Waste Management Regulations

Questions (505)

Robert Troy

Question:

505. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has powers or responsibility to ensure a road with four individual properties is serviced by a refuse collection by at least one of the companies operating within the area. [21362/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I have no legislative power to compel a private company to provide a service to specific properties.

The obligations on local authorities in relation to collecting household waste are set out in section 33 of the Waste Management Act 1996, as amended. In summary, it provides that each local authority shall collect, or arrange for the collection of, household waste within its functional area. The obligation to collect or arrange for the collection of household waste shall not apply if:

- an adequate waste collection service is available in the local authority's functional area,

- the estimated costs of the collection of the waste would, in the opinion of the local authority, be unreasonably high, or

- the local authority is satisfied that adequate arrangements for the disposal of the waste concerned can reasonably be made by the holder of the waste.

Under section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act 1996, as Minister, I am precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to the performance by a local authority, in particular circumstances, of a statutory function vested in it.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (506)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

506. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of plans for broadband to be installed at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21369/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The purpose of the National Broadband Plan is to ensure that over 1.1 million of our citizens in rural Ireland have the same opportunity to participate in the digital society as citizens living in urban areas. The availability of ubiquitous high speed broadband will bring significant benefits in areas of e-Health, e-Education, smart farming, regional development and tourism.

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led intervention under the NBP.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. Following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government has agreed to this.

The Government Decision means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Granahan McCourt, subject to contract close, including finalisation of financial and legal documents. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

In the first year of this roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. A deployment plan will be made available by the bidder once the contract is signed. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises by end of the second year of the overall deployment, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Inland Fisheries

Questions (507, 508)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

507. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 1225 to 1228, inclusive, of 8 May 2019, the angling federations and stakeholders he has met with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21377/19]

View answer

Thomas Byrne

Question:

508. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he plans to take to repair relations between Inland Fisheries Ireland and its stakeholders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21378/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 507 and 508 together.

I can advise the Deputy that I, along with senior officials from my Department and IFI, recently met with Angling Council of Ireland which incorporates representatives of the Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs and the Salmon and Sea Trout Recreational Anglers of Ireland. I also met with representatives of the National Anglers Representative Association and the Trout Anglers Federation of Ireland and I intend to meet other federations in the coming weeks.

Inland Fisheries Ireland has a wide and diverse range of stakeholders covering the environmental, ecological, commercial fishing, sea angling and inland angling sectors as well as statutory and other public bodies. Relations with the vast majority of stakeholders is positive, supportive and professional.

IFI engages with stakeholders at all levels of the organisation from local and regional fisheries staff, project co-ordinators for the National Strategy for Angling Development, researchers and scientific staff up to senior managers. This is indicative of a very high level of constructive engagement with the various stakeholder groups.

Productive engagement needs to be based on mutually considerate participation to support cooperation across all the component disciplines of the representative angling stakeholder base in particular. I am leading on positive, inclusive and consensual discussions for the benefit of the entire angling sector acting in a unified manner for the good of angling.

In view of the number of related questions which the Deputy has tabled in recent weeks, I would be happy to arrange a briefing for him with senior officials of the Department and IFI.

Flood Relief Schemes

Questions (509)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

509. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the lack of involvement by Inland Fisheries Ireland in the Bandon flood relief scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21379/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Bandon Flood Relief Scheme is entirely under the remit of the Office of Public Works (OPW). Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has no direct statutory remit in relation to the implementation of such schemes.

However, should fisheries related works be required in conjunction with or following the implementation of any such scheme, IFI are involved to the full extent of its statutory remit. IFI has recently signed an agreement with OPW to build on existing good practices and develop a framework to support high level collaboration.

Both organisations have obligations to implement European and national legislation and policy. The agreement will deliver the Environmental River Enhancement Programme and focus on scientific investigations; impacts of arterial drainage maintenance on the biota and habitat with the river corridor; the potential for current strategies to provide environmental gain while securing adequate channel conveyance. All if this is to be undertaken in the context of the EU Water Framework Directive.

