Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications
EU Transport Council: Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
I welcome the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Leo Varadkar, and his officials. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, will be here later. As the Minister, Deputy Leo Varadkar, is aware of the rules on defamation, we will cut through the housekeeping matters and go straight to his opening remarks
I am pleased to appear before the joint committee in advance of the Transport Council in Luxemburg on 5 June. I will briefly outline the outcome of the last Transport Council on 14 March in Luxemburg. I will then focus on the agenda for the Transport Council on 5 June and run through the main agenda items and some of the important any other business, AOB, items. I will welcome questions from members.
The first Transport Council under the Greek Presidency was chaired by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Mr. Michalis Chrisochoidis. Ireland was represented by the deputy permanent representative, Mr. Tom Hanney, and the Secretary General of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Tom O’Mahony. The half-day Council reflected the relatively light agenda and was attended by fewer than half of member state Ministers.
Among the “A” items adopted was a decision confirming the position taken at COREPER not to adopt a Council decision or to proceed with further deliberations on a co-ordinated EU position to be taken at the International Maritime Organization, IMO, in relation to implementation of nitrogen oxide, NOx, maritime emission standards. This amounts to a decision not to exercise shared EU competence in this matter, thereby obviating further proposals by the Commission in the near future.
A general approach was agreed unanimously by member states on the European Railway Agency, ERA, regulation and delegations lifted the remaining reservations. The Commission retained reservations on the final agreement on Articles 21, 22 and 29 regarding the powers of the Commission to act on national rules and findings of national safety authority audits carried out by the ERA; the reduction in the number of Commission representatives on the ERA management board; the procedure for appointment and dismissal of the executive director; and implementing, rather than delegated, powers regarding fees and charges. The Commission declared its intention to manage these reservations during the debate with the European Parliament. An almost full table round of interventions focused mainly on preferred next steps on the fourth railway package. The Presidency’s conclusion was not very clear or emphatic about the next steps. Mr. Chrisochoidis merely noted a “constructive approach towards making progress for future negotiations” and emphasised the general importance to European competitiveness of reducing costs and improving the quality of railway services.
The political position was agreed to on the draft Shift2Rail regulation establishing the joint undertaking for the railway innovation programme under Horizon 2020, without amendments to the final compromise text proposed by the Presidency. Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and France took the floor to express their general enthusiasm for the measure and indicate final approval for the text regarding the criteria for membership of the joint undertakings. They emphasised that this allowed for the “balanced involvement” of all public and private actors. On the other hand, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Ireland did not agree that the participation rules were balanced and, while accepting the final compromise, expressed regret that SMEs, in particular, did not enjoy the same opportunities as others for associate membership. It remains for the European Parliament to adopt a positive opinion on the text of the compromise before it is adopted.
There was a policy debate on the issue of urban mobility which focused on three questions prepared by the Presidency on the basis of a Commission communication on sustainable urban mobility, published in December 2013. In its introduction the Commission stressed the importance of making urban mobility more sustainable in the interests of improving air quality, reducing the numbers of road deaths and injuries and reducing congestion and its attendant costs. A decentralised but co-ordinated and non-prescriptive approach was being advocated which respected subsidiarity and supported local authorities, the exchange of best practice and reinforced EU effort where there was EU added value. An expert group is to be established later this year and the Commission hoped all member states would participate. All of the member states which spoke welcomed the initiative and spoke positively about its non-prescriptive approach. The Commission concluded that the focus for work on urban mobility should be on the exchange of best practice among member states and the soon to be established expert group would have a key role to play in this regard.
Under the heading of AOB, the main items related to the airports package, clean power and the outcome of the EU-ASEAN aviation summit. On the airports package, the Presidency reported on the agreement reached with the European Parliament on the noise regulation aspect of the package. Regarding clean power, the Presidency reported on the ongoing negotiations on the directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure. The Commission welcomed progress in the negotiations but regretted the Council’s lack of ambition regarding the deadline for liquefied natural gas, LNG, infrastructure for ports. Italy, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Belgium and Ireland all intervened to emphasise the importance of reaching agreement on the file as soon as possible, encouraging all actors to assume their responsibilities.
