Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies received from the Departments. [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 5, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 6 to 81, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 82 to 89, inclusive, answered orally.

Telecommunications Services.

Pat Breen

Question:

90 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of potential customers throughout the country who have so far been unable to obtain broadband services; if he will issue instructions to the regulator or the service providers to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28045/05]

Damien English

Question:

94 Mr. English asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which the broadband market needs have been met by the various service providers to date; the future potential in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28065/05]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

95 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which broadband delivery has been achieved to date through DSL, fibre, fixed wireless, leased lines, cable or satellite; the extent of such growth under each heading in the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28057/05]

Bernard Allen

Question:

124 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of customers who have so far received broadband services either by wireless or other technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28048/05]

Michael Noonan

Question:

149 Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the areas or regions throughout Ireland which do not have availability of broadband for the business sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28058/05]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

167 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when 100% broadband availability will be achieved throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28061/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

242 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which the broadband market needs have been met by the various service providers to date; the future potential in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28114/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

246 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when 100% broadband availability will be achieved throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28118/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

249 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the areas or regions throughout Ireland which do not have availability of broadband for the business sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28121/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

250 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which broadband delivery has been achieved to date through DSL, fibre, fixed wireless, leased lines, cable or satellite; the extent of such growth under each heading in the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28122/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

258 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of customers who have so far received broadband services by wireless or other technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28131/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

261 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of potential customers throughout the country who have so far been unable to obtain broadband services; if he will issue instructions to the regulator or the service providers to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28134/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90, 94, 95, 124, 149, 167, 242, 246, 249, 250, 258 and 261 together.

The provision of telecommunications, including broadband, is a matter in the first instance for the private sector companies operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the independent Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg.

In March 2004, my predecessor, the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, under section 13 of the Communications Regulation Act 2002, issued policy directions to the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, including one on broadband. This direction required ComReg to use regulatory and enforcement tools, where necessary and subject to relevant requirements under European and national law, to support initiatives to develop broadband and remove regulatory barriers, if any exist, to such initiatives. ComReg was required to have a particular focus on the residential and SME sectors, balanced regional development, and the potential for broadband provision on alternative platforms. The goal set for ComReg was to be at, or better than, the EU 15 average, excluding accession countries, for end-user access to, and usage of, broadband by mid-2005. Going forward, the acceleration of local loop unbundling should stimulate improved broadband offerings.

In 2004, there were over 80 Internet service providers, today there are over 156 companies listed by ComReg, with at least 45 different broadband offerings across a variety of technologies, including DSL, fibre, cable, leased lines and satellite technology. Wireless broadband technology is improving rapidly, and the lowering of equipment prices has made this technology much more attractive of late. The use of fixed wireless local access is increasing, especially in rural areas that cannot obtain ADSL connectivity, and the development of Wi-Max offers considerable potential in the future. In essence, there are broadband technologies that can deliver broadband to any broadband customer in Ireland right now. The rate of uptake is dependent on access by the service providers to suitable infrastructure.

The latest quarterly data report from ComReg on broadband delivery rates indicates that broadband subscriptions have grown by 15% in the last quarter and stand at 175,000. DSL remains the largest platform for broadband access, representing 80% of subscriptions and a growth rate of 44% in the last quarter. Fixed wireless broadband services have exhibited the fastest growth in subscriptions in the broadband market. Cable subscriptions have grown by 25% in the quarter and represent around 8% of total broadband subscriptions.

The Government is addressing the infrastructure deficit by building high-speed open access metropolitan area networks, MANs, in 120 towns and cities nationwide on a phased basis in association with the local and regional authorities. Phase 1 of this programme has delivered fibre optic networks to 27 towns and cities throughout the country, which were built on time and under budget. This programme has been extended to a further 90 towns in various locations nationwide. Design and procurement has already commenced in several regions and construction is due to start early in 2006. It is expected that these MANs will be completed during 2006 and 2007. These metropolitan area networks will allow the private sector to offer world-class broadband services at competitive costs.

In June 2004, the contract for management of the Government and local authority regional metropolitan broadband networks was awarded to E-Net, a company based in Limerick. The term of the contract is 15 years. E-Net operates as a wholesaler of access to the MANs and offers a full suite of products including ducting, sub-ducting, dark fibre, high level managed capacity, co-location facilities and relevant auxiliary services.

My Department also offers funding assistance for smaller towns and rural communities to become self-sufficient in broadband through the county and group broadband scheme. The scheme is technology-neutral, allowing the community to select the most suitable broadband delivery platform for the area, with each application being assessed by the Department's technical advisers. To date, over 150 projects have been approved for funding under this programme.

A joint industry-Government fund of €18 million has been established for the broadband for schools programme, which will provide every school in the country with broadband by the beginning of 2006. This is a crucial strand in the strategy of integrating ICT into teaching and learning and in the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources's wider vision of promoting the use of broadband technologies in local communities around the country. Funding arrangements are also in place for the updating of computer networks and equipment within schools. The construction-installation phase is now under way, and the project is on target for completion within the set timeframe.

Full details of the regional broadband programme can be found on my Department's website,www.dcmnr.gov.ie.

Broadcasting Services.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

91 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his options for the development of the broadcasting service with reference to independent and national broadcasting; the role for each in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28013/05]

My core policy objectives for the development of the broadcasting sector are detailed in my Department's statement of strategy 2003-05. These objectives are: to create an environment that encourages the maintenance of high quality Irish radio and television services by both independent broadcasters and RTE; to secure a viable future for high quality public service broadcasting; and to seek to retain access to a range of high quality programming in analogue and digital form on a universal and free-to-air basis.

My key priorities for achieving these objectives include the following: developing the regulatory framework by bringing forward a Bill to provide for the establishment of a single content regulator for both public and private broadcasters and to establish RTE on the lines of a company under the Companies Acts; taking steps to establish TG4 as an independent entity; ensuring adequate public funding for RTE and TG4 so that they can deliver on their statutory mandate; building on progress made in maximising the effectiveness of television licence fee collection; developing proposals to ensure that in a digital era Irish viewers continue to enjoy access to a range of high quality programming; and bringing forward proposals for the future licensing of radio services in Ireland.

I am of the opinion that Irish viewers will be best served by a broadcasting environment that includes a strong public service broadcasting presence in the form of RTE and an independent TG4, together with private broadcasters. Digital television offers opportunities for Irish viewers to avail of an increased number of broadcasting services, including new services of particular relevance or interest to Irish audiences.

Mobile Telephony.

Phil Hogan

Question:

92 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he is satisfied that he has taken all the necessary steps to ensure cost effective and efficient mobile telephone services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28064/05]

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

98 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he is satisfied that the quality of the mobile telephone services here are on par with the quality elsewhere throughout Europe; his plans for improvement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28071/05]

Paul McGrath

Question:

107 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if Ireland is still at the top of the European league regarding costs in respect of mobile telephone services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28031/05]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

115 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which competition has contributed to date to mobile telephone costs to subscribers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28072/05]

Paul Kehoe

Question:

129 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if service providers here are keeping pace with mobile telephone service providers throughout Europe in respect of both quality of service and cost to the consumer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28070/05]

Paul McGrath

Question:

144 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which mobile telephone costs have been reduced; the consequent benefit to the consumer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28069/05]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

155 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which market share in respect of mobile telephone service providers has altered to the benefit of the consumer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28066/05]

Pat Breen

Question:

161 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Ireland’s position in the European league in terms of the cost of mobile telephone usage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28073/05]

Seán Ryan

Question:

168 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if measures will be brought forward to regulate mobile phone termination costs; his views on current mobile pricing rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27877/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

234 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Ireland’s position in the European league in terms of the cost of mobile telephone usage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28106/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

235 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which competition has contributed to date to mobile telephone costs to subscribers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28107/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

236 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he is satisfied that the quality of the mobile telephone services here are on par with the quality elsewhere throughout Europe; his plans for improvement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28108/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

237 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if service providers here are keeping pace with mobile telephone service providers throughout Europe in respect of both quality of service and cost to the consumer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28109/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

238 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which mobile telephone costs have been reduced; the consequent benefit to the consumer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28110/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

241 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which market share in respect of mobile telephone service providers has altered to the benefit of the consumer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28113/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

243 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he is satisfied that he has taken all the necessary steps to ensure cost effective and efficient mobile telephone services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28115/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

267 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if Ireland is still at the top of the European league regarding costs in respect of mobile telephone services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28140/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92, 98, 107, 115, 129, 144, 155, 161, 168, 234 to 238, inclusive, 241, 243 and 267 together.

I have no function in the regulating of pricing for phone services, mobile phone termination costs, cost effectiveness and efficiency of mobile telephone services, market share, quality of service or competition in the mobile market. The regulation of telecommunications operators, including regulating of pricing for phone services, mobile phone termination costs, quality of service and competition in the mobile market is the responsibility of the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, in accordance with the requirements of the Communications Regulation Act 2002 and regulations made under the EU Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications. The provision of telecommunications services is a matter in the first instance for the private sector companies operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the independent Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg.

As Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, I have responsibility for overall telecoms policy. My main goal in this policy is to create conditions for sustainable growth and competition that will benefit the economic and social development of Ireland and facilitate competitive services. It is my belief that improving the market conditions to enhance competition is the best way to drive down mobile phone charges to the end user. The more competitive telecoms services that are on offer, the better in the long run for consumers, the sector and the economy.

In March 2004 my predecessor issued policy directions to ComReg, including a direction on competition. The direction on competition mandates ComReg to focus on competition as a key objective, with a particular focus on competition in the fixed and mobile markets and to implement, where necessary, remedies which counteract or remove barriers to entry and support entry by new players to the market and entry into new sectors by existing players. ComReg has, as one of its key objectives, under the Communications Regulation Act 2002, the promotion of competition in the exercise of its functions. Competition in the fixed and mobile markets will drive down prices for consumers.

I have no information to say that Irish mobile charges are generally the highest in Europe. However, ComReg's quarterly key data for the Irish communications market for the second quarter of 2005 indicates that the Irish mobile operators' average revenue per user is the second highest in Europe; Switzerland has the highest.

The high penetration rate of 94% for mobile phones, representing 3.83 million subscribers, and the recent rollout of 3G services in addition to the existing mobile phones demonstrates that there is a wide range of choice for Irish businesses and citizens.

Post Office Network.

Phil Hogan

Question:

93 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on whether it is not intended to close any post offices or sub-post offices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28078/05]

As clearly set out in the programme for Government, this Government and the board of An Post are committed to the objective of securing a viable and sustainable nationwide post office network. Notwithstanding the commercial remit of An Post, there is clear Government recognition of the social benefits of maintaining the nationwide post office network. Accordingly, An Post development strategies for the network continue to take full account of these social benefits.

The An Post network comprises the single largest number of retail outlets in the country. In the European context, Ireland still has the highest number of post offices per head of population. In recent years some network restructuring has been undertaken. This activity is in line with similar trends across Europe.

Specifically, in relation to the closure of post offices or sub-post offices, it is only when a suitable candidate for a vacancy cannot be found or where there are no applicants, that a post office is closed. It is the Government's objective to maintain the largest, economically sustainable post office network possible. The challenge for all stakeholders in An Post is to generate sufficient profitable business to maintain the network at its current size.

While the Government will support the network in any way it can and has demonstrated its commitment in a tangible fashion, with a €12.7 million capital injection in 2003, the way forward is for An Post to enhance existing services and, building on existing strengths, to develop new product offerings. The network has a high footfall and to capitalise on these advantages it is essential that existing and new services are developed to meet customer requirements. The network also has the capacity and potential to deliver more private business especially in financial services and opportunities are actively being pursued by An Post in this area.

On foot of substantial investment in computerisation, a significant amount of extra business has already been obtained for the network in terms of banking and utility business. At present 95% of An Post's business is conducted through automated offices. Also under way is a new pilot scheme to automate a total of ten smaller post offices. This will allow the company to determine to what extent, if any, further investment in automation might be justified. The results of this project will be evaluated at the end of the trial period.

I have also asked the company to ensure that any strategy for the development of the company should ensure the long-term viability of the post office network and in this light An Post is currently working on a new initiative which could see the development and expansion of the range of financial services that it can deliver through its network of post offices. If successful, it could lead to a significant increase in post office business and contribute to the viability of the network.

Questions Nos. 94 and 95 answered with Question No. 90.

Offshore Exploration.

Gerard Murphy

Question:

96 Mr. G. Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number and location of oil, gas or other mineral discoveries identified on or offshore in the past ten years; the commercial value or nature of such finds; the intentions for their future development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28008/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

285 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number and location of oil, gas or other mineral discoveries identified on or offshore in the past ten years; the commercial value or nature of such finds, the intentions for their future development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28162/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 285 together.

Since 1996 there have been offshore petroleum discoveries or "shows" at four locations: the Corrib discovery in 1996 in the Slyne-Erris Basin west of Ireland; the Seven Heads Field, originally discovered in 1984 but declared commercial in May 2002; the Connemara discovery in 1997 in the North Porcupine Basin west of Ireland; and the Dooish discovery in 2002 in the Erris Basin. Of these only the Corrib and Seven Heads were declared commercial five years ago. Since then the Seven Heads Field has experienced serious production difficulties and is producing at a fraction of the level originally planned. Given these difficulties any estimate on its commercial value is meaningless. The value of the Corrib Gas Field is tentatively put at €3.67 billion. While this is lower than the current price I point out the difficulty of predicting prices for 15 to 20 years into the future. The Connemara and Dooish discoveries have not been declared commercial.

On the development aspect of discoveries, Seven Heads is already in production albeit at a very reduced level. The development of the Corrib continues and the Deputy will be aware of the difficulties there. I point out that the Corrib gas was discovered in 1996 and will not start production until 2007 or even 2008 at the earliest — 11 or 12 years later.

No new economic deposits of non-petroleum minerals have been discovered in the past ten years. There have been some encouraging results, however. Exploration adjacent to existing base metal mines at Navan, County Meath — New Boliden Tara Mines Limited — and Galmoy, County Kilkenny — Arcon Mines Limited — has discovered additional resources which have the potential to extend the life of those mines. I have recently granted new State mining licences to Arcon for extraction of part of these additional resources and my officials are currently in discussions with New Boliden Tara Mines Limited on the terms for new facilities to extend the underground workings to the south-west and north of the existing operation. Details of all current leases and licences for extraction of minerals, including royalty terms, are included in the six monthly report laid before the Oireachtas under the Minerals Development Acts 1940 to 1999. The value of these deposits to the companies concerned is a matter of commercial confidentiality. However, I expect that substantial royalties will be paid to the State on foot of these discoveries.

A good zinc prospect area near Pallas Green, County Limerick also has the potential to host an economic deposit. Exploration is continuing but it is too early to say whether it will prove an economic deposit.

The acid test of commerciality with any new discovery is that having made a find, the explorationist is then prepared to invest in planning for mining and therefore makes the necessary applications for permits to me, the relevant local authority and the EPA, and can raise the substantial funds required to bring a mine into production.

Energy Market.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

97 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the all-island energy market programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27886/05]

As the Deputy is aware, in November 2004 the all-island energy market development framework was published jointly by Mr. Barry Gardiner, MP, the then Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and myself. The framework document, which was produced in collaboration with the two energy regulators and involved widespread consultation with industry and other energy stakeholders, sets the policy context for the creation of an all-island energy market. It includes a high level development programme, setting out goals and timeframes over a range of policy areas.

As the Deputy is probably aware, the key priority within the framework is to have an all-island wholesale electricity market in place by 1 July 2007. The two regulators are making good progress and have agreed the high-level principles that will govern the operation of the single market. I understand they are aiming to agree the detailed rules for the market by February 2006. This process involves close consultation with stakeholders.

A key task for both Governments is to ensure that an appropriate legislative framework is in place to underpin the single electricity market. While full implementation of the market by July 2007 presents a very challenging timeframe in which the necessary parallel legislation must be enacted, my officials have been working closely with their northern counterparts and the two regulators' offices to ensure that this target is met.

While the main priority is the creation of the single electricity market, the framework document also outlines policy for all-island collaboration in a number of other areas, including gas and sustainable energy. My officials have had discussions with their northern colleagues on the gas agenda and, together with the regulators' offices, have commenced the task of developing a project-driven work programme for the delivery of the objectives outlined in the framework.

With regard to sustainable energy, in July my northern counterpart, Angela Smith, MP, and I published a preliminary consultation paper on an all-island vision for renewable energy to the year 2020 and beyond. The consultation period recently ended and the response has been very encouraging. The aim is to develop a long-term strategy for renewable energy on the island as a whole.

A number of infrastructural projects are also in progress. Bord Gáis Éireann is set to complete the construction of the North-South gas pipeline from Gormanstown to Belfast in 2006. In addition, a second North-South electricity interconnector is expected to be operational by 2012.

Question No. 98 answered with QuestionNo. 92.

Television Reception.

Liz McManus

Question:

99 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for digital television rollout; the proposed timeframe for such rollout and the corresponding analogue switch-off date; his estimates of the number of Irish citizens who are not currently digital subscribers and will be affected by this changeover; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27883/05]

John Gormley

Question:

132 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the timetable and plan for the switchover to a national digital broadcasting platform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27839/05]

David Stanton

Question:

173 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, further to Question No. 579 of 28 September 2005, the length of time the digital terrestrial television pilot programme will take to complete; the projected cost of the pilot programme; when he will be in a position to introduce digital television to every house; the benefits of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28036/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99, 132 and 173 together.

Digital television is already available in Ireland. Both cable-MMDS operators and satellite operators provide subscription digital television services to an estimated 40% of Irish television households. It is estimated that 28% of households receive analogue cable-MMDS services, and 32% of households avail of analogue terrestrial services as their sole means of receiving television broadcasts. It is also estimated that up to 90% of households receive analogue terrestrial transmissions on at least one television.

Analogue terrestrial television services are provided on a free-to-air basis. Over time it is expected that analogue terrestrial services will migrate to digital terrestrial services in most countries. This migration is already happening on a significant scale in a number of European countries.

I am committed to the long-term provision of a free-to-air digital terrestrial television, DTT, platform in Ireland. DTT can provide much more to the free-to-air viewer in terms of additional channels, improved quality of service, innovative new services, including data and interactivity, and increased availability of public and government information. I have proposed that a digital terrestrial television pilot programme be developed in Ireland. The purpose of the pilot is to bring further momentum to the transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting and to test and trial various aspects of the service. I have asked my Department to implement the pilot and procurement processes are under way.

There are a number of stages to the pilot programme. Current procurement processes focus on the multiplex and transmission aspects of the pilot programme, essentially the construction of the necessary digital terrestrial television infrastructure. I expect that agreements will be in place on foot of procurement by the end of the year and that the infrastructure will be rolled out in early 2006. The initial transmission sites are at Clermont Carn in the north-east and Three Rock covering parts of the Dublin region. Once the pilot infrastructure is in place, broadcasts of various programme and data services can commence. It is expected that the pilot programme will continue for up to two years. As the pilot programme is subject to procurement, the actual costs of rolling out and operating it will become clear through competitive procurement processes.

I expect that the pilot programme will generate awareness and discussion among broadcasters, investors and other interested parties to move towards a full national rollout of DTT in time. I will be engaging with interested parties in this regard as the pilot programme commences and I will look to the Irish broadcasting sector to play an active role in the development of proposals for national DTT rollout.

A legislative framework for a national rollout of DTT is set out in the Broadcasting Act 2001. I will amend the existing statutory provisions, if necessary, to facilitate the introduction of DTT in Ireland.

As the pilot programme is developed and proposals for a national DTT rollout emerge, I will outline my intentions regarding possible dates for a switch-off of analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasts. Free-to-air analogue terrestrial transmissions will continue for a period after the national rollout of digital terrestrial television has begun. At a certain point analogue transmissions will be turned off and the full switchover will then be complete. While the pilot programme is under way, I intend to hold comprehensive discussions with all relevant stakeholders around the timing of analogue switch-off. Switch-off of analogue television services is being strongly advocated by the European Commission, with 2012 a target date suggested by the Commission. When decisions have been taken about the nature and timing of analogue switch-off, it will be necessary to ensure that Irish viewers are fully informed of all the issues arising, such as issues around reception equipment replacement. All stakeholders will have a role in informing viewers of the likely changes.

Postal Services.

Joe Sherlock

Question:

100 Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the prospects of market deregulation in the postal sector; his proposals in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27879/05]

With globalisation, liberalisation and developments in technology which are changing the way people communicate, all national postal operators, including An Post, have to change very rapidly to stay competitive and commercial in the European postal market. This reflects the change in the market from one dominated by letters to one dominated by parcels and direct mail. Both of these areas are much more open and attractive to competition, especially international competition, than the traditional letters business. Competition in the sector is growing and at present there are 26 firms operating in Ireland with a postal service authorisation from ComReg.

Ireland has fully implemented European Directives 97/67/EC and 2002/39/EC, which set out the requirements for member states on the provision of high quality postal services and liberalisation within their postal networks. Under the directives, each member state is obliged to provide a universal service whereby a minimum level of service must be provided. Both of these directives have been transposed into Irish law in Statutory Instrument 616 of 2002 European Communities (Postal Services) Regulations. The statutory instrument also provides for further liberalisation of the postal market. Since the transposition of the directives, the weight limit applying to postal items falling within the reserved area and therefore not open to competition has been reduced to 100 g from 2003 with a price limit of three times the basic tariff for domestic and inbound international. The reserved area will be further reduced to mail weighing 50 g or less and two and a half times the basic tariff from 2006 for domestic and inbound international. Outbound international mail was fully liberalised on the 1 January 2004.

The second directive also stipulates that the postal sector is to liberalise across the EU in full on 1 January 2009 subject to political agreement. I understand that the next steps for the Commission include a study to be completed on the impact on the universal service of the full accomplishment of a liberalised postal market. Based on the outcome of this study, the Commission will present a report to the European Parliament and Council by 31 December 2006 accompanied by a proposal confirming, if appropriate, the date of 2009 for the full liberalisation of the postal market or to determine alternative steps in light of the study's conclusions.

Furthermore, under the statutory instrument, the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, has been designated as the national regulatory authority for the postal sector. Ireland has adopted a light regulatory approach to liberalisation so as to encourage and maximise the number of postal operators that might wish to enter the market.

The postal sector in Ireland needs competition especially in light of the many internationally traded sectors operating in the country but it also needs An Post to be competitive. I believe that liberalisation and the expected increase in competition will ultimately be good for both An Post and consumers and that the company can continue to be a significant and strong player in the market post-liberalisation.

Energy Resources.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

101 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if, in the view of concerns expressed recently by the British Minister for Energy regarding potential power cuts this winter due to gas shortages and problems with the British wholesale gas market, there are similar expectations for the market here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27865/05]

I have been apprised of the comments made by the UK Minister for Energy in respect of the outlook for UK gas supplies this winter. Bilateral contact between my Department and the Department of Industry in the UK has clarified that the Minister recently sounded a note of caution for UK businesses that do not book firm gas supplies and capacities in advance. Such businesses may face interruption of supplies in the event of colder than average weather conditions. The choice between booking firm or interruptible gas supplies is a commercial decision for individual businesses.

The UK National Grid's winter outlook report was published last week. It concluded that below average winter weather conditions, gas supplies and power generation capacities are sufficient to meet all demand for gas and electricity. If winter weather conditions are extremely cold, then there is a programme in place in the UK to reduce gas demand without leading to power cuts.

In Ireland, the Commission for Energy Regulation has responsibility for monitoring on an ongoing basis the security of natural gas supply. The commission publishes an annual gas capacity statement. This provides a forecast of capacity, flows and customer demand to assess the adequacy of the Irish gas transmission system. The gas capacity statement also considers whether projected supplies of gas, from indigenous sources, imports and storage, are sufficient to meet forecast demand. A key finding of the 2005 gas capacity statement is that even under unusually cold weather conditions, the Irish gas transmission system should cope with forecast demand.

Telecommunications Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

102 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if measures will be brought forward for enabling the rollout of VoIP technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27875/05]

VoIP is the technical term for the transmission of voice over telecommunications networks using the Internet protocol standard. The increased use of Internet protocol technology is changing the way telecommunications networks are designed and operated. It is expected that the early adoption of this technology will lead to the more cost effective delivery of telecommunications in the future.

A number of telecommunications operators providing service in the Irish marketplace have already deployed this technology in their telecommunications networks. In addition to this, a number of the group broadband schemes, which my Department is grant aiding, have indicated that they will be deploying this technology for the benefit of users connected to their networks.

My Department is considering announcing a call in the near future to assist operators in the trial and adoption of VoIP technology. It is hoped that this will help to accelerate the take up of this technology and the delivery of cost effective telecommunications services to the public.

Digital Hub.

Damien English

Question:

103 Mr. English asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for the future of the Digital Hub; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28060/05]

Dan Neville

Question:

139 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on the development of the Digital Hub in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28059/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

247 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for the future of the Digital Hub; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28119/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

248 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on the development of Digital Hub in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28120/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103, 139, 247 and 248 together.

The Digital Hub project, managed by the independent Digital Hub Development Agency, has been and will continue to be successful in developing a digital industry cluster, as well as in regenerating an historic community area in the heart of Dublin by operating a number of significant community and educational initiatives as part of its role in the Digital Hub district.

On 5 October, the agency announced a competition to develop over five acres of land in the Digital Hub. This land will be developed as a mixture of residential, commercial and retail properties, in addition to public spaces. The private developers will compete on the basis of bids of cash plus office space. The office space will be handed back to the Digital Hub Development Agency and will be used to accommodate an increased number of digital enterprises in the area. These tenders must be submitted by 18 November for evaluation.

In relation to industry development, the agency has been successful to date in growing the cluster with about 50 companies now employing approximately 400 employees in the hub. These enterprises are involved in a range of activities including games software development, mobile technology, animation and TV production.

In relation to the social and community development remit of the hub, the agency has operated the Liberties learning initiative, which uses technology to tackle social and educational disadvantage in the area. Supported by funding from Diageo Ireland, the programme delivers a range of learning and showcasing projects focused on the creative use of digital media and reflects the national priorities of building a knowledge-based society and addressing the digital divide.

In addition, the schools programme of the Liberties learning initiative has developed a range of programmes in 16 local primary and second level schools aimed at addressing the digital divide. These include providing information and communication technology, ICT, equipment and technical support to local schools, providing professional training to teachers so they are fully informed about the education benefits of ICT, and advising and informing the schools of employment opportunities in the digital sector. The schools programme aims to equip local children with the skills needed to live in a digital age, and to work in the digital media industry, which will be located on their doorstep.

In relation to digital research and development, I intend to establish a national digital media research and innovation centre, the National Digital Research Centre, NDRC, in the hub, subject to a satisfactory proposal being put to me. The Higher Education Authority, on my behalf, has invited proposals for the establishment and management of the proposed centre. The proposed centre will complement existing Government initiatives focused on digital media and technology enterprises and assist in the development of the Digital Hub district.

Ferry Services.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

104 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on the European Commission’s proposal for an EC directive on manning conditions for regular passenger and ferry services operating between member states — Com(1998)251 final of 29 April 1998 and amended proposal Com(2000)437 final of 13 July 2000, and its position on Article 2.2 of the proposal. [27861/05]

There is no EU directive on the manning of regular passenger and ferry services operating in and between member states, in force or being considered at present by member states. If the Commission were to initiate such a proposal, I would, of course, give it very careful consideration.

In 1998, there was an EU Commission proposal: Commission communication on a common policy on manning of regular passenger and ferry services operating in and between member states, COM/98/0251.

A key provision of the Commission's draft directive was its Article 2.2 which states "If the vessel used is not registered in a Member State, the terms and conditions referred to shall be those applicable to the residents of one of the Member States between whose ports the service is provided and with which the service has the closest connection. The closest connection shall be determined on the basis of the place from which the service is effectively managed." The European Parliament approved the proposal in March 1999. The Commission issued a revised proposal in 2000, COM/2000/0437. However, no final agreement was reached in the Council of Ministers on the matter and the Commission formally withdrew the proposal in August 2004.

Energy Resources.

Joan Burton

Question:

105 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on fiscal incentives to promote renewable and alternative energy sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27888/05]

My Department operates a number of fiscal incentive programmes aimed at promoting the integration of renewable technologies. To date in Ireland, 675 MW of renewable capacity has been connected with a further 175 MW under active construction. Further development will also take place from the last two rounds of competitive tendering, the AER V and AER VI competitions.

Last month, I announced a new support programme to further increase the contribution to electricity production from renewable energy sources. This new programme will move away from the competitive tendering model to a fixed price scheme. This means that any applicant, whether an individual or company, may submit an application at a fixed price based on technology and, in the case of wind, the capacity of the project.

In the area of alternative fuels, the biofuels mineral oil tax relief scheme was launched in April this year and has resulted in eight biofuels projects being awarded excise relief for a period of two years. Excise relief of €6 million will be allowed for these projects, over a two-year period to 2007. It is anticipated that this will result in 16 million litres of biofuels replacing imports on the Irish transport market during that period. The scheme is an initial measure designed to stimulate market development.

In addition to these initiatives, Sustainable Energy Ireland administers a series of programmes aimed at supporting the integration of renewable technologies and sustainable energy practices across all sectors of the economy. Its programmes include: the house of tomorrow programme which supports sustainable energy practices in Irish housing, by providing grant aid to developers of groups of housing; the public sector buildings programme which supports the development of energy efficient public sector buildings; the renewable energy research development and demonstration programme which aims to stimulate deployment of renewables close to market and address the need for information and education; the large industry energy network which promotes sustainable energy best practice in industry; and the low income housing programme which aims to upgrade low income households with energy efficiency features. SEI has a budget of €16.1 million in 2005 for the administration of these and a range of other sustainable energy programmes.

I am fully committed to the development of our renewable resources and I believe that the combination of these programmes is serving to ensure the increased deployment of renewable and alternative energy within Ireland's electricity, heat and transport markets.

Port Development.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

106 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if ministerial approval has been granted or refused in respect of the request in May 2005 by the Dublin Port Company for the approval of the arrangement it entered into without going through the normal tendering process with the Anna Livia consortium to facilitate its bid for the national conference centre contract together with further and complementary commercial development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27756/05]

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

187 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the current position regarding the process applicable to the proposal by the Dublin Port Company to make available to the Anna Livia consortium a site in order to facilitate the development of the National Conference Centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27757/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 187 together.

As the Deputy will no doubt recall, I outlined in detail the background to this matter during an Adjournment debate in this House on 28 June 2005. I can inform the Deputy that some advice was received from the Attorney General on 29 July 2005 in this regard and further advice is awaited.

A reply to the Dublin Port Company letter of 18 May 2005 requesting ministerial approval in this matter will issue when all the necessary advice is to hand and fully considered.

Question No. 107 answered with QuestionNo. 92.

Telecommunications Services.

Liam Twomey

Question:

108 Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has issued directives in respect of the completion of local loop unbundling with particular reference to the need to achieve the highest possible availability of broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28046/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

260 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has issued directives in respect of the completion of local loop unbundling with particular reference to the need to achieve the highest possible availability of broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28133/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 108 and 260 together.

Local loop unbundling, LLU, is mandated by a European Council Regulation and responsibility for its implementation is a matter for the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, under the Communications Regulation Act 2002 and the transposed EU Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications Networks and Services.

ComReg is independent in the execution of its functions in accordance with the provisions of the 2002 Act. As Minister with policy responsibility for the electronic communications sector, I can issue strategic policy directions to ComReg, as I may consider appropriate, in the interest of proper and effective regulation of that market.

As recently as March 2004, policy directions were issued by my predecessor, the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, including one on broadband. This direction required ComReg to use regulatory and enforcement tools, where necessary and subject to relevant requirements under European and national law, to support initiatives to develop broadband and remove regulatory barriers, if any exist, to such initiatives.

The Deputy may be aware that LLU was the subject of a court case earlier this year. ComReg directions to Eircom in relation to LLU were found to have denied Eircom's right to appeal to the Electronic Communications Appeals Panel. ComReg's directions were subsequently withdrawn and ComReg is working with Eircom and the industry on the issue.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

109 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to encourage the development of alternative fuels and the extent to which he expects this to meet compliance with Kyoto principles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28055/05]

Gay Mitchell

Question:

110 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent and cost of his proposed tax relief for alternative fuel production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28053/05]

Bernard Allen

Question:

147 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his projections in respect of the maximum achievable target in terms of biofuel production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28007/05]

Dan Neville

Question:

163 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to offer research and development funding toward the development of alternative or renewable fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28021/05]

Denis Naughten

Question:

179 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent of his recently announced proposals regarding alternative fuels to meet industrial and domestic requirements in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28022/05]

Enda Kenny

Question:

185 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to expand alternative fuel production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28063/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

244 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to expand alternative fuel production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28116/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

252 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to encourage the development of alternative fuels and the extent to which he expects this to meet compliance with Kyoto principles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28124/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

253 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent and cost of his proposed tax relief for alternative fuel production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28126/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

277 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to offer research and development funding toward the development of alternative or renewable fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28150/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

278 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the degree to which alternative or renewable fuels will replace current fuel imports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28151/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

286 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his projections in respect of the maximum achievable target in terms of biofuel production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28163/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109, 110, 147, 163, 179, 185, 244, 252, 253, 277, 278 and 286 together.

My Department is responsible for the promotion and development of renewable energy including biofuels and I am committed to the development and promotion of a biofuels sector in Ireland's transport fuel market, which will contribute to emissions reductions and overall security of supply.

In 2004, my Department secured an amendment to the Finance Act 1999, which provides for the introduction of a scheme for mineral oil tax relief for biofuels. A scheme under the Act was agreed between my Department and the Department of Finance and was launched in April 2005. A total of 34 applications were received under the call for proposals by the closing date. The proposals were evaluated by my Department and Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI, and recommendations were made to the Minister for Finance, and eight projects were awarded excise relief under the scheme. Of the eight projects, four were pure plant oil, three were biodiesel or other biofuel, and one was bioethanol. Excise relief of €6 million will be allowed for these projects, over a two-year period to 2007. It is anticipated that this will result in 16 million litres of biofuels replacing imports on the Irish transport market during that period. The scheme is an initial measure designed to stimulate market development.

Under SEI's renewable energy research, development and demonstration, programme capital grant aid is also available for biofuels market demonstration projects in the pure plant oil, biodiesel and bioethanol categories. Funding of almost €250,000 has already been awarded to support engine modifications of up to 100 vehicles and provide plant and monitoring equipment.

In addition, SEI has provided grant aid of €40,000 to Teagasc, for a study to establish oil quality testing procedures for pure plant oil. This study will be critical to building market confidence. SEI also provided funding for the publication of a resource study on recovered vegetable oil and animal fats and study on quality assurance for rapeseed oil as a vehicle fuel.

An interdepartmental biofuels group was established in 2004 to consider policy options for the development of the biofuels market and to consider these options from the perspectives of the sectors or interest represented by each Department. It comprises representatives from my Department, the Departments of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Finance, Transport and Agriculture and Food and SEI. As part of its work, the group commissioned a Liquid Biofuels Strategy Study for Ireland, which was published by SEI in December 2004. The report examines the full range of options and potential supports for liquid biofuels development in Ireland, including bioethanol and biodiesel. The targets achievable for biofuel production and distribution in Ireland depend on a variety of factors including availability and end-use of agricultural land and the levels of indigenously sourced or imported feedstock or biofuels.

The national climate change strategy sets out the strategies and targets for meeting Ireland's Kyoto commitments. Implementation of transport initiatives in the national climate change strategy is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Transport. My colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, has lead responsibility for Government policy on meeting Ireland's target under the Kyoto Protocol. I understand that work on a review of the national climate change strategy, taking account of developments since its publication at the end of 2000, is currently in progress in his Department.

The number of applications in the pilot scheme clearly indicates the strong interest there is in developing a biofuels industry in Ireland. I have had contact with the Minister for Finance about the possible scope for scaling up fiscal support for biofuels. Further measures to increase market penetration over a longer timeframe are also being considered in consultation with all the relevant Departments.

Harbours and Piers.

David Stanton

Question:

111 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when he will make necessary funding available for the development of the harbour, in particular remedial works, in Ballycotton, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28035/05]

The harbour at Ballycotton is owned by Cork County Council and responsibility for its maintenance and development is a matter for the local authority in the first instance. In 2001 the council submitted a report prepared by consulting engineers on the estimated cost of the Ballycotton Harbour development plan. The proposed development was estimated to cost a total of €6 million.

Cork County Council applied for funding in 2002 under the marine tourism grant scheme of the national development plan for a development including a marina at Ballycotton, County Cork. However, as the applicants had not obtained the necessary statutory permissions, their application could not be considered further. The applicants were informed of this and that they could apply for funding under a future call. No funding was available for the grant scheme in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The findings of the mid-term review of the regional operational programmes recommended the reallocation of funds to other priorities.

The Ballycotton Harbour Development Association recently submitted a summary of an updated proposed development for Ballycotton Harbour to the Department. The proposed development consists of ten phases over a year and a half and is estimated to cost a total of €3.07 million.

The allocation for the fishery harbours development programme is €20.55 million for 2005. There was no Exchequer funding available for Ballycotton in 2005. The fishery harbour programme involves co-funding by the local authorities and the updated proposal for development at Ballycotton would have to be submitted by the local authority. In this case Cork County Council would be required to submit its updated proposal to the Department and be prepared to contribute 25% funding to the project.

Departmental Agencies.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

112 Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the status of NORA; the timeframe for the establishment of the agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27889/05]

Prior to 1995 the oil companies in Ireland were obliged to meet a substantial portion of Ireland's oil stockholding obligations. This system proved unsatisfactory however, and under the European Communities (Minimum Stocks of Petroleum Oils) Regulations 1995, responsibility for the maintenance of strategic oil stockholding was removed from the industry and vested in a new State body, the National Oil Reserves Agency, NORA, which, for pragmatic reasons, was set up as a subsidiary of the Irish National Petroleum Corporation, INPC. NORA acts as the agent of the Minister with the function to arrange for the holding of strategic oil stocks at a level determined annually. Such stocks may be held directly by the agency itself or on its behalf by third parties at home and-or abroad.

Following a thoroughgoing review of the functions of NORA by my Department, it was determined that NORA should be established on a statutory basis as a stand-alone State body under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. On 21 July 2004, the Government approved the drafting of the National Oil Reserves Agency Bill. Following work by my Department and its legal advisers, and liaison with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel has recently furnished a draft text of the Bill to my Department. It is anticipated that the Bill will be settled and published by the end of the year.

Telecommunications Services.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

113 Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if a directive to ComReg on the operation of the ECAP will be issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27870/05]

SI No. 307 of 2003, the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Framework) Regulations 2003, provides for the establishment and operation of independent appeal panels to hear and determine appeals of decisions made by the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg.

As ComReg is therefore a party to the appeals process and the appeals panel is independent in its functions, there is no question of me issuing a directive to ComReg. I may give instructions to ComReg to meet the costs incurred by the appeals panel, in accordance with the framework regulations, however, this does not form part of the overall deliberations.

Postal Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

114 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding developments in An Post; if he has issued directions to the management with a view to ensuring continuity of service and finalisation of a development plan for the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28034/05]

The development and continued viability of An Post and the post office network, is in the first instance, a matter for the board and management of An Post. I believe that there will continue to be a key national role for An Post, both in delivery of mails and as a quality service provider through its nationwide network of post office outlets. The market for traditional postal and post office services is changing globally and meeting customer needs has become more important than ever. In order to remain competitive, An Post needs to make the best possible use of its long established and trusted brand name and deploy its resources in a manner which continues to serve existing customers' needs and attracts additional customers for a range of new services.

There is agreement that change is required if the postal services of An Post are to adapt to the modern business environment and to continue to offer a top class nationwide delivery service to the customer into the future. With this in mind, the board and management of An Post have presented a recovery plan, incorporating details of proposed new collection and delivery arrangements, which I believe is vital to the re-establishment of the company on a more secure financial footing. The plan has assumed significant changes in work practices, tariff increases and the payment of wage increases. It sets out the way forward for the company. Adoption of restructuring that delivers real change is the only way that An Post workers can look forward to receiving pay increases in line with other sectors. To this end, I have continuously emphasised the need for all stakeholders in the company to work together in a partnership approach and to utilise the industrial relations mechanisms of the State, where necessary, in order to agree and implement the recovery strategy to return the company to financial stability and prepare for the challenges ahead.

In order to progress the change agenda, an exhaustive process of negotiation between An Post management and An Post trades unions, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission and then the Labour Court, was entered into. This process was recently concluded with the court's recommendation that the company accept the proposals as set out by a three-person expert group on the proposed new collection and delivery arrangements. The court also recommended that acceptance of the productivity agreement was contingent on the balance of increases being paid out under the Sustaining Progress agreement. It is my understanding, however, that, on 5 September 2005, the Labour Court's recommendations were rejected by the main union in An Post, the Communications Workers Union. A three-week cooling off period has followed in which every effort was made by the parties to resolve the issues. I understand that, following a special delegate conference, the union has now decided to ballot its membership for industrial action up to and including strike action. The ballot will be concluded by Friday, 21 October.

With regard to the future of the post office network, the Government and the board of An Post are committed to the objective of securing a viable and sustainable nationwide post office network as set out in the programme for Government. Notwithstanding the commercial remit of An Post, there is clear Government recognition of the social benefits of maintaining the nationwide post office network. Accordingly, An Post development strategies for the network continue to take full account of these social benefits.

