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Rabbitte, Pat

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Energy Regulation (Continued)

Was asked: the measures he will take to enhance competition in the energy market; the actions he will take to protect Ireland from external energy price shocks; if he will examine the remit of the Commission ...More Button

The Government remains firmly committed to increasing competition as the best means of exerting downward pressure on prices in the electricity and gas markets in Ireland. Currently, there is compe...More Button

Unfortunately, since about mid-2009, the price of fossil fuels has continued to rise in the international marketplace. We are 100% dependent on oil imports and 95% dependent on gas imports. In th...More Button

I share the Deputy's concern about disconnections and use every opportunity to bring to the attention of consumers that under the protocol in place with the supply companies, where a consumer ent...More Button

The Commission for Energy Regulation does a good and conscientious job. I met it two weeks ago to discuss the issue raised by the Deputy. The commission and I are examining whether there are meas...More Button

They also require an authorisation to construct or reconstruct a generating station and a licence to generate from the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER. In addition, a grid connection from Ei...More Button

I do not know where to start in answering the Deputy. I take him at face value when he says he is in favour of building up renewables capacity in the economy. In so far as that capacity is meetin...More Button

With regard to developing an export trade in this area, I appeal to the Deputy to stop using emotive language about our generating electricity for the Brits. If I were the Minister for Agriculture...More Button

I accept that there are serious questions and I can assure the Deputy that there is no question of our developing an export trade in this sector unless we are confident that our own targets will be...More Button

I signed a memorandum of understanding with my UK counterpart, Mr. Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in Dublin at the beginning of the year. Two teams are working on it t...More Button

Absolutely, I know a bit about that.More Button

No, I am not giving away our oil and gas. For the hundredth time since I got this job, can I point out to the Deputy that in the past four decades neither I nor any of my predecessors ever found a...More Button

How can I give it away if I do not have it? My car is leaking at the moment and I keep a pint of oil in the boot in case the red light comes on. That is all the oil that I am wasting or giving aw...More Button

Renewable Energy Generation

Was asked: his Department's renewable energy target; if this is achievable; the strategy in place to reach this target; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has considered using the ESB to develop our wind resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has considered using the ESB to develop our wind resources.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 509 together.More Button

The Irish energy market, including power generation, is a commercial market, regulated as appropriate by the Commission for Energy Regulation, and one in which I have no function. I understand th...More Button

Renewable Energy Generation (Continued)

The 2009 renewable energy directive set Ireland a binding target where at least 16% of our energy requirements should come from renewable sources by 2020. The directive also requires all member st...More Button

My Department’s Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012 to 2020 sets out the key strategic goals for the various renewable energy sectors. Although these targets are challenging, I am confident that ...More Button

I think the Deputy is being unfair and contradictory. He cannot say that he sees no evidence of the plan while at the same time his party frequently complains to me about new planning applications...More Button

The Deputy can pursue my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, on the transport aspect of the matter. While it is difficult, the plan we have set ourselves relates in a Europea...More Button

I agree with the Deputy and I am sure that he will agree with me that in the rush towards renewables one must have regard to economics. The refit subsidies are not without cost. In particular, re...More Button

Energy Schemes

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the expected delivery of a functioning pay-as-you-save scheme to allow for home energy retrofit; when the first applications may be made under this scheme; the reaso...More Button

The national energy efficiency action plan and the programme for Government include a commitment to roll out a better energy financing - formerly known as pay-as-you-save - energy retrofit scheme f...More Button

The key benefit to homeowners of the BEF mechanism is that the scheme will allow them to secure up-front financing for energy efficiency upgrades to their homes and, in the process, remove one of...More Button

Energy Schemes (Continued)

My Department, with the assistance of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, has put in place a project team to design the new retrofit financing scheme under the direction of a project board...More Button

It will be out in quarter three for a reasonable period. I do not know the figure the Deputy would put on it and I am quite agreeable to agreeing something with her on it. The scheme was promised...More Button

It is uncannily like what happened in Britain. After the first flush of applications, presumably from households minded to be energy efficient, the numbers have fallen off dramatically. Deputy ...More Button

I have been trying to do the St. John the Baptist role that Deputy Catherine Murphy sees for me. We have a scheme. It is a grant-based incentive scheme and we are trying to sell it. Sometimes De...More Button

The new scheme is a quite complex construction. I hope it will be attractive to the householder because of the principles behind it, but it requires people to be persuaded that they can make sig...More Button

Broadcasting Sector Regulation

Was asked: the actions he has planned to ensure that RTÉ has a sustainable future; the reforms he intends to bring to the current licence fee system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

RTE is an independent national public service broadcaster whose remit and obligations are set out in section 114 of the Broadcasting Act 2009. RTE has a direct obligation under section 105 of the ...More Button

I have had cause to meet with senior management in RTE on several occasions during the last 18 months and I have made it clear that a continuing deficit position in the corporation is unacceptabl...More Button

One of RTE's key challenges is managing its commercial revenue, which is declining as a result of increased levels of competition in a challenging and fragmented economic environment. RTE's comm...More Button

With regard to reform of the current licence fee system, the Deputy will be aware that the programme for Government commits to examining the role and collection of the TV licence fee in light of ...More Button

Broadcasting Sector Regulation (Continued)

The record will show that RTE has led the way among the State corporations in grappling with the implications of the economic downturn and attempting to provide feasible solutions. One should bear...More Button

On the Deputy's central point, which concerns efficiency and value for money, there have been very serious cutbacks. We must, in the interest of fairness, have regard to quality also. The natio...More Button

It must be very disappointing for senior management in RTE that, having engaged in the serious restructuring it has carried out in the last couple of years and having had pay reductions and redunda...More Button

Energy Regulation

Was asked: if he will outline all the processes and conditions surrounding the establishment and management of windfarms, both on and offshore, including required permissions, environmental stipulations, lice...More Button

The development and operation of wind farms in Ireland require planning permission from the relevant planning authority and, in the case of offshore wind farms, a foreshore lease from the Departmen...More Button

Was asked: the costs incurred to date on implementing the single electricity market here; the benefits that have accrued from it; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The regulation of the electricity and gas market is the responsibility of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). The Electricity Regulation Act 1999 provided for the establishment of the CER ...More Button

With a view to meeting policy objectives, the CER has played a pivotal role in the development of the Single Electricity Market (SEM) which has been operating in Ireland and Northern Ireland sinc...More Button

The all-island Single Electricity Market (SEM) is the combination of two separate jurisdictional electricity markets in Ireland and Northern Ireland and is governed by the SEM Committee (SEMC). ...More Button

Independent analysis has indicated that the market has worked well since its introduction in November 2007 and continues to deliver benefits to consumers through the use of efficient generation p...More Button

