the extent by which he expects to reduce dependency on fuel or energy imports with particular reference to the utilisation of non-fossil fuels as a means of achieving national fuel security and rel...More Button

The overarching objective of the Government's energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced energy to all consumers as our energy system undergoes the radical t...More Button

Our immediate focus is on the period to 2020. In addition to the EU's 2020 targets for emissions reductions, the 2009 EU renewable energy directive sets Ireland a legally binding target of meeti...More Button

Was asked: if he will respond to climate change discussions in the context of reducing dependency on fossil fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if natural energy resources continue to be developed and made available to the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 613 and 620 together. More Button

The overarching objective of the Government's energy policy, as set out in the White Paper on Energy Policy which I will publish tomorrow, is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competit...More Button

Our immediate focus is on the period to 2020. In addition to the EU's 2020 targets for emissions reductions, the 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive sets Ireland a legally binding target of meetin...More Button

Ireland is ambitious to make a cost-effective and fair contribution to the EU's overall 2030 ambition, which seeks to have at least 27% of energy demand met from renewable sources by 2030. To thi...More Button

Energy Policy (Continued)

I also thank the Deputy for his comments and wish him well. My engagement with him has been always very satisfactory and I thank him for his unfailing courtesy. He has always addressed the issue,...More Button

The Deputy is right. The ambition underlying the Paris agreement calls for considerable change across the world, including Ireland. We have made decisions and are required to make more to ensure ...More Button

It sounds as if the Deputy has already had a sneak preview of the White Paper because the role of the education sector, research institutions and the universities will be critical in the energy tra...More Button

Figures provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI, show that, in 2014, 8.6% of Ireland's overall energy requirements were met from renewable sources. More specifically, the SEA...More Button

According as we increase our renewable portfolio, we are not only doing the work we need to do in terms of replacing fossil fuels, but renewable energy is indigenous and does not require us to impo...More Button

There is a discussion on these matters in the White Paper, which is due for publication tomorrow. It contains a discussion of the contribution that can be made by the different renewable sources. ...More Button

Renewable Energy Generation

Was asked: if he has considered the conversion of Moneypoint power plant to biomass; if he has conducted a cost-benefit analysis; if conversion would facilitate Ireland in reaching its 2020 carbon targets; an...More Button

The overarching objective of the Government's energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced energy for all consumers. A well balanced fuel mix that provides re...More Button

The choice of fuel used in the plant at Moneypoint is, in the first instance, a matter for the operator, the ESB, and I have no role or function in this regard. No specific cost-benefit analysis...More Button

Renewable Energy Generation (Continued)

The conversion of Moneypoint to biomass would require significant levels of capital investment by the operator. In recent weeks I have seen the figure of €300 million for the cost of conversion....More Button

The ESB would and does keep me informed of its thinking. It is a decision for it. The White Paper will be published tomorrow but in the context of the transition we are embarked upon and that we ...More Button

The supports for the peat stations will cease in 2019. Decisions have been made about those subsidies. This will be a transition. It will not happen in one fell swoop because there are people wh...More Button

Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff Scheme Funding

Was asked: the value for money of subsidies for wind energy on consumer energy bills, if these will be continued after 2017, the average amount they contribute to consumer electricity bills; and if he will ma...More Button

The renewable electricity feed-in tariff, REFIT, schemes are the principal means of supporting renewable electricity generators for energy exported to the grid. Based on power purchase agreements ...More Button

The €156 million is the cost for overall renewable generation, not specifically wind. Of course it would be great if we could achieve our objectives without any State subsidy. It would be highly ...More Button

Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff Scheme Funding (Continued)

However, it has been demonstrated that to bring forward the new renewable technologies and investments, that subsidy is required. Other countries have discovered this also. I have had this debate...More Button

There are periodic reviews of the regulators. If it is determined or believed at any stage that the legislative environment is not adequate, of course, the Government can review it. If the Deputy...More Button

I keep hearing people say countries all over Europe are pulling away from wind energy generation, but that is simply not true. There are some countries which believe, understandably, that they h...More Button

Alternative Energy Projects

Was asked: if the Environmental Protection Agency's study of hydraulic fracturing could be compromised in the public's opinion owing to the close relationship of some of the participants with hydraulic fractu...More Button

Hydraulic Fracturing Policy

Was asked: his views on the wisdom of continuing with the Environmental Protection Agency study into hydraulic fracturing with terms of reference that are considerably out of date, given that 50% of research ...More Button