I can confirm for the Deputy that IFI recently took a prosecution in relation to a fish kill that occurred during works relating to the Bandon scheme.

Departmental Communications

Questions (510)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

510. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of briefings by phone or in writing given by officials of his Department to a person (details supplied); the content of those briefings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21382/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My officials have briefed the person referred to by the Deputy on three occasions.

My office issued an invitation to each opposition party, as well as independent TDS, to an official briefing on 8 May 2019, after the preferred bidder announcement, with details of the latest position on the National Broadband Plan including how the network will be built, how long it will take and how much it will cost.

There was a telephone call 10 April 2019, when the individual enquired if the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene had completed its work on the Warmth and Well-being scheme analysis. It was explained that this work was ongoing.

There was a telephone call and text on 21-22 February 2019 when the individual enquired in relation to Support Scheme for Renewable Heat and Anaerobic Digestion. It was explained that the process was not finalised and State Aid approval had yet to be cleared.

I trust this clarifies the position.

Postal Codes

Questions (511)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

511. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason Eircode postcodes are only updated four times per year; if his attention has been drawn to a situation by which persons are unable to access broadband due to the fact that Eircode postcodes are not updated (details supplied); his plans to address same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21396/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Eircodes are assigned to new property addresses using a valid postal address and verified geo-locations. An Post collects information on new and existing buildings, as well as changes to existing addresses and Ordnance Survey Ireland provides the geo-locations for these buildings. An Post GeoDirectory, issue a new release of the GeoDirectory database file on a quarterly basis to Capita Business Support Services Ireland, trading as Eircode, in accordance with their licence agreement.

Each new address assigned an Eircode is published on the free to use Eircode Finder website, a notification letter is issued to the occupant containing the Eircode of that address and the latest updated Eircode database is made available to licensed businesses for their use. Eircode have informed my Department that 78,400 addresses have been assigned an Eircode since the launch in 2015.

Once the Eircode database is updated on a quarterly basis, it is then a matter for individual Eircode data providers to provide updates to commercial businesses in accordance with the terms of licence agreements.

However, in recognition of the fact that earlier assignment of Eircodes to new builds is desirable, my officials are working with An Post, Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi), An Post GeoDirectory and Capita to improve and expedite the existing process.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (512, 514, 515, 516)

Robert Troy

Question:

512. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the provision of broadband to a property (details supplied). [21412/19]

View answer

Robert Troy

Question:

514. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the provision of broadband to a property (details supplied). [21414/19]

View answer

Robert Troy

Question:

515. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the provision of broadband to a property (details supplied). [21415/19]

View answer

Robert Troy

Question:

516. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the provision of broadband to a property (details supplied). [21416/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 512 and 514 to 516, inclusive, together.

The purpose of the National Broadband Plan is to ensure that over 1.1 million of our citizens in rural Ireland have the same opportunity to participate in the digital society as citizens living in urban areas. The availability of ubiquitous high speed broadband will bring significant benefits in areas of e-Health, e-Education, smart farming, regional development and tourism.

The premises referenced by the Deputy are all located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government agreed to this.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to contract close including finalisation of financial and legal documents. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

In the first year of this roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. A deployment plan will be made available by the bidder once the contract is signed. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises by end of the second year of the overall deployment, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions Nos. 514 to 516, inclusive, answered with Question No. 512.

Questions (513)

Robert Troy

Question:

513. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the provision of broadband to a property (details supplied). [21413/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the LIGHT BLUE area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The LIGHT BLUE areas are where eir is in the process of deploying high speed broadband to 300,000 premises on a commercial basis.

Under a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017, eir is in the process of passing 300,000 predominantly rural homes with high speed broadband. According to data for Q4 2018 submitted by eir to my Department the company has passed almost 225,000 premises nationwide as part of its ongoing deployment.

Information on eir's rural deployment is available on that company’s website, http://fibrerollout.ie/Eircode-lookup/. A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website, www.dccae.gov.ie.