This is evidenced by recent decisions to invest in the Irish electricity market by a variety of market players. Bord Gáis opened the 440 Mega Watt (MW) Whitegate power station in 2010 and ESB com...More Button

The SEM project was developed by both regulators. The allowed project costs incurred in its establishment were paid for by both regulators and were ultimately borne by electricity customers in th...More Button

The SEM will continue to evolve in line with European electricity market developments, bearing in mind the primacy of the electricity customer when considering market evolution. More Button

Hydraulic Fracturing Policy

Was asked: when he will issue guidelines relating to hydraulic fracturing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The current position in Ireland with respect to the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is that my Department has not approved any application for, nor licensed the use of, hydraulic fracturi...More Button

Notwithstanding this position, however, I understand there are genuine concerns about the potential environmental considerations which may be associated with such activities. For this reason in ...More Button

The EPA is in the process of finalising terms of reference to engage the appropriate expertise in this regard. These draft terms of reference have been the subject of a public consultation proce...More Button

Any environmental guidance issued with respect to the conduct of fracking activities in Ireland would be informed by the findings of this research, were the research to find that such activities ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the various forms of methodologies in respect of mining exploration on or off shore are likely to be used here in the future in respect of oil, gas or other mineral exploration;...More Button

There are various methodologies currently being used with respect to minerals and petroleum exploration both onshore and offshore Ireland that will continue to be used into the future. More Button

With specific regard to the likely conduct of exploration activities proposing the use of hydraulic fracking, as I have advised on a number of occasions, the Environmental Protection Agency is in...More Button

The key questions to be addressed by this research are, whether this technology can be used while fully protecting the environment and human health, and what the best environmental practice in us...More Button

In the meantime, I have publicly confirmed that no application proposing the use of this technology would be considered nor would exploration licences in this regard be granted prior to publication...More Button

  Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 70.More Button

Hydraulic Fracturing Policy (Continued)

I accept what the Deputy has said, namely, that there are genuine concerns about the environmental and public health implications of the technology known as hydraulic fracturing. I accept that we ...More Button

I have explained that any decisions down the line will have to be evidence based.   I do not know how Deputy Colreavy can draw the conclusions he has drawn. I would say to Deputy Bo...More Button

However, there are plenty of experts who will say that what is on display in that particular horror movie is no longer up to speed in terms of the technology.More Button

I am not a scientist and I do not have to make this decision. The reason we create agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, is that we, as policymakers, have expert advice available t...More Button

Deputy Boyd Barrett should relax. His tap is perfectly safe. It will not go on fire until we at least get the EPA report. When get the report, we will discuss it.More Button

Broadband Service Charges

Was asked: the way the EU Commission’s proposals for reducing the cost of broadband will be transposed here; his views on the way Irish broadband costs for both business and personal customers compare to othe...More Button

On 26 March last the European Commission published its proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic comm...More Button

Broadband Service Charges (Continued)

I agree with much of what Deputy Moynihan has said. I can tell him that the figures he has mentioned are wrong. He will have to trust me on that. I will give him the accurate figures. In Irelan...More Button

Petroleum and Gas Exploration

Was asked: when he will carry out a review of the fiscal terms of petroleum licensing here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

At the commencement of the Dáil debate on the report of the former Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture on offshore oil and gas exploration, and in deference to the ...More Button

I will begin by responding to what the Deputy has said about "interested parties". The Oireachtas committee spent six or seven months on this issue and prepared a report. I am taking the recommen...More Button

If it is considered that our fiscal terms are a giveaway, I ask Deputy Colreavy to explain why our coastline is not black with ships exploring the Irish offshore. If our tax regime is so favourabl...More Button

We do not have the State investment for a State exploration company. Therefore, we have to attract companies that can carry out such work. For that reason, we have to pitch the fiscal regime broa...More Button

Post Office Network

Was asked: the steps being taken to support the maintenance of the post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Operational matters and the role of developing commercial strategies for the post office network are a matter for the management and Board of An Post and one in which I have no statutory function. ...More Button

An Post has many strengths and has the largest retail presence in the country. I have impressed on the Company the need to further exploit its unique position in this regard and have been suppor...More Button

I recently addressed the annual conference of the Irish Postmasters’ Union and emphasised the intrinsic strengths of the network and the opportunities for new developments. Having invested in th...More Button

I welcome the Joint Oireachtas Committee’s ‘Report on Promoting a Sustainable Future for the Post Office Network’. I have read and considered this report and found it both positive and ambitious.More Button

An Post has made much progress towards diversification with its enhanced arrangement with AIB and its agreement with Aviva for the transfer of Aviva Ireland’s branch offices personal insurance bu...More Button

In the context of the public sector transformation agenda I will continue to engage with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to consideration, as appropriate, ...More Button

Renewable Energy Projects

Was asked: if he will give details of the State investment in the Mount Lucas wind farm project, County Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

   The wind farm project currently under construction at Mount Lucas, Daingean, County Offaly, is a commercial development being progressed by Bord na Móna. The financing of ...More Button

Was asked: if his Department has received submissions on the proposed wind farm in Dublin Bay; and his views on whether Dublin Bay is a sustainable location for wind generation.More Button

The development and operation of wind farms in Ireland require planning permission from the relevant planning authority and, in the case of offshore wind farms, a foreshore lease from the Departmen...More Button

The issue of planning and foreshore leasing are in the first instance matters between the developer of the windfarm and the planning authority subject to the Planning and Foreshore Acts, which inc...More Button

The consideration by the relevant planning authority of individual applications for approval for the building of energy infrastructure is also informed by strategic energy policy objectives. To ...More Button

This plan takes as its starting point the findings of a Strategic Environmental Assessment carried out to establish the capacity of Ireland’s offshore to accommodate renewable energy development ...More Button

In addition, individual offshore renewable projects will also be required to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment to ensure they are environmentally sustainable.More Button

Was asked: if he has sought a report into the collapse, two months ago, of a wind turbine at Loughderryduff, County Donegal; his views on the ability of wind energy to deliver sustainable energy for Ireland i...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to an incident whereby a 245 foot wind turbine (details supplied) in County Donegal collapsed during high winds; if he intends to order a public investigation into t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81 and 514 together.More Button

Ensuring sustainable supplies of power to all consumers is central to this Government’s energy policy. Harnessing the clean, sustainable, indigenous, renewable wind resource that Ireland is fortu...More Button

In order to develop a more sustainable electricity supply, Ireland is committed to reaching a target of 40% of electricity demand being met from renewable sources by 2020. It is forecast that the...More Button

The issue of planning approval for wind farms is in the first instance a matter for developers and the planning authority under the Planning Acts, which include requirements for public consultati...More Button

