Electric Vehicles

Questions Nos. 2266 to 2269, inclusive, answered with Question No. 2157.

Ceisteanna (2265)

John Lahart

Ceist:

2265. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to move to the target of close to 1 million electric vehicles, that is, an increase of 500%, in the space of five years in view of the figures set out in the Climate Action Plan 2019 of a level of 75,000 electric vehicles by 2022 and a level of 175,000 electric vehicles by 2025; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33371/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Climate Action Plan sets a target of 936,000 electric vehicles on the road in Ireland by 2030. The plan also sets out a range of actions to support this growth which include:

- developing a roadmap on the optimum mix of regulatory, taxation and subsidy policies to drive significant ramp-up in electric vehicles;

- introducing a capital support that will be provided to Local Authorities for the development of on-street public chargers;

- commencing the ESB Electric Vehicle High Power Charging Infrastructure Development Project, supported by the Climate Action Fund;

- including electric vehicle fast chargers as a category eligible for support in the next call from the Climate Action Fund;

- expanding the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant to include shared parking (e.g. in apartment blocks);

- developing an overarching charging infrastructure strategy with a target to be set for the supply of infrastructure to stay ahead of demand; and

- introducing legislation to ban the sale of new fossil fuel cars from 2030.

There is a wide range of supports already available to support the uptake of electric vehicles including:

- a purchase grant of up to €5,000 for new electric vehicles

- Vehicle Registration Tax relief of up to €5,000 for battery electric vehicles and up to €2,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

- grants of up to €7,000 le to support the purchase of electric vehicles in the taxi/hackney/limousine sector;

- Accelerated Capital Allowances for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure;

- a grant of up to €600 to support the installation of a home charger for purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles;

- Benefit-in-Kind relief for battery electric vehicles;

- low motor tax of €120 for battery electric vehicles; and

- a discount on tolls of 50% for battery electric vehicles and 25% for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (up to a maximum amount of €500 per year with greater reductions off-peak on the M50).

A full list of supports is available on www.drivingelectric.ie. This website also provides useful information on the increasing range of models of electric vehicles available in Ireland.

At the end of last month, there were over 11,700 electric vehicles on the roads in Ireland which is over three times the number at the end of 2017. We have seen significant growth over the past 18 months and I believe the policies and measures in place and being developed will support the continuation of this upward trend.

Questions Nos. 2266 to 2269, inclusive, answered with Question No. 2157.

Electric Vehicles

Question No. 2271 answered with Question No. 2157.

Ceisteanna (2270)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

2270. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his targets for the adoption of a full electric vehicle fleet for Ministers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33382/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The all-of-Government Climate Action Plan, which I launched on 17 June this year, sets out a range of actions to support the uptake of electric vehicles. These actions include the development of a clear roadmap to increase the penetration of low emission vehicles in public fleets. The development of this roadmap will be led by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and is targeted to be in place by the middle of next year.

As the Deputy will be aware, many of the ministerial cars are personally owned and therefore, in those cases, vehicle choice is a matter for the relevant Minister.

Question No. 2271 answered with Question No. 2157.

National Broadband Plan

Question No. 2273 answered with Question No. 2168.

Ceisteanna (2272)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

2272. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of homes in counties Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Roscommon in the amber intervention area for the national broadband plan; when the roll-out of the plan will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33436/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision on 7th May this year, to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan. Under this plan, Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ensure that those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas.

The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, 75% of the 2.4 million premises in Ireland can access high speed broadband.

The High Speed Broadband Map, which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie, shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area under the NBP. The Map is colour coded and searchable by address and Eircode.

The table below outlines the number of premises where access to this vital service will be delivered under the State-led intervention (AMBER).

County Name

AMBER

Premises within the NBP State Intervention Area

Sligo

14,341 (36%)

Leitrim

11,281 (50%)

Donegal

34,179 (33%)

Roscommon

18,471 (47%)

Information on a county by county basis is available on my Department’s website at https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/County%20Statistics.pdf.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder subject to contract close and the finalisation of financial and legal requirements; this work is progressing. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after contract close.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. In the first year of 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.

