Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Cybersecurity Policy

11:10 pm

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I propose to take Questions Nos. 78 and 79 together.

There will be a new cyber command within new Defence Force structures. That will report into the Defence Forces headquarters, which will be headed up by what is called a CHOD, which is a military term for a chief of defence. We envisage that the cyber role of the Defence Forces will be increasingly important in security terms. People do not need me to remind them how vulnerable every country is to cyberattacks, including this one. In the middle of a pandemic, we experienced a cyberattack on our health system which meant that many of our hospitals were run on paper-based systems for quite a period. I estimate it cost the State well over €100 million to resolve that issue. There are vulnerabilities there that we need to guard against but primary responsibility, in terms of Government Department for cybersecurity for the State, does not rest with the Department of Defence but with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. Nevertheless, we work closely with the National Cyber Security Centre.

I have to guarantee that the Defence Forces and their security infrastructure is fully protected against potential cyberattacks on our systems and networks. For that, we need more resources and people and an increased priority for the cyber domain, which I intend to pursue in a way that is consistent with the recommendations in the commission report.


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