Questions Nos. 1511 and 1512 answered with Question No. 1469.

Energy Schemes

Ceisteanna (1513, 1529, 1531)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1513. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the financial position of some applicants of the deep retrofit scheme (details supplied); the way in which the scheme complies with the customer charter of SEAI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35586/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

1529. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if funding will be granted for applications that were submitted prior to the closing date in July 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36278/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

David Cullinane

Ceist:

1531. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the application made by persons (details supplied) for a grant under the SEAI grant-aided deep retrofit project that was made in the first half of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36328/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1513, 1529 and 1531 together.

The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme was launched in 2017 as a time bound pilot to investigate the challenges and opportunities of deep retrofit in Ireland. The scheme was intended to run for 3 years and closed for applications on 19 July in line with the published Application Guidelines.

The scheme is funded by my Department and operated by the SEAI. However, as Minister, I have no function in relation to individual applications to the scheme. The Pilot provides 50% funding for energy upgrades to an A BER rating with 95% funding provided for low-income households. The total budget for the scheme this year is €10 million – double the amount spent on the scheme last year. The latest data available indicates that €1.2 million has been paid in grants under the scheme in 2019.

All applications that were received before the July 19th closing date are currently under evaluation by the SEAI. I expect Service Providers to be informed of the status of their application later this month. All successful applications will be funded from within my Department's budget allocation for energy efficiency retrofit schemes in 2019 and 2020. Works on homes should not commence until a grant approval letter of offer is received.

Environmental Protection Agency

Question No. 1515 answered with Question No. 1501.

Ceisteanna (1514)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

1514. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if research studies have been carried out by a Department or the Environmental Protection Agency on the environmental impact and health risks of power plants; if a study of same has been carried out at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35612/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Environmental Protection Agency undertakes a range of regulatory tasks relating to the licensing, permitting, consenting or certification of activities that could have an impact on the environment or on human health. In this context, the Agency is the competent authority for granting and enforcing industrial and waste licences and undertakes an annual programme of audits and inspections of EPA-licensed facilities. Further information in this regard is available on the Agency's website at www.epa.ie As this matter comes within the remit of the Agency, the Minister has no function in relation to the licencing or oversight of the facilities referred to in the Deputy’s question.

Question No. 1515 answered with Question No. 1501.

Departmental Customer Charters

Ceisteanna (1516)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1516. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of complaints his Department received under the customer service charter in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if his attention has been drawn to issues and or problems in having complaints registered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35639/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

There were fifteen customer complaints received by my Department in 2017. There were thirteen customer complaints received in 2018. To date in 2019 the Department has received twenty-one complaints.No issues or problems in registering complaints have been brought to my Department's attention.

National Broadband Plan

Question No. 1518 answered with Question No. 1485.

Ceisteanna (1517)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

1517. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the network to be built under the national broadband plan will be in public ownership as recommended by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35715/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In July 2016 the Government selected the gap funded model as the optimum ownership model for the NBP State intervention. The Government considered two ownership models, having narrowed the options from five models.

The NBP State intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. In May of this year I 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.

The Government Decision 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. As the procurement process has been carried out on the basis of a gap-funded model, a change in that model would require a new procurement process.

Work continues on finalising the contract and in parallel to this work, I am considering the recommendations contained in the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee which was published recently. I will bring my deliberations on the report to Government in due course.

Question No. 1518 answered with Question No. 1485.

Community Involvement Scheme

Question No. 1520 answered with Question No. 1502.

Ceisteanna (1519)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

1519. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the supports being offered in relation to a case (details supplied) in view of recent developments; the status of the matter; the agencies involved in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35994/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

My understanding is that the Deputy is referring to the possibility of Monaghan County Council making an application to the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport under the Community Involvement Regional and Local Grant Programme, i.e. the Community Involvement Scheme, with the aim of facilitating the repair of the local roads affected by the events in and around Magheracloone. This is a matter in the first instance for Monaghan County Council and, when and if an application is made, for the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

My Department continues to work with Monaghan County Council and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that the situation at Magheracloone is managed satisfactorily and resolved as promptly as possible and, in that context, I welcome the recent decision by the Local Authority to reopen the LP 4900 Road.

Question No. 1520 answered with Question No. 1502.