With regard to the incident referred to by the Deputies, I understand that the Health and Safety Authority was notified of its occurrence and that the Authority has instigated an investigation in...More Button

National Digital Strategy Implementation

Was asked: the impact the EU e-commerce action plan will have here; his views on the proportion of Irish on-line sales which go to non-domestic retailers; the way he will assist small businesses to sell more ...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether Irish firms are not yet fully exploiting the potential of online commerce; the way the situation can be improved; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 505 together.More Button

There are a range of measures in the EU Commission’s e-Commerce Action Plan 2012-2015 and these span the areas of responsibility of a number of Departments.More Button

I welcome the focus in the plan on practical actions that will provide more clarity for those trading in the online single market. In particular I believe measures that provide guidance and trai...More Button

In Ireland, Irish consumers spend almost €4bn per annum online – with most of that spend going offshore. Most small businesses in Ireland do not trade online. The proportion of SMEs trading onl...More Button

That means many small Irish businesses are being missed by consumers when they go online to source products and services. Those not trading online are also missing out on the opportunity of mark...More Button

That is why we will be focusing in the forthcoming National Digital Strategy on encouraging and assisting more small businesses to do more online and ultimately to trade online. To address this,...More Button

As a first step towards this objective we will pilot a voucher scheme that will provide upfront funding for small businesses to help them develop an online trading platform. Beyond the pilot it ...More Button

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Was asked: the degree to which modern high speed broadband is likely to become available in all areas throughout the country in the short and medium term with particular reference to those areas currently exp...More Button

The Government’s National Broadband Plan, which I published in August last, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed services of 30Mbps are available ...More Button

The Plan aims to deliver high speed broadband to all parts of Ireland through two principal means: (a) by providing a policy and regulatory framework that assists in accelerating and incentivisin...More Button

Some of the key developments in the short and medium term are as follows:More Button

- eircom launched its next generation broadband services on 16th May last, with speeds of up to 70Mbps, immediately available to over 300,000 premises. By the end of this year, eircom aims to re...More Button

- UPC is continuing with its investment in the cable network, which should see 750,000 homes able to access services at data speeds of at least 150 Mbps by 2015;More Button

- Other fixed operators also continue to invest in Local Loop Unbundling (LLU). BT Ireland now supplies broadband access to both Vodafone and Sky Ireland, and along with other operators, is also ...More Button

- Mobile wireless operators are making plans for the rollout of 4G services later this year. The operators are obliged, under the terms of the licences, to cover 70% of the population;More Button

- ESB is currently considering the prospect of utilising its distribution network to rollout fibre broadband services.More Button

In tandem with these commercial developments, intensive work is underway in my Department to progress a State-led investment to secure the countrywide introduction of next generation broadband ac...More Button

Intensive technical, financial and legal preparations including stakeholder engagement will be ongoing throughout 2013 with a view to the launch of a procurement process in 2014. Through the imp...More Button

Was asked: if the national broadband scheme will link up with private companies already involved in broadband roll-out to provide greater coverage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Government’s National Broadband Plan, which I published in August last, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed services of 30Mbps are available ...More Button

The Plan aims to deliver high speed broadband to all parts of Ireland through two principal means: (a) by providing a policy and regulatory framework that assists in accelerating and incentivisin...More Button

Since the publication of the Plan, investments by the commercial sector are underway in both fixed line and wireless high speed broadband services. There is evidence that industry is investing bey...More Button

ComReg has put in place a new regulatory regime for fixed line Next Generation Access and for service bundles, both of which are designed to incentivise the rollout of services by service provide...More Button

In tandem with these commercial developments, intensive work is underway in my Department to progress a State-led investment to secure the countrywide introduction of next generation broadband ac...More Button

In order to progress the State-led investment, a full procurement process must be designed and EU State Aids approval must be obtained. A comprehensive mapping exercise of the current and antici...More Button

Intensive technical, financial and legal preparations including stakeholder engagement will be ongoing throughout 2013 with a view to the launch of a procurement process in 2014. More Button

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, we are committed to increasing the availability of next generation speeds significantly, with a view to ensuring that all citizens and bus...More Button

Was asked: the progress made in delivering on his commitment to have high speed broadband availability across the country; and if he will report specifically on the way his Department is performing under the ...More Button

Considerable progress has been made in recent years in both the coverage and speeds of national broadband infrastructure, with a multiplicity of commercial operators, providing services over a dive...More Button

Biofuel Obligation Scheme Implementation

Was asked: if Irish Aid was consulted in advance of his decision to increase the biofuels blending obligation; the developmental, environmental, consumer or motorist organisations that were also consulted in ...More Button

The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set a binding target on all Member States to achieve at least 10% renewable energy in transport by 2020. The increased deployment of Electric Vehicles will h...More Button

The Biofuel Obligation Scheme was introduced in July 2010 and works by obligating large road transport fuel suppliers to bring a certain amount of biofuels to the market. From the start of this ...More Button

Under Section 44D of the Act, before amending the rate of obligation, I was required to consult with the Minister for Finance, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, th...More Button

I would stress that I do share the concerns that biofuel production, unless properly regulated, can have a negative impact on food production, and on food prices. All biofuels counted as part of...More Button

Oireachtas Joint Committee Reports

Was asked: his views on the May 2012 report entitled Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration produced by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture; his views on the eleven r...More Button

The Joint Oireachtas Committee’s report represents a valuable contribution to the debate on how Ireland should manage its indigenous oil and gas resources, to ensure the best result for the people ...More Button

National Gas Grid

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 5 of 31 January 2013, if he has been in contact with Dublin City Council in order to check if they are satisfied with a high pressure gas main being installed ...More Button

Was asked: in view of the fact that Bord Gáis is placing a high pressure gas main at a depth of 1.2 metres along main residential areas in Dublin City, if he will consider seeking an external expert opinion o...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 86 together. More Button

The matters raised by the Deputy are operational matters for Bord Gáis Éireann (BGE). The company operates in accordance with the safety framework established by the Commission for Energy Regula...More Button

BGE owns and operates the national transmission and distribution gas network. BGE and the CER have advised that all transmission pipelines, including those in residential areas, are designed, co...More Button

I understand that pipelines in suburban and urban areas are constructed using high grade steel pipe and are laid with a minimum depth of cover of 1.2 metres throughout. In some circumstances and...More Button

Following completion of construction, the consent of the CER will be required before BGE may operate the pipeline. This consent is subject to a review of all relevant data and test records by a ...More Button

I understand the Deputy is referring to the Santry to East Wall gas pipeline. In regard to that pipeline, the consent of the CER to BGE’s undertaking of these works was informed by the advice of...More Button

I repeat my previous offer that if the Deputy wishes, I would be happy to request BGE to contact him directly in relation to this matter.More Button

