National Broadband Plan

Question No. 768 answered with Question No. 757.

Questions (767)

Brendan Smith

Question:

767. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 571 of 2 July 2019, if the further information submitted by Eir in relation to the provision of broadband nationally has been analysed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31176/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Further to the Question No. 571 of 2 July 2019, I can confirm that my Department and its NBP advisers are in the process of concluding their analysis of the information provided by eir and will revert to me shortly in that regard. I would note that my Department appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment on 3 July and comprehensively addressed question posed by Oireachtas members at that meeting in relation to the correspondence from eir to which the Deputy refers.

Question No. 768 answered with Question No. 757.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (769, 770)

Brendan Smith

Question:

769. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeline for the rollout of the national broadband plan nationwide; if his attention has been drawn to the ongoing concerns in many areas requesting the inadequate broadband telecommunications service available which causes difficulties for households, businesses and the provision of services; the timescale for the delivery of hi-speed broadband infrastructure to each county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31233/19]

View answer

Brendan Smith

Question:

770. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans in 2019 for the upgrade of broadband telecommunications infrastructure in counties Cavan and Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31234/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 769 and 770 together.

Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan. Under this plan, Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ensure that those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas. 

The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, 74% of the 2.4 million premises in Ireland can access high speed broadband.

With reference to the Deputy's question on Cavan and Monaghan, there are approximately 42,143 premises in County Cavan. Since December 2015, the number of premises with access to high speed broadband in Cavan has increased by 6,557, a 16% increase. In total, the number of premises in Cavan with access to high speed broadband is now 24,777, or 59% of the total premises in the county. Approximately another 344 premises will be served by eir under that company’s ongoing rural deployment.

There are approximately 33,073 premises in County Monaghan.  Since December 2015, the number of premises with access to high speed broadband in Monaghan increased by 2,748, a 6% increase.  In total, the number of premises in Monaghan with access to high speed broadband is now 16,803, or 51% of the total premises in the county.  Approximately another 512 premises will be served by eir under that company's ongoing rural deployment.

The remaining 17,022 premises in Cavan and 15,758 premises in Monaghan will be connected under the Government’s National Broadband Plan State led intervention.

I recently brought a recommendation to the Government to confer preferred bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP State intervention procurement process, and the 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 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.

National Broadband Ireland 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. It is anticipated that a subset of approximately 15 to 20 of these subcontracts will be required prior to contract close to support deployment. The state aid notification relating to the NBP will also be submitted to the European Commission.

It is anticipated these elements will require a number of months, with contract close expected later this year 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.  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 by the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Mobile Telephony Services

Questions (771, 772)

Brendan Smith

Question:

771. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce a universal service obligation on mobile telephony providers in relation to the need to provide adequate and up-to-date mobile telephone coverage nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31235/19]

View answer

Brendan Smith

Question:

772. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the inadequate mobile telephone coverage in many parts of counties Cavan and Monaghan; if he, or the communications regulator will engage with mobile telecoms providers to ensure that customers in these counties are provided with improved coverage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31236/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 771 and 772 together. I propose to take Questions Nos. 771  and 772 together.

The EU and national regulatory framework for telecommunications allows for the application of a Universal Service Obligation (USO) in respect of fixed voice services. The existing framework for telecommunications relates solely to voice telephony and Functional Internet Access (28.8 kilobits per second). There is no provision in European or national regulation for a USO in relation to mobile voice services.

The Directive Establishing a European Electronic Communications Code (Directive (EU) 2018/1972), which will come into force following transposition in late 2020, aims to incentivise and encourage increased investment in high speed broadband networks, and contains a provision that would allow Member States to apply a USO for adequate speed broadband, in specific circumstances, where such networks are available.

Mobile operators are, however, rolling out 3G and 4G networks across Ireland following ComReg’s 2012 Multiband Spectrum auction, with at least one operator now having over 90% population coverage of 4G services.