As a commercial company, the challenge ahead for An Post is to develop a strategy that satisfies the needs of existing customers, while attracting new customers into the post office. An Post has already had some success in winning new business and continues to benefit from a considerable amount of Government business, especially in the areas of social welfare payments and savings products. In addition, a pilot project is under way which involves the automation of ten small post offices.

In light of the need to ensure the long-term viability of the network, An Post is working on a new initiative which would see the development of An Post financial services. Its aim is to supply a wide range of retail financial services through the branch network. If successful, it could lead to a significant increase in post office business.

Question No. 115 answered with QuestionNo. 92.

Telecommunications Services.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

116 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on the cost of the .ie domain; the current poor take-up rate of the .ie domain; and his plans to reform the regulation of the .ie domain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27874/05]

The management of the .ie domain name is carried out by IE Domain Name Registry Limited. It is responsible for the setting of the fees and for the day-to-day management of all aspects of the administration of the registry. The registry recently announced that it has over 50,000 customers.

In relation to the regulation of the .ie domain name, I propose to bring proposals to the Houses of the Oireachtas in the forthcoming electronic communications (miscellaneous provisions) Bill.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Tom Hayes

Question:

117 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the decision made by the regulator in regard to the development of wind generated electricity here; his plans to issue instructions or directions in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28067/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

240 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the decision made by the regulator in regard to the development of wind generated electricity here; his plans to issue instructions or directions in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28112/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 and 240 together.

The Commission for Energy Regulation is an independent body under paragraph 9 in the Schedule to the Electricity Regulation Act 1999. I have no statutory function in this matter.

Port Development.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

118 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will report on his policy to boost capacity at Irish ports; the details of these new port initiatives as recently announced; the way in which the proposed new port of Bremore will be incorporated in these proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27894/05]

In January of this year, I launched the Government's ports policy statement. The policy statement aims to better equip the port sector and its stakeholders to meet national and regional capacity and service needs. One of the key challenges that lies ahead is the provision of adequate in-time port capacity, particularly for unitised trade. The policy statement sets out a framework to ensure that capacity needs are identified, planned and progressed in a co-ordinated manner.

As an initial step, the Department sought information from the commercial ports which handle unit load cargo on key projects identified by them as essential to deal with anticipated capacity deficiencies to 2014 and beyond and whether the ports see these as being funded from their own resources or in partnership with the private sector. In its response to this request, Drogheda Port Company provided information to the Department concerning its proposal for the development of a new deepwater port at Bremore. The timeframe for the proposed development and the preparation of a detailed business plan are matters for Drogheda Port Company in the first instance.

As indicated in the ports policy statement, it is intended to prioritise a range of projects catering for unitised traffic at our commercial ports from an overall economic national and regional perspective, as opposed to the perceived requirements of individual ports. To that end, the Department recently appointed Fisher Associates consultants to advise on refining the criteria to be used for project evaluation; drawing up a uniform template for submission of detailed project proposals; assessing the scope for efficiencies within existing areas of ports handling unitised trade; and evaluating the projects submitted with a view to the Department's recommendations to Government. As an initial step in their assignment, I understand that Fisher Associates will shortly consult with ports, including Drogheda, and other key stakeholders in relation to the criteria to be used for project evaluation.

Fisheries Protection.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

119 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the details of the recently established Regional Advisory Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27893/05]

The Regional Advisory Council to which the Deputy refers is the RAC for north western waters. This covers the waters to the north, west and south of Ireland, to the west of Scotland, the Irish Sea and the English Channel; which are the waters of primary interest to Irish fishermen. I was delighted to welcome the RAC to Dublin Castle for its inaugural meeting on 30 September.

This is the third of a proposed seven RACs to come into being. The principle of establishing RACs was agreed as part of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2002, as a means of increasing stakeholder involvement in and ownership of the Common Fisheries Policy, CFP, as well as improving communications and relations between fishermen and other stakeholders. The mechanism for establishing RACs was agreed at political level in May 2004 under the Irish Presidency of the EU. Subsequently, Bord Iascaigh Mhara was appointed as the secretariat of the north western waters RAC. The Commission declared the RAC operational on 22 September 2005.

The structure of the RAC for north western waters consists of a general assembly, an executive committee and four area-based working groups. These consist of two thirds fishing industry representatives and one third other stakeholders. The six member states involved in the RAC are Ireland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. The general assembly of the RAC will meet at least once a year. The executive committee will be the main decision-making body of the RAC, consisting of 24 members and meeting at least three times per year. The working groups will carry out the detailed work of the RAC which will then be considered by the executive committee.

I am delighted at the successful inauguration of the RAC on 30 September. I am especially pleased that the RAC has signalled an intention of getting down to business quickly by holding its first working group meetings early next month. This will enable it to have an input into the process following the publication of scientific advice on the state of the stocks and leading up to the decisions on total allowable catches, quotas and fishing effort limitation to be made at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in December. It is by having a meaningful input into the serious issues facing the sector that the RACs can establish their credibility and contribute to the sustainable management of fisheries, and I am confident that they can achieve this objective.

Mobile Telephony.

Jack Wall

Question:

120 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the 3G mobile rollout across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27876/05]

I have no function in the matter raised by the Deputy. Rollout of 3G mobile telephony is an operational matter for the 3G licence holders.

Responsibility for the regulation of electronic communication service providers rests with the independent regulator, the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, under section 10 (1)(d) of the Communications Regulation Act 2002 and the transposed EU regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services. ComReg is independent in the exercise of its functions.

Offshore Exploration.

Seán Ryan

Question:

121 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will provide an assessment of the current state of play with the Corrib gas pipeline development in relation to the safety audit and mediation; when building will re-commence on the project; if he will report on the manner in which consents were issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27859/05]

The Deputy will be aware that I received a positive response to my indication that the Government would appoint a mediator provided both sides indicated their willingness to participate in the mediation process. I am in the process of identifying a mediator to undertake this work.

On 25 August last I appointed Advantica consultants to conduct a safety review of the Corrib onshore upstream gas pipeline. This review is currently under way. The review includes a public consultation process and a two-day public hearing in the locality. The public hearing commenced this morning. Pending the outcome of this review, Shell E&P Ireland Limited has, at my request, ceased all works on the onshore pipeline. In addition, it has ceased works on the offshore pipeline to allow for a period of public discussion and dialogue. The company will use this time to address remaining public concerns.

The development of the Corrib gas field has received all required approvals and consents from my Department as required by law. My Department is responsible for the regulatory aspects of petroleum exploration and development. Authorisations were granted for the Corrib gas field under a number of provisions. Under the Continental Shelf Act 1968, authorisation was given for the construction of the sub-sea facilities within the continental shelf designated areas by my predecessor. My predecessor also gave consent for the plan for the development of the field under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960. Under the Gas Act 1976, as amended, consent was given for the construction of a gas pipeline from the gas field through the offshore up to the terminal building. A foreshore licence was also granted under the Foreshore Acts. In accordance with EU environmental impact assessment directives, an environmental impact statement was carried out and submitted with each application for consent or approval.

Fisheries Protection.

Dan Boyle

Question:

122 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the role he has played in the investigation into the alleged malpractice in the reporting of mackerel catch quotas in Donegal ports; and his views on the matter. [27834/05]

When this matter was brought to my attention, I arranged to have the matter formally referred to the Garda Síochána with a request for an investigation. I understand that the gardaí are conducting an investigation into the matter. That investigation is solely a matter for the Garda Síochána and I have no role in that investigation. As the timeframe and conduct of the investigation are matters solely for the gardaí, I consider that it would be inappropriate for me to comment further or make a statement on the matter.

Broadcasting Fund.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

123 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when the funding scheme which was introduced under the Broadcasting (Funding) Act 2003 will be available to applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28038/05]

The EU Commission recently notified Ireland of its decision not to object to the proposed broadcasting funding scheme on the basis that it considers that the scheme is compatible with the relevant provisions of the EC treaty. I will now write to the chairman of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland formally approving the scheme. This will allow the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland to launch the scheme and to invite applications.

Question No. 124 answered with QuestionNo. 90.

Telecommunications Services.

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Question:

125 Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the level of activity on each of the metropolitan area networks in operation during the first six months of 2005 in relation to the development telecommunications infrastructure; and the overall value in sales from those transactions. [27838/05]

E-net has taken charge of all 19 metropolitan area networks under phase 1 of the MANs programme. This handover phase has been ongoing over the course of the last year with different networks coming on stream at different stages. It is E-net's responsibility to manage, maintain and operate the networks. Activity has now begun on the networks with several customer contracts being signed by E-net, including arrangements for backhaul. The details of these contracts are commercially sensitive and are a matter for E-net.

Alternative Energy Projects.

John Gormley

Question:

126 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason he restricted the feed-in fixed price tariff support system to 400 MW of installed power; if he will extend such a support system to include offshore wind farms and the wide variety of new biomass technologies which could provide a consistent and secure source of energy supply; and the reason for the restrictions in the development of new renewable resources when the fixed prices are in many cases below the best new entrant price for a gas fired power station as estimated by the energy regulator. [27840/05]

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

180 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the steps he intends to take to increase the provision of renewable energy following the report from the Commission for Energy Regulation which estimates that the cost of electricity is set to rise significantly due to higher fuel costs and rising carbon emission costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22233/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 126 and 180 together.

Ireland has a renewable electricity target of 13.2% of electricity consumption to be sourced from renewable technologies by 2010. To meet this target Ireland needs in the region of 1,450 MW of renewable capacity connected. Currently Ireland has 675 MW of renewable capacity connected with a further 175 MW under active construction. This consists of 400 MW of wind, 240 MW of hydro with the balance made up of different biomass technologies. Further development will also take place from the last two rounds of competitive tendering, the AER V and AER VI competitions.

To, at a minimum, achieve our target, 400 MW of new renewable capacity will be supported and this will be increased to accommodate any slippage rates from previous competitions.

Earlier this year I announced, in outline form, the next support programme to further increase the contribution to electricity production from renewable energy sources. This new programme will move away from the competitive tendering model to a fixed price scheme. This means that any applicant, whether an individual or company, may submit an application at a fixed price based on technology and, in the case of wind, the capacity of the project. There are ample proposed onshore projects available to deliver the capacity that can be connected without compromising the continuity of electricity supplies generally. However, the cost to consumers of supporting additional offshore projects is significantly higher than similar onshore projects. A total of 85 MWs is one conservative estimate of the short-term market interest in offshore projects. The net additional cost above the onshore costs of supporting 85 MW of offshore wind capacity is calculated at €139 million over the guaranteed 15 years, at June 2005 energy prices. This additional charge, plus VAT, would add directly to the cost of the public service obligation levy.

The detailed draft terms and conditions of the proposed feed-in support programme were posted on my Department's website,www.dcmnr.gov.ie, in draft form, on 29 September last and interested parties have until today to raise any queries or to furnish any observations on the proposals, as published. Following a consideration of any details raised the new programme, to be known as the renewable energy feed-in tariff, REFIT, will be put in place.

Port Development.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

127 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the current position regarding the sale of lands at the former Irish Glass Bottle factory site; if he will also outline the position regarding the port company’s plans for a second site opposite the Point Depot; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27898/05]

On 17 June 2005 Dublin Port Company wrote to me to the effect that the company had received notices of intention from a tenant to acquire the fee simple interest at the Irish Glass Bottle site. In the first instance, this is a matter for the company and I understand it is procuring legal advice in the matter. Dublin Port Company has a number of legal defences available to it and these will be relied on to the fullest extent. This is a complex and technical area of law and Dublin Port Company is taking further legal advice in the matter.

Turning to the second element of the question concerning the port company's plans for a second site opposite the Point Depot, the Department received a letter from Dublin Port Company on 18 May 2005 requesting ministerial approval for its proposal to enter into an arrangement with a consortium as detailed in draft heads of terms attached to the letter. This agreement relates to a plot of land opposite the Point Depot. The company states that, in essence, the proposal provides that, in the event that the consortium is successful in its bid for the development of the national conference centre and appropriate planning and other consents issue in respect of the national conference centre, Dublin Port Company will make available a site in order to facilitate the development of the national conference centre together with further and complementary commercial development.

I can inform the Deputy that some advice has been received from the Attorney General on 29 July 2005 in this matter and that further advice is awaited. A reply to the Dublin Port Company letter of 18 May 2005 requesting ministerial approval in this matter will issue when all the necessary advice is to hand and fully considered.

Post Office Network.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

128 Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of post offices in place on 1 October 2005; the number on 1 January 1999; the progress being made towards computerisation; the number of post offices currently linked in this system; his views on whether the post office service is a vital link especially in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27826/05]

On 1 January 1999 there were 1,911 post offices in the post office network. As of 1 October last, there were 1,425 post offices. The Deputy should note that of this reduction of 486 in the number of post offices, 306 can be accounted for by postmasters who availed of the terms of the agency conversion scheme since its inception in 2002. The Deputy should also note that, to date, An Post has established 2,864 postpoint outlets in retail premises of which 600 can be used for bill payment.

The Government and An Post share the objective of maintaining a viable nationwide post office network through a strategy of maximising the volume of both public and private sector business handled by the network. Notwithstanding the commercial remit of An Post, there is clear Government recognition of the social benefits of maintaining the nationwide post office network. Accordingly, An Post development strategies for the network continue to take full account of these social benefits.

With regard to computerisation of non-automated offices, the automated network accounts for over 95% of An Post's counter business. This means that the 996 automated offices transact 95% of counter business while 429 non-automated offices undertake 5% of business. This figure clearly illustrates the level of business transacted by individual non-automated offices. The current level of automated coverage is considered by An Post to be extremely comprehensive by any objective standard and this level of coverage makes it difficult to justify on either customer service or economic grounds the extension of automation to all offices, regardless of their location or business volumes.

Automation of the post office network was completed in 1997. It is, therefore, only in very exceptional circumstances, such as an existing automated office closing and its equipment being transferred to a suitable neighbouring location which transacts significant volumes of welfare business, that offices are automated today. Nevertheless, I have asked An Post to undertake a pilot project to automate a selected number of non-automated offices to gauge the effect on new business. Ten post offices have been selected for automation and the results of the pilot project will be evaluated following the trial period.

Question No. 129 answered with QuestionNo. 92.

Telecommunications Services.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

130 Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to regulate and secure the spectrum space within which WiFi technology operates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27871/05]

The regulation of spectrum, within which WiFi technology operates, is on the basis of minimum regulations with the use of the spectrum exempted from the requirement to hold a wireless telegraphy licence. The Commission for Communications Regulations, ComReg, which has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the spectrum has specified the relevant regulations for use of this spectrum by WiFi technology. These are in accordance with the standard practice within the EU and more generally on an international basis. I have no plans in this regard.

Energy Resources.

Willie Penrose

Question:

131 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the amount of Irish energy resources that are imported; the percentage of the total energy sector that is made up by renewable energy resources; the total consumption of natural gas and oil here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27891/05]

According to provisional figures supplied by the energy policy statistical support unit, EPSSU, of Sustainable Energy Ireland, which may be subject to minor change when finalised, the total primary energy requirement in Ireland for 2004 was 15,003 kilotonnes of oil equivalent, ktoe, and 13,234 ktoe of this was imported — 2,115 ktoe of coal, 8,018 ktoe of oil, 2,966 ktoe natural gas and 135 ktoe of electricity. This means that we imported a little over 82% of our energy in 2004.

With regard to renewables, in 2004, 5.1% of gross electricity consumption was accounted for by renewables. The total consumption of oil and gas here in 2004 was 12,031 ktoe.

Question No. 132 answered with QuestionNo. 99.

Public Service Obligation Charges.

Billy Timmins

Question:

133 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason for the projected decrease for the public service obligation charge on ESB bills for 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27760/05]

A public service obligation has been imposed by the Minister of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources on the ESB since 1 January 2003 and has been amended since then. The primary objectives of the obligation are to ensure reasonable self-sufficiency in electricity generation capacity by utilising peat as a primary fuel source, promote renewable energy sources to help protect the environment and cover costs of generation capacity needed to ensure that customer demand can be met in times of peak demand.

The Commission for Energy Regulation is required under section 9(2) and (3) of the Electricity Regulation Act 1999 (Public Service Obligations) Order 2002, as amended by SI 217 of 2002, to approve the ESB's estimated additional costs incurred by complying with the public service obligation. These include the administration costs incurred by the transmission system operator, suppliers and the distribution system operator in collecting payment of the obligation levy. The costs are calculated annually, with the sanction of the European Commission, in accordance with parameters specified in the public service obligation notification to the European Commission. The public service obligation levy for a given year is calculated, by the Commission for Energy Regulation, on anex ante basis.

The current wholesale electricity market in Ireland is a bilateral contracts market with a balancing mechanism. The majority of energy traded is contracted under bilateral arrangements between participants. With this market structure, no set market price is available. In the absence of a market price the additional costs incurred by the ESB in complying with the public service obligation are those above and beyond a regulatedex ante best new entrant market price, as published annually by the Commission for Energy Regulation. The increase in the best new entrant has impacted significantly on the public service obligation levy for 2006 as this is the benchmark price against which the additional costs of meeting the public service obligation is measured. Effectively, the public service obligation will decrease by a projected €59 million in 2006 because the best new entrant price has increased.

Telecommunications Services.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

134 Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Ireland’s position in the international European league in availability of broadband services and the likelihood of the provision of same in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28010/05]

Gerard Murphy

Question:

148 Mr. G. Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent of his earlier projections regarding the provision of broadband throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28049/05]

Shane McEntee

Question:

156 Mr. McEntee asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his projections for the provision of broadband throughout the country with particular reference to the targets set are likely to be achieved in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28047/05]

Brendan Howlin

Question:

177 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the details of the changed Government broadband target from that of 500,000 broadband subscribers by the end of 2006 as stated in reply to a parliamentary question on June 16 2005 to the current target of 400,000 broadband subscribers as of 28 September 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27872/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

257 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent of his earlier projections regarding the provision of broadband throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28130/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

259 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his projections for the provision of broadband throughout the country with particular reference to the targets set are likely to be achieved in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28132/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

262 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which the existing technology is capable of facilitating the provision of broadband throughout the country as identified through his most recent projections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28135/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

283 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding Ireland’s place in the international European league in availability of broadband services and the likelihood of the provision of same in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28160/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 134, 148, 156, 177, 257, 259, 262 and 283 together.

In late 2004, I set a Government target of 400,000 broadband subscribers to be achieved by the end of 2006. Subsequently, broadband subscriber numbers have grown by 73%, in the nine months since I set that target, to reach approximately 175,000 by the end of July 2005.

There has been no change in the Government target of 400,000 subscribers by the end of 2006. When I set that target, I made it clear to the telecommunications industry that it should be even more ambitious in its broadband plans. I challenged it to increase the roll-out and take-up of broadband services to reach 500,000 by the end of 2006, surpassing the Government target for the same period. I am confident these targets can be achieved.

The provision of telecommunications, including broadband, is a matter in the first instance for the private sector companies operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the independent regulator, ComReg. ComReg's register of authorised undertakings lists no less than 169 companies offering Internet access services in Ireland with a wide variety of service levels.

The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources has a broadband website,www.broadband.gov.ie, which gives prices, service levels, locations and contact details of 44 service providers offering a wide range of broadband services from 0.256 megabits per second to 56 megabits per second, using a range of delivery platforms such as cable, DSL, fixed wireless and satellite. A range of broadband technologies can deliver broadband to any customer in Ireland.

The rate of broadband uptake is dependent on a combination of factors. These include access by the private sector service providers to suitable infrastructure, as well as competition between broadband service providers and demand conditions for broadband in the economy. The Government is addressing the infrastructure deficit by building high-speed open access metropolitan area networks in 120 towns and cities nationwide in association with the local and regional authorities. It is also offering funding assistance for smaller towns and rural communities to support the roll-out of broadband services through the county and group broadband scheme, under which 150 projects have already been approved covering over 450 communities. The provision of broadband to all primary and post-primary schools has now begun and will be completed by early 2006.

Full details of the regional broadband programme can be found on the website of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, www.dcmnr.gov.ie.

Radio Frequency Spectrum.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

135 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the European Commission’s proposals for a single market for radio waves; the effect of this on the licensing radio spectrum here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27884/05]

The recent communication from the European Commission to Council and Parliament outlined its proposals for changes in how the radio spectrum should be managed. It is the initial stage of the process and Ireland will actively participate in the process.

Traditionally, the radio spectrum has been licensed on the basis of assigning particular frequency bands for specific uses though variations arise between different member states. This is often referred to as a command and control approach. This approach no longer seems appropriate for electronic communications services in a world of accelerated technical development, where compartmentalisation of services becomes increasingly difficult due to digitisation and convergence with a technology being able to deliver a combination of communications services, such as television, telephony and broadband access.

The radio spectrum is managed by member states at the national level and in international co-ordination. The Commission's proposals focus on the development of a harmonised framework and on the introduction of new approaches for managing the radio spectrum, such as a market-based approach. Member states will continue to manage the spectrum in the future.

Internet Governance.

Mary Upton

Question:

136 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the negotiations for the future of Internet governance and existence of ICANN; if he will be attending the world summit on the information society in Tunis in November 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27869/05]

Internet governance is one of the main issues scheduled to be discussed at the forthcoming world summit on the information society in Tunis. At the first world summit in Geneva in December 2003, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, requested a working group be set up to look at Internet governance. While the working group published its report in July 2005, several outstanding issues remain to be addressed. These issues were further discussed in a preparatory conference in Geneva that ended on Friday, 30 September.

As there is no agreed position across the United Nations on Internet governance it is proposed to hold a further meeting immediately prior to the summit in the hope an agreed position can be endorsed by the summit. A decision on attendance by me at the summit will be made nearer the date of the conference based on the final documents of the conference, the level of attendance from other countries and any possible national strategic advantages that might arise from attendance.

Postal Services.

Willie Penrose

Question:

137 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on the recent deterioration in postal delivery service around the country; if An Post will be in a position to meet the full demand at Christmas; if the universal service obligation is being fully implemented; the steps he is taking to ensure it is upheld; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27878/05]

Matters relating to quality and levels of postal service are a matter in the first instance for the management and board of An Post.

ComReg, in accordance with the provisions of SI 616 of 2002 European Communities (Postal Services) Regulations, is responsible for the monitoring, measurement and regulation of the postal sector including measuring the levels of service to be achieved by An Post and ensuring the company abides by its statutory universal service obligations.

The quality service target for the nationwide next-day delivery of single piece priority mail set for An Post by ComReg during 2004 was 94%. The results of the measurement of compliance with this target reported that 78% of national mail was delivered the next day during the most recent measurement period. This represents an improvement of 8% on the similar period last year.

Energy Resources.

Eamon Ryan

Question:

138 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason for the failure to spend €5 million of the budget for sustainable energy in 2005 following on from the underspend of €15 million in 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27947/05]

The economic and social infrastructure operational programme, ESIOP, runs from 2000 to 2006. Within the ESIOP a sustainable energy priority was agreed with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund and co-funding from Exchequer or other national sources.

The conditions agreed between the State and the EU require expenditure to be undertaken within two years of the original projection or the loss of the relevant European Regional Development Fund moneys. This is referred to as the N+2 rule. An amount of flexibility is built in to this rule and the national management authority can transfer funding from one priority or spending subhead to another with the agreement of the EU and stakeholders.

The sustainable energy priority comprises two measures dealing with energy conservation and with alternative energy. Energy conservation is on target to deliver its investment. The major part of the second measure is the grid upgrade development programme which was intended to fund the capital intensive portion of planned connections, thereby ensuring projects did not fail due to the high capital cost of a connection offer.

Getting new renewable energy powered electricity generating plants connected has been a slower and more difficult task than was foreseen when the grid upgrade development programme was put in place. In December 2003 the Commission for Energy Regulation authorised a moratorium on new connection offers to new undispatchable plants due to concerns about overall system stability of the electricity network. This decision and subsequent decisions of the network operators meant no new connection offers for renewable energy powered plants were confirmed between December 2003 and early 2005.

A consequence of an absence of new connection offers in this period was that the grid upgrade development programme could not be activated to fund the shared connection asset element of any such confirmed connection offer. Nevertheless the installed capacity is approximately 400 MW-equivalent now and is expected to reach 600 MW-equivalent under the current support programme.

The slower than expected delivery of connections following the moratorium and subsequent decisions of the network operators, has made it prudent to reallocate €5 million from this support measure this year to avoid Ireland losing the benefit of these Structural Funds under the N+2 rule. However, the grid upgrade development programme has recommenced and based on current projects on identified demand for projects with a firm or planned connection offer, its purpose and effect will not be in any way diminished by this reallocation. The plan is that as connecting parties are charged for access to the shared asset funding will be reinvested in further projects.

Question No. 139 answered with QuestionNo. 103.

Postal Services.

John Deasy

Question:

140 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the discussions that have taken place with An Post or its workforce with a view to expanding the scale and volume of services to An Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28077/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

230 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the discussions that have taken place with An Post or its workforce with a view to expanding the scale and volume of services to An Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28101/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 and 230 together.

The Government and the board of An Post are committed to the objective of securing a viable and sustainable post office and nationwide post office network as set out in the programme for Government. Notwithstanding the commercial remit of An Post, there is clear Government recognition of the social benefits of maintaining the nationwide post office network. Accordingly, An Post development strategies for the network continue to take full account of these social benefits.

As a commercial company, the development and growth of An Post's business is a matter for the company's management and board. The challenge ahead for An Post is to develop a strategy that satisfies the needs of existing customers, while attracting new customers into the post office. An Post has already had some success in winning new business and continues to benefit from a considerable amount of Government business, especially in the areas of social welfare payments and savings products. While the Government will support the network in any way it can and has demonstrated its commitment with a €12.7 million capital injection in 2003, the way forward is for An Post to enhance existing services and, building on existing strengths to develop new product offerings.

I have also asked the company to ensure any strategy for the development of the company should ensure the long-term viability of the post office network. An Post is working on a new initiative which could see the development and expansion of the range of financial services that it can deliver through its network of post offices. If successful, it could lead to a significant increase in post office business and contribute to the viability of the network.

On foot of substantial investment in computerisation, a significant amount of extra business has already been obtained for the network in terms of banking and utility business. At present 95% of An Post's business is conducted through automated offices. In order to gauge the impact of automation on business generation, I have asked the company to initiate a pilot project to automate ten small post offices. This project is under way and the results of the project will be evaluated after the trial period has come to an end. An Post also enjoys a strong relationship with sections of the population that have no bank accounts, including many social welfare clients. With the roll-out of e-Government services, the post office is ideally placed to capitalise on opportunities arising in this space, especially in the area of e-payments.

Departmental Agencies.

Michael Ring

Question:

141 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the nature and extent or any policy directions he has issued to ComReg, CER or other regulatory or monitoring bodies under his aegis; the likely impact of any such direction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28062/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

245 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the nature and extent or any policy directions he has issued to ComReg, CER or other regulatory or monitoring bodies under his aegis; the likely impact of any such direction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28117/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 141 and 245 together.

Since I took up office as Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, no policy directions have been issued to either ComReg or the Commission for Energy Regulation.

Under section 13 of the Communications Regulation Act 2002, policy directions may be issued to ComReg, as the Minister may consider appropriate, in the interest of proper and effective regulation of those markets. My predecessor issued a set of policy directions to ComReg in February 2003 covering flat rate Internet charges, broadband electronic communication networks, industry sustainability, regulation only where necessary, regulatory impact assessment, consistency with other member states, cost of regulation, consistency across platforms, regulation of prices, management of the radio frequency spectrum, and universal postal service. A further set of policy directions was issued by my predecessor in March 2004 on communications issues. These included a general direction on competition and directions on broadband; wholesale and retail telephone line rental; interconnection/leased lines; and national and cross border roaming.

A policy direction to the Commission for Energy Regulation was given on July 26 1999, in accordance with section 9 of the Electricity Regulation Act 1999, providing for a system of contracts and other arrangements for trading electricity. The main objective was promotion of efficient competition amongst licensed generators and suppliers. The interim arrangements established on foot of this direction will be replaced by new arrangements implemented as part of the single all-island electricity market which is due to go live in July 2007. The single all-island electricity market will establish for the first time, a single wholesale market in which generators and suppliers of electricity on the island will trade all their electricity on a daily basis regardless of their location on the island. A key objective is to minimise the cost of electricity to all customers on the island of Ireland.

Since I assumed office as Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, I have issued two policy directions to the registrar general of fishing boats, the licensing authority on sea fishing boat licensing policy. Both concern the provision of replacement capacity in the context of the replacement or modification of certain fishing vessels. The directions extended the time to 30 June 2006 in which all replacement capacity was to be provided.

Energy Resources.

Richard Bruton

Question:

142 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for the development of natural resources in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28056/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

251 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for the development of natural resources in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28123/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

268 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his proposals in respect of future policy for the development of oil or gas resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28141/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142, 251 and 268 together.

Ireland has two gas producing fields, namely the Kinsale-Ballycotton field and Seven Heads field. Kinsale-Ballycotton is in serious depletion now. We do not have any oil producing fields. The Corrib gas field is due to go into production in the next few years.

Before oil and gas resources can be developed, they must first be discovered. The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources takes an active role in the promotion of petroleum exploration. Earlier this year, an area in the Rockall Basin was opened for licensing and two exploration licences were awarded. In March 2006, certain areas in the Slyne, Donegal and Erris Basins will be made available for licensing. This policy of opening areas occasionally for licensing in licensing rounds will continue into the future.

The terms governing petroleum exploration and development are kept under review by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. These terms are designed to encourage exploration in the Irish offshore. There are no immediate plans to reform the terms. Exploration and development of minerals is undertaken by private enterprise and regulated under the Minerals Development Acts 1940 to 1999. All extraction of minerals under the Acts is subject to payment of royalties to the State. While those Acts will be consolidated and updated in a new minerals development Bill in preparation, it is not proposed to change that policy.

Broadcasting Legislation.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

143 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason for the postponement of the broadcasting Bill to 2006; and the reason there has been such a long delay in introducing this legislation. [27841/05]

The priority issues to be addressed by the legislative proposals that will form the basis of a new broadcasting Bill include the establishment of a single content regulator for commercial, community and public service broadcasters; the establishment of RTE as a company under the Companies Acts 1963 to 2003; the provision of a statutory mechanism for future adjustments to the level of the television licence fee; the development of the right-of-reply mechanism, allowing persons whose reputation and good name have been damaged by an assertion of incorrect facts in a television or radio programme to gain redress.

Work on developing the legislative proposals needed to address these issues commenced following the passing of the Broadcasting (Major Events Television Coverage) Amendment Act 2003. Advancement of these proposals has taken longer than originally anticipated due to the complexity and range of issues which require to be addressed. However, good progress has been made and proposals will be brought to the Government later this year, with publication of the broadcasting Bill in 2006. The legislative proposals will ensure the broadcasting regulatory environment continues to encourage the parallel development of high quality broadcasting by Irish public service, commercial and community broadcasters.

Question No. 144 answered with QuestionNo. 92.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Joe Costello

Question:

145 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the details of the recent biofuels initiative; his views on the replacement support pricing mechanism for the AER scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27867/05]

In 2004, the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources secured an amendment to the Finance Act 1999, which provides for the introduction of a pilot scheme for mineral oil tax relief for biofuels which is designed either to produce biofuel or test the technical viability of biofuel for use as motor fuel.

A scheme under the Act was subsequently agreed between the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and the Department of Finance and received state aid clearance from the EU Commission in March 2005. Under the scheme, mineral oil tax relief may be granted for pilot projects producing up to 6 million litres per annum of pure plant oil, 1 million litres per annum of biodiesel and 1 million litres per annum of bioethanol.

A total of 34 applications were received under the call for proposals by the closing date. Applications were received under all three categories of biofuel. A total of eight successful projects were selected, comprising four pure plant oil projects, three biodiesel projects and one bioethanol project and excise relief of €6 million has been granted to the successful applicants over two years commencing in August 2005.

Ireland has a renewable electricity target of 13.2% of electricity consumption to be sourced from renewable technologies by 2010. To meet this target Ireland needs in the region of 1,450 MW of renewable capacity connected. Ireland has 675 MW of renewable capacity connected with a further 175 MW under active construction. This consists of 400 MW of wind, 240 MW of hydro with the balance made up of different biomass technologies. Further development will take place from the last two rounds of competitive tendering, the AER V and AER VI competitions. To achieve our target, a minimum of 400 MW of new renewable capacity will be supported and will be increased to accommodate any slippage rates from previous competitions.

Earlier this year I announced, in outline form, the next support programme to further increase the contribution to electricity production from renewable energy sources. This new programme will move away from the competitive tendering model to a fixed price scheme. This means that any applicant, whether an individual or company, may submit an application at a fixed price based on technology and, in the case of wind, the capacity of the project.

The detailed draft terms and conditions of the proposed feed-in support programme were posted on the website Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, www.dcmnr.gov.ie, in draft form, on 29 September last and interested parties have until today to raise any queries or to furnish any observations on the proposals, as published. Following a detailed analysis of the matters raised the new programme, to be known as the renewable energy feed in tariff, will be put in place.

Post Office Network.

Liam Twomey

Question:

146 Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the initiatives he has taken to improve the viability prospects of An Post and post offices in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28074/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

233 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the initiatives he has taken to improve the viability prospects of An Post and post offices in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28105/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 146 and 233 together.

The development and continued viability of An Post and the post office network is a matter for the board and management of An Post. There will continue to be a key national role for An Post, both in delivery of mails and as a quality service provider through its nationwide network of post office outlets. The market for traditional postal and post office services is changing globally and meeting customer needs has become more important than ever. To remain competitive, An Post needs to make the best possible use of its long established and trusted brand name and deploy its resources in a manner which continues to serve existing customers' needs and attracts additional customers for a range of new services.

There is agreement that change is required if the postal services of An Post are to adapt to the modern business environment and to continue to offer a top class nationwide delivery service to the customer into the future. With this in mind, the board and management of An Post have presented a recovery plan outlining the steps including comprehensive restructuring and cost savings, which are vital to the re-establishment of the company on a more secure financial footing.

I have emphasised the need for all stakeholders in the company to work together in a partnership approach and to utilise the industrial relations mechanisms of the State, where necessary, to agree and implement the recovery strategy to bring about the cost savings and productivity growth required to return the company to financial stability and prepare for the challenges ahead. The Government and the board of An Post are committed to the objective of securing a viable and sustainable nationwide post office network as set out in the programme for Government. Notwithstanding the commercial remit of An Post, there is clear Government recognition of the social benefits of maintaining the nationwide post office network. Accordingly, An Post development strategies for the network continue to take full account of these social benefits.

As a commercial company, the challenge ahead for An Post is to develop a strategy that satisfies the needs of existing customers, while attracting new customers into the post office. An Post has already had some success in winning new business and continues to benefit from a considerable amount of Government business, especially in the areas of social welfare payments and savings products.

Having an automated network is an important prerequisite to avail of the opportunities for additional business. At present 95% of An Post's business is conducted through automated offices. In order to gauge the impact of automation on business generation, I asked the company to initiate a pilot project to automate ten small post offices. This project is under way and the results of the project will be evaluated after the trial period has come to an end. Furthermore, at my request, An Post is working on a new initiative, which could see the development and expansion of the range of financial services that it can deliver through its network of post offices. If successful, it could lead to a significant increase in post office business and contribute to the viability of the network.

Question No. 147 answered with QuestionNo. 109.
Question No. 148 answered with QuestionNo. 134.
Question No. 149 answered with QuestionNo. 90.

European Council Meetings.

Joe Costello

Question:

150 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the details of the Irish proposals on quotas and efforts that will be advanced at the December 2005 Fisheries Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27895/05]

Total allowable catches, TACs,for the various fish stocks are established each December by the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers, taking account of scientific advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea on the state of the stocks. This scientific advice is being finalised and will be published in the coming weeks. This advice will be reviewed by the scientific, technical, economic committee for fisheries, a group of independent scientific, technical and economic experts appointed by the European Commission. The Commission will then bring forward its proposals for all stocks taking account of both the international council's advice and the comments of the Scientific, Technical, Economic Committee for Fisheries. These proposals will be considered by the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in December.

The Commission's proposals for 2006 will be considered in the context of the scientific advice, current measures in place, including recovery plans and effort restrictions, and in consultation with industry representatives in order to determine a national position, taking account of the need to achieve sustainable fishing opportunities for the Irish industry.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

151 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will introduce a capital grant system for the purchase of wood fired, geothermal or solar heating system as exists in Northern Ireland. [27835/05]

Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI, established as a statutory agency in May 2002, implements a wide variety of programmes on energy efficiency and renewable energy on behalf of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. Under SEI's house of tomorrow research, development and demonstration programme, financial support is directed at encouraging developers of housing, both new-build and refurbishment, to incorporate design and technology features, which deliver significantly superior energy and CO2 performance. By targeting developers of schemes of houses, from the private or social housing sectors, the aim has been to establish over several years a nationwide network of accessible examples of more sustainable energy design and technology practices. Together with other promotional measures by SEI, this is intended to encourage a sufficient degree of market replication, without subsidy, to elevate energy performance standards across the wider housing stock. This targeted approach is also designed to be an administratively efficient method for deployment of public moneys.

To date, the programme has committed over €9 million in funding to 48 projects comprising a total 2,269 housing units. All feature an integrated approach to design, orientation, building fabric and energy supply and use, that achieves performance of at least 20% better than current building regulations and in the majority of projects, 40% better. The sustainable energy features across the range of projects funded include solar hot water systems, ground source heat pumps, condensing boilers, group heating schemes and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery along with higher levels of insulation.

The programme has been directed at suppliers and developers of housing, rather than individual householders. This is because the house of tomorrow is a research and development support scheme, not a home improvement grants scheme. It is seeking projects of sufficient scale and impact to influence wide application of the practices and technologies demonstrated. An effective way to achieve this is by means of clusters of homes that will provide regionally visible and accessible examples which can be replicated. Overall, integrated developments are encouraged. A key need in moving towards more energy efficient planning and construction practices in Irish homes is to develop the necessary awareness and capability within the construction industry. SEI, through its consumer awareness programmes, seeks to increase the demand for energy efficiency amongst homeowners and occupants. House of tomorrow, as a research, development and demonstration programme, supports the development and demonstration of capability in the industry to deliver higher quality energy efficient homes to meet such a demand. The aim is to increase standards and practices across the industry as a whole.

Regular reviews are conducted on all SEI's funding programmes. Factors entering any such consideration include the establishment of consumer product standards, supplier capability and installation quality assurance systems appropriate to consumer markets. This is in addition to the core requirements of energy and CO2 saving impact, market impact potential, administrative efficiency and ultimately, value for money for the taxpayer.

Funding for SEI is determined on an annual basis. SEI submits a proposed work programme for the coming year along with a budget for each of its programmes, such as the house of tomorrow programme, to the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. Any increase in funding required for these programmes would have budgetary implications and could only be considered in the light of the overall budgetary requirements of SEI and the level of funding available to the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

I am keen to see a wider take up of energy-efficient technology in design, building and use of homes. Many of the measures involved are self-financing, with payback periods of as little as two or three years. Increasing the energy efficiency of our building stock reduces our energy imports, reduces our CO2 emissions and saves money for the individual household and for the Exchequer.

Fishing Vessel Licences.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

152 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if the proposed decommissioning scheme for whitefish trawlers (details supplied) will include mechanisms to provide the crews of these trawlers with adequate compensatory measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27892/05]

The fundamental aim of the fishing vessel scrapping scheme, recently announced, is to secure the permanent withdrawal of excess capacity in both the whitefish and shellfish sectors. The withdrawal premia payable under the scheme are the maximum permitted by EU regulations and are related specifically to the permanent removal of the fishing vessels concerned from the EU register of sea fishing vessels. The scheme implements the recommendations of the Padraic White report, Decommissioning Requirements for Ireland's Demersal and Shellfish fleets, presented to me in early July. The report does not provide for the payment to the crews of the vessels concerned.

While the scrapping scheme will remove boats from the fleet right around the coast, the majority of the fleet will continue fishing and will continue to need crew. Many skippers have great difficulty securing crew as there is an overall shortage reflecting the strong performance of the economy generally. In this situation, good opportunities remain for crew members whose current boats are leaving the fleet.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

153 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the likely level of excess carbon emissions from the electricity generating sector above the amount allocated under the European emissions trading system for 2005; and if the trading price for such emissions will have an effect on the future cost of electricity to the Irish public. [27842/05]

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has overall responsibility for the management of the EU emissions trading scheme in Ireland. Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for operating and monitoring the scheme with participants being legally obliged to report their emissions levels on an annual basis to the agency. The Commission for Energy Regulation is responsible for setting electricity prices. Accordingly, I have no function in the matters raised in the Deputy's question.

Fisheries Protection.

Jack Wall

Question:

154 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding salmon stocks here; his plans for establishing a buy-out scheme for drift-netting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27864/05]

The Government has consistently ruled out buy-out as an effective means of achieving the restoration of salmon stocks and has instead, since 2002, promoted the application of quotas on commercial fishing and bag limits on angling to achieve catch reductions as the best instrument available to achieve this objective. Moreover, no convincing case has been advanced as to the public good that would be acquired by the State in a publicly funded buy-out of commercial salmon licences nor why stakeholders benefiting from increased numbers of salmon entering the rivers should not contribute in whole or in part towards achieving that increase.