Was asked: if he will consider a complete ban on hydraulic fracturing given renewed efforts to mitigate climate change; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Renewable Energy Incentives

Was asked: the status of the introduction of a domestic renewable heat incentive to stimulate biomass demand, and given the Conference of Parties 21, if he will implement policies to further develop the bioma...More Button

The 2009 EU renewable energy directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. This is not without its challenges, as I have ...More Button

I appreciate what the Deputy said about the domestic sector. We have large industrial users in place in the country. We might not like many of these big operations and companies and so on but the...More Button

The analysis we carried out suggested that it would not be cost effective at this stage to include the domestic heating sector in the RHI scheme. This is due to a number of factors, including th...More Button

We would like to try to do both. In terms of the scale of what we are proposing and the analysis we have done in regard to the RHI, it would not be suitable at this point to direct the RHI scheme ...More Button

North-South Interconnector

Was asked: his views on using an underground alternative to the North-South interconnector employing high-voltage direct-current technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, EirGrid made a formal application for the North-South Transmission Line project to An Bord Pleanála on 9 June 2015. I am constrained, therefore, in what I can say in r...More Button

The North-South Transmission Line project is part of EirGrid's plans to upgrade the national electricity transmission system. It is a strategically urgent project that will remove restrictions l...More Button

Since the project was initiated, there have been numerous studies into the option of using an underground alternative for the project.More Button

In July 2014, a Government-appointed Independent Expert Panel provided its opinion on whether EirGrid had adequately examined this matter. It found that the studies and work undertaken were comp...More Button

On 27 March 2015 EirGrid published a new independently peer reviewed draft Strategy which found that there remains a clear need for the North-South Transmission Line project, and that the existin...More Button

Hydraulic Fracturing

Was asked: if he can provide assurances that there are no potential adverse health impacts from hydraulic fracturing, if it were to proceed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will call off the research project currently being carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency into hydraulic fracturing, given there is no public health research or researchers with m...More Button

Was asked: the status of research directed at examining the potential environmental and human health impacts of hydraulic fracturing commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency; the position of the Go...More Button

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding a ban on hydraulic fracturing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding research on hydraulic fracturing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Wind Energy Guidelines

Was asked: the status of his engagement with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government concerning justifiable and important environmental concerns expressed by the people of County Mea...More Button

In December 2013, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government began a review of the existing Wind Energy Development Guidelines. The review focused on the specific issues of nois...More Button

This is a very technical area and the engagement between the two departments is on-going. Studies have been obtained on various aspects of the issues, particularly noise - including separation d...More Button

Any revisions to the guidelines following the conclusion of deliberations will be introduced by issuing the revised guidelines to planning authorities under Section 28 of the Planning and Develop...More Button

In terms of the proposed North-South Transmission Line project, EirGrid, in discharging its duties as operator and developer of the national transmission grid, engages with communities and citize...More Button

There has been extensive public consultation on the North-South Transmission Link project including statutory consultation as required under Regulation (EU) No. 347/2013 on guidelines for trans-E...More Button

EirGrid has also opened offices in Navan, Cootehill, and Carrickmacross and has appointed Community Liaison Officers and Agricultural Liaison Officers who are all involved in outreach to the loca...More Button

Was asked: if he has reached agreement with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government on the regulation of wind farm projects.More Button

In December 2013, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government began a review of the existing Wind Energy Development Guidelines.

The re...More Button

Was asked: the consultation process he has had with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government on the publication of wind farm guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In December 2013, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government began a review of the existing Wind Energy Development Guidelines.More Button

The review focused on the specific issues of noise, proximity, and shadow flicker. It is set against the backdrop of the need to tackle global warming, reduce Ireland's reliance on fossil fuels, ...More Button

There has been ongoing engagement between the two Departments in what is a very technical area. Studies have been obtained on various aspects of the issues, particularly noise - including separa...More Button

Any revisions to the guidelines following the conclusion of deliberations, will be introduced by issuing the guidelines to planning authorities under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Ac...More Button

Energy Resources

Was asked: the action he has taken to ensure Whitegate oil refinery in County Cork will remain in operation after July 2016.More Button

The Whitegate refinery was privatised as a result of its sale by the State in 2001. Under the terms of the sale, the owners are obliged to continue to operate the refinery for a minimum of fifteen...More Button

The Government views the continued operation of the Whitegate refinery on a commercial basis as highly desirable from an energy security and economic perspective. Security of supply remains a fu...More Button