The Commission reported on the EU-ASEAN aviation summit which took place in Singapore on 11 and 12 February, with participation from ten South-East Asian states. The Commission stated the region was a key market with half of the aviation traffic growth in the next decade expected to take place to, from and within the Asia-Pacific region. The summit created good momentum toward a tailored approach to EU-ASEAN relations. The Commission reported that the preparation of a comprehensive air service agreement would commence shortly.
On the Transport Council agenda for 5 June, No. 4 relates to the fourth rail package, an ambitious suite of six EU legislative proposals involving further opening of domestic railway markets to competition, mandatory tendering of public service contracts and updating and streamlining of processes and systems for railway safety and interoperability. The Council is being asked to reach political agreement on three of the proposals contained in the package, namely, the proposals for directives on the interoperability of the European railway system, safety on the Community’s railways and a proposal for a regulation on the ERA. Concerns that Ireland had about the text of the original proposals have been addressed by amendments agreed to at previous Councils. Ireland welcomes the measures contained in the proposals submitted to the Council and can support them.
No. 5 on the Council agenda deals with the proposal to amend Directive 96/53/EC of 25 July 1996 laying down the maximum authorised weights and dimensions in national and international traffic for heavy goods vehicles, HGVs, circulating within the European Union. Ireland fully supports the proposed amendments to allow manufacturers to develop more aerodynamic, fuel-efficient and safer vehicles, which will enhance road safety. The proposals will give drivers a better field of vision, which has the potential to reduce the numbers of collisions involving vulnerable road users.
On this note, Ireland has always stressed the road safety benefits of the proposed revisions to the directive, particularly to Article 9, the profile of HGV cabs, and has consistently argued for a short lead-in period, of the order of five years, on the grounds of road safety. Ireland is also supportive of the proposed increase in weight of one tonne for alternatively fuelled HGVs, to take account of the heavier Euro 6 engines and battery components and an increase of 1.5 tonnes for all buses and coaches to accommodate the increased average weight of passengers and their luggage.
Our concern is the Commission’s proposals amending Article 4, which are less than clear. There are differing interpretations of the impact of the proposals on the article and we will reserve our position until it is clarified, particularly the potential impact on bilateral arrangements we have with the UK.
Agenda item 6 proposes a regulation to open up access to the provision of certain services in ports, such as bunkering, dredging, mooring, port reception facilities, pilotage and towing. The Irish commercial ports sector largely fulfils the spirit of the proposed regulation and Ireland welcomes its objectives.
Agenda item 7 deals with common rules on compensation and assistance for airline passengers. While we are broadly supportive, we have concerns about a particular aspect of the Commission’s proposal, which is that of compensation in the case of missed connections. Under the Commission’s proposals, the first feeder airline will be liable for the full amount of compensation where a connection is missed. This has potential to have serious implications for carriers such as Aer Lingus which feed traffic into many of the European hubs for onward long-haul connections. The industry contends that this has the potential to seriously undermine interlining arrangements among carriers and discourage such arrangements, which, perversely, could be to the detriment of consumers, as it could reduce choice and convenience and likely result in higher costs. Ireland’s views are shared by many other member states in this regard.
Agenda item 8 proposes the adoption of draft Council conclusions on the mid-term review of the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018 and outlook to 2020. A draft declaration on this was adopted at an informal maritime meeting in Athens on 7 May and Ireland welcomes and supports the Council conclusions. Shipping and the movement of goods by sea is vitally important to the economy, and our continued support for the implementation of EU policy to develop and promote a safe, secure and clean shipping environment is assured.
On AOB item 9(a), the French have concerns about Regulation (EC) No.1071/2009, which establishes common rules concerning the conditions to be complied with to pursue the occupation of road transport operator. The purpose of the regulation is to achieve greater harmonisation of standards among member states, particularly as regards levels of financial standing required and the standard of professional competence expected; to facilitate the right of establishment in other member states and the mutual recognition of professional status; to improve the overall professional standing and quality of road transport; and to prevent unscrupulous firms from seeking to gain market share by skimping on safety and working conditions. France is concerned that there are many problems within the present framework that result in unfair competition in national markets. The main issues of concern to France are cabotage and "letter box" companies.
