Dempsey, Noel

Thursday, 10 March 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 599 No. 4

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Priority Questions - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: his views on recent strong criticism from anglers and the media that his Department is again failing to align the catches of commercial drift netting with the alarming reality of scientific advice on ...More Button

Was asked: if, in setting the commercial catch for wild salmon in 2005, he will accept the clear scientific advice that the catch be limited to 95,000 fish to meet conservation limits; and if he instead intends ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 and 5 together. My Department relies upon the advice of the National Salmon Commission and the national fisheries managers executive — the regional fisheries boards’...More Button

The difficulty is that we have three different sets of advice, all of which are contradictory. If the Deputy is advocating that we take just one set of advice and act on it, I note his position. The c...More Button

Deputy Ryan is asking me to do precisely what he is accusing me of, namely ignoring advice. I have three different sets of advice and the adoption of one means I must ignore the others. The Minister o...More Button

On the general question about the precautionary principle, this underpins policy in this area and it will continue to underpin it in future——More Button

The policy in respect of moving towards the scientific levels in 2007 is still intact.More Button

Priority Questions - Alternative Energy Projects.

Was asked: his preferred policy options for the development of the alternative energy sector with particular reference to the need to promote wind generated electricity production and the encouragement of bio fu...More Button

The completion of the most recent round of competitive tendering to support renewable energy technologies, AER VI, is an appropriate opportunity to review the programme. Last May, a renewable energy d...More Button

I do not wish to comment on what Mr. Tom Reeves said about support for alternative energy sources because I do not think that would be fair. I reiterate my belief, which is Government policy, that we ...More Button

I have no function in matters such as the price and costs of electricity as these are regulated by the Commission for Energy Regulation. In fairness to Eirgrid and the ESB both companies have supporte...More Button

In the course of a conversation with the chief executive of the ESB, I asked him about this issue in the context of the €3 billion programme the company is undertaking to upgrade transmission lines an...More Button

Priority Questions - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: his views on the recommendations in the report (details supplied) published in January 2005 by Britain’s National Radiological Protection Board regarding the positioning of mobile telephone masts near...More Button

The National Radiological Protection Board in January 2005 published the report, Mobile Phones and Health 2004, to provide further advice to address remaining public concerns in the United Kingdom abo...More Button

Planning issues are a matter for the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and local authorities. In my previous position as Minister in that Department I introduced planning gu...More Button

I do not have the benefit of having the response to that parliamentary question with me. If I recall correctly, Deputy Gregory insinuated that the Stewart report stated that no mast should be put anyw...More Button

Priority Questions - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: when he intends to end an imposition in Killybegs and other major ports whereby no landings can take place between midnight and 8 o’clock in the morning, and restore full landing times which are essen...More Button

New EU control requirements for pelagic fisheries were introduced in 2004 to meet concerns of possible illegal fish landings in these fisheries across Europe. Such controls are a key element in fisher...More Button

I am aware of the difficulties caused by these arrangements. However, it is a question of the number of ports versus the opening hours. If the original decision on the proper control of fisheries was ...More Button

I accept the Deputy’s comments on this matter. We are vigorously pursuing the allocation of extra personnel to the port. Most landings were at Killybegs. When it was suggested that we concentrate reso...More Button

Other Questions - Port Development.

Was asked: his views on the proposal from the Drogheda Port Company to build a major new port at Bremore in Fingal county; the timeframe and supports available to this project; the way in which he sees the new n...More Button

In January of this year, my colleague, the Minister of State, launched the Government’s ports policy statement. The policy statement aims to better equip the port sector and its stakeholders to meet n...More Button

I am familiar with the proposal of Drogheda Port Company. I have taken a keen interest in it for a number of years. It was good enough to brief me on that proposals as soon as it was finalised. I do n...More Button

The matter to which the Deputy has adverted is a matter for Dublin City Council.More Button

Any development in the port must go through a planning process, which is controlled by the local authority.More Button

Other Questions - Broadcasting Legislation.

