Communications energy and natural resources are central to economic competitiveness


The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD was the key note speaker at the recent Chambers Ireland All Island Vision conference in Cavan.

The Minister focused on the economic opportunities that will accrue on both sides of the border with Northern and Southern administrations and business working together.

Minister Ryan said - “The political change in the North has been truly remarkable and affords the opportunity to work together to achieve further development. Since the re-establishment of the Assembly in Northern Ireland, there have been some 14 North-South Ministerial meetings. Both administrations are working together to maximise opportunities and are delivering real gains both sides of the border."

The Minister added - "My own Department is now at the centre stage in the development of our economy. Communications, energy and natural resources hold the key to our continued economic competitiveness and innovation.

"For the twin reasons of energy security and climate change, dependence on imported fossil fuels must be reduced. Increased interconnection between both our jurisdictions brings with it greater security and economies of scale. The Single Electricity Market was introduced last November and is a best practice example of effective North-South cooperation. It involved two Departments, two transmission system operators, two energy regulators and was delivered on time and to budget.

"The groundbreaking All-Island Grid Study which I - and Northern Ireland Minister Nigel Dodds - jointly published this January, provided a picture of what the future might be like. The development of renewable energy on the island of Ireland is very important in this regard. The international award-winning study pointed to the possibility of achieving over 40% penetration of renewables on our electricity grids (Click Here).

"The achievement of greater renewable energy penetration will need significant grid development, including the delivery of the proposed second North-South electricity interconnector by 2012.

"Increasingly, in communications, we are seeing the convergence between the IT industry, telecommunications and broadcasting. North and South, we will see these changes as we both switch off analogue and move to Digital Terrestrial Television by 2012. There are opportunities on an all-island basis for greater availability and connectivity to our respective broadcasting services."

Concluding, Minister Ryan said - "In the development of our communications, energy and natural resources, we are stronger when we work together. With even greater connection, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose.”