Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (548)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

548. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the uptake in the schemes to protect the agri-food industry during the Brexit process; the efforts taken to promote schemes in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53408/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I have introduced a number of supports for farmers and the agri-food sector to assist in addressing the challenges posed by Brexit.  These include the Agriculture Cash Flow Support Loan Scheme, the Brexit Loan Scheme, the Future Growth Loan Scheme and the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure. 

The uptake of these schemes is as follows:

Title of  Scheme  

Details  

 Uptake to 6 December 2019  

Agriculture Cash Flow Support Loan Scheme

  

Developed in co-operation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)

  

Funding of  €150m

  

Cash flow support facility, providing farmers with a low cost, flexible source of working capital loan amounts up to €150,000 for up to six years at an interest rate of 2.95%

  

Scheme closed.

Approximately 4,246 applications to the value of €145m

Average loan size of €34,127

  

Average loan period of 41 months

Brexit Loan Scheme

  

Joint DAFM/DBEI/Dept. of Finance/SBCI Scheme

  

Funding of €300m

  

Operable 28 March 2018 to 31 March 2020

  

Loans of €25,000 to €1,500,000 per eligible enterprise

  

Maximum interest rate of 4%, ranging from 1 year to 3 years

  

At least 40% available to food businesses

  

Unsecured loans up to €500,000

822 applications approved

218 to the value of approx. €47.4m have been sanctioned

38 (with a value of €9.56m) relate to food businesses

20 loans to the value of €5,715,000 have been drawn down in Cork as at 16 December 2019

Future Growth Loan Scheme

Joint DBEI/DAFM Scheme

Funding of €300m available since 17 Apr 2019

Available to Irish businesses, including farmers and the agri-food & seafood sectors

Applications submitted through the SBCI since 17th April 2019

  

2,215 applications approved

  

615 loans progressed to sanction at bank level.

  

Total value of sanctioned loans is €116.9m

  

284 (with a value of €32.5m) relate to farmers and to 49 food businesses worth €13.7m.

  

85 loans have been sanctioned in Cork totalling €14,731,000

  

39 of them, to a value of €6,942,000, have been drawn down

Beef Exceptional Aid Measure

  

34,517 eligible applications received.

  

A further 560 applications have been submitted under appeal from applicants that have been deemed ineligible but who have requested to be considered for inclusion in the scheme.

  

Payments commenced in December 2019.

  

The scheme is closed.

  

€78,192,380 in potential payments (not including allocations to the 560 appealed applications)

  

Average payment €2,265

 

Agriculture Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (549)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

549. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the waiting times for the various payment schemes operated by his Department, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53409/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in tabular form below.  Applications under all the schemes are subject to strict validation and approval processes to ensure the legality, regularity and accuracy of payments.  Payments are issued when these processes are complete.   

Scheme

Payment Timeline

ANC

Under the terms and conditions of the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme, applications must be submitted by the closing date of 15th May each year.  2019 advance payments of 85% commenced to valid, clear applications in September.  Balancing payments of 15% commenced in December, in line with EU regulatory requirements

BPS

Under the terms and conditions of the Basic Payment Scheme, applications must be submitted by the closing date of 15th May each year. EU regulations stipulate that payment cannot commence before 16th October. 2019 - advance  payments of 70% commenced to valid, clear applications on that date.   Balancing payments of 30% commenced from 1st December.

TAMS

Eligible TAMS payments are paid within set targets as follows 

Approval for payment within 2 months following receipt of the claim for payment (including all required supporting documentation) and the completion of investments;

Payments issue within 3 weeks of approval for payment when it has been determined that approved work has been completed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the scheme.

GLAS

GLAS advance payments are made after BPS advance payments and commence in November once all validation checks are complete and continue on a weekly basis as cases pass validation. GLAS balancing payments issue when all the required on farm inspections have been carried out and normally commence the following May and continue on a weekly basis as cases pass validation.

Organics

Payment under the Organic Farming Scheme commenced in November and will continue as applications pass all the prepayment validations.

Forestry

Under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme and other support schemes such as the Woodland Improvement Scheme, Forest Road Scheme, and Reconstitution Schemes, grant payments commence within 6 weeks for non-inspection cases and within 12 weeks for inspection cases.

