Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (242)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

242. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a farm payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20594/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015 and has received the full payment due in respect of the years 2015 and 2017.

He has also received the bulk of the 2016 payment due with the exception of one part related to a hen harrier action. This outstanding payment for 2016 is expected to be processed shortly as will the applicant's 2017 balancing payment when these commence. I expect these balancing payments to commence next week as per our previous commitment.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (243)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

243. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a 2017 GLAS payment will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20651/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The above named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1st October 2015.

Administrative checks involving a number of sections within the Department take place on all GLAS claims. All cases must clear validation checks before payment can issue. Department officials are working proactively to complete the checks to minimise delays in payments. Once this case clears validations the 2017 advance payment will be made. GLAS payments are being made on a weekly basis. The Department has been in contact with the applicant directly to ensure that they are aware of the current status.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (244)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

244. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a 2016 and 2017 GLAS plus payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20652/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016.

This applicant has yet to submit his Commonage Management Plan as required under the scheme. This plan must be submitted before any payment can issue.

GLAS Applications

Ceisteanna (245)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

245. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the GLAS section will accept a review request in respect of a farmer (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20653/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The above named was approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016 and received all payments in respect of scheme year 2016.

GLAS participants with the LESS action are required to submitted an annual return for the action. The required form was issued to the person named. Completed forms were to be returned to the Department by 27th October 2017. The Department issued a number of reminders. The requirement was not fulfilled for this case.

The Department has now terminated this GLAS contract due to non compliance. Both the applicant and his advisor have been informed of the option to appeal this decision to the Agriculture Appeals Office.

Fodder Crisis

Ceisteanna (246)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

246. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the continuation of the fodder transport scheme to mid-May will be ensured (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20695/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In response to pressures on fodder supplies caused by a long wet winter and spring I introduced a national Fodder Transport Support measure in January of this year, followed in April by a Fodder Import Support measure. These two interventions working together effectively addressed issues around fodder availability in the country. Grass growth, as confirmed by Teagasc assessments, has continued to improve significantly and livestock are out to graze. However, ground conditions were slow to improve in some areas and in a concluding response to remaining fodder difficulties I decided to extend both measures by one week until 7th May. There are no plans to extend the closing date further.

It is important that we learn some of the lessons from this spring and build resilience into our systems going forward. I have asked Teagasc to chair a stakeholder group to coordinate advisory messages to farmers this summer around replenishing stocks that have been used up.

Animal Identification Schemes

Ceisteanna (247)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

247. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for introducing electronic identification for sheep alter in 2018; and the level of consultation he had with famer organisations on this matter to proceed with this measure. [20774/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The current National Sheep Identification system (NSIS) has been in place since 2010. It is widely accepted that the system is overly complicated, relying too heavily on the manual transcription of lengthy identification numbers of sheep at various stages of production.

My Department commenced a review of the current NSIS in 2015 when my officials met with the stakeholder representative and outlined the preferred option to improve the system. I also met stakeholders in the context of developing the Sheep Welfare Scheme and sheep EID was discussed in that forum.

The new rules are being introduced requiring all sheep sold from 1 October 2018 onwards to be identified electronically. This timeframe will allow farmers a reasonable period of time to use up stocks of tags on hand. EID will provide a more robust sheep traceability system and will further support the development and sustainability of the sheep industry. This measure will significantly reduce the record keeping requirements for sheep farmers moving sheep to livestock marts, slaughter plants and export assembly centres. There is the potential of decreased cross compliance issues following the provision of a printed list to producers detailing the electronic tag numbers presented by them to marts and factories approved as Central Points of Recording (CPRs).

I will be providing a one off support measure of up to a maximum of €50 per keeper for the first purchase of EID tags. Electronic tag readers and associated software are included as eligible investments in the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) scheme to assist sheep farmers in flock management.  The move to full EID and the inclusion of EID readers as an eligible investment in TAMS will make the recording of the movement of lambs off farm much more convenient and will greatly simplify the paperwork involved for sheep farmers.

This enhancement of the current sheep identification system will allow the sheep sector to further develop and build on its impressive performance supporting some 35,000 farm families directly in addition to supporting several thousand jobs indirectly in rural area.

