I propose to take Questions Nos. 235 and 236 together.
Responsibility for the National Broadband Plan rests with my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. His Department is the Sponsoring Agency for the project, while Government is the Sanctioning Authority.
The Public Spending Code is the set of rules and procedures that are in place to support public bodies in achieving value for money as they implement all projects, including major projects, through the course of the project’s lifecycle. Each project works through a lifecycle from project identification, appraisal/business case, planning & design, procurement and implementation, to review. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has responsibility for the Public Spending Code, including the current review of the Code. However, responsibility for complying with all of the requirements of the Public Spending Code is a matter for each Sponsoring Agency and Sanctioning Authority.
I was informed about Eir withdrawing from the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan, and the correspondence from Eir's Chief Executive Officer to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, when this happened in 2018.
In terms of engaging with Eir on their recent statements on the National Broadband Plan, these are matters, in the first instance, for the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, as the Minister responsible for the procurement process on the National Broadband Plan. However, officials from my Department will, of course, be liaising with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the issue, and will seek to be kept informed in relation to that Department's engagement with Eir and any developments that may emerge from that process.