As a result I have no plans to introduce a buy-out of commercial salmon fishing licences. However, I am continuing to review the matter in the context of the policy outlined above. In this regard, I would be open to any relevant proposals presented to me whereby stakeholders benefiting from any reduction in commercial catch would engage in the first instance with licence holders and indicate a willingness to address any compensation issues that might arise. Broad outline proposals have been submitted to me recently, which I intend to consider in the context of any review of policy. Since taking up my appointment I have reaffirmed the Government's belief that the current strategy of developing a sustainable commercial and recreational salmon fishery through aligning catches on the scientific advice holds out the strong prospect of a recovery of stocks and of a long term sustainable fishery for both sectors.

In national terms, the latest scientific advice on wild salmon stocks is that 359,002 wild salmon returned in 2004 including 191,579 spawners. Data for 2005 will not be available until full analysis of the exploitation during the 2005 season has been completed by the fisheries boards and the Marine Institute. While there remains an abundance of salmon returning to Irish rivers, the Government has accepted the scientific advice that reductions in the overall fishing effort are required in order to sustain and rebuild salmon stocks nationwide. For this reason, current Government policy has been designed to bring spawning escapement up to the level of the scientifically advised conservation limits as soon as possible. In keeping with this policy, when setting the commercial salmon quotas for the 2005 season, I gave a firm commitment to fully align the exploitation of salmon, both at national and district levels, on the scientific advice by 2007. To achieve this, I have asked the new National Salmon Commission to advise as to how best the alignment of exploitation of salmon with the scientific advice can be implemented by 2007.

Question No. 155 answered with QuestionNo. 92.
Question No. 156 answered with QuestionNo. 134.

Postal Services.

Michael Noonan

Question:

157 Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of occasions on which he has met with the An Post management and the workforce in An Post; the best options for the future development of the postal services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28076/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

232 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of occasions on which he has met with the An Post management and the workforce in An Post; the best options for the future development of the postal services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28103/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 157 and 232 together.

The development and continued viability of An Post and the post office network, is in the first instance, a matter for the board and management of An Post. An Post plays a key role, both in delivery of mails and as a quality service provider through its nationwide network of post office outlets. However, there is universal agreement that change is required if the postal services of An Post are to adapt to the modern business environment and to continue to offer a top class nationwide delivery service to the customer into the future.

The board and management of An Post have presented a recovery plan, incorporating details of a proposed new collection and delivery service, vital to the re-establishment of the company on a more secure financial footing. The plan has assumed significant changes in work practices, tariff increases and the payment of wage increases. It sets out the way forward for the company. Adoption of restructuring that delivers real change is the only way that An Post workers can look forward to receiving pay increases in line with other sectors.

To progress the change agenda, I have met with representatives of An Post management on eight occasions over the past 12 months. I have also met twice with representatives of the main union in An Post, the Communications Workers' Union and met also with representatives of the Irish Postmasters' Union on three occasions. I have listened with interest to the views of all parties concerned on the future of the network. I have emphasised to all parties the importance of an early start to the company's modernisation and that both sides must engage directly to resolve long-standing and deep-seated problems besetting the company.

Fisheries Protection.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

158 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to reduce the level of drift-netting for wild salmon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28037/05]

Since taking up my appointment as Minister of State, I have reaffirmed the Government's acceptance of the scientific advice that reductions in the overall fishing effort are required to sustain and rebuild salmon stocks nationwide. For this reason, current Government policy has been designed to bring spawning escapement up to the level of the scientifically advised conservation limits as soon as possible. In keeping with this policy, when setting the commercial salmon quotas for the 2005 season, I gave a firm commitment to fully align the exploitation of salmon, both at national and district levels, on the scientific advice by 2007.

To achieve this, I have asked the new National Salmon Commission to advise as to how best the alignment of exploitation of salmon with the scientific advice can be implemented by 2007. This must be done bearing in mind the requirement to ensure the future biological viability of the salmon resource in all catchments and also the needs of all stakeholders, including those who derive their living from the wild salmon resource. I will examine carefully all recommendations, including those relevant to drift-netting, made by the salmon commission in this regard.

Electricity Generation.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

159 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on the development of a distributed electricity grid system here; and the measures which are being put in place to ensure that current investment in the upgrade of the national grid will facilitate such a development. [27836/05]

It is general policy to support development of distributed generation where economically feasible. Under the oversight of the Commission for Energy Regulation several measures have been put in place to ensure the development of a grid system that will facilitate the development of distributed or embedded generation. The commission has introduced an autoproducer tariff to ensure equitable treatment for distributed, embedded, and autoproducer generation.

The grid upgrade development programme funding is being used to invest in the network in advance of the connection of embedded generation where appropriate. The commission provides financial support for research and is funding a research project in this area. The refurbishment of the distribution network and the building of new substations will ensure the capacity and reliability of the distribution system. The sum of €1.25 billion will be spent reinforcing and renewing the distribution network in the coming five years.

The ESB distribution grid has been designed to distribute electricity from higher voltage input points to lower voltage premises, homes and businesses. This is the traditional design of electricity distribution networks, and is the most efficient method of guaranteeing good quality electricity supply across large geographical areas and to large numbers of customers. The investment by ESB Networks in the network renewal programme is designed to refurbish the existing medium voltage network and improve the quality of supply to electricity users. ESB Networks typically needs to upgrade the distribution networks to facilitate the connection of embedded generation. This work is carried out on a project-by-project basis where connection agreements with generators have been signed and the costs of these works are borne by the generator. It would not be economically feasible to upgrade the entire network to allow embedded generation at any point on the distribution network as this would require a great many additional substations and overhead lines to be built around the country.

Micro-combined heat and power is not a major feature of the Irish distribution network at this stage. A micro-combined heat and power unit would require the installation of an input-output meter to record levels of electricity travelling into and out of the premises. There is no EU standard for input-output meters. The ESB is working in co-operation with the EU to develop a standard that is expected in 2007. The ESB is monitoring the installation of any input-output meters on the distribution grid to gauge the efficiency of the units and any implications these units have for local networks. For example, if a large number of micro-combined heat and power plants were outputting electricity at the same time in one locality it may result in a power surge to neighbouring premises. There are further regulatory matters surrounding tariff prices and spill prices for electricity produced by micro-combined heat and power units.

Domestic customers wishing to install micro-generation units without a requirement to sell their exported units can do so on a fit-and-inform basis, that is, the customer advises ESB Networks of the unit being installed. In most of these cases the actual amount of units being exported would be small, if any. In recent years there has been a rapid development of smaller generation and renewable generation. There is approximately 420 MW of embedded generation plant, that is, connected to the lower voltage distribution system or at a directly-connected demand customer's site. This figure comprises combined heat and power schemes and small thermal units, and renewable generation from wind, small hydro, landfill gas and biomass sources. In the longer term there may be issues, specifically around wind generation, which would result from significant penetration of distributed generation. The commission for energy regulation is monitoring developments in this area.

Broadcasting Legislation.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

160 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which he has finalised his proposals for public and private broadcasting in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28052/05]

My core policy objectives for the development of the broadcasting sector are detailed in the statement of strategy, 2003 to 2005 of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. These aim to create an environment that encourages the maintenance of high quality Irish radio and television services by both independent broadcasters and RTE; to secure a viable future for high quality public service broadcasting; to seek to retain access to a range of high quality programming in analogue and digital form, on a universal and free-to-air basis.

My key priorities for achieving these objectives include developing the regulatory framework by bringing forward a Bill to provide for the establishment of a single content regulator for both public and private broadcasters and to establish RTE on the lines of a company under the Companies Acts; taking steps to establish TG4 as an independent entity; ensuring adequate public funding for RTE and TG4 so that they can deliver on their statutory mandate; building on progress made in maximising the effectiveness of television licence fee collection; developing proposals to ensure that in a digital era Irish viewers continue to enjoy access to a range of high quality programming; bringing forward proposals for the future licensing of radio services in Ireland.

Irish viewers will be best served by a broadcasting environment that includes a strong public service broadcasting presence in the form of RTE and an independent TG4, together with private broadcasters. Digital television offers opportunities for Irish viewers to avail of an increased number of broadcasting services, including new services of particular relevance or interest to Irish audiences.

Question No. 161 answered with QuestionNo. 92.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Michael Ring

Question:

162 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he sought or received information from the regulator with a view to identification of the future role of alternative fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28024/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

274 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he sought or received information from the regulator with a view to identification of the future role of alternative fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28147/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 274 together.

Within the electricity market a target is established to increase the amount of electricity consumed from renewable energy sources to 13.2% by 2010 as an alternative to existing fossil and carbon fuel sources. This is regarded as a challenging target to achieve. The new fixed price feed-in tariff support programme, recently announced, will stimulate market interest. The work-programme of the renewable energy development group has progressed many of the technical and administrative challenges which could have impeded us delivering the target.

The Commission for Energy Regulation is an active participant in the work of the group. In addition to this work within the group, the commission is also an active participant in the north-south all-island market strategy steering group and participates actively in the cross-Border programme to deliver an all-island vision for renewable energy to the year 2020 as part of a long term strategy for renewable energy on the island as a whole.

Question No. 163 answered with QuestionNo. 109.

Broadcasting Legislation.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

164 Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for public and private broadcasting in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28051/05]

My core policy objectives for the development of the broadcasting sector are detailed in the statement of strategy, 2003 to 2005 of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. These include to create an environment that encourages the maintenance of high quality Irish radio and television services by both independent broadcasters and RTE; to secure a viable future for high quality public service broadcasting; to seek to retain access to a range of high quality programming in analogue and digital form, on a universal and free-to-air basis.

My key priorities for achieving these objectives include developing the regulatory framework by bringing forward a Bill to provide for the establishment of a single content regulator for both public and private broadcasters and to establish RTE on the lines of a company under the Companies Acts; taking steps to establish TG4 as an independent entity; ensuring adequate public funding for RTE and TG4 so that they can deliver on their statutory mandate; building on progress made in maximising the effectiveness of television licence fee collection; developing proposals to ensure that in a digital era Irish viewers continue to enjoy access to a range of high quality programming; bringing forward proposals for the future licensing of radio services in Ireland.

Irish viewers will be best served by a broadcasting environment that includes a strong public service broadcasting presence in the form of RTE and an independent TG4, together with private broadcasters. Digital television offers opportunities for Irish viewers to avail of an increased number of broadcasting services, including new services of particular relevance or interest to Irish audiences.

Energy Resources.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

165 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if, in view of events in the USA and UK and the difficulties in refining capacity, the effect this will have on the security of supply here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27890/05]

Ireland is a member of the International Energy Agency, IEA, an OECD body which,inter alia, monitors developments in the international oil market. The IEA keeps the oil market situation under constant review. As a member of the IEA, Ireland is required to maintain emergency oil stocks equivalent to at least 90 days of net imports of crude oil equivalent in the previous year. The EU imposes a similar requirement based on consumption. At 1 August 2005 Ireland’s oil stock reserves were estimated at 124 days net imports. The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources has contingency arrangements in place to deal with major oil supply disruptions. In the event of a significant global oil supply crisis, Ireland’s oil reserves would be eked out over an extended period to supplement commercial supplies which would continue to be available, albeit at a reduced level, in the normal course. Reserves provide cover for periods far in excess of their expression in terms of number of days.

There would be no question of Ireland attempting to deal on its own with an international oil supply disruption. If such a crisis were to occur, the response, including the release of emergency stocks and the identification of alternative sources of supply, would take place within the framework of the formal emergency regime developed and maintained by the IEA.

With regard to the recent hurricanes which hit the US, IEA member countries agreed on 2 September 2005 to offer a total of some 60 million barrels of crude oil equivalent to the market over 30 days as a measure to offset production and refining losses. In accordance with IEA rules, the contributions were based on agreed shares of oil consumption. Ireland's contribution, 0.4% of the total required, amounted to a draw on NORA stocks of some 33,000 metric tonnes of gasoline, equivalent to one and a half days of stock reserves. The cargo was sold, via a tender procedure, and has been shipped to the US.

With regard to the UK, while there was a recent threat of a blockade of refineries this did not actually occur and consequently there was no disruption to supplies into Ireland. In the event that such a disruption had materialised I have significant legislative powers to address the situation. Short-term disruptions would probably be met by a drawdown of Government stocks held by the National Oil Reserves Agency into the Irish market.

Notwithstanding the stockdraw and normal commercial fluctuations in the volumes of industry stocks that occur, I am satisfied Ireland's emergency stock levels are more than sufficient to ensure we would be in a position to participate effectively in any further internationally co-ordinated response in the event of a world oil supply crisis or manage any short-term disruption specifically impacting on the Irish market.

Broadcasting Legislation.

Joan Burton

Question:

166 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the broadcasting Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27880/05]

Work is continuing on the development of legislative proposals that will form the basis of a new broadcasting Bill. The priority issues to be addressed by the legislative proposals that will form the basis of a new broadcasting Bill include the establishment of a single content regulator for commercial, community and public service broadcasters; the establishment of RTE as a company under the Companies Acts 1963 to 2003; the provision of a statutory mechanism for future adjustments to the level of the television licence fee; the development of the right-of-reply mechanism, allowing persons whose reputation and good name have been damaged by an assertion of incorrect facts in a television or radio programme to gain redress. The legislative proposals will ensure the broadcasting regulatory environment continues to encourage the parallel development of high quality broadcasting by Irish public service, commercial and community broadcasters. I expect to be in a position to bring proposals to Government later this year, with publication of the Bill in 2006.

Question No. 167 answered with QuestionNo. 90.
Question No. 168 answered with QuestionNo. 92.

Electricity Generation.

Mary Upton

Question:

169 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the state of industrial relations at the ESB; if this will have any effect on the security of supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27887/05]

The state of industrial relations in ESB is a matter to be dealt with in accordance with the established industrial relations procedures within the company and is not one in which I have a function.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Simon Coveney

Question:

170 Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of alternative energy projects funded to date with particular reference to renewable sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28009/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

284 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of alternative energy projects funded to date with particular reference to renewable sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28161/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 284 together.

My Department administers the alternative energy requirement, AER, competitions, the underlying principle of which is that prospective generators are invited to make a formal application to build, own and operate newly installed renewable energy based electricity generating plant and to supply electricity from these to the ESB under a power purchase agreement of up to 15 years. The additional costs of this programme are funded by a levy on all electricity customers known as the public service obligation, PSO, levy. So far, 61 renewable energy projects have received funding under this programme. Further projects currently under construction will receive funding through the PSO when commissioned.

To the best of my knowledge, six projects received funding under Thermie and one under Valoren. These are EU operated programmes and my Department is not involved in their administration.

Sustainable Energy Ireland's research and development programmes and alternative and renewable energy projects have been funded under the renewable energy research, design and development — demonstration projects and studies — and house of tomorrow — housing developments with renewable energy sourced heating — programmes. The number of projects in each category with committed funding is 150 projects in terms of renewable energy research, design and development and 21 in terms of the house of tomorrow programme.

I recently announced the next support programme to further increase the contribution to electricity production from renewable energy sources. This new programme will move away from the competitive tendering model to a fixed price scheme. The detailed draft terms and conditions of the proposed feed-in support programme were posted on my Department's website,www.dcmnr.gov.ie, in draft form on 29 September and interested parties have until today to raise any queries or to furnish any observations on the proposals as published. Following a detailed analysis of the matters raised the new programme, to be known as the renewable energy feed in tariff, REFIT, will be put in place. REFIT will further stimulate the construction of new renewable electricity generating plant. Successful projects under the programme will receive funding through the PSO.

Energy Efficiency.

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Question:

171 Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the measures he will take to ensure that Ireland will achieve the new European goal of 20% energy efficiency improvements by 2020. [27837/05]

The EU Commission has commenced a consultation process on its Green Paper, On Energy Efficiency Or Doing More With Less, which was published on 22 June. A broad consultation is taking place across all branches of Government to ensure a joined up and inclusive response to this initiative. There are three main ways to reduce our energy demand: eliminating waste, cutting back on demand, and using fuels more efficiently. Every stage of every process whether industrial, commercial or domestic will yield efficiencies when examined and all these savings will aggregate to form a substantial total. Even while preserving our economic growth, energy efficiency will allow us to reduce our energy demand, meaning a saving on fuel import bills, a contribution to our Kyoto commitment on greenhouse gases and a payback to the Exchequer and to individuals.

Electricity Generation.

Enda Kenny

Question:

172 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has issued or will issue instructions to the regulator with a view to achieving easier access to the national grid for medium and small energy producers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28025/05]

At present, I have certain limited statutory powers to give directions to the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, and these do not include a power to issue instructions on this matter. They are restricted solely to electricity trading arrangements.

Question No. 173 answered with QuestionNo. 99.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Dan Boyle

Question:

174 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his role in the introduction of co-firing of biomass material in existing peat power stations here; and the impediments to the immediate introduction of such an initiative. [27833/05]

Last April, I announced that I was changing the renewable energy support mechanism from competitive tendering to a fixed feed in tariff mechanism. In September, I announced the support prices for different technology bands including general biomass price support.

The new fixed price tariffs are: large wind energy, over 5 MW, 5.7 cent per KW hour; small wind energy, under 5 MW, 5.9 cent per KW hour; biomass, landfill gas, 7 cent per KW hour; and hydro and other biomass technologies, 7.2 cent per KW hour. It is a matter for the peat station owners to determine the commercial viability of co-firing with other materials based on commercial and environmental considerations. However, the availability of price support as outlined above provides an incentive for fuel switching to be considered.

The detailed draft terms and conditions of the proposed feed in support programme were posted on the Department's website,www.dcmnr.gov.ie, in draft form on 29 September and interested parties have until today to raise any queries or to furnish any observations on the proposals as published.

Postal Services.

Simon Coveney

Question:

175 Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the non-payment of cost of living pay increases promised to An Post staff; his views on the likely consequences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28050/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

256 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the non-payment of cost of living pay increases promised to An Post staff; his views on the likely consequences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28129/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 and 256 together.

An Post is a commercial State body and the question of pay increases in the company is one in which I have no function. An Post has a remit to be financially viable and, following significant losses which amounted to €43 million in 2003 alone, An Post management invoked the "inability to pay" clause provided for in Sustaining Progress.

I believe that an agreement on a viable recovery plan is the only way forward for An Post to deliver quality services to our citizens while at the same time providing sustainable well paid employment for its staff. Therefore, the key challenge for the company is to return to long-term financial stability. In this regard, An Post unions and management were involved in intensive negotiations with the assistance of the State's industrial relations machinery in a bid to agree a recovery plan that will put the company on a sound footing. The question of Sustaining Progress related payments was addressed in a Labour Relations Commission, LRC, brokered process. Assessors appointed by the LRC recommended that An Post was in a position to pay a 5% increase to its employees. This increase, backdated to 1 January 2005, was paid to An Post employees and pensioners at the end of June 2005. I also understand that the assessors' report finds that An Post cannot afford any further elements of Sustaining Progress or the mid-term review of Sustaining Progress other than in the context of securing finalisation on rationalisation and restructuring requirements.

It is my understanding, however, that the An Post unions rejected the assessors' report in its entirety. The matter was then referred to the Labour Court which issued its recommendation on 13 July 2005. The court recommended that on acceptance of the recommendation made in a recent court appointed technical group's report on An Post's collection and delivery service and upon ratification by both parties of the draft agreement annexed to that recommendation, the company should arrange for payment of all 2005 and future increases due under Sustaining Progress. The court further recommended that all retrospective payments relating to the recent 5% increase paid by An Post be made as soon as the company is returned to reasonable and sustainable profit and when commercial circumstances permit.

I understand, however, that on 5 September 2005 the Labour Court's recommendations on the issues of Sustaining Progress and collection and delivery were rejected by the main union in An Post, the Communications Workers Union. It is my understanding that, following a special delegate conference, the union has now decided to ballot its membership for industrial action up to and including strike action. The ballot will be concluded by Friday 21 October.

Fisheries Protection.

Denis Naughten

Question:

176 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the steps he will take to address the impact of drift netting on the tourism sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27762/05]

The central and regional fisheries boards devote considerable effort and resources in collaboration with Tourism Ireland to the promotion of angling abroad. I understand, however, that the overall decline in angling tourism is not unique to Ireland but reflects a trend widespread in Europe. The report of the tourism policy review group to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism in September 2003 observes a decline in activity holidays which is not confined to angling but also includes cycling and hill walking.

While I am aware of the argument that the affect of drift netting on salmon stocks is a reason for the decline in tourism angling in Ireland, I am not aware of any study that supports this premise. I am advised that Tourism Ireland is carrying out research among tour operators involved in promoting special activity holidays. Problems identified include rising costs and access to activities. Tourism Ireland has also identified angling among main areas of activity for which detailed marketing plans have been agreed, targeting the markets offering the best short-term return. Several other supporting activities are identified across all products including greater understanding of international trends in demand for special interest products.

It is my belief that the current strategy of developing a sustainable commercial and recreational salmon fishery through aligning catches on scientific advice holds out the strongest prospect of a recovery of stocks and of a long term sustainable fishery for both sectors.

Question No. 177 answered with QuestionNo. 134.

Prospecting Licences.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

178 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if measures will be brought forward to reform the licensing and exploration system for regulating the exploitation of natural resources here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27896/05]

Marian Harkin

Question:

302 Ms Harkin asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the strategic environmental assessment reports for the offshore waters of Ireland, in particular the Corrib and Kinsale gas fields. [28365/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 and 302 together.

As part of the commitments in the programme for Government, I intend to bring forward proposals for a new Minerals Development Bill to consolidate and update legislation enacted between 1940 and 1999 regulating the non-petroleum minerals sector. Work is under way on this in my Department. I also intend bringing forward Bills to update the legislation governing petroleum exploration and development, namely the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960 and the Continental Shelf Act 1968, and this work is also under way. The terms governing petroleum exploration and development are kept under constant review by my Department. These terms are designed to encourage exploration in the Irish offshore. I have no immediate plans to reform the terms at this time.

Question No. 179 answered with QuestionNo. 109.
Question No. 180 answered with QuestionNo. 126.

Energy Efficiency.

Liz McManus

Question:

181 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the European Parliament’s proposal for a target of 20% alternative energy of the total energy market by 2020; his views on adopting this proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27866/05]

Within the electricity market a target is established to increase the amount of electricity consumed from renewable energy sources to 13.2% by 2010. This is regarded as a challenging target to achieve. Currently, we have 675 MW of renewable capacity connected to our system and to reach the 2010 target of 1,450 MW, we will have to more than double the present renewable capacity. Current industry build rate shows that the required level is achievable. The new fixed price feed in tariff support programme that I announced recently will further stimulate construction. The question of what higher target can be set and in what timeframe is one that requires further analysis and technical input, largely but not exclusively in terms of grid and associated economic issues.

In July my Northern counterpart, Angela Smith, MP, and I published a preliminary consultation paper on an all-island vision for renewable energy to the year 2020 and beyond. The consultation period recently ended and the response has been very encouraging. The aim is to develop a long-term strategy for renewable energy on the island as a whole.

Energy Supply Costs.

Tom Hayes

Question:

182 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the likely negative impact on the economy here of electricity or gas price increases; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that such price increases are likely to be passed on to the consumer; if he has a strategy in response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28029/05]

As the Deputy will be aware, I do not have any function regarding the pricing of gas and electricity. This falls within the statutory remit of the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, the independent regulator for electricity and gas.

I am advised by the CER that as regards electricity prices, the regulated ESB public electricity supplier, PES, prices will increase by an average of 4.11% from 1 January 2006. For domestic customers, the increase will be 3.1%, while for large energy users — commercial and industrial — the increase will be approximately 8.04%. However, the tariff increase which will seen by each individual business customer may be higher or lower than these average figures depending on that customer's level of consumption and consumption pattern.

Electricity price rises have a modest affect on inflation in the economy. Information supplied by the Central Statistics Office to the CER indicate that for every percentage increase in the retail price of electricity, the impact on the consumer price index is only 0.01774. Therefore, the approved 4.11% increase will add 0.0729 to the CPI. The CER has carried out a detailed review of the costs being faced by ESB PES for 2006 in supplying electricity and is satisfied that the tariff increases allowed are correct to cover these costs.

The increase in tariffs for 2006 is primarily driven by increases in the costs of generation for 2006. Oil and gas prices have risen by 50% and 60% respectively in the past year. The average cost of generation to ESB PES has increased from €69.50 per megawatt hour to €89.00 per megawatt hour, wholesale electricity, an increase of 28%.

It should be noted that the CER has also approved reductions in transmission and distribution costs. These savings are seen not only by PES customers but by all customers. Transmission tariffs are 6% lower in 2006 compared to 2005, while the cost of distribution is 10.7% lower in 2006. The PSO levy for 2006 is also 60% lower than the PSO in 2005, a fact which will see an overall reduction in fixed charges on most customers' bills. Furthermore the CER has recently completed a five year review for 2006 to 2010 of ESB's transmission, distribution and supply businesses. This review will impose significant downward pressure on these components of the final tariff over the next five years.

With regard to gas, the CER approved an increase of 25.26% to Bord Gáis energy supply, BGES, gas supply tariffs for the non-daily metered sector. In its application, BGES requested a revenue requirement of €535.88 million or an overall increase of 33.63%. The effect of the approved tariff increase on inflation is 0.135%.

I am advised that the level of price increase was unavoidable due to the high gas costs in the international natural gas market over which neither the CER nor BGES has any control. BGES procures most of its gas from the UK market. Wholesale gas prices in the UK for the year 2005 to 2006 are 69% over last year's levels.

Telecommunications Services.

Richard Bruton

Question:

183 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the action which is being taken to ensure the availability of broadband services to subscribers in areas currently without service, such as the Black Valley in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28043/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

263 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the action which is being taken to ensure the availability of broadband services to subscribers in areas currently without service, such as the Black Valley in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28136/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 263 together.

The provision of broadband services is a matter in the first instance for the private sector companies operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by ComReg. It has been clear for some time that the telecommunications sector has failed to invest at the level necessary to keep pace with the demand for broadband, so my Department's regional broadband programme is addressing the infrastructure deficit by building high speed open access broadband networks in association with the local and regional authorities in the major towns and cities. These metropolitan area networks, MANs, will allow the private sector to offer world class broadband services at competitive costs.

Nineteen MANs are now completed and a further seven are nearing completion. The second phase of the programme involves the building of MANs in a further 93 towns with a population of 1,500 and above that do not have a satisfactory broadband offering from the sector. County Kerry is developing projects in respect of the following towns: Castleisland, Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney, Listowel and Tralee. The route designs are currently being finalised prior to issuing the detailed design invitation to tender. Construction on these projects is expected to commence in early 2006. My Department's website,www.broadband.gov.ie, lists all service providers offering broadband services in all towns in County Kerry and gives contact details for each company with prices for the various service levels on offer.

My Department is currently administering the second call for the county and group broadband scheme, GBS. This scheme is designed to promote investment in broadband access infrastructure in rural communities with populations of 1,500 or less by contributing grant aid of up to 55% of the infrastructure costs. The following GBS community projects in County Kerry have been approved to date: Ballyferriter, Boherbue, Brandon, Caherciveen, Kinard, Ventry, north Kerry, Sliabh Luchra and Tarbert.

Alternative Energy Projects.

John Deasy

Question:

184 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the amount of alternatively sourced electricity produced here as a percentage of total requirement; the way in which this compares with other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, the Scandinavian countries, Austria or Germany; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28068/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

239 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the amount of alternatively sourced electricity produced here as a percentage of total requirement; the way in which this compares with other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, the Scandinavian countries, Austria or Germany; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28111/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 184 and 239 together.

In 2004, the latest year for which figures are available, 5.1% of the gross electricity consumption in Ireland came from renewable energy electricity generating plant. According to official EUROSTAT data, in 2002, the latest year for which it has posted information, the total share of gross electricity consumption from renewables was 2.9% in the United Kingdom, 47% in Sweden, 19.8% in Denmark, 68.3% in Austria and 8.1% in Germany. No data were supplied for Norway. The very high share of renewables in the electricity mix in Sweden and Austria is explained by those countries large hydro-resources. The figure supplied for Ireland by EUROSTAT in 2002 was 5.5%, which is explained by higher hydro-production and lower overall consumption.

Question No. 185 answered with QuestionNo. 109.

Telecommunications Services.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

186 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the details on the terms of the contract to operate the metropolitan area network; the methods in place to invigilate the performance of the operating company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27873/05]

Further to a competitive, public tender process, E-net was awarded the contract to manage, maintain, market and operate the MANs for a period of 15 years. E-net is an independent company based in Limerick and established solely for this purpose. Tight controls exist within the concession agreement to allow the Department to closely monitor E-net's performance. E-net formally reports to the Department on a quarterly basis and is obliged to file various documents throughout the contract term detailing its activities. E-net also publishes an annual set of accounts. The Department is at all times entitled to carry out an audit of the networks.

Question No. 187 answered with QuestionNo. 106.

Broadcasting Policy.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

188 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to establish TG4 as an independent station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27881/05]

A project management group, chaired by my Department and including officials from the Department of Finance and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, along with RTE and TG4 is preparing a plan for the establishment of TG4 as an independent entity. External advisers have been appointed to assist with the preparation of the detailed implementation plan. A draft implementation plan has been received by my Department and will be finalised shortly. The plan will be submitted to Government as soon as possible thereafter.

Energy Resources.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

189 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the negative impact on the economy of increased fuel prices on the world market; the reason it will be necessary to increase prices here in respect of fuels produced nationally; if he will develop or revise energy policy with a view to achieving a greater degree of self-sufficiency with the emphasis on sustainability [27948/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

279 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the negative impact of the economy of increased fuel prices on the world market; the reason it will be necessary to increase prices here in respect of fuels produced nationally; if he will develop or revise energy policy with a view to achieving a greater degree of self-sufficiency with the emphasis on sustainability [28152/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 and 279 together.

Ireland, in line with many of our OECD neighbours, is becoming increasingly reliant on fossil fuel imports. As we are all aware, the cost of these internationally traded commodities, mainly oil and gas, have all increased significantly in recent times. Obviously sustained high fuel costs are not good for any economy and reducing our dependency on these imports represents a major challenge for us all. However, notwithstanding these high costs, the ESRI Quarterly Economic Commentary, published last week, suggests that Ireland's strong economic growth will continue for the foreseeable future. Economic growth as measured by real GDP is forecast to grow by 5.7% this year and by 5% in 2006.

I do not have a function in relation to the pricing of gas or electricity. These are matters which fall under the statutory remit of the Commission for Energy Regulation.

With regard to the development of energy policy, I am in the process of preparing an energy policy paper which I aim to have ready for publication early in 2006. While such a policy document must address a range of complex and interlinked objectives, I am anxious to put an emphasis on the challenge of creating a sustainable energy future.

Consultancy Contracts.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

190 Mr. Gilmore asked the Taoiseach the number of contracts awarded by him to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if he will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28349/05]

Details of all contracts awarded to outside consultants by my Department in respect of each year since 2000 are listed in table 1. Details in respect of bodies under the aegis of my Department are listed in table 2.

Table 1: Department of the Taoiseach

Year of Contract

Supplier

Description

Estimated Cost

Total Expenditure

2000-2002

PricewaterhouseCoopers

eCabinet Consultancy

152,094

152,094

2000

Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, UCD

Study of progress on Partnership

50,789

50,789

2000

Drury Communications

Development of PDMS pack

7,093

7,093

2000

IPA

Development of Guidelines for the preparation of strategy statements & assistance with customer action plans

4,916

4,916

2000

Dominic McCanny

Analysis of HRM Questionnaire

952

952

2000

BFK Design

Development of PDMS pack

14,134

14,134

2001

Hays Management Consultants

Effective systems of feedback on PMDS

45,170

45,774

2001

CBC

Customer Service Guidelines document

152

152

2001

Dr. Jane Pillinger

Equality Diversity Research

38,717

38,717

2001

Arthur Andersen

Management Information Framework

93,440

93,440

2001-2002

Mr. Alex Matheson, OECD

Evaluation of SMI

14,014

14,014

2001-2002

PA Consulting Group

Evaluation of SMI

471,036

491,992

2001

IPA

Preparation of HR Strategy Guidelines document

18,284

18,284

2001-2002

Oracle

Management Information framework

229,623

229,623

2001

Deloitte & Touche

Value for Money Audit of Mobile Phone services

7,618

7,618

2001

IBEC

Review of Health & Safety

4,889

4,889

2001

Hosca Management Consultants

Employee Opinion Survey

12,077

12,077

2002

Octagon Ltd

IT Strategic Principles

8,400

8,400

2002

Dr. Patrick Butler

Evaluation of Customer Action Plans

30,473

30,473

2002

Prof. Philip Lane

Commentary on Better Regulation Submissions

4,500

4,500

2002-2003

Bearing Point

HRMS

103,220

103,220

2003

Watson Wyatt

Employee Opinion Survey

21,300

21,300

2003

Enterprise LSE

London School of Economics provision of training course on regulation

50,820

38,879

2003

Grayling Gilmore PR Consultants*

EU Presidency Logo Launch & Public Relations Campaign

60,000

60,000

2003

Jacobs & Associates

Economic Report

12,947

12,947

2003

Langley Freeman Design Group

Production of Link Newsletter

35,884

35,884

2003

Martin Cave

Economic Report

589

589

2003

Design ID Ltd

Production of Link Newsletter

50,712

50,712

2004

Red Dog Design

EU Presidency Awareness Campaign

65,740

65,740

2004

Des Geraghty

Affordable Housing Initiative

1,050

1,050

2004

Hay Group Ireland Ltd

4,670

4,670

2004

Carr Communications

Disability Bill

12,147

12,147

2004

Good Practice Ltd

Tailoring of on-line toolkit for Department Intranet

33,350

33,350

2004

McCann Fitzgerald

Redress Report

45,375

76,894

2004

Watson Wyatt

Employee Opinion Survey

27,947

27,947

2004

The Design Consultancy

Step by Step Guide to the PMDS System

4,719

4,719

2004

Carr Communications

Development and delivery of Career Development Programme

68,100

62,646

2004

Paddy Walley

Ingenuity Project

6,000

6,000

2004

Grayling Gilmore

PR re EU Presidency

21,023

21,023

2004

Red Dog Design

EU Presidency Posters

2,060

2,060

2004

David Donaghy

Day of Welcomes production

28,900

28,900

2004

Academic Conferences Ltd

ECEG Conference Management

53,240

53,240

2004

Langley Freeman Design Group

Production of Link Newsletter

140,000

146,000

2004

HCM International

Research on the integration of the PMDS system with HR policies and processes

39,930

Ongoing

2004-2005

Goodbody Economic Consultants

Economic assistance to Departments piloting regulatory Impact Analysis

21,780

21,054 ongoing

2004

RTE

EU Presidency Consultancy Services

35,256

35,256

2004

Elucidate

eCabinet Design Summary Screen

8,546

8,546

2005

Tansey, Webster Stewart & Co

Affordable Housing Proposal

9,680

9,680

2005

Hay Group (Ireland) Ltd

Business Plan Facilitation

3,876

3,876

2005

Graham and Stapleton Design Consultants

Progress report on Special Initiatives

6,345

6,345

2005

Pan Research Ltd

Customer Service Evaluation Report

6,313

6,313

2005

Des Geraghty

Affordable Housing Initiative

2,625

2,625

2005

Design Consultancy

Design for Strategy Statement

809

809

2005

Design Consultancy

Guide to Government Buildings

11,809

11,809

2005

Enterprise LSE

Training course on regulation

59,600

41,343

2005

First Impression

Design of “Reaching Out” Guidelines on Consultation for Public Sector Bodies

10,200

13,225

2005

First Impression

Design of report on the introduction of Regulatory Impact Analysis

8,200

14,254

2005

Slick Fish Design

Design & Print of “Guidelines on Regulatory Impact Anaysis”

21,059

Ongoing

2005

Boyd Freeman Design

Three-year rolling contract for the production of LINK newsletter

324,500

101,385 ongoing

2002-2005

InVision Research Ltd

Developing and implementing the eCabinet initiative, including business process analysis, design and software systems development and transition to application maintenance

1,236,217 ongoing

*Met from funds provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Prior to commencement of the e-Cabinet project, PwC was engaged as consultant to advise on its feasibility. Details are given in the table above. Since then, the main expenditure on eCabinet has been in respect of development rather than consultancy. The software developers are the InVision Research Corporation. The original estimate for the project set out in the PwC feasibility study in 2001 was up to €6.45 million at 2001 values. The fixed price contract negotiated with InVision is for a total amount of €952,000. The final cost of the project, which will also include security, hardware, software licences, support and maintenance, etc. is expected to be around €5 million. That includes the cost of a small number of additional service providers engaged to build the infrastructure and to provide security for the system.

Table 2: Bodies under the aegis of the Department of the Taoiseach.

Information Society Commission

Year of Contract

Supplier

Description

Estimated Cost

Total Expenditure

2000

MRBI

Research into awareness and usage of information and communications technology amongst Irish businesses

21,332

21,332

2000

MRBI

Research into General Public Awareness and usage of ICT

32,355

32,355

2000

Paul Tanney

Report on Personal use of technology

317

317

2000

NW Labs

To examine the issues of convergence and the implications for telecommunications communications regulation in Ireland

26,977

26,977

2000

Centre for Research in Technology in Education

Research Material for Seminar

20,890

20,890

2000

Dunnion Partners

Development of Government websites review and report

4,609

4,609

2000

KMPG

Investigation of tax incentives & barriers to eworking in Ireland

6,349

6,349

2000

Barry McCall

Copywriting of Business & General Research reports

1,371

1,371

2000

Farrell Grant

Research into future needs for Irelands development as an Information Society

30,669

30,669

2001

Chapman Flood Mazars

Auditing services supplied for Equalskills initiative

19,600

19,600

2002

Chinook Consulting

Evaluation of Equalskills Initiative

18,165

18,165

2002

ElectricNews.net

Production of eGovernment Ireland Bulletin

24,040

24,040

2002

Text 100

Messaging Workshop of ISC members

6,655

6,655

2002

MRBI

Business survey on attitudes to the Information Society in Ireland

28,740

28,740

2002

MRBI

General Public survey on attitudes to the Information Society in Ireland

56,628

56,628

2002-2003

Models Research (now Itech Research)

Consultancy and report on inclusive Information Society Development

59,931

59,931

2002

Accenture

Consultancy and report on a National ePayments strategy

155,334

155,334

2002-2005

Fleischman-Hillard Saunders

Engaged on a retainer basis to manage a communications and media strategy for the ISC

133,677

133,677

2003

Parallel IT

Electronic Document Management Exchange

13,613

13,613

2003

Sonas Innovation

Consultancy and report on Irelands Broadband Future

49,610

49,610

2003

CBC

Editorial Work on Broadband report

3,993

3,993

2003

DCU

Research on Perspectives of Information Society Thinkers

6,655

6,655

2003

ESRI

Analysis of General Public and Business Surveys 1996-2002

7,260

7,260

2004

Version 1 Software

Report on the assessment of the eHealth progress and potential benefits

48,400

48,400

2005

William Desmond

Ethics Conference

991

991

National Forum on Europe

Year of Contract

Supplier

Description

Estimated Cost

Total Expenditure

2002

Keating and Assoicates

Media Strategy and market Survey

6,278

6,278

2002-2005

Caroline Erskine

PR Consultancy

179,589

Ongoing

2002-2005

Conor Joyce

PR Consultancy

85,568

Ongoing

All Party Committee on the Constitution

Year of Contract

Supplier

Description

Estimated Cost

Total Expenditure

2001

Gerard Hogan S.C.