The improved traceability system will assist in maintaining existing markets and in securing new international outlets for Irish sheep meat.  Ireland has market access for sheep meat to 45 countries at present, compared to our beef access to 65 countries, and exports of dairy products to almost 180 countries. Opening new markets for sheep meat access, including potentially valuable markets such as the USA, Japan and, in due course, China is therefore a key concern, as some of these markets have identified lack of EID as a barrier to access.

The extension of EID to all sheep is a critical requirement to provide the required traceability demands across the market place, serving to protect public and animal health in line with the highest international standards.

Farm Waste Management

Ceisteanna (248, 249)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

248. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of anaerobic digesters producing biogas in operation nationally by county, in tabular form; his plans to increase the uptake of farm waste to convert into biogas; and the steps he is taking to increase the production of biogas from farm waste. [20775/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

249. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his officials have examined the 2017 SEAI report, Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Biogas and Biomethane in Ireland. [20776/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 248 and 249 together.

The agriculture and forest sector has a critical role to play in contributing to our national climate change ambitions, and bioenergy represents a key component of that contribution.

The EU report entitled the ‘Optimal use of biogas from waste streams’ indicated 31 AD biogas plants for Ireland in 2014. There were 3 agricultural, 14 sewage plant facilities and 7 industrial landfills (18.4 MW) and 7 waste/industrial waste biogas plants. Their cumulative capacity amounted to 47 MW, generating 206 GWh of electricity in 2014, while 8.1 ktoe of thermal energy were generated respectively.

Of this number, nine facilities are licensed by my Department as utilising Animal By Products as a feedstock. The details of these are set out in the table:

GLENMORE   LIVESTOCK LTD

GLENMORE   ESTATE

BALLYBOFEY

 

CO. DONEGAL

ASHLEIGH   FARMS MILLING LTD

BALLINAMEELA

CAPPAGH

 

CO.WATERFORD

BALLYSHANNON   RECYCLING LTD

BALLYSHANNON   RECYCLING LTD

ADAMSTOWN

ENNISCORTHY

CO.WEXFORD

KILGREANY   AD FACILITY

TOORACURRAGH

BALLYMACARBRY

 

CO.WATERFORD

GREEN   GENERATION LTD

GORTEEN   LOWER

NURNEY

 

CO.KILDARE

KILLOWEN   BIOGAS LTD

KILLOWEN   BIOGAS LTD

KILLOWEN

PORTLAW

CO.WATERFORD

DAVID MC   DONNELL

MCDONNELL   FARMS BIOGAS LTD

T/A   GREENGAS AD PLANT

DUNMOYLAN,   SHANAGOLDEN

CO.LIMERICK

CAMPHILL   COMMUNITY

T/A   BEOFS LTD

BALLYTOBIN

CALLAN

CO.KILKENNY

ROUGHTY   VALLEY CO-OP

ROUGHTY   VALLEY COOP SOCIETY

MEELICK

KILGARVAN

CO.KERRY

The report that the Deputy is referring to - The Assessment of Cost and Benefits of Biogas and Biomethane in Ireland (SEAI, 2017) - investigates a number of methods for producing biogas and biomethane. The report says that these gases can be produced and used in a variety of ways.  

Overall, my Department recognises that there is an opportunity to encourage the utilisation of agricultural waste as an alternative source of energy. I have noted that while it is possible to produce and utilise methane through AD of stored manure (which accounts for only 10% of agricultural methane), academic and industry research suggests that there is the potential for a significant role in the heat and transport sectors for biogas produced by anaerobic digestion. However, as outlined above, analysis to date would suggest that costs are a significant factor.

Notwithstanding this, my Department and the Government recognises that indigenous renewable energy plays a vital role in our domestic fuel mix and will become even more important in the context of reducing our reliance on imported fuels and in meeting our challenging renewable energy targets. I am committed to working closely with the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) which is the lead Department in this area, to ensure that the supply of domestic biomass and residues available in the forest and agriculture sectors are mobilised to support energy generation from a range of bioenergy technologies.

