HSE Properties

Questions (208)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

208. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the criteria and timelines associated with the tendering process the HSE is undertaking for professional advice in regard to developing a programme for maintenance and recording of the Quaker burial ground on Cork Street, Dublin 8. [25815/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the management of the public healthcare property estate, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to you in relation to this matter.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (209)

John Brassil

Question:

209. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the status of an ophthalmology appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25816/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

HSE Waiting Lists

Questions (210)

Michael Harty

Question:

210. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health if there is an 11 month wait in County Clare for children under 12 years of age seeking access to the community ophthalmic physician and 26 months for adults who need cataract procedures in the public system as against three months for those that can afford private care as reported by an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25820/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The number of patients waiting for a Cataract procedure at the end of April 2019 was 6,151, which represents a reduction of almost 50% when compared to July 2017, when the number of people waiting for a cataract procedure was 10,024.

It is also worth noting that at the end of April 2019, of the patients waiting for a cataract procedure, 582 of patients were waiting over 9 months. This represents a reduction of 3,789 or 87% when compared to July 2017, when there were 4,371 patients waiting over 9 months for a cataract operation.

Budget 2019 announced that the Government had further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €55 million in 2018 to €75 million in 2019. The joint Department of Health, HSE, and NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published on the 11th March and is focused on ten identified high volume procedures, which includes cataracts.

The HSE has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy regarding waiting times for children seeking access to the community ophthalmic physician in Co Clare.

Medical Card Drugs Availability

Questions (211)

Jack Chambers

Question:

211. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health the reason a service is no longer being provided under the medical card scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25821/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for it to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (212)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

212. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the status of the national guidelines for post-mastectomy products (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25822/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Programme for Government Implementation

Questions (213)

Denis Naughten

Question:

213. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the progress made on a programme for partnership Government commitment (details supplied); his views on the model of care; when it will be rolled out nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25852/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (214)

Denis Naughten

Question:

214. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the waiting times for surgery (details supplied) in the Saolta area; his plans to tackle such waiting times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25853/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Budget 2019 announced that the Government had further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €55 million in 2018 to €75 million in 2019. The joint Department of Health, HSE, and NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published on 11th March.

Under the Plan the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, will deliver 1.155 million elective inpatient and day case discharges at a value of €1.4 billion in 2019. The Scheduled Care Access Plan includes:

- detailed plans from the NTPF to fund 25,000 IPDC treatments, 5,000 Gastro Intestinal Scopes and 40,000 outpatient first appointments.

- It is also projected that for ten identified high volume procedures, including cataracts, all clinically suitable patients waiting more than 6 months will be offered treatment in 2019.

These 10 procedures account for over a third of the active inpatient day case waiting list and represent 60% of NTPF planned activity in 2019.

At the end of July 2017, the number of people waiting for a cataract procedure was 10,024. Under the Inpatient Day Case Access Plan 2018, Cataracts were one of the specialties targeted by the NTPF and by end December 2018, the number of patients waiting had fallen to 6,440, a reduction of 36%. The number of patients waiting for a Cataract procedure at the end of May 2019 had further reduced to 5,655 with 481 patients waiting over 9 months. This represents a reduction of 3,890 or 89% when compared to July 2017, when there were 4,371 patients waiting over 9 months for a cataract operation.

Under the 2019 Scheduled Care Access Plan, all clinically suitable patients waiting longer than 6 months for a cataract procedure will be offered treatment funded by the NTPF.

In relation to the information requested by the Deputy, the following table provides a breakdown of the cataract surgery waiting times in the Saolta University Healthcare Group.

Cataract Procedures in the SAOLTA University Health Care Group by Hospital

0-3 Months

3-6 Months

6-9 Months

9-12 Months

12-15 Months

15-18 Months

18+ Months

Grand Total

Galway University Hospitals

306

275

205

24

3

3

816

Sligo University Hospital

205

154

75

20

19

6

16

495

Letterkenny University Hospital

10

13

6

4

3

2

38

Grand Total

521

442

286

48

25

6

21

1349

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data

Questions (215)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

215. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number on waiting lists for CAMHS by county; the number waiting by periods (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25855/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Staff

Questions (216)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

216. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the staffing levels for CAMHS teams by CHO; and the way in which this compares with the necessary full complement of staff as outlined by A Vision for Change. [25856/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Offices

Questions (217)

Joan Burton

Question:

217. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health the cost of renting, leasing and hiring office space for his Department including public bodies in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [25918/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The information sought is contained in the following table:

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total

Farrelly Commission of Investigation (old premises)

99,630

95,345

194,975

Farrelly Commission of Investigation (new premises)

161,483

200,611

362,094

Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery *

98,500

98,500

98,500

98,500

49,250

443,250

Total

98,500

98,500

198,130

348,543

249,861

993,534

* The Department of Health is the lessee for offices in the Irish Life Centre, Dublin 1, which have been sub-let with effect from 02 February 2015 to the Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery. These costs are reimbursed in full by the Regulator.