Energy Schemes

Ceisteanna (1521)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

1521. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position in circumstances in which a person had not applied for the SEAI deep retrofit grant before July 2019 in view of the fact they were awaiting planning permission with the aim of undertaking a deep retrofit in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36077/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme was launched in 2017 as a time bound pilot to investigate the challenges and opportunities of deep retrofit in Ireland. The pilot was intended to run for 3 years and closed for applications on 19 July in line with the published scheme Application Guidelines. The scheme is funded by my Department and operated by the SEAI. While the Deep Retrofit Pilot is now closed to new applications, a number of other grants for energy efficiency works remain available. Further information on the grants available from SEAI can be found on their website - www.seai.ie/grants . Since 2000, over 400,000 homeowners have received direct support under these schemes to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. This year I have allocated €100m to these schemes.

Waste Disposal

Ceisteanna (1522)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1522. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the role he has in approving WEEE operations; the basis on which an organisation do not operate in certain areas (details supplied) for WEEE or portable battery recycling; and the way in which the recycling of such items is organised in these areas. [36096/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Under the terms of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Batteries and Accumulators Directives, financing the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and portable batteries is solely a producer responsibility. Two collective compliance schemes, acting on behalf of producers of EEE and batteries, are operating in Ireland. These compliance schemes, WEEE Ireland and European Recycling Platform Ireland, are responsible for the recycling of all household WEEE and batteries deposited at designated collection points. These compliance schemes are also responsible for ensuring that recovered WEEE and batteries are recycled in an environmentally sound manner and for putting in place tracking and auditing systems for materials recovery in line with the requirements of the Directives. Compliance schemes operate under a Ministerial approval in accordance with Part 5 of both the European Union (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Regulations 2014 and the European Union (Batteries and Accumulators) Regulations 2014. This approval sets out the terms and conditions under which compliance schemes are approved to act as both a WEEE and Batteries compliance scheme in accordance with an application to my Department. The purpose of this approval is to ensure clear service ownership, accountability and responsibilities with a view to ensuring that compliance schemes are discharging their statutory functions in an efficient and effective manner.

The market share of each compliance scheme’s producer members impacts its designated geographic collection area in Ireland. The designation is based on a voluntary accord between the two schemes and is determined on the basis of the average percentage of the member’s market share of EEE and batteries placed on the market.

European Recycling Platform Ireland currently collect in 8 functional areas - Fingal, Clare, Kerry, Limerick, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath with WEEE Ireland, the larger of the two schemes, providing a collection service in all other local authority areas. It should be noted that designated geographic areas are periodically re-organised in accordance with market share changes. The fact that compliance schemes operate on a “not for profit” basis allows for such co-operation and ensures that a nationwide WEEE and batteries collection service is provided to the public in the most efficient manner possible.

Legislative Reviews

Ceisteanna (1523)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

1523. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to update the Inland Fisheries Act 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36106/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Inland Fisheries Act 2010 is being reviewed as part of a broader initiative within my Department to consolidate and modernise all primary legislation governing inland fisheries. A significant and challenging work programme is underway in the Department on the proposed new consolidated legislation. This involves complex and technical considerations in order to update and consolidate a series of 14 enactments (including the 2010 Act) since the Fisheries Consolidation Act of 1959 (the Principal Act). In that context, it should be noted that the consolidation project is particularly challenging given that the 1959 Act is itself a consolidation of legislation dating back to the 1800s.

Work is on-going on a comprehensive draft scheme as part of the established legislative process.

Departmental Internships

Ceisteanna (1524)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1524. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of unpaid internships issued and-or granted to persons to work in his Department over the past five years to 28 August 2019; the number of persons that took up unpaid internship roles in that timeframe; if his Department continues to offer unpaid internships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36143/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

My Department offers unpaid internships to assist applicants gain work experience in their area and to further their skills in seeking employment. Unpaid internships have been granted as follows:

Year

Number of Interns

2019 (to 28 August)

4

2018

1

2017

1

2016

1

2015

1

Mining Industry

Ceisteanna (1525)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

1525. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the procedure in relation to the granting of permission for large-scale rocket blasting of rock; the purposes for which the practice is authorised; the person or body that authorises same; and the way in which it is managed and overseen with particular reference to the relevant legislation and or regulations governing same.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36163/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The use of blasting is the most efficient method for breaking large amounts of rock in mining and quarrying.

All operational mines and quarries are subject to conditions contained within their Integrated Pollution Control licences issued by the Environmental Protection Authority in regard to noise and vibration levels and environmental emissions resulting from blasting.