Cabotage remains a contentious issue, although the amount of cabotage remains small in the context of the overall EU transport market. Some member states view the further liberalisation of cabotage as unacceptable due to the disparity in labour costs across the EU. They fear that this would result in a race to the bottom in labour standards, which would have a negative impact on society. Ireland recognises the overall benefit of a liberalised market that is equitable and supports any steps taken that will assist with a smooth transition to this.
On AOB item 9(b), Ireland supports the establishment of the joint venture and believes that the output of the shift to rail joint undertaking will have positive benefits for the rail market. The main outputs envisaged from the programme will be a 50% reduction in life cycle costs for the railway transport system; a 100% increase in capacity; a 50% increase in reliability and punctuality of rail services; the removal of technical obstacles to the interoperability of the rail system; and a reduction in noise, emissions and other environmental impacts arising from rail transport.
To date, one Irish company, as part of a larger consortium, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the joint undertaking. It is also understood that a consortium consisting of UCD and Trinity College Dublin is in negotiation on the development of a memorandum of understanding with the joint undertaking. It is also understood that the Rail Procurement Agency and Irish Rail have been exploring possibilities under the initiative.
On AOB item 9(c), I look forward to receiving information from the Commission on tracking of aeroplanes, which is an important safety issue, following on from the Malaysian Airlines incident. I am happy to take questions from members on the agenda.
I thank the Minister for his presentation. With regard to the fourth railway package, there are issues with regard to the awarding of the PSO contracts, and a court case is outstanding in this regard. I am a little worried that PSO cutbacks and allowing other operators to take on PSO contracts will lead to further privatisation. Will the Minister comment on that?
There will be a division between the management of the rail infrastructure and the operation of the rail services. Will he explain how that will work? Will Irish Rail operate a different setup to manage that? Will this be more beneficial in the context of increased co-operation between rail operators North and South?
I refer to the proposal to amend Directive 96/53/EC, which relates to the height, length, weight and so on of HGVs. The standard height in Europe is 4 m. Will this have repercussions for Irish hauliers? There are cabotage issues throughout Europe.
The Minister referred as he closed his contribution to the tracking of aeroplanes following the recent tragic accident. What is the Council considering? This is a significant issue. What happened to the Malaysian Airlines flight - an aeroplane disappearing off the face of the earth - cannot be allowed to happen again. Will this be a major issue during the discussions?
I thank the Deputy for his questions. Next week's Council meeting will deal with the technical aspects of the fourth railway package, such as safety, interoperability and the European Railway Agency. We will not discuss the opening of the railway market but it will be discussed at a later stage. International traffic is liberalised. For example, the Belfast-Dublin route could be operated by anyone. The Commission is proposing to open up domestic markets - that is, journeys within a country - to competition and tendering. We support that in principle across the Union where it makes sense but, as far as Ireland is concerned, we intend to seek a derogation from it. The domestic rail market in Ireland is too small for different companies to compete to run services. There would be a significant cost to tendering for PSO routes and we might find that the only operator that tenders for them is Irish Rail. There would be a great deal of money in it for lawyers, consultants and others but there would be no outcome to it. Irish Rail could tender services if it wanted to but we will not seek a legal obligation on us to do so under European law and, therefore, we will seek a derogation on that.
The restructuring of Irish Rail is under way. That relates to an existing directive. It will involve a separation within the company to give an infrastructure management company and a railway undertaking. We had a derogation under the directive but we did not seek to have it renewed.
The standard HGV height in continental Europe is 4 m because there are many low railway bridges.
This is an area of concern for us because we want to maintain the 4.6 m height for Britain and Ireland, and we want to make sure nothing in European law creates a problem for us. However, there is no proposal to change the heights across the EU at present.
On the tracking of aircraft, the Commission will just look at the safety standards but the longer-term solution to this issue is the satellite tracking of aircraft. At the moment, this is done by radar, which stops approximately 200 km off the coast. Essentially, once an aircraft is that far off the coast, it flies on a dedicated path and if it disappears along that path, one does not necessarily know where it has disappeared, and if the pilot diverts from that path, one does not necessarily know where the aircraft has gone. We are leaders on this issue. The Irish Aviation Authority is part of a consortium, involving Canada and some other countries, that will move towards satellite tracking of aircraft rather than radar tracking, although that will take a while to happen.
