Carbon Tax Yield

Questions (149)

Seán Fleming

Question:

149. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the carbon taxes levied on various fuels under headings (details supplied) in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45326/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The carbon tax has been levied at a rate of €20 per tonne of CO2 emissions for all fuels subject to the carbon tax since May 2013.

I am assuming that the Deputy is referring to the revenue raised from carbon taxes levied in each of the respective years. This information is provided in the table below. 2019 figures are to date and figures are subject to rounding to the nearest million.

Year

Auto Diesel

Petrol

Kerosene

Marked Gas Oil

Natural Gas

Solid Fuel

Other Fuels

Total Net Receipts

2010

€98m

€65m

€17m

€27m

€11m

-

€4m

€222m

2011

€98m

€60m

€41m

€49m

€43m

-

€8m

€299m

2012

€131m

€75m

€40m

€55m

€45m

-

€9m

€355m

2013

€137m

€70m

€47m

€60m

€57m

€7m

€10m

€388m

2014

€145m

€66m

€42m

€54m

€52m

€17m

€9m

€385m

2015

€158m

€62m

€53m

€55m

€57m

€23m

€11m

€419m

2016

€171m

€59m

€53m

€56m

€56m

€24.4m

€11m

€430m

2017

€180m

€54m

€52m

€49m

€54m

€19m

€12m

€420m

2018

€183m

€48m

€59m

€54m

€50m

€25m

€12m

€431m

2019

€153m

€38m

€41m

€46m

€43m

€15m

€9m

€345m

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Data

Questions (150)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

150. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of jobs supported by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland by county and region in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45329/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is Ireland’s national promotional institution. The purpose of the SBCI is to deliver effective financial supports to Irish SMEs to address gaps and potential failures in the Irish SME finance market as well as encouraging competition and innovation, and facilitating the efficient and effective use of EU resources and financial instruments. The SBCI achieves this through the provision of low cost liquidity and risk-sharing guarantee activities that support the provision of appropriately priced, flexible funding to Irish SMEs.

Instead of lending directly to SMEs, the SBCI operates through partner finance providers, known as on-lenders. The SBCI has provided funding to a mixture of both banks and non-bank finance providers and currently has 6 on-lenders, 3 bank and 3 non-bank finance providers: AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Finance Ireland Limited, Bibby Financial Services Ireland, and FEXCO Asset Finance.

During 2018, 91% of SBCI loans went to firms outside Dublin, with 19.5% going to the South West, 10.9% to the South East, 17% to the Mid-West, 11.8% to the West, 12.7% to the Border, 7.4% to the Midlands and 11.7% to the Mid-East.

The table below shows the level of employment in businesses that received SBCI supported loans by county and region from March 2015 to end Q3 2019:

County

No. of Jobs

Carlow

2,200

Cavan

3,200

Clare

3,100

Cork

20,200

Donegal

3,700

Dublin

49,200

Galway

11,100

Kerry

7,000

Kildare

13,300

Kilkenny

2,900

Laois

1,800

Leitrim

800

Limerick

5,500

Longford

800

Louth

3,000

Mayo

5,900

Meath

6,400

Monaghan

2,500

Offaly

1,900

Roscommon

2,300

Sligo

1,900

Tipperary

7,500

Waterford

3,200

Westmeath

2,700

Wexford

6,500

Wicklow

3,500

Total

172,100

Region

No. of Jobs

Border

15,100

Dublin

49,200

Mid-East

23,200

Mid-West

16,100

Midland

7,200

South-East

14,800

South-West

27,200

West

19,300

Insurance Costs

Questions (151)

Brendan Smith

Question:

151. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance when further measures as proposed by the cost of insurance working group will be implemented due to the widespread concerns across sectors regarding the prohibitive cost of insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45471/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

At the outset, as the Deputy is aware neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance, which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules, which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products. Consequently, I am not in a position to direct insurance companies as to the price or the level of cover to be provided either to consumers or to businesses. A further constraint is the fact that for constitutional reasons, I cannot direct the courts as to the award levels that should be applied. In summary, therefore there is unfortunately no quick fix solution to this matter.