The owners of the refinery, Phillips 66, advised my Department in October that they were putting the Whitegate refinery up for sale and indicated their intention to market it for sale as an opera...More Button

Was asked: his views on the strategic importance to the State of the oil refinery in Whitegate in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland has one refinery in Whitegate, Cork. While oil has been virtually eliminated from the electricity sector, Ireland is almost completely dependent on oil for fuel in the transport sector and ...More Button

A study completed for my Department in 2012 on the strategic case for oil refining requirements on the island of Ireland concluded that an operating refinery provides an alternative source of pro...More Button

The owners of the refinery, Phillips 66, advised my Department in October that they were putting the Whitegate refinery up for sale. A refinery sale would be a commercial matter between Phillips...More Button

Was asked: the discussions he has had to ensure the oil refinery in Whitegate in County Cork remains in operation as a refinery; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Whitegate refinery was privatised as a result of its sale by the State in 2001. Under the terms of the sale, the owners are obliged to continue to operate the refinery for a minimum of fifteen...More Button

The Government views the continued operation of the Whitegate refinery on a commercial basis as highly desirable from an energy security and economic perspective. Security of supply remains a fu...More Button

The owners of the refinery, Phillips 66, advised my Department in October that they were putting the Whitegate refinery up for sale and indicated their intention to market it for sale as an opera...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the future of the Whitegate oil refinery, County Cork in view of the announcement that it is now for sale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Whitegate refinery was privatised as a result of its sale by the State in 2001. Under the terms of the sale, the owners are obliged to continue to operate the refinery for a minimum of fifteen ...More Button

The owners of the refinery, Phillips 66, advised my Department in October that they were putting the Whitegate refinery up for sale and indicated their intention to market it for sale as an opera...More Button

The Government views the continued operation of the Whitegate refinery on a commercial basis as highly desirable from an energy security and economic perspective. Security of supply remains a fun...More Button

Public Service Obligation Levy Application

Was asked: the State subsidies available to energy providers, including the amounts spent, by category, in each of the past ten years in tabular form; if future policy towards the subsidisation of fossil fuel...More Button

The overarching objective of the Government's energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced energy to all consumers.

  The Public Service Obl...More Button

Energy Conservation

Was asked: if Ireland will opt in to the mandatory smart metering system. More Button

Smart Meters are the next generation of energy device which will replace the traditional electricity and gas meters. These devices work by communicating with both the consumer and their energy pro...More Button

European Directive 2009/72/EC requires, where the roll-out of smart meters is assessed positively, at least 80% of consumers shall be equipped with intelligent metering systems by 2020.More Button

The National Smart Metering Programme (NSMP) is a programme of work which aims to successfully rollout electricity and gas smart meters on a national basis. The Commission for Energy Regulation ...More Button

To date the programme has involved various consultation phases, the most recent of which commenced on 8 December 2015 with the publication of consultation papers on consumer policy.More Button

Decisions on the timing and scale of any rollout of smart meters will only be taken subject to the cost-benefit analysis results which are due in Q3 2016.More Button

Wind Energy Generation

Was asked: the status of research he has carried out as part of a cost-benefit analysis on wind farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has been working with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, EirGrid and the Commission for Energy Regulation, to assess the costs and value of choosing th...More Button

Post Office Network

Was asked: the status of steps to maintain the existing post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The post office network plays an important role in serving the needs of business and domestic customers alike. However, the postal sector is undergoing systemic change, with migration towards elec...More Button

In recognition of the changing commercial environment I established the Post Office Network Business Development Group earlier this year, the remit of which is to examine the potential from exist...More Button

To gain further insight into these areas, a public consultation exercise was held from 16 June to 28 July last, inclusive. Interested parties were invited to submit their views on the initial re...More Button

It is premature to speculate, in advance of receiving the final report, on matters until I have had the opportunity to consider in detail the findings of the Group.More Button

Was asked: if he will augment and fully utilise the postal services network, through the provision of extra compatible facilities, through modernising in the competitive economic climate and through putting p...More Button

It is Government policy that An Post remains a strong and viable company, in a position to provide a high quality postal service and maintain a nationwide network of customer focused post offices i...More Button

The post office network plays an important role in serving the needs of business and domestic customers alike. However, the postal sector is undergoing systemic change, with migration towards ele...More Button

In recognition of the changing commercial environment I established the Post Office Network Business Development Group earlier this year, the remit of which is to examine the potential from exist...More Button

