Written Answers. - South African Elections.

Wednesday, 20 April 1994

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 441 No. 6

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  22.  Miss Quill  Information on Máirín Quill  Zoom on Máirín Quill   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO; the budgeted cost of each observer; the total amount of money likely to be spent by APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

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  26.  Ms Keogh  Information on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh  Zoom on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO; the budgeted cost of each observer; the total amount of money likely to be spent by APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  27.  Mr. Clohessy  Information on Peadar Clohessy  Zoom on Peadar Clohessy   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO; the budgeted cost of each observer; the total amount of money likely to be spent by APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  31.  Mr. R. Bruton  Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the security and safety of all Irish volunteer observers who have gone to South Africa to work on the elections there in the coming week; the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the safety of those working in areas of high tension such as Kwa Zulu and other such places.

  33.  Mrs. Doyle  Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the security and safety of all Irish volunteer observers who have gone to South Africa to work on the elections there in the coming week; the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the safety of those working in areas of high tension such as Kwa Zulu and other such places.

  34.  Mr. Cox  Information on Pat Cox  Zoom on Pat Cox   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Irish observers sent to monitor the South African elections were involved in a recent controversy relating to impartiality; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

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  35.  Mr. Cox  Information on Pat Cox  Zoom on Pat Cox   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO; the budgeted cost of each observer; the total amount of money likely to be spent by APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  36.  Mr. Cullen  Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO; the budgeted cost of each observer; the total amount of money likely to be spent by APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  43.  Mr. M. McDowell  Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Irish observers sent to monitor the South African elections were involved in a recent controversy relating to impartiality; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  46.  Mr. G. Mitchell  Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the security and safety of all Irish volunteer observers who have gone to South Africa to work on the elections there in the coming week; the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the safety of those working in areas of high tension such as Kwa Zulu and other such places.

  51.  Miss Harney  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO; the budgeted cost of each observer; the total amount of money likely to be spent by APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

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  52.  Mr. Molloy  Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO; the budgeted cost of each observer; the total amount of money likely to be spent by APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  56.  Miss Quill  Information on Máirín Quill  Zoom on Máirín Quill   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   the number of election observers provided by Ireland in respect of the South African elections; the number of these who are Members of the Oireachtas; the number who are public servants; the number being provided by non-governmental organisations in receipt of State funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  58.  Mr. Connor  Information on John Connor  Zoom on John Connor   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the security and safety of all Irish volunteer observers who have gone to South Africa to work on the elections there in the coming week; the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the safety of those working in areas of high tension such as Kwa Zulu and other such places.

  64.  Mr. J. Mitchell  Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the security and safety of all Irish volunteer observers who have gone to South Africa to work on the elections there in the coming week; the steps, if any, he has taken to guarantee the safety of those working in areas of high tension such as Kwa Zulu and other such places.

  67.  Ms O'Donnell  Information on Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz O'Donnell   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO; the budgeted cost of each observer; the total amount of money likely to be spent by APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

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  72.  Mr. Molloy  Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   the number of election observers provided by Ireland in respect of the South African elections; the number of these who are Members of the Oireachtas; the number who are public servants; the number being provided by non-governmental organisations in receipt of State funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  75.  Mr. O'Malley  Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring   whether APSO is funding the costs of some Irish election observers in South Africa; the number of observers sent through APSO in providing observers; whether the costs are being reimbursed by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 26, 27, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 43, 46, 51, 52, 56, 58, 64, 67, 72 and 75 together.

Ireland has for many years been a vocal critic of the apartheid régime in South Africa and has worked actively for South Africa's transition to a democratic and non-racial society. As part of the international effort to ensure that South Africa's first ever democratic elections on 26 to 28 April are free and fair we have endeavoured to ensure an adequate involvement by Irish election observers in response to the request from South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission.

Over 100 observers from Ireland are taking part in the international effort; 25 observers with the European Union's observer mission; 13 observers with the UN's team of election observers; ten observers with the UN's volunteer election monitoring team, and 31 observers with the monitoring teams that are being organised by the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA); 33 observers with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The selection and funding procedures for each of these bodies vary.

In the case of the European Union [1326] each member state and the Commission agreed to provide 25 election observers to a joint mission which is being managed by a specially established European Union Electoral Unit. This is part of a joint action by the European Union under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Irish team is composed of 11 Members of the Oireachtas, five individuals selected from central and local government bodies and the chairman of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement. It includes eight people with relevant experience in Africa, or with experience of election observation who were nominated by the Agency for Personal Services Overseas (APSO). The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing £200,000 to cover the total estimated expenditure involved, which includes reimbursement of salaries, travel and insurance. The European Commission is covering in-country costs.

The 13 observers with the UN team were nominated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and are being funded by the United Nations.

The ten observers with the UN's volunteer election monitoring team, 21 of the AWEPA observers and the 33 Independent Electoral Commission observers are being funded, or partly funded, by the Agency for Personal Services Overseas which recruited the individuals concerned. The average cost of funding each AWEPA and IEC volunteer is £2,500 and the cost of each UN volunteer £560. The total cost of APSO funded volunteers for these delegations is estimated at £213,600 and this will be met from APSO's annual grant-in-aid.

The 31 volunteers serving under AWEPA include ten Members of the Oireachtas whose mission is being funded by AWEPA itself.

The level of violence in South Africa has remained at a disturbingly high level for many months now. The safety of election observers is a priority for the Government. We are in close and regular contact with the European Union Electoral Unit which is based in Johannesburg about the safety of observers. Moreover, the security situation is a matter of [1327] ongoing discussions between the EU Electoral Unit and South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission. All Irish funded election observers were aware of the security situation in South Africa before they left and are to be commended for their willingness to volunteer for this difficult task.

Prior to their departure from Ireland, Irish observers were required to attend compulsory briefing on their role. In these briefings particular emphasis was placed upon impartiality as a key requirement for the success of the election monitor's function. I am aware of reports and claims of lack of impartiality on the part of certain observers. APSO has reiterated to all its volunteers the need for absolute impartiality in the conduct of their functions.

Despite the difficult security situation in South Africa I am confident that the international presence in South Africa will make a valuable contribution to [1328] ensuring that free and fair elections take place in South Africa on 26-28 April.

The agreement reached yesterday between the political leaders in South Africa which enables the Inkatha Freedom Party to contest the elections is a welcome and encouraging development. I hope that the agreement will lessen tensions in the run-up to the election and will enable the ballot to take place in conditions of peace and stability.


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