Civil Service

Questions (102)

Paul Murphy

Question:

102. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on whether a social media policy for public servants referred to in an article (details supplied) undermines the right of those public servants to freedom of expression; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9033/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Social Media Policy referred to in the article is a local policy which applies to Civil Servants in the Department for Housing.

There is no central Civil Service wide Social Media Policy. I would, however, like to highlight the provision in the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviours which states that:

Civil servants in category (d) may not engage in public debate (e.g. letter writing to newspapers, contributions to television or radio programmes, etc.) on politics, except if required to do so as part of their official duties.

(https://www.sipo.ie/acts-and-codes/codes-of-conduct/civil-servants/Civil-Service-Code-of-Standards.pdf )

The Code forms part of the terms of employment of all civil servants who are expected to adhere to it at all times.

Additionally, I would also like to highlight Circular 19/2009 'Civil Servants and Political Activity' - paragraph 14 specifically states that:

Civil servants, other than those in the exempted categories in paragraph 13, must not speak in public on matters of local or national political controversy or express views on such matters in the media (including electronic media and the press) or in books, academic papers, articles or leaflets .

(https://www.gov.ie/en/circular/461b3f526a6446e5a6b15aa6d11d42a2/)

Departmental Funding

Questions (103)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

103. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the contact details for the sections that deal with all ongoing and established grant funding in his Department and in each agency under the remit of his Department in tabular form. [9134/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The sections that deal with ongoing and established grant funding within the Department and the grantee are laid out in the table below.

Section Name

Grant

Corporate Bodies Unit

Economic and Social Research Institute and Institute of Public Administration

Structural Funds

Special EU Programmes Body and Regional Assemblies Technical Assistance

Reform Division

Public Service Innovation Fund, Transparency International Ireland and Benefacts

The address for all three sections are Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, South Block, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, D02 R583. The phone number is 01 676 7571.

The section that deals with ongoing and established grant funding within the Office of Public Works and the grantee are laid out in the table below.

Section Name

Grants

Finance Unit

Dublin Zoo, Fota Wildlife Park, Glasnevin Cemetery and Mount Congreve

The address for the Office of Public Works is Government Buildings, Hebron Road, County Kilkenny, R95 H4XC. The phone number is 0761 10 6000.

Quarrying Sector

Questions (104)

Mairéad Farrell

Question:

104. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the requirements placed on local councils to ensure that the stone and sand and other similar materials that the council or subcontractor on council projects purchase is sourced from properly licensed quarries. [9267/21]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The development of quarries is governed by planning legislation, whereas any material extracted from them that is used in construction projects is governed by the Building Regulations. Both planning legislation and the Building Regulations are matters for my colleague Darragh O'Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Local authorities are required to develop a register of extractive industries within their respective functional areas. The register is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency which operates under the remit of my colleague Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications.

As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I have responsibility for the development of policy to ensure adequate expenditure oversight on capital projects and for public procurement. The Department or agency proposing and implementing a capital project is responsible for appraisal, planning, implementation, management, and post project review of the project and for any procurements necessary in line with the policies developed by my Department.

My Department, through the Office of Government Procurement, is responsible for the preparation of template forms of tender and contracts for public works contracts which are published under the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF) and available for use by all contracting authorities. It is a matter for the contracting authority and the project’s design team to ensure that the detailed information necessary to describe the project such as drawings, specifications, pricing documents, etc. is prepared to reflect the requirements of all relevant regulations.

In the construction phase, the conditions of the public works contracts place the obligation on the contractor who is awarded the contract to use materials that are fit for their intended purpose, meet all applicable legal requirements and the standard imposed by the contract. Where this is found not to be the case monies may be withheld until they are replaced with compliant materials.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations require regular inspections to be undertaken and to certify that the works are built in accordance with the Building Regulations. The conditions of contract make express provision for the contracting authority’s personnel to undertake periodic inspections and places an obligation on the contractor to produce details of the materials’ provenance and to undertake defined tests to ensure that the materials being used in their project meet both the contract specification and legal requirements.