In respect of Forestry Knowledge Transfer Groups, payments are made following receipt of complete payment applications by the end of each fiscal year. 

Burren Scheme & EIP

Payment under these schemes commenced in November and will continue as   applications pass all the pre-payment validations.

Knowledge Transfer

Year 3 of the Knowledge Transfer Scheme ended at the end of July, 2019.  Payments commenced in respect of Year 3 at the end of September 2019. 

 Sheep Welfare Scheme

The Sheep Welfare Scheme is a four year scheme, with each year opening for renewals and new entrants in January.  Year 3 opened in January 2019.  Advance payments for Year 3 commenced in November, 2019 with balancing payments due to commence in Quarter 2 of 2020.

Beef Data and Genomics Programmes

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) was launched in 2015. It is a five year programme and forms part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. A second programme, BDGP II, was launched in 2017 and will run until 2022.

Payments in respect of 2019 commenced on the week of the 2nd of December 2019.  Payments will continue to issue on an on-going basis as more farmers verify their compliance with the 2019 scheme requirements.

Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot

Applications to participate in the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot were accepted between 4th and 22nd February 2019.  Payments to participants who had carried out the required actions in respect of all of their eligible animals commenced in October 2019.

Beef Exceptional Aid Measure

Applications for the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure were accepted from 19th August to 20th September 2019.  Payments under the measure started to issue on the week commencing the 9th of December 2019.

Over €1.72bn has issued directly to farmers under various schemes administered by my Department since September, 2019.

National Broadband Plan Expenditure

Ceisteanna (550)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

550. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount spent to date on the national broadband plan; and the cost of external consultants, legal advice and services and internal Departmental staff costs, respectively in this regard. [52829/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The contract that I signed with National Broadband Ireland on 19 November is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

The total amount spent to date on the National Broadband Plan is €30.905 million. This amount is largely comprised of the cost of external advisers, as well as other costs associated with the procurement process. The external advisers have provided advice across a broad range of expertise including, technical advice, financial and procurement advice, legal advice, economic and strategic advice, environmental advice and insurance and tax advice. The cost of external advisers to date is €30.224 million.

My Department's NBP team has also been supported by other officers across the Department. While the Department does not operate on a basis of allocating costs for each staff member across its range of functions, salary and other administration related costs for the Department are published in the annual Estimates and in the Appropriation Account.

Departmental Strategies

Ceisteanna (551)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

551. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the rate of energy poverty here; the way in which it compares to the EU average; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52945/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The government is committed to taking action to tackle energy poverty. Since the publication of the Government's Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty 2016 - 2019:

- the level of energy poverty has dropped from 28% to 17.4%. This is a significant improvement.

- the proportion of people who report that they are unable to afford to keep the home adequately warm, a decrease on the 2015 figure of 9% to 4.4%

The government continued to prioritise measures to tackle energy poverty in Budget 2020. Budget 2020 announced a package of supports, to be funded from revenues arising from the increase in the carbon tax, for those on lower incomes who are most affected by the transition. An increase of €2 per week in the Fuel Allowance will be introduced in January 2020. As well as this, an additional €13million is being made available to increase the budget for the Warmer Homes scheme, which provides free upgrades to households in or at risk of energy poverty. The total budget for the scheme in 2020 will now be €52.8 million, which is a record level of funding.

An additional €20 million for the retrofitting of social housing in the Midlands was also provided. This scheme will operate in a different way to the traditional local authority retrofit scheme by focusing on upgrading much larger batches of homes in distinct, compact geographical areas and providing the opportunity for private homeowners to retrofit their homes. This will determine the savings that can be achieved through a larger scale and more structured approach to the renovation of our housing stock. It will also provide an economic stimulus for the region. The specific design of the project will be finalised by the Retrofit Taskforce which has been established to drive the achievement of the targets for retrofitting set out in the Climate Action Plan.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

Ceisteanna (552)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

552. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of an application by a person (details supplied); if the application will be expedited in view of the length of time same was lodged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53211/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The information relating to the named applicant required clarification and certain records could not be clarified at the time of receipt of his application. Following a comprehensive review of the records and liaison with the applicant I can confirm that a Letter of Offer has recently issued to the applicant. When the applicant has forwarded the necessary signed letter of acceptance, tax clearance confirmation and bank details Inland Fisheries Ireland will process the payment as soon as possible.

