National Broadband Plan

Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 67.

Questions (84)

Martin Heydon

Question:

84. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the opportunities that will arise in healthcare provision in areas such as remote general practitioner and medical monitoring services as a result of the roll out of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21553/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Access to high-speed broadband is key to supporting digitalisation in the health system enabling the transformation of healthcare delivery for citizens, clinicians and health and social care service providers. eHealth, supported by enhanced broadband connectivity, will provide opportunities for the health system to deliver digital solutions, through telemedicine and telehealth, to empower patients to manage chronic disease at home. It will also provide opportunities for better connectivity for remote healthcare facilities such as small health centres, community pharmacies, and GP practices located in rural areas. Some care previously provided in hospitals may be transferred to the home as the use of wearables and other interactive devices allow the remote monitoring of vital signs or even administration of medicine. Remote monitoring can complement medical healthcare and reduce the requirement to attend day clinics far away from people's homes. It can also accelerate early discharge and relieve pressure in hospitals and hospices. This is important to create bed capacity and reduce long term stays in hospitals.

Faster connectivity can also facilitate ongoing professional development for healthcare professionals and provide access to experienced colleagues via video conferencing and better access to digital medical databases no matter the location of the medical professional.

The successful deployment of the NBP is one of the key pillars to delivery of a more efficient, effective and lower cost health system in Ireland.

Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 67.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (86)

Bobby Aylward

Question:

86. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeline for the commencement of works on the ground under the national broadband plan; the measures contained within same to ensure rapid roll out of broadband services for rural areas, rural communities and regional towns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21344/19]

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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. As the Deputy may be aware, following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and the Government agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

This is an important step towards achieving the overarching goal of the National Broadband Plan, which is to provide access to high speed broadband to every home, farm, school and business in Ireland, no matter where they are located.

The Government decision means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to National Broadband Ireland, subject to contract close, including the finalisation of financial and legal documents. A period of final due diligence on all elements of the contract is part of the normal conclusion of a procurement process. A number of additional elements need to be concluded before the contract can be signed.

For example, NBI will be supported by a number of experienced subcontractors and is currently tasked with finalising negotiations on contracts with approximately 40 subcontractors to assist in the delivery of the NBP. In order to support deployment it is anticipated that a subset of approximately 15 to 20 of these subcontracts will be required prior to contract close. It is also necessary to submit the State Aid notification in relation to the NBP to the European Commission.

It is anticipated these elements will require a number of months, with contract close expected in late 2019 and deployment commencing 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 and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises by the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

National Broadband Plan Data

Questions (87)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

87. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of forecasted first-time premises to be connected by year 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 of the national broadband plan roll out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21655/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The deployment of the network within the NBP intervention area will commence at contract award and take up to seven years to complete. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises by the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 premises each year thereafter until roll out is completed. The ultimate take-up of the service is estimated to be around 80%. This will be driven by linking payment of subsidy to verification of connections made by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) as well as passing premises in the Intervention Area. There are also requirements in the contract around demand stimulation and stakeholder engagement to drive take up.

The nearest comparison in relation to take up is the eir 300k rural deployment. Take up of this service is in line with the trajectory anticipated by eir when it planned the rural fibre rollout. The rate of take up along eir's 300k deployment has increased throughout 2018 and is expected to increase further as eir proceeds to pass and connect further premises every month and as awareness of the availability of high speed broadband improves and retailers offer a choice and variety of communications packages over the network. There is nothing to suggest that demand in the intervention area would differ from the demand for high speed broadband in urban areas, or in the eir 300k deployment area.

In addition, the bidder was required to develop and analyse the demand for their service. This included profiling of demographics, surveys and benchmarking exercises. The bidder carried out a market analysis of the end-users in the intervention area as well as a benchmarking analysis for the demand for a high speed broadband service by those likely end-users. This analysis supported forecasted demand for take-up which was included in the final tender submission.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (88)

Martin Heydon

Question:

88. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the anticipated expansion of the digital economy in forthcoming years; the role the national broadband plan will play in allowing Ireland to take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21552/19]

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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 National Broadband Plan intervention is the subject of a 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 agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

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

As part of that decision, the Government was mindful of the importance of the digital economy to our overall economic wellbeing and development.

