Brexit Staff

Ceisteanna (105)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

105. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of SPS and fisheries control officials that are operational out of the planned recruitment of 116 staff for SPS and fisheries controls as agreed on 18 September 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23159/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department continues to participate actively in the Whole-of-Government approach to preparedness and contingency planning for Brexit.  The Government sanctioned in the region of €4m for the commencement of a phased process for the recruitment of additional staff to carry out increased volumes of import controls and export certification arising from Brexit.

These requirements are significant, and arise in relation to the carrying out of documentary, identity and physical checks on imports of animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin, as set out in EU legislation. The Department had previously carried out an extensive analysis exercise, based on examination of trade and container movement data, to establish the potential volumes of controls that will need to be carried out. This exercise has been used to guide relevant planning in relation to putting in place the staff that will be required.

Regarding staffing requirements in the run up to potential Brexit deadlines in March and April, my Department sought to use a combination of recruitment, redeployment and temporary flexible solutions where appropriate and as necessary. My Department worked with our recruitment partners, the Public Appointments Service to engage Veterinary Inspectors, Portal Inspectors, Plant Health Inspectors and Administrative support staff. Mechanisms to temporarily redeploy experienced people within my Department were also initiated and the engagement of contracted temporary service arrangements was also progressed to address contingencies.

My Department has up to 230 staff resources available for deployment across a range of disciplines in both front line control and back up administrative spheres.

Overall, I remain confident that my Department is in a position to deliver the services required in terms of both imports and exports at the appropriate time.

State Aid

Ceisteanna (106, 107, 108)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

106. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of the recent confirmation by the European Commission of a €50 million beef compensation aid package for Ireland; if this funding requires further formal approval at Council or Commission level; if so, the steps required; and if this funding is being granted for exceptional aid under Article 219 of (EU) Regulation No. 1308/2013. [23160/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

107. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a 100% top-up through Exchequer funding will be provided to bring the total European Commission fund of €50 million for a beef compensation aid package for Ireland; if he has had discussions with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in this regard; and when a formal announcement will be issued on the beef compensation package on matching funding. [23161/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

108. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when farmers will be able to apply for the European Commission €50 million beef compensation aid package for Ireland; when compensation payments will issue; the state aid rules for producers that apply over a one year or three year period; and if factory owned or controlled feedlots will not be eligible for compensation payments. [23162/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 to 108, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, I have had ongoing discussions with Commissioner Hogan regarding the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit. I have stressed the need for the Commission to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on the agri-food and fisheries sector. Avoiding a no-deal Brexit continues to be the Government’s overriding policy priority.

I am also keenly aware that the past few months have been very difficult for beef farmers in particular, following a difficult year for farm incomes in 2018 due to weather conditions. There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.

The recent announcement by Commissioner Hogan of EU exceptional aid for the Irish beef sector is really welcome in this context. I have been making the case for some time for an exceptional aid package from the EU Commission for Irish beef farmers, at EU Council of Agriculture Minister meetings, and in direct consultation with the Commission.

The announcement by the Commissioner is another example of the importance of EU solidarity when it comes to facing significant economic challenges.

Details of the proposal are being discussed with the Commission and I will make information available to farmers as soon as possible. The legal provisions used to provide the aid (Council Regulation 1308/2013) were put in place by the Irish Presidency of the EU in 2013. It is expected that this decision will be given effect through an Implementing Regulation. My officials will examine its provisions, when published, and engage with the Commission on the next steps.

Further details on the aid package will be announced in due course following the appropriate stakeholder consultation.

Trade Agreements

Ceisteanna (109)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

109. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the Mercosur talks; if beef will not form part of a final agreement; if the European Commission has indicated it will offer additional beef access to Mercosur countries greater than the 70,000 tonnes that was signed off at EU level in October 2017; and if he will not support a final deal that has beef as a component. [23163/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The EU-Mercosur trade negotiations are ongoing. Ireland's position in relation to these negotiations is well-known, and has not changed. We have consistently opposed any agreement that would have negative consequences for the Irish and EU agriculture sectors, and for the beef sector in particular.

Under these negotiations, the EU made an offer to Mercosur of a beef Tariff Rate Quota of 70,000 tonnes in October 2017. Ireland objected strenuously to this development, consistent with the approach which it has taken for many years, and we have continued to work closely with other Member States, and with the European Commission, to ensure that no further concessions are made by the EU in relation to beef market access.

