National Broadband Plan Implementation

Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 37.

Questions (42)

Seán Fleming

Question:

42. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide an update on progress on the national broadband plan; if the plan will be fully implemented in its original form; if the Government is still committed to co-fund fibre-speed rural broadband access of at least 30 megabits per second; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44968/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government's National Broadband Plan, which I published in August 2012, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed broadband is available to all citizens and businesses. This will be achieved by providing a policy and regulatory framework that assists in accelerating and incentivising commercial investment, and a State-led investment for areas where it is not commercial for the market to invest.

Since the publication of the Plan, investments by the commercial sector are underway in both fixed line and wireless high speed broadband services. ComReg has put in place a new regulatory regime for fixed line Next Generation Access and for service bundles, both of which are designed to incentivise the rollout of services by service providers. ComReg's multiband spectrum auction, completed in 2012, is also enabling the rollout of advanced mobile broadband services.

In order to progress the State-led investment for areas where it is not commercial for the market to invest, a full procurement process must be designed and EU State Aids approval must be obtained. My Department is engaged in a comprehensive mapping exercise of the current and anticipated investment by the commercial sector to identify where the market is expected to deliver high speed broadband services over the coming years. The results of this mapping exercise will inform the precise areas that need to be targeted in the State-led investment as envisaged in the National Broadband Plan.

In devising any State intervention to deliver high speed services to areas of the country where such services are not commercially viable and will not be provided by the market, my Department will be adopting a technology neutral approach, as required under EU law. This means specifying our requirements rather than specifying a particular technology. Intensive technical, financial and legal preparations, including stakeholder engagement, are ongoing. The procurement process for the approved intervention will be carried out in accordance with EU and Irish procurement rules and it is expected that it will be launched in 2014.

Implementation of the National Broadband Plan will be complemented by the National Digital Strategy which I launched in July last. The first phase of the National Digital Strategy targets specific segments of society, aiming to improve digital adoption and to realise the economic and social benefits that digital technologies can bring.

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, I am committed to ensuring that all parts of Ireland have access to high speed broadband, with a view to ensuring that all citizens and businesses can participate fully in, and maximise the benefits of, a digitally enabled economy and society.

Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 37.

Electricity Generation

Questions Nos. 45 and 46 answered with Question No. 27.

Questions (44)

Paudie Coffey

Question:

44. Deputy Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason the 400 kV gridlink electricity infrastructural project by EirGrid is necessary; the justification for such a large investment by a semi-State body; its purpose, in view of the fact that there are existing HV networks in use servicing these areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45033/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Development of the high voltage electricity grid as planned in the Grid25 strategy is critical to Ireland's economic and social development. The businesses that sell goods and services and provide employment need a reliable energy supply that enables them to compete in an increasingly globalised economy. Ensuring secure reliable and safe supplies of electricity is critical to Ireland's ability to attract inward investment and retain and create jobs.

The Grid Link Project is a key initiative under Grid25. Without this project, the grid in the south and east of Ireland would not be sufficient to meet the region's future electricity needs. The project will facilitate both conventional generation and renewable energy projects. It will reinforce the grid in Leinster and Munster and support future interconnection with grids outside of Ireland. It is a significant upgrade of the electricity grid across the south and east and is the largest project under the Grid25 programme. The project will involve an estimated €500 million investment and will enable Ireland to meet its 40% renewable electricity target, while also reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Questions Nos. 45 and 46 answered with Question No. 27.

Better Energy Homes Scheme Expenditure

Questions (47)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

47. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a breakdown of the community projects in the greater Dublin area which will receive support as part of the recently announced allocation of €13 million from his Department towards community energy projects under the better energy scheme administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45045/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government will spend €13 million in Exchequer funding by the end of 2013 on over 80 community based energy efficiency projects under the Better Energy Communities and the Better Energy Areas schemes across the country. Both schemes are administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the Better Energy Programme. The funding will deliver energy efficiency upgrades to approximately 3,500 homes of which 80% are experiencing energy poverty. The budget allocation will also allow for the delivery of energy upgrades to more than 290 public and community buildings.