Research on Referenda

480

480

2000

Moss Technologies

Year 2000 Compliance

307

307

2000-2001

Shelbourne Public Affairs

PR

16,837

16,837

2000

Sureskills.com

IT Support

3,687

3,687

2000-2001

Diarmuid Rossa Phelan

Legal research

6,200

6,200

2001

Richard Humphreys

Research on rights

16,349

16,349

2002

Sean de Freine

Feasibility study

500

500

2002-2003

Donal O’Maolfabhaile

PR Consultancy

11,600

11,600

Tribunal of Inquiry (Payments to Messrs. Charles Haughey and Michael Lowry)

Year of Contract

Supplier

Description

Estimated Cost

Total Expenditure

2000

Confidential

Commercial research

3,851

3,851

2001

Ionet Ltd

Demonstration

107

107

2001

Moss technology

Report on Tribunal IT network and system

3,055

3,055

2003

Confidential

Specialist Data etc

46,948

46,948

2004

Peter Bacon & Associates

Analysis and Advice

50,820

50,820

National Centre for Partnership and Performance

Year of Contract

Supplier

Description

Estimated Cost

Total Expenditure

2001-2002

Bradley McGurk Partnership

Corporate Identity

25,242

25,242

2001

Woodgrange Consultancies

Irish Times 2000

7,999

7,999

2001

Bill Roche

Consultative Process and Strategic Planning

31,743

31,743

2001

Tom Neville

Guidelines on Organisational change

20,570

20,570

2001-2003

Bradley McGurke

Corporate Identity

1,116

1,116

2002

Options Consultancy

Information & Consultation Project

5,445

5,445

2002-2003

Options Consultancy

Learning Strategy

2,420

2,420

2003

Options Consultancy

Learning Strategy

11,206

11,206

2003

Tom Neville

Employee Financial Involvement

30,949

30,949

2003

Paern Kandola

Competency Development

11,206

11,206

2003

ESRI

Surveys (Forum on the Workplace of the Future)

76,481

76,481

2003

Align Management Solutions

Health Strategy using a Partnership Approach

7,000

7,000

2003

Roy Greene

Scoping paper (Forum on the Workplace of the Future)

4,980

4,980

2003

Maria Maguire

Scoping paper (Forum on the Workplace of the Future)

26,988

26,988

2003

John Geary

Scoping paper (Forum on the Workplace of the Future)

5,600

5,600

2003

Align Management Solutions

Consultation paper (Forum on the Workplace of the Future)

1,400

1,400

2004

Brian Moss

Forum on the Workplace of the Future

9,600

9,600

2004

William Roche

Forum on the Workplace of the Future

13,197

13,197

2004

Maria Maguire

Forum on the Workplace of the Future

13,672

13,672

2004

John Caden

Public Relations

83,445

83,445

2004

ESRI

Surveys (Forum on the Workplace of the Future)

28,785

28,785

2005

Maria Maguire

Forum on the Workplace of the Future

11,514

11,514

National Economic and Social Forum

Year of Contract

Supplier

Description

Estimated Cost

Total Expenditure

2000

Agtel

Social Housing

38,092

38,092

2000

NI Housing Executive

Social Housing

7,389

7,389

2000

C. O’Connell

Social Housing

1,206

1,206

2000

Freda Keeshan

Lone Parents

2,971

2,971

2000

Hay Consultants

Labour Shortages

2,920

2,920

2000

Mary Murphy

Labour Shortages

1,778

1,778

2001

Kieran McKeown

Lone Parents

6,223

6,223

2000

Anne Clark

Lone Parents

4,400

4,400

2000

NUI Maynooth

Lone Parents

7,927

7,927

2000

Goodbody

Draft opinion on National Anti Poverty Strategy

3,143

3,143

2000

UCD (Equality Studies Centre)

Draft Opinion on Equality issues

18,056

18,056

2000

Professor Chris McCrudden

Draft Opinion on Equality issues

2,184

2,184

2001

Ian O’Donnell

Prisoners and ex-offenders

6,096

6,096

2001

Tamarron

Work on NESF Report No. 23

5,079

5,079

2002

ESRI (Brian Nolan)

Health

8,832

8,832

2002

ESRI (Emer Smyth)

Early School Leavers

3,892

3,892

2002

Maureen Lynott

Evaluation of working arrangements

3,239

3,239

2002

Eithne Fitzgerald

Older workers

3,600

3,600

2002

Jerry Sexton

Older workers

15,392

15,392

2002

ESRI Survey

Older workers

15,730

15,730

2002

ESRI Questionnaire

Social Capital

12,342

12,342

2002

PA Consulting Services Ltd

LGB’s

8,105

8,105

2002

Ann Clarke

Older workers

3,282

3,282

2003

Mary Murphy

NAPS

400

400

2003

Carmel Corrigan

NAPS

3,939

3,939

2003

Mary Murphy

Child Income support paper

1,440

1,440

2003

Bernard McDonagh

LGB’s

1,431

1,431

2004

Ita Mangan

Co-op

3,030

3,030

2005

Peter Humphries

Delivery of Quality Public Services

1,236

1,236

2005

C. Corrigan

NAPS

1,970

1,970

2005

Brian Nolan

NAPS

1,252

1,252

2005

Colm Harmon

Early Childhood Care and Education

6,323

6,323

2005

RAND Europe

Evidence Based Policy Making Seminar

£6,737stg.

£6,737stg.

2005

WRC Consultants

Creating a more inclusive labour market

15,094

15,094

2005

Patricia Quinn

Cultural Citizenship

15,150

15,150

2005

Eustace Patterson

Creating a more inclusive labour market

4,292

4,292

National Economic and Social Council

Year of Contract

Supplier

Description

Estimated Cost

Total Expenditure

2001

ESRI

Research re Strategic review of Tax and Welfare system under PPF

12,697

12,697

2001

Sile O’Connor

Research for reports 107 & 108

6,984

6,984

2001

J Visser

Paper for Report No 111

13,069

13,069

2001

Indecon Consultants

Regional Development in the North West

21,202

21,202

2003

Edgeworth Organisational Consultants

PR Consultancy

1,200

1,200

2004

UPE Consultancy Ltd

Housing Workshop

7,139

7,139

2004

Kathleen Scanlon

Housing Workshop

889

889

2004

Bill O’Herlihy Communications

Professional Services for NESC’s 30th Anniversary Conference

3,779

3,779

2004

Katholieke Universiteit

Housing Workshop

3,147

3,147

2004

Prof. G Meen

Housing Workshop

1,538

1,538

2004

Bill O’Herlihy Communications

Professional Services for EESC Conference

3,025

3,025

2004

Intl. Org. for Migration

Consultancy fees for NESC Migration Policy Study

119,692

119,692

2005

O’Herlihy Communications

Professional Services for media coverage of housing report

4,273

4,273

2005

Ms Bernadette Andreosso

Consultancy fees for “Ireland & Globalisation” Strategy report

7,000

7,000

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

191 Ms Burton asked the Taoiseach the bonus or merit payments awarded to senior officials and staff each year since 2000, detailing the management and staff category; the purpose and the amount of the award and the highest award made and to whom. [28384/05]

Civil Service posts at the levels of assistant secretary and deputy secretary are covered by a scheme of performance related awards. The operation of the scheme is overseen by the committee for performance awards. The funding for awards is based on 10% of the payroll for the posts covered by the scheme. Within this overall limit, payments of up to 20% can be made to individuals.

Details of the procedures, the numbers covered by the scheme, the range of awards and the total amounts paid in Departments are outlined in the annual reports of the committee, available on the website,www.finance.gov.ie. The committee does not identify the amount paid to individuals as this is regarded as personal information.

Prior to the introduction of the revised scheme in 2002, there was a scheme for assistant secretaries which was based on 4% of the assistant secretary group pay bill. Details of the amounts paid in 2000 and 2001 and other bonus payments made to staff in my Department are set out in the following table.

Recognition Awards 2000-2005

Year

Total Amount

Higher

2000

(a) Individual Award — Assistant Sec. Bonus Scheme

8,162.90

2,978.81

— Y2K Retention Bonus

49,757

14,284

(b) Team Award

N/A

N/A

(c) Cross Departmental Team Awards

11,768

N/A

(d) Millennium Office (Performance Bonus Award)

5,000

5,000

2001

(a) Individual Award — Assistant Sec. Bonus Scheme

10,149.24

2,537.31

(b) Team Award

N/A

N/A

(c) Cross Departmental Team Awards

16,010

N/A

(d) Millennium Office (Performance Bonus Award)

5,000

5,000

2002

(a) Cross Departmental Team Awards

15,510

N/A

(b) Millennium Office (Performance Bonus Award)

5,000

5,000

2003

(a) Individual Award

517

517

(b) Team Award

4,513

517

(c) Cross Departmental Team Awards

16,398

N/A

2004

(a) Individual Awards

3,000

12 x 250

500

500

(b) Team Awards

4,000

100 to each team member

(c) Cross Departmental Team Awards

15,803

72

Consultancy Contracts.

Joan Burton

Question:

192 Ms Burton asked the Taoiseach the consultancies awarded to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997; the cost of each; and the purpose of same. [28401/05]

Details of consultancies awarded by my Department to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997 are given in the following table.

Description of consultancy

Overall cost

Date

Business analysis and review of financial management function

€46,691

1999-2000

Value for money audit of mobile phones

€7,618

2001

Nursing Home Subventions.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

193 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the refund of nursing home charges under the national repayment scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [28182/05]

As the Deputy will be aware, the placing of a person in a private nursing home is a private matter between the person or his or her representatives and the nursing home proprietor, as are the fees charged in these facilities. The Health (Nursing Homes) Act 1990 allows for the payment of a subvention towards the cost of such care based on a medical and means assessment. The process used in determining a person's eligibility for subvention is set out in the Nursing Homes Regulations 1993.

The repayment scheme for charges for publicly funded residential long-term care does not apply to individuals in private nursing homes who pay the full cost of private nursing home care or who have entered these homes under the nursing home subvention scheme.

Any person who considers that he or she or a family member may be eligible for repayment may register his or her interest in advance with Health Service Executive, HSE, by writing to the National Refund Scheme, HSE Midland Area, Arden Road, Tullamore, County Offaly; or by e-mail torefundscheme@mailq.hse.ie; or by calling the helpline 1800 777737 during office hours.

Hospital Services.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

194 Mr. Connaughton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when funding will be made available to the authorities at Cappagh Hospital, Dublin to purchase software which will enable a bone scan machine to measure children’s bones; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the cost of this software is only €5,000; if her attention has further been drawn to the anxiety the non-availability of this software is causing to parents and children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28183/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

195 Mr. Connaughton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if services will be curtailed at Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe, County Galway as a result of the proposal by the Health Service Executive to promote the concept of only four hospital networks for the entire country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28184/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Care of the Elderly.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

196 Mr. Connaughton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will gain entry to a nursing home; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28185/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Mary Wallace

Question:

197 Ms M. Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the average annual funding per person in he intellectual disability sector for a day activation place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28186/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

John McGuinness

Question:

198 Mr. McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive south-east region will assist in the planning, delivery and funding of community and health facilities at Bagnelstown, County Carlow through Bagnelstown Family Resource Centre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28188/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Denis Naughten

Question:

199 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if funding will be approved for a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim; the cost of providing the previous service in Parkanaur Training College, Dungannon; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28274/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

200 Mr. Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her plans to provide additional facilities for persons suffering from dementia and Alzheimer diseases in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28275/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Jack Wall

Question:

201 Mr. Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for funding (details supplied) to her Department; when a decision will be made on the application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28276/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

202 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when it is proposed to provide the necessary funding to enable the next phase of the Naas Hospital development plan to proceed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28277/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Michael Ring

Question:

203 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason orthodontic treatment is not being offered to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [28278/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Service Staff.

Mildred Fox

Question:

204 Ms Fox asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the need for an additional outreach worker for a refuge (details supplied) and if funding will be increased to this group in order to provide it. [28279/05]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Nursing Home Subventions.

Richard Bruton

Question:

205 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the categories of long stay accommodation which are covered by the refund scheme as a result of unlawful deduction of charges; if community homes catering for persons with a disability or with a psychiatric illness are covered; the steps taken so far to contact those believed eligible for refunds in all categories; the number of persons to whom a €2,000 interim payment have been made and the number to whom no such payment has been made; and the entitlement of estates of persons who are now deceased. [28311/05]

The Government has agreed the key elements of a scheme for the repayment of long stay charges for publicly funded residential care. All those fully eligible persons, including those with disability or psychiatric illness who were illegally charged for long stay care in an inpatient setting, will have the charges repaid in full. The estates of all those who were charged and died in the six years prior to 9 December 2004 will have the charges repaid in full. The scheme will not allow for repayments to the estates of those who died more than six years prior to that date. The repayments will include both the actual charge paid and an amount to take account of inflation, using the consumer price index, since the time the person involved was charged.

Legislation will be brought before the Oireachtas as soon as possible to provide a clear legal framework for the scheme. In the case of those who were charged and are still alive, the repayments will be exempt from tax and will not be taken into account in assessing means for health and social welfare benefits. The normal tax and means assessment arrangements will apply to those who benefit from repayments to estates.

The legislation will include appropriate safeguards to prevent exploitation of those who receive repayments and are not in a position to manage their own financial affairs. The scheme will include a provision to allow those eligible for a repayment to waive their right to a repayment and have the money assigned to fund one-off service improvements in elderly, mental health and disability services. A national oversight committee has been appointed and has already begun its work. It will provide an independent input into the design of the scheme and will monitor the operation of the scheme in order to ensure that it is being implemented quickly and in the most equitable and effective way possible. The scheme will be designed and managed with the aim of ensuring that those who are eligible for repayments receive them as soon as possible and with the minimum possible imposition in terms of bureaucracy. Priority will be given to those who are still alive. Many of those eligible for repayments have already been identified under theex gratia payments process. The scheme will include a transparent and thorough appeals process.

An outside organisation with experience in handling mass claims will be engaged by the Health Service Executive, HSE, to design and manage the scheme within the parameters of the key principles approved by Government. The company selected will work closely with the HSE to ensure that the necessary co-operation is forthcoming on records held by the health agencies. The HSE has received expressions of interest from a number of companies and these have been short-listed. It is anticipated that the successful organisation will be selected in November and will begin work on the design of the scheme. The national helpline has been set up by the HSE to allow people to register if they believe they are due a repayment. This will continue to operate but there is no need for anyone who has already registered using this facility to make contact with the HSE again to register for the scheme. Figures provided by the HSE up to and including 5 September 2005 indicate that 9,928 people have received payment under theex gratia scheme. My Department has requested the HSE to provide the further information requested by the Deputy.

Consultancy Contracts.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

206 Mr. Gilmore asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of contracts awarded by her to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if she will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28350/05]

The information requested is being collated in my Department and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Hospital Services.

Paul McGrath

Question:

207 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the additional accommodation which will be provided in view of the planned fit out of the ward accommodation in the shelled out area of phase 2b of Mullingar General Hospital; the nature of the additional beds; and the other facilities which will be provided in this fit out. [28376/05]

Paul McGrath

Question:

208 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the facilities and Departments which are being left out of the first stage of development in view of the planned fit out of shelled out area of phase 2b of Mullingar General Hospital; the timescale for the completion of this design process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28377/05]

Paul McGrath

Question:

209 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a review of the annual running costs of phase 2b of Mullingar General Hospital will be complete; the timeframe for the completion of this review; the benchmarking of other hospitals which will be taken on board in reviewing costs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28378/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 to 209, inclusive, together.

The Deputy's questions relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive, HSE, under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for considering new capital proposals or progressing those in the health capital programme. The HSE has made provision to progress the phase 2B development at Mullingar within the health capital investment framework 2005-2009.

It was recently decided to fast-track the first phase of the development, which involves the completion of the fit out of the ward accommodation in the shelled out area. The design team is currently preparing detailed drawings with the intention of going to tender in March 2006. With this in mind, a prior indicative notice, PIN, is to be lodged in theEU Journal shortly. Planning permission is also to be sought, and the target completion date for the fit out of the shelled area is early 2007.

The first stage of the project, as planned to date, includes the provision of an additional 43 beds, mainly medical and surgical. The design work on the second stage of the project is to continue in parallel with the fit out and equipping of the shelled accommodation project. The second stage will include the provision of the following new facilities: pathology department; operating department; medicine for the elderly — rehabilitation unit; acute psychiatric unit; child and adolescent psychiatric unit; occupational therapy department; administrative accommodation; staff accommodation; education facilities; catering facilities; and new entrance concourse.

The second stage of the project as planned to date provides for a further 16 additional beds, mainly for day cases, as well as accommodating the transfer of 50 rehabilitation and acute psychiatric beds from facilities currently located outside the hospital. It has been estimated by the Health Service Executive that additional revenue funding of the order of €10 million, excluding inflation, will be required on an annual basis to run the shelled out area when it is fully fitted out. This estimate reflects a combination of the additional pay and non-pay costs required. Given the significant level of additional annual revenue costs associated with the project, I have asked that an independent review of the estimate be conducted, to ensure that the estimate represents best value for money. The terms of reference for the review are currently being finalised. A steering group will oversee the review and will facilitate access to other health care facilities which the reviewer may consider it necessary to examine. It is intended that the review will be completed prior to the project going to tender as planned and therefore will not delay the project.

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

210 Ms Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the bonus or merit payments awarded to senior officials and staff each year since 2000, detailing the management and staff category; the purpose and the amount of the award and the highest award made and to whom. [28385/05]

My Department makes payments under a number of schemes as follows. Civil Service posts at the levels of assistant secretary and deputy secretary are covered by a scheme of performance related awards. The operation of the scheme is overseen by the committee for performance awards. The funding for awards is based on 10% of the payroll for the posts covered by the scheme. Within this overall limit, payments of up to 20% can be made to individuals. Details of the procedures, the numbers covered by the scheme, the range of awards and the total amounts paid in Departments are outlined in the annual reports of the committee, available on the websitewww.finance.gov.ie. The committee does not identify the amount paid to individuals as this is regarded as personal information. The Deputy has sought information dating from 2000. Prior to the introduction of the revised scheme in 2002, there was a scheme for assistant secretaries which was based on 4% of the pay bill for the group of assistant secretaries. Payments made under the above schemes are as follows. In 2001 a total of €21,420.48 was awarded to seven individuals and in 2002 a total of €11,172.00 was awarded to four individuals. The awards paid in 2001 are in respect of two years to 31 April 2001. The awards paid in 2002 are in respect of the eight month period to 31 December 2001.

On payments in relation to the EU Presidency, the following payments were made in 2004 and 2005 in respect of consistent and exceptional attendance by principal officers and assistant principal officers, non-overtime grades, in respect of the special extra attendance required in the context of the EU Presidency. A total of €64,383 was paid to 22 officers. Details are as follows.

Grade

Amount

Number

Principal Officer

5,000.00

2

Principal Officer

2,500.00

3

Principal Officer

2,083.00

1

Assistant Principal Officer

4,200.00

7

Assistant Principal Officer

2,100.00

5

Assistant Principal Officer

1,750.00

1

Assistant Principal Officer

1,050.00

3

The purpose of the INPUT scheme is to facilitate and encourage the submission of suggestions by eligible civil servants aimed at improving Civil Service operations. All grades up to and including principal officer and their equivalents are eligible to submit suggestions. My Department made the following payments under the INPUT staff suggestion scheme.

Year

Grade

Amount

Number

2001

Porter

959.52

1

2001

Assistant Principal Officer

63.49

1

2001

Assistant Principal Officer

38.09

1

2002

Porter

2,685.76

1

2005

Executive Officer

2,540.00

1

On the merit award scheme, the Minister for Finance sanctioned expenditure from subhead A.1 forex gratia payments or other awards to individual staff members or groups of staff in recognition of exceptional performance of duty provided that such expenditure can be met from within the overall allocations and does not exceed 0.2% of the subhead A.1 allocation. It enables Departments and offices to grant awards to staff and is considered to make a valuable contribution as part of the overall reward and motivation system in the Civil Service. Under this scheme awards in my Department are made under the headings of exceptional performance; departmental activities which promote team building and social cohesion; hardship; and awards recognising long service and retirement. Details of the individual awards made are as follows.

Category

Year

Individual / Group

Amount

Number

Total

Exceptional Performance

2002

Assistant Principal Officer

1,015.76

1

1,015.76

Exceptional Performance

2003

Principal Officer

4,276.39

1

4,276.39

Exceptional Performance

2003

Clerical Officers

500.00

4

2,000.00

Exceptional Performance

2003

Executive Officer

500.00

1

500.00

Exceptional Performance

2003

Higher Executive Officer

500.00

1

500.00

Exceptional Performance

2004

Clerical Officers

500.00

4

2,000.00

Exceptional Performance

2004

Higher Executive Officer

500.00

1

500.00

Exceptional Performance

2004

Assistant Principal Officers

500.00

3

1,500.00

250.00

1

250.00

200.00

2

400.00

Exceptional Performance

2004

Principal Officers

500.00

1

500.00

250.00

1

250.00

Exceptional Performance

2004

Group Individual

1,000.00

4

4,000.00

Various

48

1,500.00

Retirement

2003

Individual

500.00

2

1,000.00

Retirement

2004

Individual

500.00

9

4,500.00

Retirement

2005

Individual

500.00

4

2,000.00

Hardship

2003

Individuals

2,000.00

Hardship

2004

Individuals

2,000.00

Long Service

2004

Various Grades

185

10,580.84

Consultancy Contracts.

Joan Burton

Question:

211 Ms Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the consultancies awarded to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997; the cost of each; and the purpose of same. [28402/05]

The consultancies awarded by my Department are as follows:

Consultancies

Year Awarded

Total Cost

Managing Reporting and Control Service Planning, and Financial Position of Tallaght Hospital

1998

149,000

Development of Annual Financial Statements Reporting system for Voluntary Hospitals and Agencies funded by Department of Health & Children

1999

51,193

Value for Money Audit of the Irish Health System

2000

615,757

The Evaluation of ‘Cancer Services in Ireland’ A National Strategy 1996

2002

134,000

Reports on the Management Information Framework and Review of Internal Audit and Internal Financial Controls in the Department of Health & Children

2003

145,695

Rostered Year Replacement Ratio Project (Nursing Degree Students)

2003

134,421

Hospitals Building Programme.

Joan Burton

Question:

212 Ms Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the discussions, advice or information she has had in relation to the establishment of a private hospital in the grounds of the Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15; the personwith whom she has had these discussions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28416/05]

Over the last year, I have had discussions with numerous people on a great variety of different proposals to develop private hospitals on public hospital grounds throughout the country. In relation to Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown, I have accepted invitations to attend two meetings hosted by Dr. Conor Burke, consultant respiratory physician at Connolly Memorial Hospital. One was attended by many of the consultants at the hospital, a representative of the hospital's management and its director of nursing, the Secretary General of my Department, an official from the Department of Finance and my special adviser. Among the many topics discussed were the potential for the development of step down beds and a private hospital.

The other was attended by Mr. Bernard MacNamara, Mr. Noel Corcoran and my special adviser, Mr. Oliver O'Connor. I listened to a presentation of ideas about step down facilities and a private hospital. I recently made a policy direction to the board of the Health Service Executive in relation to private hospital developments that would free up new public beds. It is for the HSE to implement this policy.

Medical Cards.

Joan Burton

Question:

213 Ms Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the role of community welfare officers in assessing and approving the new doctor only visit medical cards in view of the fact that the published criteria for the allocation of such cards is based on income levels and means tests clearly set out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28419/05]

Joan Burton

Question:

214 Ms Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the extent of computerisation of community welfare officers in each county and health centre; the proportion of community welfare officers who have computer systems fully integrated with revenue and social welfare computer databases suitable for verifying incomes and means tests for the purposes of granting full medical cards and the new doctor visit only medical cards. [28420/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 213 and 214 together.

The Deputy's questions relate primarily to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive, HSE, under the Health Act 2004. The determination of eligibility of applications for a medical card is a matter by legislation for the HSE. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have the matters concerned investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

In examining applications for medical cards the HSE undertakes an assessment of the income of the applicant, and spouse, if any, after income tax and PRSI have been deducted. Allowances are made, where relevant, in respect of dependants and for reasonable expenses incurred in relation to child care, rent or mortgage and commuting to work. Medical cards may be made available by the HSE where the income guidelines are exceeded in circumstances, for example, where there is heavy demand for medical services.

Tax Code.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

215 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Finance if he will extend the July 2006 deadline for the completion of qualifying hotel projects in respect of the current tax incentive schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28205/05]

As the Deputy is aware I announced in my 2005 Budget Statement that I had directed my Department, together with the Revenue Commissioners, to undertake a detailed review of various property tax reliefs and exemptions. These reliefs include the tax incentive for hotels. As these are being prepared in the context of forthcoming budgets, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

216 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider in the context of budget 2006 exempting old age pensioners from payment of VAT on piped gas in view of the recent increase in the cost of same. [28206/05]

The position is that the rate of VAT that applies to a particular good or service is determined by the nature of the good or service, and not by the status of the customer. The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. There is no provision in European VAT law that would allow the application of an exemption from VAT for supplies to old age pensioners.

However, under the social welfare code, the household benefits package, which comprises the electricity-gas allowance, telephone allowance and free lifetime television licence is available to people living permanently in the State. People aged over 70 years of age can qualify regardless of their income or household composition. The package is also available to carers. Customers under the age of 70 who are in receipt of a qualifying payment and live alone or only with certain categories of people may also have an entitlement to the package. For those customers aged between 66 and 69 years and who are not in receipt of a qualifying payment, a means test must be satisfied to determine eligibility for the package.

The electricity allowance covers the normal standing charge and up to 1,800 units of electricity each year. At current prices, the value of the electricity allowance to the consumer is approximately €339 per annum for urban dwellers, and €381 for rural dwellers, inclusive of VAT at 13.5%. An electricity group account allowance may be paid if a customer lives in self-contained accommodation and operates an electricity slot meter or where the registered consumer of electricity is the landlord. Payment is made by way of 12 vouchers at an annual value of €360, inclusive of VAT at 13.5%.

Alternatively, if the natural gas allowance option is selected, the customer is entitled to the supply charge and up to 1,674 kwh of gas per year. The annual value of this is up to €313 per annum inclusive of VAT at 13.5%. If the person's home is not connected to an electricity or natural gas supply, the person is entitled to 15 cylinders of bottled gas per annum at an annual value of approximately €320 inclusive of VAT at 13.5%.

The telephone allowance is paid as a credit on the customer's telephone bill. The value of the allowance is €24.70 per month, including VAT, or €296.40 per annum.

Pension Provisions.

Paul McGrath

Question:

217 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the cost per annum, to the State, of providing tax free lump sums, over the past ten years to private sector occupational pension scheme members per year; the number of members who benefit and the amount of benefit enjoyed by the top ten members for each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28250/05]

Paul McGrath

Question:

218 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the annual cost to the State of providing tax free lump sums over the past ten years to all pension scheme members; the number of members who benefited and the amount of benefit enjoyed by the top ten members for each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28251/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 218 together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that it is not possible to provide the cost sought by the Deputy in regard to the payment of tax free lump sums because the relevant data is not captured in such a way as to make this possible. The only relevant data available are estimates of the cost of tax forgone to the Exchequer derived at aggregated level from very tentative estimates of aggregated amounts paid out under pension schemes. The tentative estimates of cost are based on the taxpayer's marginal rate and the figures, which are available for the years 1997 to 2002, the latest available, are as follows:

Estimated cost to the Exchequer of tax free lump sums

Year

All tax free lump sums

€ million

1997

68

1998

85

1999

114

2000

124

2001*

102

2002

147

* The 2001 short income tax year was a short transitional tax "year" running from 6 April to 31 December 2001 which preceded the first full calendar tax year 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002. The tentative estimate attributed to this year will not be directly comparable with those of earlier or later years.

Decentralisation Programme.

Richard Bruton

Question:

219 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if he will indicate the floor area of office space occupied in Dublin by each of the proposed early mover decentralisation locations; the floor area proposed in each case to be provided in the new decentralised location and the current estimate of site acquisition, construction, fit out and commissioning costs involved; and if he will indicate in respect of each the buildings which will be sold or the bases terminated at the Dublin location. [28314/05]

Under the initial phase of the decentralisation programme approximately 90,000 sq m of office accommodation will be provided in the regions for staff moving out of Dublin. A broadly equivalent amount of space will as a consequence be vacated in the Dublin area. The approach to the disposal of the space to be vacated in Dublin is under consideration. Ultimately, any decisions on disposals will depend on a range of factors including the particular requirements of the Departments remaining in Dublin; the specific circumstances associated with each building including location, quality and design, tenure, office area and whether its leasehold or freehold; the timing of property disposals as sales are directly affected by the prevailing market conditions; and the timing of the relocation of staff to decentralised offices.

The cost of acquiring sites or properties for the early mover Departments is estimated to be in the region of €47 million excluding VAT. Although property solutions will include leasing and fitting out of existing buildings, it is anticipated that, in the majority of cases, the accommodation facilities will be provided by the construction of new office buildings and cost estimation can be approached on this basis. However, in advance of market testing of any procurement methodology, it is possible, at this time, only to assign the most general measurements of cost to such a large-scale, diverse and complex programme.

Current OPW cost norms in respect of offices would indicate an average build cost to fit out standard in the range of €1,800 to €2,200 per square metre. Such figures exclude VAT, professional fees and inflation. In addition, the cost of equipping the accommodation to standard office equipment levels could be estimated at approximately €4,000 per person. This would exclude the cost of information and communication technology and specialised equipment requirements.

Such general measures of cost do not include specialised facility and equipment requirements and other variables, which would arise from the spread of possible procurement methodologies. In addition, general cost indicators of this type show a snapshot in time.

It is self-evident that a firmer scale of costs for the decentralisation programme will only emerge on foot of cost proposals being received from the market. It will be some months yet before sufficient data can be extracted from a suitable range of tender competitions to provide a basis on which more robust estimates of the overall cost of the programme can be made. Nevertheless, it can be estimated that, generally speaking, the cost of providing accommodation in provincial, compared to central Dublin, locations should yield considerable cost savings to the State over time in terms of site costs, capital build costs and indeed maintenance costs.

Consultancy Contracts.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

220 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Finance the number of contracts awarded by him to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if he will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28351/05]

I refer the Deputy to replies to two previous parliamentary questions about this topic, copies of which are being forwarded to the Deputy. These are of 17 February 2004 and 28 June 2005, and together they give details of the purpose and recipient of my Department's consultancies in the years he mentioned, along with the payments made in each year. As the Deputy will appreciate, given the amount of information they contain it has not been possible, in the time available for answering this question, to compile the information in the format sought by him, that is, showing the cost by contract rather than by year and showing also the original estimate of the cost of the contract. However, I am having the information compiled in that format and it will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Tax Code.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

221 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance if consideration has been given to adjusting the credit card tax of €40 per annum to a quarterly tax of €10, to take account of persons who are cancelling cards or changing from one bank to another without having to incur the full tax twice. [28379/05]

It was announced in the 2005 budget that the Finance Bill 2005 would contain measures to eliminate the double stamp duty charge on financial cards where a person is merely switching from one provider to another. This was legislated for in the Finance Act 2005. Any further changes to stamp duties on financial cards will be considered in the context of the forthcoming budget.

Tax Yield.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

222 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the tax yield from the credit card tax for each year since its initiation. [28383/05]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that separately identifiable figures of the yield of stamp duty on credit cards are available for the years 1996 to 2004 inclusive and are as follows.

Stamp Duty yield on Credit Cards

Year

€million

1996

11.1

1997

11.5

1998

13.8

1999

15.4

2000

18.1

2001

20.8

2002

22.9

2003

51.7

2004

59.0

The increase in yield in 2003 relates largely to the increase in the rate of stamp duty on credit cards that was introduced in budget 2003.

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

223 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Finance the bonus or merit payments awarded to senior officials and staff each year since 2000, detailing the management and staff category; the purpose and the amount of the award and the highest award made and to whom. [28386/05]

The following are details of a number of schemes in operation within my Department. Civil Service posts at the levels of assistant secretary and deputy secretary are covered by a scheme of performance related awards. The operation of the scheme is overseen by the committee for performance awards. Since 2002, the funding for awards is based on 10% of the payroll for the grades covered by the scheme. Within this overall limit, payments of up to 20% of basic salary can be made to individuals. Details of the procedures, the numbers covered by the scheme, the range of awards and the total amounts paid in Departments are outlined in the annual reports of the committee, available on the websitewww.finance.gov.ie. The committee does not identify the amount paid to individuals as this is regarded as personal information. Prior to 2002, a scheme of performance related pay for assistant secretaries provided for payments of up to 4% of payroll for that grade. Details of the amounts in each year since 2000 are as follows:

Year in which paid

For period

Total Gross

Highest amount

2000

Year to 30/04/2000

£26,490

£3,090

2001

Year to 30/04/2001

£27,600

£3,000

2002

Part year 01/05/01 to 31/12/01

€26,640

€2,600

2003

Year to 31/12/2002

€122,700

€13,000

2004

Year to 31/12/2003

€114,950

€14,600

Note: payments are made annually for the preceding year.

Grades at principal and assistant principal have a separate scheme which arises as a result of the restructuring agreement for these grades under the programme for competitiveness and work. It provides that 1% of payroll for these grades be made available in the form of special service payments, for which staff are invited to apply, based on the following criteria: contribution by the individual to the work of the Department in his or her job; special demands of the job; and experience brought to the job. Initial special service payments were effective from 2000 and were paid out in 2002 along with the 2001 payments. The following are the details of payment in respect of each of special service payments in each year since 2002:

2002

2003

2004

Total amount

€79,278

€33,858

€39,077

Highest amount

€3,674 This highest individual payment of €3,674 in 2002 is the total of Special Service Payments in respect of the calendar years 2000 and 2001.

€2,090

€2,196

In 1993, the then Minister for Finance sanctioned expenditure in respect of merit awards to individual staff members or groups of staff below assistant secretary level by way of recognition for exceptional performance of duty which was based on 0.1% of the salary allocation, as published in the Revised Estimates, in any one calendar year. This percentage was revised to 0.2% in 1998.

An independent committee administers the merit awards scheme up to AO-HEO level; an assistant secretary group administers the awards at assistant principal and principal level. Nominees for the annual merit awards must, during the year, have demonstrated one or more of the following criteria: given an exceptional performance in some aspect of his or her work; demonstrated unusual commitment and dedication to some aspect of his or her work; or made a notable contribution to the successful achievement of the section's targets.

The following are the details of payment in respect of each of merit awards in each year since 2000.

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Total amount

£20,071

£13,250

€38,302

€42,652

€44,720

Highest amount

£700

£360

€1,270

€750

€800

Following an analysis of staff attrition rates in IT areas in the Civil Service and their adverse impact on achieving year 2000 compliance, agreement was reached at general council to payment of a once off loyalty bonus to key IT staff on year 2000 work. Year 2000 loyalty bonuses totalling £115,625 were paid in April 2000, the highest individual amount of which was £10,625.

Consultancy Contracts.

Joan Burton

Question:

224 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Finance the consultancies awarded to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997; the cost of each; and the purpose of same. [28403/05]

My Department awarded consultancies to Deloitte & Touche in most of the years in question. In addition, the Euro Changeover Board of Ireland, ECBI, which operated under the aegis of my Department, and the NDP-CSF evaluation, information and IT unit, which operates under the aegis of my Department and is part funded by the EU, each awarded consultancies to Deloitte & Touche in two of the years in question.

The following tables set out the year of award, the purpose and the total cost of each such consultancy.

Year

Department of Finance Purpose of Consultancy

Cost

1999

Contract for a series of three annual audits on the operation of business travel policy by Government Departments and Offices and Club Travel Ltd.

268,567

2000

Provision of advice to the Department in relation to the negotiation of the National Lottery Licence with An Post National Lottery Company.

239,082

2000

Review of the Department’s management information requirements in the context of the Management Information Framework.

145,323

2001

Provision of advice in relation to the negotiation of the National Lottery licence with An Post National Lottery Company.

12,697

2001

Secondment of accountant to provide financial, accountancy and related advice.

209,448

2002

Assistance in the detailed specification of new software to support the department’s Management Information Framework project.

34,568

2002

Advice and support in relation to financial system implementation and documenting of financial policies and procedures in the context of the Department’s Management Information Framework project.

202,092

2003

Research on Public Sector Benchmark and Value for Money Comparison in Public Private Partnerships.

143,990

2003

Assistance to an interdivisional study group on Shared Services.

28,713

2003

Study of Best Practice in HR.

17,424

2003

Personnel data integrity checking exercise.

7,260

2003

Advice and support in relation to the procurement of a Financial Business Intelligence application to support the implementation of the e-Estimates project.

88,481

2004

Financial assessment of decentralisation costs and savings.

48,400

Year

Euro Changeover Board of Ireland Purpose of Consultancy

Cost

1999

Advice on blueprint for Cash Changeover Plan

4,044

2001

Advice and assistance in development and implementation of euro changeover oversight plan.

156,554

Year

NDP/CSF Evaluation, Information and IT Unit Purpose of Consultancy

Cost

1998

Phase One of a study of the Labour Market Impact of Human Resources (Education and Training) Interventions in the Community Support Framework for Ireland, 1994-1999

32,559

2003

Professional services rendered in relation to Ireland/Wales INTERREG II

5,929

Computerisation Programme.

Joan Burton

Question:

225 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Finance when his attention was drawn to a letter sent by his Department to the Secretary General of the Department of Health and Children in relation to computer systems for financial management information systems in the Department of Health and Children; if he has made observations on the cost of such systems to date; the difficulties arising with their implementation and any recommendations he has made in relation to such projects; if he has met with the Department of Health and Children on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28417/05]

My Department through CMOD operates a formal process of delegation to ensure that ICT policy is being implemented in a cost efficient manner in relation to information and communication technology, ICT, activities across the Civil Service, the Prisons and Courts Service, the Garda, Defence Forces and from earlier this year the HSE. Decisions in relation to VFM issues arising from ICT investments in other bodies are the responsibility of the relevant parent Departments and this was the case with the Department of Health and the health sector prior to the setting up of the HSE.

As part of these arrangements and following a meeting at the beginning of June in relation to the PPARS project, my Department requested the HSE through the Department of Health and Children to consider the FISP project in light of the discussion regarding PPARS. A follow-up meeting on the FISP project was arranged by my Department on 9 September and following this, a briefing document was sent to me for information on 13 September in relation to the still outstanding concerns. The HSE was then conducting an initial review which led to Professor Drumm, the CEO of the HSE, putting a hold on the further rollout shortly thereafter.

As the Deputy will be aware, the HSE have since decided to pause the rollout of the PPARS implementation and to review both the PPARS and the FISP project. I believe this to be the right approach given all the circumstances and the amount of money involved. I expect recommendations will arise from the review in relation to the future of both of these systems. I can confirm that my officials have had discussions with officials in the Department of Health and Children on this and related issues.

Departmental Offices.

Joan Burton

Question:

226 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Finance the role of CMOD in his Department; its responsibility in relation to the purchase of information and computer systems; its advisory role in relation to other Departments; the number of persons employed in this section; their relationship with consultant advisers on such systems; the computer systems and consultancy projects they have advised on in relation to each Department for each year to date; the cost of such projects and the annual cost of CMOD; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28418/05]

The Centre for Management Organisation and Development, CMOD, is part of the organisation management and training division of the Department of Finance. Its function is to provide a number of advisory land support services to the Civil Service in the areas of information technology, staff development and management, and organisation systems development. It aims to support and improve public service management which includes,inter alia, the improved management of resources and ensuring Departments and offices achieve better value for money in the development of human resource management, financial management, e-Government initiatives and information management generally.

As the computing needs of organisations across the Civil Service differ widely, responsibility for the delivery of most computing services rests with each organisation. In this regard, individual organisations operate under a delegated arrangement which incorporates a number of centrally imposed controls and constraints such as: compliance with standard governance and technical principles; the use of project boards and formal project management techniques in their internal ICT projects; compliance with competitive procurement procedures; use of common infrastructures and systems; and accessing common central procurements, where applicable etc.

In operating the delegation arrangements, Departments and offices are required to submit a broad value for money justification for each of their major ICT project proposals. This justification has to receive my Department's approval prior to any commencement. The delegation arrangements also require Departments and offices to report on an annual basis their progress in relation to projects in the previous year.

CMOD retains a number of computing functions where they are substantially common to all Departments-offices, for example, HR and payroll, or where bulk purchasing advantages arise from common procurements, for example, telecommunications services. Accordingly, CMOD has no direct responsibility for acquiring or managing consultants other than for projects that it is managing itself, that is, for cross-departmental systems such as HR and payroll and for telecommunication services.

CMOD's full complement of staff is 96. The annual cost for CMOD as a whole is €7.5 million. CMOD provides advice and guidance on a range of IT projects and across a whole range of IT issues from telecommunications to maintenance and it is not possible to indicate the specific costs of projects for which advice is given.

Industrial Relations.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

227 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will report on the current industrial relations situation at An Post; the prospects of An Post pensioners receiving their full entitlements under Sustaining Progress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28330/05]

I am aware of the situation that has arisen in relation to industrial relations issues at An Post and in particular to the non-payment of Sustaining Progress increases to the company's pensioners and employees. I point out, however, that I have no function in directing An Post in the matter of operational and commercial issues such as the application of national pay awards.

As a commercial company, the challenge ahead for An Post is to develop a strategy that satisfies the needs of existing customers, while attracting new customers. An Post has a remit to be financially viable and following significant losses, which amounted to €43 million in 2003 alone, An Post management invoked the "inability to pay" clause provided for in Sustaining Progress. Therefore, the key challenge for the company is to return to long-term financial stability. An agreement on a viable recovery plan is the only way forward for An Post to deliver quality services to our citizens, while at the same time providing sustainable well-paid employment for its staff.

Change is required if the postal services of An Post are to adapt to the modern business environment and to continue to offer a top class nationwide delivery service to the customer into the future. With this in mind, the board and management of An Post have presented a recovery plan, incorporating details of a proposed new collection and delivery service, which I believe is vital to the re-establishment of the company on a more secure financial footing. The plan sets out the way forward for the company. Adoption of the restructuring that, as envisaged by the plan, delivers real change is the only way An Post workers and pensioners can look forward to receiving pay increases in line with other sectors. I have continuously emphasised the need for all stakeholders in the company to work together in a partnership approach and to utilise the industrial relations mechanisms of the State, where necessary, in order to agree and implement the recovery strategy to return the company to financial stability and prepare for the challenges ahead.