Was asked: his plans for the development of the public and private broadcasting sectors in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My core policy objectives for the development of the broadcasting sector are detailed in my Department’s statement of strategy, 2003-2005. These objectives are to create an environment that encourages...More Button

The question of granting licences and the issue of franchises and so on are a matter for the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland. I have no ideological hang-up about introducing competition. I note tha...More Button

There is always a danger that if there are more licences, stations will become blander. While the BCI is committed to granting more licences, it is also trying to uphold quality. Some of the licences ...More Button

The Deputy is trying to tempt me. The reduction of news and current affairs to below 20% of programming is something I would very much regret and on which I would make my views known. There are certai...More Button

The Deputy will be delighted to know that Navan also had a very successful local television service. I believe it was one of the first ones. It worked well with a limited audience.More Button

It covers many matters of local interest, mainly in the evening.More Button

The Deputies would not expect me to spoil a full-scale announcement due to take place at a later stage. I agree with Deputy Eamon Ryan in the matter. About three or four years ago huge interest was ex...More Button

Other Questions - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if he is concerned at the initial level of pricing for a 3G mobile phone service in Ireland; if his Department has contacted the Commission for Communications Regulation with a direction on this matte...More Button

I have no function in setting pricing for phone services. The regulation of telecommunications operators, including pricing for mobile services, is the responsibility of the Commission for Communicati...More Button

I welcome Deputy Broughan’s contribution, which supports Government policy in this area. The thrust of my response to the legitimate question he raised is that the best way of ensuring 3G and other se...More Button

I have had meetings with ComReg on a number of occasions since joining my Department and am not aware that any outstanding legislation is required. However, if ComReg needs further assistance through ...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the recent report, Market Analysis — Wholesale Access and Call Origination on Public Mobile Telephony Networks, produced by ComReg and the subsequent statement issued by...More Button

ComReg is independent in the exercise of its functions and it would be inappropriate for me to comment in detail on its work. However, I have noted its recent findings in the report, Market Analysis —...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: if he intends to issue directives to the regulator with a view to speeding up access to the national grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that he has issued the necessary instructions to ensure ready access to the national grid for alternative energy producers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has received any communications from alternative energy producers requesting a more streamlined entry to the national grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if, as alleged, access to the national grid is expensive or otherwise prohibitive through long drawn out procedures or otherwise; if he intends to issue any policy directives arising from this; and if...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 10, 17, 36 and 117 together. I have no function in the matter of access to the national grid network, which falls within the statutory responsibility of the Commission...More Button

Written Answers - Postal Services.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that An Post is seeking a tariff increase from ComReg; if he has satisfied himself with the performance of An Post management in delivering a world class qu...More Button

I understand that An Post applied for a price increase to the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, in May 2004. Under the European Communities (Postal Services) Regulations 2002, ComReg i...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Projects.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that all appropriate steps were taken to save the MediaLab Europe project in view of documents released under the Freedom of Information Acts, which showed that the project...More Button

Was asked: the nature of his proposed consultation process with a view to establishing a new research entity at the former MediaLab Europe premises in the Digital Hub; when he expects that the process will be co...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the replacement of the anchor tenant at the Digital Hub; if any moneys spent to date are recoverable; his future plans for the Digital Hub project; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 12, 28 and 33 together. Since its inception, the Government, through the operation of an interdepartmental committee, has stayed in touch with the operation of MediaLa...More Button

Written Answers - Alternative Energy Projects.

Was asked: when he will make a decision on future support mechanisms for renewable energy generators.More Button

Was asked: the progress made by the renewable energy development group which is chaired by his Department; if he has received a report from the group; his intentions arising therefrom; and if he will make a stat...More Button

Was asked: his targets to achieve less dependency on fossil fuels and the development of alternative energy sources; his plans to offer incentives in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the role he believes that wind energy can play in meeting energy requirements in this country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to support or encourage the production of alternative energy with particular reference to wind energy; if he has given any direction in this regard or intends to do so; and if he will make a...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 13, 21, 49, 62 and 110 together. The alternative energy requirement programme, AER, was introduced in the mid-1990s to support the construction of new renewable energy...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he has evaluated or compared the wind energy potential here with Scandinavian countries; if he intends to issue directives in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

I have not evaluated or compared the wind energy potential here with Scandinavian countries. The question of issuing directives on this matter does not arise. I draw attention to one significant diffe...More Button

Written Answers - Broadcasting Services.