Basic Payment Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (250)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

250. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applicants to date for 2018 basic payment scheme, BPS; and if the extension of the current deadline will be examined in view of recent pressures on farmers caused by the fodder shortages. [20777/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Following recent discussion at EU level, the EU Commission undertook to draft legislation in relation to an extension to the deadline for the submission of BPS applications.  Any such extension would be voluntary for Member States.  Ireland has not requested a deadline extension in respect of BPS applications.

2018 is the first year that all BPS applications are to be made online, and in 2017 114,000 BPS applications were made online. 

My Department has also put in place a range of supports for farmers to assist them in making the move to online applications.  The Department is in ongoing contact with farmers in order to ensure that all applications are made online by 15 May.  As of yesterday 105,000 farmers have already applied online for 2018 BPS, and the overall application rate is ahead of previous years.

 It should be noted that any extension to the deadline for receipt of applications  would have an adverse impact on the delivery of BPS payments in October 2018.

EU Funding

Ceisteanna (251, 252)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

251. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount allocated separately to the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development at EU level for the MFF programmes 2007-2013 and 2014-2020, in tabular form. [20778/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

252. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount allocated separately to the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development to Ireland for the MFF programmes 2007-2013 and 2014-2020, in tabular form. [20779/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 251 and 252 together.

The information sought by the deputy is set out in the following table:

 -

EU Total Allocation (€Millions)

Ireland (€Millions)

EAFRD   2007-2013

96,244

2,495

EAFRD   2014-2020

99,586

2,191

EAGF   Direct Payments (2007-2013)

283,369

9,384

EAGF   Direct Payments (2014-2020)

263,048

8,615

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

Ceisteanna (253)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

253. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the strategy being deployed at EU institutional level and with his European counterparts to resist cuts to Pillar 1 and 2 of CAP as proposed under the MFF 2021-2027. [20780/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021 - 2027 proposals which were published on 2 May 2018 are detailed and complex and will require careful study in preparation for the detailed discussions that will begin shortly. The proposals will be under-pinned by even more detailed legislative proposals in each of the sectoral areas. 

The CAP is and will continue to be a key policy of strategic national interest for Ireland. It is important that the EU continues to fund programmes that work and work well. Expenditure in the area of agriculture helps support 44 million jobs across the EU, while contributing to European Added Value (EAV) through rural sustainability, food safety, animal welfare, and environmental standards.

I have consistently called for a strong CAP budget post 2020. Key to ensuring that as strong a CAP budget as possible is delivered, is to establish alliances with like minded Member States where possible. In that context, I have held formal bilateral meetings with my EU Agriculture Ministerial counterparts since January 2018. The shape of the CAP Post 2020 was a significant feature at each of the meetings. Recent meetings with the German and French Agriculture Ministers on 2nd and 3rd May respectively, coincided with the publication of the MFF proposals on 2 May. These meetings gave me the opportunity to outline my concerns the MFF proposals will have on the CAP. Additional meetings are scheduled to take place with my counterparts from Poland, Romania and Belgium in the coming weeks. 

In addition to these formal bilateral meetings, I regularly meet my EU Ministerial colleagues at the monthly Agri-Fish Council meetings, and will have a further opportunity to discuss the future of the CAP at the forthcoming informal Council meeting in Sofia on 5 June with a further Council scheduled for Luxembourg on 18 June. I also keep in regular contact with Commissioner Hogan and his officials and met with him recently in Dublin on 26 April. 

My Department officials are also having regular and constructive engagement with their EU counterparts.

 It is important to state that the MFF proposals are the first stage in a complex negotiation. A number of member states have already indicated that they are not willing to provide additional own resources to the EU Budget. Ultimately the MFF will must be agreed by Member States and the European Parliament and therefore this will be an extremely difficult process. 

Both I and my Department officials will continue to work closely with other Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament to ensure adequate resource allocations and to achieve the best possible outcome for Ireland’s agriculture sector in the next programming period.

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

Ceisteanna (254, 255, 257, 258)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

254. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount the CAP budget has been reduced in the MFF 2021-2027 proposals in absolute terms and when inflation is considered over the 2021-2027 period. [20781/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

255. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the deficit in the EU CAP budget following the UK intention to leave the Union as reflected in the MFF proposals for the 2021-2027 period; and the annual amount and total deficit over the same period. [20782/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

257. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reduction in direct payments under pillar 1 as proposed under the MFF 2021-2027 for Ireland in monetary terms and the percentage reduction. [20784/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

258. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the MFF 2021-2027 and the reduction in the co-financing support in the rural development programme by ten points; the impact this will have on Irish pillar 2 funding; and the steps being taken to resist this. [20785/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 254, 255, 257 and 258 together.