Overall, Ireland is ranked 6th out of 28 Member States in the Digital Economy and Social Index (DESI) 2018, up from 9th in 2017. Ireland is in the “high performer group of EU states for digital performance”. Ensuring access to high speed broadband services to every premises in Ireland will further strengthen Ireland’s position as a leading European digital economy.

The availability of high quality, high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people and 44,000 businesses as part of the National Broadband Plan State intervention will give rise to new employment opportunities both directly and indirectly while also helping existing businesses across the Intervention Area to increase productivity, access new customers and markets and support workers. A key investment to support sustainable regional and rural development as part of Project Ireland 2040 will support the further expansion of the Irish digital economy and improve Ireland's competitiveness over the next 25 years.

In addition, it is anticipated that approximately 1,800 jobs will be created as part of the build, operation and maintenance of the network. Over 200 of those jobs will be within National Broadband Ireland and a further 1,500 contractors will be engaged by NBI's subcontractors.

Appointments to State Boards Data

Questions (89)

Brian Stanley

Question:

89. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of members the State will appoint to the board of a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21701/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The final number of directors on the Board of National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has yet to be finalised but will be between five and nine. The Minister has a right to appoint one director to the Board.

One other director (and more than one if there are more than five Directors overall) will be appointed by the Shareholders of NBI following an open competitive process run by an external search firm. The remaining directors will be appointed by the Shareholders of NBI.

The Minister’s Appointee is one element of the overall suite of provisions in the contract that provide comprehensive protections for the State's investment.

NBI’s sole purpose and objective will be to comply with and implement the NBP Contract. As a result all Board members and not just the Minister’s Appointee will have to comply with governance requirements designed to give priority to the broadband rollout under the NBP Contract and also under NBI’s Constitution, the relevant parts of which cannot be changed without the Minister’s approval.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (90)

Alan Farrell

Question:

90. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a further call for applications for the climate action fund will be announced; the role the fund will have in achieving Ireland’s climate and energy targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21480/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

On 28 November 2018, I announced the seven successful projects from the first call for applications under the Climate Action Fund. The projects span a range of sectors supporting the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the development of two district heating projects, the installation of energy-efficient public lighting, the development of renewable gas infrastructure, the installation of energy-efficient hybrid-drive systems in inter-city trains, and the use of information technology to reduce emissions in heavy goods vehicles. Having completed the assessment stage, the validation process on these projects is currently underway. This includes detailed examination of the projects and agreement of project outputs and timelines. Up to €77m in support will be provided to these projects, leveraging a total investment of €300m, with the potential to reduce annual emissions by over 200 thousand tonnes of carbon. The Climate Action Fund will provide a total of €500m support to projects over the period of the National Development Plan. I expect the fund to make a significant contribution to Ireland's climate and energy targets as evidenced by the results of the first call for applications.

To assist the development of future calls, my Department held a workshop in January with all those who applied under the first call. Feedback gathered at this workshop will help shape the scope, structure and timeframe of future calls for applications which have not yet been finalised. I expect to provide more clarity on future calls in the upcoming All of Government Climate Plan.

Broadband Service Speeds

Questions (91)

Joe Carey

Question:

91. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the impact the provision of high speed broadband in rural areas will have in relation to remote working and flexible working arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21478/19]

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 National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every home, school and business in Ireland has access to high speed broadband. 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 agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

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

The provision of high speed broadband in rural Ireland is of critical importance in areas such as flexible and remote working. Remote or home-working is becoming an increasingly prevalent employment model amongst the overseas firms that continue to invest in Ireland. Increased and improved high speed broadband connectivity in regional and rural Ireland is a key enabler of home and remote working and will help to support such job creation in regional locations. It will also afford employers better access to a wider catchment of skilled workers, even where offices and businesses are located within more urban areas.