Was asked: his estimate of the likely cost to consumers of the proposed migration to digital broadcasting; if he intends to issue a White Paper or review on the digital switch over and the implications for Irish...More Button

A migration to digital broadcasting is under way in most EU countries. Different technologies apply to the broadcasting of television and radio services and new technologies are emerging all the time....More Button

Written Answers - Television Licence Fee.

Was asked: his proposals for the use of reserve funds available from licence fees throughout the broadcasting sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the schemes to be introduced under the Broadcasting (Funding) Act 2003. The purpose of that Act was to establish a special fund to encourage both private and public...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: the areas of the country which have, to date, benefited from the provision of broadband facilities; his proposals for the future in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A total of 19 metropolitan area networks have been completed under the first phase of my Department’s regional broadband programme and a further seven are under construction. These fibre optic trunk n...More Button

Written Answers - EU Directives.

Was asked: when and how he intends to transpose the European renewables directive into Irish law.More Button

The renewables directive addresses an obligation to member states to establish national programmes to increase the gross consumption of renewable energy based electricity by 2010. The target addressed...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: when he expects to appoint consultants to review the electricity sector in this country; the terms of reference of the review; when he expects that the review will be completed; if the Government has ...More Button

I expect that consultants will be appointed to undertake the review of the electricity sector in Ireland in May 2005. In regard to the specific terms of reference, I refer the Deputy to the tender doc...More Button

Written Answers - Broadcasting Services.

Was asked: the extent to which he expects TG4 to proceed on a stand alone basis in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

TG4 is primarily an Irish language television station. It first broadcast on 31 October 1996 and operates as part of the RTE family of services. The Government is committed to supporting the developme...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Inquiries.

Was asked: the progress made with regard to the inquiry ordered by his Department into alleged irregularities in the fishing industry in Killybegs, County Donegal; the main conclusions of the report; and if he w...More Button

The matters to which the Deputy refers are the subject of independent investigations by the Garda Síochána. The investigation and all issues relating to it are matters for the Garda. I have received n...More Button

Written Answers - Alternative Energy Projects.

Was asked: Ireland’s position in the European league in respect of the utilisation of alternative energy fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the measures he has taken to try and ensure that the Government meets the percentage biofuel targets set by the European Union.More Button

Was asked: the degree to which it is hoped to replace existing fuels with biodiesels over the next five years; if he proposes to issue policy directives with a view to advancing targets; and if he will make a st...More Button

Was asked: if, in view of the proposed closure of the Carlow sugar factory and the failure to develop a new biofuel production industry from such facilities, his Department has commissioned research to investiga...More Button

Was asked: his plans to issue directives to encourage the production of biofuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the potential from the use of biodiesel; if he intends to issue policy directives in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his policy objectives in regard to biofuel production and in keeping with the Kyoto Protocol; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 24, 25, 32, 42, 53, 60 and 63 together. My Department is responsible for the promotion and development of renewable energy, including biofuels, and I am committed to t...More Button

Written Answers - Fishing Industry Development.

Was asked: when he will end the imposition of the present operating hours for Killybegs and other major ports and restore full landing times at ports which are essential, particularly for the pelagic industry.More Button

New EU control requirements relating to pelagic fisheries were introduced in 2004. These requirements were introduced to meet concerns about possible illegal fish landings in these fisheries across Eu...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: the efforts being made to address excessive roaming charges applied to Irish mobile phone users; if his attention has been drawn to the new European Commission investigation into the fees that mobile ...More Button

I have no function in setting pricing for phone services. The regulation of telecommunications operators, including pricing for mobile services, is the responsibility of the Commission for Communicati...More Button

Written Answers - Energy Resources.

Was asked: if he has considered commissioning independent research on the possible future availability and price of oil to the Irish market in view of the fact that international oil prices are again approaching...More Button

While I have not undertaken any specific research on the future availability and price of oil to the Irish market, Ireland, as a member of the European Union and through its membership of the Internat...More Button

Written Answers - Postal Services.