In order to progress the change agenda, an exhaustive process of negotiation between An Post management and An Post trade unions, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission and then the Labour Court, was entered into, which has lasted almost two years. To progress the change agenda, An Post unions and management were involved in intensive negotiations with the assistance of the State's industrial relations machinery in a bid to agree a recovery plan that will put the company on a sound footing. This process has lasted almost two years.

The question of Sustaining Progress related payments to employees and pensioners was addressed in a Labour Relations Commission, LRC, brokered process. Assessors, appointed by the LRC, recommended that An Post was in a position to pay a 5% increase to its employees and pensioners. This increase, backdated to 1 January 2005, was paid to An Post employees and pensioners at the end of June 2005.

In order to meet union concerns, a three-person expert group was formed under the auspices of the Labour Court to devise a workable agreement on collection and delivery. The process at the Labour Court recently concluded with the court's recommendation that the company accept the proposals as set out by the three-person, court-appointed technical group's report on An Post's collection and delivery arrangements and that upon ratification by both parties of the draft agreement annexed to that recommendation, the company should arrange for payment of all 2005 and future increases due under Sustaining Progress to its employees and pensioners. The court further recommended that all retrospective payments relating to the recent 5% increase paid by An Post, be made to its employees and pensioners as soon as the company is returned to reasonable and sustainable profit and when commercial circumstances permit. I understand, however, that on 5 September 2005, the Labour Court's recommendations on the issues of Sustaining Progress and collection and delivery were rejected by the main union in An Post, the Communications Workers Union, with the result that the company is not in a position to make any further increases to its employees or pensioners.

I would like to take this opportunity to echo the Taoiseach's comments in the Chamber last week and restate that industrial action in An Post would only deepen the problems and put jobs and living standards of the company's employees and pensioners at risk and I, too, urge members of the CWU to consider very carefully the options before them. It is my understanding that, following a special delegate conference, the union has now decided to ballot its membership for industrial action up to and including strike action. The ballot will be concluded by Friday, 21 October.

Energy Resources.

Eamon Ryan

Question:

228 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason for the failure to spend €5 million of the budget for sustainable energy in 2005 following on from the underspend of €15 million in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28334/05]

The economic and social infrastructure operational programme, ESIOP, runs for the period 2000-06. Within the ESIOP a sustainable energy priority was agreed with part funding from the European regional development fund, ERDF, and co-funding from Exchequer or other national sources.

The conditions agreed between the State and the EU require expenditure to be undertaken within two years of the original projection or the loss of the relevant ERDF moneys. This is referred to as the "N+2" rule. An amount of flexibility is built into this rule and the national management authority can transfer funding from one priority or spending subhead to another with the agreement of the EU and stakeholders.

The sustainable energy priority comprises two measures dealing with energy conservation and with alternative energy. Energy conservation is on target to deliver its investment. The major part of the second measure is the grid upgrade development programme, GUDP, which was intended to fund the capital intensive portion of planned connections, thereby ensuring projects did not fail due to the high capital cost of a connection offer.

Getting new renewable energy powered electricity generating plants connected has been a slower and more difficult task than was foreseen when the GUDP was put in place. In December 2003, the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, authorised a moratorium on new connection offers to new undispatchable plants due to concerns about overall system stability of the electricity network. This decision and subsequent decisions of the network operators meant, in effect, that no new connection offers for renewable energy powered plants were confirmed between December 2003 and early 2005.

A consequence of an absence of new connection offers in this period was that the GUDP could not be activated to fund the shared connection asset element of any such confirmed connection offer. Nevertheless, the installed capacity is approximately 400 megawatts-equivalent, MWe, now and is expected to reach 600 MWe under the current support programme.

The slower than expected delivery of connections following the moratorium and subsequent decisions of the network operators has made it prudent to reallocate €5 million from this support measure this year to avoid Ireland's losing the benefit of these structural funds under the "N+2" rule. However, the GUDP has recommenced and based on identified demand for projects with a firm or planned connection offer, its purpose and effect will not be in any way be diminished by this reallocation. The plan is that as connecting parties are charged for access to the shared asset that funding will be reinvested in further projects.

Industrial Relations.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

229 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the discussions he has had or will have with management and unions at An Post with a view to resolving the issues likely to lead to industrial action or loss of service to the consumer and the finalisation of a business plan capable of enhancing the role and scale of activities through An Post with an obvious dividend to the consumer and the national economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28336/05]

As a commercial company, the challenge ahead for An Post is to develop a strategy that satisfies the needs of existing customers, while attracting new customers. In addition, further change is required if the postal services of An Post are to adapt to the modern business environment and to continue to offer a top class nationwide delivery service to the customer into the future. With this in mind, the board and management of An Post has presented a recovery plan, incorporating details of a proposed new collection and delivery service, which I believe is vital to the re-establishment of the company on a more secure financial footing. The plan sets out the way forward for the company. Adoption of the restructuring that, as envisaged by the plan, delivers real change is the only way that An Post workers can look forward to receiving pay increases in line with other sectors. I have continuously emphasised the need for all stakeholders in the company to work together in a partnership approach and to utilise the industrial relations mechanisms of the State, where necessary, to agree and implement the recovery strategy to return the company to financial stability and prepare for the challenges ahead.

In order to progress the change agenda, an exhaustive process of negotiation between An Post management and An Post trades unions, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission and then the Labour Court, was entered into. This process was recently concluded with the court's recommendation that the company accept the proposals as set out by An Post management in relation to the recovery strategy and specifically the proposed new collection and delivery service. The court also recommended that acceptance of the productivity agreement was contingent on the balance of increases being paid out under the Sustaining Progress agreement.

It is my understanding, however, that on 5 September 2005, the Labour Court's recommendations were rejected by the main union in An Post, the CWU, Communications Workers Union. I understand that, following a special delegate conference, the union has now decided to ballot its membership for industrial action up to and including strike action. The ballot will be concluded by Friday, 21 October.

I would like to echo the Taoiseach's comments in the Chamber last week and restate that industrial action in An Post would only deepen the problems and put jobs and living standards of the company's employees at risk and I, too, urge members of the CWU to consider very carefully the options before them.

I have met with management and the unions and have emphasised the importance of an early start to the company's modernisation and that both sides must engage directly in order to resolve long-standing and deep-seated problems besetting the company.

Question No. 230 answered with QuestionNo. 140.

Post Office Network.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

231 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on whether it is intended to close any post offices or sub-post offices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28102/05]

As clearly set out in the programme for Government, this Government and the board of An Post are committed to the objective of securing a viable and sustainable nationwide post office network. Notwithstanding the commercial remit of An Post, there is clear Government recognition of the social benefits of maintaining the nationwide post office network. Accordingly, An Post development strategies for the network continue to take full account of these social benefits.

The An Post network comprises the single largest number of retail outlets in the country. In the European context, Ireland still has the highest number of post offices per head of population. In recent years some network restructuring has been undertaken. This activity is in line with similar trends across Europe. Specifically, in relation to the closure of post offices or sub-post offices, it is only when a suitable candidate for a vacancy cannot be found or where there are no applicants that a post office is closed.

It is the Government's objective to maintain the largest, economically sustainable post office network possible. The challenge for all stakeholders in An Post is to generate sufficient profitable business to maintain the network at its current size. While the Government will support the network in any way it can and has demonstrated its commitment in a tangible fashion, with a €12.7 million capital injection in 2003, the way forward is for An Post to enhance existing services and, building on existing strengths, develop new product offerings.

The network has a high footfall and to capitalise on these advantages it is essential that existing and new services are developed to meet customer requirements. The network also has the capacity and potential to deliver more private business, especially in financial services, and opportunities are actively being pursued by An Post in this area. On foot of substantial investment in computerisation, a significant amount of extra business has already been obtained for the network in terms of banking and utility business. At present, 95% of An Post's business is conducted through automated offices. Also under way is a new pilot scheme to automate a total of ten smaller post offices. This will allow the company to determine to what extent, if any, further investment in automation might be justified. The results of this project will be evaluated at the end of the trial period.

I have also asked the company to ensure that any strategy for the development of the company should ensure the long-term viability of the post office network and in this light, An Post is currently working on a new initiative which could see the development and expansion of the range of financial services that it can deliver through its network of post offices. If successful, it could lead to a significant increase in post office business and contribute to the viability of the network.

Question No. 232 answered with QuestionNo. 157.
Question No. 233 answered with QuestionNo. 146.
Questions Nos. 234 to 238, inclusive, answered with Question No. 92.
Question No. 239 answered with QuestionNo. 184.
Question No. 240 answered with QuestionNo. 117.
Question No. 241 answered with QuestionNo. 92.
Question No. 242 answered with QuestionNo. 90.
Question No. 243 answered with QuestionNo. 92.
Question No. 244 answered with QuestionNo. 109.
Question No. 245 answered with QuestionNo. 141.
Question No. 246 answered with QuestionNo. 90.
Questions Nos. 247 and 248 answered with Question No. 103.
Questions Nos. 249 and 250 answered with Question No. 90.
Question No. 251 answered with QuestionNo. 142.
Questions Nos. 252 and 253 answered with Question No. 109.

Broadcasting Legislation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

254 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which he has finalised his proposals for public and private broadcasting in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28127/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

255 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for public and private broadcasting in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28128/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

282 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his options for the development of the broadcasting service with reference to independent and national broadcasting; the role for each in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28157/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 254, 255 and 282 together.

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 91 reference number 28013/05 of Wednesday, 12 October 2005.

Question No. 256 answered with QuestionNo. 175.
Question No. 257 answered with QuestionNo. 134.
Question No. 258 answered with QuestionNo. 90.
Question No. 259 answered with QuestionNo. 134.
Question No. 260 answered with QuestionNo. 108.
Question No. 261 answered with QuestionNo. 90.
Question No. 262 answered with QuestionNo. 134.
Question No. 263 answered with QuestionNo. 183.

Postal Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

264 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding development in An Post; if he has issued any direction to the management with a view to ensuring continuity of service and the finalisation of a development plan for the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28137/05]

The development and continued viability of An Post and the post office network are, in the first instance, a matter for the board and management of An Post. There will continue to be a key national role for An Post, both in the delivery of mail and as a quality service provider through its nationwide network of post office outlets. The market for traditional postal and post office services is changing globally, and meeting customer needs has become more important than ever. To remain competitive, An Post must make the best possible use of its long-established and trusted brand name and deploy its resources in a manner that continues to serve existing customers' needs and attracts additional customers for a range of new services.

There is agreement that change is required if the postal services of An Post are to adapt to the modern business environment and continue to offer a top-class nationwide delivery service to the customer. With that in mind, the board and management of An Post have presented a recovery plan incorporating details of proposed new collection and delivery arrangements, which I believe is vital to the re-establishment of the company on a more secure financial footing. The plan has assumed significant changes in work practices, tariff increases and the payment of wage increases. It sets out the way forward for the company. Adoption of restructuring that delivers real change is the only way that An Post workers can look forward to receiving pay increases in line with other sectors. To that end, I have continuously emphasised the need for all stake holders in the company to work together in partnership and utilise the industrial relations mechanisms of the State, where necessary, to agree and implement the recovery strategy to return the company to financial stability and prepare for the challenges ahead.

To make progress on the change agenda, an exhaustive process of negotiation between An Post management and trade unions, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission and then the Labour Court, was entered into. That process was recently concluded with the court's recommendation that the company accept the proposals set out by a three-person expert group on the proposed new collection and delivery arrangements. The court also recommended that acceptance of the productivity agreement was contingent on the balance of increases being paid out under the Sustaining Progress agreement. It is my understanding, however, that, on 5 September 2005, the Labour Court's recommendations were rejected by the main union in An Post, the Communications Workers Union, or CWU. A three-week cooling-off period has followed, during which every effort was made by the parties to resolve the issues. I understand that, following a special delegate conference, the union has now decided to ballot its membership for industrial action up to and including strike action. The ballot will be concluded by Friday 21 October.

With regard to the future of the post office network, the Government and the board of An Post are committed to the objective of securing a viable and sustainable nationwide post office network as set out in the programme for Government. Notwithstanding the commercial remit of An Post, there is clear Government recognition of the social benefits of maintaining the nationwide post office network. Accordingly, An Post development strategies for the network continue to take full account of those social benefits.

As a commercial company, the challenge ahead for An Post is to develop a strategy that satisfies the needs of existing customers while attracting new customers into the post office. An Post has already had some success in winning new business and continues to benefit from a considerable amount of Government business, especially in the areas of social welfare payments and savings products. In addition, a pilot project is under way that involves the automation of ten small post offices.

In light of the need to ensure the long-term viability of the network, An Post is currently working on a new initiative that would see the development of An Post financial services, APFS. Its aim is to supply a wide range of retail financial services through the branch network. If successful, it could lead to a significant increase in post office business.

Telecommunications Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

265 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the steps he has taken to combat spam on the Internet at national or international level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28138/05]

My responsibility regarding the matters raised extends to the development of policy and legislation regarding the sending of unsolicited emails and faxes for direct marketing purposes. The responsibility for the enforcement of this legislation dealing with unsolicited communications for direct marketing purposes rests with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, which is an independent body under the aegis of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The responsibility for laws to tackle offensive messages sent by e-mail, telephone or fax rests with my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Garda Síochána.

It is an offence under section 13 of the Post Office (Amendment) Act 1951, as amended by the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983, to send by telephone any message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character. It is also an offence under section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 to harass a person by use of any means including by use of a telephone. Anyone who has information regarding such matters should bring it to the attention of the Garda Síochána immediately.

Energy Resources.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

266 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the future plans in respect of the provision and location of electricity or gas interconnectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28139/05]

As the Deputy is aware, at a bilateral meeting in November 2004, Mr. Barry Gardiner, MP, the then Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, and I endorsed plans put forward by the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, and the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation for the construction of a second North-South electricity interconnector.

Planning for the construction of the interconnector is continuing. The transmission system operators are currently working on phase 1 of the project, including technical issues and route selection. That phase is likely to be completed by early 2007. Phase 2, the construction phase, will then commence, and it is estimated that the interconnector will be operational by 2012. The proposed interconnector will provide increased system security and reliability. It will be a positive step toward further developing competition and will facilitate the development of a fully functioning single electricity market.

Regarding the east-west electricity interconnector, the CER has appointed consultants to advise on the financial, technical, commercial and procurement aspects of the development. Phase 1 of the project, which is nearing completion, is examining procurement options, routing, capacity, ownership and operational parameters.

A consultation process has been undertaken with all parties who have expressed an interest. A decision on how best to take the project forward, whether on a regulated or a hybrid regulated or merchant basis, is the next step, and such determination will be informed by the advice of the CER in the matter.

With regard to gas interconnection, the two natural gas interconnectors with the UK, IC1 and IC2, have been operational since 1995 and 2003, respectively. As part of the development of the gas network on an all-island basis, the South-North pipeline, due for completion in 2006, will carry gas to Belfast from the IC2 landfall at Gormanston.

Question No. 267 answered with QuestionNo. 92.
Question No. 268 answered with QuestionNo. 142.

Energy Supply Costs.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

269 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the likely negative impact on the economy of electricity or gas price increases; if he is further aware that such price increases are likely to be passed on to the consumer; if he has a strategy in response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28142/05]

I have no function in regard to the regulation of electricity and gas charges. This is a matter that falls within the statutory responsibility of the Commission for Energy Regulation.

Electricity Generation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

270 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views in regard to the generation of electricity from renewable or sustainable sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28143/05]

The promotion of renewable energy technologies in electricity production is a key Government priority. This priority is shared by EU institutions through the renewables directive, Directive 2001/77/EC, which obliges all member states to increase the consumption of green electricity by 2010. The obligation addressed to Ireland is to deliver a programme capable of increasing the amount of electricity from renewable energy sources to 13.2% of total consumption by 2010.

The target of 13.2% approximates to 1,400 MW to be connected to the electricity network by 2010. It is acknowledged at EU level as a challenging target which will require us to more than double existing capacity within five years. This is the minimum target I demand. My overall target is to optimise the amount of renewable energy technologies which can be connected to the network while maintaining safe and reliable supply and reasonable retail charges for consumers.

Future challenging targets to increase wind powered stations will require co-operation and co-ordination between my Department; Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI; the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER; the electricity networks operators; and developers. I am pleased to report that all these key players, and more, have participated in a consultation process launched in December 2003 and in the work of the subsequently established renewable energy development group. The group's report will form the basis of my future policy decisions on the increased penetration of renewable energy technologies in the electricity market and will seek to ensure developers can make a reasonable rate of return on renewable energy projects while ensuring the interests of national competitiveness and the ultimate burden of cost to the final consumer are all fully taken into consideration.

I recently announced a new support mechanism to be known as the renewable energy feed in tariff, REFIT. This revised system will move away from competitive tendering to a fixed price proposal. In addition, the support that was previously tied to contracts with the ESB will now be available for supply contracts with any licensed supplier. The detailed draft terms and conditions of the proposed feed-in support programme were posted on my Department's website,www.dcmnr.gov.ie, in draft form, on 29 September and interested parties have until today to raise any queries or to furnish any observations on the proposals as published. Following consideration of the matters raised, the REFIT programme will be put in place.

In July, my Northern counterpart, Ms Angela Smith, and I published a preliminary consultation paper on an all-island vision for renewable energy to the year 2020 and beyond. The consultation period recently ended and the response has been encouraging. The aim is to develop a long-term strategy for renewable energy on the island in its entirety.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

271 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views in respect of the development of renewable road or home heating fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28144/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

276 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent of his recently announced proposals regarding alternative fuels to meet industrial and domestic requirements in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28149/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

287 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, on the basis of progress to date, what are achievable targets in respect of alternatively produced energy; the likely impact in respect of road fuels, home heating or the industrial market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28164/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 271, 276 and 287 together.

My Department is responsible for the promotion and development of renewable energy, including biofuels. I am committed to the development and promotion of a biofuels and bio-energy sector in Ireland's transport, domestic and industrial fuel markets, which will contribute to emissions reductions and overall security of supply.

In 2004, my Department secured an amendment to the Finance Act 1999, which provides for the introduction of a scheme for mineral oil tax relief for biofuels. A scheme under the Act was agreed between my Department and the Department of Finance and was launched in April 2005. The proposals were evaluated by my Department and Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI, and recommendations were made to the Minister for Finance. As a result, eight projects were awarded excise relief under the scheme, including four pure plant oil, three biodiesel or other biofuel, and one bioethanol proposal. Excise relief of €6 million will be allowed for these projects over a two-year period to 2007. It is anticipated that this will result in 16 million litres of biofuels being placed on the Irish transport market during that period. The scheme is an initial measure designed to stimulate market development.

Under SEI's renewable energy research, development and demonstration, RERD&D, programme, capital grant aid is also available for biofuels market demonstration projects in the pure plant oil, biodiesel and bioethanol categories. Funding of almost €250,000 has already been awarded to support engine modifications in up to 100 vehicles and provide plant and monitoring equipment.

In addition, SEI has provided grant aid of €40,000 to Teagasc for a study to establish oil quality testing procedures for pure plant oil. This study will be critical to building market confidence. SEI has also provided funding for the publication of a resource study on recovered vegetable oil and animal fats and a study on quality assurance for rapeseed oil as a vehicle fuel.

An interdepartmental biofuels group was established in 2004 to consider policy options for the development of the biofuels market and to consider these options from the perspectives of the sectors or interests represented by each Department. It comprises representatives from my Department, the Departments of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Finance, Transport, Agriculture and Food and SEI. As part of its work, the group commissioned a liquid biofuels strategy study for Ireland, which was published by SEI in December 2004. The report examines the full range of options and potential supports for liquid biofuels development in Ireland, including bioethanol and biodiesel.

The number of applications in the pilot scheme clearly indicates the strong interest there is in developing a biofuels industry. I have been in contact with the Minister for Finance about the possible scope for scaling up fiscal support for biofuels. Further measures to increase market penetration over a longer timeframe are also being considered in consultation with all the relevant Departments.

In addition to the ongoing developments in respect of liquid biofuels, in December 2003, my Department established a bio-energy strategy group to make recommendations on policy options for the development of bio-energy in Ireland. The group comprised representatives of my Department, SEI, the Department of Agriculture and Food, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, COFORD, Teagasc, and industry representatives. In parallel with this development, my Department launched a consultation process on options for renewable energy support and established a renewable energy development group, REDG. The findings of the bio-energy strategy group are being considered by the REDG in the context of overall policy recommendations.

SEI has supported a number of biomass facilities to date and the biomass sector has attracted the largest amount of support under SEI's renewable energy research, development and demonstration, RERD&D, programme. Among the specific projects addressed to date are funding of €732,000 towards a combined heat and power system, using sawmill residues at Grainger sawmill in Cork. The plant is designed to generate both 1.83 MW electrical energy and 3.5 MW of thermal energy in a single process. Funding of €91,626 has been made towards a 100 kW capacity wood chip-wood pellet biomass boiler at the headquarters of the State forestry company, Coillte. Coillte recently relocated its corporate headquarters to a 100% sustainable, timber-constructed building. The cost and installation of the boiler, including automatic fuel supply auger, amounted to €27,500.

The remaining support from SEI is provided for the solar heating system, monitoring programme and the energy centre. The solar and wood heating systems are located in a purpose-built energy centre that is open to the public. Funding of €40,000 has been made towards the provision of a 500 kW wood boiler and solar panels at Inchydoney Lodge and Spa Hotel in Clonakilty, County Cork. Funding of €18,000 has been made towards the provision of a 100 kW wood chip boiler at Camphill Community, Jerpoint, County Kilkenny.

In addition to the RERD&D programme, SEI's house of tomorrow programme has committed over €7.5 million funding covering 39 projects and a total of 1,818 housing units. The scheme encourages housing developers to incorporate design and technology packages for high standard energy and CO2 performance. The range of technologies in these packages included wood pellet boilers that have been installed in 93 homes.

The SEI renewable energy information office also provides a free information service on wood heating. A free video-DVD on bio-energy, including wood heating and procurement guidelines for installers and others, is being made available as part of this initiative. SEI is also developing training courses for renewable energy installers, as part of a joint initiative with Action Renewables in Northern Ireland. The first of these courses, which will include training for the installation of biomass boilers, is scheduled to be available in 2006. The targets achievable for biofuel and bio-energy production and distribution in Ireland depend on a variety of factors including availability and end-use of agricultural land and the levels of indigenously sourced or imported feedstock or biofuels.

Energy Resources.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

272 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason it has been deemed necessary to increase gas and electricity prices here in line with international fuel price increases considering the substantial amount of fuel that is produced here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28145/05]

I have no function in regard to the regulation of electricity and gas charges. This is a matter that falls within the statutory responsibility of the Commission for Energy Regulation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

273 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has issued or will issue instructions to the regulator with a view to achieving easier access to the national grid for medium and small energy producers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28146/05]

At present, I have certain limited statutory powers to give directions to the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER. These are restricted solely to electricity trading arrangements.

In the interests of the proper and effective regulation of the electricity and gas markets, I propose, in line with Government approval, to take powers to issue policy directions of a general nature to the CER. Such a provision is included in the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill currently being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.

Question No. 274 answered with QuestionNo. 162.

Electricity Generation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

275 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the amount of electricity generated through private and renewable sources; the instructions he has given to the regulator to increase such production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28148/05]

Ireland currently has 675 MW of renewable capacity connected with a further 175 MW under active construction. This consists of 400 MW of wind and 240 MW of hydro with the balance made up of different biomass technologies. Further development will also take place from the last two rounds of competitive tendering, the AER V and AER VI competitions.

Ireland has a renewable electricity target of 13.2% of electricity consumption to be sourced from renewable technologies by 2010. To meet this target, we need in the region of 1,450 MW of renewable capacity connected. This means some 400 MW of new renewable capacity must be constructed. Accordingly, I recently announced a new fixed feed-in tariff support programme for new renewable energy electricity generating plant. This programme will support 400 MW and the figure will be increased to accommodate any slippage rates from previous competitions.

In July, my Northern counterpart, Ms Angela Smith, and I published a preliminary consultation paper on an all-island vision for renewable energy to the year 2020 and beyond. The consultation period recently ended and the response has been encouraging. The aim is to develop a long-term strategy for renewable energy on the island in its entirety.

The Commission for Energy Regulation is an independent body under paragraph 9 in the Schedule to the Electricity Regulation Act 1999. I have no statutory power to issue instructions of the type to which the Deputy refers.

Question No. 276 answered with QuestionNo. 271.
Questions Nos. 277 and 278 answered with Question No. 109.
Question No. 279 answered with QuestionNo. 189.

Mobile Telephony.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

280 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the action he will take to combat the use of mobile telephones for bullying or intimidation, particularly where young persons are concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28155/05]

As Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, I have overall responsibility for electronic communications policy but I have no responsibility for the actions of persons conducting bullying or intimation activities over electronic communications networks.

By definition, legislation is already in place to prosecute "illegal activities" whether they are perpetrated using mobile telephones or other media. The possibilities for carrying out illegal activity via any medium are infinite. Much of the criminal activity perpetrated using electronic communications networks is legislated for according to the offence and not the medium by which it was committed. Some such legislation predates the advent of electronic technology. Legislating to combat these offences does not always fall within my remit, nor in these instances are they the responsibility of ComReg.

It is an offence under section 13 of the Post Office (Amendment) Act 1951, as amended by the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983, to send by telephone any message or other matter which is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character. It is also an offence under section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 to harass a person by use of any means including telephone.

Furthermore, the Irish Cellular Industry Association, ICIA, has published a parent's guide to mobile telephones which aims to inform parents of some key safety tips that will encourage responsible and secure use of mobile telephones by their children. The guide addresses the subject of bullying and malicious communications. A copy is available on the ICIA website atwww.icia.ie. Anyone with information on these matters should bring it immediately to the attention of the Garda Síochána for criminal investigation.

Postal Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

281 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the discussions he has had with management and unions representing the postal service with a view to developing an enhanced role and function thereby ensuring the medium and long-term viability of the postal service; the retention of the maximum number of post offices and sub-post offices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28156/05]

The development and continued viability of An Post and the post office network, is in the first instance, a matter for the board and management of An Post. An Post plays a key role both in delivery of mails and as a quality service provider through its nationwide network of post office outlets. However, there is universal agreement that change is required if the postal services of An Post are to adapt to the modern business environment and to continue to offer a top-class nationwide delivery service to the customer into the future.

With this in mind, the board and management of An Post have presented a recovery plan which is vital to the re-establishment of the company on a more secure financial footing. The plan has assumed significant changes in work practices, tariff increases and the payment of wage increases, and sets out the way forward for the company. In order to progress the change agenda, I have met with representatives of An Post management and unions on several occasions over the past 12 months. I have listened with interest to the views of all parties concerned in regard to the future of the network. I have emphasised to all parties the importance of an early start to the company's modernisation and that both sides must engage directly in order to resolve long-standing and deep-seated problems besetting the company.

On the matter of retention of the maximum number of post offices and sub-post offices, the Government and the board of An Post are committed to the objective of securing a viable and sustainable nationwide post office network as set out in the programme for Government. Notwithstanding the commercial remit of An Post, there is clear Government recognition of the social benefits of maintaining the nationwide post office network. Accordingly, An Post development strategies for the network continue to take full account of these social benefits. The An Post network comprises the single largest number of retail outlets in the country and, in the European context, Ireland still has the highest number of post offices per head of population.

Additionally, in light of the need to ensure the long-term viability of the network, An Post is working on a new initiative which could see the development and delivery of a wide range of retail financial services through the branch network. If successful, it could lead to a significant increase in post office business. An Post has initiated a process to seek a joint venture partner for this new initiative.

Question No. 282 answered with QuestionNo. 254.
Question No. 283 answered with QuestionNo. 134.
Question No. 284 answered with QuestionNo. 170.
Question No. 285 answered with QuestionNo. 96.
Question No. 286 answered with QuestionNo. 109.
Question No. 287 answered with QuestionNo. 271.

Coastal Protection.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

288 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will allocate the €38.03 million remaining under the coastal protection measure of the National Development Plan 2000-2006 in 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28165/05]

The national development plan proposed expenditure of €52.01 million under the coast protection measure in the period 2000 to 2006. However actual expenditure is dependent on the allocation of funding under the annual Estimates provision. Up to the end of June 2005 a total of €32.275 million was spent on coast protection. The allocation to the Department for expenditure in 2006 on coast protection is still to be determined.

A value for money report in March 2002 highlighted the need for a more strategic focus in addressing the problem of coastal erosion in Ireland. In the light of this the Department initiated a coast protection strategy study in 2003. The study addresses the nature and extent of erosion at various locations and different types of coastline in Ireland and seeks to identify the most effective means, technically, financially and environmentally, in responding to particular instances and types of erosion. The pilot phase of this study is scheduled to be completed in spring 2006. The question of providing funding for coast protection works in the future will depend on the outcome of the coastal protection strategy study, the amount of Exchequer funding available for such works and overall national priorities.

EU Directives.

John Perry

Question:

289 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when he will respond to the formal notice from the European Commission regarding Ireland’s alleged breaches of the habitats directive by permitting the continuation of drift net fishing for salmon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28215/05]

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has primary responsibility for the implementation in Ireland of Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna. As the complaint concerns drift net fishing in Irish waters, the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources is continuing to work very closely with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on the drafting of a reply to the European Commission's preliminary complaint against Ireland. The reply is required to be submitted by 13 November 2005.

Fisheries Protection.

John Perry

Question:

290 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will make a statement on the remit being given to the incoming National Salmon Commission to prepare a plan for determining total allowable catches for salmon at fishery district level from 2007. [28216/05]

John Perry

Question:

291 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the way in which he envisages total allowable catches of salmon will operate at district level from 2007 if drift netting at sea continues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28217/05]

John Perry

Question:

292 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the steps he will take to ensure that Ireland complies with the advice of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas in view of the fact that returning salmon in 2004 only met their conservation limits in 14% of Ireland’s wetted area; his views on whether the continuation of drift netting for salmon will be reconciled with this requirement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28218/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 290 to 292, inclusive, together.

Since taking up my appointment as Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, I have reaffirmed the Government's acceptance of the scientific advice that reductions in the overall fishing effort are required in order to sustain and rebuild salmon stocks nationwide. For this reason, current Government policy has been designed to bring spawning escapement up to the level of the scientifically advised conservation limits as soon as possible. In keeping with this policy, when setting the commercial salmon quotas for the 2005 season, I gave a firm commitment to fully align the exploitation of salmon, both at national and district levels, on the scientific advice by 2007.

In order to achieve this, I have asked the new National Salmon Commission to advise as to how best the alignment of exploitation of salmon with the scientific advice can be implemented by 2007, bearing in mind the requirement to ensure the future biological viability of the salmon resource in all catchments and also the needs of all stakeholders, including those who derive their living from the wild salmon resource.

In undertaking its remit, the National Salmon Commission will be required to consider what conservation management mechanisms may be required to achieve the alignment of national and district total allowable catches with the scientific advice given to it by the standing scientific committee. Scientific advice on Irish salmon stocks is based on International Council for the Exploration of the Seas recommendations. The full terms of reference which I have assigned to the National Salmon Commission are provided for in the National Salmon Commission (Terms of Reference) Order 2005 (SI No. 627 of 2005).

John Perry

Question:

293 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if having regard to the very significant benefits that Ireland derives from the set aside of the West Greenland and Faroese salmon fisheries, he will consider having Ireland contribute to the North Atlantic Salmon Fund’s financing of compensation schemes for the fishermen affected by the set aside; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28219/05]

I understand that the North Atlantic Salmon Fund, NASF, is a private, non-governmental organisation. The Irish Government does not contribute to the financial operation of the organisation nor am I aware that any other national Government contributes towards the set aside of the West Greenland salmon fisheries. I am advised that the compensation provided by NASF for the Faroese set aside expired at least five years ago.

Fishing Fleet Protection.

John Perry

Question:

294 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the proportion of the €45 million being allocated to the decommissioning of up to 25% of the whitefish and shellfish trawling capacity which will have to be met from Irish Exchequer resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28220/05]

Some €45 million has been allocated for the scheme to decommission fishing boats, which was launched recently. Of this total, €8.8 million is already provided for under the current national development plan which runs to 2006, of which 75%, €6.6 million, is funded from the financial instrument for fisheries guidance with the remaining 25%, €2.2 million, being met through matching Exchequer funding. The future mechanism for EU funding post 2006 has yet to be finalised at EU level.

Telecommunications Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

295 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the provision of broadband services (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28272/05]

The provision of telecommunications services, including broadband, is a matter in the first instance for the private sector companies operating in a fully liberalised market, regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, the independent regulator.

It has been clear for some time that the sector has failed to invest at the level necessary to keep pace with the demand for broadband, so my Department's regional broadband programme is addressing the infrastructure deficit by building high speed open access broadband networks, in association with the local and regional authorities, in the major towns and cities. These metropolitan area networks, MANs, will allow the private sector to offer world-class broadband services at competitive costs.

Nineteen MANs are now completed and a further seven are nearing completion. The second phase of the programme involves the building of MANs in a further 93 towns with a population of 1,500 and above that do not have a satisfactory broadband offering from the sector. Kildare is developing projects in respect of the following towns: Kildare, Newbridge, Rathangan, Sallins, Maynooth, Clane, Monasterevin, Kilcock and Prosperous. The route designs are being finalised prior to issuing the detailed design invitation to tender. Construction on these projects is expected to commence in early 2006.

For rural communities and the hinterlands of larger towns such as Athy, my Department offers funding under the county and group broadband scheme to enable these communities to become self-sufficient in broadband, in association with the service providers. To date the following schemes have been approved for Kildare county: Cloncurry, Balraheen, Timahoe, Kilcock rural area, Clane rural area, Drehid, Dunfierth, Cadamstown and Donadee, making broadband available to over 7,927 people. Full details of the scheme, including application procedures, are on the websitewww.gbs.gov.ie.

My Department's websitewww.broadband.gov.ie lists all service providers offering broadband services in all towns in Kildare, and gives contact details for each company, together with prices for the various service levels on offer.

Inland Fisheries.

John Perry

Question:

296 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason the final report on the review of inland fisheries services has not been published (details supplied); the reason for the delay in publishing this report for public consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28273/05]

I can confirm that I received the report of the first stage of the high level review of the inland fisheries sector in Ireland from the consultants earlier this year and have considered its findings. While I accept that previous indications were that I expected to publish the report before now, I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that given the complexity of the issues involved, it was important that the Department had sufficient time to adequately consider the report and its findings and to develop a suitable strategy for the implementation of its recommendations, if accepted by Government.

It is my intention, however, to bring this report to Government in the very near future and to have it published as soon as possible thereafter. Until such time as the report is presented to Government, I am not in a position to comment on its recommendations or implementation.

Broadcasting Legislation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

297 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if in view of the various submissions he has received from representatives of people with hearing difficulties, he will introduce legislation governing broadcasting; if he will meet the concerns expressed in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28342/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

298 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the requirements of people with hearing difficulties in respect of sub-titling and sign language of television programmes; if he intends to introduce specific policies in this regard, directly or in the course of the Broadcasting Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28343/05]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

299 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his proposals for improved sub-titling and sign language throughout broadcasting in line with the requirements of those with hearing difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28344/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 297 to 299, inclusive, together.

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 568 on Wednesday, 28 September 2005.

Energy Resources.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

300 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the steps he will take to ensure continuity and security of oil and gas supplies given the high dependency of the Irish economy on such imports; the policy of fuel producers to increase their prices in line with international fuel costs and the potential negative implications for the economy; if he will take action to dramatically encourage and co-ordinate the production of alternative clean energy on a scale equal to that of other European countries; his proposals to review energy or mineral exploration policy with the objective of maximising the benefit to the Irish economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28345/05]

As a member of the International Energy Agency, Ireland is obliged to maintain oil stocks equivalent to 90 days of net imports. The oil industry here is fully privatised, liberalised and deregulated. The industry sources its supplies on a commercial basis from overseas suppliers. Oil prices in Ireland are not controlled and as Minister I have no function with regard to oil prices, which are a matter for the market.

As regards ensuring the continuity and security of natural gas supplies, the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, has responsibility for monitoring the security of natural gas supplies on an ongoing basis. The commission publishes annually a rolling seven-year gas capacity statement. This provides a forecast of capacity, flows and customer demand to assess the adequacy of the Irish gas transmission system.

The gas capacity statement also considers whether projected supplies of gas from indigenous sources, imports and storage are sufficient to meet forecast demand. A key finding of the 2005 gas capacity statement is that even under unusually cold weather conditions, the Irish gas transmission system will cope with forecast demand.

As regards the production of clean energy, in 2004, my Department secured an amendment to the Finance Act 1999, which provides for the introduction of a scheme for mineral oil tax relief for biofuels. A scheme under the Act was launched in April 2005 and eight projects were subsequently awarded excise relief valued at €6 million over a two-year period to 2007. It is anticipated that this will result in 16 million litres of biofuels being placed on the Irish transport market during that period. The scheme is an initial measure designed to stimulate market development.

The number of applications in the pilot scheme clearly indicates the strong interest there is in developing a biofuels industry in Ireland. I have had contact with the Minister for Finance about the possible scope for scaling up fiscal support for biofuels. Further measures to increase market penetration over a longer timeframe are also being considered in consultation with all of the relevant Departments.

Under Sustainable Energy Ireland's, SEI, renewable energy research, development and demonstration programme, capital grant aid is also available for biofuels market demonstration projects in the pure plant oil, biodiesel and bioethanol categories. Funding of almost €250,000 has already been awarded to support engine modifications of up to 100 vehicles and provide plant and monitoring equipment.

An interdepartmental biofuels group was established in 2004 to consider policy options for the development of the biofuels market. It comprises representatives from my Department, as well as the Dsepartment of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Finance, Transport and Agriculture and Food, and SEI. As part of its work, the group commissioned a report entitled A Liquid Biofuels Strategy Study for Ireland, which was published by SEI in December 2004. The report examines the full range of options and potential supports for liquid biofuels development in Ireland, including bioethanol and biodiesel.

SEI has supported a number of biomass facilities to date. SEI's house of tomorrow programme has committed over €7.5 million in funding to 39 projects and a total of 1,818 housing units. The scheme encourages housing developers to incorporate design and technology packages for high standard energy and CO2 performance. The range of technologies included in these packages included wood pellet boilers that have been installed in 93 homes.

In so far as the regime in respect of oil, gas and other mineral exploration is concerned, as part of the commitments in the programme for Government, I intend to bring forward proposals for a new minerals development Bill to consolidate and update legislation, enacted between 1940 and 1999, regulating the non-petroleum minerals sector. Work is under way on this in my Department.

I also intend to bring forward Bills to update the legislation governing petroleum exploration and development, namely the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960, and the Continental Shelf Act 1968. This work is also under way.

The terms governing petroleum exploration and development are kept under constant review by my Department. These terms are attractive by international standards and are designed to encourage offshore exploration. I have no immediate plans to reform the terms at this time.

Exploration and development of minerals is undertaken by private enterprise and regulated under the Minerals Development Acts 1940 to 1999. All extraction of minerals under the Acts is subject to payment of royalties to the State. While it is my intention to consolidate and update those Acts in a new minerals development Bill currently in preparation, I do not propose to change that policy.

Consultancy Contracts.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

301 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of contracts awarded by him to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if he will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28352/05]

In the time available, it has not been possible to identify and assemble the information requested. My Department is compiling the data sought by the Deputy in this regard and I shall forward it to him as soon as possible.

Question No. 302 answered with QuestionNo. 178.

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

303 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the bonus or merit payments awarded to senior officials and staff each year since 2000, detailing the management and staff category; the purpose and the amount of the award and the highest award made and to whom. [28387/05]

The scheme of performance-related awards for posts at the level of deputy Secretary General and assistant secretary operated as follows: in 2000, a total of €9,283 was spent on performance-related awards comprising three individual payments; in 2001, a total of €10,120 was spent on performance-related awards comprising three individual payments; in 2002, a total of €9,862 was spent on performance-related awards comprising three individual payments; in 2003, a total of €70,750 was spent on performance-related awards comprising seven individual payments; in 2004, a total of €52,900 was spent on performance-related awards comprising five individual payments; and in 2005, a total of €62,600 was spent on performance-related awards comprising five individual payments.

Merit payments to grades below assistant secretary were as follows: in 2000, a total of €15,248 was spent on merit awards comprising 12 individual awards of €380 each and 27 group awards ranging from €63 to €1,301; in 2001, a total of €32,007 was spent on merit awards comprising 58 individual awards ranging €63 to €2,539; in 2002, a total of €33,553 was spent on merit awards comprising 20 individual awards totalling €8,602, 31 group awards totalling €14,451 and a contribution of €10,500 to the social club; in 2003, a total of €15,204 was spent on merit awards comprising nine individual awards totalling €2,500, six group awards totalling €5,704 and a contribution of €7,000 to the social club; and in 2004, a total of €29,030 was spent on merit awards comprising 614 individual awards totalling €27,030 and a contribution of €2,000 to the retired staff Christmas party.

Consultancy Contracts.

