As outlined in the Government's White Paper on Defence 2015, the issue of cybersecurity has very significant implications for governmental administration, industry, economic well-being and the security and safety of citizens. Cybersecurity is a standing item on the agenda of the Government task force on emergency planning which I chair.
The response to cyber threats remains a whole-of-Government challenge, with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment taking the lead role and with inputs in the security domain from An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. The Department of Defence and the Defence Forces are committed to participating, under the leadership of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in the delivery of measures to improve the cybersecurity of the State.
Ireland’s national cyber security centre, NCSC, which is located in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, provides a range of cybersecurity services to owners of Government IT infrastructure and critical national infrastructure. The NCSC is also home to the national computer security incident response team, which acts as a national point of contact involving entities within Ireland, and as the point of contact for international discussions on issues of cybersecurity.
The scope of activities of the computer security incident response team, CSIRT, covers prevention, detection, response and mitigation services to Departments and State agencies and critical national infrastructure providers. The Defence Forces provide seconded specialists to assist with the work of this team when resources allow.
The national cybersecurity strategy, published in 2015, is a high-level policy statement from the Government acknowledging the challenges in facilitating and enabling the digital economy and society. The strategy is based on key principles, such as the rule of law, subsidiarity, and proportionality in response to key risks and threats facing Ireland. Work is ongoing on the development of a revised strategy, which is anticipated to be published by the end of the year. This revised strategy, in conjunction with the White Paper on defence, will continue to inform our engagement in this critical area.