National Postcode System Establishment

Was asked: if there has been any update in the possible introduction of postcodes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to reiterate the strong commitment of the Government to introducing a national postcode system.More Button

A national postcode system is in my view a vital part of the national infrastructure. Apart from providing efficiencies for postal delivery it will positively impact on deliveries of public and ...More Button

The procurement process for a national postcode system has proven to be more complex and protracted than originally envisaged. As the Deputy will appreciate it is crucial that the postcode syste...More Button

Since the procurement process commenced in 2011 intensive work has taken place on what is an extremely complex national project. It is expected that the final tender will be issued to all qualif...More Button

The proposals in response to that tender will, in turn, be evaluated by the postcode evaluation team, a preferred option will be chosen and a recommendation will be made to Government in September.More Button

The final decision to proceed with implementation of a national postcode will be one for Government and will be based on appropriate financial, technical and operational considerations. I cannot g...More Button

Was asked: if measures relating to the introduction of a postal code system are currently under consideration; the expected implications of the introduction of this system; and if he will make a statement on ...More Button

The Government is committed to introducing a national postcode system. The implementation of a national postcode system is a complex and detailed process. The procurement process to select a post...More Button

A national postcode system is in my view a vital part of the national infrastructure. The implication - apart from providing efficiencies for postal delivery - is that it will significantly impa...More Button

The final decision to proceed with implementation of a national postcode will be one for Government and will be based on appropriate financial, technical and operational considerations.More Button

Energy Schemes Data

Was asked: the number of persons who have availed of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland grants for home insulation to date in 2013; the total number in 2012; the way this compares with previous years; hi...More Button

Was asked: the number of homes planned to be retrofitted this year through State schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 70 and 88 together.

  The Better Energy Homes and the Better Energy Warmer Homes schemes are administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of ...More Button

Energy Prices

Was asked: the way the creation of the European Internal Energy Market can be used to reduce energy prices for consumers here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Third Energy Package, agreed in 2009, aimed to fully implement the EU Internal Energy Market. The objectives of the internal energy market are the achievement of better outcomes for EU citizen...More Button

While considerable progress has been made, the European Commission considers that obstacles remain to the achievement of a fully functioning internal market in electricity and gas across the enti...More Button

The Communication proposes a detailed set of actions, under the heading of an “Action Plan for Europe” to ensure the successful implementation of the internal energy market by 2014. The Action Pl...More Button

Foremost among the actions I mentioned earlier, necessary for the implementation of the internal market, I would highlight consumer empowerment. The European Commission estimates that across the...More Button

In the Irish market there are a number of suppliers competing in the retail market in both electricity and gas and offering various prices and products to domestic and business consumers. In addit...More Button

Was asked: the actions he will take to help lower the costs of electricity for small and medium sized enterprises; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Responsibility for the regulation of the retail electricity market is a matter for the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), which is an independent statutory body. Prices in the electricity ret...More Button

Electricity and gas costs in Ireland are influenced by various drivers, including global gas and oil prices, the costs of capital, exchange rate fluctuations, the small size of the Irish market, ...More Button

The most important factor affecting electricity prices in Ireland is the continuing upward trend in international gas prices. Wholesale natural gas prices have been on an upward curve since the ...More Button

The trend of increasing gas prices in the European commodities market, and the underlying dependence on gas in the electricity mix underline the need to maintain the focus on continuing to addres...More Button

At a national level, the competitive energy market in place helps put downward pressure on prices. In addition, we must focus on all possible additional actions to mitigate costs for business an...More Button

I am committed to working with enterprise and with the energy sector to ensure that the costs of energy are as competitive as possible. In this context, promotion of energy efficiency measures i...More Button

Energy efficiency represents a significant opportunity for both businesses and households to reduce their energy costs. There are energy efficiency measures in place to assist SMEs. The Energy ...More Button

Promotion of indigenous sustainable sources of energy will help offset the impact of volatile fossil fuel prices. The Government has a renewable electricity target of 40% by 2020. Good progress...More Button

The latest EUROSTAT figures show that electricity prices in Ireland increased for small business customers by 1.4% and for medium business by 6% in the second half of 2012 giving a ranking of 4th m...More Button

Digital Television Service Availability

Was asked: the number of households that have yet to sign up to Saorview; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

RTE has built, owns and controls the Saorview TV network and is responsible for the roll-out, coverage and operation of that network. This is in accordance with Part 8 of the Broadcasting Act 2009,...More Button

In addition to Saorview, RTE has developed SAORSAT, a free-to-air satellite service to ensure the free-to-air RTE television services are available to 100% of the population. This is the first ti...More Button

It is also worth noting that Irish TV channels are also available on subscription TV services such as UPC (over cable or MMDS) or Sky (over satellite).More Button

Industrial Development

Was asked: his views on the ability of Ireland to become a leading exporter of home insulation products and skills; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The market for technologies and services associated with sustainable energy and decarbonisation is growing rapidly. Internationally, the International Energy Agency estimates that governments will ...More Button

The energy retrofitting of homes is an established industry in Ireland, primarily on foot a number of major government interventions in this sector. The Better Energy Homes scheme administered b...More Button

The installers operating under the aforementioned schemes are all subject to very demanding registration terms in respect of technical competence and professional practice. They are also subject...More Button

SEAI are already engaging with a number of industry stakeholders and enterprise agencies to consider opportunities for packaging the skills and expertise within this sector specifically for expor...More Button

The Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation which has general policy responsibility for sustainable job creation has informed me that following rapid contraction of the Irish construction...More Button

The expansion of the sector has also extended to near European markets with market penetration witnessed in Benelux, France and Germany.More Button

More generally Ireland has a reputation as an early mover in advanced energy management, as illustrated by the development of the Irish energy management standard, IS 393, in 2006, which informed...More Button

Finally, there is considerable interest in the ICT sector in the applications in energy relating to smart infrastructure, technology and control. A transition to smarter infrastructure, with great...More Button

Telecommunications Services Provision

Was asked: the steps taken to ensure that project Kelvin is marketed and developed on an all Ireland basis for the benefit of all the communities along the Border.More Button

The Kelvin Project provides direct international telecoms connectivity between the North West of Ireland and North America, and improved telecoms connectivity to Europe, via a transatlantic submari...More Button

All of the IDA marketing information re: telecoms connectivity at a Regional, National and International level includes details of Project Kelvin. In addition, the IDA utilises the services of a...More Button

The IDA has launched a number of regional promotional initiatives in Border Counties - the Invest and Connect marketing programme - and is currently working on the following initiatives to promot...More Button

- The launch of the Letterkenny Connect and Investment portal which will profile Letterkenny in terms of investment and associated infrastructure etc. This should launch before the end of June 2...More Button

