The National Cyber Security Strategy 2019-2024 is a whole-of-Government strategy to address the growing threat of cyber security incidents, to ensure Ireland can benefit fully from the digital transformation. The Strategy includes 20 separate measures to safeguard public sector networks and essential services, to support the development of Ireland's cyber security industry and ensure we play our part in defending a free, open, secure and stable cyberspace. A number of measures are being led by my Department, and good progress is being made on their delivery. For instance, my Department has recently published the baseline cyber security standard to be applied by all Government Departments and key agencies. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has worked with colleagues across Government to develop the standard which will support public bodies to identify cyber risks, deploy appropriate mitigation measures, and protect personal and other important data. In addition, the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) based within the NCSC has developed and deployed technology on the infrastructure of Government Departments to detect and warn of certain types of threat.
Recognising the growing dependence on digital services and the evolving global cyber threat landscape, earlier this year Minister Ryan commissioned external consultants to conduct a Capacity Review and to benchmark the NCSC with similar agencies in Europe and internationally. Minister Ryan and I received the report in June 2021 and in July the Government agreed a number of measures to support the continued development of the NCSC over the coming five years. These measures include increasing the overall fulltime staffing complement of the NCSC to at least 70 over the next 5 years with a first tranche of an additional 20 staff recruited by end 2022 bringing the serving complement to 45. The Government also approved the preparation of a General Scheme of a Bill, for Government approval, to establish the NCSC on a statutory basis and provide for related matters including clarity around its mandate.