The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises at the end of the second year, with 70,000-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll-out is completed.

Question No. 2273 answered with Question No. 2168.

Waste Management Expenditure

Ceisteanna (2274)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

2274. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the estimated cost of bringing waste collection services back into public ownership. [33584/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The obligations on local authorities in relation to collecting household waste are set out in section 33 of the Waste Management Act 1996, as amended. In summary, it provides that each local authority shall collect, or arrange for the collection of, household waste within its functional area. The obligation to collect or arrange for the collection of household waste shall not apply if:

· an adequate waste collection service is available in the local authority's functional area,

· the estimated costs of the collection of the waste would, in the opinion of the local authority, be unreasonably high, or

· the local authority is satisfied that adequate arrangements for the disposal of the waste concerned can reasonably be made by the holder of the waste.

It is always open to each local authority to re-enter the market on a commercial basis as they see fit and in line with legislation.

Under section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act 1996, as Minister, I am precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to the performance by a local authority, in particular circumstances, of a statutory function vested in it.

Wind Energy Generation

Question No. 2276 answered with Question No. 2184.

Ceisteanna (2275)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

2275. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the estimated cost of producing 100% of electricity from wind. [33586/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In the recently launched All of Government Climate Action Plan, I have set a target of 70% for renewable electricity by 2030, to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change.

Analysis and modelling to underpin the Plan assessed a range of options to ensure that Ireland meets its 2030 climate and energy ambitions. The Plan is not a capital budgeting plan, but does identify the range of technical, regulatory, legislative and economic factors that arise in realising this target. Major capital investment will be needed in new generation capacity, but also in system service infrastructure and electricity transmission and distribution networks. In addition, increased interconnection (including to France and further interconnection to the UK) will be required to facilitate the large up-scaling in onshore and offshore wind required so that we can balance the grid and ensure supply security.

Looking beyond 2030, moving to a fully renewable electricity system would require even greater investment in interconnection, storage and potentially other technologies such as carbon capture and storage to support the extra renewable energy capacity required.

More broadly, the Government supports the adoption of a net zero target by 2050 at EU level. The Climate Action Plan puts in place a decarbonisation pathway to 2030 which would be consistent with the adoption of a net zero target in Ireland by 2050. The Plan also commits to evaluating in detail the changes which would be necessary in Ireland to achieve this target including for the electricity sector.

Question No. 2276 answered with Question No. 2184.

Noise Pollution

Ceisteanna (2277)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

2277. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on whether Ireland is fully compliant with EU Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33772/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The European Communities (Environmental Noise) Regulations 2018 (S. I. No 549 of 2018) transpose EU Directive 2002/49/EC4 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise. The Directive aims to provide a common framework to avoid, prevent or reduce, on a prioritised basis, the harmful effects of exposure to environmental noise. For the purposes of these Regulations, environmental noise means unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities, including noise emitted by means of transport and from sites of industrial activity.

The Regulations set out a two-stage process for addressing environmental noise. Firstly, noise must be assessed through the preparation of strategic noise maps for areas and infrastructure falling within defined criteria, e.g. large agglomerations, major roads, railways and airports. Secondly, based on the results of the mapping process, the Regulations require the preparation of noise action plans for each area concerned. The fundamental objective of action plans is the prevention and reduction of environmental noise.

The Regulations assign primary responsibility for both noise mapping and action planning to local authorities. While a number of other bodies also have noise mapping functions, they will be carried out on behalf of the local authorities concerned. The Regulations designate the Environmental Protection Agency as the National Authority for the purposes of the Regulations. The Agency's role includes supervisory, advisory and co-ordination functions in relation to both noise mapping and action planning, as well as reporting requirements for the purpose of the Directive. Further information on strategic noise maps and action plans is available at the following link: https://gis.epa.ie/EPAMaps/.

The Regulations provide for strategic noise maps and action plans to be made available to the general public for consultation and I would encourage the public to participate in this consultation process.

Alternative Energy Projects

Ceisteanna (2278, 2279)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

2278. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the expected timeline for the introduction of grid feed-in tariffs for domestic solar energy systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33779/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

2279. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce solar energy system incentives specifically for schools and other public buildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33780/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2278 and 2279 together.