Mines and quarries are also subject to conditions contained within their Planning Permissions issued by the relevant local authority in regard to the times when blasting can take place. This comes within the area of responsibility of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The health, safety and welfare at work aspects of the use of explosives in mines and quarries is subject to oversight by the Health and Safety Authority under the provisions of the Safety, Health And Welfare At Work (Quarries) Regulations 2008 and the Safety, Health and Welfare At Work (Mines) Regulations 2018. These matters fall within the area of responsibility of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Protected Disclosures

Ceisteanna (1526)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1526. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the safeguards in place to protect the identity of the person who has made the protected disclosure in instances in which protected disclosures are shared with external consultants; if the person who made the protected disclosure is notified in advance; if their consent is required to share the disclosure with external consultants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36201/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The premise of the Protected Disclosure Act 2014 is to protect the identity of the Discloser insofar as is possible. My Department strives to protect the identity of the Discloser at all times. On occasion, in order for an effective investigation to take place, it may be necessary to release the Discloser’s identity. In this case the Discloser would be consulted with in advance.

Cyber Security Protocols

Ceisteanna (1527)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

1527. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if there are dedicated, professionally trained and certified cybersecurity staff in relation to cybersecurity protocols under the remit of his Department; if such specialists are being recruited; if his Department maintains a risk register of security breaches; if so, if there are staff that analyse, log and maintain such a register; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36223/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Cyber Security Centre is part of my Department and has responsibility for the implementation of the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive. My Department works closely with the NCSC on the department's own internal network security and implements its recommendations as appropriate. The NCSC encompasses the State’s National/Governmental Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT-IE). CSIRT-IE is an internationally accredited response team.

The Department has recruited and employs appropriately trained and qualified personnel to the NCSC. Currently there is no active recruitment.

My Department applies the relevant cyber security protocols in its network, applications, data, operations, disaster recovery, business continuity and staff awareness through our Shared Service agreement with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). Under the arrangement, my Department relies on the resources of DAFM in relation to any cyber security incident.

Cyber Security Protocols

Question No. 1529 answered with Question No. 1513.

Ceisteanna (1528)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

1528. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if there is formal collaboration between agencies, Departments, law enforcement and the military with regard to cybersecurity and guidance on best practice and intelligence sharing in relation to cybersecurity protocols under the remit of his Department; if his Department has a disaster recovery plan, business continuity plan and or disaster recovery sites; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36239/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The security of the State and its citizens is a matter of the highest priority for the Government, with cyber security posing a particular challenge due to its dynamic and cross cutting nature. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was formally established in 2011 and is a part of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and is the primary State body with responsibility for Cyber Security matters, including the operation of a Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT). The CSIRT is the national incidence response unit, and deals with a large number of incidents each year, across Government and critical national infrastructure.

The NCSC is composed of highly skilled, specialist technical staff with skillsets across a range of cyber security related disciplines. In addition to the incident response roles, the NCSC also has a role around improving the resilience of critical national infrastructure and also acts as a conduit for information on cyber security matters to its constituent base. This information includes general cyber security information via the NCSC’s Alert & Advisory System, as well as very specific and targeted information, including threat intelligence, which is provided directly to entities. The NCSC also provides expert advice and analysis on cyber security issues and is involved in coordinating the response to significant incidents.

Intelligence sharing between An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and Critical National Infrastructure takes place on an ongoing basis, including via the Threat Sharing Group, which is a cross government forum for information exchange on cyber security and related matters. The NCSC also works very closely with international counterparts in identifying and managing any incidents or matters arising that pose a threat to the security of the State or infrastructure here, including by means of the exchange of threat intelligence information.

Question No. 1529 answered with Question No. 1513.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Question No. 1531 answered with Question No. 1513.

Ceisteanna (1530)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

1530. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the residents of an estate (details supplied) will have high speed broadband access delivered under the national broadband plan in view of the fact that commercial operators are not delivering or have indicated there are no plans to deliver such services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36283/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Since the initial publication of the High Speed Broadband Map (available at www.broadband.gov.ie) my Department has monitored the deployment of broadband infrastructure by commercial operators across the country and will continue to do so. The Map is dynamic. This means that either during the procurement, or following award of an NBP contract, the Map can be updated to reflect new commercial plans, or previous plans that have failed to materialise. This flexibility allows for an increase or decrease in the number of premises included in the State Intervention area. For example, should telecommunications operators’ plans for premises in commercial areas of the Map (marked as BLUE on the Map) not materialise it may become necessary for my Department to intervene and include premises in the State Intervention.