Furthermore, the EU Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy highlights the importance of the 694-790MHz (700MHz) spectrum band for ensuring the provision of broadband services in rural areas. The band is particularly attractive for wireless broadband services, allowing higher speeds and greater coverage over long distances.  An EU level Decision has been adopted in order to co-ordinate release of the band in all Member States by 30 June 2020. This proposal will allow mobile broadband services to use this part of the spectrum band, which will provide enhanced mobile services.  My Department and ComReg have been working to ensure the necessary measures are taken to facilitate a clearance of the spectrum to meet the 2020 timeline for clearing broadcasting services from the band. In addition, ComReg published a preliminary consultation in June 2018 on a proposed award of spectrum rights of use covering multi- band spectrum, to include the 700 MHz band. On 18 June 2019, ComReg issued a response to consultation and further consultation on the proposed multi-band and spectrum award for the 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz bands.

In terms of ongoing efforts to improve mobile telephony coverage nationally, the Programme for Government specifically included a commitment to a Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce. The Taskforce worked with key stakeholders to produce a report in December 2016, available on my Department’s website, containing 40 actions to alleviate some of the coverage deficits across the country. An Implementation Group is overseeing the implementation of the actions and comprises all key stakeholders responsible for delivery. The Implementation Group meets on a quarterly basis and publishes quarterly progress reports on the implementation status of actions.

Now in its third year of operation, the Taskforce has addressed over 60 actions and continues to focus on issues that are negatively impacting upon the rollout of essential telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas. The outcome of discussions at the second Annual National Stakeholder Forum held in October 2018 informed preparation of the 2018 Annual Review Report, which was published on 21 February 2019 together with the 2019 Work Programme. Over 30 new actions are contained in the 2019 Work Programme for delivery this year.

Various measures are underway under the aegis of the Taskforce which will address mobile coverage deficits, particularly in rural areas such as counties Cavan and Monaghan.

- My Department and the Department of Rural and Community Development have worked to achieve a greater consensus around site selection for telecoms infrastructure and therefore improve mobile phone coverage.

- A focus group was established to provide guidance with respect to categories of location where high quality reliable mobile coverage should be made available as a priority. The report of the focus group was published on my Department’s website on 31 August 2018. It is anticipated that the output of the focus group should influence the actions of the mobile network operators in their work to reduce mobile phone blackspots. It will also inform future policy in my Department with regards to priorities for mobile phone services.

- A working group has been established with the remit of investigating the feasibility of developing standardised policy for accessing and utilising State and publicly-owned assets for the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure.

- ComReg has published a composite national outdoor coverage map, which will, in tandem with its work on handset testing and activities to raise consumer awareness, allow people across Ireland to optimise the services available to them.

- ComReg has developed a licensing scheme which will enable households and businesses to use mobile phone repeaters to boost signals into their premises and bring immediate improvements in mobile coverage.

All of these initiatives should help enhance the quality of mobile phone and data services, particularly in areas currently experiencing a low level of service, including counties Cavan and Monaghan.

Electric Vehicles

Questions (773)

Brendan Smith

Question:

773. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of electric vehicle charging points in counties Cavan and Monaghan; his plans to provide additional charging points in each county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31260/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Home charging is the primary method of charging for the majority of electric vehicles both internationally and in Ireland. Charging at home at night is the most cost-effective and eco-friendly way to charge an electric vehicle. Given the high proportion of homes with driveways and dedicated parking spaces, Ireland has greater capacity for home charging than many other countries. A Government grant of up to €600 is available, via the SEAI, to the purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles to support the installation of home chargers. There are currently over 650 standard public charge points and 78 fast chargers as a part of the ESB eCars network. A real-time map showing the charge points, including the status and availability of the charge points, is available on the ESB's website at www.esb.ie/ecars . Currently, there are 10 standard AC charge points (5 chargers) and one fast charger in Monaghan and 10 standard AC charge points (5 chargers) in County Cavan as part of the ESB eCars network.

