Live Register Statistics

Questions (466)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

466. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of males and females in the following age groups who are on the live register, 18-20, 21-24; 25-39, 40-54, 55-66. [32080/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

At the end of May 2013 there were 421,737 people on the live register of which 266,921 were male and 154,816 were female. A breakdown by age and gender as requested by the Deputy is detailed in the attached tabular statement.

Number of people on the Live Register at 31 May 2013 by Age and Gender

Age Group

Male

Female

Total

18 – 20 Years

6,994

5,139

12,133

21 – 24 Years

33,369

21,784

55,153

25 – 39 Years

113,588

62,018

175,606

40 – 54 Years

76,276

41,627

117,903

55 – 66 Years

36,694

24,248

60,942

Totals

266,921

154,816

421,737

Social Welfare Benefits Applications

Questions (467)

Brian Stanley

Question:

467. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will ensure that one of her Department offices in Portlaoise, County Laois, is used for the safe registration process to facilitate social welfare recipients and to end the practice where thousands of claimants have to travel to Kilkenny to have their photograph taken and fill out forms. [32138/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department of Social Protection, in conjunction with a number of other Government Departments, has developed a rules based standard for establishing and authenticating an individual’s identity for the purposes of access to public services. This programme of work, which is known as the Standard Authentication Framework Environment or SAFE for short, also provided for the introduction of a Public Services Card (PSC) to enable individuals to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort.

A PSC is currently issued following a “face-to-face” registration process which involves the capture of an individual’s photograph and signature, the verification of identity and current address as well as the capture of additional data such as answers to security questions to be used in ensuring the future integrity of customers’ data.

To date, 119 SAFE stations have been installed in 51 separate locations countrywide and a further 48 are either planned or in the process of deployment. Planning is underway for the installation of a SAFE registration facility in Portlaoise, and it is expected that this will be rolled out in the coming months. In the meantime, a number of customers at Portlaoise Branch Office are being facilitated at Kilkenny Local Office.

One-Parent Family Payment Eligibility

Questions (468)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

468. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of recipients of the one parent family payment who stand to lose or have lost their payment as a result of the changes in eligibility relating to the age of their children that take effect from 4 July 2013. [32204/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2012, introduced several changes to the one-parent family payment (OFP) scheme – including the phased reduction of the age limit of the youngest child at which a recipient’s payment ceases. In July 2014, the age of the youngest child threshold is being reduced to 7 years of age for new entrants and from 2015 for existing recipients. Transitional arrangements will apply during the period between 2013 and 2015 – depending on the date that a recipient first claimed the OFP payment. By 2015, the maximum age limit of the youngest child will be 7 years for all OFP recipients.

In 2013, it is expected that up to 9,300 recipients will exit the OFP scheme – with up to 8,000 of these in July. These numbers reflect the maximum number of cases who may lose entitlement in 2013. Some of these customers may have continued entitlement to OFP, as the relevant saver clauses included in the legislation will apply. These include OFP recipients who are in receipt of domiciliary care allowance (DCA) in respect of one of their children as well as customers who are recently widowed. The Local Offices are reviewing all cases as appropriate.

The reforms to the OFP scheme are predicated on activation and on getting customers who may have experienced recurring poverty and social exclusion traps back into the workforce once their children have reached an appropriate age. They aim to provide the necessary supports to lone parents by assisting them participate in education and training, develop their skills set and ultimately, attain financial independence and social well-being for both themselves and their families by securing employment.

The majority of those who will lose their entitlement to the OFP payment on foot of the reductions to the age threshold of the youngest child are likely to fall into one of the following three categories:

i. Customers who are in receipt of the family income supplement (FIS) will transition to a re-rated FIS payment that will partly compensate for the loss of the OFP.

ii. Customers who are in receipt of a half-rate carer’s allowance payment will transition to a full-rate carer’s allowance payment that will partly compensate for the loss of the OFP.

iii. The majority of the remaining customers are expected to apply for the jobseeker’s allowance (JA). Of this group, customers whose youngest child is aged under 14 years can avail of the JA transition arrangement.

The JA transition arrangement is provided for in the Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2013 and is a specific measure for lone parents transitioning from OFP to JA, whose youngest child is under 14 years of age. Customers who avail of this arrangement will be exempt from the JA conditionality that requires them to be available for, and genuinely seeking, full-time work. They will also be exempt from having to prove unemployment and be able to work part-time without restrictions and still receive the JA payment – subject to a means test.