The European Commission published its proposal for the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021 - 2027 on 2 May last.  It proposes a total CAP budget ceiling (EAGF and EAFRD) of just over €365 billion in commitment appropriations at current prices for the EU 27.  

This compares to a ceiling of approximately €408 billion for the EU 28 in the MFF period 2014-2020  (table 1 of COM(2017), 554 final on 27/09/2017). This figure includes the UK ceiling in the period 2014 - 2020, which is approximately €27 billion. The comparable figure for the EU 27 therefore is approximately €381 billion. This is saving of approximately €16 billion over the seven year period, averaging €2.3 billion per annum.  

The Commission has not published the proposed allocations for member states at this point.  

I am disappointed with the proposed cuts to the CAP budget post 2020.  Over the next few years farm families will be required to play a vital role in the protection and enhancement of the environment and the production of food to the highest standards in the world. These high standards, and the family farm model, are part of the fabric of European values, but come at a price that EU citizens have shown they are willing to pay. We need farmers to take active steps to mitigate climate change, protect water quality and biodiversity, and improve their competitiveness. A strong CAP is a prerequisite if these objectives, which are in the best interests of all citizens, are to be achieved. In addition, European agriculture is also facing into a period of significant market uncertainty against the background of Brexit. 

An important point to note is that we are at the very beginning of what will be a long and complicated process as discussions on the MFF proposals get underway. In that context, I have been meeting with EU counterparts since January, most recently with the German and French Ministers, with a view to building consensus amongst farm ministers around the need for a strong CAP budget. Additional meetings are scheduled to take place with my counterparts from Poland, Romania and Belgium in the coming weeks.  

I will continue to work closely with other Member States, the European Commission and Parliament to ensure adequate resource allocations and to achieve the best possible outcome for Ireland’s agriculture sector in the next programming period.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

Questions Nos. 257 and 258 answered with Question No. 254.

Ceisteanna (256)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

256. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proposed MFF allocation over the 2021-2027 period for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund compared to the 2014-2020 allocation. [20783/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

On 2 May 2018, the European Commission published its proposals on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework, marking the start of an important debate on the future of the EU Budget. The Commission is proposing an allocation to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for 2021-27 of €6.14 billion (current prices).  This compares to €6.5 billion allocated to the EMFF for the 2014-20 period, a reduction of 5.54%.  I am extremely disappointed that the Commission has proposed a cut of this nature to funding for implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy. 

There are many significant challenges in the years ahead, particularly in the areas of sustainability of our stocks and preservation of the marine environment, of implementing the Landing Obligation, of enhancing our control and enforcement systems to ensure compliance with the rules of the CFP, and of ensuring we have the scientific data to inform our decision making.  There are also many opportunities for Europe’s seafood industry.  Our aquaculture and processing sectors need to continue on their recent growth path so that they can compete with the leading world players and can provide the added value seafood required to meet growing world demand.  We need to continue to develop our coastal communities so that they have a thriving future.  Indeed, there are also significant threats with our seafood sector facing into a period of significant market uncertainty against the background of Brexit. The present EMFF Programme is addressing all of these things and is making progress.  It will be essential that this good work continues beyond 2020 and that means we must ensure that we at least maintain the present level of resources for the EMFF.

I will be working closely with my fellow marine Ministers in the months ahead as these proposals are debated and negotiated in the Council and Parliament, with the aim of protecting the future budget for the EMFF.

Questions Nos. 257 and 258 answered with Question No. 254.

Wildlife Conservation

Ceisteanna (259)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

259. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the project team for the new Freshwater Pearl Mussel Programme. [20786/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I am pleased to say that a team to administer the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Programme has been selected following a detailed competitive procurement process. 

The new programme is a locally-led project, funded under the European Innovation Partnership measure which forms part of the Irish Rural Development Programme. Its design and management will be the responsibility of the project team who will liaise closely with officials from my Department, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and local farming communities as the new programme is rolled-out.  

