Spring, Dick

Thursday, 23 February 1995

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 449 No. 6

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Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Publication of Framework Document.

Was asked: if he will ensure that all democratic parties in Northern Ireland will be entitled to participate in talks on the Framework Document without precondition.More Button

Was asked: asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, in order to facilitate meaningful discussion on the Framework Document, if consequential constitutional proposals affecting our Constitution and th...More Button

Was asked: the steps, if any, he proposes to take in the aftermath of the publication of the Framework Document; in particular, the discussions, if any, he envisages taking place with parties in Northern Ireland...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether it is desirable that some way should be found to facilitate the participation of representatives of the Loyalist organisations in political talks following the publication of the ...More Button

Was asked: when it is intended to publish the Framework Document; and the steps, if any, he will take to expedite its publication in view of the delay so far and the damage caused by selective leaking.More Button

Was asked: his views on North-South institutions with executive powers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report to Dáil Éireann on the investigation carried out into the source of the leak of extracts of a draft of the Framework Document in view of the fact that the London Times claim that the...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1, 2, 3, 24, 28, 30 and 49 together. As Deputies are aware, the Framework Document was published by the Irish and British Governments yesterday. The landmark significa...More Button

I will deal first with the latter part of the question. Yes, the response has been very constructive and we welcome that. Obviously if we have a constructive response from all parties we would be fa...More Button

I would be surprised if anybody in this House disagrees with the statement that the decommissioning of arms is a very important part of this whole process. I have said on many occasions that we accep...More Button

I think my position on Sinn Féin's meeting with the British Government at ministerial level is the same as the position taken by all parties at this time and that reflects what has happened since last...More Button

As regards whether it would have been better to publish proposals for the wording of the proposed changes in the Constitution, the ultimate changes in the Constitution are a matter for the people. It...More Button

When I heard those remarks I intended to check the record of the various meetings. We had brought it to an indicative stage in relation to possible changes of Article 2 and 3. No formal agreement ha...More Button

The Deputy will be aware of the complexities in this area. We want to ensure that rights are protected and developed. It is a complex area in terms of British constitutional law. There is a genuine...More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Cross-Border Funding.

Was asked: if he will ensure in the allocation of EU funds that the position of the six Border counties in the Republic will receive a fair allocation; and the representations, if any, he has made to ensure this...More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself with the proposed proportionate share of funding under the Delors package for Northern Ireland and the six Border counties; if not, if he will make representations to the a...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 and 13 together.More Button

The southern Border counties also suffered from the difficulties and consequences of decades of violence and division between the two communities in Northern Ireland. Obviously, there has been a spill...More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - UN Peacekeeping Funding.

Was asked: if he will make representations to the US Administration and to members of the Congress, regarding the impact on the UN ability to conduct peacekeeping operations in the event of of cuts in US budgeta...More Button

Was asked: his assessment of the likely effect on UN peacekeeping missions of the expressed desire of the United States Congress to reduce its financial support of such missions.[4150/95]More Button

Was asked: the discussions, if any, his Department will have following the reduction of the United States of America's contribution to the United Nations.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 5, 29 and 44 together. I take it these questions refer to the National Security Revitalisation Bill recently passed by the United States House of Representatives. It ...More Button

I accept what the Deputy says on the very serious implications of this reduction, if it becomes law, for United Nations peacekeeping. I think the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Warren Christo...More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Additional Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: if it is his intention to arrange for the exchange of ambassadors with any additional countries over the next two years, either on a residential or non-residential basis; and, if so, the countries inv...More Button

As part of a review of our overall requirements in the foreign policy area over the three-year period ahead, the Government has concluded that there is a need for a limited and selective strengthenin...More Button

In the normal course of events I am informed that Protocol requires us not to publish the names of the countries until consultations with them have been completed. I am sure the Deputy, as a long ser...More Button

Yes, but I am afraid we have limited resources; we have a limited number of missions. In answer to Deputy Ray Burke, on the last occasion, I said I would examine the overall question of our Honorary ...More Button

I cannot give the Deputy precise figures based on a cost benefit analysis as he requested. I am convinced we need to expand our diplomatic service to promote relations with other Governments. Also,...More Button

I agree with the Deputy in principle, but there are such things as Estimates. The Deputy will be well aware that there are limitations on the availability of money in terms of Estimates and expenditu...More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - EU Enlargement.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on potential future accessions to full membership of the European Union; the likely time scale of such accessions; and his assessment of their likely effect on Irish nation...More Button

Was asked: the Government's views on the possible accession to full membership of the European Union of Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, the Baltic Republics, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 and 40 together. Article O of the Treaty on European Union provides that any European State may apply to become a member of the Union. There are currently five appli...More Button

