5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the meetings he has had with European counterparts in respect of PESCO; the timeline for Irish participation in PESCO projects; and the way in which he plans to inform Dáil Éireann on the progress of and details relating to such projects. (Question 20744/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: I am interested in knowing the detail of how Ireland is operating within PESCO. I am particularly interested in knowing how we, as a Dáil, can get transparency and openness regarding every aspect of the agreement, specific projects, budget and Council meetings and how we will integrate with NATO. I am keen that the Minister of State should set out the means by which Deputies can get clarity regarding what is happening. We regularly hear him refer to Ireland’s neutrality but...

261. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his position on EU Directive 2016/1148; his views on whether the implementation of this directive represents an adequate minimum standard for the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the State; and his plans to introduce further measures to increase Irish cybersecurity and readiness. (Question 20745/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - EU Directives)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The European Union Network and Information Security Directive marks an extremely significant step change in how the EU and its Member States approach the Cyber Security of critical infrastructure and key online services. Once fully implemented, Member States will have a formal and binding set of arrangements in place around Critical Infrastructure, adapted to the needs of each State. These arrangements involve t...

8. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meetings in Newry, County Down. (Question 19856/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, together.
On the afternoon of 30 April, I travelled to Northern Ireland following my attendance at the fourth plenary meeting of the all-island civic dialogue in Dundalk.
I had a number of different engagements during my visit, which was part of my efforts and those of the Government to stay engaged with all parts of society in Northern Ireland.
My first engagement was a visit to New-Bridge integrated college in Loughbrickland. ...

246. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his Department’s specific financial codes which are used to monitor expenditure under the heading of land transport. (Question 20341/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The Public Spending Code is the set of rules and procedures that apply to ensure that these standards are upheld across the Irish public service. The Code brings together in one place all of the elements of the value-for-money framework that has been in force up to now, updated and reformed in some respects. The Code is maintained under the management of the Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit of the Department of Public Expenditure ...

1. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach the details of the new structure of the communications unit within his Department following the completion of the review. (Question 18891/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Strategic Communications Unit)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.
Following on from the review of the operation of the strategic communications unit, or SCU, my Department will revert to a reformed Government information service, or GIS, model. The GIS will have a smaller budget, fewer staff and a more limited role than the SCU. There will be a managed reversion to the more traditional GIS model with a transition period until July 2018. This transition is now under way and will con...

33. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will amend the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 to require landlords to test for radon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19872/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Rental Sector Strategy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Strategy for the Rental Sector, published in December 2016, recognises that quality rental accommodation is critical to the success and sustainability of the residential rental sector and its attractiveness as a long-term accommodation option for households. 
A key commitment in the Strategy was to review the regulations governing minimum standards in rented accommodation, to bring them into line with modern require...

37. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the assessment he has made of an estate (details supplied) as a suitable site for the provision of the cost-rental model of public housing; if he has met or will meet the regeneration team for the estate; and if he has studied its proposal for the provision of housing in the area. (Question 19871/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Housing Regeneration)

Deputy Joan Collins: On 26 April St. Michael’s regeneration team in Inchicore launched “Our Community: A Better Way”. I ask the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to support a regeneration team to utilise public lands at a location for 300 social and public housing units - not affordable units. Will this model be used as a pilot scheme with a view to extending it to all public lands?
 ...

410. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the term “non-zero emission vehicle” in regard to the commitment in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 encompasses vehicles equipped with a combustion engine regardless of fuel and other propulsion systems which may also be installed, such that no new hybrid propulsion vehicles that include a combustion engine will be sold here after 2030. (Question 20110/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - National Mitigation Plan)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 410 and 411 together.
Ireland’s first statutory National Mitigation Plan, which I published in July last year, provides a framework to guide investment decisions by Government in domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the Plan is to specify the policy measures required in order to manage Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions at a level appropriate for m...

411. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the rationale for delaying the ban on sales of non-zero emission vehicles until 2030 in view of the large and accumulating overshoot of carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector relative to EU targets and the temperature goals for the Paris Agreement; and his costed plans for drawing down the corresponding excess carbon dioxide that will be emitted to the atmosphere and that is directly attributable to this delay. (Question 20111/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - National Mitigation Plan)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 410 and 411 together.
Ireland’s first statutory National Mitigation Plan, which I published in July last year, provides a framework to guide investment decisions by Government in domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the Plan is to specify the policy measures required in order to manage Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions at a level appropriate for m...

412. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his Department’s planned renewable energy system’s capacity estimated to be installed here in percentage of the power mix for the years 2030 and 2035. (Question 20113/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Renewable Energy Generation Targets)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Energy White Paper presents a long-term strategic vision that is intended to guide the direction of Irish energy policy from now until 2030. It identifies the long-term strategic importance of diversifying Ireland’s energy generation portfolio and largely decarbonising the energy sector by 2050.  It does not set out targets for specific renewable technologies; rather it provides a framework to guide policy b...

426. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the latest figures for persons cycling to work; the amount the bike to work scheme costs to run; and if he has carried out a cost-benefit analysis of the scheme. (Question 20112/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Cycle to Work Scheme Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The number of people cycling to work has steadily increased in recent years. The most recent Census figures compiled by the Central Statistics Office show 56,837 people cycling to work, school or college nationally in 2016 increasing from 39,803 in 2011, which represents an increase of 43%. 
The Canal Cordon Count collected by Dublin City Council provides data on the number of cyclists who pass the canal cordon in Dublin between 7.00...

269. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount his Department is projected to spend in each quarter of 2018 in local authority builds, approved housing body builds and acquisitions units under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, in tabular form. (Question 19326/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): A total housing budget of €1.9 billion is provided for 2018, representing an increase of €500 million (36%) compared to 2017. This investment will see the housing needs of 25,500 households being met this year. 
Through a capital expenditure provision of €1.14 billion, local authorities and approved housing bodies (AHBs) will deliver 5,900 homes through a combination of new build, including local authority and AHB new bu...

437. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the administrative cost of means-testing each social welfare payment which is subject to means-testing in 2016 and 2017; the cost of administering all non-means tested social welfare payments in 2016 and 2017, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19117/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): My Department’s administration expenditure is split between Vote (means tested schemes) and Social Insurance Fund (non-means tested schemes). Details of the total administration expenditure for 2016 and 2017 are outlined in the following table. These costs also include services provided for and charged to my Department by other Departments and Agencies.

 Administration Category 2016 2017 (Provisional Figur...

5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when he will reopen the organic farming scheme; his plans for organic farming here; and the percentage of produce here that is organically grown. (Question 18437/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Organic Farming Scheme)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: We are advertising the country by means of the Origin Green programme, which is right as we have the potential to be a really green agricultural country, but that is not helped by the fact that when it comes to the league table for organic production we are second last in Europe. That beggars belief in a period when, according to a recent assessment by Bord Bia, the market is growing by something like 23% per annum.
The organic scheme was hugely successful when it was launche...

112. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay in the roll-out of automatic number plate recognition cameras in Dublin city (details supplied); the timeline for the further roll-out of same; the proposed locations for the cameras; and the number of different types of vehicles found breaking traffic signals in 2017. (Question 18393/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Road Traffic Offences)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, decisions in relation to the management and allocation of Garda resources are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
I wish to inform the Deputy that the information requested is not currently to hand. I have requested relevant information from the Garda Commissioner and will write to the Deputy when a report is received.
 ...

228. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the timeframe and process for the introduction of new marine protected areas. (Question 18438/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Maritime Spatial Planning)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): My Department is responsible for national marine environmental policy in Ireland, principally through the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The aim of MSFD is to integrate environmental considerations into all aspects of marine activity to maintain or reach a point of good environmental status (GES) in our seas and oceans and ensure that this status is maintain...

241. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of the streamlined approval process for the approval of local authority housing by his Department; the number of occasions or stages of approval required by his Department’s process; and the main stages and length of time it takes from site selection to tenant handover. (Question 18447/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Local Authority Housing)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Social housing projects funded by my Department, like all publicly-funded construction projects, must comply with the Government’s Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF), the objectives of which are to ensure greater cost certainty, better value for money and financial accountability. 
While there are nine points of review within the CWMF, my Department has combined these to just four for capital-funded social housing...

35. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will introduce an auction system for the provision of EV charging points around the country. (Question 18001/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Electric Vehicles)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 35 and 57 together.
The Low Emissions Vehicle Taskforce, which is co-chaired by my Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, is considering the measures and options available to Government to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles. As Deputies will be aware, this has led to a range of additional supports being introduced for electric vehicles.
For in...

52. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeline and nature of the tendering process he plans to introduce for the collection of television licence fees. (Question 18002/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Television Licence Fee Collection)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Section 145 (1) of the Broadcasting Act 2009 defines ‘issuing agent’ as An Post “or another person designated by the Minister” under Section 145 (3) of the Act.
The Act does not currently provide for the tendering of licence fee collection and I obtained Government approval in May 2017 for the drafting of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill which includes an amendment to allow for tendering of licence fee collecti...

475. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason Ireland’s third biennial report to the UNFCCC was three months late. (Question 18100/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - UN Conventions)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requires that Parties submit regular reports on the steps they are taking to implement the Convention. These reports set out a Party’s historic and projected emissions, climate polices, measures taken and under consideration, and major policy developments in the reporting period.
National Communications are submitted every four years, and form a ...

476. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which he plans to respond to the Citizens’ Assembly report on climate; and if he will seek to establish a similar committee to the one established in view of the Citizens’ Assembly report on the eighth amendment to the Constitution. (Question 18102/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Citizens Assembly)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I welcome the submission to the Oireachtas, on 18 April, of the final report of the Citizens’ Assembly on how the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change.
The final report includes a total of 17 recommendations which address a range of Government policies and activities across a number of sectors and Ministerial functions. The report reflects the deliberations of the Citizens Assembly over two...

595. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he is satisfied that 67% of all new housing being built has fossil fuel-based heating systems; and the measures he will take to reduce this in view of the Paris climate commitments. (Question 18101/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Building Regulations)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 sets out the national objective of transitioning to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy in the period up to 2050. It requires the publication of a national low carbon transition and mitigation plan every five years and my Department is required to identify and develop sectoral mitigation measures for the...

173. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procurement process for arranging flights to transport deportees from Ireland to their country of origin; and the airlines and travel agencies involved in transporting deportees. (Question 17168/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Deportation Orders)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): A Deportation Order requires the person concerned to remove themselves from the State and it is only where they fail to do so that the State is forced to remove them and enforce the rule of law. The process leading to deportation is extensive with many avenues of appeal open to persons subject to Deportation Orders, including judicial review in the High Court. Where persons have been identified as a threat to national security by An Ga...

242. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the steps he will take in relation to the requests from Dublin City Council following the receiver seeking to reduce the amount of social housing in the Poolbeg SDZ; if all materials, correspondence and records related to the Poolbeg SDZ within his Department will be released; and if he will attend Dublin City Council to answer questions from councillors on this issue. (Question 17055/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Local Authority Housing)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The development of the Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) will, subject to a decision of An Bord Pleanála to approve the detailed planning scheme drawn up by the City Council and the subject of a current appeal, be subject to the provisions of Part V of the Planning Act which will deliver some 350 social housing units.
Taking account of wider Government policy in the context of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan fo...

13. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meeting with Chancellor Merkel. (Question 13952/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 to 17, inclusive, together.
I travelled to Berlin on 20 March for a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel as part of my strategic engagement with our European partners. We discussed preparations for the March European Council, including Brexit, trade, Economic and Monetary Union, EMU, and the tax challenges of digitalisation. I also took the opportunity to congratulate the Chancellor on her recent re-election for the fourth time. 
O...