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Naughten, Denis

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Post Office Closures

Was asked: his views on whether it is acceptable that a minimum of 159 post offices will imminently close; and the steps he will take to restore viability to the An Post network. More Button

As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post which is a commercial State body with a mandate to delive...More Button

It is widely accepted the post office network has been facing many challenges for some years, with a continuing decline in transaction numbers primarily driven by the move to online payments and ...More Button

In April this year An Post announced a renewed vision for the post office network, which centres on the availability of new services in a modernised and revitalised network. The announcement was...More Button

In their negotiations with An Post postmasters sought both the modernisation of the network and a voluntary redundancy package for those who wanted to leave the business. It is important that th...More Button

The IPU agreement represents a necessary first step in reinvigorating the national post office network and making it a viable, sustainable, modern and vibrant network for the future, capable of a...More Button

Let me make it crystal clear that my priority throughout all of this process, as I have said in the House before, is to make viable as many post offices as possible. The Deputy knows from the stat...More Button

Was asked: his views on An Post's decision to close 11 post offices in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post which is a commercial State company with a mandate to deliver a postal delivery service and a viable post off...More Button

It is widely accepted that the post office network has been facing many challenges for some years now with a continuing decline in transaction numbers primarily driven by the move to online payme...More Button

In April this year An Post announced a renewed vision for the post office network which centres on the availability of new services in a modernised, revitalised network. The announcement was supp...More Button

It is important that the decision of those who wish to leave the business is respected. These are not decisions that have been taken lightly or without good reason. There are a number of reasons ...More Button

An Post advises that where a post office closes, 70% of the business transfers to a neighbouring office. The reality is that by facilitating those that wish to exit the business, neighbouring off...More Button

As part of its strategy for modernising the post office network, An Post has established a dedicated business unit within An Post, An Post Retail.  Additional services that An Post proposes to in...More Button

Government business is the backbone of the network. In April this year the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection renewed her Department’s contract with An Post to provide pensions...More Button

While Government policy is to offer Government services online, there will always be a segment of the population that is not comfortable or proficient accessing online tools or services. The post...More Button

In addition, I have secured Government approval to explore how further services might be made available to our “offline citizens”. This would be delivered via a centralised procurement framework....More Button

Was asked: his plans to save the existing post office network in view of the recent closures of rural post offices and the plans for future closures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post which is a commercial State company with a mandate to deliver a postal delivery service and a viable post off...More Button

It is widely accepted that the post office network has been facing many challenges for some years now with a continuing decline in transaction numbers primarily driven by the move to online payme...More Button

In April this year An Post announced a renewed vision for the post office network which centres on the availability of new services in a modernised, revitalised network. The announcement was supp...More Button

The agreement represents a necessary first step in reinvigorating our national post office network and making it a viable sustainable, modern and vibrant network for the future, capable of adapti...More Button

As part of its strategy for modernising the post office network, An Post has established a dedicated business unit within An Post, An Post Retail.  Additional services that An Post proposes to in...More Button

Government business is the backbone of the network. In April this year the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection renewed her Department’s contract with An Post to provide pensions...More Button

While Government policy is to offer Government services online, there will always be a segment of the population that is not comfortable or proficient accessing online tools or services. The post...More Button

In addition, I have secured Government approval to explore how further services might be made available to our “offline citizens”. This would be delivered via a centralised procurement framework....More Button

Was asked: if his officials have produced an economic impact analyses of the implications of the closures of local post offices with respect to the 159 post offices that have accepted the exit package; and if...More Button

As Minister, I am responsible for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post which is a commercial State company with a mandate to deliver postal delivery services and a viable post off...More Button

On 28 August, An Post published the location of 159 Post Offices where the serving Postmaster has opted to avail of a redundancy package. This package formed part of an agreement concluded betwee...More Button

As part of the agreement a new protocol has been established which sets out how An Post will facilitate the continued provision of post office services in areas where an existing postmaster retir...More Button

Any individual, groups or representatives concerned with the decision can apply to have An Post’s decision reviewed through a new independent review process which will determine if An Post has co...More Button

While my Department has been working closely with An Post in relation to the rollout of its strategic plan, including the renewed vision for the post office network, my officials had no role in t...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether many older persons who are not online users and who live in remote areas with poor access to public transport will be discommoded by the closure of the post office in their loc...More Button

As Minister, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post which is a commercial State company with a mandate to deliver a postal delivery service and a viable post off...More Button

It is widely accepted that the post office network has been facing many challenges for some years now with a continuing decline in transaction numbers primarily driven by the move to online payme...More Button

As part of this process An Post announced, in April this year, a renewed vision for the post office network which centres on the availability of new services in a modernised, revitalised network....More Button

The agreement represents a necessary first step in reinvigorating our national post office network and making it a viable sustainable, modern and vibrant network for the future, capable of adapti...More Button

An Post has done extensive work combining business and demographic data with local knowledge to produce a network plan which actively supports the future of rural Ireland. An Post is committed t...More Button

While Government policy is to offer Government services online, there will always be a segment of the population that is not comfortable or proficient accessing online tools or services. The pos...More Button

In addition, I have secured Government approval to explore how further services might be made available to our “offline citizens”. This would be delivered via a centralised procurement framework...More Button

Post Office Closures (Continued)

An Post is altering its retail network to try to meet the changing needs of communities right across this country and reflect shopping patterns. The Deputy is correct in that there are communities...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the chief executive of An Post has said he is examining the potential of expanding the services that are available through PostPoint. There is also the matter of the...More Button

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Was asked: his views on the fact there is only one supplier left in the tender process for the national broadband plan; his further views on whether it is competitive for the State; and the capability of the ...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his question. The national broadband plan, NBP, is ambitious, with the objective of ensuring that access to a high speed broadband service is available to every premises in ...More Button

Bidders wishing to participate in the ongoing NBP procurement process had to pre-qualify in order to participate in that process. Only those bidders that could demonstrate they had the necessary...More Button

Up until the point where the procurement was about to enter its finals stages, there was a competitive process. Through the engagement with multiple bidders the NBP procurement team has had clea...More Button

The procurement process is now in its final stages and the bidder’s submission of a final tender will include its proposed technical solution and deployment plan.More Button

I am pleased to inform the Dáil and, more importantly, the 540,000 families and businesses across rural Ireland who are awaiting high-speed broadband that today marks an historic milestone in the...More Button

The NBP procurement process is unique in terms of its level of ambition and vision. Its focus is to ensure a future-proofed, technical solution that will allow this generation and future generat...More Button