The All of Government Climate Action Plan, which I recently launched, will ensure that Ireland will reach our 2030 targets and will put us on the right trajectory to meet net zero emissions by 2050. One of the Plan deliverables will be the development of a support policy for micro-generation which will provide a pathway to the public to participate in and benefit from this transition. Action 30 of the Plan, which includes the establishment of a working group in Q3 2019, sets out the steps necessary and timelines for the delivery of an enabling framework for micro-generation. It is intended that the working group will be established shortly.

The Plan provides that a support payment for excess electricity generated on site and exported to the grid will be available to all micro-generators by 2021. As laid out in the Annex of Actions, the ESB Networks (ESBN) and the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) will assess potential implications for the distribution network of higher penetrations of micro-generation by the end of 2019.

More broadly, it is important that we improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, including our homes, workplaces and schools, by meeting higher energy performance standards and by increasing retrofit activity. The Climate Action Plan recognises that public bodies can act to stimulate and inspire wider action and confers a new responsibility on each public sector body to demonstrate leadership through a Climate Action Mandate. Leading and incentivising solar energy systems for schools and other public buildings are matters for the Department of Education and Skills and the Office Of Public Works respectively.

In addition, SEAI co-operates with the Department of Education and Skills in running an Energy in Education Programme.

Ministerial Meetings

Question No. 2281 answered with Question No. 2168.

Ceisteanna (2280)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

2280. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the full schedule of meetings that he and his officials and advisers have had with persons directly involved with a company (details supplied) to date in 2019 will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33812/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The NBP procurement process, by its nature, has involved a significant level of interaction with each of the bidders that participated in that process, including more than 300 meetings to date between the NBP Procurement Team and representatives of the Preferred Bidder since the Competitive Dialogue, which forms part of the procurement process, commenced in July 2016.

Meetings with the Preferred Bidder are ongoing to ensure all necessary financial and legal requirements are in place prior to financial close and award of contract.

Question No. 2281 answered with Question No. 2168.

Hazardous Substances Disposal

Question No. 2283 answered with Question No. 2231.

Ceisteanna (2282)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

2282. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his Department has researched the safety of battery storage facilities; if there are guidelines issued in relation to such developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33971/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I am advised that battery Energy Storage System (BESS) projects are new in Ireland, but have been successfully and safely built in many countries around the world including the UK and other European countries.

As regards the safety of large-scale battery storage facilities for the purposes of electricity generation, this is a matter variously for the builders, owners and/or operators of such a facility, having regard to the requirements of relevant legislative regimes, including health and safety, fire safety and planning. I am also advised by EirGrid that grid storage systems are designed and built to comply with well-established international standards that validate that the safety protection is appropriate to the intended use.

I am advised that there are no specific Irish or EU guidelines covering battery storage facilities and that they are covered by health and safety regulations. The local/planning authority has a significant role in relation to battery storage facility developments in its capacity as planning authority, building authority and fire authority. Fire safety at battery storage facilities is for the planning and fire safety regimes. A battery storage development is obliged to be developed in accordance with relevant building control regulations and fire safety legislation. Whether via the local authority and/or the An Bord Pleanála process, such developments will require planning permission. I have no direct function in planning policy matters.

Question No. 2283 answered with Question No. 2231.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (2284)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2284. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timescale for the broadband roll-out for County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34020/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision of 7th May this year, to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan. Under this plan, Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ensure that those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas.

Since December 2015, the number of premises with access to high speed broadband in Co. Kildare has increased by 10,409. In total, the number of premises in Kildare with access to high speed broadband is now 78,421, which equates to 84% of all premises in the county. Another 492 will be served by Eir under that company’s ongoing rural deployment of a high speed broadband network.

The remaining 13,956 homes, schools and businesses in Kildare will receive access to high speed broadband under the Government’s National Broadband Plan.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder subject to contract close and the finalisation of financial and legal requirements; this work is progressing. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after contract close.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. In the first year of 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.

The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises at the end of the second year, with 70,000-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll-out is completed.