The ability to work remotely will be essential to supporting rural communities in realising their full economic potential. This is an area of the economy that is projected to double over the next 5 years. The National Broadband Plan highlights the importance of remote working opportunities to regenerate, revitalise and re-establish rural Ireland as an attractive place to live and work.

Online Safety

Questions (92)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

92. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is satisfied that online safety is adequately covered in the school digital champion programme. [21707/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The School Digital Champion Programme is an initiative of my Department in collaboration with the Department of Education and Skills under the National Digital Strategy. It is an innovative project-based programme which encourages students in post-primary schools to use technology to solve day to day challenges in their schools and wider communities. Over the past two years a number of students have identified the issue of online safety as their chosen School Digital Champion project. They have developed websites and information sessions within their school to inform students about Internet safety and to raise awareness of their digital footprint.

During the 2018 and 2019 Programme, presentations on online safety formed part of the project showcase event attended by students and teachers. I welcome the inclusion of online safety at these events as it is provides an opportunity to promote awareness of a number of resources and supports available to schools on this issue.

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020, sets out the Department of Education and Skills policy on the effective use of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment. A key action of the strategy is the promotion of the responsible and ethical use of the Internet and related technologies.

Awareness on online safety for schools is carried out by the Professional Development Service for Teachers technology in education (PDST) in partnership with the safer Internet Ireland project. Webwise, an online safety initiative co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and operated by PDST, promotes the autonomous, effective and safer use of the Internet by young people through a sustained information and awareness strategy that targets parents, teachers and children with consistent and relevant messages, including guidance on acceptable usage in schools. A range of resources has been developed which helps teachers integrate online safety into teaching and learning in their schools.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (93)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

93. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the cost-benefit analysis of the national broadband plan conducted by a company (details supplied). [21778/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In relation to the National Broadband Plan my Department commissioned a comprehensive Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) in line with the Public Spending Code (PSC). It is clear from the CBA that has been carried out that even in a pessimistic scenario, the benefits of this investment will outweigh the costs. A CBA Benefits report and a detailed benefits calculation annex was published in 2015 by my Department as part of the approval to launch the procurement process. All updates to the 2015 CBA were shared with officials in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) and the final CBA has been published by my Department this May. The CBA has been developed and updated over the last four years. It was only through detailed engagement with the market through the 800 hours of dialogue with all bidders and through receiving the final tender submission by Granahan McCourt, that it was possible to finalise the published CBA which remains positive, even in the pessimistic scenario.

There was also significant engagement between my Department and its advisers and the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) on behalf of DPER on the CBA. The development of the CBA has incorporated feedback from IGEES and DPER officials.

There are challenges in applying the PSC to a bespoke project such as the NBP however, all of the benefits included in the CBA are consistent with the PSC Guidelines and generally accepted approached to CBAs of this nature.

PwC have provided all necessary assurances to my Department that the final CBA provided to the DPER is accurate for all known costs and benefits allowed for under the PSC and is fully compliant with the PSC.

The CBA has taken a very conservative view on the future benefits, for example it assumes there will be no growth in remote working compared to that carried out today. The following benefits are not included:

- Expansion of remote working

- Remote health monitoring & diagnosis

- Cloud based service and connected devices

- Digital learning

- Smart farming

- Realising the benefits of e-government.

North-South Interconnector

Questions (94)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

94. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the North-South Interconnector project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21717/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The North South Interconnector is critical to improving the efficient operation of the Single Electricity Market and increasing security of electricity supply across the island of Ireland. A resilient and well connected energy infrastructure is vital for Ireland’s economic wellbeing and the ability to respond to the future needs of energy consumers. In December 2016 An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the project in Ireland, while in January 2018 full planning permission was granted for the section of the line that lies in Northern Ireland. Both of the planning decisions have been subject to legal proceedings in each jurisdiction. In Ireland a Supreme Court appeal of the planning permission was dismissed on 19 February 2019. In Northern Ireland, on 8 February 2019, the Department for Infrastructure asked the High Court to quash the planning permission given so the planning application can be re-determined under new legislation introduced by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in November 2018.

