Ahern, Dermot

Tuesday, 24 February 2004

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 580 No. 5

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Priority Questions - Electricity Infrastructure.

Was asked: the details of his plan for a new east-west electricity interconnector between Ireland and Britain.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has given its approval to the development of two 500 MW east-west Ireland-Wales electricity interconnectors as a priority. The benefits of such interconnect...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his support for the Government decision to move to the construction of two 500 MW interconnectors. In regard to the modus operandi for the construction, and ultimately the manag...More Button

This project will be a huge advantage to renewable energy and is one of the main demands of the wind energy sector. Ultimately, we could become a net exporter of energy through this interconnector. In...More Button

Priority Questions - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if he will consider the introduction of regulations providing for the registration of pre-paid mobile phones in order to allow phones used for criminal, obscene or illegal purposes to be traced; and i...More Button

Was asked: if he plans to take measures to tackle the sending of pornographic images via text messages between mobile phone, in order to protect children from receiving and being exposed to such images.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 104 together. As the father of young teenagers, I fully empathise and understand the Deputies’ concerns over the recent media reports of pornographic images be...More Button

Each Deputy has a role to play in this regard. Deputy Broughan criticised the companies involved. They wish to sell phones. The Irish Cellular Industry Association meets to discuss all these issues. I...More Button

It was amended in 1983.More Button

It is.More Button

That is my advice.More Button

The primary responsibility for dealing with criminal offences in this regard lies with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. He is reviewing the situation in light of recent events. The a...More Button

There is constant contact with the operators in respect of this and other issues. The ICIA is developing a code of practice which will be designed to aid the responsible use of all mobile phones. It i...More Button

Priority Questions - Mayo Landslide.

Was asked: his views on whether the dangers of landslides impacting upon the proposed Corrib gas pipeline were ignored in a report previously made by a company (details supplied) in view of the report submitted ...More Button

Priority Questions - Departmental Bodies.

Was asked: the nature of the personal probity test it is intended to apply to directors of State-sponsored companies; if existing directors will be subjected to the test; if it will apply to new appointments onl...More Button

The code of practice for the governance of State bodies, issued under Government decision dated 2 October 2001, directs that the highest standards of business conduct should apply in the corporate gov...More Button

What was the Deputy’s second question?More Button

Offhand, I cannot say how many directors I have appointed since I became Minister.More Button

If the Deputy submits a parliamentary question he will be given the information. Regarding personal probity, I have already outlined the situation in my letter of reply. The first aspect relates to th...More Button

I love it. I love it.More Button

This Government very recently appointed Bruce Arnold, who could never be said to be a party hack. I am not going to take lectures from the likes of the Labour Party.More Button

The Deputy gave me an opening. Deputy Michael D. Higgins appointed his fundraiser, a Mr. Stokes, to the chair of the IRTC.More Button

There was serious disquiet in 1997 over board appointments when Fine Gael and the Labour Party made 40 political appointments to the boards of companies on the basis of the infamous “three, two and on...More Button

When I inquired about it, I was told the room was used by the former group around Proinsias De Rossa. He insisted that if Deputy John Bruton had a cabal around him, he had to have one too, and if form...More Button

The former Deputy De Rossa even advertised in the Democratic Left newsletter asking people from his party to apply for posts.More Button

Deputies should not accuse me of political hackery.More Button

Other Questions - Water Sports Vehicles.

Was asked: the number of local authorities that have implemented bye-laws regulating the use of jet skis; the steps he intends to take to ensure that all local authorities introduce such bye-laws; and if he will...More Button

The operation of jet skis and other high-powered leisure watercraft in areas where bathing takes place, in harbours and other places frequented by water users has been a matter of particular concern t...More Button

I assure the Deputy that I am giving high priority to this matter. I want to ensure that as many local authorities as possible have the legislative power to enforce the regulations. As I said earlier,...More Button

Other Questions - Radio Broadcasting.

