797. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that at least one waste collector (details supplied) is now charging per lift and per kilo on green bins; his views on whether recycled waste should be subject to pay per lift and pay per weight charge structure; the way in which this charge structure will encourage persons to recycle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12445/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Waste Disposal Charges)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The charges applied by waste management companies are matters for those companies and their customers, subject to compliance with all applicable environmental and other relevant legislation, including contract and consumer legislation.
In terms of environmental legislation, the charges applied should encourage householders to divert waste from the residual or general waste bin. For example, it would be expected ...

63. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to address problems with broadband provision in the western areas of County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7249/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland now have access to high speed broadband.  By the end of this year that number will rise to nearly 8 out of 10 ...

65. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to tackle the mass evasion of the television licence by households; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7248/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Television Licence Fee Collection)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I am very much aware of the challenges that face the existing TV Licence system including the current level of evasion which is estimated to be 14.6%. While the rate has fallen from 15.3% at the end of 2013, it is still very high and equates to a loss of €40m per annum to public service broadcasting.
To address this issue, my Department has been working with An Post and RTÉ on an on-going basis to ensure that th...

1282. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has satisfied himself with the amount of waste material that is recycled here in view of recent announcements that certain types of materials that are widely recycled elsewhere, such as soft plastic bags and film packaging, will not be accepted. (Question 1041/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Recycling Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1282 and 1283 together. 
Under the EU Packaging Directive, at least 60% of Ireland’s packaging waste must be recovered and 55% must be recycled. Ireland has met and exceeded the overall packaging waste recovery rate and the recycling rate targets since they came into force. The most recent Waste Packaging Statistics for Ireland, published by the EPA in May 2016, show that Irela...

1283. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce additional measures or investment to increase the types of material that Ireland’s recycling system can process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1042/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Recycling Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1282 and 1283 together. 
Under the EU Packaging Directive, at least 60% of Ireland’s packaging waste must be recovered and 55% must be recycled. Ireland has met and exceeded the overall packaging waste recovery rate and the recycling rate targets since they came into force. The most recent Waste Packaging Statistics for Ireland, published by the EPA in May 2016, show that Irela...

210. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will clarify the new guidelines for recycling household waste; if private waste collection firms are compelled to implement the new guidelines; the way in which the new guidelines will ensure uniformity in terms of household recycling; if there are penalties for households that breach the guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52111/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Waste Management Regulations)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I recently announced, for the first time ever, a single, national standard list of items that can go into the recycle bin.
The list of suitable material is now simply paper, cardboard, rigid plastics, tins and cans. Details of the materials which can be now be placed in the mixed dry recycling bin collected at kerbside are available on http://recyclinglistireland.ie/
This national standard list of items will eli...

428. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will clarify the proposed cuts to the RTÉ concert orchestra and RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra; his plans to ensure this important public service is protected and supported and does not suffer regressive cuts; the timeframe for the review announced by RTÉ into the two orchestras; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51625/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - RTÉ Expenditure)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): RTÉ is an independent national public service broadcaster established under the Broadcasting Act 2009. Section 114(1) of the Act sets out the objects of RTÉ, including the objective ‘to establish and maintain orchestras, choirs and other cultural performing groups’. Section 98 of the Act establishes the independence of RTÉ in pursuance of its objects. I do not have a statutory function in this matter.
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990. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce a pay by weight scheme operated by waste collection firms; the assurances he can provide that the scheme will not result in increased costs for households; the way in which the new scheme is environmentally friendly; his views on competition in the area of waste collection; the consumer protections that are in place for households and in particular for older persons; the public information and awareness campaigns that have been conducted to inform persons on the new charge scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46827/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Waste Management)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): In line with the commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland published in 2012 and in the interest of encouraging further waste prevention, flat-rate fees for kerbside household waste collection will be phased out over the period autumn 2017 to autumn 2018, as customers contracts come up for renewal. The necessary regulatory steps have been put in place to give effect to t...

241. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce legislation to ensure producers of plastic packaging for food goods use recyclable packaging material; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45235/17 asked on 25 Oct 2017 - Recycling Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The EU Packaging Directive is transposed in Ireland by the European Union (Packaging) Regulations 2014. Article 18 of the Packaging Directive states the following: “Member States shall not impede the placing on the market of their territory of packaging which satisfies the provisions of this Directive”. 
Therefore, I am not in a position to introduce the type of legislation suggested by the Deputy.
However, we...

188. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of plans to regulate the waste collection industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44420/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Waste Management Regulations)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188 to 191, inclusive, together. 
In line with the commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland published in 2012, a number of additional legislative measures have been introduced to further regulate the waste collection industry. Examples include: the introduction of fixed payment notices for the contravention of specific conditions of a was...

189. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of work by the Government created watchdog set up to monitor pricing in the waste collection sector; the number of meetings the watchdog has held; the date of each meeting; the members of the watchdog; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44421/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Waste Management Regulations)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188 to 191, inclusive, together. 
In line with the commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland published in 2012, a number of additional legislative measures have been introduced to further regulate the waste collection industry. Examples include: the introduction of fixed payment notices for the contravention of specific conditions of a was...

190. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission declined to join the watchdog set up to monitor pricing in the waste collection sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44422/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Waste Management Regulations)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188 to 191, inclusive, together. 
In line with the commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland published in 2012, a number of additional legislative measures have been introduced to further regulate the waste collection industry. Examples include: the introduction of fixed payment notices for the contravention of specific conditions of a was...

191. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the work by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission that was asked to conduct an investigation into the waste collection industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44423/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Waste Management Regulations)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188 to 191, inclusive, together. 
In line with the commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland published in 2012, a number of additional legislative measures have been introduced to further regulate the waste collection industry. Examples include: the introduction of fixed payment notices for the contravention of specific conditions of a was...

364. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a bin company’s contracts with customers give the company permission to access customers’ homes without their knowledge or approval; his views on this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33196/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Waste Management Regulations)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 364, 366 and 377 together.
The terms and conditions of consumer contracts do not fall within my remit as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. It is my understanding that the issues raised are the subject of terms and conditions of private contracts between householders and household waste collection companies. 
It is also my understanding that the Competit...

641. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the charging mechanism waste collectors are allowed to charge households; if waste collectors can now impose pay by weight schemes on persons who have not been paying in this manner up to now; if waste collectors can only introduce such a scheme for these customers from September 2017; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that persons who have not paid by weight up to now are being charged in such a manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32671/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Waste Disposal Charges)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The charges applied by waste management companies are matters for those companies and their customers, subject to compliance with all applicable environmental and other relevant legislation, including contract and consumer legislation.
In the interest of encouraging further waste prevention, the Government has decided that flat-rate fees for kerbside household waste collection will be phased out over the period ...

511. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the new charging system for domestic waste collection; the way in which the new system will protect persons and offer the best value service; the assurances he can make that the new system will work in the interest of consumers and not result in increased costs; the way in which the proposed measure will promote environmentally friendly domestic waste practices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31363/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Waste Disposal Charges)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The new framework will give waste collectors the flexibility to continue to offer, or to introduce, a range of incentivised pricing options, which encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste, while choosing the service-price offering that best suits their circumstances and allows them to manage their costs 
These options include elements or combinations of per-lift, per-kilogramme, weight-bands, we...

225. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if all agencies under his aegis have an up to date tax clearance certificate; the agencies which do not have an up to date tax clearance certificate; the reason they do not have a tax clearance certificate in each case, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30282/17 asked on 28 Jun 2017 - Departmental Agencies Data)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): All of the relevant State Bodies under the aegis of my Department have confirmed that they have up to date tax clearance certificates. 
 ...

460. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if residents in an area (details supplied) can avail of high-fibre broadband following developments in infrastructure in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29570/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - National Broadband Plan)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 459, 460 and 463 together.
The provision of telecommunications services, including broadband and fibre optic backhaul cables are a matter, in the first instance, for the commercial players who operate in the Irish market. Neither I nor my Department have a statutory authority to direct telecommunications operators in this regard.
The Government’s National Broadband Plan will prov...

1739. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce a pay-by-weight system for waste collection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26814/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Waste Disposal Charges)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1731 and 1739 together.
The charges applied by waste management companies are a matter between those companies and their customers, subject to compliance with all applicable environmental and other relevant legislation, including contract and consumer legislation.  
My Department is reviewing, together with the regulatory authorities and industry representatives, the introduction...

579. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of changes to EU telephone and Internet data coverage rules and charges for those travelling abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21658/17 asked on 09 May 2017 - Telephone Call Charges)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The European Commission is currently collaborating with National Regulatory Authorities to provide detailed guidance on how Roam Like at Home (RLAH) can be introduced at retail level and is also working closely with consumer organisations across the EU (BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation). The Irish Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) is the competent statutorily independent regulatory autho...

188. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which his Department monitors any broadcaster’s statutory spend requirements; the way in which he assures himself the accounting cost is confined to the year of broadcast; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14575/17 asked on 23 Mar 2017 - Broadcasting Sector Regulation)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The only such statutory expenditure requirement in relation to the public service broadcasters arises under Section 116 of the Broadcasting Act 2009, which obliges RTÉ to spend a predetermined minimum amount every year on independently produced television and radio programmes. This amount is lodged to the Independent Programmes Account, upon which RTÉ must report annually. RTÉ’s adherence to the requirements of ...

189. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of any payments made by his Department, its agencies or any bodies under his aegis to any broadcasters here in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016; the broadcaster to which the funds were provided; the reason for the payments; and if there is any reason for payments to broadcasters in 2017. (Question 14719/17 asked on 23 Mar 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The information requested in relation to my Department is being complied and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.
The information regarding the agencies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter for each Agency. I will request the relevant bodies to reply directly to the Deputy with the information requested in respect of their organisation.
 ...

253. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines relating to such investment; if his Department intends to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39027/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - State Investments)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): My Department does not invest in company stocks or shares either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds. Civil Service pensions are funded directly from the Superannuation and Retired Allowances Vote (Vote 12) of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as part of current expenditure, voted in the annual estimates.  
The information requested in relation to the agencies under...

203. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to conduct a national countrywide audit of mobile telephone coverage to identify black spots and other signal issues; the measures his Department is engaged in to improve mobile telephone coverage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36466/16 asked on 23 Nov 2016 - Mobile Telephony Services)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The provision of mobile telephony services is subject to a requirement to secure access to the required radio spectrum by way of licence. The management of radio spectrum is a statutory function of the independent regulator of the telecommunications sector, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). I understand that licences issued by ComReg impose terms and conditions on mobile network operators ...

754. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the figures for his Department on the percentage of working days lost to sickness absence through certified leave and uncertified leave in each year from 2011 to 2015 inclusive. (Question 23408/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Departmental Staff Sick Leave)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): The information requested by the Deputy is outlined in the following table: 
 Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Lost Time Rate - Uncertified 0.46% 0.32% 0.26% 0.23% 0.25% Lost Time Rate  - Certified 3.55% 3.85% 3.18% 2.38% 2.44% 

Notes: The lost time rate shows the percentage of working time lost due to sick leave per year.
 ...