I thank the Minister for his presentation. He mentioned the importance of the ports policy, specifically the importance of shipping to an island economy. This committee recently discussed the Government's ports policy in regard to the division of ports by tier according to their national, regional or local importance. I am sure the Minister is aware that on the west coast there is only one port of tier 1 importance, namely, Shannon-Foynes Port. In the recent past, there has been an announcement by the Galway Port Company which aspires to make a significant capital investment at its port with a view to going into almost direct competition with Shannon-Foynes, although this is probably at odds with what has been laid out in the Government's ports policy document. Is it the Department's intention to continue to support the Government's ports policy in terms of the State's investment in ports and any investment that might come down the line? Is it also its intention to continue Government policy vis-à-visGalway Port, which I understand has been categorised at a lower level than Shannon-Foynes?
I ask this because I believe what ports require at the moment is a degree of certainty. Given the significant infrastructural investment that is taking place at Foynes at present, I do not think it helpful to have a situation where there is uncertainty in regard to whether there will be one or more ports of strategic national importance on the west coast. If clarification can be given today in regard to the Minister's position and the Department's position, namely, that investment in tier 1 ports will be identified and will continue as laid down in the ports policy document that was published, that would be very helpful.
It does. The tiering of ports largely follows the TEN-T guidelines as to what is a core port and what is not, and what is on TEN-T and what is not. Some take the view that governments can just put anything they want on the trans-European networks, but they cannot. There are certain criteria, and the ports that meet those criteria are Dublin, Cork, Shannon-Foynes, Rosslare and Waterford. We have classified Dublin, Cork and Shannon-Foynes as the tier 1 ports because of the level of trade they carry. In particular, Shannon-Foynes is a huge bulk port. I understand Galway accounts for less than 2%, perhaps less than 1%, of all trade by sea, so it is considered a regional port. Whatever happens, there is no State investment at all in the commercial ports and there are no Exchequer grants for the commercial ports, which operate entirely on a commercial basis in the same way that the ESB, Bord Gáis or any of those semi-States operate. There could be a State investment through the National Pensions Reserve Fund or the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, but that would have to be on a commercial basis and they would have to be sure they would get all their money back, plus a return.
We allow the ports to operate on a commercial basis and to put in their own planning applications. For example, Dublin has its plans for Alexandra Quay, Cork has its plans for Ringaskiddy and Galway has its plans for its new ports. The Department neither gives approval nor vetoes such planning applications but what is expected is that An Bord Pleanála, in making its decision, and it is the body that will make the decision, will have regard to everything it has to have regard to, which includes the ports policy, environmental issues and pretty much anything else.
I thank the Minister for his presentation. On one of the issues discussed, the policy debate on urban mobility, the Minister's presentation refers to this being a rather repetitive debate. It seems to me that thinking has not emerged too much in this regard. I am taken to some extent by the press coverage today of Google's plans to introduce a vehicle that does not have any controls other than those that will be guided by systems, which it is in the process of developing and receiving patents for. In the Minister's opinion, will the Commission or any of the member states have direct contact with, or are any of them in discussions with, the industry regarding the whole area of urban mobility? Given Google seems to be moving ahead, it would be important for the Minister to get into conversation with it, considering it has such a presence here. The difficulty is that the industry is often well ahead of where politics and policy is, and this is an example of that. Perhaps this is something on which the Minister could take a lead. I believe he would have the wherewithal to get his head around what Google is at here, so it is something he might comment on.
Another issue which is perhaps not part of policy, to quote Deputy O'Donovan, relates to the industrial relations issues taking place within Irish Rail and more particularly within Aer Lingus, where a strike is looming at the weekend. While I do not want to get into the issues around the strike, does the Minister believe the industrial relations mechanism that exists at present, as deployed by the unions and Aer Lingus, is fit for purpose? This continuous toing and froing between the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court and the continuous balloting for strike action would seem to identify a broader problem within that company between management and unions. Does the Minister believe it is possible to create some other forum or try to facilitate, through some other mechanism, a more comprehensive and long-term solution so we do not have this continuous threat of strike, then moving to a one day or two day strike and so on? This is causing a great deal of uncertainty in the minds not just of the travelling public and business but also tour operators and people who are looking at Ireland as a destination for their summer vacation. The Minister might comment on both issues.