Coastal Erosion

Questions (105)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

105. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has received correspondence from Cork County Council in respect of an application for minor coastal works (details supplied). [9285/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I am advised it is a matter for Local Authorities in the first instance to assess and address problems of coastal erosion in their areas. My office has not received an application under the Minor Works Programme for the location in question.

Sports Capital Programme

Questions (106)

Robert Troy

Question:

106. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if sports capital funding will be awarded to a club (details supplied). [9016/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Over 12,000 projects have now benefited from sports capital funding since 1998, bringing the total allocations in that time to close to €1 billion.

It is open to any organisation, including the organisation referred to by the Deputy, with a suitable project to apply for funding under the 2020 Round of the Programme. However, while the closing date for applications is 1 March 2021, I should point out that the deadline for registration for potential applicants for this year's programme was 15th February.

Tourism Funding

Questions (107)

Richard Bruton

Question:

107. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if her attention has been drawn to an issue affecting some businesses affiliated to an organisation with regard to the tourism business continuity fund scheme administered by Fáilte Ireland (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9045/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) is a targeted support for businesses significantly impacted by restrictions introduced by the Government under public health regulations to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am advised by the Minister for Finance that the support is available to companies, self-employed individuals and partnerships who carry on a trade or trading activities, the profits from which are chargeable to tax under Case I of Schedule D, from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions introduced in line with the Living with COVID-19 Plan.

Where a business is eligible to make a claim under the CRSS, a claim may be made through the Revenue Online System (ROS). A claim may be made through ROS up to eight weeks from the date on which a claim period commences, which in most cases will be the first day on which the Covid restrictions apply to the business concerned. Where Covid restrictions continue to apply to the business, a new claim is required every three weeks.

Fáilte Ireland recently launched The Tourism Business Continuity Scheme (TBCS) to provide support for tourism businesses which have not received COVID-19 support from other schemes. Businesses which are eligible for the CRSS at any level of restrictions or for any portion of their business are not eligible for the TBCS. I should also point out that businesses eligible for the Fáilte Ireland Coach Tourism Business Continuity or the Ireland Based Inbound Agents Business Continuity Scheme are not eligible to apply for the TBCS.

While I and the Minister for Finance are keen to avoid a situation whereby businesses can seek to "double up" on grant schemes, the Deputy has raised an important issue and my officials will consider the matter further in conjunction with the Department of Finance and Fáilte Ireland.

I should also point out that the TBCS eligibility does not mean an entitlement to funding, which is at the sole discretion of Fáilte Ireland, rather it means eligibility to make an application for grant funding.

Sports Funding

Questions (108)

Robert Troy

Question:

108. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if sports capital funding will be awarded to a club (details supplied). [9048/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Over 12,000 projects have now benefited from sports capital funding since 1998, bringing the total allocations in that time to close to €1 billion.

It is open to any organisation with a suitable project to apply for funding under the 2020 Round of the Programme. However, while the closing date for applications is 1 March 2021, I should point out that the deadline for registration for potential applicants for this year's programme was 15th February. It is planned to announce the allocations under this round of the programme later this year.

Print Media

Questions (109, 116)

Denis Naughten

Question:

109. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will report on the meeting between her officials and an organisation (details supplied) on 17 February 2021; her views on providing specific Covid-19 support to the regional newspaper sector in view of the public information role that they play similar to independent commercial radio and the challenge faced by these business as a consequence of the Covid-19 restrictions in view of their unique commercial model; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9049/21]

View answer

Brendan Smith

Question:

116. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will give urgent consideration to the requests (details supplied) of an industry for immediate Government support in view of the particular difficulties it has encountered since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9309/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 116 together.

A strong and independent media sector is central to our parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and to the provision of quality and impartial information, particularly in the context of COVID-19. I recognise the essential role that the print media plays in this regard and the particular value of local and regional newspapers in bringing communities together and sharing reliable and relevant local news. The production and publication of newspapers, journals and periodicals and the distribution of those publications has been listed as an essential service.

The sector faces a fall in revenue arising from the pandemic, but also longer term challenges as a result of changing patterns of media consumption, technology and shifts in advertising revenue.