Under the first call for applications from the Climate Action Fund, I approved funding of up to €10 million to support ESB eCars to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle fast charging network. This project successfully completed the assessment stage and the validation stage is now underway. The project includes the installation of 90 high-power chargers each of which will be capable of charging two vehicles simultaneously, upgrading 50 existing standard chargers to fast chargers and replacing over 250 existing standard chargers with next generation high reliability models. This is a multi-annual project and is expected to be fully completed by 2022.

The locations of the chargers have not been finalised. However, a provisional map of the planned network, showing indicative locations, was developed by ESB eCars and has been published on my Department’s website. ESB eCars is currently identifying the most appropriate locations for the chargers to be sited. The sites will be identified using the latest software mapping techniques, taking account of information on current charge point usage, traffic volume, accessibility, amenities and grid capacity at the sites.

My Department, in conjunction with the SEAI, is also working on how best to support the provision of greater levels of on-street public charging.

Electric Vehicle Grants

Questions (774)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

774. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the value of grants provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for the electric vehicle grant. [31294/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

There is a range of supports for the purchase of electric vehicles which includes an electric vehicle purchase grant of up to €5,000 which is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. Since the scheme was introduced in 2011, grants valued at over €33 million have been paid. Almost €11.6 million has been spent so far this year.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (775)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

775. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to increase Ireland’s contribution to the green climate fund. [31295/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Ireland made a commitment at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015 to provide at least €175 million in public funding in support of climate action in developing countries between 2016 and 2020. This support will be provided primarily through bilateral assistance in respect of climate adaptation goals in developing countries, and will come from the Vote of Irish Aid, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Ireland is well positioned to achieve its commitment to provide €175m for global climate over the period 2016-2020, having provided €117.1 million over 2016-17 and committed in A Better World to further scale up funding for climate action.

While no decisions have yet been taken in respect of contributions for 2019, any such decisions will take into account Ireland's commitments, referred to above, regarding further building up its support for the Green Climate Fund in the coming years.

Broadcasting Sector

Questions (776)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

776. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the work of the working group on future funding of public service broadcasting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31296/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In light of the recommendations in the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action & Environment on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting, a Working Group was set up on foot of a Government decision last year to examine options for the reform of TV licence collection. I intend to bring the Report of the Working Group to government shortly. Additional funding was secured for public service broadcasting in Budget 2019. TG4 will receive €36.2m Exchequer funding this year, comprising a combination of €34.2m current and €2m capital, which is an increase of €443,000 compared to 2018.  Additional funding of €9.245m is being provided to RTE and the Broadcasting Fund, of which RTE will receive approximately €8.6m in 2019.  The Broadcasting Fund, administered by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and financed from 7% of net licence fee receipts, supports the Sound and Vision and Archiving Schemes and benefits the broadcasting sector as a whole.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (777)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

777. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the estimated cost of not signing the contract for the national broadband plan to remunerate the preferred bidder; if he has received legal advice on the exposure of the State to legal action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31297/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

In advance of contracts being signed with the Preferred Bidder, the Department is legally entitled to discontinue the procurement process at any time. In circumstances where there is an ongoing procurement process, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further. The Department has access to legal advice in relation to all aspects of the NBP procurement process.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (778)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

778. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has met with a person (details supplied); if the national broadband plan was discussed at those meetings; when the meetings took place; the context in which the plan was discussed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31298/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I have not met with the individual named in the Deputy's question

National Broadband Plan

Questions (779)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

779. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the requirements of the national broadband plan which are in place to avoid duplication of infrastructure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31300/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

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 to minimise costs and reduce potential environmental impacts.  The final tender submitted by the bidder proposes the reuse of a combination of private infrastructure, such as eir's regulated infrastructure, and State owned infrastructure, such as the MANs and potentially the ESB, to deliver its solution.  New infrastructure may be deployed where it is not possible to use existing infrastructure, or where no infrastructure exists and where it is more effective and cost efficient to use alternative solutions.    