There are currently a number of on-going procurements in relation to the project being undertaken and managed by ESB Networks, such as tower design. However no critical procurement contracts such as construction will be concluded until all planning issues in Northern Ireland are resolved. The earliest possible date for construction to commence is early 2020.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (95)

Pat Deering

Question:

95. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the impact the national broadband plan will have on transforming business here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20594/19]

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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. Following rigorous evaluation by the 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 agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

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

Roll out of the National Broadband Plan State intervention to the approximately 44,000 businesses in the intervention area will take place against the backdrop of a significant and rapid transformation in the structure of global and national economies. Technology and digitisation are developing rapidly and are expected to radically change many jobs, enterprises and even entire sectors

A growing number of businesses and industries, particularly digitally intensive enterprises, will need Gigabit connectivity to create new applications and business models to produce, distribute and sell their goods and services more competitively. From manufacturing systems to ordering and delivery processes, from data storage and analytics to internal and external communications, their future competitiveness requires cost-effective access to such connectivity. The State intervention will provide this connectivity to businesses from day one of connection.

One of the key elements of the NBP Intervention Strategy is a requirement to put forward specific speeds and connection times to meet the needs of the business community.

Large service providers and multinationals are moving businesses towards a more cloud based office where data is stored and backed up centrally on a cloud based server. The remote worker will need to be able to efficiently access the cloud based office, use the office applications and upload their own content quickly and easily. In addition, high upload performance increases the usability of order placement services, secure online banking, backing up and archiving of activities and uploading content for sharing or resale. However, critical to all users is certainty of availability similar to the need to have confidence of supply of power. When working from home or running a business, it is essential that your broadband service is constantly available and where issues arise such issues are resolved quickly.

The predominantly fibre solution proposed by the Preferred Bidder in the NBP will facilitate and support these types of business services and the network to be built will provide that confidence and assurance to all businesses in the Intervention Area.

Departmental Reports

Questions (96)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

96. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he received, as requested, an update by 12 April 2019 on the actions the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is taking to resolve elevated sea lice levels; if he has received the response from the Department in relation to its requirements as set out in the correspondence which relate to its statutory responsibilities for the conservation of salmon and sea trout; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21785/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

On 3 April, my Department received the monthly sea-lice report relating to salmon farms licenced by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. I can confirm that a response to our request was provided by that Department on 12 April. My Department communicated our observations and outlined our appropriate concerns in the context of our statutory responsibilities, and those of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), for the protection of wild salmon and their habitat as well as our obligations under the EU Habitats Directive and the convention of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO).

My Department receives monthly sea-lice reports in a timely fashion from the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and, following consultation with Inland Fisheries Ireland, communicates any concerns in similar fashion. In relation to this report, our concerns were heightened at the reported very elevated lice levels at a number of fish farms during the critical migration period for wild Atlantic salmon, a protected species under the Habitats Directive.

Scientific research both in Ireland and internationally indicates that the impact on vulnerable wild salmon smolts (juveniles), during outward migration to distant feeding grounds, of heavy sea lice infestation can have a highly damaging effect on the numbers of these juveniles that survive and return to their natal river to spawn and create the next generation of fish which are genetically unique to that river. Recent peer reviewed research internationally has shown that sea lice emanating from fish farms can add up to an additional 39% mortality on these salmon smolts.

National Broadband Plan Administration

Questions (97)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

97. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of homes in counties Sligo and Leitrim that are in the amber intervention area for the national broadband plan; when the roll out of the plan will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21482/19]

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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. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment across the country, and a State intervention in those areas where commercial operators acting alone are unlikely to invest.

