66. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the role his Department plays in An Garda Síochána’s ICT governance board; the person that represents his Department on this board; the number of meetings they attend on an annual basis; if he is updated on the work of the board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16534/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that there is regular, detailed and structured engagement between my Department and An Garda Síochána in relation to governance and the Garda reform programme generally, including ICT matters.
I am advised that the Garda Information and Communications Technology Governance Board was established in November 2016, building on a recommendation of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate. I am further advised that the Board...

525. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when PULSE will be updated to enable gardaí to differentiate between full driver licences and learner permits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15277/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda equipment and resources are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the recording of all road traffic collisions on PULSE requires Garda members to complete licence and insurance details for each driver. In relation to the licence details, PULSE alre...

591. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which adequate modern technology is available to An Garda Síochána in the context of the fight against organised crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16699/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 591 and 592 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources, including ICT, are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
I can assure the Deputy that tackling organised crime activity is a key ongoing priority for both the Government and An Garda Síochána. 
I am informed by ...

592. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the degree to which modern communication technology is readily available to An Garda Síochána with particular reference to the fight against organised crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16700/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 591 and 592 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources, including ICT, are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
I can assure the Deputy that tackling organised crime activity is a key ongoing priority for both the Government and An Garda Síochána. 
I am informed by ...

35. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary schools using tablet devices (details supplied) in the classroom; the number that have stopped using these devices in the classroom due to control issues; the problems primary schools have experienced in respect of this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14422/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The decision to use tablet devices is a matter for the Board of Management of each school. Where the introduction of new technology is planned, consultation with members of the school community including parents is advised. The cost and other implications must be fully considered by the Boards of Management before a decision is made. 
My Department does not maintain records on individual schools using mobile devices nor does it have acce...

276. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will promote a public awareness campaign targeting parents and children and young persons regarding the importance of digital citizenship and online safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14035/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department is responsible for teaching and learning in schools.  In this regard, there is a prescribed curriculum in place that covers a broad range of learning needs including the use of technologies and wellbeing. 
My Department has a broad suite of policies to support the safe and appropriate use of digital technologies in schools. For example, the SPHE curriculum at primary level contains a strand on Media Education, and as with a...

202. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills to list the 40 schools that are under the first phase of the introduction of computer science as a new leaving certificate subject; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5799/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): It is our aim to become the best education and training system in Europe by 2026 and to do this we need to expand our pool of people with digital skills and capabilities. My Action Plan for Education includes an action to introduce Computer Science as an optional new Leaving Certificate subject introduced in two phases. Phase 1 will see the introduction of the subject in a representative sample of 40 schools from September 2018 (presen...

235. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to set out in tabular form the amount expended by his Department on information technology infrastructure by hardware and software in each of the years 2014 to 2017 relating to scheme payment systems; and the budget allocation for 2018. (Question 5152/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): This Department makes extensive use of ICT systems and services to underpin all of its core activities; including areas such as animal health and welfare, food safety, fisheries and scheme payments.
Since 2015 the Department has introduced over 20 new Common Agriculture Policy Schemes and the vast bulk of these are now processed end to end by these digital systems. This transformative project has been achieved using the mix o...

90. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there is a formal tracking system to monitor crimestoppers information; and the action taken once that information is sent to a national unit or local division as recommended by the Garda Inspectorate in 2014. (Question 3831/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to this matter and when this report is received I will contact the Deputy directly. 
 ...

225. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills to set out the schools nationally that run voluntary coding programmes through initiatives such as an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3271/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department is aware that a large number of schools are running voluntary coding programmes through initiatives such as Coder Dojo (which has over 200 “dojos” in Ireland), Hour of Code, where over 200 events took place in Ireland, and the annual computer programming Olympiad held at Dublin City University.
However, decisions to participate in such initiatives are decided by individual schools and are not recorded by my Department.
My D...

612. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department uses anti profanity software on its email systems and online contact forms; if so, the level of human oversight that is applied to the monitoring of these softwares and their effectiveness; his views on whether persons’ legitimate right to petition Government may be blocked unintentionally by errors in the use of such softwares in determining that which qualifies as profanity being communicated in email and or online contact forms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2090/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): My Department uses anti-profanity software on its email systems but not on online contact forms.  Email messages containing profanity are quarantined by the software and the recipient is informed and allowed the opportunity to request release and then if granted to access the message. The operation of the software on the email system is reviewed by my ICT Division on a continuous basis and takes into account any observations or issues ...

1292. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his Department or the Digital Hub Development Agency provides funding to local authorities here for the purposes of co-ordinating and building upon the work of the Digital Hub Development Agency. (Question 1151/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): My Department provides funding to the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) which was established under the Digital Hub Development Agency Act 2003 to support digital entrepreneurship through the creation of a cluster of enterprises focussed on digital content and technology. The Agency is funded through a combination of Exchequer funding and commercial income and the DHDA uses its Exchequer funding to support t...

