Written answers

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Offshore Islands

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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54. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of his policies on the islands as requested by the interdepartmental committee on the islands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49410/19]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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The Interdepartmental Committee on Island Development is the first cross-Government policy developed for the islands in 23 years and will set a roadmap for the long-term sustainability and development of our offshore communities.

Our coastal islands are an integral part of our cultural heritage. Island communities need to continue to be sustainable and to realise their potential. The voices and views of islanders will be central to the process.

At a special event on Saturday 23 November 2019, on Sherkin Island, An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney T.D., in conjunction with the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne T.D. launched a consultation process aimed at formulating a new national policy for the future development of the islands.

My Department has supported this initiative by outlining the breadth of policies relevant particularly to the Islands including those in the communications, energy, climate action and fisheries areas.

The National Broadband Plan aims to deliver access to high speed broadband to every premises in Ireland, regardless of location, including offshore islands. Provision of advanced communications services and innovation in smart agriculture, e-health, education, tourism and improved supports for emergency services, all offer potential island applications.

The NBP deployment plan will be finalised shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs) in community centres such as schools, library hubs and local sports halls in every county in Ireland, including on some islands, will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband.

These include for example;

- Tory Co-Op, West Town, Tory Island, Co. Donegal, F92FD66

- Inishbofin Community Centre, Middlequarter, Inishbofin, Co. Galway, H91TC6C

- Scoil Caomháin, An Tra, Inis Oirr, Co. Galway, H91C967

- Valentia Island Community Centre, Chapeltown, Valentia, Co. Kerry, V23H240

- Keel Community Centre, Keel, Achill, Co. Mayo, F28XA33

There are many opportunities for the islands to become pioneers in initiatives designed to deliver our Climate Action Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals. My department has active programs for community participation.

- Sustainable Energy Communities operated by SEAI

- Waste reduction and recycling

- Sound and Vision Ireland operated by BAI


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