Information on categories of specific premises can be accessed on my Department’s website, www.broadband.gov.ie, by entering the relevant Eircode into the NBP High Speed Broadband Map.

There are 40,092 premises in Co Sligo. 14,314 (36%) fall within the AMBER or State intervention area of the NBP High Speed Broadband Map.

There are 22,338 premises in Co Leitrim. 11,297 (51%) fall within the AMBER or State intervention area of the NBP High Speed Broadband Map.

The State 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 company established to deliver the NBP is called National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to NBI. This award is subject to the 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 the end of the second year of the overall deployment, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (98)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

98. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount spent on consultancy fees to companies (details supplied) since June 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21715/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department administers a diverse, complex and technical brief across critical and strategic sectors of the Irish economy. 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 specialist 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.

Details of expenditure since June 2015 on consultancy services provided to my Department by the three companies listed in the Question are set out in the table.

Name of Consultant

Project

Expenditure

KPMG

National Broadband Plan

11,475,285

Irish Natural Gas Network Study

208,879

KPMG Total

11,684,164

PwC

National Broadband Plan

2,411,021

PwC Total

2,411,021

Analysys Mason

National Broadband Plan

4,056,077

Advice on procurement of a new Emergency Call Answering Service provider

397,288

Metropolitan Area Networks Pricing and Access Review Consultancy

110,700

Galway - Mayo Pipeline Ducting

102,782

International Connectivity for Northern Ireland - Consultancy

38,600

Analysys Mason Total

4,705,447

Census of Population Data

Questions (99)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

99. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach the number of persons that co-work or work from home weekly that have broadband access and are employed in companies based in the local authorities of each city (details supplied) in tabular form. [21327/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The exact information that the Deputy has requested is not available.

The Census of Population provides information on the numbers of persons who reported working from home as well as the type of internet connection in the household. The CSO’s quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS) collects information from those persons in employment relating to how frequently they work from home.

From the results of Census 2016, we can ascertain that 94,955 persons stated that they worked mainly from home. Table 1 below shows their type of internet connection for the 5 requested cities.

Table 1 – Home workers by internet access in Cities listed, 2016

All Home workers

Of which, broadband internet access

Of which, internet access other than broadband

No internet access

Internet access not stated

State

94,955

72,622

9,482

10,590

2,261

Of which

Dublin City and suburbs

12,006

11,310

199

175

322

Cork City and suburbs

1,970

1,802

56

52

60

Limerick City and suburbs

816

726

37

36

17

Galway City and suburbs

948

845

31

28

44

Waterford City and suburbs

514

480

13

9

12

The most recent LFS results relate to Q1 2019. In Q1 2019 19.6% of persons in employment indicated that they either usually or sometimes work from home. Due to methodological and sample size constraints it is not possible to produce reliable city estimates from the LFS. However, estimates are available at the level of NUTS3 Regions.

Table 2 below presents data for Q1 2019 in respect of frequency of work from home at the requested NUTS3 regional level.

The NUTS3 West region includes Galway city, counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.

The NUTS3 Mid-West region includes Limerick city, counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.

The NUTS3 South-East region includes Waterford city, counties Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford.

The NUTS3 South-West region includes Cork city and counties Cork and Kerry.

The NUTS3 Dublin region includes Dublin city, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin.

Table 2 Percentage of persons aged 15 years and over in employment

(ILO) classified by requested NUTS 3 Region of employment and home working

-

%

NUTS 3 Region of employment and home working

Q1 2019

State

Person usually works at home

7.0

Person sometimes works at home

12.6

Person never works at home

80.3

Not stated

*

All persons

100.0

of which:

West

Person usually works at home

7.5

Person sometimes works at home

10.5

Person never works at home

81.8

Not stated

*

All persons

100.0

Mid-West

Person usually works at home

6.6

Person sometimes works at home

11.4

Person never works at home

82.0

All persons

100.0

South-East

Person usually works at home

8.0

Person sometimes works at home

12.7

Person never works at home

79.3

All persons

100.0

South-West

Person usually works at home

7.6

Person sometimes works at home

10.4

Person never works at home

81.6

Not stated

*

All persons

100.0

Dublin

Person usually works at home

5.7

Person sometimes works at home

17.0

Person never works at home

77.3

Not stated

*

All persons

100.0

Source: Labour Force Survey (LFS), Central Statistics Office, Ireland.*

Estimates for numbers of persons or averages where there are less than 30 persons in a cell are not produced as estimates are too small to be considered reliable.