Questions Nos. 514 to 516, inclusive, answered with Question No. 512.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (517)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

517. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason broadband cannot be rolled out to all houses in an area (details supplied) in view of the fact a number of houses in the area have been successfully connected. [21464/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The purpose of the National Broadband Plan is to ensure that over 1.1 million of our citizens in rural Ireland have the same opportunity to participate in the digital society as citizens living in urban areas. The availability of ubiquitous high speed broadband will bring significant benefits in areas of e-Health, e-Education, smart farming, regional development and tourism.

In April 2017, my Department published an updated version of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map. This is available at www.broadband.gov.ie.

The map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area under the National Broadband Plan. The Map is colour coded and searchable by address/Eircode:

- The AMBER area represents the parts of the country where commercial operators have no plans to build high speed broadband networks. Premises in the AMBER area will be provided with high Speed Broadband through a State Intervention.

- The BLUE area represents those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high speed broadband services.

- The LIGHT BLUE area represents eir's commercial rural deployment plans to rollout high speed broadband to 300,000 premises as part of a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

The table below details the percentage of premises to be covered by the State Intervention and through commercial investment in the areas identified by the Deputy. eir's deployment within the townlands of Magillstown and Balheary is now complete.

Townland

Premises within the NBP Intervention Area

Premises within Commercial Operator’s Area

Premises within eir planned rural deployment

Total

Magillstown

59% (13)

41% (9)

0% (0)

100% (22)

Balheary

45% (17)

55% (21)

0% (0)

100% (38)

Premises where commercial providers are not currently delivering or have indicated no plans to deliver high speed broadband services will be addressed through the National Broadband Plan State led Intervention.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. Following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government has agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to contract close including finalisation of financial and legal documents. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment

In the first year of this roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. A deployment plan will be made available by the bidder once the contract is signed. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises by end of the second year of the overall deployment, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Fish Farming

Questions (518)

Robert Troy

Question:

518. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the long-term plans for Cullion fish farm, Mullingar, County Westmeath. [21500/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The fish farming operations of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) are currently under review by the Fish Farm Working Group established by the Board of IFI.

This Working Group includes stakeholders and IFI board members among its membership. Recent discussion has focused on the challenges faced in existing production facilities, including the facility at Cullion, in an environmental and ecological context and most importantly from a health and safety perspective.

I met recently with the Working Group and I understand that its continuing work involves examining a range of options in relation to potential future fish production subject to the availability of funding.

I await the conclusions of the Working Group in order to consider how best to progress matters.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (519)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

519. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount spent in fees to companies (details supplied) and to private audit and advisory firms by his Department in each of the years 2011 to 2018. [21589/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department administers a very diverse, complex and technical brief across critical and strategic sectors of the Irish economy. While it has a total complement of around 396 full time equivalent staff of whom a number are technical personnel, the technical, commercial, legal complexity and evolving nature of sectors with which the Department deals requires access to external professional expertise to assist in discharging its functions. In procuring these specialised services, my Department always seeks to ensure value for money and that these services contribute to project delivery and informed, robust and evidence based policy making.

The bulk of the studies are technical and specialist in nature and were necessary to address specific issues as they arose and enable the Department to discharge its policy and project responsibilities in the areas concerned.

Details of expenditure for consultancy services provided to my Department in each year from 2011 to 2018 are set out in the table below. Following contact with your office by officials, expenditure details given include all consultancies provided to the Department across all sectors.

Year

Amount

2011

€1,610,025

2012

€1,726,970

2013

€2,416,437

2014

€3,687,997

2015

€6,146,486

2016

€5,716,393

2017

€14,656,727

2018

€12,034,032

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (520)

Robert Troy

Question:

520. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the efibre broadband roll-out with reference to a location (details supplied). [21597/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The purpose of the National Broadband Plan is to ensure that over 1.1 million of our citizens in rural Ireland have the same opportunity to participate in the digital society as citizens living in urban areas. The availability of ubiquitous high speed broadband will bring significant benefits in areas of e-Health, e-Education, smart farming, regional development and tourism.