To gain further insight into these areas, a public consultation exercise was held from 16 June to 28 July last, inclusive. Interested parties were invited to submit their views on the initial rep...More Button

It is premature to speculate, in advance of receiving the final report, on matters until I have had the opportunity to consider in detail the findings of the Group.More Button

Broadband Service Speeds

Was asked: if he will carry out mapping of broadband speed-up, downtime and latency by geographic area; if he has investigated mapping based on data rather than reported speeds; his views on whether speeds re...More Button

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through ...More Button

Was asked: the status of high-speed broadband being delivered to the Ballinabrackey and Castlejordan areas in County Meath; the anticipated plans for these areas under State intervention or by commercial oper...More Button

The provision of electronic communications infrastructure, including the significant investment required to make high speed telecommunication services publicly available, occurs within a fully libe...More Button

Was asked: if he will improve broadband services in the village of Ashford in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The National Broadband Plan aims to deliver high quality, high speed broadband to every citizen and business, regardless of location. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial inve...More Button

Renewable Energy Projects

Was asked: his plans to increase the availability of community renewable energy initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Various community level energy initiatives are supported by my Department through the Better Energy Areas and Communities Programme which is administered on behalf of the Department by the Sustaina...More Button

One of the central themes in the Green Paper on Energy Policy, published in May 2014, was citizen empowerment. Since its publication, the Department undertook a public consultation process which...More Button

National Energy Efficiency Action Plan

Was asked: the progress under the national energy efficiency action plan on retrofitting Government and public buildings; if the financial and environmental savings are known; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

Under the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) Ireland set a target of improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. At the same time a more challenging target was set for the public secto...More Button

While this progress is very positive, there can be no room for complacency. There will be a need for more, large scale, projects if the 33% target is to be reached. The Public Sector Energy Eff...More Button

Energy Efficiency

Was asked: the role he envisages social enterprises performing in reducing Ireland's dependence on fossil fuels and, in particular, the impact this sector can have compared with conventional private enterprise.More Button

One of the central themes in the Green Paper on Energy Policy, published in May 2014, is citizen empowerment. Since its publication, the Department undertook a public consultation process which in...More Button

Corrib Gas Field

68. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason for a delay in issuing the final regulatory approval to Shell E and P Ireland...More Button

On 18 August, 2015, Shell E and P Ireland Limited submitted an application to my Department for consent to operate the Corrib Gas Pipeline pursuant to section 40 of the Gas Act, 1976, as amended.More Button

This application, which was supported by an Environmental Impact Statement and a Natura Impact Screening Statement, was the subject of a four week public consultation process. The views of presc...More Button

Evaluation of the application is now at an advanced stage. On completion of the assessment process, my decision, together with supporting reports, will be published.More Button

Was asked: when supply from the Corrib gas field will be available to the national grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Following completion of the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline, Shell E&P Ireland Limited, on behalf of the Corrib Gas partners, submitted an application on 18 August, 2015, under Section 40 o...More Button

As previously advised, I understand that the bulk of the gas produced from the Corrib field will be supplied to the national grid via the 149km pipeline constructed by Bord Gáis Networks, which r...More Button

Electric Vehicle Grants

Was asked: his plans to encourage the use of electric vehicles, given the very low take-up of such vehicles by public, commercial and transport interests.More Button

The Electric Vehicle Grant Scheme supports and incentivises, through grants of up to €5,000, the deployment of electric vehicles in Ireland. These grants are in addition to the Vehicle Registratio...More Button

The extent to which electric vehicles are adopted in the short-to-medium term will depend on a range of factors including, inter alia, the strength of the economy, the overall numbers of new cars...More Button

The Electric Vehicle Grant Scheme will remain open into 2016.More Button

Departmental Agencies

Was asked: the annual cost to the Exchequer of establishing and maintaining the digital hub development agency and any other related or investment or grant costs since 2003 to date related to the digital hub,...More Button

Was asked: the number of new jobs created at or arising from the establishment of the digital hub, in tabular form.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 594 and 595 together.