National Broadband Plan Expenditure

Questions (780, 781)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

780. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount spent to date in 2019 within his Department on the promotion of the national broadband plan. [31301/19]

View answer

Timmy Dooley

Question:

781. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if moneys have been set aside to attend the National Ploughing Championships in 2019 to promote the national broadband plan; and if so, the amount set aside. [31302/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 780 and 781.

My Department has incurred expenditure totalling €20,734 this year on public information materials relating to the NBP, for audio-visual, printing, design and copyright services.

My Department has a strong annual presence at the National Ploughing Championships from a number of its divisions and agencies and bodies under the aegis of the Department. This presence has included Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency, ComReg, Eircodes, Geological Survey Ireland, Green Schools and the National Broadband Plan. A similar level of engagement is planned for 2019.

My Department’s presence at the National Ploughing Championships enables citizens to meet representatives from our various agencies and divisions and discuss key initiatives that impact on their lives and livelihoods, such as soil and geological profiling of land, sustainability/climate action initiatives, energy efficiency grants, initiatives to enhance digital literacy in communities and connectivity. While it is intended that the Department, agencies and bodies under the aegis of the Department will again have a broad presence at this year's National Ploughing Championships, the associated cost has yet to be finalised.

Departmental Communications

Questions (782)

Shane Cassells

Question:

782. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the oversight of his Department of directives, circulars, advice or requirements issued since 2016; if surveys have been carried out of compliance with these communications to date; the surveys carried out; the results of the surveys; the compliance rate; the actions taken by his Department following these results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31320/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department does not issue circulars or associated documentation of the type referred to by the Deputy.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (783)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

783. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the recurring weekly meetings attended by either him or the Secretary General of his Department in 2019 at which climate change and or preparations within his Department to enact a climate plan has been an agenda item; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31336/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In November 2018 I received a mandate from Government to prepare a climate plan which would make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change. The Government's Climate Action Plan 2019, published on 17 June, sets out for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Plan represents a significant step-up in ambition, with a target abatement range for each of the key sectors that contribute to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions: Electricity; Enterprise; the Built Environment; Transport; Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use; Waste and the Circular Economy; and the Public Sector.

In preparing the Plan, I established eleven cross-Government teams which undertook analysis of areas of substantial mitigation potential with a view to proposing actions necessary to realise this potential, with specific timelines and steps to achieve each proposed action, and with clear lines of responsibility for delivery.

During the development of the Climate Action Plan, progress was considered at two meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure and at three meetings of the relevant Senior Officials Group. The Plan is a standing item at the monthly Ministerial Management Board meetings, is routinely discussed at my weekly meetings with the Secretary General of the Department and is discussed at my Department’s Management Board meetings.

In internal Implementation Board has been established in my department, chaired by the Secretary General, which will oversee the delivery of the Plan insofar as the actions related to my Department and its agencies are concerned. 

 

Better Energy Communities Programme

Questions (784)

Robert Troy

Question:

784. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will examine budgetary issues at SEAI organisations (details supplied). [31349/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I am advised that the Community Based Organisation (CBO) referred to by the Deputy is contracted by the SEAI to deliver works under the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme.  This Scheme provides free energy efficiency upgrades to the homes of people living in or at risk of energy poverty. In June 2018 the range of energy efficiency measures available under the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme was expanded to include ‘deeper’ measures.  Under the expanded scheme, in certain circumstances, external or internal wall insulation, central heating and replacement windows, can be provided where a technical assessment (by SEAI contractors) considers them necessary. These additional measures brought the level of retrofit into alignment with that envisaged by the National Development Plan, but changed the relative attractiveness of availing of other 'shallower' interventions. Managing the enhanced package of measures has required careful monitoring and programme management by SEAI within available resources and I am pleased to tell the Deputy that the SEAI will be in communication with the CBOs and contractors in relation to further allocations in the coming days .

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is delivered through a panel of contractors, appointed through a competitive tendering process. Since the introduction of ‘deeper’ measures some CBO’s that are only contracted to carry out ‘shallow’ measures under the Scheme, have seen their allocation volumes reduce. While the expansion of the scheme has been positive for the energy poor homeowners involved and for building capacity in the supply chain in general, it has had some negative impacts for contractors that are unable to deliver deeper works. 