European Council Meetings

Ceisteanna (553)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

553. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will report on the discussions at the December 2019 Environment Council meeting on climate change; and the way in which the EU plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. [52992/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Environment Council will take place on Thursday 19 December. The Council is expected to discuss EU environment and climate policy in the new legislative term and the European Commission will present its communication on the 'European Green Deal'. This Communication, published last week, provides the roadmap to embed climate action into all policies and reaffirms the EU's commitment to tackling climate and environmental related challenges through an economy-wide approach.

At its meeting on 12 and 13 December, the European Council also endorsed the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality target.

Ireland supports these two significant steps forward, which reaffirm the EU's commitment and leadership role in tackling climate and delivering on the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The twenty-fifth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 25) took place from 2 to 13 December in Madrid, Spain, where the main focus was to finalise the ‘Katowice rulebook’ which will support operationalising the Paris Agreement and clear the path for raising ambition at COP26 in Glasgow.

Ireland aligned with a group of ambitious countries which agreed the ‘San Jose Principles for High Ambition and Integrity in International Carbon Markets’, underlining our position that the only acceptable outcome is one which does not undermine the environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement.

Despite extensive negotiations, Parties were unable to reach agreement on the modalities for Article 6 and negotiations on these provisions will continue in 2020.

Renewable Energy Projects

Ceisteanna (554)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

554. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on a proposal by an organisation (details supplied) on the renewable energy support scheme and the participation of farm scale projects in renewable electricity generation. [52579/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is an auction-based scheme which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate. Support schemes such as this must now be auction-based and must be approved by the EU Directorate General for Competition under its state aid approvals process.

The full terms and conditions of RESS were published by my Department on 13 December last for consultation. All parties are welcome to make submissions by the consultation deadline of 17 January 2020 and details can be accessed at www.dccae.gov.ie.

The Scheme includes a community preference category within the auction, subject to State Aid approval, of up to 30 GWh. This category has been developed specifically to allow communities and citizens to participate in RESS, including farmers.

My Department is also working on a microgeneration scheme which will allow for domestic and small commercial renewable energy development.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (555, 568, 569)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

555. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the charging model on the ecar network recently introduced by the ESB; the details of the charging model; the way in which information regarding the model has been circulated; his views on whether the model is fair and proportionate; his further views on whether the new model will deter motorists to opt for electric cars; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52601/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

568. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of fast charging points for electric vehicles in County Cavan; the number of additional points which will be installed in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53073/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

569. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of fast charging points for electric vehicles in County Monaghan; the number of additional points which will be installed in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53074/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 555, 568 and 569 together.

There are currently almost 100 electric vehicle fast chargers in Ireland - the majority of which are operated by the ESB. There are currently no fast chargers in county Cavan and two in County Monaghan - one operated by the ESB and one by a private sector company.

The Climate Action Fund will provide €10 million to support the ESB to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle fast charging network which includes the installation of 140 new fast chargers. While the locations of these fast chargers have not been finalised, a provisional map of indicative locations was developed by the ESB and has been published on my Department’s website.

In October, the ESB announced details of the fees that would be charged for use of the fast chargers it operates. These fees, which commenced last month, provide two basic pricing options. Consumers can pay an annual subscription of €5 per annum and avail of fast charging at 29 cents per unit of electricity (kilowatt hour) or pay 33 cent per unit with no annual subscription. In addition there is a fee for overstaying at a fast charger. The ESB have indicated that they also intend to introduce fees for the use of standard chargers (generally located on streets and in car parks) in 2020.

The fees for use of fast chargers is in keeping with the recommendations of the Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce which set out that home charging should be the most cost-effective method of charging, followed by on-street public charging and then fast charging – with fast charging no more expensive than the cost of fuelling a conventionally powered vehicle for the same journey.