The tender was submitted earlier today. That will be gone through by a team comprising approximately 80 people who have been involved in this procurement process, which also includes external advi...More Button

This procurement process has been complex. I accept it is quite technical. It is unique in terms of its level of ambition, vision and challenge. Thirty seven percent of our population live on ...More Button

Was asked: the status of the national broadband plan process; and the dates by which construction of the broadband network will commence and be completed.More Button

The procurement process to select a company that will deliver high-speed broadband to 543,000 premises in the State intervention area is now in its final stages. The bidding consortium is proposin...More Button

The deployment of the State intervention network will allow 1.1 million citizens to fully participate in the digital society. The intervention area includes 558,000 members of the labour force f...More Button

As I outlined in my response to Deputy Stanley, my Department received today the final tender from the remaining bidder in the national broadband plan procurement process. I do not propose to co...More Button

Deputy Dooley asked about the consortium. It is a Granahan McCourt Capital led consortium. While I do not propose to comment in any way on the submission received by my Department earlier today...More Button

As I said, I cannot or will not comment on that at the moment. I understand the consortium will issue a statement later today, which will provide detail on the questions that have been raised.More Button

Let me be crystal clear for Deputy Dooley and all Members. As I stated, the procurement process involved is complex and each of the bidders had to provide evidence of the necessary economic and fi...More Button

The 543,000 families and businesses do not care what name is on the side of van. They want and deserve high-speed broadband and I am determined to ensure they get it.More Button

Was asked: the timeframe for broadband services to be available in counties Cavan and Monaghan; the status of fibre installation; the position regarding the national broadband plan; and if he will make a stat...More Button

As the House is aware, the National Broadband Plan is an initiative to bring high speed broadband to every premises in Ireland through both commercial deployment and State led intervention.  As of ...More Button

In the interim, the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, and the Broadband Officers who operate in every County are pursuing initiatives to improve connectivity for citizens.More Button

Public WiFi is available in Cavan Town, and libraries around the County also offer this service. There are also 2 digital hubs in Cavan. Multiple SMART initiatives are also being pursued, includi...More Button

Today in Monaghan five of the main towns have free public WiFi available, with 40,000 uses recorded in the last 12 months. Free WiFi is also available in libraries throughout the county, while SM...More Button

All of these initiatives, and more, show the positive effect the National Broadband Plan has already brought to Counties Cavan and Monaghan and they serve only as a forerunner to the high speed b...More Button

Was asked: the status of the roll-out of rural high speed broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he remains satisfied regarding the ongoing provision of broadband in all areas throughout the country; if the programme is in accordance with his expectations or otherwise; if t...More Button

Was asked: the status of the national broadband plan; when he expects it to be signed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if the target of having high speed broadband in each premises in the country as stated in the Action Plan for Rural Development and the national broadband plan will be met.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 61, 63, 74 and 85 together.

  The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per ...More Button

Was asked: the status of the roll-out of the national broadband plan with particular reference to County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In April 2017 I published an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. This map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband s...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which the programme to provide broadband nationwide is progressing and achieving its targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. The NBP is being achi...More Button

National Broadband Plan Implementation (Continued)

First, the tender was submitted today. I have not had sight of that tender, and nor should I. Deputy Stanley asked detailed questions about the metropolitan area networks, MANs, across the State....More Button

On the towns specifically, the Deputy will be aware that the towns serviced by the MANs are now getting high-speed broadband through SIRO, Virgin Media, Eir or some of the other operators. The M...More Button

Energy Infrastructure

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to proposals to build a liquefied natural gas, LNG, terminal here; his views on whether such facilities are compatible with the State's commitments to tackle climate...More Button

There have been a number of announcements of private sector commercial proposals to build liquefied natural gas, LNG, facilities in Ireland. These include the Shannon LNG project, which is designa...More Button

Ireland’s energy policy is fully aligned with the EU’s climate and energy objectives on the transition to decarbonisation, which includes the continuous and ongoing review of policies to reduce h...More Button

Energy Infrastructure (Continued)

The development of an LNG facility would further enhance Ireland's security of gas supply by increasing import route diversity and would be compatible with the State's commitment to tackling climat...More Button

The 2015 energy White Paper, Ireland's Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030, sets out a roadmap for Ireland to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 80% and 95% by 2050. T...More Button

During the transition, gas has the potential to deliver significant and sustained benefits, particularly in terms of enhanced security of supply. Natural gas has the potential to play an importa...More Button

First of all, the figure is 40% of our renewable electricity by 2020. I am determined to try to achieve that target.More Button

The production, sourcing, buying and selling of natural gas produced outside this jurisdiction is an operational matter for the undertakings involved. There are a number of supply sources, with ...More Button

A number of projects have been proposed. I visited a floating LNG facility when I was in Malta last year. It has provided security of supply to that country.More Button

The reality as the Deputy knows - it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge the fact - is that we are reliant on gas coming in through the interconnectors with the UK. If for geopolitical reas...More Button

I am not just the Minister for energy. That is why I have told the Deputy in my response that not only is it important that we have power in this country, but that it be clean power as well. I am...More Button

Regarding the three projects whose promoters have been in contact with my Department, no decision has been made to invest in any of them. I do not know whether any of them will go ahead. That i...More Button

Sustainable Development Goals

Was asked: the position regarding Ireland's first voluntary national review for sustainable development goals, SDGs, in July 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I thank the Deputy. In July, I presented Ireland's first national review of the SDGs to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Following the adoption of the 203...More Button

The presentation of the review fulfilled one of the committed actions under Ireland's Sustainable Development Goals National Implementation Plan 2018-2020, which I published in April 2018. The p...More Button

The review provided a comprehensive overview of Ireland's progress towards meeting each of the 17 SDGs and of how Ireland was supporting the SDGs' global achievement. An important secondary aim ...More Button

The review demonstrated how every Department across the Government was contributing to achieving the SDGs, but it also made clear that Ireland still had work to do in order to become a truly sust...More Button

Sustainable Development Goals (Continued)

Both the review and my presentation to the UN drew attention to housing and homelessness and climate action as major challenges facing Ireland. As part of my presentation, I invited Ireland's two ...More Button

I thank Deputy O'Sullivan. I acknowledge the tremendous work the Irish ambassador, David Donoghue, did on behalf of Ireland and Kenya, which led the charge for the development of these SDGs. Peop...More Button

As part of the implementation plan over the next couple of years, priority is being given to public awareness and to stakeholder engagement. We accept that that is fundamental to this. My role as...More Button