Joan Burton

Question:

304 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the consultancies awarded to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997; the cost of each; and the purpose of same. [28404/05]

Details of consultancies awarded by my Department to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997 are outlined in the following table:

Communications

Year

Purpose

Cost

2000-2001

Project Manager/Facilitator for Digital Audio Broadcasting Forum

€36,103

2005

An analytical review of the costs of operating Eircom’s emergency call handling service

€50,000 (not paid yet)

2005

Preparation of the implementation plan for the separation of TG4

€87,725 (forecasted cost — no payment made as at 7/10/2005)

Marine

Year

Purpose

Cost

1999

Assessment of the feasibility of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach to the development of the new National Maritime College

51,280

2000

Audit of EU Market Support Schemes for fish withdrawal and Review of Procedures (Fisheries)

18,306

2000

Strategic and Operational Review of Maritime Safety Regulatory Services

53,444

2002

Irish Coast Guard Study

145,483

Energy

Year

Purpose

Cost

2002

Provision of ongoing technical consultancy services to Department and Department of Finance on the management of the INPC Strategic Alliance process and the management of residual matters post sale of INPC businesses

4,922

2004

Provision of ongoing technical consultancy services to Department and Department of Finance on the management of the INPC Strategic Alliance process and the management of residual matters post sale of INPC businesses

42,043

2005

Review of the Electricity Sector in Ireland

1,018,057

Corporate Governance

Year

Purpose

Cost

2000

Annual Audit of EAGGF expenditure for 1999/2000 financial year

23,008

2000

Annual Audit of EAGGF expenditure for 2000/2001 financial year

35,069

2000

Annual Audit of EAGGF expenditure for 2001/2002 financial year

29,075

2001

Facilitation of Department’s Strategy Statement 2001-2003

16,000

2002

Prepare an ICT Security Strategy for the Department

31,108

2003

Annual Audit of EAGGF expenditure for 2002/2003 financial year

41,213

2003

Annual Audit of EAGGF expenditure for 2003/2004 financial year

2,053

2003

Work on closure of EU structural funds

774

2004

Quality assurance of Internal Audit

6,824

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

305 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of contracts awarded by him to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if he will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28353/05]

The Department of Foreign Affairs is responsible for two Votes — Vote 28, Foreign Affairs, and Vote 29, International Co-operation. The Department commissions consultancies where specialised knowledge and-or skills are not available within the Department and, particularly in the case of the Development Co-operation Ireland, DCI, programme, where an independent evaluation of programmes and projects is required. The awarding of the contracts referred to below is done at official level and I have had no personal involvement in the process.

The information requested by the Deputy for Vote 28 is set out in table A below. The Deputy may wish to note that the majority of expenditure on consultancies for 2002 to 2005 relates to the upgrading of the Department's information technology infrastructure at headquarters and in our missions abroad, and to the development of an automated passport production system, APS.

The upgrading of the Department's information technology infrastructure commenced in 2002 and covered a broad range of technologies that required specialised expertise in a number of areas. No fixed contract was agreed with a single supplier. Instead, rates were agreed for specialised expertise with several suppliers and these were utilised on a draw down basis, as and when required. The spending in this area came in under budget in each of the years in question.

The automated passport production system, APS, was essential to meet demands for passports in an efficient and effective manner and to comply with new international security regulations. It has delivered, to quote the United States authorities, a superb product. Costs associated with the APS are contained in years 2001-05. The actual contract price for the APS system was budgeted at €21.8 million in December 2002. However, during the implementation of the contract, the Department saw the need for further additions to the project and the final outcome for non-recurrent costs was €27.7 million. The APS project is primarily procurement and delivery of service rather than consultancy in the narrow sense. BearingPoint were the main contractors for the APS project and, as such, had responsibility for the supply of hardware, software, design solutions and development. These costs are all included in the figures provided.

A daily rate, based on salary scales at retirement, was agreed with a small number of former officers of this Department who acted on behalf of the Department on international bodies. A daily rate was also agreed with those who provided specialised legal advice.

In 2003 and 2004, payments relating to the EU Presidency website were made to Labyrinth and Amas. Also during this period, payments were made to Red Dog Design for the design of the EU Presidency logo, the branding of the Presidency and other project management costs for campaigns to promote regional awareness of the Presidency and to promote the associated website. These payments also included ancillary production charges covering printing, display units and backdrops, etc. The final outturn costs reflected a combination of the agreed tender fee, together with the volume of services and supplies provided.

The information relating to Vote 29 is set out in table B below. DCI consultancies cover a wide range of sectors including HIV-AIDS, education, health and rural development. A high proportion of the contracts under Vote 29 concern the monitoring, review and evaluation of development programmes and projects commissioned at headquarters to ensure quality and value for money. These contracts are almost always based on a daily rate of payment with a maximum number of days stipulated in the contract. Tight limits on necessary subsistence and travel expenses are also set out in the contract so that the total payments made reflect the original agreed cost. There can be minor variations in travel and subsistence costs.

In addition to the HQ commissioned contracts, our aid missions in Africa use locally based consultants from time to time to evaluate aspects of the programme in the field. Details of these contracts are being assembled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Vote 28 Consultancies — 2001

Company

Service Provided

Original Estimate

Actual Cost

(€)

(€)

RITS

ICT security services to assist delivery of ICT programmes

3,750.00

3,750.00

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Report on the viability of the Irish Centre at Digbeth, Birmingham

£20,000 sterling

£19,387.50 sterling

Padraig White

To advise the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition on broad issues of strategy with particular reference to economic issues

Agreed Daily Rate

17,526.00

Farrell, Grant Sparks

Procurement and tendering advice regarding the proposed automated passport production system (APS)

See Reply Above

42,250.00

Dr. Tom Hardiman

Ireland’s Representative on the Board of Governors of the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF)

Agreed Daily Rate

18,812.00

Mazaars Consulting Limited

Implementation of a new payroll system

Agreed CMODper diem rate

148,498.41

Eugene Downes

Cultural programme co-ordinator

Agreed Daily Rate

50,494.41

Noel Dorr

Intergovernmental conference representative

Agreed Daily Rate

40,227.77

Fiach MacChongail

Programme Manager, Irish Cultural Centre Paris

39,519.35

39,519.35

Vote 28 Consultancies — 2002

Company

Service Provided

Original Estimate

Actual Cost

(€)

(€)

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young

Consultancy in respect of the development of the Department's ICT Strategy

170,000.00

155,101.26

Cara

Technical and Helpdesk ICT services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

27,553.71

Crannóg

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

20,534.75

D.S.S

Technical and Helpdesk ICT services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

147,818.64

Octogon

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

9,000.00

9,876.63

RITS

ICT Security services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

15,395.00

Padraig White

To advise the Garvaghy Roads Residents Coalition on broad issues of strategy with particular reference to economic development

Agreed Daily Rate

7,683.50

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Cross-Border mobility study

60,000.00

47,870.00

Indicon

Review of Encounter organisation

31,097.00

31,097.00

Farrell, Grant Sparks

Procurement and Tendering advice regarding the proposed Automated Passport Production System (APS)

See Reply Above

44,130.00

Clifford Associates

Project Management Advice — APS

See Reply Above

14,240.00

Bearingpoint

Main Contractor in the development of the delivery of the APS

See Reply Above

4,390,760.00

Mason Hayes and Curran

Contract and Legal Advice — APS

See Reply Above

268,600.00

Dr. Tom Hardiman

Ireland’s Representative on the Board of Governors of the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF)

Agreed Daily Rate

43,464.79

Declan Ryan Consultancy

Consultation on beverage provisions (incl. procuring, discounts and stocking)

under 5,000.00

4,000.00

William Schabas

Representation of Ireland at meetings of the Council of Europe’s Special Committee on the Legal Status of NGOs

Not available

1,370.00

Anglia Polytechnic

Study of the existing sources of information-analysis about Irish emigrants and Irish communities abroad.

58,041.53

58,041.53

McCann Fitzgerald

Review of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ practices in the payments of Foreign Service allowances and entitlements to staff serving abroad in the context of existing equality and employment legislation.

17,768.00

15,427.50

Drury Communications

Advice on a comprehensive communications strategy aimed at improving the transmission of information about the EU to the Irish public.

40,000.00 (ex VAT and expenses)

62999.86 (including VAT and expenses)

Eugene Downes

Cultural Programme Co-ordinator

Agreed Daily Rate

33,478.64

Fiach MacChongail

Programme Manager, Irish Cultural Centre Paris

52,306.87

52,306.87

Geraldine Skinner

Legal consultancy services

Agreed Daily Rate

3,990.58

Noel Dorr

Intergovernmental Conference Representative

Agreed Daily Rate

5,079.97

Vote 28 Consultancies — 2003

Company

Service Provided

Original Estimate

Actual Cost

(€)

(€)

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young

Consultancy in respect of the development of the Department's ICT Strategy

Included in 2002

22,732.88

Cara

Technical and Helpdesk ICT services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

333,773.98

Cornwell

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

137,764.64

Crannóg

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

41,143.70

D.S.S

Technical and Helpdesk ICT services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

643,470.32

Hewlett Packard

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

45,980.74

Microsoft

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

30,461.75

RITS

ICT Security services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

290,000.00

300,359.26

Centre for Cross Border Studies

Cross-Border mobility study

22,770.00

19,440.00

Cornwell (formerly Clifford Associates)

Project Management Advice — APS

See Reply Above

106,000.00

Bearingpoint

Main contractor in the development of the delivery of the APS

See Reply Above

14,936,500.00

Mason Hayes and Curran

Contract and legal advice — APS

See Reply Above

9,500.00

Dr. Tom Hardiman

Ireland’s Representative on the Board of Governors of the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF)

Agreed Daily Rate

39,687.86

Front Line

Study on possible EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders

25,000.00

25,000.00

Eugene Downes

Cultural programme co-ordinator

Agreed Daily Rate

20,470.42

Fiach MacChongail

Programme Manager, Irish Cultural Centre Paris

103.40

Michael Barsanti

Text for international Joyce exhibition

1,000.00

1,000.00

Labyrinth

Design of Ireland’s EU Presidency Website

See Reply Above

257,889.49

Amas

Design of Youth section of Presidency website and search engine optimisation

See Reply Above

53,280.51

Red Dog Design

Design of the EU Presidency logo, the branding of the Presidency and other project management costs for campaigns to promote regional awareness of the Presidency and to promote the Presidency website. Also includes ancillary production charges relating to costs incurred on technical issues such as printing, display units and backdrops etc.

See Reply Above

49,419.12

Vote 28 Consultancies — 2004

Company

Service Provided

Original Estimate

Actual Cost

(€)

(€)

Cara

Technical and Helpdesk ICT services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

827,394.84

Cornwell

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

229,546.68

Crannóg

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

53,542.50

D.S.S

Technical and Helpdesk ICT services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

1,234,630.47

Hewlett Packard

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

39,023.41

Microsoft

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

9,044.99

RITS

ICT Security services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

300,000.00

321,164.31

Will Taylor

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

190,904.59

Cornwell (formerly Clifford Associates)

Project manager and acceptance testing — APS

See Reply Above

314,000.00

Bearingpoint

Main Contractor in the development of the delivery of the APS

See Reply Above

14,358,000

Mason Hayes and Curran

Contract and Legal Advice — APS

See Reply Above

9,971.00

Dr. Tom Hardiman

Ireland’s Representative on the Board of Governors of the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF)

Agreed Daily Rate

31,694.40

Declan Ryan Consultancy

Consultation on beverage provisions for EU Presidency

Less than 5,000

2,500.00

Deirdre Donohue

Organisation of December 2004 DFA-NGO Human Rights Forum

1,500.00

1,292.46

Labyrinth

Design of Ireland’s EU Presidency Website

See Reply Above

245,829.31

Amas

Design of Youth section of Presidency website and search engine optimisation

See Reply Above

81,340.18

Fusio

Upgrade of Departmental Website

11,188.30

11,188.30

Red Dog Design

Design of the EU Presidency logo, the branding of the Presidency and other project management costs for campaigns to promote regional awareness of the Presidency and to promote the Presidency website. Also includes ancillary production charges relating to costs incurred on technical issues such as printing, display units and backdrops etc.

See Reply Above

251,363.15

Balcombe Helicopters

Provision of technical advice regarding helicopter transport for the EU Enlargement Day events in Dublin, 1 May 2004

4,235.00

4,235.00

Melt Design

Design and type setting of publication entitled Growth, Jobs and Social Cohesion: What Europe is Doing for You

1,234.20

1,940.84

A&L Goodbody

Expenditure review report on the Department’s EU accession training programmes

2,450.00

4,878.42

Eugene Downes

Cultural programme co-ordinator

Agreed Daily Rate

24,126.33

Dr. Renata Dwan

Research in relation to the link between civilian crisis management and development assistance

Not available

15,000.00

Declan Kiberd

Editorial advice on international Joyce exhibition and Beckett-related project work

900.00

900.00

Laura Weldon

Beckett-related project work

1,750.00

1,750.00

Vote 28 Consultancies — 2005 (to date)

Company

Service Provided

Original Estimate

Actual Cost

(€)

(€)

Cara

Technical and Helpdesk ICT services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

1,285,387.65

Cornwell

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

58,166.52

D.S.S

Technical and Helpdesk ICT services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

647,356.07

RITS

ICT Security services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

315,000.00

216,245.77

Version1

Technical services to assist delivery of ICT Programmes

Agreed Daily Rate

249,945.80

Cornwell (formerly Clifford Associates)

Project Manager and Acceptance Testing — APS

See Reply Above

87,060.00

Bearingpoint

Main Contractor in the development of the delivery of the APS

See Reply Above

497,300.00

Mason Hayes and Curran

Contract and legal advice — APS

See Reply Above

20,780.00

Dr. Tom Hardiman

Ireland’s Representative on the Board of Governors of the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF)

Agreed Daily Rate

31,845.31

Ronan Daly Jermyn, Solicitors

Legal Advice in connection with contracts

Hourly Rate

3,025.00

Declan O’Neill

Evaluation of e-payments solution for the Department

3,000.00

4,000.00

ECA International

An examination of the structure of foreign service allowances and other entitlements available to officers serving overseas

Agreed Daily Rate

3,418.00

Eugene Downes

Cultural programme co-ordinator

Agreed Daily Rate

25,029.12

Declan Kiberd

Editorial Advice on international Joyce exhibition and Beckett-related project work

1,250.00

1250.00

Ronan McDonald

Beckett-related project work

2,000.00

2,000.00

Padraig White

To advise the Garvaghy Roads Residents Coalition on broad issues of strategy with particular reference to economic development

Agreed Daily Rate

22,282.15

TABLE B

Development Cooperation Directorate Consultancy Costs 2000

Consultant

Consultancy Title

€ Amount

Centre for Adult and Community Education

Fellowship policy, guidelines & application-selection criteria

2,475.99

Timothy O'Dempsey

Participation in Roll Back Malaria Meeting, WHO Geneva

2,350.5

John Kevany

Appraisal of International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Proposal

10,221.39

Desiree Dietvorst

Presentation at like-minded meeting on SWAPs Dublin

3,573.09

ESRI

DAC capacity network meeting, Dublin, April 2000

3,313.18

Moss McCormack

Programme Document for Ireland Aid Assistance to Health Sector, Lesotho

3,739.7

Robert Smith

Appraisal of Ireland Aid support to Jimma University, Ethiopia

8,033.61

Vivienne Forsythe

Appraisal of Ireland Aid support to Jimma University, Ethiopia

11,265.04

Mary Jennings

Review of Save the Children micro credit project, Palestine, March 2000

6,162.85

John Grindle

Attendance at expert group meeting on economic vulnerability, Paris

1,168.12

Jim Kinsella

Bethel Evaluation, Lesotho, March 2000

6,911.12

Educational Research Centre

Assess quality of teaching in primary schools, Kibale District, Uganda, March 2000

6,012.59

Centre for Adult and Community Education

Report on meeting of like-minded Donors on SWAPS — March 2000

3,174.35

Ruairí Brugha

Joint Ministry of Health-partners review of health action plan, Tanzania, March 2000

7,445.78

Ann Bourke Garcia

Preparation of programme of support in health sector for Ireland Aid, Tanzania

12,804.9

Cathy Gaynor

Preparation of report for the World Conference on Education for All, Dakar, finalisation of education guidelines, attendance at regional advisers' workshop on education, March-September 2000

15,236.86

Monica Gorman

Seminar on Environmental Best Practice in Development Programmes report, 23 March 2000

571.38

Deloitte & Touche

Review of Ireland Aid Procurement Procedures, March- June 2000

57,083.09

IAAC/ Prof. John Jackson

Attendance at the United Nations Commission on Population and Development

57,43.41

Dr. Timothy O’Dempsey

Participation in Operational Research Workshop, Ethiopia, Phase 1, March 2000

2,539.22

Peit Jan Zijlstra/ CDP Consultants

Evaluation of Area-Based Programmes, Dublin, March-April 2000

60,176.48

Orlaith McCaul

Evaluation of Area Based Programmes, Dublin March-April 2000

5,889.93

Swithun Goodbody

Attendance at IFPRI Workshop in Malawi — March-April 2000

4,646.8

Andrew O’Connell

Strategy and Guidelines for Ireland Aid support to Health Component in the District Development Programmes-April 2000

5,715.46

Nick Chisholm

Preparation of Ireland Aid Policy & Guidelines on Agriculture

12,597.59

Peadar Cremin

Curriculum Development and Implementation for Palestinian Ministry of Education: April 2000

5,401.44

David O’Grady

Curriculum Development and Implementation for Palestinian Ministry of Education: April 2000

5,291.99

Eamonn Brehony

Feasibility Study on the proposed Mungwi Council Sugar Cane Out-Growers Scheme, Zambia, April-May 2000.

4,826.12

Nick Chisholm

Attendance at the Preliminary Appraisal Committee and the pre-Project Appraisal and Evaluation Group Meetings April 2000-March 2001

4,441.07

Noel Whelan

Attendance at the Preliminary Appraisal Committee and the pre-Project Appraisal and Evaluation Group Meetings April 2000-March 2001

6,148.22

Mike FitzGibbon

Desk Study re Accounting Database in District Development Programmes, Tanzania

1,976.26

David McKevitt

Programme Aid Seminar May 2000

1,100.01

Bannock Consulting

Programme Aid Seminar May 2000

1,100.81

Vivienne Forsythe

Strategy and Sector Guidelines in Emergency Humanitarian Assistance, Emergency Preparedness and Post Emergency Rehabilitation

3,656.85

Conor Ward

Support to the Bethlehem 2000 Palestinian Heritage Centre at Bethlehem University — May 2000

3,669.85

Nils Boesen, AS Denmark

Review of NGO Block Grant Multi-annual Funding — May — June 2000

27,297.43

Swithun Goodbody

Evaluation of Ireland Aid support to IFAD and CGIAR — May-June 2000

18,143.38

Colin O’Sullivan

Member of CSC interview board for IT specialist, Development Co-operation Division

1,269.74

Terence George Baker

Development of the Curriculum for a Diploma course in Medlab Science

13,764.94

John Kevany

Attendance at EU HIV-AIDS vaccine task team meeting, Brussels, May 2000

1,608.24

Andrew Burke

Review of Education Support to Northern Province, South Africa

8,063.1

REPIM Limited

Programme Aid Seminar May 2000

2,296.74

Cathal Higgins

Review of Education Support to Northern Province, South Africa

8,122.53

Tom Dolan, ODT Development Consultancy

Reviewing Plans and Programme to Reform the Justice Cluster in South Africa

6,557.52

John Grindle

Background Paper on Political and Economic Developments, SA in preparation for Country Strategy Review — June 2000

4,357.7

Lars P. Christensen

Evaluation of Ireland Aid Contributions to UNDP, UNICEF & UNFPA June-Sept 2000

11,500.3

Nedworc Foundation

Evaluation of Ireland Aid Contributions to UNDP, UNICEF & UNFPA June-Sept 2000

2,765.59

Piet Jan Zijlstra/CDP Consultants

Evaluation of area-based programmes, Ethiopia-Tanzania-Mozambique-Tanzania: Phase 11 - June-July & Sept 2000

10,602.85

Orlaith McCaul/ Development Studies Centre

Evaluation of area-based programmes - Phase 2 - Tanzania-Amsterdam-Tanzania

23,365.61

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Mid-term Review of the Reproductive Health Services Project, Northern Province, Zambia June 2000

14,972.15

Brenda Corcoran

Review of the national tuberculosis programme, Tanzania, June 2000

9,208.14

Matthew Jowett

Attendance at WHO meeting on partnership in Health and Poverty, Geneva 12-14 June 2000

2,353.45

Thomas Kellaghan

Issues Paper for Attendance at International working Group on Education — Florence, June 2000

2,623.37

Nick Chisholm

DAC Environmental Meeting June 2000

1,091.59

Mike Scott

Member of Civil Service Commission Interview Board for D C D Accountant, June 2000

1,269.4

David Lovegrove

Foreign Investment Advisory Mission to Laos

8,610.78

John Kevany

EU Health Aids Population Experts Meeting Brussels

1,404.75

Sean Courtney

Increase management capacity of the Ireland Aid country programme, Tanzania, July-Oct 2000

15,236.86

Bernard Mc Loughlin

Appraisal of Inception Report on the Establishment of an ED-SDP Pooled Fund, Tanzania

444.41

Seamus McGuinness

Mid-term review-evaluation of the whole school development, Tanzania, July-August 2000

3,300.05

Bernadette Crawford

Participation In Ireland Aid Education Seminar Aug 2000

2,631.16

Iain Atack

Review of three-year Programme 1998-2000 on Human Rights, Democratisation and Good Governance - August 2000

2,365.84

Mary Jennings

Participation in Regional HIV-AIDS Workshop, Uganda, Sept 00

5,845.73

Vivienne Forsythe

Review of CHAL-RHDP Project Lesotho Sept 2000

7,552.73

Mike Ratcliffe (HRDC)

Evaluation of Trócaire Block Grant Projects in Central America, Aug 2000

19,141.92

Grant Thornton

Review of DCO Administration Budgets and Budgeting Procedures — Aug-Oct 2000

23,568.74

Centre for Arid Zone Studies, University of Wales

Review of Agriculture Programme in Ethiopia, Aug-Sept 2000

19,166.29

UCD (Dept. of Agribusiness Extension & RD)

Sokoine Extension Programme Tanzania, Sept 2000

8,226.84

John Grindle

Evaluation of Tanga Coastal Zone Programme — Phase II

12,315.25

Bernadette Crawford

Strategic Approach to Health and Education SWAPs in the Priority Countries — Sept-Nov 2000

2,285.53

Moss McCormack

Attendance at WHO Seminar on Quality Improvement Strategies for Middle & Low Income Countries September 2000

963.67

Nick Chisholm

DAC Environmental Conference — Amsterdam

2,130.51

John Kevany

Inter Agency Group Meeting on SWAPs Geneva

2,478.35

John Kevany

Ireland Aid health policy-programme development: Sept-Dec 2000

13,558.01

Sean Courtney

Increase Management Capacity of the Ireland Aid Country Programme, Tanzania

16,760.54

Iain Atack

To attend SIDA workshop, Promoting a Human Rights Approach in Development Co-operation, Stockholm, October 2000

2,632.76

Nick Chisholm

To attend CGIAR Annual Centres Week Washington, October 2000

3,330.76

Therese Dooley

Review of primary schools construction & bursary project for participation of education sector support programme for Lesotho, Oct-Nov 2000

6,610.88

Roger Avenstrup

Review of primary schools construction & bursary project for preparation of education sector support programme for Lesotho, Nov-Dec 2000 & Jan 01

15,505.05

Roger Avenstrup

Ethiopia ESDP Mid-term Review 10 February-4 March 2001

18,658.66

Dr. Shane Allwright

Appraise the desirability of Ireland Aid support for the Mwanza Intervention Trial, Tanzania

3,718.39

Moss McCormack

Health Sector Review Lesotho Nov 2000

3,889

Bernadette Crawford

Health Sector Consultation Nov 2000

406.91

Vivienne Forsythe

Health Sector Consultation Nov 2000

540.38

Dr. Maura Connolly

Health Sector Consultation Nov 2000

903.98

Dr. Bert Schreuder

Health Sector Consultation Nov 2000

1,223.19

Philip Ryan-Precept Consulting

Management Review, Maputo

15,465.52

Kim Forss-Andante Consultants AB

Participation in Health SWAP Meeting Amsterdam, November 2000

4,295.12

Diarmuid McClean

Technical Support to UNICEF, Ghana, re Ireland Aid supported HIV-Aids programme: Nov-Dec 2000

5,947.77

Moss McCormack

Mid-term Review of Medlabs Project Zambia December 2000

(paid in 2002)

Edward O’Loughlin

Production of an Ireland Aid Administrative procedures and Operations manual(s) December-June 2001

14,220.17

Deloitte & Touche

Quality Review of the Evaluation and Audit Unit. Dec 2000-Feb 01

40,966.58

COWI

Evaluation of Ireland Aid Contributions to the UN

45,858.94

Development Cooperation Directorate Consultancy Costs 2001

Consultant

Consultancy Title

€ Amount

Aidan Pender/PA Consulting Group

Facilitator to the Ireland Aid Review Committee

31,452.35

Andrew Burke

Co-ordination of study visit to Ireland by Education officials from Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia Mozambique and S A (Nov 2001)

9,885.68

Bernard McLoughlin

Sidama Area Based Programme Evaluation: Ethiopia (March 2001)

12,914.90

Bernard McLoughlin

Review of Financial Control Capacities and Elaboration of Programme Expansion Proposals (June, 2001)

13,093.88

Brian Barr

Roads Consultancy for Ireland Aid — Ethiopia Programme

11,381.32

Cathal Higgins

Participation in ongoing monitoring and review of Ireland Aid Education Programmes (Jan-Dec 2001)

46,659.36

CDP Consultants

Participation of Mr. Taco Kooistra in the evaluation of NGO Block Grant Scheme: Bangladesh and India (Feb & Mar 2001)

22,431.20

CDP Consultants

Participation in Sidama Area-based Programme Evaluation — Ethiopia (Feb-Apr 2001)

24,966.46

CDP Consultants

Souther Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State ( SNNPRS) Needs Assessment — Ethiopia (Nov 2001)

5,249.76

Centre for Arid Zone Studies (CAZS)

Support to Review of IFSP and Preparation of Position Paper — Ethiopia (Sep 2001)

14,525.14

CHL Consulting Group

Ex-Post Evaluation of Hotel and Tourism Training — Zambia (Oct — Nov 2001)

13,123.09

COWI

Evaluation of Ireland Aid Contributions to UNHCR and OHCHR (Sep — Nov 2001)

7,488.00

Deloitte & Touche

Study to Develop a Risk Management Process in Ireland Aid.

33,492.16

Development Studies Centre

Participation of Ms Orlaith McCaul in the Sidama Area-based Programme Evaluation — Ethiopia (Feb-Apr 2001)

16,297.33

Diarmuid McClean

Participation in ongoing support to Ireland Aid in the Health Sector (Feb-Jul 2001)

4,072.93

Diarmuid McClean

Health — Programme Support and Development (Oct 01-Mar 02)

2,886.63

Dr. Albert de Groot/Netherlands Economic Institute

Macro-economic Support to Mozambique (Mar-Apr 01)

13,717.13

Dr. Ian Robinson — Centre for Arid Zone Studies, University of Wales, Bangor

Participate in workshop in Dublin re developing an Ireland Aid Policy and Guidelines for Agriculture

1,851.88

Dr. Jim Phelan

Attendance at Agriculture Workshop — Tanzania (May 2001)

2,744.86

Dr. Timothy O’Dempsey

Participation in Operational Research Workshop (Ethiopia); March 2001

939.06

Edward O’Loughlin

Production of an Ireland Aid Administrative procedures and Operations manual(s) December-June 2001

20,320.00

Eric Woods

Review of Teacher Education in the Context of the Education Sector Development Programme — Ethiopia, November 2001

3,657.60

Gavin Olney

Assessment of Microfinance Sector in Kibale, Kiboga, and Kumi — Uganda

10,203.51

HELM Corporation Ltd

Review of Current Practice in Lesson Learning from Evaluations at Country Level. October -November 2001

24,126.76

Horwath Bastow Charlton

Review of Financial Management Systems of NGOs

40,327.97

IG Harmond Associates

Review of Ireland Aid Support to the Rural Access Sector — Lesotho (Aug-Sep 2001)

12,617.28

John Grindle

Participation in workshop on developing an Ireland Aid Policy and Guidelines for Agriculture: Agriculture Conference, Dublin (10-11 January 2001)

6,200.14

John Grindle

Assistance to the Czech and Lithuanian Foreign Ministries (April-June 2001)

9,106.70

John Grindle

Ongoing review of Ireland Aid’s policy on debt (May 2001 -April 2002)

17,207.23

John Grindle

Review of the Ireland Aid Country Programme — Lesotho (Oct-Nov 2001)

2,000.25

John McKinnon

Seminar on proposal to provide General Budget Support to Uganda — Dublin (4 April 2001)

689.71

John Telford / EMMA Ltd.

Review of NGO activities in Gujarat, India (April-June 2001)

7,297.51

Kevin Carroll

Support to IA’s Health Advisers (Sep 01-Aug 02)

8,336.57

Kevin Carroll

Preparation of Discussion Paper on Governance/ Civil Society for Programme Officers Meeting (Nov. 2001)

1,905.00

Kevin Carroll

Workshop on Sector Wide Approaches (SWAPs) — Lesotho (Oct 2001)

4,493.95

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Participation of Ms Monica Burns in Mid-term Review of the HSDP — Ethiopia (February-March 2001)

30,081.70

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Participation of Mr. Peter Petit in Mid-term Review of the HSDP Ethiopia (February-March 2001)

21,836.14

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Participation of Dr. Ruairí Brugha in Joint Ministry of Health/Partners Review of Health Plan of Action — Tanzania (March 2001)

15,580.01

Mary Oduka

Member of Ireland Aid Interview Board for Programme Officer (October 2001)

1,270.00

Michael Kelly

Participation in facilitation of workshop on HIV/AIDS and presentation of paper on HIV/AIDS (February — March 2001)

2,698.98

Michael Scott

Assessment of the operations of AMSCO (April-June 2001)

5,043.63

Monica Burns, LATH

Annual Review Meeting of HSDP — Ethiopia (June 2001)

12,265.60

NEDWORC

Participation of Mr. Henk Mutsaers at the Agriculture Conference Workshop on Developing an Ireland Aid Policy and Guidelines for Agriculture: Dublin (11-12 January 2001)

3,140.20

Niall McDermott, Barry International Consulting Engineers

Mozambique Road Sector Analysis (June 2001)

20,550.60

Nick Chisholm

Attendance at the Preliminary Appraisal Committee and the pre-Project Appraisal and Evaluation Group Meetings (April 2000-March 2001)

6,020.69

Nick Chisholm

Participation in workshop on developing an Ireland Aid Policy and Guidelines for Agriculture: Agriculture Conference, Dublin (10-11 January 2001)

977.09

Nick Chisholm

Ongoing Attendance at Meetings of DAC Working Party on Environment (March 2001 to March 2002)

3,993.39

Nick Chisholm

Seminar on proposal to provide General Budget Support to Uganda — Dublin (4 April 2001)

563.25

Nick Chisholm

Agriculture Position Paper in preparation for the Country Strategy Paper, Ethiopia ( August 2001)

9,096.92

Noel Molony

Review of Current Support to Rwanda — Phase 1 (December 2001)

1,143.00

Olga McDonagh

Administrative arrangements between Ireland Aid and ICOS (March-April 2001)

4,445.00

Overseas Development Institute, London

Participation of Mr. Mick Foster in Joint Donor Budget Support Mission (PRSC) — Uganda (January 2001)

21,689.77

Philip Ryan

Member of Ireland Aid Interview Board for Human Resources and Outsourcing Manager (October 2001)

2,743.20

Philip Ryan / Precept Consulting

Consultancy report to DCD for the Ireland Aid Review April (July 2001)

13,716.00

Prof. John Kevany

Health — Intermittent Specialist Support (October 2001- March 2002)

4,014.56

Prof. John Kevany

Participation in ongoing monitoring on draw-down basis of Ireland Aid support to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative — IAVI (2001-2002)

8,840.69

Prof. John Kevany

Global Health Initiatives Stockholm

2,123.94

Pyramid Consulting Ltd.

Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and Development (1-16/2/2001)

5,715.00

Seamus Ó hUllachain

Facilitator for Study Visit to Ireland (Nov 2001)

3,810.00

Sean Courtney

Increase management capacity of the Ireland Aid Country Programme, Tanzania (17 January-16 March 2001)

11,582.40

Sean Courtney

Support to the Ireland Aid Country Programme, Tanzania (April-July 2001)

16,154.40

Sean Courtney

Support to the Ireland Aid Country Programme, Tanzania (Aug-Oct 2001)

15,240.00

Sean Courtney

Support to the Ireland Aid Country Programme, Tanzania (01 November 2001-31 January 2002)

4,572.00

Sorcha Corcoran

Production of the Ireland Aid Annual Report

8,628.38

Susan Bragdon CGIAR/IPGRI

Speak at a workshop on Genetic Resources for Agriculture Dublin (8-9 Jan 2001)

833.63

Swithin Goodbody

Participation in Agriculture Conference Workshop on developing an Ireland Aid Policy and Guidelines for Agriculture (Dublin); 11&12/1/2001 (classified as an extension of contract for Evaluation of Ireland Aid support to IFAD and CGIAR (May-June 2000)

1,263.56

T & B Consult

Review of Ireland Aid’s support to the Development Studies Centre, Kimmage Manor (Sep-Nov 2001)

6,229.35

Therese Dooley

Participation in the Facilitation of workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation (February-March 2001)

1,524.00

Therese Dooley

EU Water Experts Meeting Stockholm (23-24 April 2001)

2,325.19

Therese Dooley

Water & Sanitation sector, SA & Zambia (June-July 2001)

16,360.08

Therese Dooley

Global Health Fund Meeting Geneva (Jun 01). Global Fund for AIDS & Health Brussels (Jul 01)

4,103.50

Therese Dooley

Preparation for Formulation of CSP-Ethiopia, Water Sector (Sep-Oct 2001)

11,986.73

Development Cooperation Directorate Consultancy Costs 2002

Consultant

Consultancy Title

€ Amount

Avenstrup, Roger

Review of IA support to Education Sector — Lesotho (Dec 2001)

8,956.05

McGuinness, Seamus

Mid-term review/evaluation of Whole School Development — Tanzania (Jul-Aug 2000)

10,681.75

Courtney, Sean

Support to the IA Country Programme — Tanzania (Nov 01 to Jan 02)

10,668.00

Sugrue, Ciaran

Joint External Appraisal of MoE Strat Plan — Zambia (Jul-02)

5,522.71

Long, Jean

Evaluation of the Copperbelt Maternity Clinics & the Northern Province Reproductive Health Projects — Zambia (Jul-Aug-02)

9,776.42

Crawford, Bernie

Development of a Sector Strategy Paper for Urban Development (POCMUS) — Zambia (Jul-Aug-02)

8,740.96

McDowell, Moore

Preparation in the GoZ /WB workshop on “Deeping Economic Diversification in Zambia”— Zambia (Jun-02)

9,710.38

McCormack, Moss

Mid-term review of the Medlabs Project — Zambia (Jul-02)

6,800.00

Riverine Consulting

Good Governance Northern Province Needs Assessment — Zambia (Jul-Aug 02)

3,291.00

Mtonga, V

Review of the Cooperbelt Reproductive Health — Zambia (Jul-Aug-02)

1,524.00

Milimo, J

Water Northern Province KAP Survey — Zambia (Jul-Aug-02)

5,515.00

RuralNet HIV/AIDS

Capacity Needs Assessment OVC Programme Copperbelt — Zambia (Jul-Aug-02)

4,010.00

Sikwibele, A

Northern Province Education BTL Review — Zambia (Jul-Aug-02)

4,995.00

Burke, Andrew

Review of IA support to Primary Education Reform Programme — Uganda (Jul-Aug-02)

15,031.98

Dolan, Tom

Justice Law & Order Sector Review — Uganda (April-May 01)

13,205.54

Dolan, Tom

Preparation of PAEG Documents (2001)

2,795.82

Dolan, Tom

Justice Law & Order Sector & Anti-Corruption — Uganda (May-Jun 01)

33,023.43

Dolan, Tom

Visit of Uganda CRC to Ireland, Preparatory Work (Jan-02)

1,766.84

Dolan, Tom

Justice Law & Order Sector Review-Uganda (Nov 01)

12,457.06

O'Sullivan, Margo

Review of IA support to Primary Education Reform Programme — Uganda (Jul-Aug-02)

10,059.00

Avenstrup, Roger

Review Teacher Education — Ethiopia (Nov-01)

15,658.8

Avenstrup, Roger

ESDP Annual Review — Ethiopia (April-02)

8,379.2

CDP Consultants

SNNPRS Needs Assessment — Ethiopia (Feb-Apr)

15,108.45

CDP Consultants

SNNPRS Needs Assessment Phase II — Ethiopia (May-02)

11,808.87

Higgins, Cathal

Assessment of Teacher Education — Ethiopia (2001)

5,731.00

Phelan, Jim

Technical Needs Assessment for ORCB Project — Ethiopia (Sep-02)

7,465.07

Woods, Eric

Provision of Technical support to Joint Task Force on teacher Education — Ethiopia (Jan-Jun-02)

22,914.78

Woods, Eric

Review of Teacher Education in the context of ESDP (Nov-2001)

9,694.21

Gaynor, Cathy

Training Assignment — Ethiopia (October-02)

11,094.11

CDP Consultants

SNNP Regional Integrated Plan — Ethiopia (September 02)

31,005.68

Dolan, Tom

Appraisal of E-justice Programme — South Africa (Oct-2001)

13,535.48

Dolan, Tom

IA support to Good Governance, Democracy & Human Rights — South Africa (Jul-Sep-02)

7,854.00

Gordon, Adele

Bursary Support Evaluation — South Africa

1,553.18

Corbett Development Service

Technical Assistance to oversee Water Project's Implementation — South Africa

8,516.88

Khulisa Man. Serv.

Id current & future funding in Education Sector in Limpopo Prov. — South Africa

28,588.30

Int. Org. Develop.

Support for NGOs working in HIV/AIDS — South Africa

10,335.86

Int. Org. Develop.