  The Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) was established in 2003 under the Digital Hub Development Agency Act 2003 to ...More Button

Renewable Energy Generation Targets

Was asked: how he will enhance the security of Irish energy supplies, given the central role provided by Whitegate oil refinery, if he has examined proposals put forward to enable the Government attain Europe...More Button

The owners of the refinery, Phillips 66, advised my Department in October that they were putting the Whitegate refinery up for sale. A refinery sale would be a commercial matter between Phillips 66...More Button

The Government views the continued operation of the Whitegate refinery on a commercial basis as highly desirable from an energy security and economic perspective. Security of supply remains a fun...More Button

The Corrib Gas Field Development has a strategic benefit for Ireland in terms of strengthening Ireland’s energy security of supply and it will meet on average 42% of the all island gas demand ove...More Button

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets all Member States a binding target that at least 10% of the energy used in the transport sector must come from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland aims to ...More Button

The Biofuels Obligation Scheme was introduced in July 2010 and obliges the road transport fuel industry to ensure that a certain amount of the fuel placed on the Irish market is biofuel. The sche...More Button

Was asked: if Ireland can reach its 2020 climate change and energy security targets without constructing industrial wind farms in residential areas; if he will request EirGrid to engage meaningfully with loca...More Button

The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020 and in order to reach that target, Ireland is co...More Button

In terms of the proposed North-South Transmission Link project, EirGrid, in discharging its duties as operator and developer of the national transmission grid, engages with communities and citize...More Button

EirGrid has also opened offices in Navan, Cootehill, and Carrickmacross and has appointed Community Liaison Officers and Agricultural Liaison Officers who are all involved in outreach to the loca...More Button

Rural Broadband Scheme

Was asked: the progress of the rural broadband scheme since its introduction when a company (details supplied) was awarded the contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland’s telecommunications market has been liberalised since 1999 and has developed into a well-regulated market, supporting a multiplicity of commercial operators providing services over a diver...More Button

Broadband Service Provision

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

The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combi...More Button

Was asked: if he has examined the extent of broadband deficiency in terms of availability, quality and speed in rural and in urban areas; if the ongoing investment programme will address these issues; if he h...More Button

The provision of electronic communications infrastructure, including the significant investment required to make high speed telecommunication services publicly available, occurs within a fully libe...More Button

Was asked: if the quality and speed of broadband will be improved over the next three years, particularly in County Kildare; if meeting the requirements of customers is a matter of urgency; and if he will mak...More Button

The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combi...More Button

Petroleum and Gas Exploration

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 601 of 1 December 2015, who made the oral agreements with the companies involved; and when they were made. More Button

Gas Exploration Licences

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 600 of 1 December 2015, if any oral or tacit agreements have been made regarding the unconventional gas exploration and extraction research project currently u...More Button

Departmental Properties

Was asked: the ground rent he or agencies under the remit of his Department pay, by named property, by name of landlord and by amount payable, in 2015 and in 2016 in tabular form; and if he will make a statem...More Button

All properties occupied by my Department are either owned by or leased by the Office of Public Works and as such my Department does not have any ground rent liability.

  In relat...More Button

Exploration Licences Data

Was asked: if he has granted and activated exploration licences in each of the past ten years to date, with particular reference to oil, gas and other minerals; the number that have shown commercially viable ...More Button

Bioenergy Strategy

Was asked: to outline the developments in the production of biodiesel and bioethanol, their contribution to projected renewable energy requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets all Member States a binding target that at least 10% of the energy used in the transport sector must come from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland aims to me...More Button

The Biofuels Obligation Scheme was introduced in July 2010 as the primary means through which Ireland would meet the transport target and is the principal support for the uptake of biofuels in I...More Button

The 2014 Biofuels Obligation Scheme Annual Report, which can be downloaded from www.nora.ie, reported that almost 167 million litres of biofuel was placed on the road transport fuel market. Over ...More Button

The European Commission recently adopted a Directive which limits to 7% the amount of energy that Member States can count towards their 2020 renewable energy targets in transport from certain cro...More Button

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Was asked: when he expects the telecommunications sector, encompassing broadband, to become comparable to the best in Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Government’s National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This is being achieved t...More Button

Currently approximately 1.2m premises in Ireland have access to high speed services, provided commercially. It is expected that 1.6m premises will have access to such services by the end of 2016....More Button

It is anticipated that speeds of at least 30Mbps will be delivered through the Government's intervention and the network will be designed to cater for future increased demand from consumers and b...More Button

The National Broadband Plan proposes that through the combination of commercial investment and State intervention, 85% of addresses in Ireland will have access to high speed services by 2018 with...More Button

I am confident that the combination of existing commercial investment and the State intervention will make Ireland an exemplar in Europe and beyond, in terms of providing high speed services to a...More Button

In the mobile telephony market, market operators are currently investing in the rollout of 4G networks. These are providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities over...More Button

  Question No. 620 answered with Question No. 613.More Button