Waste Management

Was asked: the supports available to facilitate communities interested in establishing local community-based waste collection co-operatives in the interests of best waste management and environmental practice.More Button

The Waste Management Act 1996, as amended, and the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations 2007, as amended, set out the regulatory framework for the collection of waste in the State.  The...More Button

It is open to any organisation, commercial enterprise or local community group, to apply for a waste collection permit to the National Waste Collection Permit Office, which is the nominated autho...More Button

As Minister, I do not provide any supports to any organisation, commercial or community-based, to facilitate the establishment of waste collection services. As the Deputy may be aware, the Compe...More Button

I accept the point that Deputy makes about the confusion about what goes into which bin. As of the end of last year, we have a uniform list of what goes into the recycling bin. That is availabl...More Button

Was asked: the specific actions he plans to take and associated timeframe involved to give practical effect to the EU's proposal on single use plastic; his further plans to ban specific single use plastic pro...More Button

Ireland is currently one of the top performing countries in the EU in terms of recycling and recovery. In relation to recycling plastic packaging, Ireland is well ahead of its target set in Europea...More Button

  Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 62.More Button

Waste Management (Continued)

I hear what the Deputy says. First, we are open to considering any suggestion or idea to reduce the generation of waste in the first place. That must be the number one priority. The difficulty w...More Button

We are quite open to exploring the possibilities in terms of what the Deputy has outlined. My objective is to keep material out of landfill sites and anything that could help to do that would be p...More Button

Specifically on waste generation, important work is being undertaken by some of Ireland's leading agrifood businesses to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging in the food supply chain. I hope to ...More Button

To specifically address the other aspect of the Deputy's question, we are trying to focus on reducing the generation of waste in the first place and then to find novel solutions to divert waste a...More Button

North-South Interconnector

Was asked: when he plans to publish two reports that his Department has commissioned on the feasibility of undergrounding the North-South interconnector and provide compensation for owners of property near hi...More Button

Was asked: if he has received the two independent reports on the proposed North-South interconnector; if so, when he plans to publish the reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: when he plans to publish the two independent reports on the proposed North-South interconnector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of the North-South interconnector project.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48, 50, 80 and 83 together.More Button

As the Deputies will be aware, in 2017 I commissioned two studies designed to address the main points of the motions passed by Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann, as well as key concerns expressed b...More Button

The North-South interconnector is critical to ensuring a safe, secure supply of electricity throughout the island of Ireland. It also supports the core objectives of European and national energy...More Button

The second study is focused on the levels of compensation provided for land and property owners in proximity to high voltage transmission lines in a European context.​ This study was undertaken ...More Button

In order to have the most up-to-date assessment of the implications of Brexit for the energy sector before bringing the reports to the Government, I sought the views of the energy regulator and e...More Button

Was asked: the timeframe for the publication of the studies on the North-South interconnector.More Button

In 2017 I commissioned two studies designed to address the main points of the motions passed in Dáil and Seanad Éireann as well as key concerns expressed by those opposed to the development of the ...More Button

​ Both studies are now completed and have been submitted to me. I intend to bring both reports to Government in the coming weeks and will publish them as soon as possible thereafter. More Button

North-South Interconnector (Continued)

The reports were requested by me on behalf of the Oireachtas. A decision was made by the Government in that regard. I will present the reports to the Government. The hold-up has been that it was...More Button

The third report specifically engaged with EirGrid and Gas Networks Ireland on the implications of a hard Brexit. Before the summer, the European Commission requested of me that that be carried ...More Button

No. My reference to EirGrid and Gas Networks Ireland related to a third report I sought regarding the implications of a hard Brexit for our electricity and gas systems. It will be presented to th...More Button

I am the first Minister for a long time to meet and directly engage with interested groups-----More Button

-----and colleagues on the matter. I do not think any Member questions my sincerity or commitment to a fair process in this matter. I have the reports. I hoped to bring them to Cabinet earlier, ...More Button

I have not read the articles referred to by Deputies Cassells and Brendan Smith and, therefore, will not comment on them.More Button

As soon as the reports have been presented to Cabinet, I intend to publish them so that people can read them for themselves.More Button

I do not monitor anyone's social media account, nor do-----More Button

I do not dispute what the Deputy stated but-----More Button

------I do not monitor social media accounts, nor do any of the staff who work with or were personally appointed by me. Every Member of this House is legitimately entitled-----More Button

-----to raise any issue in the House with me or any other Minister and I will always try to respond to the best of my ability. I understand the frustration that the reports have not yet been publi...More Button

As Deputy Brendan Smith is aware, there are judicial proceedings under way North of the Border and in this jurisdiction. As he is also aware, on 6 September the Secretary of State for Northern Ire...More Button

Waste Disposal Charges

Was asked: if the waste collection price changes have led to a change in customer behaviour, that is, increased use of the green and brown bins; if this aspect of waste collection is being monitored; and if h...More Button

In June 2017, in line with commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, and in the interest of encouraging further waste prevention and greater recycling, the...More Button

The price monitoring group reports have been published on our Department website and they show that there is not price gouging across the sector. In some cases, there have been very marginal incre...More Button

A separate independent review of our household waste collection system is being carried out by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, CCPC. That is expected to be completed by the e...More Button

Yes.More Button

First, if I had not extended the PMG remit until the end of the year, I would have been criticised for being anti-consumer regarding it. Now, the Deputy is questioning the reason I extended it. I...More Button

-----the monitoring. I accept there is an array of charges and complexity in respect of them. The Deputy is right. It was an issue in the telecoms area and the regulator has addressed that. Thi...More Button

Regarding medical incontinence, my Department is continuing to work on the development of a mechanism to provide the €75 support for persons with lifelong or long-term medical incontinence to hel...More Button

  Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 48.More Button

Was asked: the measures he is taking to ensure waste collection companies do not continue to increase their monthly service charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I established a Household Waste Collection Price Monitoring Group (PMG) last year to monitor pricing developments for household waste collection services during the phasing out of flat rate fees. T...More Button

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is also currently conducting a separate study on the operation of the household waste collection market which it will complete in 2018.  More Button

The results from the PMG in conjunction with the study being undertaken by the CCPC will provide an evidence base for future policy decisions in relation to the household waste market. More Button

  Question No. 74 answered with Question No. 61.More Button

Petroleum and Gas Exploration

Was asked: the extensions and renewals to licences for petroleum exploration issued in 2018; and the way in which the issuing of these licences is compatible with commitments to tackle climate change.More Button