Assistance in Organisational restructuring of DoE, Limpopo Province (Phase 1) — South Africa

3,924.08

Chisholm, Nick

PAC & Pre-PAEG Meeting Jan/Mar/April 02

4,079.45

Chisholm, Nick

Ongoing Attendance at DAC Working Party on the Envir. Meetings

2,380.48

Chisholm, Nick

PAC & Pre-PAEG Meetings (May-Dec 02)

4,183.90

Core Financial Systems

Annual Support/Maintenance/Product Licence for Sunsystems for seven missions

22,149.64

Core Financial Systems

Various on-site consultancies

6,897.20

Core Financial Systems

On-site Development of Sun to reflect changes to Subheads in 7 Embassies (Mar-Apr-02)

23,958.00

Grant Thornton

Preparation of Financial Statements Refugee Agency (2001-02)

4,800.00

Jackson, John

Member of the IA Interview Board for Principal & Senior Development Specialists, Dublin (Sep-Oct-02)

6,215.68

Ainscow, Robert

Member of the IA Interview Board for Principal & Senior Development Specialists, Dublin (Sep-Oct-02)

14,018.56

Fell, Art

Member of the IA Interview Board for Principal & Senior Development Specialists, Dublin (Sep-Oct-02)

7,748.34

Ryan, Philip

IA Review of IAAC & NCDE (2001)

6,856.58

Saville & Holdsworth Ltd

Interviewing for IO & Edu. Specialist (Nov & Dec-2001)

7,867.93

S&H Ltd

Feedback to M. O'Connor & T. Dignan

772.2

S&H Ltd

Competencies & Application Form Design (Mar-02)

2,395.8

Sheils, John

External support in compilation of Job Descriptions for IA

5,793.6

T&B Consult

Review of IA's support to the DSC Kimmage (2001)

16,877.82

Whelan, Noel

Pre-PAEG Meetings Jan 01-Jan-02

11,084.31

Whelan, Noel

Pre-PAEG Meetings Feb-Dec 02

6,750.78

Grindle, John

Debt: Ongoing Review of IA's policy on Debt (01-02)

7,554.97

Grindle, John

Debt: Ongoing Review of IA's policy on Debt (May 02-Apr 03)

7,178.39

Grindle, John

Multi-annual Programme Scheme (MAPS) — (Apr-Dec-02)

13,000.00

Jennings, Mary

Multi-annual Programme Scheme (MAPS) — (Apr-Dec-02)

14,346.00

Gaynor, Cathy

Multi-annual Programme Scheme (MAPS) — (Apr-Dec-02)

13,580.00

Grindle, John

Assessment & expert input to Eastern Europe Aid Committee (Feb-Dec-02)

8,500.00

Carroll, Kevin

Evaluation of in-country micro-projects, Phase I

15881.49

Carroll, Kevin

Eval micro-projects (Phase II) Nigeria

10487.67

Carroll, Justin

Evaluation of in-country micro-projects, Phase I

27,566.00

Carroll, Justin

Eval micro-projects (Phase II)

10,503.00

CDP Consultants

Evaluation of NGO Block Grant Scheme in Kenya, Uganda & Malawi (Jun-2001)

12,162.24

COWI

Evaluation of IA contributions to UNHCR & OHCHR (Sep-Nov 2001)

33,469.52

Deloitte & Touche

Study to develop a Risk Management Process for IA (2Sep-Nov 2001)

5,762.02

Deloitte & Touche

Risk Management Pilot Phase — Zambia (Jun-02)

40,999.22

Grindle, John

Review — Ethiopia (Aug-Sep-02)

10,484.82

HELM Corporation Ltd

Review of current practice in Lesson Learning from evaluations at country level (expenses 2001)

737.00

Horwath Bastow Charleton

Review of Financial Management Systems of 5 NGOs (Sep-Dec 2001)

9,680.00

Molony, Noel

Review of current support to Rwanda Phase 2 (Jan-02)

7,357.59

Molony, Noel

Review of current support to Rwanda Phase 1 (Dec-2001)

2,987.24

Mullan, Mark

Review of current support to Rwanda Phase 1(Dec-2001)

2,987.24

Mullan, Mark

Review of current support to Rwanda Phase 2 (Jan-02)

6,350.00

Shannon Development

Review of FIAS (Apr-May-02)

11,313.50

Deloitte & Touche

Role out of Risk Management to 6 Missions (Oct 02-Jan 03)

65,200.81

Scott, Mike

Support to EAU (Feb-May-02)

14,685.00

Carr, Bronagh

Assessment of Proposals under EHAF/EPPR Scheme — (Apr-Dec 02)

11,324.40

Molony, Noel

Assessment of Proposals under EHAF/EPPR Scheme — (Apr-Dec 02)

7,260.00

Telford, John

Assessment of Proposals under EHAF/EPPR Scheme — (Apr-Dec 02)

15,000.00

Michelson Institute

Review of IA's Human Rights & Democratisation Scheme — (May-Aug 02)

79,356.70

Carr, Bronagh

Develop new instruments for channelling of funds to Irish NGOs for HIV/AIDS Programme- (Jan-Mar-02)

15,240.00

Carr, Bronagh

Assist IA in managing NGO-HAPS — (Apr-Dec 02)

13,831.50

McClean, Diarmuid

Ongoing support HIV/AIDS: SA & Mozambique (2001)

7,046.91

McClean, Diarmuid

Health Prog Support & Development: HIV Strategy — Tanzania

14,305.00

Crawford, Bernie

Member of the Approvals Committee of the NGO-HAPS (Apr-Dec 02)

5,488.90

Hogan, Mark

Member of the Approvals Committee of the NGO-HAPS (Apr-Dec 02)

6,135.00

Manchester, Joanne

Member of the Approvals Committee of the NGO-HAPS (Apr-Dec 02)

4050.00

McMullan, Pat

Ongoing support to IA funding of IFAD (Jan-Dec-02)

29,827.10

Lee, Carol

Photographic assignments — Advance on fees (2001-02)

11,062.85

Red Dog Graphics

Publications: Design IA Annual Report 01

10,000.00

Bourke-Garcia, Ann

Attendance at the XIV AIDS Conference — Barcelona (July-02)

4,909.79

Carroll, Kevin

Programming Support to IA Edu. & Health Advisers — (Sep-01 to Aug 02)

10,596.61

Carroll, Kevin

Programming Support to Health & Edu Advisers — (Mar-Jul 02)

6,480.97

Cremin, Peter

Co-ordination of study visit to Ireland by Education Officials from Uganda (Nov-2001)

6,497.18

Dooley, Teresa

Intermittent Specialist Support to Water & Sanitation Sector (2001-02)

23,496.15

Grindle, John

Review of IA Country Programme — Lesotho (Oct-Nov 2001)

6,067.73

Kevany, John

On-going monitoring of IA support to IAVI (01-02)

9,113.94

Kevany, John

Intermittent Specialist Support to the Health Sector — (Oct-01 to Mar-02)

13,227.99

Kevany, John

Intermittent Specialist Support to the Health Sector — (Jun to Dec 02)

12,655.55

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Attendance at Dep. For Intern' Medical Research Council Meeting London — (Feb-02)

1,300.00

McClean, Diarmuid

Ongoing support: SA April 01 & Ethiopia Jul-01

15,066.57

McClean, Diarmuid

Health Programme Support & Development (Mar-Aug-02)

23,841.51

Ní Duibhir, Denise

Preparation of Edu Fact Sheets & Guidelines Desk Study (2001-02)

2,785.73

O'Donovan, Diarmuid

Technical Consultant to the Board of the European Malaria Vaccine Initiative

8,233.19

St. Patricks Educational Centre

Technical Support to Ugandan National Examinations Board (UNEB) for their National Conference (Feb-Mar-02)

5,852.14

Dundalk Institute of Technology

Ongoing participation in the Intern' Working Group & Formulation on policy & incentives for the ASEM Initiative on Lifelong Learning (Nov 2001- Sep 02)

62,296.35

IMCL

Country Financial Accountability Assessment, Ethiopia (Sep-Oct 02)

44,840.53

LSHTM

Tracking Study for Global Fund for AIDS, TB & Malaria (end 02- mid 04)

55,570.08

Heneveld, Ward

Facilitator for Seminar on Monitoring Education Quality, Dublin Oct 02

5,207.23

Gaynor, Cathy

Monitoring and Evaluation Consultancy, Ethiopia Oct-Nov 02

11,094.11

Kelly, Michael J.

Facilitator for Seminar on Monitoring Education Quality, Dublin

2,981.36

Carroll, Kevin

Facilitate the Development of an interim CSP for East Timor, Nov 02

7,044.56

Fraser, Susan

Identify the most appropriate funding strategies that could be considered by IA for Palestine in 2003, Oct 02

5,053.86

Cremin, Peadar

Assessment of Ministry of Education Proposal for Technical Assistance to Teacher Training Curriculum Reform, Ethiopia, Oct-Nov 02

7,006.25

Crawford, Bernie

Strategic Approach to Health & Education SWAPs in the Priority Programmes, Sep-Nov 02

7,618.42

Scott, Mike

Participation in the Risk Management Process, Uganda Nov 02

3,582.13

Development Cooperation Directorate Consultancy Costs 2003

Consultant

Consultancy Title

€ Amount

ECORYS

Teacher Education Unit Costings Study, Jan-Feb 03

24,063.54

T&B Consult

Public Expenditure Review — Mozambique Jan-Feb 03

27,365.01

Carroll, Kevin

HIV/AIDS Review Tanzania — Review of the Mema Kwa Vijana Project, Feb-Mar 03

16,640.26

T&B Consult

Review of Ireland Aid support to Gender Equality, Jan-Apr 03

77,902.02

Wirak, Anders

2002 Joint Review Mission ESDP, Ethiopia, Feb-Mar 03

23,378.68

Arekibo

Website Redesign and Build, Jan-Apr 03

60,633.00

McClean, Diarmuid

HIV/AIDS Review Tanzania -Review of the Mema Kwa Vijana Project

16,808.90

O'Donovan, Diarmuid

Technical Consultant to the Board of the European Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Jan-Dec 03

8,793.97

Carroll, Kevin

Assistance in Programming Support to the Education and Health/HIV/AIDS Advisers, Jan-Dec 03

30,644.56

Carr, Bronagh

Support to the Emergency and Rehabilitation Unit, Mar-Dec 03

22,797.30

CATZ (University of Wales, Bangor)

Technical Assistance for a Programme of Operational Research and Capacity Building for Food Security & Sustainable Livelihoods (Ethiopia), Apr 03-04

366,158.71

Sugrue, Ciaran

Finalize the Teacher Development and Management Plan (TDMP) Phase II, Uganda

22,862.19

Grindle, John

Attendance at the United Nations Commission on Population and Development, New York, Mar-Apr 03

6,595.64

Grindle, John

Assessment of Proposals submitted under the Eastern European Fund, Mar-Dec 03

8,366.92

Carr, Bronagh

Provision of Technical Support to Ireland Aid in the management of the HIV/AIDS Partnership Scheme for NGOs, March to December 2003

11,033.79

Chisholm, Nick

Participation in the PAEG Meetings, Mar-Dec 03

6,030.80

Whelan, Noel

Participation in the PAEG Meetings, Mar-Dec 03

6,130.00

Leen, Maura

Participation in the PAEG Meetings, Mar-Dec 03

3,600.00

CDP Consultants

Review of the Government of Ireland-Government of South Africa Development Cooperation, Mar-May 03

40,864.25

IMCL

Remodelling of Area-Based Programmes, Ethiopia Apr-May 03

32,947.22

CDP

Review District Development Programmes (2000-03), Tanzania

42,624.96

Grindle, John

Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation & Development Programme, Tanzania

4,000.00

Mulkeen, Aidan

ICT in Education Study in Uganda

11,760.34

Hurley, John

Feasibility Study and Project Formulation for Hospice Uganda Pilot Project

8,650.00

O'Sullivan, Margo

TDMS — Evaluation of CCT Performance, Uganda

17,585.77

Heneveld, Ward

Education Quality Review, Uganda

34,244.49

Cremin, Peader

Assessment of MoE Proposal for TA to Teacher Training Curriculum Reform, Ethiopia (undertaken in 2002)

7,006.25

CDP

SNNPRS Needs Assessment — Phase III/IV, Ethiopia

18,307.66

DECO — Wirak, Anders

2002 Joint Review Mission ESDP, Ethiopia

23,378.68

Woods, Eric

Technical Support to Steering Committee of Task Force for Teacher Development, Ethiopia (Oct 02-Sep 03)

30,380.22

DECO — Wirak, Anders

Education Joint Review Mission (JRM) 2003, Ethiopia

21,625.69

Durkan, Joseph

Preparation of a paper examining the most appropriate means to encourage and support an enterprise culture within the Ireland Aid Programme in South Africa, May 2003

16,096.37

Moore, Kevin

Briefing for the Office of the President on promoting Private Sector Development in Timor-Leste

10,241.15

Chisholm, Nick

Attendance at DAC Meetings (2002-04)

5,151.72

PAI

Management Needs Analysis

92,757.70

Crawford, Bernie

Appraisal of Fellowships

945.00

Jackson, John

Interview Board Member

2,712.05

O'Donnell, B

Interview Board Member

1085.00

Uwakwe, Pamela

Review and Update of Financial Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

26,620.00

Carroll, Kevin

Evaluation of In-country Microprojects Scheme (expenses)

919.60

McClean, Diarmuid

Mid-term Review of IA Support to HIV/AIDS Activities in Zimbabwe & Zambia, (Oct-Nov 02)

9,178.44

Deloitte & Touche

Rollout of Risk Management System to Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho and South Africa Programmes, and Production of a Risk Management Booklet (2002-03)

15,914.94

Boyle, Richard

ERI — Quality Review of IA Reports

2,420.00

Annesley Resource Partnership

ERI — Quality Review of IA Reports

1,815.00

Carr, Bronagh

Malawi — Evaluate Emergency Response (2002-03)

21,457.76

Hall, Nick

Review the Financial Procedures in NGO Partners during the 2002 to 2003 Emergency Response in Malawi, November 2000

9256.50

Salephera Consulting Ltd.

Team Member to Evaluate the 2002 to 2003 Emergency Response in Malawi, November 2003

6,000.00

BDO Simpson Xavier

Financial Management Systems Review of GOAL under MAPS Funding, Dublin — November 2003

18,634.00

Mokoro

Evaluation of the Uganda Country Programme 2000-2003

95,339.26

Grindle, John

Evaluation of DCI (Balkans & CIS) Desk Top Study 2003-04

10,000.00

Ní Duibhir, Denise

Preparation of Edu Fact Sheets & Guidelines Desk Study Advance (2001-2002)

6,573.41

Dooley, Teresa

Intermittent Specialist Support to Water & Sanitation Sector (2001-2002)

23,496.15

McClean, Diarmuid

Health Programme Support & Development (March-Dec 02)

7,158.27

Carroll, Kevin

Support to IA Health/Education Advisers (2002)

5,398.25

Regan, Colm (80:20)

Civic Education Zambia (2002)

12,875.34

Kevany, John

Intermittent Specialist Support to the Health Sector — Jan-Dec 03

7,985.63

McClean, Diarmuid

Provision of Technical Support in Health to the Technical Support Unit, Dublin — April 03 to March 2004

60,143.59

O'Donovan, Diarmuid

Technical Consultant to the Board of the European Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Jan-Dec 03

8,793.97

Phelan, Jim

Uganda Field visit (Membership of the Taskforce on Private Sector & Agriculture)

2,890.22

ODI

Prep. Strategy on ICT & Development

24,980.12

Cremin, Peadar

Attendance at Europe-wide Global Education Conference (Nov 02)

2,232.04

Brugha, Ruairí (LSHTM)

Attendance at “A Confidential Briefing on the Results of the MKV Project’ Meeting

1,573.00

Peberdy, Max

Facilitator for a three day Workshop on the Technical Section’s Strategic Plan — Dublin

3,834.49

Kinsella, Jim (UDC)

Attendance at DAC PovNet Meeting, Florence, Oct 03

3,568.94

O'Dwyer, Jerry

Support to Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria, Oct-Dec 03

8,589.72

Crawford, Bernie

Member of the Approvals Committee of the NGO-HAPS

2,296.00

Hogan, Mark

Member of the Approvals Committee of the NGO-HAPS

4,070.00

Manchester, Joanne

Member of the Approvals Committee of the NGO-HAPS

1,089.00

Gaynor, Cathy

Provision of Advice on the Development of a Monitoring Framework for Civil Society Section

1,350.00

Jennings, Mary

Multi-Annual Programme Scheme (MAPS) (2002)

758.00

Grindle, John

Multi-Annual Programme Scheme (MAPS) (2002)

2,500.00

Jennings, Mary

Goal Strategy Planning/MAPS Development

750.00

Grindle, John

Evaluation of Bothar Projects (2003-04)

7000.00

Carr, Bronagh

Provision of Technical Support to Ireland Aid in the management of the HIV/AIDS Partnership Scheme for NGOs, March to December (2002)

3,800.00

LSHTM

Tracking Study for Global Fund for AIDS, TB & Malaria

55,570.08

Honan, Annette

DEVED Grants Committee Member

Mollaghan, Mary

Production of a Guide to Teaching Resources for DevED

2,970.00

Grindle, John

Assessment of Proposals submitted under the Eastern European Fund (2003-04)

8,000.00

Hayes, Mahon

Constitutional Expert for the Palestinian Authority

5,876.29

Scott, Mike

Ireland Aid-AMSCO Partnership Review

9147.39

McMullan, Pat

Support to IA funding of IFAD (2002)

4,145.52

McMullan, Pat

Support to IA funding of IFAD (2003-04)

15,893.76

Carr, Bronagh

Identify most appropriate funding strategies for Ethiopia (Nov-Dec 2002)

5,152.03

Telford, John

Support to the Emergency and Rehabilitation Unit

13,794.00

Smillie, Ian

Background Paper on and Mission to Sierra Leone

23,882.52

Grindle, John

Ongoing Review & Analysis of IA's Policy on Debt, 2002-03

10,366.92

Development Cooperation Directorate Consultancy Costs 2004

Consultant

Consultancy Title

€ Amount

Gaynor, Cathy

Facilitation of Strategic Planning CSP 2005-07

8,450.53

Jennings, Mary

Facilitation of Strategic Planning CSP 2005-07

8,481.43

Grindle, John

Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation & Development Programme

6,372.33

McClean, Diarmuid

Development of Stat Plan on HIV/AIDS 04-06

15,672.56

Phelan, Jim

Task Force No. 3 on Agricultural Services Agricultural Sector Development Programme — Preparation Mission, Tanzania — February 2004

10,159.07

Ockelford, Jeremy

Evaluation of Northern Province Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme 2000-2002, Zambia — March to April 2004

23,975.99

LATH

Review of the Northern Province Reproductive Health Programme and Ex Post Evaluation

65,382.96

Hurley, John

Feasibility Study and Project Formulation for Hospice Uganda Pilot Project

9,689.50

Heneveld, Ward

Education Quality Review

15,215.04

Heneveld, Ward

Education Quality Review Phase II

20,950.19

HSLP

Finalise a Strategic Framework for Uganda AIDS Commission Secretariat (UACS), Uganda

65,442.86

Roedde, Gretchen

Mid-term review of the National Primary Health Care Programme, Uganda — September to October 2004

18,475.57

Mulkeen, Aidan

Development of Operational Plan for the integration of ICT in Teacher Education Pilot Project in Rwenzori, Uganda (July to December 2004)

9,467.07

Mulkeen, Aidan

ICT & EDU Follow up visit

4,403.14

Cronin, Patricia

Uganda Law Reform Commission Consultancy

7,000.00

Gaynor, Cathy

Strengthening mainstreaming HIV/AIDS

9,938.29

Jennings, Mary

Strengthening mainstreaming HIV/AIDS

9,971.44

CATZ, Bangor

Technical Assistance for a Programme of Operational Research and Capacity Building for Food Security & Sustainable Livelihoods (Ethiopia)

235,669.32

Hockley,Tom

Relief to Development in Ethiopia, March-April 2004

17,686.34

Polhemus, James

Review of the Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation, South Africa — November to December 2004

14,520.00

PAI

Management Needs Analysis

50,057.70

Whelan, Noel

Participation in the PAEG Meetings

1,021.54

Uwakwe,Pamela

Review and Update of Financial Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

20,916.27

Chisholm, Nick

Participation in the PAEG Meetings

2,718.50

Leen, Maura

Participation in the PAEG Meetings

1,900.00

Whelan, Noel

Participation in the PAEG Meetings

2,120.00

Fell, Arthur

Participation in the PAEG Meetings

8,884.26

McKeown, Mary

Participation in the PAEG Meetings

5,770.81

Leen, Maura

Participation in the PAEG Meetings

4,250.00

Crawford, Bernie

External Member of Fellowships Selection Committee, May-June 2004

2,582.95

O'Regan, Johnny

Evaluation of Internal Financial Controls, September to December 2004

12,100.00

Hall, Nick

Review the Financial Procedures in NGO Partners during the 2002 to 2003 Emergency Response in Malawi, November 2003

12,132.82

Salephera Consulting Ltd.

Team Member to Evaluate the 2002 to 2003 Emergency Response in Malawi, November 2003

13,812.15

Grindle, John

Evaluation of DCI (Balkans & CIS) Desk Top Study

5,000.00

Cosgrave, J

PER — Support to Afghanistan

24,154.62

Deloitte & Touche

Facilitation of Risk Management Workshops

12,826.00

O'Regan, Johnny

Audit Support to the E&A Unit (March-May)

28,283.02

O'Regan,Johnny

Audit Support to the E&A Unit (June-August)

38,478.00

ECORYS-NEI

Evaluation of Phase 3 of the Debt Sustainability Capacity Building Programme for HIPCs

245,523.85

Woods, Eric

Desk Study for Development Cooperation Ireland of Support to the Education Sector in Zambia and Uganda 2000-2003, April to June 2004

23,398.29

Agulhas

An Assessment of the Lesotho Country Programme 199-2004, May-July 2004

60,527.82

Uwakwe, Pamela

Provision of Audit Management Support to Evaluation and Audit Unit, June to August 2004

16,940.00

ETC East Africa

Evaluation of the Kilosa District Programme and a Community Level Evaluation of the Kilosa District Programme, Tanzania

64,255.84

CDP

Evaluation of the Area Based Programme in Niassa Province, Mozambique — June to July 2004

44,154.96

Bannock Consulting

Value for Money Study and Transaction Audit, August-November 2004

65,395.99

Petrus Consulting

Expenditure Review Initiative — Quality Review of Development Cooperation Ireland Report (Review of DCI Support to Afghanistan), November 2004

3,176.26

Mokoro

Evaluation of the ETH Country Strategy Paper

71,889.15

McLoughlin, Bernard

Financial Capacity Assessment for Programme Support — Lesotho, October 2004

9,191.68

BDO Simpson Xavier

Goal Assignment

1,089.00

McCormack, Moss

Mid-term review of the Medlabs Project,Zambia

6,863.30

O'Donovan, Diarmuid

Technical Consultant to the Board of the European Malaria Vaccine Initiative

8,369.66

T&B Consult

Review of IA Support to Gender Equality

54,749.17

Kinsella, Jim (UDC)

Attendance at DAC PovNet Meeting, Florence, Oct 03

1,416.00

O'Dwyer, Jerry

Support to Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria, Oct-Dec 03

4,277.50

O'Dwyer, Jerry

Support to Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria, Oct-Dec 03

30,542.45

Shine, Tara

Support on Climate Change

39,738.56

McClean, Diarmuid

Support to Technical Section — Health

5,667.87

Moore, Kevin

Review of Ugandan Investment Authority (UIA)

5,036.21

Brugha, Ruairí

Attendance at Confidential Briefing on Results of MKV Project

1,573.00

Chisholm, Nick

Attendance at DAC Meetings (Working Party on Environment)

4,450.68

Cremin, Peadar

541.84

Gaynor, Cathy

Report Writing for EFA Global Report Launch 2/4/04

369.00

Jennings, Mary

Report Writing for EFA Global Report Launch 2/4/04

401.55

O'Brien, William

The Private Sector and Agriculture Study, Dublin — February 2004

6,665.75

Kinsella, Jim (UDC)

Technical Support for follow up of PovNet Working Group on Agriculture, March to December 2004

5,085.17

Brugha, Ruairí (LSHTM)

Attendance at’ Combating Diseases associated with Poverty: Financing Strategies for Product Development and the Potential Role of Public-Private Partnerships’, London — 15 to 16 April 2004

3,932.50

McClean, Diarmuid

Participation in Consultative Meeting on Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS in Montreux, Switzerland, 3-4 May 2004

6,432.50

Shine, Tara

Development of an Environment Policy for Development Cooperation Ireland — July to November 2004

25,751.49

Fitzgerald, Margaret

Attendance at Meeting 'Programme Coordination Board Meeting of the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Geneva — June 2004

2,637.96

Leen, Maura

Provision of technical Support in Trade Policy and Capacity Building, July-October 2004

8,750.00

Gaynor, Cathy

Support for the Development of Education Policy Revision Process, September to December 2004

14,000.00

John, Snow

Review of DCI's Regional HIV/AIDS Programme

28,000.92

Scott, Mick

Assistance with the work of the Private Sector Forum, Sept to Dec '04

12,776.11

McClean, Diarmuid

Provision of Technical Support in Health and HIV/AIDS to the Technical Support Unit, September to December 2004

15,087.62

Cremin, Peadar

Engagement with Educational Institutions in Ireland regarding Education for All (EFA) including Representation of DCI at a UNESCO Conference in Paris, November-December 2004

5,000.00

Wirak, Anders (DECO)

Background paper on DCI engagement with UNESCO, November 2004

5,505.50

Manchester, Joanne

Member of the Approvals Committee of the NGO-HAPS

4,356.00

Grindle, John

Evaluation of Bóthar Projects

5,804.47

Santos Marinho, G

Participation in Evaluation of ADRA Projects

5,967.07

Alves Maia, Maria L

Participation in Evaluation of ADRA Projects

5,950.09

Jennings, Mary

Team leader for the Evaluation of ADRA Projects

10,705.80

Anderson,Ian

Evaluation of Refugee Trust Projects

12,105.58

Jennings, Mary

MAPS monitoring visit by DCI to GOAL’s programme in Angola, September 2004; and an Assessment of GOAL’s performance in relation to agreed benchmarks, September to December 2004

17,805.63

Smith,Marie

Appraisal and Monitoring Support for Civil Society and Assistant Desk Officers, August to December 2004

8,147.45

Costigan,Aine

Assist DCI in appraising and approving proposals under the HAPS Supplementary Grant, September 2004

2,000.00

Crawford,Bernie

Assist DCI in appraising and approving proposals under the HAPS Supplementary Grant, September 2004

3,000.00

Farrell,Deirdre

Member of the Development Education Grants Committee, March to September 2004

5,000.00

Grindle, John

External Evaluator for Development Cooperation Ireland Project Proposals for the Balkans and CIS, January to December 2004

2,000.00

Grindle, John

External Evaluator for Development Cooperation Ireland Project Proposals for the Balkans and CIS, January to December 2004

12,500.00

Annesley Resource Partnership

Real-time Evaluation of IPA Training Programme

10,890.00

Whelan,Noel

Member of Eastern European Aid Committee Feb-Dec 2002

5,005.23

Grindle, John

Evaluation of DC in the Balkans & CIS — Desk Top Study

8,000.00

Brunel University

Policy study on good practice in child care in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation

31,629.95

Scott,Mike

Ireland Aid-AMSCO Partnership Review

2,910.82

McMullan, Pat

Support to IA funding of IFAD

20,000.00

Enterplan

Limited Review of Projects Supported by AMSCO/Stichting, April-July 2004

30,925.20

Scott,Mike

Private Sector Resource Specialist, April to December 2004

21,260.31

OPM (Anne Thomson)

Review of DCI Support to IFAD

21,711.43

Goodbody,Swithun

Review of DCI Support to CGIAR

10,000.00

Godden,Kate

Independent Consultants for the EHAF-EPPR Funding Committee

1,210.00

Mokoro

Preparation of Country Strategy for Palestine 2004-2007, November 2003 to January 04

50,628.14

Telford.John

Support to Emergency Section

10,373.15

ODI

External Facilitator at the HAC Meeting, Dublin March 2004

23,021.10

Ngunyi,Mutahi

Monitoring of DCI Recovery Programme, Kenya Mar-Dec 04

10,648.00

Conroy,Anne

Monitoring of DCI Recovery Programme, Malawi Mar-Dec 04

10,648.00

Cosgrave, John

Independent Consultants for the EHAF-EPPR Funding Committee

302.50

Blewitt,Richard

External Facilitator at the HAC Meeting, Dublin March 2004

2,324.37

Telford.John

External Facilitator at the HAC Meeting, Dublin March 2004

7,289.75

Telford.John

Independent Consultants for the EHAF-EPPR Funding Committee

8,388.93

ODI

Good Humanitarian Donorship and the European Union — A study on good practice and recent initiatives, June to October 2004

36,126.97

Corbett, Mary

Independent Consultants for the EHAF/EPPR Funding Committee, June 2004-December 2005

740.00

Madsen,Camilla

Independent Consultants for the EHAF/EPPR Funding Committee, June 2004-December 2005

1,270.50

Willitts-King, Barnaby

Support on Development of DCI Humanitarian Policy, October 2004-early January 2005

13,132.86

Grindle,John

Attendance at Global Bio-Technology Forum

9,317.57

Jackson,John

10 Year Review of ICDP, New York

4,551.31

Grindle, John

Attendance at Crime Commission & IDB Meetings

10,823.11

Meenan,Nahor

Attendance at the UNCTAD International Policy Dialogue in Konigswinter, Germany, 25-26 February 2004

3,387.30

Hayes,Mahon

Attendance at United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) Conference on Palestine, Geneva — June 7-8 2004

3,159.89

Dr. John Cassidy/Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

Survey of the leading European transnational corporations (TNCs) and their strategies in the area of off-shoring of services

25,000

Development Cooperation Directorate Consultancy Costs 2005

Consultant

Consultancy Title

€ Amount

LATH

Review of the Northern Province Reproductive Health Programme and Ex Post Evaluation

59,829.51

Cassidy, Paul

Assessment of the current staffing levels and future requirements at Development Cooperation Ireland Headquarters

42,433.36

Courtney,Sean

Temporary Assignment as Programme Coordinator of Development Cooperation Ireland Development Assistance Activities in Northern Province, Zambia — December 2004 to March 2005

67760.40

Hurley,John

Feasibility Study and Project Formulation for Hospice Uganda Pilot Project

7,892.65

Cronin,Patricia

Uganda Law Reform Commission Consultancy

5,906.31

Gaynor,Cathy

Workshop on Strengthening Capacity to mainstream within the DCI Programme Uganda, February 2005

30670.87

Jennings, Mary

Workshop on Strengthening Capacity to mainstream within the DCI Programme Uganda, February 2005

14329.62

Mokoro

Study to identify Financing Options to Support ESDP, Ethiopia — January to February 2005

40,593.93

Mokoro

Provision of input into PRSC/DBS Workshop

34755.28

Polhemus,James

Review of the Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation, South Africa — November to December 2004

23,687.94

Marsh, Carolyn

3 Year Training Strategy CDCU Feb-April '05

44,797.83

Higgins,Cathal

Review of Timor-Leste Education Sector

8,439.11

PAI

Management Needs Analysis

50,285.42

McKeown, Mary

Participation in the PAEG Meetings

4925.68

O'Regan,Johnny

Evaluation of Internal Financial Controls,September to December 2004

16,656.00

RMI

Preparation & Presentation for HOMs meeting Dec '04

1,210.00

Brindley Advertising

Advertising Costs to update Register of Consultants

11,542.27

Petrus Consulting

Expenditure Review Initiative — Quality Review of Development Cooperation Ireland Report (Review of DCI Support to Afghanistan), November 2004

1,312.50

ETC East Africa

Evaluation of Kilosa District Development Programme — ext. to contract for Workshop in Dublin

9,278.68

INTRAC

Evaluation of DCI's Multi-Annual Programme Scheme 2003-2005, January to x 2005

309,113.00

ARP (John Shiels)

Quality Review of DCI Report

13,086.15

Cosgrave, John

Evaluation Workshop on Afghanistan & Malawi

22049.07

CDP

Workshop on Area-based Programmes in Dublin 10-11 Feb '05

3,809.21

Agulhas

Reimbursement of Withholding Tax

108.90

CDP

Evaluation of Operational Research and Capacity Building for Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods Programme in Ethiopia, February to April 2005

27,653.34

Oxford Policy Management

Evaluation of DCI's Zambia Country Programme 2000-2004

77,302.67

O'Dwyer, Jerry

Support to Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria,

14604.73

Brugha,Ruairi (LSHTM)

Attendance at ‘Combating Diseases associated with Poverty: Financing Strategies for Product Development and the Potential Role of Public-Private Partnerships’, London — 15 to 16 April 2004

3,932.50

McClean, Diarmuid

Participation in Consultative Meeting on Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS in Montreux, Switzerland, 3-4 May 2004

3,932.50

Shine,Tara

Support to Environment

87.44

Shine,Tara

Development of an Environment Policy for Development Cooperation Ireland — July to November 2004

9,250.02

Gaynor,Cathy

Support for the Development of Education Policy Revision Process, September to December 2004

9,863.20

Scott,Mike

Assistance with the work of the Private Sector Forum, Sept to Dec '04

11,303.58

Cremin,Peadar

Engagement with Educational Institutions in Ireland regarding Education for All (EFA) including Representation of DCI at a UNESCO Conference in Paris, November-December 2004

8713.44

Jennings, Mary

Reporting on EU Development Transport Experts Meeting, 30 November-2 December 2004

4,411.45

Brugha,Ruairi (LSHTM)

Review of DCI engagement with Global Health Partnerships (GHPs), November 2004-January 2005

12216.02

Wirak,Anders

Background paper on DCI engagement with UNESCO, November 2004

3,250.00

Higgins,Cathal

Rapporteur for Education Meeting at DCD, 10-13 January 2005

3,390.00

Holmes, Anne

Tsunami Follow-up

8,875.00

Broadreach Healthcare

Facilitator DCI meeting Mozambique Nov '04

1,708.39

Jennings, Mary

Preparation of an “overview paper on poverty impact orientation and target settings for InfraPoor”, January-April 2005

13,300.00

Anderson, Ian

Evaluation of Refugee Trust Projects

6,879.99

Smith, Marie

Appraisal and Monitoring Support for Civil Society and Assistant Desk Officers, August to December 2004

2961.45

Crawford, Bernie

Assist DCI in appraising and approving proposals under the HAPS Supplementary Grant, September 2004

3,051.00

Crowley, Tom

Scoping Mission to Central America

9,878.36

Smith, Marie

Appraisal and Monitoring Support for Civil Society and Assistant Desk Officers, August to December 2005

16,166.80

Grindle, John

Internship Feasibility Study, February 2005

2,500.00

Farrell, Deirdre

Member of the Development Education Grants Committee, March to September 2004

5,000.00

Horgan, Geraldine

Production of a Report on National Structures for the support, funding & coordination of DEVED

4,300.00

Grindle, John

External Evaluator for Development Cooperation Ireland Project Proposals for the Balkans and CIS, January to December 2004

3,000.00

Brunel University

Policy study on good practice in child care in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation

38,272.24

Horgan, Geraldine

Production of a Report on National Structures for the Support, Funding and Coordination of Development/Global Education in Ireland

4,300.00

Grindle, John

External Evaluator for Development Cooperation Ireland Project Proposals for the Balkans and CIS, January to December 2005

12,500.00

ARP (John Shiels)

External Evaluator for DCI Organisational Development Grant Scheme, January to December 2005

4,083.75

Real Event Solutions

Management of Primary Schools’ Competition, October 2004-May 2005

84,782.42

McMullan, Pat

Support to IA funding of IFAD

10,400.00

Scott, Mike

Private Sector Resource Specialist

25056.24

Goodbody, Swithun

Review of DCI Support to CGIAR

1898.17

Ngunyi, Mutahi

Monitoring of DCI Recovery Programme, Kenya Mar-Dec 04

14248.96

Conroy, Anne

Monitoring of DCI Recovery Programme, Malawi Mar-Dec 04

7,453.60

Telford, John

Independent Consultants for the EHAF-EPPR Funding Committee

13410.07

ODI

Good Humanitarian Donorship and the European Union — A study on good practice and recent initiatives, June to October 2004

29,050.65

Willitts-King, Barnaby

Support on Development of DCI Humanitarian Policy, October 2004-early January 2005

9,787.61

Willitts-King, Barnaby

Support on Development and Implementation of Humanitarian & Recovery Policy

16,937

Holmes, Anne

Provision of Technical Support for Emergency and Recovery Section; Consultant Specialist for Tsunami Follow-up, March 2005 to March 2006

13250

Jackson, John

Attendance at and Participation in the International Conference on Population and Development, New York — April 2005

3,932.94

Tara Shine

Support E & R Unit

9,620.37

Bannock Consulting

Evaluation of MAPS

12,124.20

Conor Brady

Facilitator for White paper Conf. on Dev. Co-operation

8,564.56

Aine Costigan

Support on HIV AIDS

19,371.81

Johnny O’Regan

Provision of Audit Management Support

10,164.00

Una Murray

Support Implementation of Gender Equality

10,734.50

Mary, Mollaghan

Production of Guide to Development Education Resources

3,960.00

John Snow International

Provision of Technical Support for HIV/AIDS

15,509.81

HELM Corporation

Provision of Audit Management Support

34,750

ECORYS

Training in Public Finance Management

15,726.92

Achilles Procurement Services

Provision of Procurement Services 2005/2006

48,000.00

Diplomatic Representation.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

306 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when Ireland will reciprocate by appointing an Irish ambassador to Cuba, in recognition of the recent appointment of the Cuban Ambassador Mr. P. Noel Carrillo, to Ireland. [28373/05]

Ireland currently has diplomatic relations with Cuba on a non-residential basis. The Irish Ambassador to Mexico is also accredited to Cuba.

The opening of Irish missions abroad and the appointment of resident ambassadors is considered by the Government on an ongoing basis. As the Deputy will appreciate, constraints on Government expenditure and limited resources mean that any expansion of our diplomatic network can only be undertaken on a phased basis, and also on a basis of clear priorities.

While we welcome the appointment of the Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Ireland, there are no plans to change the status of our representation in Cuba at this time.

Town Twinning Programmes.

David Stanton

Question:

307 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the amount of money he has made available, including moneys allocated through EU initiatives, to develop, support and expand town and area twinning programmes each year from 2000 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28382/05]

Under the terms of the Local Government Act 2001, the decision to twin a local authority area, or part of a local authority area, is a decision for the elected members of that authority. The Department of Foreign Affairs does not have any formal role in town or area twinning and no specific funding has been allocated by the Department for such programmes.

Our missions abroad do, from time to time, participate in events related to town and area twinning through hosting or attending functions and mission staff are available to provide practical support and advice. For example, the Irish Embassy in Rome made a cultural promotion grant of €3,000 this year to assist an Italian publication entitledCasa Italia: Gemellagi tra Italiae Irlanda concerning twinnings between Ireland and Italy.

The Deputy may also wish to note that funding was made available by Development Co-operation Ireland to "Partnerships Ireland Africa", a County Mayo-based organisation supporting partnerships between communities in the west of Ireland and Africa. This funding amounted to €10,000 in 2000, €13,500 in 2001, €2,500 in 2002 and €2,650 in 2003.

In regard to the EU dimension, the Institute for Public Administration, IPA, functions as Ireland's national contact point for twinning on behalf of the European Commission. Further details on twinning can be found on the IPA's websitewww.ipa.ie.

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

308 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the bonus or merit payments awarded to senior officials and staff each year since 2000, detailing the management and staff category; the purpose and the amount of the award and the highest award made and to whom. [28388/05]

I, personally, do not have any hand, act or part in the process or decision in the above-mentioned matter. This is a matter for the accounting officer of my Department.

Two schemes involving annual performance-related pay and biannual merit awards are in operation in the Department of Foreign Affairs. These are the scheme of performance-related pay awards for officers at the level of deputy secretary and assistant secretary, and the merit awards scheme, the details of which are outlined below and in the table which follows.

A number of once-off merit awards have also been granted during this period. A recent case involved the recognition of exceptional levels of extra attendance by officers in non-overtime grades in the lead-up to and during Ireland's Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2004. Another, in 2002, related to Ireland's membership of the UN Security Council in 2001 and 2002. Details of such once-off expenditure are also given in the table. With some exceptions, for example, where gift vouchers below a certain value threshold rather than money are given, statutory deductions, including income tax, are made in the normal way.

Regarding scheme of performance-related pay awards for officers at the level of deputy secretary and assistant secretary, Civil Service posts at the levels of assistant secretary and deputy secretary have been, since 2002, covered by a scheme of performance related awards. The operation of the scheme is overseen by the committee for performance awards. The funding for awards is based on 10% of the payroll for the posts covered by the scheme. Within this overall limit, payments of up to 20% can be made to individuals. Details of the procedures, the numbers covered by the scheme, the range of awards and the total amounts paid in Departments are outlined in the annual reports of the committee, which are available on the websitewww.finance.gov.ie.

The committee does not identify the amount paid to individuals as this is regarded as personal information. Prior to the introduction of the revised scheme in 2002 there was a scheme for assistant secretaries which was based on 4% of the pay bill for the assistant secretary grade. Details of the payments under this scheme are also included in the table for the relevant period.

Regarding the merit awards scheme, under the Department's administrative budget agreement with the Department of Finance, a fund amounting to 0.2% of the Department's salaries budget is available each year to the Secretary General in respect ofex gratia payments or other awards to individual staff members or groups of staff by way of recognition of exceptional performance of duty. This scheme is administered by a sub-group of the Department’s partnership committee, which assesses nominations for merit awards and makes recommendations to the Secretary General. The objective of the scheme is to reward cases of genuinely exceptional performance by officers in grades up to and including counsellor/principal officer level. Particular attention is paid by the sub-group to the grades of nominees and to the nature and quality of the activities described in the written nominations.

Details of all performance-related pay and merit awards made in the period 2000 to 2005 to date are given in the table below. I am of the view that it would be inappropriate to publicise the names of the recipients of the highest awards. I have, however, indicated the grades of the officers concerned.

2000

Category and purpose

Total expended

Highest award

Grade of recipient of highest award

Merit awards scheme

24,632.92

3,967.93

Higher Executive Officer

Old scheme of performance-related awards for posts at the level of Assistant Secretary (relating to the period 1 May 1999 to 30 April 2000)

126,973.80

8,253.30

Assistant Secretary (10)

2001

Category and purpose

Total expended

Highest award

Grade of recipient of highest award

Merit awards scheme

8,532.64

406.32

First Secretary (2)Executive Officer (4)Clerical Officer (7)Local staff (8)

Old scheme of performance-related awards for posts at the level of Assistant Secretary (relating to the period 1 May 2000 to 30 April 2001)

156,114.29

9,523.04

Assistant Secretary (10)

2002

Category and purpose

Total expended

Highest award

Grade of recipient of highest award

Merit awards scheme

31,600

500

Counsellor (1)First Secretary (3)Higher Executive Officer (4)Third Secretary (2)Clerical Officer (15)Specialist (1)Local staff (20)

Special payments to 9 officers assigned to the Irish Permanent Mission to the UN in New York during Ireland’s two-year term of office on the UN Security Council from 2001 to 2002, in recognition of the exceptionally long hours worked by officers in non-overtime grades

47,000

7,500

Counsellor

Old scheme of performance-related awards for posts at the level of Assistant Secretary (relating to the period 1 May to 31 December 2001)

107,292.87

8,253.30

Assistant Secretary (4)

Once-off merit awards in recognition of the exceptional dedication to duty of the two officers concerned

6,000

3,000

Clerical Officer (2)

2003

Category and purpose

Total expended

Highest award

Grade of recipient of highest award

Merit awards scheme

30,650

750

Clerical Officer (1)Local staff member (1)

New scheme of performance-related awards for posts at the level of Assistant Secretary and Deputy Secretary (relating to 2002)

473,780

20,655

Deputy Secretary

2004

Category and purpose

Total expended

Highest award

Grade of recipient of highest award

Merit awards scheme (including some exceptional EU Presidency-related awards)

226,200

4,000

Counsellor (5)

New scheme of performance-related awards for posts at the level of Assistant Secretary and Deputy Secretary (relating to 2003)

473,348

21,420

Deputy Secretary

Exceptional performance awards relating to the lead-up to and the period of the Irish EU Presidency in the first half of 2004, in recognition of the exceptionally long hours worked by officers in non-overtime grades

789,477

5,000

Counsellors/POs (52)

2005 to date

Category and purpose

Total expended

Highest award

Grade of recipient of highest award

Merit awards scheme

66,900

1,000

Counsellor (3)First Secretary (2)Third Secretary (3)Assistant Principal Officer (1)Executive Officer (2)Clerical Officer (2)Temporary Clerical Officer (1)

New scheme of performance-related awards for posts at the level of Assistant Secretary and Deputy Secretary (relating to 2004)

519,530

26,200

Deputy Secretary

Once-off merit award in recognition of the exceptional dedication to duty of the officer concerned

4,000

4,000

Clerical Officer

Once-off merit awards in recognition of the exceptional performance of certain staff assigned to manage the introduction of a new passport production and issuing system

80,350

5,000

Counsellor (1) Principal Officer (1)

Consultancy Contracts.