As regards recent developments in these talks, an intersessional round of discussions took place in Buenos Aires in the week beginning 13 May 2019, but no date has yet been set for the next formal round of negotiations.

In an overall sense, there is undoubtedly a need for continued vigilance in relation to the conduct of these trade negotiations. I will continue to insist that they are handled appropriately, and in a manner that safeguards the interests of the Irish and European beef sector. I also continue to stress that full account must be taken of the findings of the Commission’s own assessment of the cumulative impact of trade deals on the agri food sector, and the potentially very damaging impact of Brexit on an already delicately balanced EU beef market.

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

Ceisteanna (110)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

110. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to review the beef data genomics scheme. [23165/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department is examining all appropriate measures to support the different agri-food sectors, including the beef sector in preparation for the next iteration of the CAP. As the Deputy will be aware, I have committed to reviewing the BDGP as part of this exercise.

I will continue to argue for as strong a CAP budget as possible, post-2020. In particular, I am committed to ensuring that suckler farmers continue to receive strong support in the next CAP.

My view is that such payments should support and encourage suckler farmers to make the best decisions possible to improve the profitability, and the economic and environmental efficiency, of their farming system. It is my view that existing RDP supports, including the BDGP, are delivering this for farmers.

We are now approaching the final year of the BDGP scheme under the current RDP and the lessons learnt from the current programme will inform our assessment of the most appropriate supports for the suckler sector going forward.

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

Ceisteanna (111)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

111. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of discussions at the most recent Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting regarding CAP proposals post-2020 and specifically national strategic plans; and the position Ireland took in respect of the latter. [23166/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

At the May Agri-Fish Council of Ministers, the Council held an exchange of views in public session on the new delivery model of the post-2020 CAP reform package on the basis of a paper prepared by the Romanian Presidency. Ministers structured their interventions around questions posed by the Presidency in relation to annual reporting.

A number of Member States expressed misgivings on annual milestones and preferred either biennial milestones or the possibility to set milestones only in the middle and at the end of the implementation period. In principle, Ireland can accept a requirement for annual reporting providing it is not unduly burdensome from an administrative point of view but has reservations in relation to some of the detail relating to measuring outputs.

Negotiations on the CAP post-2020 are continuing and there is still much to be decided upon before agreement can be achieved. Ireland remains ready to work closely with the Presidency, Commission and the Member States to achieve the best outcome.

Food Prices

Ceisteanna (112)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

112. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a proposed European Commission draft regulation (details supplied) regarding greater transparency in the way in which prices are reported throughout the chain; the timeline for same to be adopted; and when the reporting requirements involving operators as set out in the regulation will be operational once it is European law. [23167/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I welcome initiatives to improve market transparency on EU agricultural markets. The establishment of Market Observatories for the various commodities has been widely recognised as having a beneficial effect and have resulted in a significantly improved market overview in terms of increased transparency, dissemination of market data, and analysis.

The draft Commission implementing regulation, published on 22 May, aims to further increase market transparency by collecting more detailed price data at various points along the food supply chain. It is currently under consideration by my Department.

The draft regulation can be accessed at the following link:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2018-5108370_en#isc-2019-03111

The Commission has launched a public consultation running to 19 June, and I would encourage all stakeholders to submit their views to the EU Commission directly via the consultation process.

Beef Exports

Ceisteanna (113)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

113. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress on obtaining access for Irish meat product, such as, beef, lamb and pig meat to China; the remaining stages in the approval process outstanding; the approximate timetable for all stages to be completed and full access granted; and the number of approved plants for exporting beef to China. [23168/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My officials continue to work towards opening and enhancing access to as many markets as possible. This is a key part of our response to the challenges and uncertainty posed by Brexit, and in line with the market development theme of the Food Wise 2025 strategy.

The opening of the Chinese market for Irish beef in 2018 was the culmination of significant work, over a number of years, and I am delighted that seven Irish beef plants are currently approved to export beef to China. Exports of Irish beef to China commenced in the second half of 2018 and are expected to grow considerably during 2019.

My Department's market access priorities for this year include advancing further beef plant approvals by the Chinese authorities, and also beginning the process for market access for sheepmeat.

During my recent trade mission to China, I submitted further detailed documentation on an additional tranche of beef plants to Vice Minister Zhang of the General Administration of Customs (GACC), in a new template agreed following previous technical discussions. At our productive meeting in Beijing, Vice Minister Zhang committed to an inspection visit in August 2019 for the further tranche of beef plants, and in respect of sheepmeat, both a systems audit and plant inspections. While this represents good progress, the exact timelines for gaining and improving market access for any product remain a matter for the Chinese authorities.