I am delighted to see this new programme get underway and believe it will make a significant contribution not just to the conservation of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel, which is a critically endangered species, but also to the wider social and economic wellbeing of the communities concerned.

I will be in a position to provide more information in the coming months as the new project team develops the programme.

EU Regulations

Ceisteanna (260)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

260. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a matter (details supplied) in respect of rule changes to an EU measure. [20787/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

EU Regulation 2017/2393 came into effect on 1st January 2018.  This Regulation included an amendment to EU Regulation 1307/2013 regarding the number of years a successful applicant under the Young Farmers Scheme (YFS) can receive payment.  The relevant amendment is in two parts.  The first part of the regulatory amendment provides that YFS applicants may receive payment for five years starting from the first submission of an application for payment, provided that the application takes place within five years of the commencement of farming.  This period of five years also applies to farmers who had received payment under the scheme in respect of applications prior to 2018.  The second part of the regulatory amendment provides that it is optional for Member States to extend the provision to young farmers who set up a holding in the period 2010-2013, and who had received payment under the YFS in respect of applications before the 2018 scheme year. 

Ireland has applied the maximum 2% of the national ceiling to create a YFS fund of €24 million annually.  Ireland has also utilised the option to overestimate the BPS ceiling in order to take account of unused YFS funds and this funding was used to allocate entitlements to young farmers and new entrants under the 2017 National Reserve.  Therefore the allocation of €24 million is fully utilised in Ireland.  If Ireland opted to implement just the first part of the amended regulatory provision it would result in a windfall gain for some Young Farmers Scheme applicants who had commenced farming between 2010 and 2013 and who have already received payment based on the regulatory provisions applying at the time.  It is estimated that the additional cost of implementing just the first part of the regulatory amendment in Ireland would be in excess of €5.5 million in 2018 and €7.5 million in 2019 which would result in a requirement for a linear cut to all farmers’ basic payments in order to fund this additional spend under the Young Farmers Scheme. 

It is for this reason that Ireland will implement the relevant regulatory amendment in Regulation 2017/2393 in full.  This will provide for a situation where with effect from the 2018 scheme year, successful applicants under the Young Farmers Scheme who commenced farming from 2014 onwards and submit their first YFS application within five years of commencement of farming may receive payment under the YFS for five years.  Young Farmers Scheme applicants have been notified of this position in the Terms and Conditions of the 2018 Young Farmers Scheme.

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (261)

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

261. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his position on EU Directive 2016/1148; his views on whether the implementation of this directive represents an adequate minimum standard for the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the State; and his plans to introduce further measures to increase Irish cybersecurity and readiness. [20745/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The European Union Network and Information Security Directive marks an extremely significant step change in how the EU and its Member States approach the Cyber Security of critical infrastructure and key online services. Once fully implemented, Member States will have a formal and binding set of arrangements in place around Critical Infrastructure, adapted to the needs of each State. These arrangements involve the State identifying certain key critical infrastructure operators in sectors like energy, transport, healthcare provision and digital infrastructure, and requiring these operators to meet a set of binding security requirements and to report incidents. The Directive also requires all Member States to apply and police a new unified regulatory regime on Digital Service Providers (DSPs), which include cloud computing providers, search engines providers and providers of online market places.

The Directive also places obligations on the State itself, with a view to ensuring that States can cooperate and share information in the event of a large scale incidents affecting several countries and to ensure that every State has significant capacity of its own. These requirements include the adoption of a national strategy, the designation of a National Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) with responsibility for risk and incident handling and the requirement to designate a National Competent Authority (NCA) for the purposes of the Directive.

In Ireland, the National Cyber Security Centre in my Department has been working on the transposition for a considerable period of time and will be the National Competent Authority. The unit has identified a set of critical infrastructure operators and in November, published a set of draft security measures to apply to these. Regulations to transpose the Directive itself are at a very advanced stage, and I expect to be in a position to sign these in the coming days. The unit has also been developing its own capacity internally, particularly with regard to the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) which received international accreditation last year. Further recruitment into the NCSC is also underway, in part to be in a position to fully deliver the requirements of the Directive.