Joan Burton

Question:

309 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the consultancies awarded to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997; the cost of each; and the purpose of same. [28405/05]

During the period referred to by the Deputy, five consultancies were carried out by Deloitte & Touche. All of these consultancies related to Ireland Aid and details are set out below.

Year

Purpose

Cost

(€)

2000

Review of Ireland Aid Procurement Procedures (March-June 2000)

57,083.09

2000

Quality Review of the Evaluation and Audit Unit within Ireland Aid (Dec 2000-Feb 2001)

40,966.58

2001

Study to develop a Risk Management Process for Ireland Aid (Sep-Nov 2001)

39,087.74

2002

Pilot Phase of Risk Management Model in Zambia (June 2002)

40,999.22

2002-2004

Implementation of a Risk Management System for the Aid Programmes in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho and South Africa, and the production of a Risk Management Manual (2002-03)

78,026.91

Swimming Pool Projects.

John McGuinness

Question:

310 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the status of an application for funding from Kilkenny Borough Council for the provision of a new swimming pool and sports complex; if he is in receipt of all relevant documentation from the local authority; when a decision will be made on the application and the maximum fund which is available. [28207/05]

Kilkenny Borough Council applied for grant aid under the local authority swimming pool programme in respect of a proposed replacement swimming pool for Kilkenny. I approved the preliminary report for this project in March of this year and this approval allows the council to have the detailed contract documents prepared. The project will be considered further when this documentation is provided. The programme provides for a maximum grant level of 80% of eligible costs, 90% in the case of disadvantaged areas, subject to a maximum of €3.8 million.

Michael Lowry

Question:

311 Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism when construction will begin on the Thurles swimming pool; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28248/05]

Thurles Town Council has applied for grant aid under the local authority swimming pool programme for the provision of a replacement swimming pool in Thurles. I approved the contract documents for the project in May of this year and this approval allows the council to invite tenders for the work proposed. The matter will be considered further when the tender documentation for the project is submitted.

Michael Lowry

Question:

312 Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism when construction will begin on the Roscrea swimming pool; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28249/05]

North Tipperary County Council has applied for grant aid under the local authority swimming pool programme in respect of a proposed new swimming pool in Roscrea. Earlier this month I approved the preliminary report for this project and this approval allows the council to have the detailed contract documents prepared. The project will be considered further when this documentation is submitted.

Consultancy Contracts.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

313 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of contracts awarded by him to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if he will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28354/05]

The information sought by the Deputy regarding my Department, since its establishment in June 2002 is set out hereunder.

Consultancy

Purpose/Report

Year

Estimated Cost

Final Cost

Eugene Downes

Advice on Framing new international Arts and Cultural Policy

2003

18,000

18,000

Richard Wakeley

Commissioner for the Irish Festival of Arts and Culture in China 2004

2002-2004

115,500 plus extension 51,334

253,058

Donal Shiels

Irish Festival in China Festival Manager

2003-2004

62,500 plus extension 25,000

153,673

Red Dog Design Consultants

Irish Festival in China Provision of Graphic Design Services

2003-2004

73,000

73,000

Kate Bowe PR Limited

Irish Festival in China Provision of Public Relations Management Services

2003-2004

72,834

72,834

Eamon Fox

Irish Festival in China Provision of Production and Technical Services

2003-2004

40,000

48,354

Sheenagh Gillen

Relations Management Services for Irish China Festival

2004

7,000

7,000

Fiach MacConghail

EU Presidency Cultural Programme Commissioner for the EU Cultural Programme

2003-2004

49,964

49,964

Fiach MacConghail

Arts Adviser to the Department

2002-2005

Per diem rate linked to Principal Officer scale

126,001

Janice McAdam

EU Presidency Cultural Programme Manager

2003-2004

37,494

39,577

Siobhán Colgan

EU Presidency Cultural Programme Public Relations Management Services

2003-2004

26,143

32,778

Peter Sirr

Curator of Irish Literature Exhibition in Brussels

2003

10,000

10,000

Event Ireland Limited

EU Presidency Cultural Programme Provision of Exhibition Design and Management Services

2003-2004

73,200

73,200

Féilte Dhuibh Linne Teo

EU Presidency Cultural Programme Development and organisation of Presidency Events

2004

82,000

82,000

Audrey Behan

Press Assistant Services

2004

3,200

3,200

Red Dog Design Consultants

Advertising and Marketing Day of Welcomes

2004

150,000

150,000

Kern European Affairs

To assist in staging the Creative Financing and Musicseminar

2004

Information not available within PQ reply deadline

59,760

G P O’Brian

Projects under Section 481 (Films)

2004

Information not available within PQ reply deadline

11,729

CHL Consulting

Review of Irish Manuscripts Commission

2004

44,165

44,165

Laura Weldon

National Co-ordinator of ReJoyce 2004

2004

50,000 p.a.

134,690

Marie Claire Sweeney

Funding Raising Services ReJoyce 2004

2004

15,000

15,000

Red Dog Design Consultants

Design & advertising ReJoyce 2004

2004

120,000

100,422

Big Top Multimedia

Web design ReJoyce 2004

2004

20,000

21,223

Kate Bowe

PR services ReJoyce

2004

5,000

4,800

Fleishman Hilliard Saunders

PR services ReJoyce

2004

125,000

127,141

CHL Consulting

Review of the Viability of the James Joyce Centre

2005

18,150

18,150

Red Dog Design Consultants

Provision of Graphic Design services for Culture Ireland

2005

9,680

9,680

Sarah Glennie

Irish Commissioner and Curator of Venice Artist Biennale 2005

2004-2005

25,000

25,000

Jenny Haughton

Co-ordination of Irish participation at the Sao Paolo Artist Biennale 2004

2004

8,000

8,000

Jenny Haughton

Co-ordination of Irish participation at the Venice Artist Biennale 2003

2003

9,930

9,930

Eugene Downes

Consultancy for the draft Cultural Relations Committee on the International Arts

2003

2,000

2,000

Jenny Haughton

Co-ordination of Irish participation at the Venice Artist Biennale 2002

2002

8,000

8,000

G D Bye

Review of News plan Microfilming Unit, National Library of Ireland

2002

4,000

3,929

Higher Education Digitisation Service, University of Hertfordshire

Review of Digitisation, National Library of Ireland

2003

10,500

10,430

Coyle Hamilton

Insurance Consultancy, National Library of Ireland

2004

7,500

7,500

Paul Boksberger Advisory Service

Consultancy Services in relation to new Coffee Shop, National Library of Ireland

2004

3,000

2,723

Marketing Edge Limited

Evaluation of service offered to the public by the National Archives (survey). Compilation of Safety Statement and production of report, National Archives

2002

2,220

2,220

Ergo Consultancy Limited

Compilation of Safety Statement and production of report

2002

2,072-2,381

2,381

Colman McLaughlin

Enhancement of the National Archives website

2003

5,000

7,700

Mahon O’Neill

Media relations in support launch of Counties in Time CD, National Archives.

2003

5,506

6,332

Mahon O’Neill

PR work in relation to the launch of the online exhibition entitled Views of Four Presidencies, National Archives.

2004

7,792

7,792

Colman McLaughlin

Enhancement of National Archives website, National Archives.

2004

7,500

7,050

Newmarket Solutions

Provision of advice and assistance in implementing FMS Financial Management System, National Museum of Ireland

2002-2004

Awarded onper diem rates as service required

186,850

HELM Corporation

Provision of financial-accounting services in NMI

2004-2005

62,668

49,361

Drury Communications

Market Research, NMI

2002-2004

114,825

115,572

Alf Longhurst

Security assessment and recommendations in relation to NMI’s collections

2002

1,812

1,812

James Cavanaugh

Fire safety inspections, advice and training, NMI

2002-2003

5,173

5,173

Achilles Procurement Services

Advice on procurement of security services, NMI

2002-2003

4,663

4,663

Elaine Shields

Report and advice on access by disabled to NMI

2003

4,250

4,250

Aidan Walsh

NMI business planning advice and assistance

2002

10,732

10,783

Sutton Vane

Survey and recommendations on flight levels in the Natural History Museum

2003

12,300

11,732

Compas Informatics Limited

Report with recommendations on the generation and storage of both graphical and digital data, NMI

2003

5,000

5,000

Anne Gallagher

Evaluation of an aspect of the Education and Outreach programme NMI

2004-2005

15,000

9,600

SMT Consultants

To prepare risk assessments of NMI sites and provide assistance in drawing up NMI safety statement and generally advice on safety issues.

2004-2005

11,889

11,889

Leonard Pole

Assessing-reporting on the documentation of the ethnographical collection, NMI

2004

4,108

4,108

Menyma Public Relations

PR for relaunch of Afterdark programme and for two specific Afterdark events, NMI

2003

5,000

4,276

Lisney

Property valuation report

2004

4,235

4,235

Gar Holohan

Assessment of the Feasibility and cost, including the ongoing running costs, of the Morton Athletic Stadium

2003

12,000

12,100

Raymond Burke Consulting

External Evaluation of Sports Capital Programme Expenditure Review Report

2003

4,060

4,060

Fitzpatrick Associates

Evaluation of Local Sports Partnership Programme

2005

54,450

Not yet determined

Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management

List all public and private sector swimming pool facilities in Ireland

2004

6,050

12,100

Capita

Financial Management System V3 Assessment

2003

5,748

5,748

Mr. John Travers

Chair of the Tourism Policy Review Group and Tourism Action Plan Implementation Group

2003-to date

100,000

83,000

Murray Consultants

PR Consultants for Department

2003-to date

166,980

188,270

PricewaterhouseCoopers

External adviser on Steering Committee for Irish Film Board Expenditure Review

2004-2005

10,000

16,290

Webfactory

Feasibility, costs and challenges involved in developing a composite calendar of events to facilitate the joint marketing of activities and events by agencies and bodies under the aegis of the Department

2005

6,563

No payment made to date

Wendy Williams Design

Graphic Design Consultant Military History Exhibition, NMI

2003

195,752

87,254 (payments to date. Contact is ongoing)

Theta ETA Advisors

Advice to NMI on Corporate Governance in the context of impending NMI autonomy

2005

4,937

4,937

Coyle Hamilton Willis

Advice on post-autonomy insurance requirements of NMI

2005

12,000

12,000

Magahy & Company

Project Management Services for Military History Exhibition, NMI

2004-2005

90,000

€85,191 (paid to date. Contract ends Dec. 2005)

Magahy & Company

Project management services for temporary exhibitions, Shackleton & Philip Treacy Hats, NMI

2005

13,000

€11,347 (paid to date. Contract ends Nov. 2005)

Mahon O’Neill

Project management services for events programme,including outdoor museum event

2002-2003

33,635

33,635

Deloitte

Financial Management System Specification & selection

2003-2004

75,293

66,172*

Deloitte

Audit work for tourism operational programme 1994-1999

2004-2005

321,677**

*€50,000 refunded by the change management fund.

**The company was engaged atper diem rates in order to undertake the audit work and was retained for this work due to its experience of the particular EU programme and knowledge of EU requirements, in view of the extreme urgency attached by the Department of Finance to the need to have these verification audits carried out in order to close the programme thereby releasing the final substantial payment from the EU.

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

314 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the bonus or merit payments awarded to senior officials and staff each year since 2000, detailing the management and staff category; the purpose and the amount of the award and the highest award made and to whom. [28389/05]

Since 2002, Civil Service posts at the level of assistant secretary are covered by a revised scheme of performance related awards. The operation of the scheme is overseen by the committee for performance awards. The funding for such awards is based on 10% of the payroll for the posts covered by the scheme. Within the overall limit, payments of up to 20% can be made to individuals. The details of the procedures, the numbers covered by the scheme, the range of awards and the total amounts paid in Departments are outlined in the annual reports of the committee and are available on the website of the Department of Financewww.finance.gov.ie. The committee does not identify the amount paid to individuals as this is regarded as personal information.

My Department, under its administrative budget agreement with the Department of Finance, operates a merit award scheme for all staff up to and including the grade of principal officer. The maximum funding is subject to a ceiling of 0.2% of the annual payroll provision. The scheme was agreed through my Department's partnership process and awards are made on the basis of criteria, terms and conditions set out in the scheme. It provides for a minimum award of €750, gross, in the case of individuals and a minimum of €150, gross, in the case of members of teams.

The highest award made under the scheme was for €2,100, gross, in respect of a team of six people. A number of individuals have been awarded €1,000, gross, which is the highest such award made under the scheme.

Consultancy Contracts.

Joan Burton

Question:

315 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the consultancy contracts awarded to Deloitte since 1 July 1997; the cost of each; and the purpose of same. [28406/05]

The following consultancy contracts have been awarded to Deloitte & Touche by my Department since its establishment in June 2002.

Purpose-Report

Year

Cost

Financial Management System Specification & Selection

2003-04

66,172

Audit work in respect of closure for tourism operational programme 1994-1999

2004-05

321,677

Job Creation.

Shane McEntee

Question:

316 Mr. McEntee asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of new jobs created in County Meath in 2002, 2003, 2004 and to date in 2005. [28221/05]

The following table shows the number of permanent jobs and new jobs created in companies supported by the economic development agencies in County Meath in each of the years 2002, 2003 and 2004. Figures for new jobs created in 2005 are not yet available.

2002

2003

2004

Permanent Jobs

5,714

5,486

5,631

Full-time Jobs created

362

570

500

(Source: BIS).

Work Permits.

Billy Timmins

Question:

317 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the status of a work permit that expires in January 2006; if this person will have to reapply for a work permit in January 2006; if, due to ongoing medical treatment this person is in receipt of here and will need for the foreseeable future they can remain here on compassionate grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28260/05]

It is my Department's policy to consider favourably applications from employers for the renewal of existing work permits. Applications for renewals should be submitted to my Department eight weeks before the expiry date of the current permit. It would be a matter for the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to decide whether a non-EEA national should be allowed to remain in the State on compassionate grounds for the purpose of receiving continued medical treatment.

Job Losses.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

318 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of IDA-supported jobs which were lost in County Kerry in each of the years from 2000 to 2004 inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28284/05]

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the marketing of Ireland, including its regions and areas, to overseas investors for foreign direct investment, FDI. The following tabular statement sets out the jobs lost in IDA supported companies in Kerry for each of the years between 2000 and 2004. Job creation and job losses are a feature of economic development in all countries as various sectors expand and contract in response to market demand for goods and services, competitive forces, restructuring and technological change.

The FDI operating environment has changed in recent years, with investors no longer seeing Ireland as a prime location for what might be called low cost, low skill, basic manufacturing and services type activities. Consequently, the primary requirement now is for FDI that is higher value-added, requiring high skill levels, and FDI that is, as far as possible, innovation rather than production orientated and that links to an increasingly sophisticated business environment.

Only economic activities with these characteristics can justify high wage levels and so allow Ireland to maintain economic growth in the absence of the strong labour surplus this country had up until recently. This higher-level FDI will contribute more to growth by increasing value-added and integrate better into the host economy because of its greater complexity.

IDA Ireland has informed me that it is actively seeking to win new projects for Kerry in more advanced, higher value activities, in both manufacturing and services. In addition to its ongoing marketing of the county to potential new investors it is also actively seeking to facilitate a progression in the sophistication and breadth of its existing clients' Irish operations. This means not only increasing value-added in client manufacturing operations, but also adding corporate level innovation, such as research and development, and service, logistics and supply chain management functions alongside manufacturing.

The objective is to create more rounded and strategically important operations within the overall corporation, which are better embedded and more suited to the competitive characteristics of the Irish economy in the medium to long term. I am pleased that IDA Ireland is making some progress in this regard with two expansion projects announced in April 2004 for Killarney and a third for Kenmare announced in November 2004. At the end of 2004, the latest year for which figures are available, there were 2,022 people in permanent employment in 21 IDA supported companies in County Kerry.

The following table shows the number of jobs lost in IDA supported companies in Kerry in each of the years from 2000 to 2004, inclusive:

Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Jobs lost

88

57

670

321

284

Consultancy Contracts.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

319 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of contracts awarded by him to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if he will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28355/05]

I understand that Deputy Gilmore is seeking details of contracts which have a total value of €100,000 or more. The information requested by the Deputy is as follows:

2000

No.

Recipient

Purpose of Contract

Original Estimate of Cost

Final Sum Paid

1

Sword

Maintenance and development of Patents Office IT administration system

177,636

177,636

2

Sword

Implementation of a community trade mark IT search system

144,284

144,284

3

QMP D’Arcy

Publicity for the national minimum wage

159,928

155,352

4

Deloitte & Touche

Systems development for the registration services system for the Companies Registration Office

Individual hourly rates agreed for each person working on the contract

380,000

2001

No.

Recipient

Purpose of Contract

Original Estimate of Cost

Final Sum Paid

1

Deloitte & Touche

Business analysis and reform of my Department's financial management function

155,680

155,680

2

Deloitte & Touche

Upgrade of Redundancy System (RIR) and Euro Conversion Work

235,552

202,944

3

Deloitte & Touche

Various IT systems upgrade and project developments for the Companies Registration Office

Individual hourly rates agreed for each person working on the contract

559,900

4

Deloitte & Touche

Systems Development for the Registration Services System for the Companies Registration Office

Individual hourly rates agreed for each person working on the contract

380,000.

5

Deloitte & Touche

Systems Development for the Registration Services System for the Companies Registration Office

Individual hourly rates agreed for each person working on the contract

557,421

6

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Formulation of Internet Strategy for Department

130,835

130,835

7

PricewaterhouseCoopers

E-Government Consultancy Development of BASIS website which provides access to Government services to business

1,647,370

1,598,994

8

Sword

Implementation of the Madrid Protocol Amendments to the Patents Office IT Administration System

121,240

121,240

9

Sword

Implementation of Phase 1 of a Financial Management Module to the Patents Office IT Administration Systems

306,431

306,431

10

Sword

Maintenance and development of the Patents Office IT administration system

225,460

225,460

11

Client Solutions (formerly Vistech)

Enhancement and development of BASIS website

271,723

271,723

12

Client Solutions (formerly Vistech)

Ongoing support and maintenance of BASIS website

129,371

129,371

13

QMP D’Arcy

Publicity for national minimum wage

114,276

119,816

14

Institute of Public Administration

Customer Care Research (Contract ran to 2004)

161,355

164,490

2002

No.

Recipient

Purpose of Contract

Original Estimate of Cost

Final Sum Paid

1

ESRI & Goodbody Economic Consultants

Impact Evaluation of the European Employment Strategy in Ireland

155,461

155,461

2

Sword

Maintenance and Development of the Patents Office IT Administration System

268,328

268,328

3

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young

Cross-departmental study in respect of the delivery of online services for business in the context of development of the Public Services Broker

256,217

270,738

4

Eircom

Provision of internal Departmental IT Helpdesk Services

103,455

103,455

5

Fujitsu Services

Development and implementation of new Financial Management System

1,045,122

2,021,122Includes provision of significant additional functionality and customisations in respect of new financial system that were not included in the original estimate.

6

Curach Technologies

Development and Implementation of new Employment Rights Case Tracking System (ERES)

675,489

804,555

7

QMP D’Arcy

Publicity for national minimum wage

111,000

112,361

8

ESRI

National minimum wage survey

108,537

108,537

9

Tom Walsh

Production of revised and updated Bill to replace the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989, revision of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 1993 and provision of advice to the Department on other occupational health and safety matters

272,868

292,931 to date

2003

No.

Recipient

Purpose of Contract

Original Estimate of Cost

Final Sum Paid

1

Deloitte & Touche

Design and development of IT systems for Personal Injuries Assessment Board, contract commenced in 2003 and was completed in 2004

76,109

177,222Includes provision of extra work not envisaged when original contract was agreed.

2

Insurance Services Office Limited

Development of Book of Quantum for PIAB, contract commenced in 2003 and was completed in 2004

1,517,500 (included €1,350,000 for licence)

176,770.34(PIAB took over cost of licence upon its establishment in 2004)

3

Fitzpatricks Associates

Mid-term evaluation of the employment andhuman resources development operational programme

266,200

266,200

4

Indecon Consultants

Mid-term review of productive sector operational programme

173,358

173,358

5

RGC Technologies

Supply, maintenance and support with legal software package

A schedule of prices for different aspects of the task was agreed beforehand.

157,489

6

Sword

Maintenance and development of the Patents Office IT administrationsystem

340,024

340,024

7

Eircom

Provision of internal departmental IT helpdesk service

379,137

379,137

8

Xwave

Development and implementation of new Personnel IT system

149,584

197,849

2004

No.

Recipient

Purpose of Contract

Original Estimate of Cost

Final Sum Paid

1

Sword

Maintenance and development of IT Patents Office administration system

343,080

343,080

2

System Dynamics Solutions Limited

Lotus Notes IT system development and maintenance

150,663

150,663

3

Version 1

Analysis and design of work permit management system

178,717

189,123

4

Eircom

Provision of internal departmental IT Helpdesk Services

403,927

403,927

5

Fujitsu Services

Support and Maintenance of Oracle Financials System

100,042

175,531

6

Fujitsu Services

Change management and operating procedures for new Oracle Financials IT system

112,772

112,772

7

Version 1 Software

Development and implementation of online redundancy payments system

477,611

507,340

8

Indecon International Economic Consultants

Review of national employment action plan preventative strategy

167,706 (cost to be shared between DETE, FÁS and DSFA)

Not yet finalised

9

QMP Publicis

Publicity for national minimum wage

120,000

116,117

2005

No.

Recipient

Purpose of Contract

Original Estimate of Cost

Final Sum Paid

1

Sword

Maintenance and development of Patents Office IT administration system

236,964

236,964

2

Oracle EMEA Limited

Oracle software licences

180,649

180,649

3

Eircom

Provision of internal Departmental IT Helpdesk Services

418,411

418,411

4

User Friendly Computer Company

Department IT training

102,736

102,736

5

QMP Publicis

Publicity for national minimum wage

123,714

95,984 to date

In addition to the foregoing, my Department would have sought expert legal opinion and audit expertise during the period in question. Details of these particular contracts have not been included in the above list of consultancies but are available should the Deputy require them.

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

320 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the bonus or merit payments awarded to senior officials and staff each year since 2000, detailing the management and staff category; the purpose and the amount of the award and the highest award made and to whom. [28390/05]

Posts at assistant secretary and deputy secretary level in my Department and some bodies under the aegis of my Department including the chairman and deputy chairmen of the Labour Court, the chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission, the chairman of the Competition Authority, the Director of Consumer Affairs and the Director of Corporate Enforcement, are covered by a scheme of performance related awards. The operation of the scheme is overseen by the committee for performance awards. The funding for awards is based on 10% of the payroll for the posts covered by the scheme. Within this overall limit, payments of up to 20% can be made to individuals.

Details of the procedures, the numbers covered by the scheme, the range of awards and the total amounts paid in this Department are outlined in the annual reports of the committee and are available atwww.finance.gov.ie. The committee does not identify the amount paid to individuals as this is regarded as personal information.

Prior to the introduction of the revised scheme in 2002, there was a scheme for assistant secretaries which was based on 4% of the payroll for the posts covered by the scheme. Under this scheme payments were made to seven assistant secretaries totalling €23,038 and €20,092 for the years 2000 and 2001. Amounts paid to individuals under this scheme are regarded as personal information.

Consultancy Contracts.

Joan Burton

Question:

321 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the consultancy contracts awarded to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997; the cost of each; and the purpose of same. [28407/05]

I understand that Deputy Burton has indicated that she wishes to have information on contracts that have a total value of €50,000 or more. The information requested by the Deputy in so far as my Department is concerned is as follows:

Year

Purpose of Consultancy

Cost

1998

Review of redundancy and insolvency IT system

110,46

1998

Review of the community employment programme

69,137

1999

Development of an IT case tracking system for the Registry of Friendly Societies

152,985

1999

Various IT systems upgrades and project developments for the Companies Registration Office

559,900

2000

Organisational review of the structure, operations, resource requirements, business processes and IT systems in the Competition Authority and provision of recommendations on streamlining and improvements

78,356

2000

Systems development for the CRO's registration services system

380,000

2001

Business analysis and reform of my Department's financial management function

155,680

2001

Upgrade of the redundancy, insolvency and recoveries, RIR, system due to euro conversion and implementation of other system changes

202,944

2001

Development of a case management system for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement

98,537

2001

Various IT systems upgrades and project developments for the Companies Registration Office

559,900

2001

Systems development for the CRO's registration services system

957,421

2004

Development of IT systems for Personal Injuries Assessment Board

136,566

2004

Development of interface between RIRsystem to Oracle Financials financial management system

83,715

2004

Development of interface between RIRsystem to new online redundancy payments system

60,785

I have included in this list a small number of contracts that would normally be classified as IT contracts and not consultancy contracts.

In addition to the foregoing, Deloitte & Touche had been engaged by my Department to carry out specific audit work. Details of those particular contracts have not been included in this reply although they are, of course, available should the Deputy require them.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

322 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if he will consider making a concession in this year’s budget for old age pensioners who use piped gas in view of the recent increase in the cost of same. [28176/05]

For people paying for natural gas on the Bord Gáis standard tariff, the natural gas allowance covers a credit of up to €47.67 in each two-monthly billing period in winter and a credit of up to €35.67 in each two-monthly billing period in summer. Recipients on one of the other tariffs can get an allowance up to this value.

On 1 October 2005, these amounts increased to €59.71 in each two-monthly billing period in the winter and €44.68 in each two-monthly billing period in the summer. This increase will meet the 25.26% increase in natural gas tariffs. The increased allowance will appear in gas bills issued next December.

John McGuinness

Question:

323 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if winter clothing will be provided as an exceptional need in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow. [28181/05]

The supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which is administered on my behalf by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive, provides for exceptional needs payments to assist with essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of his or her household income or other resources.

The Health Service Executive has advised that the person concerned applied for an exceptional needs payment for clothing purposes. She was advised in September of the circumstances under which the executive would consider granting an exceptional needs payment for clothing and was invited to provide further information relating to her circumstances. As no details were subsequently received from the person concerned, the executive has not been in a position to make a decision on her claim.

Social Welfare Appeals.

Michael Ring

Question:

324 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when an appeal for the one-parent family allowance and deserted wife’s benefit will be finalised for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [28210/05]

The person concerned was in receipt of deserted wife's benefit. Following a review of her claim by a social welfare inspector a deciding officer disallowed payment with effect from 10 February 2005 on the grounds that she had been cohabiting from that date until 24 August 2005. As a consequence, she is deemed to have been overpaid a total of €4,320.40. The person has appealed against this decision to the social welfare appeals office and the relevant papers and comments of the deciding officer on the matters raised in the appeal were sought. As soon as these are available the case will be referred to an appeals officer for consideration.

Under social welfare legislation, decisions in relation to claims must be made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Michael Ring

Question:

325 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when the child dependant allowance payment ceases for persons in receipt of the disability benefit and the one-parent family allowance. [28213/05]

Child dependant increase, CDI, is paid with social welfare payments in respect of each qualified child up to age 18 years. This age limit can be extended to age 22 years in certain circumstances, including where the parent of a full-time student is in receipt of a long-term social welfare payment such as one-parent family payment, or a short-term social welfare scheme for six months, and where the child is attending a full-time course of education or training. Disability benefit is considered to be a short-term scheme for this purpose.

Where the spouse of a disability benefit recipient is earning up to €220 per week, full rate CDI is payable. Where earnings are between €220 and €350 per week, half rate is payable. Beyond this level of earnings, no CDI is payable. Payment of CDI for both disability benefit and one-parent family payment ceases when a child is no longer of a qualifying age, becomes eligible to claim a social welfare payment in his or her own right, or when the claimant's own entitlement to payment ceases.

Consultancy Contracts.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

326 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of contracts awarded by him to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if he will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28356/05]

The Department's activities require the engagement of a range of consultancy expertise. Broadly, expertise is sought under three main headings: support with strategic programmes aimed at enhancing the delivery of the Department's services, such as the service delivery modernisation programme, technical consultancies relating to information technology systems, and consultancy assistance in other areas including policy development. Details of the number of projects and expenditure involved each year from 2000 are as follows:

Year

No. of projects

Costs

2000

19

£1,876,000

2001

22

£3,605,000

2002

53

€4,704,000

2003

43

€1,975,000

2004

39

€2,822,000

2005

46

€2,462,765 (to end of September)

These amounts exclude projects which, although facilitated by this Department, are financed as cross-departmental projects under the information society fund. The detailed information required by the Deputy in relation to names of companies, the details of work covered by the contract and the amounts paid is currently being compiled and will be forwarded separately when complete.

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

327 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the bonus or merit payments awarded to senior officials and staff each year since 2000, detailing the management and staff category; the purpose and the amount of the award and the highest award made and to whom. [28391/05]

Civil service posts at the levels of assistant secretary and deputy secretary are covered by a scheme of performance related awards. The operation of the scheme is overseen by the committee for performance awards. The funding for awards is based on 10% of the payroll for the posts covered by the scheme. Within this overall limit, payments of up to 20% can be made to individuals.

Details of the procedures, the numbers covered by the scheme, the range of awards and the total amounts paid in Departments are outlined in the annual reports of the committee, available on the website www.finance.gov.ie. The committee does not identify the amount paid to individuals as this is regarded as personal information. Prior to the introduction of the current award scheme which came into effect from January 2002, a bonus scheme based on 4% of the pay bill for the group of assistant secretaries and which provided for payments of up to 15% for the deputy secretary grade applied.

The total awards made in the Department under the terms of this scheme in respect of the bonus periods 1999-2000 and 2000-end 2001 were €30,608, to six people, and €53,432, to seven people, respectively.

In addition there is a scheme for recognition of exceptional performance by staff which operates across the Civil Service. This scheme has been in operation since 1996 and allows Secretaries General to make awards for sustained exceptional performance to staff. Awards may be made in respect of performance above the level which would reasonably be expected in the normal course from the grade of staff involved. All staff in the Department, irrespective of grade, can nominate another staff member or a team for an award, at any time during the year. The total expenditure on the scheme, which in my Department is called the Fiúntas scheme, may not exceed 0.2% of payroll costs.

The following tabular statement shows the expenditure on the scheme for the period 2001 to date, including the number of awards made, the highest awards for individuals and teams. Details in respect of 2000 are not readily available but will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible. The expenditure quoted is gross expenditure and includes any tax and PRSI liability covered by my Department's pay budget.

Details of Fiúntas Scheme 2001-2005

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Gross expenditure

€68,920

€111,457

€103,708

€198,879

€104,550

No. of individual awards

26

36

67

46

31

Highest individual award

€381

€1,000

€500

€750

€1,000

No. of team awards

15

12

42

48

27

Highest team award

€2,100

€2,000

€5,000

€8,825

€5,300

Consultancy Contracts.

Joan Burton

Question:

328 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the consultancies awarded to Deloitte & Touche since 1 July 1997; the cost of each; and the purpose of same. [28408/05]

The following consultancies were undertaken by Deloitte & Touche for my Department since 1 July 1997: review of the Social Welfare Appeals Office — 2002, the cost of this review was €170,359; and review of the role and structure of the Pensions Board — 2000, the cost of this review was €132,459. In addition, a contract has recently been awarded to the company for support in the carrying out of IT related audits. The cost of this contract will be €54,692.

Taxi Regulations.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

329 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport if he will forward details and copy of an order (details supplied). [28190/05]

A copy of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 (Part 3) (Commencement) Order 2005, SI No. 610 of 2005, is available in the Oireachtas Library. The order provides for the commencement of the remaining sections in Part 3 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 (No. 25 of 2003), other than sections 35, 36 and 44(5), with effect from 26 September 2005.

Haulage Licences.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

330 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport if an application for a specific type of licence will be expedited for persons (details supplied). [28191/05]

An application for a road freight carrier's licence was received from Mr. James Murphy and Ms Bernadette Martin, T/a Murphy Transport on 28 September 2005. A road freight carrier's licence will issue in the coming weeks provided all necessary qualifying criteria are met.

Driving Tests.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

331 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the average waiting time, the number of applicants on the waiting list and the number of testers in respect of each driving test centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28193/05]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Driver testers are assigned to headquarter centres. Other test centres within the region are served from the headquarter centres.

Applications on Hand — 10/10/05

Centre

Applications on hand

Average weeks waiting

No. of driver testers

North Leinster

Finglas

10,964

31

17

Dundalk

3,656

36

Mullingar

2,073

34

Navan

4,864

45

1

Raheny

8,390

26

8

South Leinster

Churchtown-Rathgar

12,070

36

16

Gorey

2,595

46

Naas

5,553

27

2

Tullamore

2,210

41

Wicklow

2,911

41

Tallaght

9,813

41

9

West

Athlone

991

19

2

Birr

1,410

26

Castlebar

1,958

27

4

Clifden

487

32

Ennis

1,641

24

3

Galway

3,621

35

6

Loughrea

1,177

24

2

Roscommon

1,242

28

Tuam

1,277

26

North West

Ballina

1,183

21

Buncrana

733

32

Carrick-on-Shannon

913

18

2

Cavan

1,683

28

2

Donegal

1,176

35

Letterkenny

2,309

23

3

Longford

1,030

24

Monaghan

1,243

26

1

Sligo

1,782

30

2

South East

Carlow

2,434

26

1

Clonmel

2,099

41

2

Dungarvan

1,617

44

Kilkenny

1,885

23

2

Nenagh

765

40

Portlaoise

1,801

41

1

Thurles

1,200

45

Tipperary

1,141

41

Waterford

3,041

33

4

Wexford

2,336

31

4

South West

Cork

6,933

23

13

Killarney

2,010

31

1

Kilrush

519

27

Limerick

4,304

28

4

Mallow

2,372

35

Newcastle West

1,812

31

Shannon

932

39

Skibbereen

2,031

40

Tralee

1,644

25

3

Totals

Average

North Leinster

29,947

34

South Leinster

35,152

39

West

13,804

27

North West

12,052

26

South East

18,319

37

South West

22,557

31

TOTAL

131,831

31.8

Road Traffic Offences.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

332 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the number of breath specimens taken by gardaí in 2004; the number of these that were certified; the number and percentage that were over the legal limit; and the number of breath tests that did not result in a statement under section 17 of the Road Traffic Act. [28227/05]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

333 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the number of blood, urine and breath specimens analysed for alcohol concentration in 2004, with a breakdown for each category and the amount over the legal limit for each category. [28228/05]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 332 and 333 together.

Data relating to the number of blood and urine specimens analysed in 2004 by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety and evidential breath specimens given in 2004 under section 17 of the Road Traffic Act 1994, in respect of persons arrested for drink driving offences, will be presented in the bureau's annual report for that year. That report will be published shortly.

Traffic Management.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

334 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the outcome of his meeting of 5 October 2005 on congestion in Dublin; the bodies or individuals who were invited; the bodies or individuals who attended; if he will publish the 37 point plan adopted at the meeting as reported in a newspaper (details supplied); the actions he will take on foot of this meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28230/05]

I have convened a group of individuals to work on a transport initiative, under the title of the Clare Street initiative, CSI. The purpose of CSI is to progress effective implementation of traffic management and related measures in the greater Dublin area and to bring added value to major transport investments that are under way and planned. In so doing, we are taking account of the experience of an initiative, entitled the Inzeller Kreis initiative, which was jointly established by the Mayor of Munich and BMW in 1995. It is my hope that through the CSI we can learn lessons from the earlier initiative that will help to achieve better traffic management in the greater Dublin area. The following are the names of the individuals who have agreed to participate in the initiative, with an indication of those who attended the meeting in Clontarf Castle on 5 October 2005. Members were invited to join the CSI on a personal basis rather than as a representative of any agency, company or interest, and to bring only their own views to the table.

The CSI charter, adopted in Clontarf Castle at its inaugural meeting on 5 October, makes it clear that the initiative will work with existing agencies and within existing governance structures and that it will be the responsibility of the relevant statutory, or other, agencies to decide whether to proceed with projects suggested by the initiative. I have arranged to have copies of the CSI charter placed in the Oireachtas Library for the information of Deputies.

Members of the CSI tabled 37 projects in advance of the seminar on 5 October 2005. Workshops were held to consider those projects in detail. Each of three workshop groups presented their chosen projects to the plenary session, whereupon they were considered and a short list of projects, in some cases involving an amalgamation of individual projects was identified. The list of projects is not finalised, however, as it still requires those who have been identified as sponsors of individual projects to confirm their acceptance of such sponsorship. Agencies identified as implementers of individual projects must formally accept responsibility for them before the list of projects can be formally announced.

Individuals Invited to join Clare Street Initiative

Attendance at Meeting on 5 October 2005

Frank Allen

No

Anne Butler

No

John Butler

Yes

Liam Brewer

Yes

Frank Coffey

Yes

Tom Coffey

Yes

Mary Cunningham

Yes

Paddy Doherty

Yes

Conor Faughnan

Yes

Jack Golden

Yes

John Henry

Yes

Dermot Jewell

Yes

Eamon Kane

Yes

Vinnie Kearns

Yes

Owen Keegan

Yes

Ray Kelly

Yes

Mary Keogh

No

Ralf Lissek

Yes

Michael Lorigan

Yes

Pat Mangan

Yes

Reg McCabe

Yes

Aebhric McGibney

Yes

Paul Morton

Yes

Eamon O’Hare

Yes

Margaret O’Mahony

Yes

Michael O’Sullivan

Yes

Tim O’Sullivan

Yes

Patricia Oliver

No

Maurice Pratt

No

Conrad Schmidt

No

Willie Soffe

Yes

Tom Wall

Yes

Lorenz Zimmermann

No

Road Safety.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

335 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the status of the review of reporting serious injuries relating to collisions as provided for in the road safety strategy 2004-2006; and the target that has been set. [28231/05]

The road safety strategy 2004 to 2006 acknowledges that there are significant difficulties in establishing a benchmark from which to set a target for the achievement of a reduction in the number of serious injuries. For that reason the central target established for the strategy was focused on the realisation of a reduction in the number of road deaths.

The strategy included a commitment to the pursuit of a programme aimed at establishing a more robust basis for determining injury data based on the information flow from the Garda to the National Roads Authority allied to information from hospital admission data and insurance claims. This exercise is being pursued by a number of organisations that are represented on the road safety high level group under the general direction of the National Roads Authority, which is tasked with the publication of national road collision data.

Based on the outcome of that exercise the high level group will consider the establishment of an appropriate target for the achievement of a reduction in serious injuries before the completion of the period of the strategy.

Road Traffic Offences.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

336 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the charges that prevail under Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act 1994; the number of such charges in each of the past five years for which figures are available; the amount collected in each of those years; the specific sub-head where such funds are accounted for in Government estimates; and his plans to raise the charge. [28285/05]

Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 provides that where a person is convicted of a drink driving offence, the court shall, unless it is satisfied that there are special and substantial reasons for not so doing, order that person to pay a prescribed amount to the court as a contribution to the costs and expenses of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety. The prescribed amount, which was established in 1994 at £75, is €95.23.

Data in relation to the number of persons who were required to make the prescribed payment would be available from the Courts Service. Receipts for payments made under section 22 have been accredited to my Department's Vote, subhead F8, Miscellaneous Receipts, since 2003 and previously to the Vote of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

A separate entry for the receipts is not available for 2003. However, the total value of receipts in 2004 was €58,266 and the total to date in 2005 is €48,037. I am giving consideration to increasing the prescribed amount of this payment.

Consultancy Contracts.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

337 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Transport the number of contracts awarded by him to outside consultants in respect of each year since 2000; if he will identify the recipient of the contract in each case; the details of the work covered by the contract; the original estimate of the cost of the contract; the final amount paid in respect of each such contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28357/05]

The Department of Transport was established in June 2002. Information sought by the Deputy in relation to 2002 to date is set out in the following table, together with information in respect of contracts relating to transport issues awarded by the former Department of Public Enterprise in 2001.

Estimated Cost (incl. VAT)

Amount Paid (incl. VAT)

Consultant

Nature of Report

Year Commissioned

25,394

85,072

Coyle Hamilton Ltd Insurance

Assistance with aviation terrorist risk indemnities

2001

Max of €9,000 plus expenses

6,750

Asger Petersen

Examination of the State Aid issue in the context of funding options for Aer Lingus following financial crisis at end of 2001

2001