Taoiseach Micheál Martin was forced to defend the level of spending on cybersecurity after a claim that funding from the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has been “scarce”.
TD Peader Tobin raised the ransomware attacks on the health service at the Dáil during questions from leaders.
He said the attack was a “monstrous crime” that affected the most vulnerable in Irish society.
Tóibín said the Government has a duty to protect and safeguard the health of citizens and their personal data, and this is particularly important in Ireland, which said it houses 30% of the data that exists in the EU.
The Meath West TD claimed that the NCSC, which currently has no director, has been left “helpless” and also that it is “homeless” without a permanent venue.
He said the € 89,000 salary related to the director role is “less than an opposition TD”, that the NCSC has 25 employees and that its € 5 million budget for this year is less than that the Taoiseach department invested in public relations by 2020.
Tóibín also said former HSE chief executive Tony O’Brien said the health organization’s spending on computer security is “about a quarter of what was expected compared to other health systems.”
He said £ 95 million was invested to cover the cost of a similar NHS cyberattack in the UK and then £ 210 million was invested to bolster his cybersecurity.
Tóibín asked when the services would return to the patient and what costs he would have here.
Martin said what happened was “an attack on our health services by criminals” and that there should be “no truck or quarter given to criminals of this type that would harm the safety of criminals.” patients “.
He insisted that “all the right people are in the right place to respond to these criminals.”
Martin defended funding for cybersecurity, saying funding for the NCSC was “tripled” in budgets, denying it was rudderless and suggesting his description of “homeless” is “melodramatic.”
Martin insisted that there is “a pretty good capacity within our system in terms of quality of available staff dealing with this particular issue.”
He said it is “dealing with the right way: contain the problem, fix it, restore it and protect it”.
He said it would “take a while to fully recover the services.”
Tóibín argued that the investment in the NCSC is “insignificant in terms of the responsibilities they have” and asked when the government will “invest correctly”.
Martin said that since he became Taoiseach, he is “very focused on the national cybersecurity threat.”
He said funding has been “significantly increased” for both the NCSC and the HSE.
He told the Dáil that current spending on ICT in HSE has gone from 45 to 83 million euros and capital investment from 85 to 120 million euros.
He said cybersecurity is an “ongoing battle” and that “it won’t go away anytime soon.
“We will constantly review resources more and more, increasing the capacity over the next few years to deal with these offenders.”