In recognition of these longer term challenges, the Programme for Government provided for the establishment of the Future of Media Commission to consider the future of print, broadcast, and online media in a platform agnostic fashion. The Commission, chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith, recently concluded a public consultation to which a number of stakeholders in the print sector have made submissions. The Commission is currently in the process of engaging with key stakeholders in a series of thematic dialogues. I look forward to receiving the Commission's Report on the completion of its work which will inform media policy, including print media, over the next 10 years.

In terms of specific supports for the sector, the Deputy will appreciate it is of particular importance in relation to media organisations to avoid any perception of Government interference or influence and the funding of newspapers is therefore a complex issue. Commercial radio is supported by a statutory scheme provided for under Part 10 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 and largely funded by the television licence. It is limited by statute to audiovisual and sound media and is administered by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. There is no equivalent statutory scheme for the print sector and the BAI has no function in funding the print sector.

I am however cognisant of the importance of this sector, and the financial issues which it currently faces. The Government has put in place a range of supports for all businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are available to local newspapers.

Since I assumed formal responsibility for the media sector in September 2020, I have engaged in meeting key stakeholders including Newsbrands, Local Ireland and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Work is continuing to explore the issues arising, with a follow up meeting between my officials and the NUJ taking place on 3rd February. I had a further meeting with Local Ireland on Wednesday 17th February and I have asked my officials to continue engagement with Local Ireland to further explore the issues facing the sector.

Sports Capital Programme

Questions (110)

Carol Nolan

Question:

110. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason a grant to a club (details supplied) has still not been paid despite all documentation being provided; if she will progress the matter given the impact it is having on the club; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9099/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The club referred to by the Deputy received a provisional allocation of €76,754 under the 2018 Sports Capital Programme (SCP). A Deed of Covenant and Charge was already in place in respect of previous grants to the club and this new allocation needed to be added to that Deed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the SCP.

I understand that the legal formalities in this regard are now nearing completion. Once finalised, my Department will issue formal approval to the club which will allow the club to commence drawing down the funding. The club has been advised that no expenditure in relation to grant aided elements of their project should be incurred prior to receipt of formal approval.

Departmental Information

Questions (111)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

111. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the contact details for the sections that deals with all ongoing and established grant funding in her Department and in each agency under the remit of her Department in tabular form. [9138/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

As the Deputy will appreciate my Department operates a range of funding schemes across all areas of the Department's remit.

Details of funding schemes including eligibility criteria, rates of payment and how to apply are published on my Department's website at https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-tourism-culture-arts-gaeltacht-sport-and-media/

The main funding areas and associated contact details for my Department are set in the table below.

Programme Area

Contact Details

Arts Film and Investment

Arts Unit – Capital Schemes artscapitalunit@tcagsm.gov.ie Film Unit section481@tcagsm.gov.ie

Cultural Policy and Institutions

Cultural Schemes Unit csu@tcagsm.gov.ie

Culture Ireland

grants@cultureireland.gov.ie

Creative Ireland

creativeireland@tcagsm.gov.ie

Gaeltacht & Irish Language Support Schemes

ctpt@tcagsm.gov.ie

Tourism Development

Tourismdevelopment@tcagsm.gov.ie

Sports Capital Programmes

SportsCapitalProgrammes@tcagsm.gov.ie

Information in relation to funding provided by bodies under the aegis of the Department can be found at the following links.

Body

Funding information

Údarás na Gaeltachta

http://www.udaras.ie

Arts Council

http://www.artscouncil.ie/available-funding/

Fáilte Ireland

https://www.failteireland.ie/Identify-Available-Funding.aspx

Irish Film Board

https://www.screenireland.ie/funding

For Deputy's convenience a summary of recently announced funding schemes is listed below.:

The Live Performance support Scheme

The Live Performance Support Scheme has funding of €5 million and has been launched to assist commercial promoters and producers to employ artists, musicians, performers, technicians and other support staff in live performances, which may subsequently have to be curtailed, cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.

https://www.gov.ie/en/service/08aff-live-performance-support-scheme/

Music Industry Stimulus Package

The Music Industry Stimulus Package involves three funding schemes, designed to help sustain the popular and commercial music sector, across all music genres including rock, pop, hip hop, indie, jazz, country & western, traditional and folk.