I tried to give a reply that was as comprehensive as possible. I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that this whole area is one of enormous complexity and ten questions could be asked about each coun...More Button

If I recall correctly there is a separate question on the preparations for the Intergovernmental Conference.More Button

At this time it is not possible to say where the inter-Governmental conference will be held because it has to be agreed and set up. We would see it happening during our Presidency, depending on how m...More Button

I can tell the Deputy and the House that I have already presented to Government a memo on the importance of the Inter-governmental Conference and the issues that will arise during our Presidency. Fro...More Button

I can assure the Deputy there is both a united and a co-ordinated effort being put in place. It will be monitored on a monthly basis for the first part of this year, and later perhaps on a weekly bas...More Button

I accept what the Deputy has said in relation to the similarity of some of the requirements, for example, in the area of human rights, institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law and protecti...More Button

I think the Deputy is straying into security matters. I acknowledge the concerns of the Baltic States and Central and Eastern European countries in regard to the unstable situation in Russia. That i...More Button

I regard Turkey as a very important country in relation to the stability of Europe.More Button

Inishvickillane.More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - APSO Allocation.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the reservations expressed by the Conference of Religious of Ireland in relation to the increased allocation to APSO in the 1995 budget; and if he will make a statem...More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Customs Union.

Was asked: the agreement in principle that has been reached between the EU and Turkey on a Customs Union; and the effect, if any, this will have on Ireland.More Button

Work on the preparation of the Customs Union with Turkey has been continuing since the decision taken by Ministers at the EEC-Turkey Association Council in Brussels in November 1993 to achieve effect...More Button

Ireland, with most of its European Union partners, has been conscious of the desirability of encouraging greater involvement by Turkey in European affairs to strengthen the position of those elements ...More Button

I am not aware of any proposals on monitoring. As the Deputy is aware, frequent meetings take place, and further meetings will take place after the Customs Union agreement has been accepted. As I sa...More Button

We are all familiar with its problems, which obviously we hope it can overcome. Our stronger relations with Turkey will help its Government and people to deal with their internal difficulties.More Button

All member states, including Greece, have subscribed to the development of relations with Turkey, as set out in the Conclusions of successive European Councils, including the most recent one at Essen...More Button

I am aware of the move within the European Council to which the Deputy referred. As a very experienced politician, the Deputy will appreciate that we are talking about a very complex problem within ...More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Convention on Rights of the Child.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that, in spite of its ratification by Ireland in 1992, progress on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has not been progress ...More Button

Ireland's first report on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was due in October 1994. My Department commenced work on the report in 1993. Its preparation has involved extens...More Button

I will try to have the report completed within a matter of months. It is necessary that we make a report. The reports by some countries have been rejected because they were not comprehensive enough....More Button

I am not sure I get the drift of the Deputy's views on the way we legislate. We have been working on the report for more than 12 months and the delay is due to the wide consultation required and the ...More Button

People have far more time now to work on it; this was not the case up to a few months ago. The Deputy has suggested that one of my ministerial colleagues should be given extra work; I am sure they wi...More Button

I am not over sensitive and I did not take it as a criticism.More Button

We have to draw a distinction between a report and legislation.We want the legislation to be all embracing to meet the concerns expressed by the Deputy.More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Human Rights Violations in Turkey.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that according to Amnesty International the number of disappearances in south east Turkey doubled in 1994 while the incidence of torture and death in custod...More Button

Was asked: asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, in view of the human rights violations reported in Turkey, if he will support a CSCE mission being sent to Turkey under the Moscow Mechanism; and i...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 41 together.More Button

On the question of our concern about human rights abuses, distance is not a factor. We are concerned about such abuses no matter where they occur. We are in the process of setting up a specialist un...More Button

The European Union has called on Turkey to grant access to an OSCE human rights mission. The Deputy raised the possibility of Members of this Parliament travelling to Turkey. This is a matter I will...More Button

Framework Document on Northern Ireland: Statements (Resumed).

I am grateful to have an opportunity to bring to a close this series of statements on the Framework Document. I am particularly happy to do so because the tone of the discussion in the Dáil since yes...More Button

Written Answers. - EU Council Presidency Discussions.

Was asked: the discussions, if any, he has had to date with the current EU Council Presidency.More Button

I met the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Juppé, the President-in-Office of the General Affairs Council, in Dublin on 20 January. Mr. Juppé's visit was one in a series of visits to his colleagues in the...More Button

Written Answers. - Irish Workers in Germany.