Was asked: the reason the Government has decided to take the Postal (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2001 off the Dáil Order Paper for Second Stage; the Government’s view on the long promised employee share owner...More Button

The Postal (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which was published in 2001 provides for the issue, sale and disposal of shares in An Post in the context of an employee share ownership plan, ESOP, and poss...More Button

Written Answers - Broadcasting Services.

Was asked: his preferred options for the future of broadcasting by way of radio and television; the methodology envisaged to fund the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for the future of the broadcasting industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 37 together. I refer the Deputy to my reply to today’s Question No. 7. My core policy objectives for the development of the broadcasting sector are detailed in ...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: the extent to which broadband has been provided countrywide to date; the extent to which the programme is in line with projections; when he expects targets to be met; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

Was asked: his plans to enhance the availability of e-technology to both the business and domestic sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his Department intends to issue tenders for public private partnerships to part finance the roll out of broadband to every single home and business in the State given the success of such initiative...More Button

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

Was asked: Ireland’s position in the European league in respect of broadband provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the way in which it is intended to improve Ireland’s position relative to other European countries in the area of telecommunications, with particular reference to the need to meet the ongoing demands ...More Button

Was asked: the way in which he proposes to ensure that telecommunication services here in terms of costs and effectiveness are on a par with those available in other jurisdictions; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that sufficient competition has been generated in the provision of broadband facilities nationwide to meet the desired requirements and objectives; if he intends to issue a...More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that the proper climate exists for the development of competition in the provision of modern telecommunications facilities with particular reference to broadband and mobile...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 34, 38, 44, 46, 51, 52, 113, 122 and 124 together. The provision of broadband facilities is a matter in the first instance for the private sector telecommunications co...More Button

Written Answers - Postal Services.

Was asked: if he has met the Irish Postmasters’ Union since he became Minister; if he will comment on the valuable proposals of the union to maintain the important rural postal service and especially the need to...More Button

On 15 November last, I met with the executive of the Irish Postmasters’ Union which represents postmasters and postmistresses who are responsible for the running of the sub-post office network on a co...More Button

Written Answers - Energy Regulation.

Was asked: when and how he will be authorised to issue directions to the energy regulator on matters of energy and electricity policy.More Button

Currently, I have certain limited statutory powers to give a policy direction or directions to the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, solely in relation to electricity trading arrangements. As is ...More Button

Written Answers - Television Licence Fee.

Was asked: his plans for the distribution of the television licence reserve fund; the full extent of this fund at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 16. I assume the Deputy is referring to the schemes to be introduced under the Broadcasting (Funding) Act 2003. The purpose of that Act was to establish ...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: the matters discussed at his meeting with the chairman and deputy chairman of the ESB on 17 February 2005; if he has received the review of the roles and responsibility of the deputy chairman of the c...More Button

My intervention was designed to remove the threat to electricity supplies. I spoke to both parties about the question of the role of the deputy chairman. The press statement which I issued after the m...More Button

Written Answers - Alternative Energy Projects.

Was asked: when he will report to Dáil Éireann on any plans to provide market support mechanisms for biomass given its potential for Ireland as an energy source; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In December 2003 my Department, in association with SEI, set up a bioenergy strategy group, BSG, to consider the policy options and support mechanisms available to Government to stimulate increased us...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: his preferred options for the future development of the electricity industry; the extent of any targets he has in mind for the use of wind, gas or alternative generation sources; and if he will make a...More Button

With regard to the specific institutional arrangements and market structures that might apply to this sector, I refer the Deputy to the answer I have given to an earlier question today in regard to th...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Irish mobile phone customers will have to pay significantly more than British subscribers to use third generation mobile phone technology; his views on...More Button

Was asked: Ireland’s position in the European league in respect of mobile telephone costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the high cost of mobile telephone use here as compared to other jurisdictions; if he has taken any policy initiatives arising from this; and if he will make a statem...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 47, 56 and 64 together. I have no function in setting pricing for phone services. The regulation of telecommunications operators, including pricing for mobile services...More Button

Was asked: if he has received any further communications from ComReg which indicate any breach in health or safety standards arising from the use of hand held mobile telephones or communications masts, with part...More Button