https://www.gov.ie/en/service/28151-music-industry-stimulus-package/

The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme

The Sports Capital Programme is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country.

https://www.gov.ie/en/service/d13385-sports-capital-programme/

Stream D of the Cultural Capital Scheme

A range of capital funding measures are provided to assist in the re-opening of theatres, arts centres and culture venues under Stream D of the Cultural Capital Scheme 2019-2022 as part of Project Ireland 2040 -Investing in our Culture, Language & Heritage.

https://www.gov.ie/en/service/b61b2-stream-d-of-the-cultural-capital-scheme-2019-2022/

Tourism Business Continuity Scheme

The?Tourism Business Continuity Scheme will provide support to providers of?certain?tourism services who have been unable to qualify for assistance under the government's Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).

https://www.failteireland.ie/Identify-Available-Funding/Tourism-Business-Continuity-Scheme.aspx?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=february11-tis-6

I trust that the above is of assistance to the Deputy. If the Deputy has specific queries relating to a particular programme or scheme, my officials will provide him with the relevant information in that regard on request.

Cycling Facilities

Questions (112)

Ciaran Cannon

Question:

112. Deputy Ciarán Cannon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media her plans to commence construction of Ireland's first indoor velodrome. [9203/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport, increasing participation at all levels and raising standards, including the development of the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus at Abbotstown.

The National Development Plan 2018-2027 included a commitment to develop a National Velodrome and Badminton Centre at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus in 2020 and 2021. The proposal at that time comprised a 250-metre cycling track, 12-16 Badminton Courts in the in-track area, spectator seating and ancillary facilities including office space.

A review of the original design scheme for the project was undertaken by Sport Ireland in 2019 to assess the suitability and fitness of the design for present and future purposes. The review, which was completed in October 2019, proposed a number of design changes. Sport Ireland submitted a revised business case for the project to my Department in May 2020 in line with the requirements of the Public Spending Code.

As the Deputy may be aware, a review of the National Development Plan is currently underway. Any decision on the commencement of this project will be subject to Ministerial approval and the availability of capital funding under the revised National Development Plan.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (113)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

113. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she has met with owners of newspapers or media outlets either virtually or in person since she assumed office; and if so, the details of the discussions held at those meeting; and the persons or bodies present. [9222/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Since my appointment as the first Minister for Media at the end of September 2020, I have met with many lead executives from the representative organisations in the sector including the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, RTÉ, TG4, Virgin Media, Sky Ireland, Communicorp Media, Local Ireland, CRAOL, the representative group for Community Radio and the IBI, the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, the representative group for Commercial Radio.

The meetings focused on hearing about the priorities and operations of the media outlets and the key challenges and issues of concern facing them both as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and in the longer term.

I have also encouraged all stakeholders to engage with the Future of Media Commission which is tasked with examining the entire media sector and making recommendations on future direction and a sustainable funding model for the next decade. The Commission will report later this year and I look forward to receiving their recommendations on this important area.

Sports Organisations

Questions (114)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

114. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she has met with representatives from an organisation (details supplied) either virtually or in person since she assumed office; and if she will provide this Deputy with details regarding the discussion that took place at those meetings and the persons or bodies present. [9223/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I have met with the Chairperson and Chief Executive of the organisation mentioned by the Deputy on a number of occasions since July 2020, most recently on 4th February. We have had discussions on a range of relevant issues, including matters relating to governance, financial issues, Euro 2020, Covid-19 and the League of Ireland. The Chief Executive of Sport Ireland also attended this virtual meeting.

Minister Catherine Martin and I met the Chairperson and Chief Executive of the organisation mentioned on 3 December, when we discussed governance, financial matters, Covid-19, as well as gender and pay parity issues. The Chief Executive of Sport Ireland also attended this virtual meeting.

Minister Martin and I also met with the Board of the organisation on 27 July, when we discussed governance matters relating to the Memorandum of Understanding dated 30 January 2020, Covid-19 support and grassroots matters. The Chief Executive of Sport Ireland also attended this virtual meeting.