- A case study of an IDA client company based in Letterkenny which is utilising Project Kelvin with significant benefit in term of latency, bandwidth and cost. More Button

Hibernia Networks (HN), the company which operates the Kelvin network, works closely with IDA representatives on the promotion of Kelvin, including the promotion of the North West region together...More Button

The IDA will continue to work with Hibernia Networks and other stakeholders to build the benefits of Project Kelvin into its sales messages and identify new opportunities to promote the North Wes...More Button

In the past 5 years the North West region has seen investments from a range of existing companies across all sectors and most notably Abbott, Elanco, G Bruss, Mirror Controls International, Prame...More Button

Radio Spectrum Management

Was asked: when 4G telecommunications will be available here; the benefits that will accrue to the country; the way that he plans to support these developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The management of the radio spectrum is a statutory function of the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) under the Communications Regulation Act, 2002 as amended. More Button

In November 2012 ComReg announced the results of its successful Multi-Band Spectrum Award (MBSA) process which resulted in a total licence yield of €855 million to be paid over the duration of th...More Button

These spectrum bands are highly suitable for advanced mobile services due to their excellent propagation properties, which allow for wide area coverage and improved in-building reception. More Button

It is a condition of a Liberalised Use Licence that a minimum 70% population coverage obligation is to be achieved by a licensee within 3 years of its licence commencement date. I am advised tha...More Button

While the four Liberalised Use Licences of the Mobile Network Operators commenced on 1 February 2013, the timing and extent of each of ‘4G’ (Long Term Evolution (LTE)) network rollout is, with the ...More Button

National Digital Strategy Publication

Was asked: when he will publish the National Digital Strategy; if he will outline the way in which Ireland can best capitalise on the digital economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

It is my intention to publish the National Digital Strategy over the coming weeks. The Strategy will complement the significant investment in broadband infrastructure envisaged under the National ...More Button

In order for Ireland to capitalise on the digital economy we need to focus in particular on increasing the levels of digital adoption. The Strategy will focus initially on increasing overall level...More Button

Renewable Energy Incentives

Was asked: if he will provide details of any subsidies or grants available to private companies seeking to establish wind farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide details of the subsidies or grants available to private companies seeking to establish wind farms.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 507 together.More Button

The Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff scheme, known as REFIT, has been designed to incentivise the development of wind powered electricity generation in order to ensure that sufficient new renewabl...More Button

The REFIT scheme is now in its second round. REFIT 2 received EU State Aid approval in January 2012. Under this approval a total of 4,000 MW can be supported under REFIT 2. The scheme is open to...More Button

REFIT operates by offering minimum guaranteed prices for up to 15 years, thus providing certainty to project developers of a minimum price for electricity exported to the grid over that period. ...More Button

To date, REFIT schemes have supported the building of over 1700 MW of wind generation capacity. This has made wind energy the largest driver of growth in renewable electricity, contributing most...More Button

Television Licence Fee Collection

Was asked: the current rate of non-payment of the TV licence; the way this has varied in recent years; his plans to increase compliance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The requirement to have a TV licence and pay the accompanying fee is dependent on possession of a television set, as defined by section 140 of the Broadcasting Act 2009. In estimating the national...More Button

An Post administers the collection of the TV licence fee on my behalf and has done so since the current licensing system began. In terms of increasing compliance with the TV licensing requirement...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government commits to examining the role and collection of the TV licence fee in light of existing and projected convergence of technologies and to ...More Button

I am currently considering the report of the recent Value for Money Review on the proposal to introduce such a charge. The independently chaired Review Group considered a range of issues in relat...More Button

Ministerial Correspondence

Was asked: the reason he has yet to respond to correspondence from a community council (details supplied) sent almost two months ago regarding the operation of the east-west interconnector.More Button

The correspondence concerned refers to a number of highly technical and complex issues, some of which I addressed in previous correspondence with the community council, in addition to containing ot...More Button

North-South Interconnector Issues

Was asked: if he has any update on the progress of the North-South interconnector; if any issues have arisen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, in April EirGrid completed a re-evaluation process on the North South 400kV Interconnection Development and published a “Final Re-evaluation Report”. It followed the pu...More Button

The final report represents a comprehensive re-evaluation of the project, involving, among other things, a thorough re-examination of the previous application, including issues raised during the ...More Button

It considered and responded to Stakeholder feedback from the previous planning application as well as Stakeholder feedback from the public consultation following publication of the Preliminary Re...More Button

The “Final re-evaluation Report” found that there remains an urgent strategic need for the project. It also concludes that the best technology solution for the project is a single circuit 400kV ...More Button

EirGrid is fully committed to engaging extensively with landowners, members of the public and other interested parties on all aspects of the project and during April/May held nine open days in Me...More Button

Following the completion of this period of public engagement, EirGrid is considering all feedback received before finalising its preferred project solution. The “Preferred Project Solution Repor...More Button

The “Preferred Project Solution Report” is a key publication detailing the preferred line route and indicative tower locations. It is the final report prior to the submission of the new planning ...More Button

The public consultation on the preferred Project Solution Report will focus on the preferred line design, including the line route, preferred structure and tower locations, the methodology for si...More Button

Submission of the planning application and associated Environmental Impact Statement to An Bord Pleanála will follow, at the end of this year or the beginning of 2014. More Button

Natural Gas Grid

Was asked: his views on the Western Development Commission paper Why Invest in Gas? which outlines the clear benefit of extending the natural gas distribution network to the north west; and if he will make a ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware from my replies to previous Parliamentary Questions raised by him on this issue, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is the statutory, independent body, charged w...More Button

The CER, in 2006, approved a network connections policy which enabled reassessment of the feasibility of connecting certain towns to the gas network. In order for any town to be connected to the...More Button

This policy framework provides that, over a certain period, the costs of connecting a town, or group of towns, to the network are recouped through the actual economic consumption of gas and the a...More Button

Under the CER’s policy framework, Bord Gáis Networks, and latterly Gaslink, carried out a comprehensive review of towns not connected to the national gas network. Gaslink published its New Towns A...More Button

The study included a review of the feasibility of connecting 11 towns in the West and North West region which are the focus of the Western Development Commission paper, “Why Invest in Gas”. Howe...More Button

Gaslink will continue to review the towns which did not qualify for connection under the 2010 Study as well as other towns. The key factor which would qualify a town or group of towns in any futur...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the Shannon LNG project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As I have stated on previous occasions in the House, the proposal by Shannon LNG to construct a LNG terminal near Ballylongford is welcomed by the Government. Such a facility, together with the br...More Button

The Deputy will be aware of Shannon LNG’s application to the Courts for Judicial Review of the CER decision of 29 June 2012 and the subsequent hearing of the case in the High Court earlier this y...More Button

EU Directives

Was asked: the progress that has been made in establishing a Network and Information Security competent authority, as required as a result of a vote at the European Parliament; and if he will make a statement...More Button

In February, the European Commission published a proposal for a European Directive concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the European Union. T...More Button

  Question No. 86 answered with Question No. 67.More Button

Was asked: the work his Department is currently undertaking on various pieces of upcoming legislation, through a potential Bill to go through the Houses of the Oireachtas or through statutory instrument, to e...More Button

My Department is currently working on transposing a number of EU Directives the details of which are set out in tabular format below.