1685. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her Department uses anti-profanity software on its email systems and online contact forms; if so, the level of human oversight that is applied to the monitoring of these softwares and their effectiveness; her views on whether persons’ legitimate right to petition the Government may be blocked unintentionally by errors in the use of such softwares in determining that which qualifies as profanity being communicated in email and-or online contact forms; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2085/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): My Department invests on an ongoing basis in traditional, defence-in-depth deployments of preventative controls like firewalls, email gateways, endpoint protection and advanced threat detection tools. My Department employs security technology that, together with a dedicated ICT security team and well defined processes, continually monitors the Department’s network and services. My Department uses a number of differe...

1. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the roll-out of the public service information and communications technology strategy; the amount that has been spent on it to date; the estimated amount to be spent; the security implications and data protection steps that have been taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53464/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Deputy Dara Calleary: I would like to ask the Minister about the status of the public service information and communications technology strategy, particularly the work being done to ensure citizens’ personal data are secure, especially at a time when data privacy is under such a threat.
 ...

242. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her Department regularly carries out information technology security audits; and if so, the regularity with which they are undertaken. (Question 52108/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Department has a robust regime for protecting its Information Systems and regular auditing is a significant element of this. Security audits are conducted within the Department by a range of internal and external bodies. The total number of such audits conducted between 2012 and 2017 was 33.
 ...

243. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the security of communications between her Department’s central servers and local offices is regularly audited; and if so, the frequency with which such audits are carried out. (Question 52109/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The security of the communications between the central servers and all offices is constantly audited by a range of industry standard software systems specifically acquired for this purpose. This includes scanning for any weaknesses in the network routers and switches and any traffic that crosses the network. The information from these auditing systems is assessed by a network support team on an ongoing basis. My Depa...

185. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to outline the status of the project to enhance network access to rural Garda stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50748/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda equipment and resources, including ICT, are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 is intended to professionalise, modernise and renew An Garda Síochána to ensure that the organisation can meet pres...

231. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the policies in place for updating the PULSE system when amending road traffic legislation is introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48241/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the efficient use of Garda resources in the State, including arrangements for upgrading and maintenance of ICT systems. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. 
The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 is intended to professionalise, modernise and renew An Garda Síochána to ensure that the organisati...

934. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the options that will be available to farmers that do not have Internet access for 2018 when applying for area aid in view of the fact the application is due to move to an online procedure from now on. (Question 46431/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Under EU Regulations, there are specific requirements with regard to aid applications for area related schemes.  One such requirement is that all applications are required to be submitted online from 2018 onwards. Farmers can apply online themselves at www.agfood.ie, or authorise an approved agricultural agent to do so on their behalf.
In recent years there has been steady growth in the number of farmers who apply online for ...

480. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when information technology issues related to GLAS and AEOS payments will be resolved; the reason for the problems forcing the exacerbation of delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43010/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): In the context of the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020 my Department has delivered over twenty new schemes that were supported by IT capability.  In the first two years of the current RDP programme my Department has already implemented substantially more RDP schemes than were implemented over the entire ten year lifetime of the previous RDP programme.  
This rate of delivery and draw-down would not have been possible wi...

561. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the information technology system in his Department will be upgraded to prevent the issue which occurred with the release of the Tidy Towns results on 25 September 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41425/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): I propose to take Questions Nos. 561 and 562 together.
The Supervalu Tidy Towns competition is now in its 59th year and is a positive and exciting competition for the many communities involved. A very successful National Awards Ceremony took place on Monday, 25th September 2017, in the Helix Theatre, Dublin, where Birdhill, Co. Tipperary, was declared the overall winner of the competition for 2017.  
I am aware that there were ...

562. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his attention has been drawn to ongoing issues with the Tidy Towns website; and if his attention has been further drawn to the annoyance and confusion that this problem has caused Tidy Towns groups across the country in accessing adjudicators reports and the results for the 2017 competition. (Question 41561/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): I propose to take Questions Nos. 561 and 562 together.
The Supervalu Tidy Towns competition is now in its 59th year and is a positive and exciting competition for the many communities involved. A very successful National Awards Ceremony took place on Monday, 25th September 2017, in the Helix Theatre, Dublin, where Birdhill, Co. Tipperary, was declared the overall winner of the competition for 2017.  
I am aware that there were ...

109. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda stations in counties Cavan and Monaghan that do not have the PULSE system in place; the locations of these stations; his plans to install these systems; the timeframe for installation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39939/17 asked on 21 Sep 2017 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda resources are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
The Deputy will be aware of the Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 which is intended to professionalise, modernise and renew An Garda Síochána to ensure that the organisation can meet present and future challenges....

1661. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps she has taken to upgrade the data collection systems in Tusla and in her Department. (Question 37724/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): My Department collects and disseminates a wide range of data in relation to children and young people.
From 2011-2016 the National Strategy for Research and Data on Children’s Lives (NSRDCL) guided and supported my Department’s approach to the development of data relating to children’s lives. The final implementation report on this strategy will be published later this year. Key actions relevant to data development and collect...

555. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress made in the modernisation of Garda information systems, including the PULSE system, as outlined in the An Garda Síochána modernisation and renewal programme 2016 to 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36096/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 555 and 557 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda equipment and resources are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 is intended to professionalise, modernise and renew An Garda Síochána to ens...