On the urban mobility question, I was not there for the debate so I do not know the real details of it. The Deputy makes a very good point on technology. It is absolutely the case that technology is ahead of legislation, but it is very hard to write legislation in anticipation of technologies that might or might not develop. I do not know much about the new driverless car, so I might take the Deputy's advice and contact Google as to whether I can take a look at it. As I said, we would have to provide for it in legislation, but as I have not seen it, I am not sure how. It would definitely be a challenge.
On Aer Lingus, we have had three strike threats in the past six months alone.
Even though the strikes may not happen, the inconvenience for passengers and potential travellers damages the company's reputation. Anything that damages the reputation of the company means that fewer people will book with Aer Lingus which means that it will make less in profit which means that there will be less money for staff. It seems to be a self-defeating strategy. It is hard for me to comment on whether there should be a new mechanism for solving disputes. From the point of view of the Government, the Labour Relations Commission is available to be used any time people wish, but they must want to do it. It is welcome that the company has invited the union to talks and that it has accepted the invitation. I hope they will be able to resolve the matter. In my contacts with both sides they accept that they need a better way to solve their problems, but they have not yet agreed what that better way is.
This is probably an area in which the Minister has a role and I encourage him and the Department to try to facilitate some mechanism which would lead to a forum in which these issues could be resolved. We certainly agree on the damage the uncertainty causes, not only for the business travelling community but also in terms of the negative impact is has on the tourism sector. I have spoken to people involved in the industry who see potential cancellations as industry representatives outside Ireland are stating to hoteliers they will not take the risk of holding a conference here. This is damaging and the Government needs to move to a sectoral approach to industrial relations, rather than using the generic model which worked in the past. It is probably more relevant now in the absence of a partnership arrangement that a forum be established without delay. I look forward to the Minister giving consideration to this in bringing forward proposals.
The Minister mentioned the height of vehicles and that he was against reducing it to 4 m. He also stated there was no proposal, but there is a Commission proposal. Am I reading something different into it? It states that if the Commission's proposal to amend Article 4 is accepted, it is likely that it would prohibit the cross-border operations of vehicles exceeding 4 m in height.
I do not believe there is a formal proposal. The EU standard is 4 m height; therefore, there is no proposal to change heights or weights throughout EU member states. Individual states have the right to apply different weights and heights in their own jurisdiction and it is up to member states to agree to it on a bilateral basis. We want to ensure nothing undermines this position. To clarify, there is no proposal to change the heights or weights.
I thank the Minister for the information he has given to us. We have discussed the issue of road safety and I raised in the Dáil with the Minister the need for a philosophical and attitudinal change to what we find acceptable with regard to road death figures. I used the 1970s as an example when more than 600 people died on the roads every year in Ireland. In the late 1990s the figure was more than 400. In time to come I hope we will look back and state that in the early part of the 21st century the figures were also shockingly high. To this end, what further measures does the Minister envisage being initiated in Europe in the implementation of modern technology to help stem number of road deaths? Does he envisage speed restrictions for large vehicles which were applied here in the mid-2000s being applied across the board? Does he see alcolocks being applied across the board? How far off is this? Is it something on which Ireland could lead the way?
What we plan to do in the coming years on road safety is outlined in the strategy which contains approximately 140 actions. They all relate to education, engineering and enforcement. Road safety is largely a domestic competence and I would prefer not to see the European Union getting too involved in domestic road traffic legislation as it affects speed limits. It is up to every country to do this for itself. The European Union is very involved in setting vehicle standards and licensing. We are generally supportive of anything which raises vehicle standards to make vehicles safer. We do not like to impose too many standards which are specific to Ireland because it creates many distortions such as in the second-hand car trade. What is being introduced at EU level is eCall, a system being introduced in new cars. It will mean that if a car crashes, it can call the emergency services. Such measures are discussed a great deal at EU level. Introducing alcolocks or interlocks in all vehicles might be a step too far at this stage, but in the road safety strategy we are considering the courts imposing them. If somebody has penalty points or a conviction for drink-driving, use of an alcolock could be imposed. It might also makes sense in the case of commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks. By and large, I would prefer to see such measures decided at national level.