The introduction of fees will encourage further investment in charging infrastructure, ensure consumers are incentivised to charge at home and avoid overstaying at fast chargers. Electric vehicle owners, including the Irish Electric Vehicle Owners Association, have been broadly supportive of the ESB's introduction of fees.

Biofuel Obligation Scheme

Ceisteanna (556)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

556. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the percentage of biofuel in petrol, diesel and other carbon oils; the targets regarding these percentages; the reason other countries have much higher targets; and the steps the EU is taking with regard to vehicle manufacturers supporting the movement towards high percentage biofuel blends. [52690/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Biofuels Obligation Scheme is the primary method by which the use of biofuels is supported in Ireland. The scheme's annual report for 2018, which is available at www.nora.ie, sets out that diesel supplied to the road transport sector had 4.5% biofuel by volume and petrol had 5% biofuel by volume. The obligation on fuel suppliers increased from January 2019 and will further increase from January 2020 which will lead to increased levels of biofuel use in Ireland. Following these increases, Ireland is expected to achieve over 9% renewable energy use in the transport sector and therefore over 90% compliance with the 10% target set out under the Renewable Energy Directive.

In September 2019, my Department published a public consultation on the development of the Biofuels Obligation Scheme for the period 2021 to 2030. This consultation included consideration of the elements relating to renewable transport fuels in the recast Renewable Energy Directive which is the EU's principal policy for increasing the use of biofuels in Europe.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (557)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

557. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason a property (details supplied) cannot avail of broadband. [52755/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

The Deputy's Question relates to a premises which is located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed on 19 November with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), including schools, library hubs and local sports halls in every county in Ireland, will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband. The BCP locations are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie.

The BCPs have been specifically selected by the local authorities so that they can provide public Wi-Fi and other facilities to support mini digital/enterprise hubs to the local community in advance of the main NBP deployment. Broadband Officers in each Local Authority were tasked with consulting with local communities and business to find the appropriate mix of locations to reap the maximum benefits.

All BCPs will have a free public Wi-Fi connection, some will also have hot-desks, and some will be digital hub business centres where digital training, business information events and other SME supports are organised. 12 BCPs are planned for deployment in Westmeath and they are:

- Ballycomoyle Gaa Club, Robinstown, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath, N91VY92

- Castledaly Community Centre, Kilcleagh, Castledaly, Co. Westmeath, N37YF54

- Clonkill Hurling Club, Clonkill, Monilea, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91HX78

- Dalystown National School, Dalystown, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91W207

- Milltown Emper Community Centre, Sean Doolin Park, Milltown, Rathconrath, Co. Westmeath, N91VA06

- Moyvoughly Community Centre, Moyvoughly, Co. Westmeath, N37FW50

- Rahugh National School, Rahugh, Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath, N91XF20

- Saint Michael’s National School, Castletown Lower, Finea, Co. Westmeath, N91FN29

- Scoil Bhríde, Emper, Ballynacargy, Co. Westmeath, N91PP71

- Streete Parish Park & Community Centre, Kilmore, Streete, Co. Westmeath, N91RC43

- The Downs National School, Greatdown, The Downs, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91T229

- Whitehall Community Centre, Whitehall, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath, N91T85V

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (558)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

558. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason an estate (details supplied) does not have high-speed broadband despite the estate being 20 years old and in a built up area; if this will be investigated; and when high speed broadband will be available to the estate. [52765/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

The Question relates to premises which are located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed on 19 November with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

These premises were originally in the BLUE area, meaning commercial operators had planned to provide high speed broadband to the area. As commercial operators’ plans to serve these premises have not materialised, these premises have now been included in the Intervention area for the NBP following the recent NBP Mapping Consultation, so as to ensure that a high speed broadband service will be available to everyone living in Elmgrove. This is why the premises are AMBER dots in a BLUE area

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), including schools, library hubs and local sports halls in every county in Ireland, will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband. The BCP locations are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie.

The BCPs have been specifically selected by the local authorities so that they can provide public Wi-Fi and other facilities to support mini digital/enterprise hubs to the local community in advance of the main NBP deployment. Broadband Officers in each Local Authority were tasked with consulting with local communities and business to find the appropriate mix of locations to reap the maximum benefits.