Out of the total funding, €7 million will be spent under the Better Energy Communities scheme. This scheme provides sustainable energy upgrades and enhanced energy to existing buildings, services, facilities and processes in the community sector. The scheme aims to support existing community groups and networks to achieve on-going and lasting energy savings. Innovative and pioneering partnerships for the delivery of projects between the public and private sectors, domestic and non-domestic sectors, commercial and not-for profit organisations are encouraged around the country.

The remaining €6 million will be disbursed under the Better Energy Areas scheme. The scheme, which is free of charge to the customer, primarily delivers energy upgrades to low income homeowners experiencing extreme energy poverty. The scheme was introduced as a pilot under the Affordable Energy Strategy in 2012 and is administered under the Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme.

Below are details of the breakdown of projects for delivery in 2013 under Better Energy Communities and Better Energy Areas in the greater Dublin area.

Better Energy Communities Scheme 2013

Lead Applicant

Project Title

Location

Grant Support

Dublin Simon Community

Dublin Simon Community project

Supported Housing at 35-36 Sean McDermott Street, D.1Chester House, 314-316 North Circular Road, D. 7Riversdale House, Riversdale Avenue, Palmerstown, D. 20Blessington Street, 32-33 Blessington Street, D. 7Roylands, 7 Main Street, Tallaght, D. 24Charity Shop, 57 Lower Camden Street, D. 2

575,451.75

Irish Social Finance Centre Limited

Irish Social Finance Centre

Irish Social Finance Centre Inchicore (former AIB building)

53,771.76

Ecoconcertive

Ecocert

Dundrum SC, Nutgrove SC & Stillorgan SC

45,128.01

Musgrave Retail Partners Ltd with GAA

Musgrave Community Project

24 Shops & 22 GAA clubs Nationwide

Including…

Kilmacud Crokes & St Vincents Dublin

Centra Ballinteer, 83 Ballinteer Rd, Ballinteer, Dublin 16

Centra North King St

Centra Parnell St, Unit 5, Greeg Court, Parnell St Dublin 1

SuperValu Donabate, Donabate Town Centre, Donabate, Co.Dublin

SuperValu Mount Merrion, 27 The Rise, Mount Merrion, Dublin

Centra Middle Abbey St, 35 Curzon House, Lower Abbey St, Dublin 1

Centra Ballyfermot (Decies Rd), 47-51 Decies Rd, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10

SuperValu Balbriggan

SuperValu Killester

SuperValu Sallynoggin

523,645.58

Total Grant Funding for Nationwide project

South Dublin County Council

South Dublin Co Co Community Scheme

Jigsaw Clondalkin, Neilstown Church, Clondalkin, Dublin 22Lucan Leisure Centre, Griffeen Park, Lucan, Co Dublin.Ballymount Depot, Ballymount Ind. Estate, Dublin 24

103,149.91

Aras na Cluaine, Management Company

Light Upgrade to common areas

Aras na Cluaine, Waterylane, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

Apartment Complex

13,029.80

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

Energy Upgrades

1.Community Centres - Cois Cairn, Connaught Ave, Bray, Co. Wicklow - Sallynoggin, Church Place, Pearse Road, Sallynoggin, Co. Dublin - Park House, Library Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin 2. County Hall, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin3. Public Lighting, Wyattville Road, Loughlinstown, Dublin 184. GPS for maintenance service fleet5. Heritage Buildings- Cabinteely House, Cabinteely Park, Old Bray Road, D.18- Dalkey Town Hall, Dalkey, Co. Dublin 6. Libraries - - Stillorgan Library, St. Laurences Park, St. Laurences Park, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin - Dalkey Library, Castle St., Dalkey, Co. Dublin- Shankill Library7. Rochestown House, Sallynoggin Road, Sallynoggin, Co. Dublin

399,662.71

Dublin Fire Brigage

-

Blanchardstown Fire Station, Porters Road, Coolmine Ind. Estate, D. 15Finglas Fire Station, Mellowes Road, Finglas, Dublin 11