More Button

Renewable Energy Generation Targets

Was asked: if he will provide a report on any and all plans to reach the EU targets set for increasing renewable energy here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a binding target where at least 16% of our energy requirements should come from renewable sources by 2020. In order to meet our overall 16% requi...More Button

Though these targets are challenging, I am confident that they can be met. My Department’s Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012 to 2020 sets out the key strategic goals for the various renewable en...More Button

In addition, under the Directive, Ireland was required to set out in a National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) the trajectory towards meeting its legally binding targets. The NREAP and the...More Button

By the end of 2011, we had reached 6.4% of overall energy consumption from renewable sources and the trajectory set out in the NREAP assumes that we will achieve the 16% target incrementally at a...More Button

There are a number of policy measures in place designed to support the development necessary to meet Ireland’s renewable energy obligations. The Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) schemes i...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a report on any and all plans to reach the EU targets set for increasing renewable energy here.More Button

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a binding target where at least 16% of our energy requirements should come from renewable sources by 2020. The directive also requires all Member St...More Button

Under the Directive, Ireland was required to set out in a National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) the trajectory towards meeting its legally binding targets. The NREAP and the First Progre...More Button

There are a number of policy measures in place which will help us achieve these goals. The Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) schemes will see increasing amounts of renewable electricity co...More Button

Policy interventions including ReHeat schemes, energy efficiency schemes and policies, building regulations, REFIT3 for CHP and natural market migration to renewable heating technologies will del...More Button

Coillte Teoranta Harvesting Rights Sale

Was asked: if he will explain his recent comment that the sale of Coillte harvesting rights is unlikely; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government, as part of the agreement with the Troika, has agreed to a State asset disposal programme with a view to using half of the proceeds to invest in economic recovery and jobs. My Depar...More Button

My colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney, together with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin, will make an announcement concerning ...More Button

Metropolitan Area Networks Programme

Was asked: if he will give details of the level of take up of MANs in areas in which it has been rolled out; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under Phase I of the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) Programme, 28 MANs were completed and 60 MANs, covering 66 towns, were completed under Phase II. The MANs which are regionally dispersed enha...More Button

Phase 2

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Biofuel Obligation Scheme Targets

Was asked: the total extra annual cost to motorists here of the biofuels blending obligation; if an assessment has been carried out on the indirect land use change impacts of biofuels here; and if he will mak...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which the use and production of biodiesel, bioethanol or other energy continues to develop in accordance with targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 526 together.More Button

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive set a binding target on all Member States to achieve at least 10% renewable energy in transport by 2020. The primary means, for most if not all Member States,...More Button

The Biofuel Obligation Scheme was introduced in July 2010 and works by obligating large road transport fuel suppliers to bring a certain amount of biofuels to the market. The aim of the scheme is...More Button

This has seen increased amounts of biofuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol being deployed in Ireland. From the start of this year, I have increased the obligation on fuel suppliers to include ...More Button

Accurately assessing the effect the biofuel obligation has on prices paid by the motorist is complex as open market costs are only known by the market players themselves. However, my Department ...More Button

The issue of indirect land use change (ILUC) is a very complex one and assessing its impact is extremely difficult. Late last year, the European Commission, following a number of analytical stud...More Button

Hydraulic Fracturing Licence Applications

Was asked: his views on whether a request to facilitate the development of fracking pre-empts the outcome of the Environmental Protection Agency assessment of the matter (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: in view of the fact that Loop Head, County Clare, was recently chosen tourism destination of the year by the Irish Times and is the subject of an application for an exploration licence for hydrauli...More Button

Public Broadcasting Charge Introduction

Was asked: when details of the broadcasting charge will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In line with the commitment in the Programme for Government to transform the TV licence into a household based Public Broadcasting Charge, my Department is involved in the ongoing analysis and poli...More Button

This is a complex process and the logistics involved require thorough attention. Issues such as identifying those liable for the charge, together with the most appropriate collection method, exe...More Button

When due consideration has been given to all of the issues involved and policy decisions have been made, legislative measures will follow as appropriate. That said, I expect to be in a position,...More Button

National Energy Efficiency Action Plan

Was asked: the processes involved in conducting the national building inventory as laid out in the Energy Efficiency Action Plan published by his Department in February 2013; when the inventory will get under...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware I published the second National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) on 28 February last, which reaffirms Ireland's commitment to a 20% energy savings target in 2020 in...More Button

  Question No. 505 answered with Question No. 62.More Button

Renewable Energy Generation Issues

Was asked: if he will set out in detail the tax, royalty and licencing regime in place for the development of wind energy and other renewable energy sources.More Button

The development and operation of wind farms in Ireland require planning permission from the relevant planning authority and, in the case of offshore wind farms, a foreshore lease from the Departmen...More Button

With regard to taxation, the State benefits from the tax take on any taxable profits generated by energy companies. Rates are also payable to local authorities and offshore wind developers pay r...More Button

  Question No. 507 answered with Question No. 79.More Button

Wind Energy Guidelines

Was asked: if he will set out in detail the process through which a company such as Saorgas would establish an offshore wind farm as is currently proposed for the Kish Bank, including all the licensing, leasi...More Button

The development and operation of wind farms in Ireland require planning permission from the relevant planning authority and, in the case of offshore wind farms, a foreshore lease from the Departmen...More Button

  Question No. 509 answered with Question No. 68.More Button

Energy Resources

Was asked: if he will outline the way a greater focus on developing energy efficiency can contribute to job creation; if investment will be secured at EU level for modern energy infrastructure; if the challen...More Button

Investments in energy efficiency are associated with job creation in two principal ways. Firstly, jobs are supported directly through initiatives to install energy efficiency technologies and syst...More Button

In relation to the matter of securing investment at EU level for modern energy infrastructure, the European Commission estimates that the European energy system requires €1 trillion in investment...More Button

In this context, the implementation of EU Regulation 347/2013 on Guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure, known as the Energy Infrastructure Package, should assist in securing that in...More Button

Regarding the challenge of high electricity and gas prices, responsibility for the regulation of the electricity and gas retail market is a matter for the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), ...More Button

Electricity and gas prices in Ireland are influenced by various drivers, including global gas and oil prices, the costs of capital, exchange rate fluctuations, the small size of the Irish market,...More Button

