Parliamentary Question: Broadband Service Provision

Question to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White, TD)

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to roll-out improved broadband services in County Cork, in particular to rural areas south of Cork city; when various areas will be serviced by faster broadband services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on  Thursday, 2 April 2015.


The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combination of commercial investments and a State led intervention in areas where commercial services will not be provided.

The commercial telecommunications sector is currently investing approximately €2.5 billion in network upgrades and enhanced services with approximately 1.6 million of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland expected to have access to commercial high speed broadband services over the next two years. These very significant investments represent a step-change in the quality of broadband services available.

Last November I published a national high speed coverage map for 2016.  The map shows Ireland with two colours, BLUE and AMBER. The areas marked BLUE represent those areas where commercial providers plan to deliver high speed broadband services by end 2016. The AMBER areas on the map show the target areas for the State intervention. The website also provides information on a county by county basis with a breakdown of coverage across the town lands in every county including Cork.

The map can be checked to establish the precise location of individual premises or residences. Any premises within the AMBER area will be included in the State’s intervention while any premises within the BLUE area will be serviced by commercial operators.

Intensive design and planning work is underway in my Department to produce a detailed intervention strategy for the AMBER area. Following a public consultation process on the draft Intervention Strategy this summer, I hope to move to formal procurement phase towards the end of this year in order to select a preferred bidder or bidders.

I anticipate that the first homes and businesses will be connected in 2016 and connections will continue thereafter, with the intention of having all premises connected within a 5 year period.

This complex and ambitious project is a key priority for Government. It aims to conclusively address current connectivity challenges in Ireland.

Posted under Communications, Cork, Parliamentary Questions

Parliamentary Question: Health Strategies

Question to the Minister for Health (Dr. Leo Varadkar, TD)

To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on his plans to issue the first individual health identifiers and increase investment in information and communications technology and in eHealth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on Wednesday, 25 February 2015


As the Deputy is aware, I recently announced priority areas for action in 2015 including one which is to modernise the HSE ICT infrastructure. Two significant areas in that regard are to issue the first health identifiers and to increase investment in ICT and eHealth generally. In late 2013 the Government published its eHealth strategy, An eHealth strategy for Ireland, along with the Health Identifiers Bill which was enacted in 2014. Other foundation steps in support of this work included setting up the Office of the Chief Information Office/Chief Officer for eHealth Ireland in the HSE. The HSEICT strategy is expected to be finalised in late March and will set out the priority areas for development, investment and modernisation of ICT for the health services. A number of critical areas which will require significant investment over the coming years are emerging, including the new National Children’s Hospital, an enterprise financial management system to underpin the HSE’s new Financial Operating Model, eReferrals and other initiatives to support the acute and primary care sectors.


The roll out of a system of health identifiers will also be a key priority for 2015. The new identifier registers will be managed and operated by the HSE. The Act provides for the establishment of a system of individual, professional and organisational identifiers. The individual health identifier will be the initial focus of implementation. HSE is currently finalising a project for the initial stages of the roll out and engagement with key stakeholders is under way. It is my intention to commence the relevant parts of the legislation to support the initial roll out in primary care in the coming months. The principal benefits of health identifiers will be improvements in patient safety. Health identifiers will also underpin the wider eHealth agenda and facilitate improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of our health services and benefits in terms of the customer experience. The use of health identifiers will also contribute to maintaining the confidentiality and security of sensitive patient data within health care in both the public and private environment.

Posted under Communications, Health, Parliamentary Questions

Parliamentary Question: Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

Question to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White, TD)

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount spent by his Department on special advisers for each of the past four years; the way this compares to the four years 2007 to 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on Tuesday, 20 January 2015.


The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Posted under Communications, Parliamentary Questions, Public Expenditure & Reform

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