Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport

National Cyber Security Centre Review: Discussion

Photo of Ossian SmythOssian Smyth (Dún Laoghaire, Green Party) | Oireachtas source

The Deputy said the attack happened because of a lack of capacity. I want to see the two reports that are coming out before I make a decision on the view I will take on what caused the attack. I will allow that time to see what happened. The Deputy mentioned the UK and its £2 billion spend. There is also the United States. The Deputy has to accept that those countries, with their enormous intelligence-gathering capabilities, Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, and so on, were still subject to the same kind of attacks as we were. The Colonial Pipeline attack cut off fuel supply to three US states. There have been huge attacks on the United Kingdom as well. I met with the UK's digital Minister to discuss that a couple of weeks ago. They have not been protected by having this enormous spend. When we compare how much money is spent in Ireland with how much money is spent in the UK on cybersecurity, we have to make sure we are comparing the same thing. The £2 billion is not the budget for the UK's National Cyber Security Centre at all. I do not know what its budget is, but I think the £2 billion figure includes the cybersecurity spend across a range of Departments and on GCHQ. Ireland does not have the equivalent of GCHQ and does not intend to have it. We are not trying to monitor all internet traffic coming in and out of Ireland, to check everybody's emails and to go through everybody's phone calls. We do not have that ambition and that is just not part of our strategy. We have a completely different set-up. We could make comparisons but they would have to be fair comparisons. We would have to compare apples with apples rather than this spend so-----


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