The JA transition arrangement recognises the difficulty of parenting alone and will ease the transition of former OFP recipients with children of primary school age onto the JA scheme. Without it, it is likely that many former OFP recipients would not have qualified for the JA payment as their caring responsibilities may have prevented them from being available for, and genuinely seeking, full-time work. Significantly, the JA transition arrangement will still require that this group of customers fully engage with my Department’s full activation process. This is the same requirement that applies to all other jobseekers.

The availability of the JA transition payment to this group of customers reduces the need for child care support as parents in these circumstances can remain at home and take care of their children. However, if a lone parent in this situation does wish to avail of an employment opportunity, they are eligible to apply for the after-school child care subsidised scheme.

The after-school child care subsidised scheme will provide 6,000 subsidised after-school child care places for low-income families and social welfare income support payment recipients who enter employment and have children of primary school age. The pilot, which was introduced in seven designated Social Welfare Local Offices, commenced on 29 April, 2013, and will be rolled out nationally by September, 2013.

Lone parents who transition to the JA scheme will qualify for the full range of activation supports that are currently available to all jobseekers. This includes being able to access a wide range of education, training and employment programmes through my Department.

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Questions (469)

Seán Kyne

Question:

469. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will confirm if her Department can administer the rent supplement payment directly to landlords should the recipient of the payment wish for this to happen and the steps the recipient would be required to take to arrange same. [32229/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The purpose of rent supplement is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently approximately 85,000 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided over €403 million for 2013.

Under the legislative provisions governing rent supplement, the Department’s relationship is with the tenant; the tenant makes the application for rent supplement and payment is made to the tenant. Rent supplement is specifically for the benefit of tenants to assist them with their accommodation needs. There is no direct relationship between the landlord and the Department in the administration of the scheme. However, social welfare legislation provides for the payment of a rent supplement payment to a nominated payee such as a landlord on behalf of the tenant. This arrangement is entered at the tenant’s request and subject to the consent of the Department.

Where a tenant wishes to have the rent supplement paid directly to the landlord, the tenant should contact the office responsible for administering their payment. The department official dealing with the request will take into account all the relevant circumstances of the particular case and the tenant’s preference will be accommodated where possible.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (470)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

470. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of temporary clerical officers who have been employed by his Department over each of the past three years; the number of those who have been retired public or civil servants; his views on whether his Department should employ retired staff in these positions in view of the level of youth unemployment here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31567/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department was established on 2 June 2011. No temporary clerical officers were employed by my Department in 2011. I am advised that one temporary clerical officer commenced work in Oifig an Chomisinéir Teanga in late 2012 and that three temporary clerical officers are due to commence work in my Department during the current month. None of these temporary clerical officers are retired civil or public servants

The Deputy will appreciate that all matters relating to the establishment of panels from which temporary clerical officer appointments are made come under the remit of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments

Questions (471)

Denis Naughten

Question:

471. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon will receive compensation under the cessation of turf cutting scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31804/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

The individual referred to in the Deputy’s Question has applied for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme, administered by my Department.

I am advised that a payment has been made to the applicant in respect of 2011. However, issues in relation to legal title over the land in question are being investigated by my Department.

My Department expects to be in contact with the applicant shortly in relation to his application.

Arts Council Funding

Questions (472, 473)

Dara Calleary

Question:

472. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will outline on a county basis, in tabular form, the number of venues in receipt of Arts Council funding in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; the grant each venue was awarded; the grant each venue actually drew down; the purpose for which each grant was awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31818/13]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

473. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht the weighting given by the Arts Council to the range and size of an actual arts programme when it make an annual award to an arts institution; the role of the programme in maintaining the viability of local arts venues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31819/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 472 and 473 together.

The Arts Council is a Statutory Agency set up under the Arts Act, 2003. Under the Arts Act, 2003, the provision of funding is a matter in the sole remit of the Arts Council. I am precluded by statute from intervening in the Arts Council's decisions on funding.

Details of the Council's successful applicants and the grants awarded are available on the decisions database of the Arts Council's website at http://www.artscouncil.ie/en/we_funded.aspx. For each of its schemes, the Arts Council publishes on its website, the names grantees, the amount awarded, the names of the decision-making panel as well as statistics on the numbers of applications. I understand that the local authority area is also provided. The data are updated throughout the year as funding decisions are made.