448,596.95

Future Fit t/a replay sport

Lower Costs for 6 Sports Communities through Energy efficiency

Edmondstown Golf Club Ltd, Edmonstown Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16Irish Basketball Arena Ltd, Tymon Road, Dublin 24

65,580.44 –Dublin Projects Only

DAA

Energy Efficiency and M&T Upgrade Project

3 No. Electrical Vehicals EV points Lighting upgrade to Servisair Cargo warehouseGreen Screens

31,946.40

Airtricity

Grand Canal Harbour

Grand Canal Harbour Public Lighting Retrofit

49,700.00

Better Energy Areas Scheme 2013

Project Title

Description of Projects

South Dublin County Council

Moderate and deep energy upgrades will be installed in 75 homes and one community house in Tallaght, Dublin 24. 80% of the homes are energy poor. The measures include attic insulation, cavity insulation, window upgrades, CFLs and high efficiency gas condensing boilers with full heating controls package. Retrofit Energy Ireland and South Dublin County Council are the partners in this project.

Total Project: € 379,540.20

Grant Approved: €209,502.80

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

Moderate energy upgrades will be installed to 101 units in the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown areas of County Dublin. 96% of the homes are energy poor. The measures include heating upgrades, attic insulation, cavity wall insulation and CFLs

Retrofit Energy Ireland and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are the partners in this project.

Total Project: € 448,166.93

Grant Approved: €251,220.00

Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10

Deep upgrades to 77 housing association homes in Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10. 75% of the homes are energy poor. This project represents an opportunity to trial a form of Pay as You Save energy retrofit financing. The measures include high efficiency gas boilers, remote access heating controls, loft and cavity wall insulation, CFLs and windows and doors. NABCO and Electric Ireland are the partners in this project.

Total Project: € 890,262.20

Grant Approved: €585,865.54

Military Aircraft Landings

Questions (48)

Finian McGrath

Question:

48. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of foreign military planes landing at Shannon Airport which is in clear breach of our neutral status. [45368/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952 gives the Minister for Foreign Affairs primary responsibility for the regulation of activity by foreign military aircraft in Ireland. Permission to land at Irish airports, including Shannon Airport, is subject to the condition that the aircraft are unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives, do not engage in intelligence gathering, and that the flights in question do not form any part of military exercises or operations. There is no incompatibility between such landings and Ireland's traditional policy of military neutrality, which is characterised by non-participation in military alliances.

I refer the Deputy to Question 56 of 6 March 2013, and to Questions 6 and 9 of 15 October 2013, which provide information on the number of foreign military aircraft for which permission was sought to land at Shannon Airport in 2012 and 2013.

Passports Data

Questions (49, 50, 51, 52)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

49. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of Irish passports in circulation in date and currently valid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45385/13]

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Jerry Buttimer

Question:

50. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of Irish passports issued to persons ordinarily resident in Ireland or persons using Irish addresses on their application in each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45386/13]

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Jerry Buttimer

Question:

51. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of Irish passports issued to persons ordinarily resident outside Ireland or persons using addresses in other countries on their application in each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45387/13]

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Jerry Buttimer

Question:

52. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the connection to Ireland that is required in order to qualify for an Irish passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45388/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 to 52, inclusive, together.

There were approximately 4,695,000 Irish passports in circulation, in date, and valid on 21 October 2013. The Passports Act 2008 requires that before issuing a passport to a person, the Passport Service must be satisfied that the applicant is an Irish citizen. An Irish citizen is defined in the Act as a person who:

- is an Irish citizen under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1956 to 2004; or

- acquires Irish citizenship under those Acts or any other enactment.

The Passport Service technology system does not record "address" information in the structured format necessary to facilitate the production of management information in relation to place of residency etc. The availability of this information would require a fundamental redesign of the system, which could not be cost justified for this facility alone. This matter will be addressed in the context of any major system changes which may emerge in the future.

Additionally as passports are issued for a ten year period it would not be unusual for people to change address a number of times over this period, information which is not provided to the Passport Service.