Written Answers. - Computer Systems.

Seamus Brennan

Question:

117 Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the plans, if any, he has to increase public awareness of the implications for business of the year 2000 in view of the fact that many computers in everyday use will not be able to make accurate calculations based on the new date line for the year 2000; if his attention has been drawn to Task Force 2000 in Britain which has been in place for 18 months; his views on whether an accelerated programme of information and advice is urgently needed to avoid serious problems due to the inability of many computer systems to handle the transition from the year 1999 to the year 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3938/97]

I agree that there is an urgent need to increase public awareness of the year 2000 because of the effect it will have on computer based systems. Forfás have prepared a report at my request. While there is a high level of awareness among specialist IT people in business, there is a need to make senior managers equally aware of the scale of the problem and the timely actions needed to deal with it. Arrangements have been made for officers from my Department to meet with the Industrial Development Agencies and with industry representative bodies to explore how best to proceed.

I am, indeed, aware of Task Force 2000 in Britain. It is intended to draw on this and other international experience in designing an Irish awareness campaign.