As part of this ongoing monitoring my Department is currently conducting a consultation on the Map. Mabestown is one of the areas that have been identified as containing some premises where plans from commercial premises have not materialised. As part of this process my Department is seeking submissions from individuals such as those in Mabestown. Individuals can make a submission, providing details of any correspondence with service providers where they requested a broadband service, the Eircode of the premises and any other relevant information via the dedicated email address for the consultation nbpmapping@dccae.gov.ie by 20th September 2019.

Question No. 1531 answered with Question No. 1513.

Better Energy Homes Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (1532, 1533)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

1532. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the uptake of SEAI grants in County Mayo since the grant was introduced to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36334/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

1533. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of SEAI grant applications denied in County Mayo since the grant was introduced to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36335/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1532 and 1533 together.

This year the Government through the SEAI will invest €147.6 million in sustainable energy and energy efficiency, including free upgrades for low income households, up from €120 million in 2018. In 2018, 21,350 homeowners, 2,000 motorists, and 310 businesses received grant assistance from SEAI schemes.

The Better Energy Homes grants administered by the SEAI are funded by my Department. Grants are available to homeowners for insulation, heating controls, heat pumps, solar PV and solar thermal hot water heating systems.

The majority of the home energy grants are available to homeowners whose properties were built before 2006. Since the introduction of these grants nearly 400,000 homes across the country have received an energy efficiency upgrade, representing nearly one home in four across the country

The following document sets out the number of applications completed, and number of cancelled applications in Co Mayo for each measure under the Better Energy Homes Scheme since 2012. Applications can be cancelled for various reasons such as ineligibility for the scheme or change of mind by the homeowner.

A range of other home energy schemes are funded by my Department and administered by the SEAI. The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme provides a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households vulnerable to energy poverty who meet the defined eligibility criteria.

The following table sets out the number of homes in Co. Mayo that received energy efficiency upgrades under the Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme between 2016 and 2019 (Year to Date).

Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme

2016

2017

2018

2019 YTD

No. of Homes Completed – Co. Mayo

290

455

216

130

The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme was launched in 2017 as a time bound pilot to investigate the challenges and opportunities of deep retrofit in Ireland. The pilot was intended to run for 3 years and the scheme closed for applications on 19 July in line with the published scheme Application Guidelines. The Pilot provides 50% funding for upgrades to homes to an A BER rating with 95% funding provided for low-income households.

The following table sets out the number of homes upgraded to an A BER rating in Co. Mayo in 2018. Details for 2019 are not currently available as the projects are ongoing and not yet completed.

Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme

2018

No. of Homes Completed - Co. Mayo

64

In addition, the Better Energy Community (BEC) Scheme also funds community based partnerships to improve the energy efficiency of the building stock in their area – homes, community facilities and businesses. The attached document contains details of the Better Energy Community projects funded in Co. Mayo in 2017 and 2018.

Better Energy Homes Scheme

Ceisteanna (1534)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

1534. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to extend the SEAI grant to homes built after 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36336/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

This year the Government through the SEAI will invest €147.6 million in sustainable energy and energy efficiency, including free upgrades for low income households, up from €120 million in 2018. In 2018, 21,350 homeowners, 2,000 motorists, and 310 businesses received grant assistance from SEAI schemes. The Better Energy Programme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The aim of the programme is to improve the energy efficiency of our built environment, in a way which represents the best possible use of Exchequer funding. This involves targeting supports where they can achieve the most energy savings. This includes limiting eligible homes to those built and occupied before 2006.

As new homes are already required to meet specific energy performance standards and to incorporate renewables under Building Regulations, grant support is currently focussed on improving the condition of existing dwellings. Grant funding further works in more recently built homes that already meet certain levels of energy performance would not represent a cost-effective use of Exchequer funds.

SEAI does however also offer grant assistance for heat pumps, Solar Thermal and Solar PV (including battery storage) for homes built and occupied before 2011.

Illegal Dumping

Ceisteanna (1535)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

1535. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the level of funding provided to Mayo County Council for clean-up projects in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36337/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In recognition of the impact of illegal dumping on communities across the country, my Department developed the Anti-Dumping Initiative (ADI) to identify high risk or problem areas, develop appropriate enforcement responses and carry out clean-up operations in partnership with local authorities and community organisations. My Department has provided funding of €1.2 million and €1.8 million to the ADI in 2017 and 2018 respectively. A further allocation of €3 million is being made available this year which will support over 280 projects across the country.

Details of this year’s allocations and the projects funded by the ADI in 2017 and 2018, including allocations made to Mayo County Council can be accessed on my Department's website at the following link:

https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/waste/enforcement/anti-dumping-initiative/Pages/AntiDumpingInitiative.aspx.