SEAI will be renewing its contract with Better Energy Warmer Homes contractors in 2020, which will require all contractors to be able to deliver all measures, deeper and shallow. SEAI is encouraging all CBOs, including the organisation referred to by the Deputy, to apply for this contract and has been working with CBOs over the past year supporting them in upskilling and gaining experience to help ensure they can compete for the 2020 contract and that their organisations remain viable. 

Building capacity in the sector is a top priority. However it is critical that we build capacity sustainably, ensuring that all contractors delivering these ever-increasingly complex retrofit projects are adequately skilled and resourced.  The new Climate Action Plan includes a number of measures which will build the supply chain for energy efficiency retrofits required to meet our 2030 targets including support for the development of necessary skills across the education and training system.

Bus Services

Questions (785)

Jack Chambers

Question:

785. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the BusConnects plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30525/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including BusConnects.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Rail Services Provision

Questions (786, 787)

Jack Chambers

Question:

786. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the Pelletstown train station; the timeline for construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30527/19]

View answer

Jack Chambers

Question:

787. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the electrification of the Maynooth DART line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30528/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 786 and 787 together.

As the Deputy is aware, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including the DART Expansion Programme which includes consideration of the specific projects referred to by the Deputy.

Noting the NTA's responsibilities in the matter raised, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Cycling Facilities Funding

Questions (788)

Jack Chambers

Question:

788. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the public funding allocation for cycling infrastructure for each local authority in each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30529/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Deputy will be aware that infrastructure for active travel (i.e. cycling and walking) is funded through a number of different programmes.

These programmes include those directly administered by my Department, other programmes administered by the National Transport Authority, projects funded as part of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and also projects funded under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme as administered by the Department of Rural Community and Development. In addition local authorities can also avail of EU funding through Ireland's European Structural and Investment Programmes 2014 to 2020.

Data in relation to those programmes under my Department's remit is being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy in line with revised Standing Orders; however, as can be seen from the above local authorities can also seek funding through a number of other programmes in relation to developing cycling infrastructure.

Cyber Security Protocols

Questions (789)

Jack Chambers

Question:

789. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the cybersecurity protocols under the remit of his Department; if it has had a cybersecurity breach in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30594/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department implements industry standard cyber security protocols to protect our data and that of the Irish citizens we engage with.

Cyber security is treated very seriously within my Department. It is tabled regularly at Management Board and appears on my Department's risk register. I am glad to be able to report that my Department has not had any known cyber security breaches in the past 12 months.

For obvious security reasons I cannot go into any specific details about the security arrangements in place, but my officials ensure as a priority that a best practice approach is maintained with regards cyber security, with external security experts engaged on a regular basis to test the security configuration and advise on any remediation that may be needed. In addition, cyber security is frequently reviewed by my Department's Internal Audit function.

Bus Éireann Services

Questions (790)

Dara Calleary

Question:

790. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the circumstances regarding an application by Bus Éireann to the NTA to amend its licence for route 52 which it commenced operating in June 2018; if he has received correspondence in connection with the route since April 2018; if so, if he will publish the correspondence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30646/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have overall responsibility for policy and funding in relation to public transport.

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Any correspondence or previous parliamentary questions received by my Department on this issue were referred to the NTA. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Bus Éireann Services

Questions (791)

Dara Calleary

Question:

791. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department is paying a subsidy either directly or via the NTA to a transport operator on the 52 route; the amount being paid; the conditions attached to the payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30647/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, Bus Éireann operates 3 types of services - provincial city services, rural stage carriage services and intercity services. Bus Éireann receives Public Service Obligation (PSO) funding under contract with the National Transport Authority (NTA) for the provincial city and rural stage carriage services.

The no. 52 route is part of the company's Expressway intercity service. These are commercial services operated in competition with private operators on main trunk routes and are licensed by the NTA. By their very nature, commercial services cannot and do not receive any PSO funding from the Exchequer.