North-South Interconnector

Ceisteanna (2285)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

2285. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the detailed cost analyses carried out in respect of the proposed North-South interconnector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34041/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

EirGrid is the designated Transmission System Operator and its role includes the operation, maintenance and development of the electricity transmission network in Ireland. The construction of the North South Interconnector is an operational matter for EirGrid and ESB Networks and one in which I have no function.

The North South interconnector has been subject to economic analysis and the benefit to cost ratio is very positive. The most recent EirGrid estimates state that the construction costs for the North South Interconnector amount to €180 million for the section that lies in Ireland and £109.3 million being incurred in Northern Ireland.

It is envisaged that the project will lead to initial savings of €20 million in its first year of service, increasing to between €40 million and €60 million each year by 2030, shared between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Much of these savings result from reductions in network constraints that will accrue from its delivery.

North-South Interconnector

Ceisteanna (2286, 2287)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

2286. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if EirGrid sought approval for procurement for the proposed North-South interconnector from the regulator in Northern Ireland in the full knowledge that no planning permission had been granted at that time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34069/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

2287. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the commencement of the procurement process for the proposed North-South interconnector in view of the fact that planning permission had not been granted in Northern Ireland; his views on whether the full planning approval process should have been finalised before procurement commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34070/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2286 and 2287 together.

EirGrid is the designated Transmission System Operator and its role includes the operation, maintenance and development of the electricity transmission network in Ireland. The construction of the North South Interconnector, and all related procurement activities, is an operational matter for EirGrid and ESB Networks and one in which I have no function.

I am advised that due to the very long lead times that can arise in relation to projects of this nature and the benefits of a single joint procurement process to be undertaken and managed by ESB Networks, EirGrid sought approval from the regulators in Ireland and Northern Ireland to commence procurement. Following this approval, in September 2017 ESB Networks commenced a number of procurement processes in relation to the project.

In June 2019 ESB Networks awarded a framework contract for the design, test and supply of steelwork in relation to the project. However under this framework there will be no supply of materials and no critical procurement process for construction will be concluded until the planning process in Northern Ireland is complete

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (2288)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

2288. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of capital projects within the remit of his Department; the amount spent on each project to date; and the anticipated completion date. [34197/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Capital expenditure in my Department comprises, in the main, grant funding for sustainable energy programmes administered by the SEAI and for energy research, operational funding for the Department and Agencies under its remit, as well as grant funding to Local Authorities under the landfill remediation scheme.

Within the Department, capital projects are delivered primarily in the Communications and Natural Resources Programme areas, and in this regard, the information requested by the Deputy is shown in the following Table:

Project

Expenditure to Date

Anticipated Completion Date

Status

National Postcode System (Eircodes)

€26.2m

The contract was awarded in 2013 for a ten year period to 2023, extendable by a further five years at the discretion of the Minister.

Eircode adoption and usage continues to grow significantly since its launch in July 2015. By 2018, over 1,130 business organisations and State agencies were using Eircodes within their business operations across a wide spectrum of sectors.

Tellus, National Airborne Geophysical & Ground Geochemical Mapping Programme

€17.43m

2028

Tellus is GSI's programme of scientific data collection on soils, water and rocks by ground geochemical sampling and airborne geophysical surveys. More than 50% of country has been completed since 2014.

INFOMAR, National Marine Mapping Programme

€13.9m

2026

Phase 1 of GSI's INFOMAR Programme to map Ireland's entire marine territory was completed on time and under budget in 2016.

Phase 2 is progressing well, and is on course for completion by 2026.

In May 2019, the Government approved the appointment of a Preferred Bidder for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State Intervention. The award of the contract to the Bidder is subject to contract close and the finalisation of financial and legal requirements; this work is progressing. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that. The procurement process has determined that the maximum cost to the State over the 25-year term of the project will be €2.1 billion, excluding VAT of €355 million and contingency of €480 million.

Fuel Oil Specifications

Ceisteanna (2289)

John Curran

Ceist:

2289. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to increase the ethanol petrol mix from 5% to 10% E10 here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34229/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The All of Government Climate Action Plan, which I launched on 17 June this year, sets out the need to increase the volume of biofuels used in petrol vehicles to 10% and in diesel vehicles to 12%.