In addition, the organisation is one of the National Governing Bodies represented on the Covid-19 Sports Monitoring Group which I chair. I am engaging with the Group in regard to any supports which may be required in the period ahead. Our most recent meeting took place on Thursday 28 January.

A copy of my diary and Minster Martin’s diary is available on my Department’s website at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation-information/6e364-ministers-diaries/#2021. This lists our diary engagements from July 2020, including dates of meetings with the organisation mentioned by the Deputy.

Tourism Industry

Question No. 116 answered with Question No. 109.

Questions (115)

Cathal Crowe

Question:

115. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if sites (details supplied) will be eligible to apply for the tourism business continuity scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9243/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Budget 2021 provided a significant package of tax and fiscal measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors. A key measure in this regard is the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) which was introduced to support businesses significantly affected by restrictions introduced to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. I understand that the tourism attractions managed by the entity to which the Deputy refers are eligible for support under the CRSS.

The Tourism Business Continuity Scheme scheme, administered by Fáilte Ireland, will contribute to the fixed costs of identified strategic tourism businesses that are not eligible for CRSS to support their survival. The scheme is administered by Fáilte Ireland and the first phase of the scheme is now open for applicants.

Question No. 116 answered with Question No. 109.

Horse Sport Ireland

Questions (117)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

117. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the amount of funding her Department has directed to Horse Sport Ireland since 2006; and the amount granted by Sport Ireland since 2006, by year and amount in tabular form. [9360/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Horse Sport Ireland has received €91,000 in capital funding from my Department since 2006. This funding comprised two awards of €75,000 and €16,000 under the 2014 Special NGB Equipment Grants Scheme.

In relation to funding allocated to Horse Sport Ireland by Sport Ireland since 2006, I have arranged for Sport Ireland to provide the relevant details direct to the Deputy. Please inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

Horse Sport Ireland

Questions (118)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

118. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if Sport Ireland has evaluated the proposal by Horse Sport Ireland to relocate premises (details supplied); if Sport Ireland has met with Horse Sport Ireland in respect of same; and if Sport Ireland can or plan to veto the relocation. [9362/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

National Governing Bodies of Sport such as Horse Sport Ireland are independent, autonomous bodies and are responsible for their own operational arrangements and procedures for their sports.

I am informed by Sport Ireland that they have not met with Horse Sport Ireland in respect of the relocation and cannot veto such a decision by an independent National Governing Body.

I understand that both the Minister and Minister of State for Agriculture, Food and the Marine have engaged with Horse Sport Ireland on this matter.

Environmental Policy

Questions (119)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

119. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the steps taken to reduce the extent to which microplastics are damaging marine life; the practical decisions taken or likely to be taken in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9348/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

In terms of addressing primary microplastic sources, the Microbeads (Prohibition) Act 2019 prohibits the manufacture or placing on the market of any water soluble personal care product, such as cosmetics, soaps and body washes containing microbeads. It also prohibits the sale or manufacture of household or industrial cleaning products containing plastic microbeads.

Any measure or activity that reduces plastic items entering the environment, or removes them from it, reduces secondary microplastic inputs caused by fragmentation. Thus, litter control measures or waste reduction measures such as the such as Directive (EU) 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, commonly referred to as the Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, will reduce microplastic inputs also. The SUP Directive is currently being transposed into Irish law by my colleague the Minister for the Environment Climate and Communications.

On top of these actions, the Clean Coasts programme, operated by an Taisce and funded by my Department, activates thousands of groups around the country who clean and maintain sections of our coast. This programme removes significant quantities of plastic litter from our beach and coasts while also raising awareness of marine litter and other marine environmental issues.

The international Fishing for Litter Scheme that Ireland incorporates into the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and the Marine's Clean Oceans Initiative help to directly remove plastic litter pollution from our marine environment that could otherwise break down into secondary microplastics.

Ireland is working with other EU Member States to develop further regulatory measures to reduce the effects of microplastics on the marine environment through the forthcoming EU draft REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulations under the EU Plastics Strategy and with non-EU Countries through the OSPAR Convention.