Dáil Éireann - Volume 545 - 27 November, 2001

Written Answers. - Energy Market.

113. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the progress of the commissioned study report recommendations for an all-island energy market; the likely timescale for the decision making process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29473/01]

Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): The House will be aware that we have already made a number of significant decisions about all-island energy policy, most notably the Government decision to invest £10 million in support of the development of gas infrastructure in Northern Ireland and also the upgrading of the electricity interconnector. The reports referred to by the Deputy were jointly commissioned by my Department and the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland and were published in October.

Since publication, both Administrations have been giving consideration to how best to move this important process forward. It has been agreed to hold a high level restricted seminar in December involving the respective regulatory agencies, grid operators and some other key players in the energy sector as well as senior officials from both Departments. This seminar is intended to provide a forum for identifying the main issues in the creation of an all-island energy market. In addition, it will establish a clearer understanding of how best the agenda can be moved forward in terms of determining clear roles and responsibilities for the various players in the process. I assure the Deputy that both administrations fully appreciate the importance of consultation with the wider market and this will be an important feature of the process going forward.