Dáil debates

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Ceisteanna - Questions

Cabinet Committees

1:25 pm

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Leader of the Opposition; Dublin Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I raised the issue of increased utility costs with the Taoiseach earlier this month. During our exchange he gave an undertaking that the Government would engage with Electric Ireland on the matter. I wrote to him subsequently raising the matter again and last week I raised it again to follow up on the outcome of those Government discussions. At that time, the Taoiseach informed me he had passed the matter on to the Minister with responsibility for climate action, communications networks and transport, Deputy Ryan. I wrote to the Minister last week seeking details of the response from Electric Ireland to his discussions but he has yet to respond. I am asking a very simple question and I am at a loss as to why we are going around the houses on this. I ask that the Taoiseach expedite this matter in order that I can have a report on what Electric Ireland said to him because these price hikes are looming in early October.

I have one additional matter to raise. The programme for Government makes a number of commitments in respect of protecting and developing Ireland's biodiversity. The National Biodiversity Data Centre programme was established by the Heritage Council in 2016. Included in its work is the hugely successful all-Ireland pollinator plan. This initiative, with the support of Tidy Towns and the local authorities, has heightened awareness of biodiversity in every community across the island. Despite this, this organisation is not underpinned by legislation and operates with a very uncertain funding framework. Staff on the project have significant knowledge and specialised skill sets. Will the Taoiseach bring the work of the National Biodiversity Data Centre into the Heritage Council and underpin the organisation and its objectives in legislation?

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