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led intervention under the NBP.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. Following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government has agreed to this.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to contract close including finalisation of financial and legal documents. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

In the first year of roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (521)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

521. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if companies (details supplied) provided confirmation of support for another company as part of the tendering process for the national broadband plan; the confirmation sought and received; if either company completed a pre-qualification questionnaire; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21692/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Tetrad Corporation and McCourt Global LLC were the two companies that Granahan McCourt relied on to demonstrate its economic and financial capacity for the purposes of the pre- qualification process of the National Broadband Plan procurement process.

The requirements for relying on the resources of other entities, are set out in the Project Information Memorandum including at section 10.2 and the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire. Both of these documents have been published.

Tetrad Corporation and McCourt Global LLC. both completed Pre-Qualification Questionnaires provided letters of support as part of that process.

Tetrad Corporation and McCourt Global LLC. were assessed individually at PQQ in relation to capacity to meet the financial and economic standing criteria and both passed. This meant that either company was capable of meeting the required criteria without the other.

Tetrad Corporation and McCourt Global both reiterated their support at Final Tender but Tetrad Corporation also provided a commitment letter in relation to the equity required for the project.

This means that Tetrad Corporation has committed to invest in the Project with Granahan McCourt (Dublin) Ireland.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (522)

Barry Cowen

Question:

522. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the contract for the national broadband plan precludes the sale of companies (details supplied); if so, the nature of this clause; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21693/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The NBP Contract includes change in ownership restrictions that are consistent with normal practice in major infrastructure projects.

National Broadband Ireland (NBI) is obliged to seek the written consent of the Minister prior to the occurrence of a Change in Ownership of NBI that occurs at any time from the commencement of the contract up until one year after the completion of deployment. After the one year anniversary of the completion of deployment, the shares of NBI can be sold without Ministerial consent but not to Unsuitable Third Parties.

Unsuitable Third Parties include excluded parties specifically set out in EU procurement regulations, parties involved in the arms trade, parties who have been convicted of a criminal offence related to business, parties who have failed to comply with tax rules and parties whose activities pose a threat to national security. Also, if any shareholder has a contingent commitment to make a loan or equity or capital contribution to NBI, NBI is required, until that commitment has been delivered, to seek the written consent of the Minister to a Change in Ownership which results in the shareholder ceasing to have Control (i.e. a 30% shareholding or equivalent level of control) of NBI.

NBI is obliged to notify the Minister of any Change in Ownership throughout the life of the Contract and there are provisions in the Contract in relation to clawback payments in the event of a sale of NBI prior to contract year 10.

If a Change in Ownership occurs, NBI (in new ownership) will continue to be bound by the NBP Contract.

The Minister can terminate the NBP Contract and take ownership of NBI if there is an un-remedied change in ownership of NBI in breach of the NBP Contract.

The Minister will also have a priority (1st ranking) security over the shares in NBI. This creates a practical inhibitor on the shareholder disposing of those shares without the Minister being satisfied that the disposal is consistent with the Contract.

The Minister will also have priority (1st ranking) security over the Assets of NBI throughout the term of the NBP Contract. This means in practical terms that any material fixed Assets which NBI requires to perform the NBP Contract cannot be sold without the Minister’s consent.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (523)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

523. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the actions taken in considering the renationalisation of Eir; the meetings held with Eir; the reports received by him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21694/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Among the alternatives considered following the submission of the final tender in 2018 was the possibility of reacquiring eir or specific network assets owned by eir. A high level indicative analysis based on information available in the marketplace was performed by officials in my Department and by NewERA. Both analyses concluded that the costs to acquire eir would likely exceed the subsidy to be awarded under the current proposed solution to the NBP State intervention. Similar to the other long list of alternatives considered, my Department concluded that to pursue this area would further delay the NBP and take longer to reach 100% of the premises in the Intervention Area. In addition, it would be required to conduct a consultation on a new strategy, along with a new procurement process and State aid application.