The competitive energy market in place helps put downward pressure on retail prices. In addition, we must focus on all possible additional actions to mitigate controllable costs for business and...More Button

As well as its positive job creation potential, energy efficiency is an area within our control where action can be taken to reduce energy costs. There are energy efficiency schemes in place to ...More Button

Exploration Licences Approvals

Was asked: if he will list the oil and gas companies that have current licences for exploration, onshore and offshore; the number actively exploring; and the locations. More Button

 My Department publishes details relating to exploration authorisations granted together with a map of the locations concerned on a regular basis on its website at: More Button

Offshore Exploration

Was asked: when he proposes to appoint consultants to carry out a review of the fitness for purpose of Ireland's fiscal terms for oil and gas exploration as indicated recently in Dáil Éireann; the procedure f...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the 2D seismic study being carried out with ENI; if there is a timeframe for project completion and data compilation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will outline the recently approved seismic survey to reveal oil and gas exploration potential of the Atlantic margin; if he took into account the report made in May 2012, by the Oireachtas Jo...More Button

Broadcasting Service Provision

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some BT customers in Northern Ireland are unable to access RTÉ Player programmes, that there is an issue with dynamic IP addresses being provided fr...More Button

RTE is an independent national public service broadcaster whose remit and obligations are set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009, and, as such, I, as Minister have no role in its day-to-day operation...More Button

That said, I have instructed my Officials to contact RTE in relation to the matter which the Deputy has raised regarding the access of content on RTE Player by BT Customers who are resident in No...More Button

  Question No. 514 answered with Question No. 81.More Button

Broadband Services Provision

Was asked: if he will introduce as a matter of priority a high speed broadband pilot scheme initiative to cover the triangle in the Iveragh Peninsula, County Kerry, that is, Caherciveen to Waterville to Portm...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which his Department has identified specific areas throughout the country, currently experiencing poor quality or total lack of access to any level of broadband; if he will put in pla...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 515 and 516 together. More Button

Ireland's telecommunications market has been fully liberalised since 1999 in accordance with the requirements of binding EU Directives. Under EU State Aid rules, the State can only intervene to ...More Button

With basic broadband services widely available across Ireland, the focus is now on accelerating the roll out of high speed services as outlined in the Government's National Broadband Plan, which ...More Button

In order to progress the State-led investment, a full procurement process must be designed and EU State Aids approval must be obtained. My Department will shortly embark on a formal mapping exer...More Button

In devising any State intervention to deliver high speed services to areas of the country where such services are not commercially viable and will not be provided by the market, my Department wil...More Button

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, we are committed to increasing the availability of next generation speeds significantly, with a view to ensuring that all citizens and b...More Button

Was asked: in relation to stakeholder involvement in the mapping process of the national broadband plan, if he considers the public to be stakeholders, and if so, the way he intends to involve them; and if he...More Button

My Department is making preparations to commence a formal national mapping exercise to identify those areas where State intervention will be required to enable the delivery of high speed broadband ...More Button

There will be many stakeholders in this process and in the implementation of the National Broadband Plan as a whole. While my Department will be relying on the voluntary participation of the ser...More Button

Information about the mapping exercise and updates as the process advances will be published on my Department’s website once the process is launched very shortly. The initial stages of the mappin...More Button

Was asked: if he will clarify the position of those within the national broadband scheme after July 2014, particularly in relation to mobile download limits and satellite fees; and if he will make a statement...More Button

Was asked: if he has received any assurances from the national broadband scheme contractor in relation to the number of existing live base stations, both those within and serving NBS areas, that will be retai...More Button

I propose to take Question Nos. 534 and 535 together.More Button

The State can only intervene to ensure access to broadband services in areas where the competitive market has failed to deliver such services, as in the case of the National Broadband Scheme (NBS...More Button

In accordance with the EU State Aid clearance for the Scheme, the NBS is for a limited duration. The contract is due to terminate in August 2014. Following the expiry of the Scheme, operational...More Button

More generally, considerable progress has been made in recent years in both the coverage and speeds of national broadband infrastructure, with a multiplicity of commercial operators providing ser...More Button

Ireland is now therefore moving to a new phase of public and private sector investment in broadband in Ireland which will see significantly improved speeds delivered across the country.More Button

Since the publication of the Plan, investments by the commercial sector are underway in both fixed line and wireless high speed broadband services, particularly in urban and semi-urban areas. Ther...More Button

The Government is committed in the Plan to investing in areas where high speed services are not commercially viable and will not be provided by the market. In tandem with commercial developments...More Button

In order to progress the State-led investment, a full procurement process must be designed and EU State Aids approval must be obtained. My Department will shortly embark on a formal mapping exer...More Button

Intensive technical, financial and legal preparations including stakeholder engagement will be ongoing throughout 2013 with a view to the launch of a procurement process in 2014.More Button

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, we are committed to increasing the availability of next generation speeds significantly, with a view to ensuring that all citizens and b...More Button

  Question No. 536 answered with Question No. 532.More Button

Mobile Telephony Services Provision

Was asked: if any report has been undertaken to assess the quality of mobile telephone services countrywide; if attention has focused on any particular areas, urban or rural where poor quality mobile telephon...More Button

The provision of telecommunications services in Ireland generally occurs within a competitive liberalised market. The provision of mobile telecommunications networks within that market is also sub...More Button

I am confident that with the continued significant investment being made by the mobile operators, including the imminent roll-out of 4G services, the overall quality of telephone and broadband se...More Button

Postal Services

Was asked: the extent to which he anticipates the retention and development of services at An Post incorporating maximum utilisation of post offices and sub post offices including counter services and next-da...More Button

Operational matters in relation to the post office network are a matter for the management and Board of An Post and one in which I have no statutory function. As shareholder, however, I have a str...More Button

In the context of the public sector transformation agenda, I will continue to engage with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to consideration, as appropriate,...More Button

Under this Act, An Post is statutorily required, as the designated universal service provider, to provide a universal postal service. The essential element of this obligation is the collection a...More Button

My Department maintains regular contact with ComReg in the context of its role as both telecommunications and postal regulator.More Button

Exploration Licences Applications

Was asked: the extent to which oil, gas and other mineral exploration incentives available for on and offshore exploration are competitive in every sense with those available in other jurisdictions; and if he...More Button

Corrib Gas Field

Was asked: if he will outline the ongoing progress towards the provision of gas supplies to the market from the Corrib gas field; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Completion of the Corrib gas field development works by the developer is the principal factor that will determine the date for first gas. Pending such completion, it is not possible to state a dat...More Button