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

National Broadband Plan

Ceisteanna (559)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

559. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason the provision of technical advisory services in support of the national broadband plan was not part of the original tender process and a condition of contract award to have technical advisory services in place (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52816/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband contract, that I signed on 19th November 2019 with National Broadband Ireland (NBI), will deliver the Government’s commitment to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver this service.

The NBP contract is a detailed document that provides for the design, build and operation of a national high speed broadband network by NBI and includes detailed provisions that are designed to protect the interests of the State and citizens. My Department will manage governance of the NBP contract and as I have outlined to the Oireachtas, my Department’s NBP team will be supported in this task by a range of external experts, as was the case during the procurement phase. To this end, my Department recently published a request for tenders for the technical expertise required to support the Department’s core team, for at least the next two years. The technical expertise that is being sought through an open tendering process, will assist the Department monitor the progress of the network rollout and to evaluate the large volume of technical information that NBI will must provide to the Department, during the deployment phase of the rollout in particular.

Renewable Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (560)

John Brassil

Ceist:

560. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to provide infrastructure to connect solar energy projects to the electric grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52828/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Electricity supply to the distribution grid is an operational matter for ESB Networks, which is regulated by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. I have no function in the matter.

The Climate Action Plan sets out how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and puts Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In relation to renewable electricity, the Plan sets a target of increasing the share of electricity generated from renewable sources to 70% by 2030, indicatively comprised as follows:

- at least 3.5 GW of offshore renewable energy

- up to 1.5 GW of grid-scale solar energy

- up to 8.2 GW total of increased onshore wind capacity

The exact level of offshore wind, onshore wind, solar and other renewable technology will be determined by a new system of competitive auctions where the lowest cost technology will be determined.

The Plan includes a number of actions to deliver this target, including regulatory streamlining of renewables and grid development; development of the offshore renewables sector; implementation of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme; and the development of an enabling framework for micro-generation.

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 identifies 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.

Telecommunications Services Provision

Ceisteanna (561)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

561. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason estates in an area (details supplied) have no landlines, broadband or radio signal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52845/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

As the Deputy may be aware, the provision of telecommunications services, including mobile phone services, is a matter for the relevant service providers operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), as independent Regulator. I do not have statutory authority to require commercial companies to rollout services and make specific investments in particular locations.

ComReg consumer helpline is accessible at consumerline@comreg.ie and I would urge consumers who feel that they have not received an appropriate response from service providers to make contact with the Regulator.

ComReg has designated eir as the universal service provider of basic fixed line telephone services, which includes, among other things, an obligation to provide a telephone service in response to any reasonable request at any fixed location in the State.

In relation to mobile coverage, ComReg has developed a national outdoor coverage map (available at this link), which can help consumers choose the network provider that best meets their needs for where they live, work and travel. ComReg has also published the results of tests carried out on mobile/smartphone handsets currently available in Ireland (available at this link). These findings will further allow consumers to make informed decisions based on the handsets which best address their needs. These actions arose from discussions of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, established in 2016.

To address the fact that commercial operators acting alone will not provide a high speed broadband service to over 23% of our population, the Government has intervened in the market. The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

Courtbrack is located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed on 19 November with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (562)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Ceist:

562. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress since 2011 to provide broadband to a location (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52976/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

The Question relates to premises which are located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed on 19 November with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

These premises were originally in the BLUE area, meaning commercial operators had planned to provide high speed broadband to the area. As commercial operators’ plans to serve these premises have not materialised, these premises have now been included in the Intervention area for the NBP following the recent NBP Mapping Consultation. This is why the premises are AMBER dots in a BLUE area

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), including schools, library hubs and local sports halls in every county in Ireland, will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband. The BCP locations are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie.

The BCPs have been specifically selected by the local authorities so that they can provide public Wi-Fi and other facilities to support mini digital/enterprise hubs to the local community in advance of the main NBP deployment. Broadband Officers in each Local Authority were tasked with consulting with local communities and business to find the appropriate mix of locations to reap the maximum benefits.

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (563)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

563. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the national broadband plan; and when works will begin to roll out State intervention broadband in County Mayo. [52998/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

Following the contract signing on 19 November, work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

The planned rollout will provide access to high speed broadband to 36,360 premises located in the Intervention Area in Co. Mayo through a combined investment of approximately €145m over 25 years.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), including schools, library hubs and local sports halls in every county in Ireland, including Co. Mayo, will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband. The BCP locations are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie.

The BCPs have been specifically selected by the local authorities so that they can provide public Wi-Fi and other facilities to support mini digital/enterprise hubs to the local community in advance of the main NBP deployment. Broadband Officers in each Local Authority were tasked with consulting with local communities and business to find the appropriate mix of locations to reap the maximum benefits.

All BCPs will have a free public Wi-Fi connection, some will also have hot-desks, and some will be digital hub business centres where digital training, business information events and other SME supports are organised. The 12 BCPs planned for deployment in Mayo are:

- Belderrig Community Centre, Belderrig Beg, Co. Mayo, F26KXV6

- Bofeenaun Community Centre, Curraghmore, Bofeenaun, Ballina, Co. Mayo, F26D5W4

- Finny Community Centre, Finny, Clonbur, Co. Mayo, F12Y680

- Islandeady Community Centre, Rinnaseer, Islandeady, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, F23DK07

- Keel Community Centre, Keel, Achill, Co. Mayo, F28XA33

- Keenagh Community Centre, Keenagh More, Keenagh Beg, Ballina, Co. Mayo, F26X893

- Killala Business Park, Killala, Co. Mayo, F26V8P4

- Killasser Community Centre, Killasser, Swinford, Co. Mayo, F12HH97

- Kilmovee Community Centre, Kilmovee, Ballaghadereen, Co. Mayo, F45WY80

- Clare Island Library, Clare Island Community Centre, Capnagower, Clare Island, Co. Mayo, F28KP99

- National Parks & Wildlife Service, Ballycroy National Park, Lagduff More, Ballycroy, Westport, Co. Mayo, F28XF50

- Taugheen Community Centre, Carrowmore, Tagheen, Claremorris, Co. Mayo, F12F5N7

Craoltóirí Seirbhíse Poiblí

Ceisteanna (564)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

564. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cumarsáide, Gníomhaithe ar son na hAeráide agus Comhshaoil cé mhéad airgid a cuireadh ar fáil, gach bliain, ón Státchiste, ag tógáil airgead an cheadúnais agus íocaíocht na Roinne Gnóthaí Fostaíochta agus Coimirce Sóisialaí san áireamh, do TG4 agus RTÉ faoi seach ón mbliain 2011 i leith; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [53030/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Tá dhá chuid sna fáltais ón táille cheadúnais: díolachán díreach a dhéanann An Post agus ranníocaíocht ón Roinn Gnóthaí Fostaíochta agus Coimirce Sóisialaí i ndáil leis an scéim um cheadúnas teilifíse saor in aisce.

Sa tábla thíos tugtar iomlán na bhfáltas ó 2011 go 2018 agus íocaíochtaí le RTÉ agus le TG4 ón táille cheadúnais i gcaitheamh na tréimhse sin. Níl figiúirí na táille ceadúnais le haghaidh 2019 ar fáil fós mar go mbeidh díolachán díreach go deireadh na bliana san áireamh. Íoctar an chuid eile de na fáltais a fhaightear ón gceadúnas leis An Post as Seirbhísí Bailithe Táille Ceadúnais agus le hÚdarás Craolacháin na hÉireann as ucht an Ciste Craolacháin a riar, ciste a thacaíonn leis na Scéimeanna um Fhuaim agus Fís agus Cartlannú.

Ba cheart a thabhairt faoi deara gur maoiniú díreach Státchiste atá sa chuid is mó de mhaoiniú TG4, agus go bhfuil sé maoinithe go hiomlán ó fhoinsí Státchiste ó 2019. B’ionann sin agus €36.2m in 2019 agus tiocfaidh ardú €1m air sin go €37.2m in 2020. As sin, is maoiniú reatha é €34.2m agus is maoiniú caipitil é €3m.