Was asked: the terms of reference of the review of radio licensing announced by him in 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The terms of reference for the external review on local radio licensing are to conduct a review of the processes through which radio licences are awarded in Ireland, having regard to comparative inter...More Button

I cannot speak about the position of Radio Kilkenny because as the Deputy knows, it is the direct responsibility of the BCI as a result of legislation passed by this House. The Minister has no say in ...More Button

I am even surprising Deputy Broughan with my leftist views. I will be guided by the result of the review which will go out for public consultation so that the public may give its views. Now that we ha...More Button

Other Questions - Electronic Communications.

Was asked: the procedures in place to monitor compliance with the new EU regulations to control the creation of spam e-mails; the action which should be taken by a recipient of spam; and if he will make a statem...More Button

Directive 2002/58/EC, the directive on privacy and electronic communications, was transposed into Irish law on 6 November 2003 by the Electronic Communications (Electronic Communications Networks and ...More Button

We have raised this matter in the EU, the OECD and other fora. Discussions are going on between the EU and the US. It is accepted that this issue will only be dealt with on a worldwide basis. Last wee...More Button

If one can get agreement at international level, the issue will be enforcement. One must enforce criminal sanctions against the country and the origin of the spam. It is the same here as in the EU. We...More Button

Other Questions - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: the capacity of high speed Internet access he would like to see being made widely available; his understanding of the term broadband and the capacity the term represents; and if the Government intends...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the warning contained in the report, Ireland’s Broadband Future, published by the Information Society Commission that there is a very serious risk that this country ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 119 together. The provision of telecommunications services, including broadband, is a matter in the first instance for the private sector companies operating i...More Button

If there is anything missing, the Deputy can let me know. It is a good effort to ensure that people know about and are, in effect, able to vote for broadband in their areas. The Government will contin...More Button

This is an issue for the open market, which is a liberalised one. Compared to the March 2003 figure of 1,000 DSL subscribers, we now have 32,000 people with DSL, which is a dramatic increase in a shor...More Button

Because of the dramatic initiatives taken by the Government in the past year or so, we will soon have one of the highest penetration rates for broadband in Europe.More Button

Perhaps the Deputy should get on to some of his pals in the Communications Workers Union who seem to find fault with the fact that the Minister is intervening in this market.More Button

The Deputy sits easily on the fence on this issue but he should be careful because he does not know on which side of the fence to fall. DSL is not the only technology available.More Button

In every area of the country, because 59 licences have been given out by ComReg, there is an availability for wireless broadband, which is as good as if not better than DSL.More Button

Leaders’ Questions.

Would the Opposition object to electronic watches?More Button

We want a modern Ireland.More Button

Written Answers - Television Licence Fee.

Was asked: his views on the claims made by the chairman of the RTE authority that he is undermining staff morale in the station and that he has underestimated the work achieved by RTE; and if he will make a stat...More Button

The Government decision of December 2002, which provided for a very substantial increase in the television licence fee, also introduced a new mechanism for determining the future level of the licence ...More Button

Was asked: the nature of the investigation he intends to hold into RTE’s pricing policy in the advertising market; the terms of reference of the investigation; the person who will carry it out; when it is expect...More Button

Last December when I announced an increase of €2 in the television licence fee, I also announced that I will be arranging for an external review of the impact on all broadcasters of the licence fee pa...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the position in regard to decentralisation for his Department; if a site has been finalised; the number of staff who are willing to move; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if, in regard to proposals for decentralisation, a survey has been undertaken to establish the number of persons employed in his Department in boards or agencies operating under the aegis of his Depar...More Button

Was asked: the number of staff within his Department who have to date volunteered for the programme of decentralisation announced by the Minister for Finance on budget day; the grades of the staff concerned; the...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 112, 117 and 330 together. As the Deputy will be aware, the Government’s budget day announcement on decentralisation provides for the relocation of my Department’s hea...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: the steps being taken to ensure the security of the electricity supply, especially in view of the warnings from the ESB of the possibility of power cuts and warnings from a firm of consultants (detail...More Button

The Commission for Energy Regulation continues to monitor security of supply. It has initiated positive actions to redress postulated generation capacity shortfalls in the short, medium and longer ter...More Button

Written Answers - Aquaculture Industry.

Was asked: if he will introduce new measures to police and impose sanctions on persons within the fish farming or aquaculture industry should they show blatant disregard to good practise and laws in the industry...More Button

Was asked: the frequency with which inspections are carried out on fish farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the results of his investigation into the aquaculture industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the progress made to date in regard to his Department’s comprehensive review of the existing procedures for the monitoring and control of aquaculture generally which he had indicated would be complete...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114, 128, 130 and 149 together. An extensive programme of monitoring and inspection of fish farms is undertaken by my Department with the advice and assistance of the ...More Button

Written Answers - Fishery Harbour Centre.

Was asked: if he will honour a commitment made by his predecessor on 15 May 2001, that if he received a request from Dingle Harbour Commissioners to designate the harbour as a fishery harbour centre, he would im...More Button

At present Dingle harbour operates under the Harbours Act 1946 with Dingle Harbour Commissioners being the responsible authority for the management, control and operation of the harbour. Currently, th...More Button

Written Answers - Post Office Network.

Was asked: the position in regard to his Department’s consideration of the recovery plan from An Post which he ordered the company on 4 September 2003 to produce; when he expects agreement on the plan; if he has...More Button

My Department received an outline recovery strategy from An Post on 30 September last year. I met the board of An Post in October and expressed the importance of the early agreement and implementation...More Button

Written Answers - Communications Regulation.

Was asked: if he has further plans to give enhanced regulatory powers to ComReg in regard to television retail distribution networks and cable companies following ongoing complaints regarding service and price i...More Button

I am preparing draft heads of legislation which will give powers to ComReg on the regulation of television retail broadcasting services. Among other provisions, the proposals will include measures reg...More Button

Written Answers - Oil Refinery Sale.

Was asked: the total amount paid to date to the Exchequer in respect of the sale of a refinery (details supplied) and the Bantry storage terminal; the amount of the balance which remains outstanding; when he exp...More Button

It is estimated that the final net return to the Exchequer arising from the sale of the business and commercial assets of the Irish National Petroleum Corporation, INPC, will be in excess of some €30 ...More Button

Written Answers - Aquaculture Industry.

Was asked: if his investigations into dumping of farm salmon in Galway in the summer of 2003 and Inver Bay in 2002 have come to an end; if persons have been charged with this dumping; and the body from which the...More Button

Investigations have been carried out in respect of matters relating to the discovery of salmon buried on land near Casla, County Galway, last summer. As proceedings may follow from these investigation...More Button

Written Answers - Broadcasting Charter.

Was asked: the main features of the proposed charter for RTE being prepared by his Department; if there has been consultation with the RTE authority or staff regarding the terms of the charter; when he expects i...More Button

The purpose of the public service broadcasting charter is to provide an understanding to the people of what is expected of RTE in return for the substantial public funds provided to RTE from the proce...More Button

Written Answers - Digital Hub.

Was asked: the position regarding the development on the proposed digital hub in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Digital Hub Development Agency Act was enacted in July 2003. The legislation places the development agency for the hub on a statutory footing and the agency is charged with the development of the ...More Button

Written Answers - Wild Salmon Quotas.

Was asked: when he intends to provide details regarding quotas for commercial wild salmon fisheries for summer 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I rely upon the advice of the National Salmon Commission and the regional fisheries boards’ managers in determining the terms of the wild salmon and sea-trout tagging scheme, which inter alia sets out...More Button

Written Answers - EU Directives.

Was asked: the EU directives for which his Department is responsible which have yet to be implemented, particularly those whose deadlines for implementation have passed; the legal actions initiated or threatened...More Button

The following table sets out the position on EU Directives due to be transposed for which my Department is responsible. The European Commission has issued letters of formal notice in the case of the f...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: his proposals to minimise charges associated with cross-Border roaming.More Button

I have recently published draft policy directions which, if finally adopted, I propose to issue to the Communications Regulator, ComReg. One of these draft directions focuses on cross-Border roaming. ...More Button

Written Answers - Fishing Industry Development.

Was asked: the conservation measures which have been introduced within the Irish fishing fleet in the past year to ensure that the fishing industry is adapting to more sustainable fishing practices.More Button

The measures under which the Irish fishing fleet operates are governed by the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy. Within this framework, there is a wide range of conservation measures already in...More Button

Written Answers - Corrib Gas Field.

Was asked: the information available to his Department regarding the proposed development of the Corrib gas field; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Shell Exploration and Petroleum Ireland Ltd, developers of the Corrib gas field submitted a new planning application to Mayo County Council on 17 December 2003 on the onshore gas terminal at Bellanabo...More Button

Written Answers - Coastal Erosion.

Was asked: the counties which have received funding to deal with coastal erosion in the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The following counties received funding from my Department in 2002 and 2003 in respect of coastal protection works: Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Louth, Galway, Mayo, Sligo ...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: his preferred options in respect of the future development of the mobile telephone industry with particular reference to new service providers, competition and the needs of the consumer; and if he wil...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the emergence of further competition in the mobile telephone market is likely; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 341 together. My preferred option for the mobile sector, and the telecoms sector as a whole, is the creation of conditions for sustainable growth and competiti...More Button

Written Answers - Gas Pipeline.

Was asked: the licensing arrangements that will apply to the pipelines from the shore to the proposed gas terminal in Bellanaboy, County Mayo; and if he will give other international examples of cases in which t...More Button

In April 2002, I gave consent to the developers of the Corrib gas field to lay an onshore and offshore pipeline to which I attached a number of conditions both technical and environmental. The develop...More Button

Written Answers - Fishing Vessel Licences.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the situation whereby two newly purchased fishing vessels (details supplied) in Killybegs are confined to port and not allowed to fish due to quota and licensing reg...More Button

Current policy on the licensing of sea-fishing boats, introduced by me on 17 November last, sets out the key requirements to be complied with in order for the two vessels concerned to be licensed for ...More Button

Written Answers - Television Licence Fee.

Was asked: his views on the progress which has been made by RTE since the licence fee increase; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The television licence fee was increased by €2 from 1 January 2004, which brought the annual cost of a licence to €152. I approved the increase in the television licence fee to ensure that RTE would b...More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: if he has received the final report of the investigation into the massive fish kill at Inver Bay, County Donegal, during July 2003; the findings of the report; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

I understand that the Marine Institute’s investigation of the fish mortalities at salmon farms in Donegal Bay last year is at an advanced stage and that the report relating to those events will be fin...More Button

Written Answers - Energy Resources.

Was asked: if, in view of the Government’s anti-nuclear policy, the proposed electricity connectors from Britain will be so contracted that no electricity from nuclear power stations, including Sellafield, will ...More Button

Under the provisions of the EU Electricity Directive 2003/54/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 96/92/EC, to avoid imbalance in the opening of el...More Button

Written Answers - Wind Energy.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that work should proceed at Derrybrien on the development of a wind farm despite the recent landslide caused in the Derrybrien area.More Button

The question of whether this work should proceed is one for the developers and the planning authorities. In the case of the developer, it is a day to day matter for ESB and its subsidiary and, thus, n...More Button

Written Answers - EU Constitution.

Was asked: his position on proposals in the draft EU Constitution to end the requirement for unanimous votes in changes to the common commercial policy in cultural and audio-visual services; the implications of ...More Button

This is a matter for the Minister for Foreign Affairs.More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: the towns which have no plans for the roll-out of broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which state of the art communications technology is available or will be soon available in all areas throughout the country; the region or regions most deficient in this regard; and if h...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 and 332 together. The provision of telecommunications services, including broadband, is a matter in the first instance for the private companies operating in a ful...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Costs.

Was asked: his views on reports of further price rises in electricity following an expected asset windfall for ESB resulting from the company’s expected share of the allocation of Ireland’s trading emission allo...More Button

The eventual economic outcome of measures, such as emissions allocations and emissions trading, is a complex matter to analyse and continues to be considered by interested parties both in this country...More Button

Written Answers - Inland Fisheries.

