35. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will report on the progress of the trading online voucher scheme, which is part of the national digital strategy; the take up of the scheme; and his plans to expand or further develop the scheme. (Question 41789/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - National Digital Strategy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): My Department’s Trading Online Voucher Scheme is specifically designed to support small and micro enterprises to trade online. Through training and mentoring, coupled with financial support of up to €2,500, subject to matched funding, the scheme is helping small businesses to grow and diversify their markets.  
This is a demand-led scheme, funded by my Department and delivered on a nationwide basis by the Lo...

55. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of applications for and the number of businesses taking part in the trading online voucher scheme which is part of the national digital strategy in County Offaly, by year since its introduction. (Question 41788/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - National Digital Strategy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Trading Online Voucher Scheme, designed and funded by my Department, is delivered on a nationwide basis by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO).  Applications are received directly by individual LEOs who award vouchers of up to €2,500 matched- funding to qualifying businesses on a competitive basis, following evaluation by an expert panel. Successful applicants are expected to complete their trading online pro...

228. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 581 of 24 January 2017, if he will provide details of the basis on which decisions on funding allocations were made for the first instalment of the digital skills for citizens scheme for 2017; and the criteria which applied. (Question 9078/17 asked on 22 Feb 2017 - National Digital Strategy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): A total of 29 applications were received in response to the recent competitive call for proposals from community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations under my Department’s Digital Skills for Citizens Grant Scheme. Of these, 22 applications were eligible to be evaluated in accordance with section 4 of the scheme’s Statement of Requirements which outlines the qualification and award criteria to be used in ...

581. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will report on the operation of the e-benefit programme; the total funding provided each year since 2008 by county; the sum allocated to each group per year; the new selection criteria for the 2017 digital skills for citizens grant scheme; the number of successful and unsuccessful applications, by county, in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3195/17 asked on 24 Jan 2017 - National Digital Strategy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): My Department’s BenefIT Programme, which operated between 2008 and mid-2016, comprised of four consecutive schemes designed to address the basic digital literacy needs of citizens, thereby removing a key barrier to citizen engagement with the internet.  Under the BenefIT Programme, over 160,000 training places were provided to citizens in more than 600 locations nationwide, at a cost of €8.4m. The most recent p...

570. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will examine an application to the national digital strategy, Knowledge Society Division in Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, in his Department, by a committee (details supplied) in County Kerry as the recently closed primary school is now a focal point of the local community for various activities and the requested computers are vital for the various classes and activities developed by the community organisers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3826/15 asked on 27 Mar 2015 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): Under the Government’s National Digital Strategy, my Department, through its BenefIT Programme, supports community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations in the provision of basic digital literacy training for citizens. It does not, however, directly fund the purchase of computers as requested in the correspondence from the Committee referred to in the Question.
The latest call for grant applications under the B...

584. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources further to Parliamentary Question No. 570 of 27 January 2015, if assistance will be provided to the organisation concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8818/15 asked on 03 Mar 2015 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): In my reply to the Deputy’s previous Question in this matter dated 27 January last, I had outlined the situation in relation to funding and digital skills training opportunities and had indicated that my Department would respond directly to the organisation referred to in the Question. Since then, my officials have written to the organisation and provided information on internet training opportunities and advice in re...

30. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on the discussions on digital participation and inclusion at the British Irish Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46815/14 asked on 11 Dec 2014 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Joe McHugh): The Taoiseach and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources attended the British Irish Council Summit (BIC) in the Isle of Man on 28 November last where digital inclusion was a main item on the agenda.
Digital inclusion is central to the Government’s National Digital Strategy. The strategy aims to position Ireland to take advantage of the opportunities of digital by gettin...

27. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the progress made by his Department in implementing the national digital strategy; if he is satisfied with the progress made to date with national broadband scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4252/14 asked on 30 Jan 2014 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): The Government’s National Digital Strategy was published in July 2013. Phase 1 of the Strategy focuses on actions in 3 key areas – citizen engagement, small business, and digital in learning and significant progress is being made in implementing actions in these areas:
- The Government provided funding of €5m this year for the implementation of an Online Trading Voucher Scheme for small businesses and this scheme is...

346. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of businesses with an online presence; his plans to help businesses set up online; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53758/13 asked on 17 Dec 2013 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): As part of the Government’s National Digital Strategy (NDS) which was published in July, my Department engaged Indecon to establish the precise contribution that digital is making to the Irish economy. That research showed that Irish consumers spent almost €4bn online in 2012. However, 70% of this online business is going out of Ireland. The research also showed that the amount of online purchasing continues to incr...

1. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources how he can facilitate the use by older persons of communications technologies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51573/13 asked on 04 Dec 2013 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): One in five adults in Ireland has never used the Internet. Many if not most of these are older people. That is why older people are a key focus in the Government’s national digital strategy, which I launched earlier this year. I awarded grants in July under my Department’s benefit programme to 17 community and voluntary organisations to deliver basic digital skills training to people who have never used the Inter...

366. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the date for the roll-out of the e-commerce vouchers for small and medium-sized businesses as outlined in the national digital strategy. (Question 39323/13 asked on 24 Sep 2013 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): The Trading Online Voucher Scheme was developed as part the National Digital Strategy and is one of the key disruptive reforms identified in the 2013 Action Plan for Jobs The aim of the scheme is to encourage small businesses to develop an online trading component to their business in order to access the large and growing online market worldwide.
Vouchers of up to €2,500 (to be matched by own investment) will be mad...

62. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the impact the EU e-commerce action plan will have here; his views on the proportion of Irish on-line sales which go to non-domestic retailers; the way he will assist small businesses to sell more goods on-line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27842/13 asked on 11 Jun 2013 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 505 together.
There are a range of measures in the EU Commission’s e-Commerce Action Plan 2012-2015 and these span the areas of responsibility of a number of Departments.
I welcome the focus in the plan on practical actions that will provide more clarity for those trading in the online single market. In particular I believe measures that provide guidance and training for onli...

78. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources when he will publish the National Digital Strategy; if he will outline the way in which Ireland can best capitalise on the digital economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27832/13 asked on 11 Jun 2013 - National Digital Strategy Publication)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): It is my intention to publish the National Digital Strategy over the coming weeks. The Strategy will complement the significant investment in broadband infrastructure envisaged under the National Broadband Plan and will complement and assist in achieving goals set out the National Payments Plan, The eGovernment Strategy and the Action Plan for Jobs. 
In order for Ireland to capitalise on the digital economy we need...

505. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on whether Irish firms are not yet fully exploiting the potential of online commerce; the way the situation can be improved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24420/13 asked on 11 Jun 2013 - National Digital Strategy Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 505 together.
There are a range of measures in the EU Commission’s e-Commerce Action Plan 2012-2015 and these span the areas of responsibility of a number of Departments.
I welcome the focus in the plan on practical actions that will provide more clarity for those trading in the online single market. In particular I believe measures that provide guidance and training for onli...

103. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the situation regarding to the national digital strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20236/13 asked on 30 Apr 2013 - National Digital Strategy Publication)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): The National Digital Strategy will be published in the coming weeks and will set out a strong policy framework for greater adoption and use of digital technologies. The overarching objectives will be to increase digital skills and consequent employment opportunities, assist in overall economic growth and job creation and facilitate the objective of delivering a wide range of public services in a more cost-effective ...