Bliain

Iomlán na bhFáltas

Díolachán Díreach An Post

Ranníocaíocht RGFCS

Íocaíochtaí le RTÉ ón táille cheadúnais

Íocaíochtaí le TG4

Táille Cheadúnais

Maoiniú ón Státchiste

2011

€217.8

€160.6

€57.2

€182.4

€9.2

€27.0

2012

€215.0

€157.8

€57.2

€179.2

€9.2

€24.3

2013

€216.4

€159.2

€57.2

€181.5

€9.2

€24.4

2014

€213.3

€161.1

€52.2

€178.8

€9.2

€25.0

2015

€213.9

€161.7

€52.2

€178.5

€9.2

€23.9

2016

€213.6

€161.4

€52.2

€179.3

€9.2

€26.1

2017

€215.1

€161.9

€53.2

€184.8

€4.2

€29.9

2018

€219.3

€164.5

€54.8

€188.6

€4.2

€32.5

National Broadband Plan

Ceisteanna (565)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

565. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 506 of 10 December 2019, the breakdown of the value of each contract awarded to a company to include the projects and tasks undertaken in the lifetime of the awarded contracts; if a year by year approach will be taken; the measures the company delivered under the contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53057/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Analysys Mason was contracted to provide technical advisory services to my Department in relation to the State-led intervention under the National Broadband Plan (NBP). The company was appointed in 2015 to provide technical assistance to the NBP team in developing the strategy for this intervention and to provide technical advice and assistance during the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

Since 2015, Analysys Mason has provided technical support, advice and input at each stage of the NBP procurement process. The company was initially involved in the development of the intervention strategy and provided technical assistance with the preparation of the PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire) documentation. They were also involved in the technical evaluation of PQQ submissions by tenderers.

Analysys Mason provided technical advice and assistance during the Competitive Dialogue phase, the Invitation to Submit Detailed Solution (ISDS) phase, the Refined Detailed Solution (RDS) phase and the Final Tender phase. They carried out a technical evaluation of bidder submissions during these phases.

In addition, Analysys Mason carried out technical assessments of investment plans by telecoms operators and operator responses to each of the public consultations on the Intervention Map.

The following table provides a breakdown of payments made to Analysys Mason to date, by year.

NBP Payments to Analysys Mason

Year

Amount Paid (incl VAT)

2015

€449,210.01

2016

€556,924.82

2017

€1,302,540.54

2018

€1,392,014.37

2019

€1,257,560.61

TOTAL

€4,958,250.35

Climate Action Fund

Ceisteanna (566)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

566. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of funding to be allocated to the climate action fund over the lifetime of the national development plan 2018-2027; the amount allocated in each year over the 2018 to 2020 period to the fund; the amount of funding allocated for each approved project in 2018 and 2019, in tabular form; and the amount issued in payments to date. [53062/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Climate Action Fund will provide €500 million support to projects over the period of the National Development Plan from 2018 to 2027. There have been no support payments to date under the fund. It is estimated that the annual expenditure will be approximately €10 million in 2020, €30 million in 2021, €40 million in 2022, €80 million per annum in the years 2023 to 2026, and €100 million in 2027.

Following the first call for applications, I announced the seven successful projects which will receive up to €77 million in support. Details of the projects including the maximum funding allocated to each project is available on my Department's website at the following link: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/climate-action/topics/climate-action-fund/call-for-applications/first-call-2018/project-assessments/Pages/default.aspx.

Natural Gas Grid

Question No. 568 answered with Question No. 555.

Ceisteanna (567)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

567. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a project (details supplied) will proceed to the next stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53063/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The development and expansion of the natural gas network including the routing of gas pipelines or the connection of towns to the gas pipeline network are matters for Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), which is a commercial State-sponsored Body under the aegis of the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

Gas connections to any new area are evaluated in accordance with the criteria in GNI’s Connections Policy, as approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), the statutorily independent energy regulator. The Connections Policy appraises both domestic and industrial/commercial demand, and so proximity to a major pipeline and a large industrial/commercial gas load tend to be the most significant factors in town appraisals.

As with any potential new extension, GNI can discuss the process with any interested parties and identify if there is an opportunity for network extension.

Question No. 568 answered with Question No. 555.