It is amazing that in the 1970s society deemed such road death levels as acceptable, because it would not have happened if they had not been, as a downside of having a transport system. The outlook we need to take is zero tolerance to road deaths and injuries because one death is one too many. We should try to embrace technology more and see it as a way of self-policing road traffic management and as a means of punishing and regulating those who have stepped outside the mark. It might be more effective than some of the measures in place. I encourage the Minister to explore as many measures as possible.
Nothing is imminent. There is mutual recognition of disqualification from driving. Standardising the penalty points system throughout the European Union would be extremely complicated because what is an offence in some countries is not in others. Some countries have many penalty point offences, while others do not. It is a difficult issue. Under agenda item 9(c), there will be an information point from the Commission on cross-border traffic offences and the key issue is the exchange of information and enforcement. We are very interested in being able to do this. There are many difficulties in making these issues a reality. We will wait to see what the Commission's proposals are and consider them.
We are still over and back discussing it with them. They have exempted a small number of roads that straddle the Border but are still refusing to exempt the A5, which we want exempted. We have been considering, as a potential alternative solution, joining the UK system, introducing the same system in the Republic and reducing the road tax for heavy goods vehicles, HGVs, to compensate them. However, this needs to be worked out between my Department, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Revenue and a few other people. An interdepartmental committee is working on it.
No. In the UK, road tax for HGVs is quite low and includes the £10 per journey levy. Most people registered in the UK pay road tax as well as a standard charge, which allows them to use the roads freely. The only people who pay the £10 are those who are not road taxed in the UK. If we joined the UK system, anyone road taxed in the Republic would be able to use the roads in the North and Britain without having to pay the £10, but anyone visiting Ireland from another EU country would have to pay it. However, there are many different options and we have not settled on one. There is a committee set up between the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, which controls road tax, Revenue and a few others. We hope to have a set of proposals before the recess.
Like the Minister, I travel the motorways of the country. There is an inconsistency in traffic route lighting and some motorways are overlit. The lighting approaching, at and exiting junctions on the M1 from Dublin to the Border and beyond is far in excess of what is required. I have quantified this by considering the M7 and M8, which have similar exits and entrances. When one leaves a junction, there are 25 high-powered traffic route lights on both sides of the road, covering a quarter of a mile. I have also considered the situation in America. There are more traffic route lights on the M1 than there are on any interstate highway in the US. Maybe this is the requisite standard, but there is an inconsistency on the M7 and M8 in terms of the lighting at junctions. Is there a standard and is it based on a European or British standard?
There are in excess of 500 high-powered traffic route lights. This level is not necessary. There are CO2 emissions because more electricity is needed. I travel the motorways often. Many of the lights in question do not light for a considerable period. This is something we should consider in the interests of saving money. Anyone using the junctions at night has his or her lights on anyway. We could do without 75% of the road lights for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, for example, from 4.30 a.m. or 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. This would mean reviewing the contacts or time switches, but a significant saving could be made in terms of electricity. I do not know whether the Department or the Minister shares my opinion, but there is an inconsistency. I can say this without fear of contradiction. One need only consider how the junctions on the M8, M7 and M1 are not lit the same way. Some access junctions have 40 high-powered lights. I contend that they are not required. Perhaps we should consider engaging in an exercise on this matter, although maybe I should not have raised it today.
I am not sure what the story is with the standards. I am sure there are, given that there are detailed standards for everything in road building. It may be that the standards changed at a certain time, leading to an inconsistency. I will check it out.
The Senator and I may have corresponded on this matter previously. There is technology that allows the lights to know when a car is approaching and they can turn on when there is traffic and off when there is none. However, I am unsure of whether this technology has been deployed yet. It would bring energy savings.
I thank Senator Brennan. I also thank the Minister and his officials for outlining the issues that will arise next week. It is important that we be kept up to date. We will suspend for a couple of minutes to invite the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte.