Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs

EU Cybersecurity Strategy: Discussion

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank Ms Boix Alonso and Mr. Cuffe. It is good to see Mr. Cuffe back in again. This is my second day in a row of engaging with him. Both our guests referred to the level of attacks that are currently being experienced. Ms Alonso stated that there is an expectation that we will see a fourfold increase in 2021, as reported by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. Mr. Cuffe pointed to the highlighting by Europol of a notable increase in attacks on public institutions. That is quite alarming. It sounds as though a degree of urgency is required on this matter. The revised or updated directive is very welcome, but it seems to be more a medium-term plan. What is being done right now at European Union level to deal with what appear to be attacks that are happening today and will happen tomorrow and the day after that? What is being done to increase supports for member states and in terms of co-ordination at EU level to deal with these ongoing attacks? I genuinely was not aware how large-scale the problem was and is, or the rate at which it is increasing. That is quite alarming. We certainly need to get that information out to citizens in member states because it will generate broader supports for what our guests are trying to achieve in terms of the directive.

Mr. Cuffe referred to the original directive and what was required of member states. I am not sure if he has this information to hand. He referred to the requirement for member states to have certain capabilities at a national level. I ask our guests to comment on that. Where is Ireland at in that regard? How well did we do in transposing the directive and meeting the minimum requirements for member state capabilities under the original directive? I am trying to figure out what gap we need to close in order to get to where we need to be. Ms Boix Alonso and Mr. Cuffe both referred to the HSE attack. It has focused minds here and brought home to every household how important this issue is and how much it impacts on all our daily lives. It is tangible. If we can take any positive from what happened, it is that it will allow us to respond better to future attacks.


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