Dáil Éireann - Volume 394 - 07 December, 1989

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Development of Gas Network.

4. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Energy if he will outline his policy regarding further development of the gas network, and if he will make a statement on the matter.

47. Mr. Taylor asked the Minister for Energy whether he will provide the resources to enable the residents of Tallaght, Dublin 24 to have the benefits of natural gas in like manner and at like cost as enjoyed in other such large urban areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

55. Mr. Taylor asked the Minister for Energy the steps, if any, he is taking which may lead to the provision of a piped gas supply to Tallaght, Dublin 24 on the basis that people would be able to [755] afford gas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Molloy: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4, 47 and 55 together.

Bord Gáis Éireann is a statutory body charged with developing and maintaining a system for the supply of natural gas on a commercial basis. Any proposal for the extension of the gas grid must, therefore, be assessed in this light by the board.

The board have, accordingly, concentrated to date on marketing gas in areas which are in close proximity to the existing transmission pipelines, which have existing gas grids, and which have a market which would justify the high capital expenditure required to supply gas. Consideration may be given to the extension of supplies to other areas such as Tallaght in the longer term, but it would be unrealistic to assume the likelihood of supply in the short to medium term.

Further extensions to supply customers adjacent to the network will continue to be undertaken where it is commercially viable to do so.

Mr. R. Bruton: May I ask the Minister if he envisages that at any time there might be regional or environmental considerations outside of a strictly commercial type of assessment which would justify, for example, extending into the west of Ireland on regional grounds or extending into parts of Dublin city on environmental grounds? Does he envisage that that is a possible direction in which to go?

Mr. Molloy: I can assure the Deputy that any extension on regional grounds will be based on commercial viability criteria. The question of an extension in Dublin is under consideration on environmental grounds at present by a committee established by the Government headed by senior officials of the Department of the Environment and includes officials from my Department and a number of other State agencies. This committee are looking at the supply [756] of energy vis-à-vis the current smog problem in Dublin and the role natural gas might play in bringing about a satisfactory solution to that problem.