Dáil Éireann - Volume 510 - 16 November, 1999
Written Answers. - Computer Programmes.
Ms Clune Ms Clune
195. Ms Clune asked the Minister for Finance the consideration, if any, he has given to providing a leaflet on Y2K problems for distribution to all houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23584/99]
Mr. McCreevy Mr. McCreevy
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): As the Deputy is aware, the year 2000 issue relates to the possibility that computer and electronic production systems will not recognise 2000 as a date and instead will read it as 1900 or some other date. It should be emphasised that this could potentially impact on businesses mainly, rather than on households or household appliances. Accordingly, a comprehensive business awareness campaign is being carried out to raise awareness of the problem and provide guidance, under the aegis of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The campaign includes a guide which issued to 150,000 business nationwide, seminars, a national Y2K information service for business free of charge and TV and radio advertising campaigns.
In addition, the Government has adopted a number of measures to deal with the issue. First, since 1996, Government Departments and public bodies have concentrated on remedying the problem in computer systems, equipment and plant and practically all critical business and service delivery computer systems are now year 2000 compliant or are very nearly so. Second, since the beginning of 1999, the focus has been on preparing business continuity and contingency plans for all business-critical operations in the civil and  public service. Third, we are also looking at the co-ordination arrangements needed between the key sectors and the Government set up a national year 2000 emergencies co-ordination committee in September 1999, which I chair, to oversee and co-ordinate the year 2000 contingency preparations of the key national utility, health, security financial and business sectors so as to mitigate potential disruptions from year 2000 related incidents and-or millennium celebrations.
It should be pointed out that responsibility for ensuring that systems are year 2000 compliant and that appropriate contingency arrangements are in place, is a matter for the sectors themselves. This includes the provision of information to the public in relation to the measures taken. Each of the key sectors involved in the provision of services to the public and which are represented at the national year 2000 emergencies co-ordination committee, are providing information to their customers, for instance the banking sector has conducted a campaign on money and the millennium. The key public utilities, road, rail and air services; gas, electricity, postal, telecommunications and broadcasting services are also engaged in publicity campaigns. Earlier this year, the ESB sent a customer care pack to every household in the country which included a leaflet on “the Year and my home”.
The emergencies co-ordination committee is currently reviewing the various sectoral public information campaigns and arrangements with a view to determining what overall co-ordination arrangements might be put in place. The committee will decide on the actions necessary at its next meeting on Thursday, 18 November.
Dáil Éireann 510 Written Answers. Computer Programmes.