The Arts Council’s strategic approach is called Developing the Arts in Ireland Arts Council Strategic Overview 2011 – 2013 and it is available on the Arts Council's website. In accordance with this document the Arts Council focuses on supporting artists and arts organisations and aiming to increase public engagement and participation in the arts. Through this the Arts Council's aim is to provide support to artists and arts organisations so as to facilitate their planning and programming.

Stádas na Gaeilge san Aontas Eorpach

Questions (474)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

474. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil plean aige le fáil réidh leis an maolú ar stádas na Gaeilge san Aontas Eorpach i 2016 chun níos mó ná 180 post breise a chruthú do dhaoine le Gaeilge san AE; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [32158/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

Is mian liom aird an Teachta a dhíriú ar an bhfreagra a thug mé ar Cheist Dála Uimhir 23 ar 30 Bealtaine 2013 faoin ábhar seo. Mar a thug mé le fios sa fhreagra sin, beidh cinneadh le tógáil faoi dheireadh na bliana 2015 faoi thodhchaí an mhaolaithe atá i bhfeidhm faoi láthair maidir le húsáid na Gaeilge in institiúidí an Aontais Eorpaigh agus beidh an cheist seo le breithniú ag an Rialtas in am trátha.

Idir an dá linn, táthar ag obair leis na hinstitiúidí Eorpacha ar bhonn leanúnach chun a chinntiú go mbeidh dóthain foirne cáilithe fostaithe sna hinstitiúidí chun freastal ar na riachtanais a bhaineann le stádas na Gaeilge san Eoraip. Mar thacaíocht don aidhm seo, tá céimeanna tógtha ag mo Roinn le roinnt blianta anuas chun maoiniú a chur ar fáil do réimse cúrsaí tríú leibhéal ábhartha agus d’fhorbairt na téarmaíochta Gaeilge.

Hare Coursing

Questions (475)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

475. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the action that will be taken in relation to the clubs that have breached section 44 (details supplied) and the licence conditions; if he intends to add an additional licence condition that would help protect landowners from persons entering their lands to net hares without permission including a condition that would require the coursing club to get written permission from the landowner and to make this information available along with hare capture return forms at the end of the coursing season; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32186/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Arts)

My Department issued a licence to the Irish Coursing Club to capture live hares under the Wildlife Acts for the 2012-13 season. The licence states that it does not authorise any person to enter any land without the permission of the owner or occupier of the land. The licence also provides that the Licensee and its members must comply with Section 44 of the Wildlife Acts which relates to unlawful hunting and entry on land.

The conditions of the licence will be reviewed for the 2013-2014 season. In that context, I am mindful of the provisions of Section 44 which already confer considerable powers on the owners or occupiers of land to protect their property from unlawful hunting. While under section 44, it is open to aggrieved owners and occupiers of land to take summary proceedings where persons enter on land without permission for the purpose of hunting, where resources allow, my Department will investigate the allegations identified by the Deputy in relation to the unlawful capturing of hares by coursing clubs during the 2012-13 season.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (476)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

476. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of temporary clerical officers who have been employed by his Department over each of the past three years; the number of those who have been retired public-civil servants; his views on whether his Department should employ retired staff in these positions in view of the level of youth unemployment here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31569/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department did not employ any temporary clerical officers in the past 3 years.

Energy Conservation

Questions (477)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

477. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will detail the recent announcement he has made regarding exemplar energy projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31604/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I launched the first tranche of exemplar energy efficiency projects under the Action Plan for Jobs on 19 June last (a full list of participating organisations is provided below). Collectively, the exemplar projects will see investment of up to €55m in energy saving measures, resulting in annual savings of €7m, while supporting over 500 jobs.

Exemplar projects are demonstration projects that are prepared to use, test and provide feedback on the approach, tools and structures provided under the National Energy Services Contracting Framework. Exemplar projects will receive additional supports in the form of training, networking and access to a panel of legal and technical experts to review and comment at key stages of the projects. In return, participating organisations must commit to actively provide feedback on use of the Framework.

The National Energy Services Framework has been developed to stimulate the market for energy efficiency measures in the non-residential sector. A key aim of the Framework is to develop robust projects that are investment-ready for financing entities (such as the Energy Efficiency Fund). This will stimulate the development of an Energy Services Company (ESCO) market, thereby supporting sustainable employment in construction and professional services. The Framework also aims to provide best-practice guidance to public and private sector client organisations when procuring energy services and engaging ESCOs.