Cyber Security Policy

Was asked: if in the context of the development of modern IT, it has been found possible to introduce technical safeguards to prevent cyberbullying with particular reference to identification of the perpetrat...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, Social Media are online platforms that allow people create, share and exchange information, and to comment amongst themselves in virtual communities and networks. To d...More Button

It is important to acknowledge the economic and social benefits that the widespread use of social media have brought to people, communities and to business. However, some of the issues that have...More Button

As Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, I have policy responsibility for providing a supportive legislative and regulatory environment to facilitate the development of high ...More Button

The sheer volume of material posted on social media daily is such that formal policing is not feasible, an issue complicated by the international and multi-jurisdictional nature of the internet. ...More Button

Motor Fuels Prices

Was asked: the extent to which motor fuel prices at the pumps have been reduced in line with the prices on world markets with particular reference to the fall in such prices in the past six months; if the pri...More Button

Recent trends in international oil prices have indeed been downwards and pump prices in Ireland in the last 6 months indicate that motor fuel pump prices have also been falling. The average price ...More Button

Electricity Generation

Was asked: the extent to which electricity generation is now sourced from alternative non-fossil fuel sources; the extent to which such sources now meet the daily requirements of the national grid; his plans ...More Button

Ireland currently has 1,763 MW of installed wind generation, 238 MW of hydro power and 71 MW of smaller renewable sources (combined heat and power, solar and bio-energy). In 2012 this installed re...More Button

As regards proposed targets for the future, under the Renewable Energy Directive, Ireland is legally required to increase the use of renewable energy from 3.1% in 2005 to 16% in 2020, with minimu...More Button

Under the Renewables Directive, Ireland was required to set out in a National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) the trajectory towards meeting its legally binding target. The NREAP and the Fi...More Button

Wind energy is the largest driver of growth in renewable electricity, contributing most towards the achievement of the 2020 target. However, if we are to reach that target, the build rate of ons...More Button

Wind Energy Generation

Was asked: the extent to which wind generation now supplies power to the national grid; the extent to which this national source is planned to grow in the short to medium term; and if he will make a statement...More Button

In 2012 15.5% of Ireland's electricity demand was met by wind generation. By the end of quarter one 2013 1,763 MW of wind generation capacity was connected to the grid. Under the Renew...More Button

Cloud Computing Issues

Was asked: the extent to which he envisages cloud computing to become of major, commercial impact in the context of economic recovery and job creation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Cloud computing has the potential to revolutionise the IT investment model in Ireland and elsewhere. It allows companies to use the internet to efficiently access vast amounts of computing resourc...More Button

Departmental Staff Numbers

Was asked: the number of technical staff in PAD; the number of technical staff who have left PAD in the past three years; if these staff were replaced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

There are currently two technical staff employed by my Department’s Petroleum Affairs Division (PAD). During the past three years two technical staff have left that Division. The process to fill ...More Button

Departmental Agencies Issues

Was asked: if he will consider establishing a dedicated Oil Promotional Agency in the event of further discoveries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Broadband Services Speeds

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 117 of 23 May 2013 regarding the 30Mbps speed to be available to the last 30% of population, if he will clarify, in line with the objective of clarity on these...More Button

Was asked: regarding the mapping process for the national broadband plan, now underway, the technologies currently available here that he considers capable of delivering broadband to a minimum of 30Mb/s; and ...More Button

I propose to take Question Nos. 532 and 536 together.More Button

The National Broadband Plan commits to speeds of 30Mbps – 70Mbps with target upload speeds in the region of 25% - 30% of these speeds. This will require investment by the State in areas where ...More Button

In order to progress the State-led investment, a full procurement process must be designed. In devising any State intervention my Department will be adopting a technology neutral approach, as re...More Button

My Department will shortly embark on a formal mapping exercise to identify those areas where State intervention will be required to enable the delivery of high speed broadband services over the c...More Button

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, we are committed to increasing the availability of next generation speeds significantly throughout the country. This will ensure that c...More Button

European Council Meetings

Was asked: the discussions that he had with fellow Ministers at the EU Telecoms Council held in Luxembourg on Thursday, 6 June 2013; if he will detail the decisions made at the Council; and if he will make a ...More Button

Given the Irish Presidency’s emphasis on promoting stability, jobs and growth, our focus within the Telecoms’ Council has been to progress initiatives under the Digital Agenda for Europe and to pus...More Button

At its meeting on June, I reported to Council on progress in relation to the various files for which we had responsibility during our Presidency term. I was happy to be able to report two early ...More Button

I also reported on the agreement of a new mandate for the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA). As a result of our leadership on this issue we now have the basis for a more r...More Button

I presented my Council colleagues with progress reports on the files relating to proposals on Trans-European Networks for telecommunications (as part of the Connecting Europe Facility), on reduci...More Button

The Council also held two debates. One was an orientation debate on the recently-published Directive on National Information Security. The purpose of this debate was for the Council to give to b...More Button

The main debate at Council was a policy debate on the proposed Single Telecoms Market (STM). This debate afforded the Council an opportunity to reflect on progress to-date in relation to achievi...More Button

Was asked: the discussions that he had with fellow Ministers at the EU energy Council held in Luxembourg on Friday, 7 June 2013; if he will detail the decisions made at the Council; and if he will make a stat...More Button

At the Energy part of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council, which was held in Luxembourg on Friday, I presided over discussions by EU Energy Ministers on the areas of the inte...More Button

Ministers were presented with a progress report on the Commission Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of pet...More Button

Council Conclusions on the Commission’s Communication, “Making the Internal Energy Market Work”, were adopted by Ministers. During discussions on this point, Ministers took stock of the conclusio...More Button

Concerning the Commission’s Communication on Energy Technologies and Innovation, the Energy Council held an extensive debate on the need for increased focus on innovation policy to address resear...More Button

Ministers were also briefed on international relations in the field of energy. I briefed Ministers on developments in the International Energy Agency, and on the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting,...More Button

Finally, the Council was informed of the energy policy priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency under the heading of ‘Growing Europe’. More Button

In noting a successful conclusion to Ireland’s Presidency in the field of energy at the Energy Council last week, I took the opportunity to wish every success to the incoming Lithuanian Presidenc...More Button

Inland Fisheries Issues

Was asked: the reason for the continued ban on the killing of any sea trout in the Galway, Connemara or Ballinakill area in the Salmon and Sea Trout Regulations 2013 in view of the official IFI reports from f...More Button

Inland Fisheries Ireland Issues

Was asked: if any employee of the IFI has made a request to the CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland seeking approval to report or make statements to the media in accordance with the IFI Code of Business Conduct f...More Button

Inland Fisheries Data

Was asked: the catch statistics for wild salmon and sea trout in the western river basin district area from 2010 to date in 2013 giving a monthly breakdown of these fish caught and released and those un-retur...More Button