National Broadband Plan

Was asked: the way in which the national broadband plan will meet its targets; if there have been changes to the costs of the plan from when it was first announced; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

The target of the national broadband plan, NBP, is to bring a high-speed broadband connection to every single premises in Ireland as effectively and efficiently as possible. This means no home, bu...More Button

I am pleased to inform the House and, more importantly, the 540,000 families and businesses that are awaiting high-speed broadband across the country, that today marks a historic milestone for th...More Button

Was asked: the name and contact details for the broadband officers within Cavan and Monaghan County Councils as outlined by him in Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A list of names and contact details for all Local Authority Broadband Officers is maintained by the Department of Rural and Community Development, led by my colleague Minister Ring.  &nbs...More Button

Was asked: the status of the national broadband plan in view of recent developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. The NBP is being achi...More Button

National Broadband Plan (Continued)

The procurement team will evaluate the tender. It is up to the team to come up with a recommendation. We have received the final tender from the bidder. This must be assessed and evaluated by th...More Button

The assessment of the tender that has been submitted will now take place. I await the report on that from the procurement team. A process must be completed and this process will proceed.More Button

  Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.More Button

Future of the Post Office Network: Motion [Private Members]

Plough ahead.More Button

Future of the Post Office Network: Motion [Private Members] (Continued)

Good.More Button

I move amendment No. 3:More Button

The postmasters of this country and the communities they serve deserve a clear future and a plan to be put in place for the development of and investment into the post office network and its servic...More Button

As a Member of Dáil Éireann, I have for many years put forward constructive solutions to bring new business into the post office network. I am now in the lucky position that I can implement some...More Button

It is important to put the An Post announcement relating to the changes to the post office network in context. Ninety-eight weeks ago, I was presented with a future for An Post and the post offi...More Button

I also worked hard on securing Government investment of €30 million in An Post to safeguard the five days a week mail service and collection service and to protect the post office counter service...More Button

The company is changing from a 19th-century model to one that has relevance and resonance in the 21st century in both rural and urban areas. In fact, the current postmasters’ contract dates back...More Button

Since taking office, I have been driving the offline avenue with my officials, my Cabinet colleagues, the management team in An Post, the Office of Government Procurement and other agencies. I r...More Button

These measures are meaningless unless the public use the service An Post provides. Key to the survival of the network is the willingness of all to use it. Government funding of €80,000 has been...More Button

Essential to delivering on a renewed vision for the post office network is the agreement reached with the Irish Postmasters Union, IPU. This agreement followed months of intensive negotiations w...More Button

In its negotiations with An Post, postmasters and postmistresses sought the modernisation of the network and a voluntary redundancy package for those who wanted to leave the business. It is impo...More Button

It is also important to remember that when a post office closes, 70% of that business will transfer to the neighbouring office. The reality is that by facilitating those who wish to exit the bus...More Button

That is why there is a review mechanism.More Button

I was given a pup when I went into the Department.More Button

That is why the review process is there.More Button

It is 31 October now. The deadline has been extended.More Button

Yes. It is 31 October. That is an extension of a month.More Button

The solutions are coming.More Button

In the new year.More Button

That is why we have the appeals process.More Button

Alternative Energy Projects

Was asked: the amount of energy generated by means of solar power; the necessary actions that must be taken to significantly increase solar power production; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The 2017 report of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) "Energy in Ireland" indicates that Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) generation accounted for 0.01% of energy contribution to gross ele...More Button

I welcome and have noted reports of the falling costs of certain renewable technologies, including Solar PV and Offshore Wind, over the past number of years, not only compared with other renewabl...More Button

Increasing renewable technology diversity is one of several policy objectives of my Department. In July, Government approved the high level design of the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme ...More Button

The RESS has been designed to deliver Ireland’s contribution towards an EU-wide renewable energy target of 32% out to 2030, within a competitive auction-based, cost effective framework. The Schem...More Button

The Government recognises the important role that Solar PV can play as part of a mix of renewable generation and the RESS will offer a potential pathway for Solar PV projects at scale, within a c...More Button

In addition to these opportunities, Solar PV is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, under the Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme (PPIS) as part of  the Targeted Agricultur...More Button

Energy Prices

Was asked: his plans to use his powers under the Electricity Regulation Act 1999 and issue a policy direction to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities concerning competition in the electricity supply mar...More Button

The Government, or I as Minister, have no statutory function in the monitoring or setting of electricity prices.

  Responsibility for the regulation of the gas or electricity mar...More Button

Exploration Licences

Was asked: his plans to stop issuing further licences for the exploration of petroleum in view of the fact that Dáil Éireann is in the process of legislating to ban such licences under the Petroleum and Other...More Button

Illegal Dumping

Was asked: the action his Department is taking to assist county councils to deal with incidents of illegal dumping and fly tipping; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to work with local authorities to tackle the problem of illegal dumping and to develop effective deterrents to discourage people from eng...More Button

I am also providing funding for the clean up of farm tyre waste and one of the collections will be taking place in Cootehill Mart, Co. Cavan on the 29th of September.More Button

Since coming into office, illegal dumping is an issue that I have actively dealt with through significant funding increases and supports for local authorities. My Department works to support and ...More Button

My commitment to supporting waste enforcement activities on the ground is demonstrated through the continued annual investment of €7.4 million in the network of 150 local authority waste enforcem...More Button

Funding of €70,000 is also being provided to support a pilot project undertaken by Sligo County Council aimed at tackling and addressing the source of illegal dumping. More Button

In addition and in recognition of the particular difficulties border counties have experienced in dealing with diesel laundering waste dumping, my Department continues to fully reimburse the clea...More Button

Post Office Network

Was asked: the proposals his Department is working on regarding the preservation and enhancement of the rural post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post which is a commercial State body with a mandate to deliver a postal delivery service and a viable post office...More Button

It is widely accepted that the post office network has been facing many challenges for some years now with a continuing decline in transaction numbers primarily driven by the move to online payme...More Button

In April this year An Post announced a renewed vision for the post office network which centres on the availability of new services in a modernised, revitalised network. The announcement was supp...More Button

The agreement represents a necessary first step in reinvigorating our national post office network and making it a viable sustainable, modern and vibrant network for the future, capable of adapti...More Button

As part of its strategy for modernising the post office network, An Post has established a dedicated business unit within An Post, An Post Retail.  Additional services that An Post propose to int...More Button

Government business is the backbone of the network. In April this year the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection renewed her Department’s contract with An Post to provide pensions...More Button