Data may be subject to future revision.

Data may be subject to sampling or other survey errors, which are greater in respect of smaller values or estimates of change.

Reference period: January - March.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (100)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

100. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Taoiseach the amount spent in fees to companies (details supplied) by his Department in each of the years 2011 to 2018. [21587/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

In 2018 my Department paid €14,205 to Deloitte Ireland LLP for expenses incurred by a witness following receipt of a direction by Judge Brian Cregan, Sole Member of the Commission of Investigation established concerning the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, under section 24 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004. This payment was in respect of a service provided by the company to the witness in connection with the Commissions investigation.

My Department has not paid any other fees to the companies in question during the years 2011 to 2018.

Public Sector Pensions

Questions (101)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

101. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason abatement is being applied to the public service pension of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21858/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The person in question, who retired from the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) in December 2012, is in receipt of a retirement (service) pension under the Defence Forces Superannuation Schemes, as well as a disability pension under the Army Pensions Acts. 

 In such cases, the superannuation rules provide for the partial reduction of the retirement pension.  This is known as ‘abatement’ and applies to the retirement pension regardless of the rank of the retired member.  The disability pension is payable in full.   It should be noted that there is an advantage to the pensioner in this arrangement in that the disability pension is exempt from income tax, whereas retirement pensions are taxable.

The provisions outlined are set out in legislation and are of long standing.  The underlying rationale is to limit the total amount payable by way of both pensions.  The concept or principle involved is not unique to the Defence Forces and is applied generally in the public service. 

I would like to advise that under current public service pension increase policy, both of the pensions payable to this former PDF member qualify to be increased on foot of the basic pay increases due under the terms of the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) 2018-2020.  As a post-1 March 2012 retiree, the benefit of the recent pay increases including 1% from 1 January 2018 and 1% from 1 October 2018 under the PSSA are currently being prepared and will shortly be passed on (with arrears) to the person in question.

I am satisfied that the pension entitlements in this case have been calculated in accordance with the relevant rules of the superannuation scheme as set out in the legislation.

Brexit Issues

Questions (102)

Robert Troy

Question:

102. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the plans being prepared to recruit additional Army personnel should they be necessary to patrol additional Border posts in a post-Brexit scenario. [21387/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Government is committed to a PDF strength of 9,500 personnel in order to undertake the roles set out in the White Paper on Defence (2015). The recruitment campaign for the Defence Forces has set a target to recruit some 800 personnel in 2019.

Defence Forces Personnel Data

Questions (103)

Robert Troy

Question:

103. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Army personnel serving at Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath. [21388/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The establishment of the Permanent Defence Force is 9,500 personnel. The military authorities have informed me that the establishment for Units based in Custume Barracks, is approximately 950 personnel.

Military service entails personnel moving into and out of particular postings and as they serve at home and overseas, receive training and undergo educational and career development courses.  Accordingly, there is a constant through-flow of personnel into and out of barracks, including Custume Barracks. 

Defence Forces Personnel

Questions (104)

Robert Troy

Question:

104. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to ensure changes to the current regulations are made which would allow retiring Army personnel to take up roles within other State organisations for which they have suitable qualifications, for example, a trained military paramedic cannot take up a similar role within the HSE. [21389/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

I am unaware of any restrictions in Defence Forces regulations that could prevent a retired Defence Forces paramedic from applying for a position in the HSE.