Protected Disclosures Data

Questions (218)

Micheál Martin

Question:

218. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of whistleblower complaints in his Department since the legislation was introduced in 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25651/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As required under the relevant legislation, my Department has a Protected Disclosures Policy in place under which a staff member who wishes to make a protected disclosure may do so to any of the following confidential recipients:

- an independent confidential service engaged for this purpose;

- the Head of the Internal Audit Unit in the Department, or

- any member of the Department’s Management Board.

Contact details for all of the above confidential recipients, as well as procedures for making a protected disclosure, are contained in the policy document which has been circulated to all staff and which is also available on the Department's intranet platform.

The numbers of Protected Disclosures received in the Department to date are:

2015 - Nil

2016 - Three

2017 - Two

2018 - One

2019 - Nil.

TAMS Administration

Questions (219)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

219. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ensure that TAMS 3 will include grant aid for solar panels for farms. [25673/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Energy efficiency is a priority for the country, particularly in our efforts to decarbonise the economy in favour of renewable sources. Energy efficient investments will be among the items under consideration for inclusion as new investment measures under future Rural Development Programmes.

The current TAMS II Schemes provide grant aid for a number of investments specifically aimed at improving energy efficiency and developing a targeted and precise approach focusing on environmental dividends, efficiency and growth in the farming sector. Eligible energy efficiency investments include Plate coolers, Heat Transfer Units and Internal Ice Builders for the Dairy Sector.

The Pigs and Poultry Scheme and the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme provide grant aid for biomass boilers, electrical heat pads, energy efficient LED lighting, indirect heating systems, solar panels for water heating and electricity production, ventilation fans and control systems, insulation for doors, roofs and walls, air source heat pumps and heat recovery units.

LED Lighting uses a fraction of the electricity consumed by conventional lighting. The current specifications for the TAMS Scheme include LED for lighting in all new farm structures.

The Deputy will be aware that the availability of Solar Panels has recently been extended to all sectors which, together with the measures detailed above, will make a significant contribution to help ensure that the agriculture sector plays its part in Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy and society as outlined in the All-of-Government Plan to tackle Climate Disruption launched earlier this week.

Organic Farming

Questions (220)

Brendan Smith

Question:

220. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the level of increase in organic production on an annual basis since 2010; the incentives that are available to encourage organic food production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25679/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The level of increase in organic production on an annual basis since 2010 is not readily available. Based on the following statistics, however, there is clear evidence of an increase in organic production.

In 2010, there was 52,370 hectares of land under organic production. There is currently 72,000 hectares approximately under organic production.

From a dairy perspective, there were 27 organic dairy herds in 2012 compared to 45 organic dairy herds in 2018. In 2012, there was 41,000 organic cattle approximately compared to 59,000 organic cattle approximately in 2016.

With regard to sheep production, organic sheep represented 1.3% of total sheep production in Ireland in 2012 compared to 1.9% of total sheep production in 2016. In 2016, there was 2,304 hectares under organic cereal and pulse production. This figure increased to 2,426 hectares in 2017.

It is important to note that the Organic Strategy Group recommended a renewed focus on developing sector specific statistics. As a consequence, a value chain analysis to be carried out by Teagasc is one of the sector specific actions within the new Organic Strategy launched in January, 2019.

The suite of supports currently available, which have contributed to the growth of the Organic Sector include the Organic Farming Scheme, the TAMS Organic Capital Investment Scheme and the Organic Processor Investment Grant Scheme.

GLAS Payments

Questions (221)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

221. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of payments owed in view of a successful appeal by a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25718/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Processing of the payment for this GLAS 3 application commenced immediately following the receipt of the appeal decision from the Agriculture Appeals Office.

Department officials are actively working to amend the GLAS contract in relation to a Low Input Permanent Pasture action which was declared as Traditional Hay Meadow on the GLAS application.

Once the required amendment is completed and the application clears the pre-payment validations, the GLAS payment will be issued.

Agriculture Scheme Appeals

Questions (222, 223, 224)

Peter Burke

Question:

222. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of appeal cases taken by the Agriculture Appeals Office in each of the years 2015 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25721/19]

View answer

Peter Burke

Question:

223. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of appeal cases taken to the Agriculture Appeals Office in which its initial ruling was subsequently challenged by his Department in each of the years 2017 and 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25725/19]

View answer

Peter Burke

Question:

224. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of appeal cases in which the Agriculture Appeals Office found in favour of the appellant in each of the years 2015 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25733/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 222 to 224, inclusive, together.