While Government policy is to offer Government services online, there will always be a segment of the population that is not comfortable or proficient accessing online tools or services. The post...More Button

In addition, I have secured Government approval to explore how further services might be made available to our “offline citizens”. This would be delivered via a centralised procurement framework....More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the implementation of the An Post new vision programme; if the deadlines for the programme have been agreed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post which is a commercial State company with a mandate to deliver a postal delivery service and a viable post off...More Button

It is widely accepted that the post office network has been facing many challenges for some years now with a continuing decline in transaction numbers primarily driven by the move to online payme...More Button

In April this year An Post announced a renewed vision for the post office network which centres on the availability of new services in a modernised, revitalised network. A central tenet of this s...More Button

The agreement represents a necessary first step in reinvigorating our national post office network and making it a viable, sustainable, modern and vibrant network for the future, capable of adapt...More Button

As part of its strategy for modernising the post office network, An Post has established a dedicated business unit within An Post, An Post Retail.  Additional services that An Post proposes to in...More Button

Government business is the backbone of the network. In April this year the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection renewed her Department’s contract with An Post to provide pensions...More Button

While Government policy is to offer Government services online, there will always be a segment of the population that is not comfortable or proficient accessing online tools or services. The post...More Button

In addition, I have secured Government approval to explore how further services might be made available to our “offline citizens”. This would be delivered via a centralised procurement framework....More Button

Climate Change Policy

Was asked: the details of the climate action fund to be paid out over the next decade; and the type of projects this will fund.More Button

The Climate Action Fund is one of four funds established under the National Development Plan 2018-2027 as part of Project Ireland 2040.

  My Department has responsibility for imp...More Button

Was asked: the role his Department has in the formulation of the climate and energy plan.More Button

My Department is leading the development of Ireland's first National Energy and Climate Plan, as provided for in the Clean Energy for all Europeans package. This Plan will set out the policies and...More Button

My Department has established an NECP Steering Group and Implementation Group of the key officials involved in the development of the NECP. An existing interdepartmental energy and climate model...More Button

My Department is working closely with other Government Departments on the development of the NECP through the structures that have been established to co-ordinate Government activity on climate c...More Button

Preparation of the NECP is underpinned by the work already undertaken to complete the Energy White Paper, the National Mitigation Plan, the National Adaptation Framework, Project 2040 and the Nat...More Button

Environment Fund Allocations

Was asked: the number of applications received to the LA 21 environmental partnership fund in 2018; and his plans to extend and develop it in view of the substantial pressure to deal with Ireland's emissions ...More Button

The Local Agenda 21 (LA21) Environmental Partnership Fund promotes sustainable development by assisting small-scale environmental projects at local level. It encourages involvement of local communi...More Button

In 2017, I increased funding for the LA21 Environmental Partnership Fund to €460,000 and I maintained this increased level of funding for this year's scheme. Funding provided by my Department is ...More Button

A list of the 880 successful funding applications for 2018 is available on my Department’s website. More Button

The LA21 Environmental Partnership Fund is only one of a range of initiatives supported by Government, at both national and regional/local level, to help Ireland achieve the 17 Sustainable Develo...More Button

For example, as part of the National Dialogue on Climate Action (NDCA), my Department is supporting An Taisce’s Green Schools Programme to implement a National Climate Change Action and Awareness...More Button

Furthermore, in January 2018 I announced an allocation of €10 million over five years for the establishment and development of four Local Authority Climate Action Regional Offices. This commitmen...More Button

In addition the publication in February 2018 of the National Development Plan, reaffirms the Government’s commitment to transitioning Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient economy and societ...More Button

Reflecting the strong commitment of Government on this issue, almost €22 billion will be directed, between Exchequer and non-Exchequer resources, to addressing the transition to a low-carbon and ...More Button

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Was asked: if he will report on the programme for partnership Government commitments on climate change; and the way in which Ireland is faring with the targets set by the EU.More Button

Was asked: his plans to address the fact that Ireland is now one of Europe's worst climate laggards and that emissions are rising; and the steps he will be taking in the short and medium term to reduce Irelan...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 88 together.More Button

The Government recently published the Programme for a Partnership Government Annual Report 2018 which provides a comprehensive update on progress since May 2017. The annual report is available on...More Button

The extent of the challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in line with our EU and international commitments, is well understood by the Government, as reflected in the National Policy Positi...More Button

In relation to our EU obligations, the 2009 Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) 406/2009/EC established binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for EU Member States for the period 2013 to 2020....More Button

While this is very disappointing, it is not surprising given the recent pace of economic growth, with increases in emissions from the agriculture and transport sectors in particular. The projecte...More Button

The ESD includes a number of flexibility mechanisms to enable Member States to meet their annual emissions targets. Using banked emissions allocations from the period to 2015, Ireland is projecte...More Button

For 2030, the recently agreed EU Effort Sharing Regulation sets out binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for each Member State for the period 2021 to 2030. Ireland’s target under this R...More Button

To meet these targets, Ireland's first statutory National Mitigation Plan, which I published in July last year, provides a framework to guide investment decisions by Government in domestic measur...More Button

Building on these strategies, the publication in February of the National Development Plan, reaffirms the Government’s commitment to transitioning Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient econo...More Button

  Question No. 63 answered with Question No. 61.More Button

Was asked: the degree to which he remains satisfied regarding the attainment of objectives in respect of carbon reduction within the time specified; if he has had discussions with his EU colleagues with a vie...More Button

The latest projections of greenhouse gas emissions, published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in May 2018, indicate that emissions from those sectors of the economy covered by the 2009...More Button

While this is deeply disappointing, it is not surprising given the recent pace of economic growth, and the consequent increases in emissions from the agriculture and transport sectors in particul...More Button

The Effort Sharing Directive (ESD) established binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for EU Member States for the period 2013 to 2020. Ireland’s 2020 target is that emissions should be ...More Button

In terms of renewable energy, the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy demand from renewable sources by 2020. This represente...More Button

Good progress has been made to date, with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) advising that 10.8% of Ireland's overall energy requirements in 2017 were met from renewable sources; ...More Button

Contingency planning has also commenced to explore the potential mechanisms and cost of addressing our renewable energy targets within the framework of the Directive. The Renewable Energy Directi...More Button

The 2014 Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) sets out the Government’s policy for the sustainable development of our abundant offshore renewable energy resources. Offshore renewabl...More Button

Between 2014 and 2017 capital funding of €17.7 million was allocated by my Department under the OREDP for research and development of offshore renewable energy technology, with a further €4.5 mil...More Button