Was asked: when he expects to receive the report of the consultants appointed to undertake the review of the inland fisheries sector; the number of submissions received by the closing date of 16 January 2004; an...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, a consortium of consultants, led by Farrell Grant Sparks Consulting, is undertaking a high level review of the inland fisheries sector in Ireland. This review is to be com...More Button

Written Answers - Advertising Ban.

Was asked: if he has plans to lift the ban on religious advertising.More Button

As I explained in reply to Question No. 606 on 27 January, the ban on religious advertising as provided for in section 20(4) of the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960, as qualified by section 65 of the B...More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: when he intends to introduce a single stock management system for the commercial catching of wild Irish salmon; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the level of river monitoring which will be required to introduce a single stock management system; and the projected cost of such monitoring.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 and 160 together. The overriding objective of the Government is to preserve the salmon resource in its own right and for the coastal and rural communities that it ...More Button

Written Answers - EU Bodies.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the failure of the Government to secure the location of the European network and information security agency for Ireland; if there are plans for a future EU agency cover...More Button

The decision on the location for the European Network Security Agency was made at the European Council chaired by the Italian Presidency last December. The question of the location of new agencies is ...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: when he intends to bring proposals to Government to establish TG4 as an independent statutory entity; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I will bring forward a proposal in the coming months to give effect to the commitment in the programme for Government in regard to the establishment of TG4 as an independent statutory entity.More Button

Written Answers - Harbours and Piers.

Was asked: the reason the funds committed and promised for the new pier at Bantry have not been made available.More Button

Was asked: the position in regard to the funds promised for the new pier at Bantry in west Cork; and when the work can commence.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 147 and 181 together. I am awaiting advice from the Attorney General on various legal issues pertaining to the pier development at Bantry and, particularly, the expend...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: the timescale within which he hopes to roll-out broadband Internet connections to all primary and secondary schools in the country; and the way in which he intends to finance such a roll-out.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, my responsibility lies in developing and implementing public policy that ensures broadband services are widely available at an affordable price in the Irish market, whethe...More Button

Written Answers - Postal Services.

Was asked: the meetings he has had with An Post as part of its recovery plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department received an outline recovery strategy from An Post on 30 September 2003. I met the board of An Post in October and expressed the importance of the early agreement and implementation of t...More Button

Written Answers - EU Directives.

Was asked: the position in regard to his discussions with the EU on proposals to regulate foreign television stations broadcasting into Ireland; when he expects that this matter will be concluded; and if he will...More Button

As I stated in reply to Question No. 156 on 11 November 2003, the television without frontiers directive regulates the reception and retransmission of television broadcasts from one member state to an...More Button

Written Answers - Television Licence Fee.

Was asked: the reasons RTE was not granted an increase in the licence fee in line with inflation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy should be aware that the €2 increase in the licence fee approved by me last year, taken together with the increase in the households that should have licences, should result in RTE licence ...More Button

Written Answers - Energy Resources.

Was asked: his plans to encourage further expansion of wind energy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I recently announced the establishment of a permanent renewables development group, chaired by the Department, which will provide a forum to share expertise and knowledge on an ongoing basis, and impr...More Button

Written Answers - Radio Broadcasting.

Was asked: when he expects to receive the report of the consultants appointed to assist in the review of radio licensing, which he had indicated was expected by mid-January 2004; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

The consultants, OX Auction Experts, are in the process of finalising their report, which I expect to receive shortly.More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: the response he has received from the European Commission to the joint application made with the UK for new measures to safeguard the salmon farming industry from recent surges of cheap imports of far...More Button

The issue of the joint Ireland-UK application for an investigation into the circumstances leading to the current situation on the EU salmon market, and the possibility of opening safeguard measures, w...More Button

Written Answers - Food Safety.