The appeals service of the Agriculture Appeals Office functions independently of my Department. The table below shows the number of appeals received by the Agriculture Appeals Office that were determined in favour of appellants in the years 2015-2018.

Allowed/Partially Allowed/Revised by Department after interaction with the Appeals Office

2015

278 (41% of all appeals closed)

2016

253 (41% of all appeals closed)

2017

261 (37% of all appeals closed)

2018

202 (39% of all appeals closed)

In regard to the number of appeals received in the years 2015-2018, a total of 619 appeals were received in 2015 compared with 610 in 2014. There were 598 appeals received by the Office in 2016. A total of 638 appeals were received in 2017. In 2018, a total of 556 appeals were received, a decrease of 13% on 2017.

The Agriculture Appeals Act, 2001, provides for reviews of Appeals Officer decisions. In 2017, my Department challenged twelve rulings by the Appeals Officer while the corresponding figure for 2018 was seven.

Forestry Grants

Questions (225)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

225. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the continuous cover forestry schemes in operation; the number of participants in each such scheme; the total current and capital funding allocated to each such scheme in 2019; the grant and premium rates for each such scheme; and the criteria required to draw down a payment in each available scheme. [25789/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My colleague, Minister of State Doyle, launched the pilot Continuous Cover Forestry Scheme (CCF) earlier this year, to run until the end of the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020. This is a scheme that I very much welcome and which has been very well received. My Department planned to accept applications for 30 projects over the two years and I am glad to inform the Deputy that this target has recently been reached well ahead of time.

The scheme comprises of CCF Transformation Management Plan that will run for a period of twelve years with three instalments of €750 occurring at intervals throughout the 12-year period. The first instalment will be at year one with the final payment issuing within twelve years from the date of completion of works relating to the first intervention. The middle payment can be paid at any stage during the intervening period as described within the Transformation Management Plan. Conifer, broadleaf and broadleaf mixed forests are eligible. Details in relation to the criteria which apply to the payment application process are fully outlined in the CCF Scheme document, which is available on my Department's website at the following link:

www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/forestry/grantandpremiumschemes/2019/WISCCFVer6120319.pdf.

Funding for CCF is provided for in the total allocation for all forestry support schemes, which is €9.4m in 2019.

Woodland Improvement Scheme

Questions (226)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

226. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 1137 of 8 May 2019, the reason there was such a large underspend in each year of the woodland improvement scheme since it was established. [25790/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The funding for the Woodland Improvement Scheme is included in the total budget allocated to Forestry Support Schemes. This allocation includes funding for Forest Road Works, Reconstitution, NeighbourWood and Native Woodland Conservation Schemes.

Earlier this year, my colleague Minister of State Doyle launched a second Intervention under the Woodland Improvement Scheme. This updates the scheme to include two thinning interventions for all broadleaf and broadleaf mixed forests. Grant rates are €750 per hectare for the first intervention and €500 per hectare for the second. To date this year, we have received 67 WIS1 applications and 150 WIS2 applications.

It is worth noting that all forestry schemes are voluntary and demand-led and, therefore, spending is dependent on applications received, approved, contracts fulfilled and payments issued in any given year. As can be seen from the following table, spending on the Woodland Improvement Scheme has increased year-on-year since 2014, with the exception of 2018. The trend this year is encouraging with an 83% increase in the number of hectares thinned and tended this year compared to the same period last year, which is reflected in a similar increase in expenditure to date this year.

Year

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 to date

WIS Expenditure

€76,118

€497,093

€614,993

€632,271

€458,371

€319,832

GLAS Payments

Questions (227)

Michael Harty

Question:

227. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will receive an outstanding payment on the green low-carbon agri-environment scheme 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25851/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015. Payments have been made for scheme years 2015, 2016, 2017 and for the 2018 advance payment. The 2018 balance payment is currently being processed and is expected to be paid shortly.

The applicant was successful in his appeal to BPS in relation to the reduction of the eligible area for a parcel with a GLAS action. GLAS payments continue to issue on a weekly basis,

Departmental Records

Questions (228)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

228. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide a copy of the 2008 ledger used for receipt of REPS 4 applications into the Killarney offices of his Department to verify if there was a single or dual entries in respect of farmers in the county as referenced in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25857/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In relation to the REPS 4 participation of the persons named, the matter has been dealt with comprehensively and all REPS 4 payments due have issued in full to both persons named.

The position in relation to the ledger referred to is that it could not be located. The persons concerned were informed of this fact during the course of an oral hearing held by the Agricultural Appeals Office in 2014 concerning the matter.

Departmental Offices

Questions (229)

Joan Burton

Question:

229. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cost of renting, leasing and hiring office space for his Department including public bodies in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [25912/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following tables.