In addition to Exchequer funding, the provision of a robust consenting regime, support scheme and development of an offshore grid policy are particularly pertinent in supporting our ambition for ...More Button

The RESS was approved by Government in July and will now be subject to the EU state aid approval process. The first RESS auction will be held in 2019. The new Scheme has been designed to incentiv...More Button

Legislative proposals have been led by the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government to draft the Maritime Area and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill, including provisions to address the absen...More Button

My Department will also commence discussions later in the year to develop offshore grid connection policy in conjunction with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and Eirgrid. The CRU...More Button

Ireland’s detailed policy measures and 2030 commitments on emissions reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency will be set out in the upcoming first National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP...More Button

Was asked: his projections for the carbon emissions from the power stations in Edenderry, west Offaly, and Lough Ree; when they will be burning 100% biomass; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Environmental Protection Agency produces greenhouse gas emissions projections on an annual basis for all key sectors of the economy in collaboration with relevant State and other bodies. The la...More Button

The EPA produced two scenarios when preparing the greenhouse gas emission projections, a With Existing Measures (WEM) scenario and a With Additional Measures (WAM) scenario. The WEM scenario assu...More Button

As per the latest EPA projections for the energy industries sector, projected emissions in the WAM scenario show an increase over the WEM scenario from 2020 to 2025. The Public Service Obligation...More Button

The use of peat for power generation will be progressively eliminated by 2030 by converting peat power stations to more sustainable low-carbon technologies. The Lough Ree and West Offaly plants w...More Button

The emissions from the three peat fired power plants are accounted for under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). It is a matter for the companies involved to manage their emissions and ensure ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which each sector in the economy can contribute to greenhouse gas reduction over the next five years without negatively impacting on economic output; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

The 2014 National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development sets out an ambitious long-term commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Ireland by at least 80% (compared to ...More Button

Television Licence Fee Collection

Was asked: if he has considered a different model for the collection of the television licence such as pay at point of purchase.More Button

Was asked: the status of reforming television licence fee collection, tackling licence fee evasion and creating a more sustainable funding model for public sector broadcasting.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 71 together.More Button

The current level of TV licence evasion is estimated to be 14.1%. While the rate has fallen from 15.3% at the end of 2013, it is still very high and equates to a loss of €40m per annum to public ...More Button

To address this issue, my Department has been working with An Post and RTÉ on an on-going basis to ensure that the TV licence collection system is working as effectively as possible. Measures suc...More Button

While these measures are important steps, I believe that the current system needs to be reformed. As the Deputy will be aware, I obtained Government approval last year to draft a number of legisl...More Button

As the Deputy is also aware, I requested the Committee to examine the longer term issue of the future funding of public service media and the Committee published their report at the end of Novemb...More Button

Following consideration of the recommendations made in that report, Government approval was received in July 2018 to establish a Working Group on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting...More Button

The option of registering for a television licence at the point of purchase is not, however, under consideration. This practice was in place previously but was repealed in the Broadcasting Act 20...More Button

Fisheries Protection

Was asked: the progress made to date on a compensation package for eel fishermen.More Button

Mobile Telephony Services

Was asked: the status of the implementation of recommendations from the mobile telephone and broadband task force to help improve mobile telephone coverage in County Kildare and the surrounding areas; and if ...More Button

I specifically included in the Programme for Government a commitment to a Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce. The Taskforce worked with key stakeholders to produce a report in December 2016, avai...More Button

Minister Kyne and I published the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce Implementation Review 2017 on 21 February 2018, which comprehensively outlines the progress made in 2017 on the actions iden...More Button

In terms of addressing mobile coverage blackspots, various initiatives are under way:More Button

- My Department and the Department of Rural and Community Development have worked to achieve a greater consensus around site selection for telecoms infrastructure and therefore improve mobile pho...More Button

- Both Departments also worked with a pilot group of local authorities to identify the issues associated with mapping local blackspots. This pilot exercise has been completed, with all local auth...More Button

- A focus group was established to provide guidance with respect to categories of location where high quality reliable mobile coverage should be made available as a priority. The report of the fo...More Button

- A working group has been established with the remit of investigating the feasibility of developing standardised policy for accessing and utilising State and publicly-owned assets for the deploy...More Button

- ComReg is delivering a composite national coverage map, which will, in tandem with its work on handset testing and activities to raise consumer awareness, allow people across Ireland to optimis...More Button

- Following a consultation process ComReg has developed a licensing scheme which will enable households and businesses to use mobile phone repeaters to boost signals into their premises and bring...More Button

All of these initiatives should assist in enhancing the quality of mobile phone and data services, particularly in rural areas.More Button

In tandem with the work of the Taskforce, the release by ComReg of the 3.6GHz radio spectrum band, which has been identified at EU level as a primary band suitable for the introduction of 5G, wil...More Button

  Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 64.More Button

Social Media Regulation

Was asked: his views on the establishment of a digital safety commissioner to ensure fair and responsible practice in the online and social media sphere; the steps he is taking to advance this; and if he will...More Button

The Law Reform Commission Report on Harmful Communications and Digital Safety, published in 2016 recommended, inter alia, the establishment of an Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner of Ireland.More Button

  As the Deputy is aware, in February the Government did not oppose the passage at second stage of a Private Members Bill by Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire which seeks to establish an Office of the D...More Button

The Action Plan for Online Safety was launched by the Taoiseach on 11 July and contains 25 actions to be implemented by the six sponsor Departments over the next 12-18 months. These actions cover...More Button

The Deputy is aware that I have accepted an invitation to attend a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee next month, which will form part of the Committee's scrutiny of Deputy Ó Laoghaire's B...More Button

Litter Pollution

Was asked: the action he is undertaking to address the high level of litter across the State (details supplied).More Button

The primary role of my Department in relation to litter is to provide a robust legislative framework. The key legislation in this regard is the Litter Pollution Act 1997 to 2009. Under the Act, the...More Button

  As Minister, I recognise the challenges presented by littering and I believe that a multifaceted approach is required, incorporating effective enforcement, public awareness and education. Raising...More Button

Although I am pleased that consecutive annual National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Reports have shown that the litter situation is generally improving across the country in recent years, I...More Button

I was of course concerned at the findings of the inaugural IBAL/An Taisce survey of coastlines and waterways. The issue of marine pollution, particularly in relation to plastics, is an increasing...More Button

National Broadband Plan Administration

Was asked: his plans to review the contract for the roll-out of broadband to enable flexibility in order that the contractor can extend the roll-out when it is logical to do so but the mapping excise is preve...More Button