This will be achieved through the development of the Biofuels Obligation Scheme, which requires suppliers of liquid road transport fuels to ensure that biofuels make up a portion of annual fuel sales.

A public consultation will commence later this year which will inform the necessary changes to the scheme, how to address the challenges associated with increased biofuel blends and the timelines for increases in obligations on fuel suppliers.

Waste Disposal Charges

Question No. 2291 answered with Question No. 2182.

Ceisteanna (2290)

John Curran

Ceist:

2290. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the meeting on 13 June 2019 went ahead with the relevant agencies and stakeholders to deliver the annual support of €75 for the disposal of medical incontinence wear for vulnerable persons to help meet the average annual cost of disposing of domestic waste; the progress made as a result of the meeting; when the support will be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34231/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Since mid-2017, a range of charging options have been operated, which encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste, and provides flexibility to waste collectors to develop various service-price offerings that suit different household circumstances. Mandatory per kilogramme 'pay by weight' charging was not introduced. A Price Monitoring Group (PMG) was established in mid-2017 to monitor the on-going cost of residential waste collection to homeowners across Ireland as the ‘flat-rate structure’ was being phased out. While fluctuations in prices and service offerings have been observed, the overall trend has been relative price stability.

My Department has engaged with relevant stakeholders, including representative organisations and public bodies, in an effort to see how best to provide a financial support to persons with long-term incontinence with respect to the disposal of medical incontinence wear. In this regard a meeting was held with representative organisations on 13 June 2019 where details of the current situation regarding the proposed support were outlined along with a summary of my Department’s efforts to date to develop a suitable mechanism to deliver this support.

Notwithstanding the complex issues at play, which are understandable given the sensitive nature of the medical data in question, I assure the Deputy that I continue to be committed to addressing this issue.

Question No. 2291 answered with Question No. 2182.

Online Safety

Ceisteanna (2292)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

2292. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of actions contained within the Action Plan for Online Safety, with reference to the amount of funding allocated to each action. [34345/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Action Plan for Online Safety was launched by the Taoiseach in July 2018 following engagement with a wide range of stakeholders. The Action Plan aims to put in place a multi-stakeholder approach in place for strengthening online safety and is being implemented by a Sponsor’s Group made up of six Government Departments. It is chaired by the Department of Education and Skills which also co-ordinates the publication of bi-annual Progress Reports on the Plan.

The other five Departments responsible for delivering these actions are the Department of Health; the Department of Justice and Equality; the Department of Children and Youth Affairs; the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation; and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

The Action Plan comprises 25 targeted actions to be implemented over an 18-month period. The two key actions assigned to my Department by the Action Plan relate to developing a Government response to the issues raised by the Digital Safety Commissioner Bill 2017, i.e. the regulation of harmful online content (Action 18), and the transposition of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (Action 17). The development of an Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill encompasses these two actions and work on preparing this legislation is underway. A public consultation in respect of the legislation closed in April and involved advertising expenditure of €9,870.

Another key action assigned to my Department was the establishment of the National Advisory Council for Online Safety (Actions 20 & 24), which meets on a quarterly basis and for which my Department provides the Secretariat. The Council comprises representatives of non-governmental organisations, industry and public bodies relevant to online safety. The Council published a progress report on Safer Internet Day, 5 February 2019 (Action 19). In addition, funding of circa €100,000 has been made available by my Department to fund a proposal adopted by the National Advisory Council for Online Safety to conduct online safety research.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (2293)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

2293. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of times that he and-or Ministers of State within his Department have met An Taoiseach regarding the Action Plan for Online Safety. [34346/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Department has no records of meetings between the Minister or Minister of State and An Taoiseach in relation to the Action Plan for Online Safety.

Water Services Provision

Ceisteanna (2294)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

2294. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to discussions at EU level regarding the potential partial liberalisation of the water market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34387/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I would like to clarify for the Deputy that I have no function in relation to water policy, which falls within the remit of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.