2015

Office space

Rented/leased/hired

Cost

Mellows Campus Athenry

Leased

€100,000

Appeals Office Kilminchy Court Portlaoise

Leased

€84,051

Eircom Building Portlaoise

Leased

€118,000

Sustainable Food Systems Ireland

East Point Business Park

Rented

€30,000

2016

Office space

Rented/leased/hired

Cost

Mellows Campus Athenry

Leased

€100,000

Rosslare Harbour

Leased

€4,500

Appeals Office Kilminchy Court Portlaoise

Leased

€84,051

Eircom Building Portlaoise

Leased

€88,500

Sustainable Food Systems Ireland

East Point Business Park

Rented

€30,000

2017

Office space

Rented/leased/hired

Cost

Mellows Campus Athenry

Leased

€100,000

Rosslare Harbour

Leased

€6,000

Appeals Office Kilminchy Court Portlaoise

Leased

€84,051

Eircom Building Portlaoise

Leased

€118,000

Sustainable Food Systems Ireland

East Point Business Park

Rented

€30,000

2018

Office space

Rented/leased/hired

Cost

Mellows Campus Athenry

Leased

€100,000

Rosslare Harbour

Leased

€6,000

Appeals Office Kilminchy Court, Portlaoise

Leased

€84,051

Eircom Building Portlaoise

Leased

€123,672

Sustainable Food Systems Ireland

East Point Business Park

Rented

€30,000

2019

Office space

Rented/leased/hired

Cost

Mellows Campus Athenry

Leased

€25,000*

Rosslare Harbour

Leased

€3,000*

Appeals Office Kilminchy Court Portlaoise

Leased

€63,038*

Eircom Building Portlaoise

Leased

€105,517*

Sustainable Food Systems Ireland

East Point Business Park

Rented

€7,500*

As regards the twelve State Bodies under the aegis of my Department, the information requested is an operational matter for the State Bodies themselves and I have therefore referred the Deputy’s question to the agencies and have requested that a response should issue within 10 days.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (230)

Gerry Adams

Question:

230. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the provision of high-speed broadband at a location (details supplied) in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25623/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The premises referenced 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. 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 that.

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

A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. 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 at the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Protected Disclosures Data

Questions (231)

Micheál Martin

Question:

231. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of whistleblower complaints in his Department since the legislation was introduced in 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25654/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department has received three Protected Disclosures since the legislation was introduced in 2015, one in each of the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. My Department has a Protected Disclosure Policy and Guidelines in place to support the implementation of the Protected Disclosure Act 2014.

National Broadband Plan Expenditure

Questions (232, 233, 235)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

232. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the cost of the roll-out of the national broadband plan in areas already covered by a commercial plan to cover 300,000 premises; when this roll-out was agreed; if this took place before or after the departure of a company (details supplied) from the bidding process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25779/19]

View answer

Timmy Dooley

Question:

233. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the barriers in place to ensure issues regarding the roll-out of the national broadband plan do not break state aid rules (details supplied). [25780/19]

View answer

Timmy Dooley

Question:

235. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the rationale for the duplication of fibre as part of the national broadband plan in areas in which fibre infrastructure is already in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25782/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 232, 233 and 235 together.

Under EU State Aid guidelines, it is a requirement that Member States thoroughly evaluate commercial plans so as to ensure that State Aid is confined to areas of well-defined market failure, where commercial investment is unlikely to occur in the near future. The deployment of the National Broadband Plan network is currently to provide access to high speed broadband to circa 540,000 premises across the State. The relevant premises are identified by Eircode and are represented as AMBER on my Department’s High Speed Broadband Map. It is open to the Department within the NBP contract to increase or decrease the scope of the contract post-contract award where it is considered necessary to do so, for example to ensure on-going compliance with State Aid rules.

The National Broadband Plan procurement process was run on a technology neutral basis and sought to elicit the best technical solution from participating bidders to address the market failure identified and deliver on the minimum technical specifications set down in the tender documents. In line with State Aid Guidelines, the solution proposed by the successful Bidder was based on the maximum reuse of existing infrastructure to the greatest extent possible, which under the final tender provided involves deployment of new fibre cable over existing eir poles and through existing eir ducts, as well as some new build where no existing infrastructure exists.

The solution proposed at final tender was subject to a robust evaluation and was found to have met all the requirements set out since 2016.

The network design put forward at final tender met and in some areas exceeded the minimum technical specifications set down in the tender requirements, including the requirement to provide concrete commitments around how the network will be future proofed to meet end user demand over at least the next 25 years. It was a critical part of the assessment that any network design and technical solution put forward by any Bidder provided the necessary assurance and confidence that this could be achieved over the medium to long term. These commitments are also contractually binding on the Bidder.