The National Broadband Plan is an initiative to provide high speed broadband to every premises in Ireland and will be delivered through both commercial investment, and where there is no commercial ...More Button

Waste Management Data

Was asked: the percentage of houses and apartments that have a municipal compost bin.More Button

The most recent published figures for the number of households availing of a food waste collection service are set out in the report Performance Indicators in Local Authorities 2016 which indicates...More Button

  Question No. 80 answered with Question No. 48.More Button

National Mitigation Plan

Was asked: the way in which and the point at which he came to the conclusion that the national mitigation plan is not working.More Button

Meeting Ireland's EU targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 2030 will be extremely challenging.More Button

The latest projections of greenhouse gas emissions, published by the EPA in May, indicate that emissions from those sectors of the economy covered by Ireland's 2020 targets could be between 0% an...More Button

For 2030, the recently agreed EU Effort Sharing Regulation sets out binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for each Member State for the period 2021 to 2030. Ireland’s target under this R...More Button

To meet these targets, Ireland's first statutory National Mitigation Plan, which I published in July last year, provides a framework to guide investment decisions by Government in domestic measur...More Button

This Plan very explicitly defined the scale of the challenge Ireland faces in decarbonising its economy and acknowledged that it was a first step and not a complete roadmap to achieve the nationa...More Button

Notwithstanding this, I am required, under the 2015 Act, to bring forward a new National Mitigation Plan at least once every five years. The latest date by which this must happen is, therefore, J...More Button

Electricity Generation

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to plans by Bord na Móna and the ESB to generate electricity by use of large scale biomass and that such plans could result in the destruction of forests outside the...More Button

As set out in the National Development Plan, the Government intends that, by 2030, peat and coal will no longer have a role in electricity generation in Ireland. This is in line with Ireland’s comm...More Button

It is in this context that my Department supports the progressive conversion of peat power stations to more sustainable low-carbon technologies such as biomass by 2030. The REFIT 3 scheme provide...More Button

Since 2016, Bord na Mona's Edenderry plant has used the REFIT 3 support to co-fire biomass along with peat and the company's recent annual report notes that  80% of the biomass used in the Edende...More Button

Use of appropriate sustainability criteria will help to ensure that use of biomass does not have a detrimental effect on the world’s forests. EU-wide sustainability criteria are being introduced ...More Button

Furthermore, Bord na Mona’s BioEnergy division sources sustainable biomass that is used at the Edenderry power station, based on a set of sustainability principles, aligned to the UN Sustainable ...More Button

  Question No. 83 answered with Question No. 48.More Button

Was asked: the number of electricity generating power plants throughout the country with particular reference to fossil fuels, hydro, wind or wave; the generating capacity of each at present; the anticipated ...More Button

Was asked: the amount of electricity generated from oil, coal, gas, biomass, solar, wind or wave generation; the extent to which this is expected to change within the next five years; and if he will make a st...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 626 and 633 together.

  Details in relation to All-Island electricity system demand and fuel mix are publicly available on the EirGrid website ...More Button

Was asked: the peak time electricity generating capacity; the excess requirement for continuity and security purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the highest demand for electricity recorded in the past five years; the extent to which this demand is likely to fluctuate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 629 and 632 together.

  EirGrid, the National Transmission System Operator (TSO) advises that the current peak generating capacity (excluding wi...More Button

Online Safety

Was asked: the way in which he plans to enhance digital safety for young persons online in view of recent reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Action Plan for Online Safety was launched by the Taoiseach on 11 July and contains 25 actions to be implemented by the six sponsor Departments over the next 12-18 months. These Departments are...More Button

The implementation of the Action Plan will be overseen by a Sponsor's Group, to be chaired by the Department of Education and Skills. Each of the Sponsor Departments has responsibility for matter...More Button

My Department will be contributing to the implementation of the actions contained within the plan by, amongst other actions: the implementation of the revisions to the Audiovisual Media Services ...More Button

  Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 61.More Button

Broadcasting Sector Regulation

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to whistleblower allegations regarding the conduct of RTÉ during the 2011 presidential election; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

On 10 September 2018 I received an email from a member of the Oireachtas, which contained the anonymous contents of a message that the member had received which contained allegations regarding RTÉ ...More Button

The BAI is the independent statutory regulator charged with ensuring that Irish broadcasters comply with the requirements of the Broadcasting Act 2009 and subsequent codes and rules prepared by i...More Button

Given the independent role of the regulator and its powers under the Broadcasting Act, it is the appropriate body to consider this matter, and I have informed the member accordingly.More Button

In addition, I have asked my officials to bring this matter to the attention of the BAI which I can confirm they have done so. More Button

Action Plan for Rural Development Implementation

Was asked: the reason an action (details supplied) under the Action Plan for Rural Development was not delivered by the timeline committed to; the revised timeline by quarter and year for delivery of this act...More Button

The Draft Bioenergy Plan established the policy context for the development of Ireland’s bioenergy sector and set out actions to be undertaken to further the demand for and supply of bioenergy in I...More Button

Was asked: the status of an action (details supplied) under the Action Plan for Rural Development; the timeline for when each premises will be connected to high speed broadband under the National Broadband Pl...More Button

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP is being achi...More Button

Was asked: the status of the work of the Action Plan for Rural Development specifically relating to the roll-out of broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP is being achi...More Button

Trading Online Voucher Scheme

Was asked: the number of businesses which availed of the trading online voucher scheme in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the budget allocation for this scheme in each of the years 2015 to...More Button

My Department's Trading Online Voucher Scheme is designed to support micro businesses (10 or less employees and less than €2 million turnover per annum) to develop their trading online capability. ...More Button

Air Pollution

Was asked: his plans with regard to the testing of set-down and collection areas around schools for exhaust emissions to identify potential dangerous levels of particulate matter; and his further plans to ame...More Button

Emissions from transport, including particulate matter (PM) emissions, can have a detrimental impact on both environmental ecosystems and human health. Inhalation of PM can increase respiratory mor...More Button

Ministerial Advisers Data

Was asked: the political advisers being used by senior and junior Ministers in his Department since the commencement of this Government; the commencement dates of the employment of each; and the cessation dat...More Button

Since my appointment as Minister the following have been appointed as Special Advisors in my Department:

More Button

Broadband Service Provision

Was asked: the progress expected in 2018 in the upgrade of the broadband telecommunications infrastructure for Blacktrench, Naas, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In April 2017 I published an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. This map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband s...More Button

Was asked: the reason a company will not extend a short distance to include a location (details supplied) in the installation of fibre broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

According to my Department’s High Speed Broadband Map, available at www.broadband.gov.ie, the premises referred to by the Deputy is in an AMBER area. It is therefore included in the State Intervent...More Button

Was asked: the reason households (details supplied) in Dublin 7 are still without access to fibre broadband despite virtually every other street in the area having access to this infrastructure; the steps bei...More Button

According to my Department’s High Speed Broadband Map, available at www.broadband.gov.ie, the area referred to by the Deputy is BLUE. BLUE areas are where commercial providers are either cur...More Button

Offshore Exploration Licences

Was asked: the details of a licence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if the drilling being carried out in the Porcupine Basin by a company (details supplied) relates to oil as per the licence or a well; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Public Procurement Contracts

Was asked: his plans to put in place guidelines and recommendations for the use of natural-based cleaning products in place of chemical based cleaning products by Departments and State agencies; and if he wil...More Button

Guidelines and recommendations for the use of natural-based cleaning products by departments and State agencies are contained in ‘Green Tenders, a National Action Plan on Green Public Procurement' ...More Button

More detailed support to procurers is provided in the EPA's 2014 publication ‘Green Procurement Guidance for the Public Sector’.  Chapter 5 contains specific criteria to help procurers choose mor...More Button

Public Procurement Guidelines for Goods and Services, published by the Office of Government Procurement in 2017, highlight the​ supports for public procurers who wish to source more environmental...More Button

Green Public Procurement ensures public money is invested in sustainable goods and services. It requires a life cycle costing approach to sourcing that ensures the cost of maintaining and replaci...More Button

The scale of public purchasing power (ca.16% of GDP) provides an important opportunity for government leadership in responsible sourcing and positive environmental behaviour and stimulating the s...More Button

Electric Vehicles

Was asked: his plans to increase the number of fast charge points for electric cars; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for an adequate number of charging stations to facilitate the growing electric car sector here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 613 and 628 together.

  The National Policy Framework: Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport in Ireland 2017 to 2030 sets out the...More Button

Better Energy Homes Scheme Data

Was asked: the number of persons who have retrofitted their homes with heat pumps under the better energy homes programme since the opening of the programme; if the terms and conditions will be reviewed in vi...More Button

I announced the new grant for heat pumps under the Better Energy Homes scheme in mid-April 2018. SEAI is administering the grant on behalf of my Department. Home heating is a significant investme...More Button

Press Standards Legislation

Was asked: his plans to establish a media fund to support independent journalism similar to other EU countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Independent journalism plays a vital role in our society and in supporting our democracy by providing access to accurate, high-quality and relevant information to citizens throughout the country.More Button

The Deputy is aware that my remit does not extend to the funding of all media, but that I have specific responsibilities in this regard in respect of the broadcast media. In recognition of this ...More Button

Separately, the European Commission, as part of its initiative to tackle online disinformation, has announced that it will introduce measures to support quality journalism across Member States. Th...More Button

Renewable Energy Generation

Was asked: the extent to which the switch to indigenous alternative non-fossil fuels for electricity generation is progressing with particular reference to the need to meet international deadlines and shift t...More Button

Ireland has set a target of 40% of electricity consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020. SEAI estimates that a level of 30.1% was achieved in 2017. More Button

The increased level of renewable electricity has primarily been driven by the REFIT support schemes. Although the REFIT support schemes have closed for new applications, projects that have been ...More Button

In July, I secured Government approval for a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. This scheme, which is subject to State Aid approval, will support additional growth in renewable electricit...More Button

As part of the recently agreed recast of the Renewable Energy Directive, an EU renewable energy target of 32% for 2030 was set. Ireland's contribution to this target, including the level of rene...More Button

Increasing the level of renewable electricity also makes an important contribution to decarbonising the transport sector. Greater levels of renewable electricity leads to a higher overall reduct...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which it is expected to use waste to energy in electricity generation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Latest data from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) indicate that waste to energy accounted for 1% of gross final electricity consumption in Ireland in 2017, with a  total of 78 MW ...More Button

Increasing renewable technology diversity is one of several policy objectives of my Department. In July, Government approved the high level design of the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme...More Button

The design of the new scheme has included an extensive independent economic appraisal. This appraisal compared the cost of supporting a broad range of commercial renewable technologies, includin...More Button

Regarding future projections for waste to energy in the generation mix, EirGrid's recent Tomorrow's Energy Scenarios 2017 publication estimates installed capacity for waste to energy generation t...More Button

Mobile Telephony Use

Was asked: if the Commission for Communications Regulation or his Department can influence the need to upgrade the quality of mobile telephone signals at numerous locations throughout the country in which onl...More Button

Providing telecommunications services, including mobile phone services, is a matter for the relevant service providers operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Commun...More Button

  Question No. 628 answered with Question No. 613.More Button

Electricity Transmission Network

Was asked: the extent to which electricity is exchanged North, South and east, west; the extent to which alterative international grid options are likely in the aftermath of Brexit; and if he will make a stat...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding electricity interconnectors North, South, east and west; the individual capacity of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 630 and 631 together.

  Ireland’s energy policy emphasises the important role of interconnection in the transition to a low carbon energy future....More Button

  Question No. 632 answered with Question No. 629.More Button

  Question No. 633 answered with Question No. 626.More Button

Energy Policy

Was asked: his long-term plans to achieve maximum progress towards a dramatic reduction in reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation, including the domestic market, the transport and food sectors, w...More Button

The Energy White Paper presents a long-term strategic vision that is intended to guide the direction of Irish energy policy from now until 2030. At its heart is a commitment to transform Ireland i...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. Overall, provisional SEAI analysis shows tha...More Button

Ireland aims to increase renewable energy in transport by increasing the use of sustainable biofuels and by the increased deployment of Electric Vehicles (EV). An EV Grant Scheme, administered b...More Button

In June of this year the EU agreed an EU-wide binding renewable energy target of 32% out to 2030 and Ireland’s contribution to this ambition will be informed by the development of Ireland’s first...More Button

The agriculture sector has a key role to play in helping Ireland meet its renewable energy targets. Bioenergy will be an important part in the renewable energy mix for Ireland and thus displacin...More Button

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) currently offers funding under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme for planting fast growing species. In addition, DAFM provides ...More Button

In addition Bord Bia operates Origin Green, Ireland’s national sustainability programme for the food and drink sector. The Programme sets out meaningful and measurable sustainability goals which...More Button


 

 

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