Seanad debates

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Cybersecurity Policy

10:30 am

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I have heard Senator Craughwell raise this issue a number of times in the past. I want to apologise for the absence of a Minister from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

Officials in the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications are in ongoing consultations with cybersecurity industries. That is obviously at variance with what the Senator said. We will probably have to square that circle in regard to what is stated in the reply. Cyber Ireland is a national industry cluster headquartered in Munster Technical University in Cork. Cyber Ireland’s board membership indigenous and multinational firms as well as third level institutions engaged in cyber education and research. Ministers and officials are in regular contact with Cyber Ireland and its members and the Minister of State, Deputy Ossian Smyth, will tomorrow participate in the launch of Cyber Ireland’s Cybersecurity Sector in Ireland report. The Minister of State will also soon be travelling to the US with the Industrial Development Authority, IDA, to promote Ireland as a destination for foreign direct investment. During that visit he will meet with the multinational cybersecurity and digital services firms, which have a base here. The Government will continue to consult with Cyber Ireland and relevant stakeholders in industry and in the academic community to inform the drafting of legislation and the forthcoming review of the national cybersecurity strategy later this year.

I would like to highlight on behalf of the Minister that a large proportion of legislation covering cybersecurity in Ireland has its origins in the EU and officials are in frequent contact with Cyber Ireland and other industry stakeholders both in Ireland and Brussels to ensure Ireland’s national positions are informed by the perspective of industry. The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has conducted an extensive industry consultation following the publication of the European Commission’s proposal for a review of the network and information security directive in December 2020. Officials have continued to engage with industry stakeholders during the Council negotiations last year and the ongoingtrialogue negotiations. Most recently officials have engaged with stakeholders about the Commission’s industry consultation and forthcoming Cyber Resilience Act, which closes later this month.

In respect of other key stakeholders I can assure the Senator that the officials in the Department are in regular and ongoing contact with relevant Departments and agencies in the drafting of legislation for the NCSC. The Government has agreed that legislation will delineate the NCSC’s role in relation to other actors in the cyber area. The NCSC has long-standing co-operation with An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces, including secondments of personnel. To address this ever-growing threat of cybercrime and malicious cyberactivity by state and non-state actors, it is essential that the co-operation can be expanded and deepened into the future.


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