Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action

Citizen and Community Measures: Discussion

Photo of Maire DevineMaire Devine (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I am sorry I missed the presentation. I was busy elsewhere. The project is brilliant. It is unfortunate the witnesses are pioneers and it has taken so long, which is frustrating. The committee has discussed this and has recommended that the one-stop-shops should be run by the local authorities. However, given their experience, the witnesses are the experts. Have the local authorities invited them in or would they consider imposing themselves on them to give them the best advice on what to do and not to do and the pitfalls, based on the 12 to 20 years they have been trying to get this project off the ground, to find ways that are a little more simple? It is not to re-invent the wheel as they have already done that. Have the local authorities across the country reached out to the witnesses to seek their expertise? They are the pioneers, the only ones who have done it, and I congratulate them on that.

The witness referred to 30% of a wind farm owned by the community. It would be similar to what we strive to achieve with social and affordable housing in each development, depending on its size. Often developers can buy their way out of that so it might be helpful if that was enshrined in legislation. Perhaps Mr. Fogarty and Mr. Kenny would respond about the local authorities, in particular.

Turning to the commission, I have some reservations with regard to smart metering. If I am correct, it will be dependent on the mobile telephone networks to operate and swathes of rural Ireland have poor, if not no, mobile telephone coverage. There is also the broadband deficit. What are the implications of this for getting 100% of households to make the transition to smart meters? In addition, cyber attacks may well be visited upon networks by nefarious individuals or groups. Is that suggestion well founded or is it an urban myth? What would be the cost of managing cyber security on the networks?


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