In June of 2003 my Department instigated an extensive communications site survey programme to measure non-ionising radiation from telecommunications mast sites, which was carried out by the Commission...More Button

Written Answers - Broadcasting Services.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that he has the necessary time and resources to respond within the one month deadline to the request by the European Commission for greater transparency on the application ...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the preliminary views received from the EU Commission on whether licence fee payments and other measures granted to RTE and TG4 are compatible with the common market; when he will...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 50 and 82 together. The investigation into the funding of public service broadcasting in Ireland arose in the context of a formal complaint by TV3, made originally in ...More Button

Written Answers - Fishing Industry Development.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed by business interests in Donegal about the future of the Killybegs fishing industry amid fears that up to 1,000 jobs could be lost; the steps he i...More Button

Written Answers - Alternative Energy Projects.

Was asked: if, arising from a recent decision by the regulator, he intends to issue directives regarding future financial incentives for the wind energy production sector; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the wind energy sector is unlikely to receive the degree of financial support from the regulator as in the past; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 61 together. Support to increase the penetration of renewable energy technologies generally in the electricity market is administered by my Department with some...More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the details of the tendering and procuring process followed in the appointment of consultants (details supplied) to his Department in the matter of the proposed Corrib gas project.More Button

The consultant for the Corrib pipeline evaluation was appointed in January 2002 following a limited invitation to tender in which three bids were received. The names invited were taken from the Instit...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: if his Department has been in contact with the EU Commission with regard to the Commission’s statement that it may examine the electricity and gas markets throughout the EU to evaluate the levels of c...More Button

I presume the Deputy is referring to the recently published European Commission’s plans for 2005 in terms of European energy priorities. A key priority identified by the Commission is the achievement ...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: his Department’s role in monitoring health and safety issues relating to mobile phones; the areas in which final responsibility for this matter should be located in view of the overlapping roles of hi...More Button

My Department maintains a watching scientific brief on health issues relating to non-ionising radiation, including mobile telephony. The Department’s involvement in matters concerning the health effec...More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the details of the process followed in the appointment of a person (details supplied) as auditor of independent verification in the matter of the proposed Corrib gas project.More Button

The work in question was formerly carried out by the ocean services division of Enterprise Ireland on behalf of the petroleum affairs division of my Department. The ocean services division completed s...More Button

Written Answers - Alternative Energy Projects.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that his Department has in place adequate legislative provisions to encourage the production of various forms of alternative energy electricity with a view to supplying the...More Button

I refer the Deputy to the reply to Question No. 153 on 9 December 2004. As Minister with responsibility for energy matters, including the development of our indigenous renewable energy resources, my r...More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the concerns expressed in a recent report commissioned on behalf of eight fishing agencies in Ireland, Britain and Norway that gil-net or ghost-net fishing in Irish ...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if he has used his directive prerogative to encourage an improvement in the quality and coverage of mobile telephone services throughout the country; if he has given any direction to the regulator in ...More Button

Was asked: if he has used his directive prerogative to encourage an improvement in the quality and coverage of mobile telephone services throughout the country; if he has given any direction to the regulator in ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 115 together. I refer the Deputy to my answer to Question No. 168 on 14 December 2004, when I replied as follows: The Commission for Communications Regulation, ...More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: if he has given any more consideration to the possibility of a buy out of commercial salmon licences and to the estimated costs of a buy out in view of the experience of several of our EU partners; if...More Button

Written Answers - Postal Services.

Was asked: his most recent proposals for the future of An Post with particular reference to the need to retain the post office structure; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself regarding the future of An Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 71 and 123 together. There is agreement that change is required if the postal services of an Post are to adapt to a changing environment and continue to offer a good s...More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: if he will revoke the fishing permit for coarse angling introduced in 2003 on the River Suck; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on the draconian decision by the EU Fisheries Council to impose vast no fishing areas off Ireland’s west coast.More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: if he has received any indication from the communications regulator regarding the DSL failure rate, which indicates that approximately half the telephone lines are broadband compatible; and if he will...More Button

I have no statutory function in this matter.More Button

Written Answers - Employee Share Ownership Schemes.