Was asked: the steps he intends to take to ensure the safety of Irish farmed salmon following the publication of a number of reports raising concerns regarding possible contamination of farmed salmon; the steps ...More Button

There have been a number of recent reports on the potential risk from environmental contaminants, such as dioxins, to the consumer of farmed salmon. Most recently, a paper in the journal Science recei...More Button

Written Answers - Energy Resources.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the renewable fuels standard which is part of US farmer friendly energy legislation; and if resources will be invested into developing plans for farmers to create re...More Button

I am fully committed to developing a range of sustainable and renewable energy options for Ireland. The renewable fuels standard legislation was passed by the US Senate in June 2003 and was backed by ...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: the position with regard to his policy directive on the introduction of wholesale line rental through single billing for fixed line telecoms operators; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I recently published draft policy directions which I propose to give to the Communications Regulator. One of these draft directions focuses on wholesale and retail telephone line rental, recognising t...More Button

Was asked: if he will issue new policy directives to ComReg following ComReg’s recent review of the mobile phone market, which discovered that the market here has one of the highest concentrations in the EU and ...More Button

In accordance with the market definition procedure outlined in the framework regulations, S.I. No. 307 of 2003, ComReg are conducting a market analysis of the wholesale mobile access and call origina...More Button

Written Answers - Harbour Authorities.

Was asked: his views on whether it is fair and equitable that the Dingle Harbour Commission is expected to finance its staffing and maintenance requirements, while the State provides the funding for staffing, m...More Button

Dingle Harbour operates under the Harbours Act 1946 with Dingle Harbour Commissioners being the responsible authority for the management, control and operation of the harbour. The operation and manage...More Button

Written Answers - Fishing Industry Development.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the crisis in the fish processing sector, particularly in Donegal as a result of the implementation of new EU regulations as applied to pelagic catches; and his pla...More Button

The new EU procedures for the weighing of certain pelagic catches apply to all concerned EU fishermen and are designed to facilitate effective control of pelagic fisheries. Such control is a key eleme...More Button

Written Answers - Planning Issues.

Was asked: the circumstances in which financial support was approved by his Department for the construction of a marine centre at Dereenacallaha, Kenmare, County Kerry, despite reservations expressed by senior o...More Button

€5.7 million was allocated as a budget day adjustment in 2000 for four projects, at Kenmare, Cahirciveen, Rosses Point and Roundstone. These were to be four flagship projects in advance of the NDP mar...More Button

Written Answers - Environmental Issues.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the report that a study carried out on behalf of the Corrib gas field developers showing that Broadhaven Bay, a candidate special area of conservation, was a signifi...More Button

The study of Broadhaven Bay referred to by the Deputy of which I have now received a copy was commissioned by the developers of the proposed Corrib gas field. It was carried out over the period August...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the formal request to Ireland by the EU requiring the Government to prepare anti-pollution programmes for waters designated for shellfish in accordance with the shellfis...More Button

My Department is currently addressing a number of issues in regard to the findings of the European Court of Justice, on 11 September 2003, against Ireland in relation to implementation of obligations ...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the charging of high termination fees to mobile phone consumers when porting their mobile phone numbers and the consequent charging of rentals by two mobile companie...More Button

I have no function in the matter raised by the Deputy. This is a matter for the Commission for Communications Regulation.More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Appointments.

Was asked: the nature of the personal probity test it is intended to apply to directors of State-sponsored companies; if existing directors will be subjected to the test or if it will apply to new appointments o...More Button

The code of practice for the governance of State bodies issued under Government decision dated 2 October 2001 directs that the highest standards of business conduct should apply in the corporate gover...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if he intends to make policy directives on national roaming by mobile phone network operators; the way in which mobile virtual network operators will be permitted access to existing mobile service pro...More Button

I have recently published draft policy directions which I propose to issue to the Communications Regulator. One of these draft directions focuses on national roaming. It mandates ComReg to use its pow...More Button

Written Answers - Broadcasting Legislation.

Was asked: the specific steps he intends to take during the Irish Presidency to protect minors in the area of broadcasting in regard to his statement of 26 January 2004; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

When addressing the Culture Committee of the European Parliament on 26 January, I outlined the work programme for the Irish Presidency in the broadcasting area. One of the items of that programme rela...More Button

Written Answers - Gas Distribution Network.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself with the steps being taken to modernise and upgrade the domestic gas distribution network; when all cast iron pipes will be replaced; if he will consider alerting members o...More Button

In the first instance it is an operational matter for Bord Gáis Éireann, BGE, under the supervision of the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, to arrange the safety of its natural gas network and t...More Button

Written Answers - Marine Safety.

Was asked: when he expects to introduce a new registration system for recreational craft at sea.More Button

The maritime safety directorate of my Department is developing a registration system to enhance the safety of recreational craft. This new system will form part of an overhaul of the vessel registrati...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: the percentage of the territory of the country which is now covered by fixed wireless access local area licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have no function in the matter raised by the Deputy. Fixed wireless access local area licences are a matter for the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg. Information on: licences already...More Button

Written Answers - Waste Disposal.

Was asked: the position in regard to his Department’s discussions with the former operators of a facility (details supplied) in County Tipperary, regarding the remedial work to be carried out at the dried out ta...More Button

The former operating company made a presentation of its proposals for remedial works at old mine sites, including the tailings pond, to the Department, North Tipperary County Council and the Environme...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Regulation.

Was asked: if he plans to introduce legislation or directives to ComReg to protect children from being sent pornographic images via texts on mobile phones.More Button

Was asked: if he plans to tackle the growing problem of pornographic images being sent to children through mobile phone text systems; and the measures which can be taken.More Button

Was asked: the plans his Department has to make it compulsory for persons who purchase pre-paid mobile telephones to register the number in their name (details supplied).More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174, 179 and 321 together. I understand the Deputies’ concern over the recent media reports of pornographic images being sent via mobile phones, however, legislation a...More Button

Written Answers - Marine Safety.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself with the seaworthiness of all shipping passing close to the Irish coast or using Irish ports; if all such vessels are compliant with international safety standards includin...More Button

Safety standards for seagoing passenger and cargo vessels are developed and adopted at international level, principally from the Safety Conventions of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, and...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: if he will report on the tendering process for the MSE to manage the MANs project and on the likely development of the management of the metropolitan area networks over the next three to five years an...More Button

The Management Services Entity, MSE, is the independent body, which will be engaged to manage, market and maintain the fibre optic metropolitan area networks, MANs, currently being constructed under t...More Button

Was asked: if broadband and IT strategies will be part of all future county and city development plans at local authority level.More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his participation in and the outcome of the meeting of the European Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers on 17 to 19 December, 2003.More Button

The outcome of the Fisheries Council in December was generally satisfactory from an Irish viewpoint. The negotiations were difficult and prolonged and included several items of particular interest to ...More Button

Written Answers - Gas Terminal.

Was asked: if he intends to examine the possible effects on local lakes and rivers of the transfer of peat material from the proposed Bellanaboy gas terminal in County Mayo.More Button

This matter is one which falls to be examined by Mayo County Council under the Planning and Development Act 2000.More Button

Written Answers - Post Office Network.

Was asked: his views on the downgrading of post offices throughout the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government is committed to a viable and sustainable rural post office network. However, consideration must be given to the current climate in which An Post is operating, bearing in mind the seriou...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Funding.

Was asked: the details of the applications made by his Department, or State agency or semi-State company under the control of his Department, under the EU Marco Polo; the agencies involved; the funding sought; t...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to the recent Parliamentary Question No. 99 and I wish to confirm that the position remains unchanged.More Button

Written Answers - Pilots Remuneration.

Was asked: the reason he is not using his powers under section 80(2) of the Harbours Act 1996 when he is in full possession of knowledge that pilots on the River Shannon for a company (details supplied) are havi...More Button

Council Regulation (EC) No. 2978/94 deals with the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, Resolution A.747(18) on the application of tonnage measurement of ballast spaces in s...More Button

Written Answers - Search and Rescue Service.