As you may know, Ireland has access to the Chinese market for pigmeat . In 2018 Ireland exported €76.6 million (58,142 tonnes) of pigmeat to China, our second most important export market after the UK.

Further details of Irelands access to third country markets can be found on my Department's dedicated market access portal.

http://www.marketaccess.agriculture.gov.ie/

Beef Exports

Ceisteanna (114)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

114. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress on obtaining access for Irish meat product such as, beef, lamb and pigmeat to South Korea; the remaining stages in the approval process outstanding; and the approximate timetable for all stages to be completed and full access granted. [23169/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Total Irish agri-food exports to South Korea in 2018 amounted to around €36.1 million according to the CSO. The majority of this, some €27 million, was accounted for by fish & pigmeat exports.

The process of gaining access for Irish beef has been ongoing for a number of years and Ireland is currently at step five in an eight step process for beef market access. The next step should be transmission of the file to the Nation Assembly. This matter will be raised as a priority issue during my forthcoming trade mission, which will take place in the week commencing 10th June. As with other markets, the timing of access to the Korean beef market remains ultimately the decision of the Korean authorities.

In relation to pigmeat, trade is ongoing and there are no particular issues around pigmeat access. According to the CSO, exports of €13.77 million (6,193 tonnes) took place in 2018. This compares with Exports of €8.3 million (3,174 tonnes) in 2017, and represents an increase of around 95% in terms of tonnage.

In February 2018, my officials wrote to the South Korean authorities requesting access for sheepmeat. This matter will also be raised during my forthcoming trade mission.

Further details of Irelands access to third country markets can be found on my Department's dedicated market access portal.

http://www.marketaccess.agriculture.gov.ie/

Beef Exports

Ceisteanna (115)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

115. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress on obtaining access for Irish meat product, such as, beef, lamb and pig meat to Japan; the remaining stages in the approval process outstanding; and the approximate timetable for all stages to be completed and full access granted. [23170/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Irish meat, dairy and food products have a highly rated and hard earned reputation in terms of quality, safety, animal welfare and sustainability all over the world. My officials continue to work towards opening and enhancing access to as many markets as possible.

The Japanese market has been open to exports of beef from Ireland since December 2013. Trade has built up slowly and consists mainly of frozen beef offal, tongues in particular. Figures from CSO indicate exports of around €3.6 million or 842 tonnes in 2018. The Japanese audit in relation to the lifting of the 30 month ban on the export of Irish beef took place in March 2019. The audit team indicated that all plants visited were being operated to a high standard. The 30 month ban was subsequently lifted with effect from May 17th 2019. This a significant achievement for Ireland and it is expected to give rise to an increase in beef exports to Japan.

My Department has written to the Japanese authorities formally seeking market access for sheepmeat. Detailed documentation has been submitted and reviewed by the Japanese authorities. Earlier this month my officials submitted further documentation, including a revised Draft Animal Health Regulations (AHR), Export Verification programme (EVP) and Proposed Draft Veterinary Health Certificate. Progressing sheepmeat access will be a focus during my forthcoming trade mission to Japan in week commencing 10 June, but, of course, timelines for market access for any product remain a matter for the Japanese authorities.

Ireland has access to the Japanese market for pigmeat with exports of 14,805 tonnes valued at €41.364m in 2018. There are no particular market access issues at present. Exports can only take place from establishments approved by my Department and recommended to the Japanese authorities as meeting the requirements for export of pigmeat to that country.

Further details of Ireland's access to third country markets can be found on my Department's dedicated market access portal:

http://www.marketaccess.agriculture.gov.ie/

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

Ceisteanna (116)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

116. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the allocation to Ireland under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund operational programme 2014-2020 in each year over the period; the amount expended in each year and to date in 2019; and if unused funds can be carried forward post-2020. [23171/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department's €240 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme is the vehicle for financial supports to our seafood sector for the period 2014 to 2020.  The Programme delivers a wide range of supports for aquaculture, fisheries and seafood processing through a suite of 18 schemes. 

Some €147.6 million in EU funds are allocated to Ireland from the EMFF Fund.  The Government co-finances the Programme to the amount of €91.7 million, making a total of €240 million.  The following table sets out the annual allocation to Ireland from the EMFF Fund.  A further €8.8 million is held in reserve by the European Commission as part of the Performance Framework and this will be allocated to Ireland once certain milestones and targets have been achieved.

 

2014 €m

2015

€m

2016 €m

2017 €m

2018 €m

2019

€m

2020

€m

Total

€m

EU Allocation 

0.0

38.3

19.4

19.7

20.2

20.3

20.7

138.6

 The following table sets out details of the total expenditure (EU and National) by year.

 

2014/15

€m

2016

€m

2017

€m

2018

€m

Expenditure

12

18

28

43

 Any unused funds allocated to the EMFF OP and committed by the end of 2020 can be recouped from the EU Commission up to the end of 2023. This is known as the "N+3 rule".  In practice, this means that the Commission’s annual budget allocation to Ireland must be claimed in full by the end of the third financial year following the allocation.  Any portion of this commitment remaining unclaimed at the end of the 3-year period would be automatically decommitted by the Commission and lost to Ireland.  My Department has met the N+3 rule to date and is in a good position to continue to do so.  The N+3 rule is a rolling process and will continue throughout the Programme.

I anticipate that Ireland will drawdown all of the available EAFF funds.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (117)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

117. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the average payment for GLAS nationally and by county based on current participation levels in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23172/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has overseen the processing of 48,777 GLAS 2018 advance payments since payments commenced in November 2018. This represents over 99% of all eligible scheme participants. Balancing payments commenced two weeks early this year at the beginning of May.

Total average payment for GLAS advance and balance as of 24/05/18 is as follows:

Average Payments

Advance 85%

Balance 15%

€4,138

€3,517

€621

Active GLAS participants by county set out in tabular form.

GLAS 1

GLAS 2

GLAS 3

County

Cases

Cases

Cases

Carlow

269

123

124

Cavan

897

423

525

Clare

1,593

682

784

Cork

2,098

973

913

Donegal

1,907

980

1389

Dublin

56

17

18

Galway

3,018

1,268

1,556

Kerry

1,746

862

747

Kildare

236

74

111

Kilkenny

416

203

183

Laois

363

189

225

Leitrim

1,009

415

518

Limerick

1,031

293

395

Longford

508

336

325

Louth

144

77

91

Mayo

2,519

1,305

1,637

Meath

416

194

241

Monaghan

569

142

326

Offaly

468

272

283

Roscommon

1,502

540

702

Sligo

924

356

483

Tipperary

1,102

489

482

Waterford

348

123

116

Westmeath

634

256

273

Wexford

741

254

302

Wicklow

322

150

196

TOTAL

24,836

10,996

12,945

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

Ceisteanna (118)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

118. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has examined the possibility of introducing a whole farm scheme such as REPS here for the next CAP reform; and if it is possible to introduce a whole farm scheme post-2020 based on the European Commission proposals published in June 2018. [23173/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Agri-environment policy is subject to the CAP reform negotiations that are currently under way. A CAP consultation process with farming bodies and stakeholders in relation to this process commenced this week.

Any future agri-environment scheme will be dependent on the outcome of these CAP negotiations.

LEADER Programmes

Ceisteanna (119)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

119. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the EU and national Exchequer co-financing rates that existed under the 2007-2013 LEADER programme. [23174/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The EU co-financing rate of 55% and a national funding rate of 45% applied for LEADER as part of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 up to the end of 2011.

The EU co-financing rate was amended from the beginning of 2012 to 85% with 15% national funding.

Basic Payment Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (120)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

120. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the annual breakdown of actual expenditure incurred in each of the years 2014 to 2018, and to date in 2019, on the pillar 1 payments under the basic payment scheme in tabular form; the budget allocations in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the annual budget allocations for each year in the 2019 to 2020 period; the way in which underspend accruing in each year was dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23175/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information requested in relation to CAP Pillar 1 expenditure under the 2014 Single Payment Scheme, and under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Greening and the Young Farmers Scheme for the years 2015 - 2018, is provided in the table.

These schemes are paid from EU and not national funding. EU Regulation 1307/2013 sets out the ceilings to apply for these payments each year, rather than a budget per se, and Ireland's ceiling decreases each year.

The ceilings set by the EU Commission are the maximum payment amount allowable within the scheme for each year. Where the ceiling has not been utilised in full, these amounts remain available to the member states to pay applicants who subsequently become eligible for payment. Such payments are made on an on-going basis as cases are resolved.

Please note that there has been no expenditure to-date under CAP Pillar 1 in relation to the 2019 scheme year.

Year

National Ceiling (Net)

Total Expenditure (Net) under Pillar 1

2014

€1,216,500,000

€1,170,262,970

2015

€1,214,800,000

€1,203,698,590

2016

€1,213,500,000

€1,200,134,204

2017

€1,211,900,000

€1,178,454,324

2018

€1,211,500,000

€1,176,860,786

2019

€1,211,100,000

N/A

Air Quality

Ceisteanna (121)

James Browne

Ceist:

121. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the recent vote by Wexford County Council to make County Wexford a smoke free zone based on significant air quality issues in New Ross and Enniscorthy; his views on the decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23055/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal, or ‘the smoky coal ban’ as it is commonly known, has proven very successful since first introduced in Dublin in 1990 and subsequently extended so that it now applies in 26 urban areas nationwide. On each of the occasions that the ban has been extended, it has been done through statutory instrument made by my predecessors under powers conferred by the Air Pollution Act, 1987.

I am disappointed that a number of coal firms have indicated they would legally challenge the decision of two former Ministers to extend the ban nationwide. As I have previously indicated, the current ban on bituminous coal will not be extended nationwide for the 2019/20 heating season. I also do not propose to extend the smoky coal ban to other individual towns in the meantime.

I am working with the Attorney General to finalise a legally robust plan which will improve air quality by reducing particulate matter in the air.

I am aware that Wexford County Council recently passed a motion to introduce a countywide ban the sale and use of smoky fuels. It is a matter for the Council to decide how they wish to proceed in this matter.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Ceisteanna (122)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

122. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress to date for each of the 41 action points made in the mobile phone and broadband taskforce report published in December 2016 in which his Department has lead or joint responsibility for implementing; if each such action point has been completed, not completed or is ongoing, respectively; and the revised deadlines for action points not delivered by the original timeframes in tabular form. [23062/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Report of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, published in December 2016, contained 40 actions aimed at accelerating the delivery of telecommunications infrastructure by commercial operators and also at facilitating the rollout of the State led Intervention under the National Broadband Plan.

An Implementation Review Report was published in February 2018 and provides a detailed account of progress made on all 40 of the actions included in the original report. The review shows that 29 of the actions were completed, or substantially completed, by the end of 2017, and 11 actions were carried forward to the 2018 work programme. In addition to the actions carried over from 2017, a number of new actions were identified for inclusion in the 2018 work programme resulting in a total of 34 actions for delivery in 2018.

A further Implementation Review was published on 21 February 2019 which details progress made on the 34 actions identified for delivery throughout 2018. Similarly, the 2018 Implementation Review Report identifies additional actions for inclusion in the 2019 work programme.

In addition to the above mentioned Implementation Review Reports, the Taskforce publishes quarterly progress reports. All reports, including both the 2017 and 2018 Implementation Reviews, can be accessed at www.dccae.gov.ie.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (123)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

123. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will address a matter raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) in County Cork in relation to climate action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23069/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The correspondence supplied was received in my office on 8 May 2019 and a detailed response was issued on 23 May 2019.

Providing adequate charging infrastructure is critical to ensure continued growth in electric vehicles. Home charging is the most cost-effective way to charge an electric vehicle and is the primary method of charging for the majority of electric vehicles both internationally and in Ireland. A Government grant of up to €600 is available, via the SEAI, to the purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles to support the installation of home chargers.

There are currently over 650 standard public charge points and 78 fast chargers as a part of the ESB eCars network. A map showing these charge points, including their status and availability, is available on the ESB's website at www.esb.ie/ecars. In addition there are public chargers provided by local authorities, retail outlets and private companies.

Under the first call for applications from the Climate Action Fund, I approved funding of up to €10 million to support ESB eCars to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle fast charging network. The project includes the installation of 90 high-power chargers, upgrading 50 existing standard chargers to fast chargers and replacing over 250 existing standard chargers with next generation high reliability models.

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

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (124, 125)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

124. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband service will be available under the National Broadband Plan at the home of a person (details supplied). [23072/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

125. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband service will be available under the National Broadband Plan at a location (details supplied). [23077/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 124 and 125 together.

Both premises referenced by the Deputy are in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. Following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to contract close including finalisation of financial and legal documents. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that. The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment

In the first year of this roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. A deployment plan will be made available by the bidder once the contract is signed. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises by end of the second year of the overall deployment, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.