Notwithstanding the above, I wish to emphasise however that the cost of insurance remains a priority issue for the Government. The Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG), which was established in July 2016, and which produced two reports, is continuing to work to implement the recommendations of the Cost of Motor Insurance Report and the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance Report. Its most recent Progress Update, the Ninth, was published in July 2019 and shows that the vast majority of recommendations and actions due by Q2 2019 have been completed. To that end, the key achievements to date from the two reports include the following:

- The establishment of the Personal Injuries Commission and the publication of its two reports, which included a benchmarking of award levels between Ireland and other jurisdictions for the first time. This showed that award levels for soft tissue injuries in Ireland were 4.4 times higher than in England and Wales;

- The enactment of the Judicial Council Act 2019;

- The commencement and prioritisation by the Law Reform Commission (LRC) of its work to undertake a detailed analysis of the possibility of developing constitutionally sound legislation to delimit or cap the amounts of damages which a court may award in respect of some or all categories of personal injuries, as part of its Fifth Programme of Law Reform. It is expected that the LRC will launch a public consultation into the matter shortly;

- The establishment of the National Claims Information Database in the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) to increase transparency around the future cost of private motor insurance. The CBI is due to make its first report by the end of 2019;

- Reforms to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board through the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 to strengthen the powers of PIAB around compliance with its procedures;

- Commencement of the amendments to Sections 8 and 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 to align the timeframes by which claims should be notified to businesses with GDPR time limits on the keeping of CCTV footage to make it easier for businesses and insurers to challenge cases where fraud or exaggeration is suspected;

- The reform of the Insurance Compensation Fund to provide certainty to policyholders and insurers, resulting from the failure of Setanta Insurance; and,

- Various reforms of how fraud is reported to and dealt with by An Garda Síochána, including increased co-ordination with the insurance industry, as well as the recent decision by the Garda Commissioner to develop a divisional focus on insurance fraud which will be guided by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) which will also train Gardaí all over the country on investigating insurance fraud, and the recent success under Operation Coatee, which targets insurance-related criminality.

I believe that these reforms are having a significant impact with regard to private motor insurance (CSO figures from August 2019 show that the price of motor insurance is now 24% lower than the July 2016 peak). The Government is determined to continue working to ensure that these positive pricing trends can be extended to other forms of insurance, particularly those relevant to businesses.

Going forward, some actions which are due in the coming months include the following:

- The establishment of the Judicial Council and the creation of a Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee whose purpose will to create new guidelines to replace the Book of Quantum;

- The CSO is shortly to make a recommendation related to the feasibility of establishing a price register for insurance costs to businesses;

- The CBI will make a recommendation to me before the end of the year regarding potentially expanding the scope of the National Claims Information Database to include employer and public liability insurance;

- The private member's Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill is scheduled to progress through the Oireachtas. The Government proposed committee stage amendments, which, inter alia, included requirements for insurers to inform policy holders, including small businesses, in circumstances where a claim has been made against them;

- Work is continuing on the establishment of a fraud database. However, significant data protection concerns need to be addressed before other issues (such as the governance or location of such a database) can be decided upon; and,

- The CIWG is waiting draft Heads from the Department of Justice in relation to Pre-Action Protocols, which have been shown to reduce legal costs in relation to personal injury claims in the UK.

I believe it is important to emphasise that the single most essential challenge which must be overcome if there is to be a sustainable reduction in insurance costs particularly for small businesses is to bring the levels of personal injury damages awarded in this country more in line with those awarded in other jurisdictions. In this regard, the work of the soon to be created Personal Injures Guidelines Committee will be essential in achieving that objective. As the Deputy will be aware, this is not an area that the Government can intervene in, however it is hoped that the Judiciary recognise the importance of this work and prioritise it accordingly.

In addition and in light of all of the reforms that have taken place or are soon to take place, my colleague, Minister of State D’Arcy, has been engaging with insurers in order to seek a commitment that they will reduce premiums and widen their risk appetite to reflect savings made or potential savings in the coming years, in particular if there is a recalibration of award levels downwards. In this regard, I am encouraged by the comments made by a number of insurers at the Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and Taoiseach Oireachtas Committee in July about the passing on of savings arising from a recalibration of award levels downwards.

In conclusion, I am hopeful that the cumulative effects of the completion of the two Reports’ recommendations including a reduction in award levels will lead to reductions in pricing in particular for small businesses and a more competitive insurance market.

Garda Stations

Questions (152)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

152. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans for the former Garda station at MacCurtain Street in Cork city. [45133/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The official closure of the Garda station at MacCurtain St Cork was announced in An Garda Síochána’s 2013 Policing Plan. I am advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that, following the examination of a number of possible options for future State use, the property at MacCurtain Street, Cork, has been deemed surplus to requirements. Consequently the property has been identified for disposal in line with the OPW policy on disposal.

The OPW policy with regard to non-operational (vacant) State property, including the former Garda station at MacCurtain Street is to:

1. Identify if the property is required/suitable for alternative State use by either Government Departments or the wider public sector.

2. If there is no other State use identified for a property, the OPW will then consider disposing of the property on the open market if and when conditions prevail, in order to generate revenue for the Exchequer.

3. If no State requirement is identified or if a decision is taken not to dispose of a particular property, the OPW may consider community involvement (subject to a detailed written submission, which would indicate that the community/voluntary group has the means to insure, maintain and manage the property and that there are no ongoing costs for the Exchequer).

The property is scheduled to be advertised for sale in November 2019 by public auction.

Office of Public Works Projects

Questions (153)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

153. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date that construction of the wall at the graveyard on the Hill of Tara commenced; and the cost of the construction to date. [45302/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The repair of the collapsed graveyard wall at St. Patrick’s Church, Tara was commenced by the direct labour force of the Office of Public Works based at Trim Co. Meath in May 2015 and is scheduled to continue for at least another year. The serious structural problems that gave rise to the collapse have been stabilised and the remaining work is not therefore urgent. Attendance by the works team at the site will continue and is subject to seasonal weather and the demands of other more urgent needs within the Trim Depot’s operational area.

The works programme at Tara is being carried out together with other maintenance and works tasks at the site so the particular costs directly associated with the wall reconstruction are not specifically identifiable.

Garda Stations

Questions (154)

Dara Calleary

Question:

154. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has considered a proposal for a rural unused Garda station (details supplied) in County Mayo. [44225/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The former Garda station at Bellacorrick closed on 31st January 2013 as part of An Garda Síochána’s 2013 policing plan.

As part of the Programme for a Partnership Government, a review of closed Garda stations identified six closed Garda stations for reopening and a second review, published on the 21st December 2018, did not identify any further closed Garda stations for reopening.

The Office of Public Works is reviewing the former Garda station properties in State ownership that are no longer required by An Garda Síochána with a view to identifying alternative State use in the first instance. If no alternative State use is identified, the OPW will either dispose of the properties or in certain circumstances enter into a licence agreement with a viable community group that meets the necessary criteria.

I am advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that there is alternative State interest in the former Garda station at Bellacorick.

Should a decision be taken not to develop the property for alternative State use the Commissioners will give due consideration to the interest of Ballymunnelly Development Group CLG.

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Questions (155)

Gino Kenny

Question:

155. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of projects that a person (details supplied) was involved in including cost overruns and other relevant details; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44366/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP), an office within my Department, has responsibility for developing and setting out policy for public procurement in Ireland.

The OGP sets out the procurement procedures to be followed by public bodies, provides procurement solutions, advice, guidance and systems for public bodies and promotes good practice and proactive engagement with the public sector through new governance and oversight structures.

The OGP and its sector partners put in place framework agreements and contracts through which public sector bodies can buy the goods and services that they need. The State buys a wide range of goods and services and, therefore, the sourcing model is broken down into 16 categories. The OGP categories are: ICT & Office Equipment; Professional Services; Marketing, Print & Stationery; Utilities; Fleet & Plant; Managed Services; Travel & HR Services; and Facilities Management and Maintenance. The OGP’s sector partners in Health, Education, Defence and Local Government are responsible for the other eight categories: Medical Professional Services; Medical & Diagnostic Equipment & Supplies; Medical, Surgical & Pharmaceutical Supplies; Minor Building Works & Civils; Plant Hire; Veterinary & Agriculture/Library Book Purchase; Laboratory, Diagnostics & Equipment; and Defence & Security.