Was asked: when the finance sanctioned for the purpose-built rescue centre at Doolin will be made available to proceed with planning permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The required financial sanction for the building of a coastal unit station house, with rescue facilities, at Doolin, County Clare, has been granted in principle under the Irish Coastguard’s coastal un...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the number of full-time civil servants within his Department who first entered the service as political advisers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are no full-time civil servants within my Department who first entered the service as political advisers.More Button

Written Answers - Harbours and Piers.

Was asked: if an application for funding has been received for two cranes (details supplied); if so, the current position; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department provided funding of €82,064.81 to Donegal County Council in 2001 and 2002 towards the provision a crane at Portaleen harbour. In September 1999 Don...More Button

Written Answers - Foreshore Licences.

Was asked: when he will instruct his Department officials to re-issue an existing foreshore licence which has expired, but whose interest remains valid, for the construction of a marina and related works, for wh...More Button

An application was received by my Department from Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club for permission under the Foreshore Acts for construction of a 100 berth marina and associated capital dredging works. The ...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: if his Department has carried out a risk assessment of the decentralisation plans announced by the Minister for Finance on budget day, in so far as they may impact either directly or indirectly on his...More Button

As part of my Department’s overall planning and scoping of the decentralisation programme, a risk assessment-risk management project is under way in consultation with management and staff. The risk as...More Button

Was asked: the locations to which any part of his Department has already been decentralised; the years in which each such decentralisation took place; the total number of staff who are now employed by his Depart...More Button

In 1976, approximately 50 staff in the accounts branch of the then Forest and Wildlife Service were decentralised to Castlebar, County Mayo. As a result of departmental reconfiguration over time and, ...More Button

Written Answers - Salmon Fishing Licences.

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be given assistance in obtaining a salmon fishing licence.More Button

Under the Control of Fishing for Salmon Orders 1980 to 1997, the allocation of commercial salmon fishing licences is a matter for the relevant local regional fisheries board which, in this case, is th...More Button

Written Answers - Offshore Exploration.

Was asked: the results of recent oil, gas or other mineral exploration which indicate commercial viability on or offshore; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There have been no recent results of petroleum exploration to indicate commercial viability. The most recent declaration of commerciality for gas was in July 2002 in respect of the Seven Heads gas fie...More Button

Written Answers - Fishing Industry Development.

Was asked: the number of persons employed in the fishing industry; if an increase or decrease has been registered; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the value of the fishing industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 334 and 335 together. Surveys in regard to employment in the Irish seafood industry, comprising fishing, aquaculture, processing and ancillary sectors are carried out ...More Button

Written Answers - Fish Diseases.

Was asked: the extent to which he has taken steps to combat the spread of fish disease; the results of his efforts to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Marine Institute, acting on the Department’s behalf, has responsibility for fish health matters. The institute carries out inspections on, and samples fish from, every aquaculture site in the Stat...More Button

Written Answers - Fishing Fleet Protection.

Was asked: the extent to which the fishing fleet continues to provide an adequate living for those involved in the fishing industry, having particular regard to catch restrictions; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

Ireland’s national quotas for 2004 show a 7.8% overall growth, in volume terms, on the equivalent figure for 2003. While this figure includes a modest reduction in the whitefish and shellfish quotas, ...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that the quality of mobile telephone service here is on a par with the standard of service available in other countries; the top 10 best served countries in this regard; an...More Button

I have no function in the matter raised by the Deputy. This is a regulatory matter for the Commission for Communications Regulation.More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that customer service needs are adequately met through the network coverage of mobile telephone service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have no function in the matter raised by the Deputy. The Communications (Regulation) Act 2002, outlines ComReg’s role in protecting and promoting consumer interests. Under this Act, ComReg is mandat...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: if the telecommunications industry is ready to meet enhanced competition from other European and non-European countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The telecommunications sector in Ireland is fully liberalised, with private companies operating under the control of the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg.More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: the procedures to be followed in the event of the admission of another service provider to the mobile phone market; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have no function in the matter raised by the Deputy. The authorisation of another service provider to the mobile phone market is a matter for the Commission for Communications Regulation.More Button


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