Was asked: his views on a proposed employee share ownership plan for Bord Gáis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Government policy on employee share ownership schemes in State companies is clear. It allows for the ownership of up to 5% of a company subject to a per capita cash value ceiling in return for specifi...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: if it is intended that a joint agreement be signed with a private developer to construct residential units in the Digital Hub in return for a share of future rental income; if so, the nature of such a...More Button

The Digital Hub Development Agency is running a developer competition to develop the hub site. I await a recommendation from the board of the agency on the competition. In advance of the recommendatio...More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the amount which has been spent on consultants over each of the past five years to investigate the issue of the introduction of digital television services here; and when he will be able to outline a ...More Button

A list of all consultancies retained in relation to the introduction of digital television services is attached. The total amount spent over the period in question was €2,591,744. I am developing furt...More Button

Written Answers - Radio Broadcasting.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the decision of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland to issue a revised licensing policy statement in coming months which it is reported may lead to the issue of a sig...More Button

The licensing of independent radio stations in Ireland is a matter for the independent Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, BCI, and one in which I have no direct role. The revenue return to the Excheq...More Button

Written Answers - Television Reception.

Was asked: if he has plans to extend RTE broadcasts to enable Irish people living in Britain to access RTE programmes on their televisions; his views on whether RTE broadcasts to Britain can be restored in view ...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 89 on 8 February 2005 which read as follows: RTE’s statutory mandate, as defined in section 28 (1) of the Broadcasting Act 2001, provides that RTE’s radi...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: the main features of the regulations signed by him in advance of the opening of the full electricity market on 19 February 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The European Communities (Internal Market in Electricity) Regulations 2005, SI No. 60 of 2005, referred to by the Deputy give further legal effect to Directive No. 2003/54/EC of the European Parliamen...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: the actions he can take to counter increased use of the Internet and mobile telephone systems for child pornography and gambling; if his attention has been drawn to the potential damage to society of ...More Button

I have no function in relation to gambling. Legislation to combat illegal pornographic material is already in place. The Deputy may be aware that it is an offence under section 13 of the Post Office (...More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: his views on the damage to the livelihood of fishermen on the River Suir from drainage works carried out to the river by South Tipperary County Council; if the county manager will carry out remedial m...More Button

Written Answers - Marine Safety.

Was asked: if he intends to act on the recommendations of the report of the marine casualty investigations board into the loss of four crew from a yacht (details supplied) on 20 May 2001, particularly in regard ...More Button

Written Answers - Port Development.

Was asked: if his Department has entered into discussions with Dublin City Council and the Dublin Port Company with regard to the future use of port lands on the southside of the Liffey; and if his Department ha...More Button

Written Answers - Natural Gas Grid.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself regarding the availability of natural gas supplies in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself regarding the availability of natural gas supplies in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 85 and 118 together. World gas resources can easily meet projected demand. Proven reserves have outpaced production for the past 25 years and equal about 66 years of c...More Button

Was asked: if he will commission an independent QRA in the interest of the health and safety of the residents who will be compelled to live beside the Mayo gas upstream gas pipeline; and if he will make a statem...More Button

As I have already stated, my Department is at present considering an application for consent to install the onshore pipeline. Both the quantified risk assessment, QRA, and the Johnston report, to whic...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: Ireland’s position in the European league in regard to availability of broadband; the extent to which this situation has improved or is likely to improve in the foreseeable future with particular refe...More Button

The most recent figures from the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, indicate that there are now in excess of 130,000 broadband consumers, which is almost 9% market penetration. This is ...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: when and the way in which he will be authorised to issue directions to the energy regulator on matters of energy and electricity policy.More Button

Currently, I have certain limited statutory powers to give directions to the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, solely on electricity trading arrangements. As is common practice with other sectora...More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the amount which has been spent on consultants over each of the past five years to investigate the issue of the introduction of digital television services here; and when he will be able to outline a ...More Button

A list of all consultancies relating to the introduction of digital television services is being made available. The total amount spent over the period in question is €2,591,744. These costs relate pr...More Button

Written Answers - Public Private Partnerships.