Further information on the exemplar projects and the National Energy Services Framework can be found on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s website http://www.seai.ie/Your_Business/National_Energy_Services_Framework

Participating Organisations

Boliden Tara Mines

Carbery Group

Carton Bros

DIMPCO Ltd.

Dublin City Council

Dublin City University

Fingal County Council

GE Healthcare

Health Service Executive (West) (Project 1& Project 2)

Institute of Technology Tralee

Irish Prison Service

Kerry County Council

Kildare VEC

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

Liffey Meats

Mayo County Council

Radisson Hotel Sligo

Roadstone

St. John of God Hospital

Tesco

The Four Seasons Hotel

University College Cork

Postcode Implementation

Questions (478)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

478. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the measures being taken to introduce a postcode system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31724/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government is strongly committed to the introduction of a National Postcode System. The procurement process to select a postcode management licence holder to implement a National Postcode System is currently underway. Intensive work has taken place on what is an extremely complex national project. Whilst the details of the procurement process must remain confidential, I can say that a final tender issued very recently and the process is expected to come to a conclusion shortly.

The final decision to proceed with implementation of a National Postcode System will be for decision by Government and will be based on appropriate financial, technical and operational considerations. I cannot give a precise date on when this decision will be made but I intend that it will be no later than the third quarter of this year.

Broadcasting Charges

Questions (479)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

479. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will be extending the exemption of the broadcasting charge to those who qualify for the household benefits package; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31743/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

As the Deputy will be aware, responsibility for the Household Benefit Package falls under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Social Protection, Ms Joan Burton, TD. This includes issues relating to benefits that arise through the Household Benefits Package such as exemptions from the liability to pay the existing TV licence and the consequent right to a free licence.

That said, I would like to emphasise that the proposed public service broadcasting charge would replace the existing TV licence system and it is my expectation that the current exemptions in relation to pensioners and those entitled to the Household Benefit Package will continue to apply.

Alternative Energy Projects

Questions (480)

Dara Calleary

Question:

480. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide an update on an application for research funding for a wave energy related project (details supplied) in County Mayo. [31809/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I understand that the application for research funding to which the Deputy refers has proceeded through the normal decision-making process within the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. Unfortunately, the application was not successful.

Broadband Services Provision

Questions (481)

Brendan Smith

Question:

481. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will outline the proposals, if any, there are to upgrade broadband connectivity throughout County Cavan with particular reference to the need to extend the national broadband scheme to those electoral divisions in the county where such service is not available at present; the likely timescale for the proposed roll-out of this particular scheme to the remaining electoral divisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31838/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The objective of the National Broadband Scheme (NBS), which was launched in 2008, following a competitive tendering process, was to provide access to affordable, scalable broadband services to rural areas, where operators had been unable to offer services on a commercial basis.

In designing the Scheme, which was approved under EU State Aid rules, my Department undertook a comprehensive mapping exercise to assess the extent of broadband coverage available in the State in 2008. Following completion of the exercise a separate map based on electoral divisions (EDs), which are the smallest administrative areas used for statistical purposes in the country, was developed. Where an ED was completely or substantially served by existing service providers it was excluded from the NBS. Broadband services under the NBS are available since October 2010 from the NBS service provider, “3”, to persons with a fixed residence or fixed business in all of the designated NBS Electoral Divisions. In Cavan 48 out of the 93 EDs were identified as eligible for inclusion in the NBS, which are shown in the following table.

In July 2011 the Government launched a separate broadband initiative, namely the Rural Broadband Scheme (RBS). The RBS was established to enable a basic broadband service to be provided to individual rural premises, which were not capable of obtaining a broadband service from existing Internet service providers. 45 applicants from County Cavan received offers from service providers participating in this Scheme of which 11 accepted an offer of service.

With basic broadband services widely available across Ireland, the focus is now on accelerating the roll out of high speed services. The Government’s National Broadband Plan, which I published in August last, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed services of 30Mbps are available to all of our citizens and businesses, well in advance of the EU’s target date of 2020, and that significantly higher speeds are available to as many homes and businesses as possible.

During the preparation of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan, the commercial market operators indicated that they expect to provide 70Mbps to 100Mbps services to 50% of the population by 2015. Since the publication of the Plan, investments by the commercial sector are underway in both fixed line and mobile high speed broadband services.