The operational procedures of the OGP are managed by the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) and his management team. The CPO was appointed in 2013 and directs the operations of OGP under the terms of his appointment. The Framework Agreements established by the OGP are signed by the CPO on behalf of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The OGP commenced sourcing operations in 2014 and since that time has put a range of framework agreements and contracts in place. To date, the OGP has established in the order of 370 framework agreements and standalone contracts and has conducted over 2,500 mini-competitions under its framework agreements on behalf of our public clients.

It should be noted that contracts following standalone tenders or mini-competitions under OGP framework agreements and the management of same are the responsibility of the Contracting Authority in question.

A full list of all the OGP Frameworks currently in place is available on the OGP website https://ogp.gov.ie/schedule-of-frameworks-and-contracts/.

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Questions (156)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

156. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the public procurement contracts and projects in which a person (details supplied) was involved in; the final value of each project; the original estimates for each contract and project by year in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44369/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP), an office within my Department, has responsibility for developing and setting out policy for public procurement in Ireland.

The OGP sets out the procurement procedures to be followed by public bodies, provides procurement solutions, advice, guidance and systems for public bodies and promotes good practice and proactive engagement with the public sector through new governance and oversight structures.

The OGP and its sector partners put in place framework agreements and contracts through which public sector bodies can buy the goods and services that they need. The State buys a wide range of goods and services and, therefore, the sourcing model is broken down into 16 categories. The OGP categories are: ICT & Office Equipment; Professional Services; Marketing, Print & Stationery; Utilities; Fleet & Plant; Managed Services; Travel & HR Services; and Facilities Management, Maintenance. The OGP’s sector partners in Health, Education, Defence and Local Government are responsible for the other eight categories: Medical Professional Services; Medical & Diagnostic Equipment & Supplies; Medical, Surgical & Pharmaceutical Supplies; Minor Building Works & Civils; Plant Hire; Veterinary & Agriculture / Library Book Purchase; Laboratory, Diagnostics & Equipment; and Defence & Security.

The operational procedures of the OGP are managed by the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) and his management team. The CPO was appointed in 2013 and directs the operations of OGP under the terms of his appointment. The Framework Agreements established by the OGP are signed by the CPO on behalf of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The OGP commenced sourcing operations in 2014 and since that time has put a range of framework agreements and contracts in place. To date, the OGP has established in the order of 370 framework agreements and standalone contracts and has conducted over 2,500 mini-competitions under framework agreements on behalf of its public service clients.

It should be noted that contracts following standalone tenders or mini-competitions under OGP frameworks agreements and the management of same are the responsibility of the Contracting Authority in question.

A full list of all the OGP Frameworks currently in place is available on the OGP website https://ogp.gov.ie/schedule-of-frameworks-and-contracts/ .

Court Accommodation Refurbishment

Questions (157, 158)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

157. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a structural survey of Carndonagh courthouse, County Donegal, has taken place in order to assess its condition and prioritise the type of work required in order to reopen it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44383/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

158. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a programme of remedial works for Carndonagh courthouse, Carndonagh, County Donegal, has been put in place; the likely timeframe involved; the steps that have been taken to provide for an alternative to ensure that court sittings continue to be held in Carndonagh; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44384/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 157 and 158 together.

While the Office of Public Works has no responsibility for Court buildings, it does provide technical and other services on request to the Courts Service in relation to its buildings. The OPW has carried out an inspection of Carndonagh Courthouse and has made recommendations to the Courts Service on the works required to the building.

Tourism Promotion

Questions (159, 160, 161)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

159. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the conservation management plan for Grianán of Aileach, County Donegal that the OPW had said it would commission in February 2017. [44385/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

160. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the OPW can recruit a tour guide for Grianán of Aileach in view of the fact it is the most visited site in County Donegal. [44386/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

161. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there has been collaboration between the OPW, Fáilte Ireland and Donegal Tourism in promoting Grianán of Aileach as a tourist destination; and if so, the details of such work. [44387/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 159 to 161, inclusive, together.

The Grianán an Aileach National Monument in Co. Donegal is open to visitors daily throughout the year (opening times vary seasonally). A public carpark, owned by Donegal Co. Council, is available during opening hours and this gives visitors direct access to a universally accessible boardwalk leading to the Monument itself a short distance away. Basic interpretation is provided in the form of information panels located conveniently at the site. OPW employs a local caretaker / keyholder to manage the opening and closing of the carpark and maintains visitor data electronically at the site. The data available indicates that 90,435 visitors were recorded in 2018. This level of usage by the public suggests that there is considerable interest in An Grianán as an attraction and it is popular with both domestic and foreign visitors. However, it is also clear that the volume of footfall and the unregulated and unsupervised nature of the traffic presents significant conservation risks at the site. Currently, OPW staff are being called on regularly during the summer period in particular to repair physical damage done to the Monument and to clean the site from the after effects of antisocial behaviour.

Understanding that the site exhibits considerable tourism potential, OPW has raised with Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht the possibility of some level of visitor infrastructure being provided which would enhance the experience and provide a control mechanism that would assist in the sustainable management of visitors. OPW has also met with interested parties locally, including Donegal Co. Council and Fáilte Ireland and has suggested that collaboration between the various public agencies that focusses particularly on those that own potential development land near the Monument should be explored.

In order to assist with the process of identifying possible ways to improving provision for visitors to the site, OPW early in 2019 commissioned a specialist consultant to develop a Conservation and Management Plan for Grianán an Aileach and this work is currently underway. The OPW has, in the context of the discussions held with public partners, left open the question of the future management and staffing of the site. Without suitable infrastructure currently, there is no suitable location to house staff and to provide a Guide service would not be feasible in advance of any facilities being built and a decision made as to who should operate the facility.

Tourism Data

Questions (162)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

162. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the most recent visitor numbers at each OPW site in County Donegal that is open to the public. [44388/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The most recent visitor numbers available are for 2018. Visitor numbers are not available for all OPW sites that are open to the public, only those which have either a guide service or a passive pedestrian counter. At Doe Castle and the Grianán of Aileach visitor numbers are recorded by passive counter. There is a guide service at Donegal Castle, the Glebe Gallery and Newmills and visitor numbers at these sites refer to ticketed visitors.

Site

2018 Visitor Numbers

Doe Castle

29,379

Donegal Castle

56,459

Glebe House & Gallery

32,169

Grianán of Aileach

90,435

Newmills Corn & Flax Mills

3,649

Public Sector Pensions

Questions (163)

John McGuinness

Question:

163. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a resolution to the pension entitlements of a person (details supplied) who served in the Defence Forces and the HSE will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44423/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I have been advised that the individual in this case had previous pensionable service in the pension scheme of the Permanent Defence Forces, as well as in the health service. Accordingly, their pension entitlements are subject to Section 52 subsections (6) and (7) of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012. These subsections impose a limit on the total amount of pensionable service which can be taken into account when calculating a public servant’s pension entitlements where an individual has been a member of more than one public service pension scheme.

In line with the current interim guidance of my Department, this individual’s pension benefits were calculated and paid based on service in the HSE up until 28 July 2012. This was based on the fact that if the individual had total service greater than 40 years across all schemes at that point, the Act provides under Section 52(7) that they are entitled to receive that higher entitlement.

As a result of a number of issues that have arisen in relation to the Section 52 benefit cap, my Department has carried out a review into the operation of the provision. As part of the review, further legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General has been sought. Once that advice has been received, new/revised guidance will be developed and issued as appropriate. At that stage, the HSE will be in a position to consider the implications of the guidance for the pension entitlements of the individual in this case, and to communicate with the individual accordingly.

Question Heading for question(s) 164

Questions (164)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

164. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the OPW will consider dredging the River Douglas tributary of the River Gale at Derry, Listowel, County Kerry (details supplied). [44650/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Douglas River is a tributary of the Gale River and forms part of an Arterial Drainage Scheme under the auspices of the Office of Public Works. Minor maintenance works were carried out by the OPW in 2013 and in 2016.

The OPW requires the consent of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to carry out any works on this river and the time frame for carrying such works is the summer. The OPW will consult with IFI with a view to carrying out maintenance works in the Summer of 2020.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (165)

Alan Kelly

Question:

165. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department will not be forced to pay additional premium payments to a company (details supplied) once support for an operating system expires in January 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44731/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

On 14th January 2020 the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will have 398 personal computing devices running Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. Provisions are being made to put in place Microsoft Windows 7 extended support for these personal computing devices at a cost of €19,306 to ensure they continue to receive security updates and patches to protect against malware attack. Plans are in place to upgrade all Microsoft Windows 7 personal computing devices to Microsoft Windows 10 by the end of 2020.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (166)

Alan Kelly

Question:

166. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to protect his Department in the event of a malware attack or security risks as a result of the failure to upgrade computers from an operating system (details supplied) in his Department and the agencies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44747/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

As the Deputy may be aware, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) in my Department has responsibility for the implementation of the Public Service ICT Strategy. The aim of this strategy is to provide a framework for the delivery of greater efficiencies in public service ICT delivery and administration.

In respect of my own Department, provisions are being made to upgrade all Microsoft Windows 7 personal computing devices to Microsoft Windows 10 and this project will be completed by the end of 2020. Microsoft Windows 7 extended support will be put in place for all the personal computers devices running Microsoft Windows 7 while this upgrade project is ongoing. These Windows 7 personal computing devices will continue to receive security updates and patches to protect against malware attack as part of this Microsoft Windows 7 extended support.

The position in respect of the bodies under the aegis of my Department is set out in the table below.

Organisation

Status in respect of this question

Office of Public Works

The OPW is currently migrating its desktop computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10. The project is almost 70% complete and should be largely complete by the end of 2019. Desktop computers in OPW are protected by Palo Alto TRAPS software agents that actively prevent malware from running.

State Laboratory

Microsoft will discontinue extended support of Windows 7 from 14th January 2020. By that time, all computers in the State Lab will be either upgraded to Windows 10 or, for specialist PC’s for which it is either not possible or not viable to upgrade to Windows 10, placed behind an existing firewall on a separate network segment. This segmentation is enforced by both a VLAN and a firewall and will remove access to the internet and also limit the computer’s ability to communicate with the other computers on other VLANs and network segments. Thereby isolating these machines from the State Lab network.

Public Appointments Service

98% of staff desktop PC’s in the Public Appointment Service have been upgraded to the latest version of the Microsoft operating system, Windows 10. All remaining PC’s running Windows 7 are scheduled to be upgraded by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Office of the Ombudsman

The Office of the Ombudsman has no computers which run of this version of the operating system specified. All of its computers have been updated to the latest version of the operating system.

National Shared Service Office

Provisions are being made to upgrade all Microsoft Windows 7 personal computing devices to Microsoft Windows 10, this project will be completed by the end of 2020. Microsoft Windows 7 extended support will be put in place for all the Office’s personal computing devices running Microsoft Windows 7 while this upgrade project is ongoing. Therefore, the Office's Windows 7 personal computing devices will continue to receive security updates and patches to protect against malware attack.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (167)

Alan Kelly

Question:

167. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of computers in his Department that still use an operating system (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44753/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

-

No. of computers

Personal computing devices running Microsoft Windows 7 operating system

398

Currently there are 524 personal computing devices running a Microsoft Windows 7 operating system, this will be reduced to 398 by the 14th January 2020 when Microsoft Windows 7 standard support will end. Microsoft Windows 7 extended support is available and will be put in place for these 398 personal computing devices while they are being upgraded to Microsoft Windows 10, this upgrade project will be completed by the end of 2020.

Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme

Questions (168)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

168. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will bring a document to the attention of OPW engineers and officials (details supplied) and return their observations and opinion in due course; if the OPW has given a river its attention in the past; his plans to address the issues regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44760/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Hazelhatch area of Celbridge, County Kildare was assessed as part of the Eastern Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study. The Flood Risk Management Plans identified the need for a further study of the area to review the flood modelling and mapping in the area and to review potentially viable flood risk management options for the area. This further study has been commissioned by Kildare County Council and the study is underway since September 2019.

The document referred to was received in the OPW on 18 October, 2019. The document has been noted and has been forwarded, for consideration, to the engineering company which has been engaged by Kildare County Council to carry out the further study at Hazelhatch. The scope of the study was initially focussed on the Hazelhatch Stream but has been expanded to address issues highlighted in the adjacent Shinkeen catchment, where the OPW previously completed a flood relief scheme. As per the current programme, the study should be completed in the Spring of 2020.