Was asked: if it is intended that a joint agreement be signed with a private developer to construct residential units in the Digital Hub in return for a share of future rental income; the nature of such an agree...More Button

I am aware that the Digital Hub Development Agency, DHDA, is running a developer competition to develop the hub site. I am awaiting a recommendation from the board of DHDA relating to that competition...More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if mobile telephone charges here are the highest in Europe; his policy initiatives to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have no function in setting pricing for phone services. The regulation of telecommunications operators, including pricing for mobile services, is the responsibility of the Commission for Communicati...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: if he will report on his Department guidelines for the tendering and carrying out of the various broadband schemes being rolled out across the country; the person who gives final approval of departmen...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that tendering for all aspects of broadband projects under the national development plan that are being rolled out across the country are conducted in accordance with the r...More Button

Written Answers - Natural Gas Grid.

Was asked: when his Department’s attention was drawn to the quantified risk assessment for the Corrib upstream gas pipeline commissioned or carried out by a company (details supplied) on behalf of Enterprise Ene...More Button

The quantified risk assessment for the Corrib upstream gas pipeline referred to by the Deputy came to my Department’s attention when the developers applied to my predecessor for consent to construct a...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a copy of the quantified risk assessment that was carried out on the Corrib gas project, north County Mayo, in its entirety.More Button

My Department is at present considering an application for consent to install the onshore pipeline. Both the quantified risk assessment, QRA, and the Johnston report, to which I have referred previous...More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: the figures which were put forward at the final meeting of the outgoing National Salmon Commission in regard to the recommended total salmon quota for the whole country by the fisheries board managers...More Button

Was asked: the percentage of salmon quota allocated to each fisheries board area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the contact his Department has had with the north Atlantic salmon fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Fishing Vessel Licences.

Was asked: if, in the case of a commercial salmon drift net licence holder who cannot fish due to illness or being required as a full-time carer such a fisherman can nominate another person to use their licence ...More Button

Written Answers - Fisheries Protection.

Was asked: his position with regard to the case for the cessation of drift netting for salmon.More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: the state of developments in regard to 3G telephone technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Although the development of third generation mobile phone technology worldwide has not been as fast as previously envisaged, the roll out of 3G services has commenced. In Ireland one licensee has full...More Button

Written Answers - Telecommunications Services.

Was asked: his views on the extent to which the Internet and the mobile telephone system are being used to promote gambling to the detriment of young people and families; if he intends to issue any instructions;...More Button

I have no function in the matter raised by the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the policy directives he has given to the communications regulator in regard to targets relating to the provision of broadband services throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

In March 2004, my predecessor, Deputy Dermot Ahern, under section 13 of the Communications Regulation Act 2002, issued policy directions to the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, includ...More Button

Written Answers - Electricity Generation.

Was asked: the extent to which adequate generating capacity exists to meet requirements for the foreseeable future; if the national grid has sufficient reserves to meet all eventualities, particularly at peak lo...More Button

As the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, has statutory responsibility for security of electricity supply, I have no function in the matters raised by the Deputy.More Button

Written Answers - Television Licence Fee.

Was asked: when disbursement of funds from licence fees are likely to be awarded to the public or private broadcasting sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 16 of today.More Button

Written Answers - Mobile Telephony.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that health and safety standards and requirements are being fully adhered to throughout the mobile telephone industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer the Deputy to my response to Questions Nos. 78, 273, 298 and 316 on 8 February 2005.More Button

Written Answers - Alternative Energy Projects.

Was asked: the degree to which cost effectiveness and efficiency have been evaluated in respect of various methods of energy production, having particular regard to the need to protect the environment; and if he...More Button

I have nothing further to add to my reply to Question No. 273 answered on 30 November 2004.More Button

Was asked: his policy in regard to wind generated electricity and its availability to the national grid; if he has issued directions to the energy regulator or received communications therefrom in this regard; a...More Button

My policy on electricity generated from renewable sources, of which wind is the dominant technology, in the first instance is to increase consumption from these sources to 13.2% of total consumption b...More Button

Written Answers - Broadcasting Services.

Was asked: the manner in which he anticipates broadcasting to develop in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 7 given earlier today.More Button


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