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

In order to progress the State-led investment, a full procurement process must be designed and EU State Aids approval must be obtained. A comprehensive mapping exercise of the current and anticipated investment by the commercial sector is being undertaken to identify where the market is expected to succeed and fail in the delivery of high speed broadband services over the coming years.

The results of this mapping exercise will inform the level of Government interaction that may be required and the areas that need to be targeted in the State-led investment so as to deliver on the targets for high speed broadband contained in the National Broadband Plan.

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

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, we are committed to increasing the availability of next generation speeds significantly, with a view to ensuring that all citizens and businesses can participate fully in a digitally enabled society.

National Broadband Schemes (NBS)

Electoral Divisions (ED) covered by the NBS in County Cavan

ED Name

ED Reference No.

ARDUE

ED 27001

BALLYMACHUGH

ED 27009

BALLYMAGAURAN

ED 27010

BAWNBOY

ED 27011

BENBRACK

ED 27014

BILBERRY

ED 27015

CANNINGSTOWN

ED 27018

CARN

ED 27019

CARRAFIN

ED 27021

CASTLERAHAN

ED 27022

CASTLESAUNDERSON

ED 27023

COOTEHILL RURAL

ED 27027

CORR

ED 27029

CORRANEARY

ED 27030

CROSSBANE

ED 27031

CROSSDONEY

ED 27032

DERRYLAHAN

ED 27037

DERRYNANANTA

ED 27038

DIAMOND

ED 27039

DOOGARY

ED 27040

DRUMANESPICK

ED 27042

DRUMCARN

ED 27044

DRUMLUMMAN

ED 27045

DUNMAKEEVER

ED 27047

KILBRIDE

ED 27052

KILCOGY

ED 27053

KILGOLAGH

ED 27055

-

Broadband Services Speeds

Questions (482)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

482. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the level of high-speed broadband available to Tougher Business Park and Layout Business Park with particular reference to Eircom service; if such broadband service will be upgraded in the near future in order to limit additional day to day costs for businesses in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32060/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Ireland’s telecommunications market has been fully liberalised since 1999 in accordance with the requirements of binding EU Directives. Decisions to Invest in network upgrades to provide high-speed broadband services are undertaken by telecommunications network providers operating in the liberalised market. A decision to invest in a particular area by a particular network operator is a commercial decision for the operator concerned without any requirement to consult with my Department. Unfortunately, therefore, I am not in a position at this time to advise on the planned upgrades by network providers in any particular area. However if the Deputy wishes and provides some more detail on users in the Park, I will be glad to underwrite his representations to the operator.

National Grid

Questions (483, 484, 485)

Derek Nolan

Question:

483. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources the number of persons who have availed of the offers in relation to the Gate 3 project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32139/13]

View answer

Derek Nolan

Question:

484. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources if there is a timescale for persons to take up the offers in relation to the Gate 3 project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32141/13]

View answer

Derek Nolan

Question:

485. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Communications; Energy and Natural Resources when Gate 4 project offers will occur; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32142/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 483 to 485, inclusive, together.

Supervision of the grid connection process is vested in the Commission for Energy Regulation. The Gate 3 Direction to System Operators (CER/08/260), published in December 2008, sets out the list of projects to receive grid connection offers. As explained in the Direction, Gate 3 was designed to ensure the 40% target for renewable electricity by 2020 could be achieved, and this was based on an assumption that 5,800MWs of renewable generation would be required. Gate 3 followed Gates 1 and 2, and provided for additional grid connection offers totalling almost 4,000MWs.

Due to changes in economic conditions since the publication of the Gate 3 Direction in 2008, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland estimated for the First Progress Report on the National Renewable Energy Action Plan that the amount of MWs needed to meet the 40% renewable electricity target has fallen to approximately 4,000MWs.

As regards the take up of connection offers under Gate 3 to date, EirGrid, the Transmission System Operator, has informed my Department that 13 entities have taken up transmission offers in Gate 3. They include 2 conventional generators and 11 wind farm projects. In addition, EirGrid inform me that a significant number of Gate 3 transmission connection offers are under consideration at present. ESB Networks, the Distribution System Operator, states that 32 offers have been accepted under Gate 3 for connection to the distribution system.

Under Gate 3 rules, generators must accept a grid connection offer within 50 business days of receipt of the combined connection offer and constraint report. On this basis, Gate 3 acceptances are scheduled to complete in October this year.

A decision on any potential future Gate has not yet been taken. Any definition of a future Gate will take account of the outcome of the Gate 3 process.