Was asked: the contacts, if any, he has had with his counterparts in Holland and Germany regarding the treatment of Irish construction workers answering advertisements for work in Germany.More Button

Our Embassies in Bonn and The Hague have had contacts with the German and Dutch authorities about difficulties encountered by some Irish construction workers in Germany recruited by agencies based in ...More Button

Written Answers. - Use of Plastic Bullets in Northern Ireland.

Was asked: if he will seek a ban on further use of plastic or rubber bullets by the security forces North of the Border in view of the horrific injuries that they cause; and if he will raise this matter at his n...More Button

I share the Deputy's concern at the injuries and deaths that have been caused by plastic bullets in Northern Ireland in the past. The record of fourteen deaths from the use of plastic bullets in Nort...More Button

Written Answers. - Review of Prision Sentences.

Was asked: asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, in view of political demands for an amnesty for a British soldier convicted of murder in Belfast and the early release and reinstatement of another...More Button

Was asked: if he has received a report on a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, in view of the fact that the Government was to seek a report on the case of a person (details supplied), his views on the campaign for this person'...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17, 50 and 51 together. The issues raised by the Deputies in their questions have been the subject of continuing discussions with the British Government. I availed of...More Button

Written Answers. - National Economic and Social Forum.

Was asked: the work currently being undertaken by the National Economic and Social Forum; and the Government's view of the Forum's work.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the National Economic and Social Forum was established in June 1993 to develop economic and social policy initiatives, particularly in relation to combating unemployment. ...More Button

Written Answers. - US Investment Conference on Ireland.

Was asked: the person or persons who will attend the Washington Conference in May 1995, on behalf of the Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the level of Government representation that is planned for the United States Investment Conference on Ireland on 18 May and 19 May 1995; the desired outcome of the Conference; and if he will make a st...More Button

I propose to take Question Nos. 19 and 36 together.More Button

Written Answers. - Ministerial Responsibilities.

Was asked: the main areas of responsibility of the Minister of State to the Tánaiste.More Button

Apart from her role in the Department of Enterprise and Employment Deputy Eithne Fitzgerald is Minister of State at the office of the Tánaiste and is responsible for all the functions of the office.More Button

Written Answers. - Crisis in Chechnya.

Was asked: the discussions, if any, he has had with the Russian authorities in relation to Chechnya since Tuesday, 24 January 1995.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the crisis in Chechnya; the action, if any, he intends to take to prevent more killing and suffering; and if he will make a statement on the matter.[4242/95]More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 53 together. The situation in Chechnya remains of grave concern. Figures announced this week suggest that as many as 30,000 people may have been killed since t...More Button

Written Answers. - Intergovernmental Conference.

Was asked: if his preparatory work for the Intergovernmental Conference will be geared towards the implementation of the Maastricht Agreement in full and without reservations.More Button

Was asked: the arrangements, if any, that are being made for the holding of the Intergovernmental Conference in Ireland in 1996; and the likely agenda for that Conference.More Button

I propose taking Questions Nos. 22 and 27 together. The Treaty on European Union provides for the convening of an Intergovernmental Conference of the member states in 1996 to examine those Treaty prov...More Button

Written Answers. - Foreign Military Aircraft.

Was asked: the total number of requests for foreign military aircraft to land in the country in 1994; the number of permissions granted; the type of cargo carried; the inspections, if any, carried out; and if he...More Button

Under the Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952, foreign military aircraft require the permission of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to land in the State. Permission is granted subjec...More Button

Written Answers. - Commemorative Programme for UN 50.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to commemorate and honour the United Nations in its 50 year.More Button

I intend shortly to convene the Irish National Committee for UN 50, to put in place an appropriate commemorative programme which will mark not only the founding of the United Nations 50 years ago but ...More Button

Written Answers. - Méanscoil Feirste.

Was asked: if he will continue to make strong representations to the British Prime Minister regarding State funding for Meánscoil Feirste, the all-Irish secondary school in Belfast.More Button

The Government has consistently emphasised within the framework of the Anglo-Irish Agreement the importance of ensuring that the rights and identities of the two traditions in Northern Ireland are ful...More Button

Written Answers. - Funding from Cultural Relations Committee.

Was asked: if he will furnish a list of applicants who were successful in obtaining financial assistance from the Cultural Relations Committee; the reason a group (details supplied) in County Mayo were not succe...More Button

Information on funding provided in 1995 on the recommendation of the Cultural Relations Committee will be available at the end of this year, and I shall arrange for the Deputy to receive at that time ...More Button

Written Answers. - Paratroop Deployment.

Was asked: whether he has lodged a protest with the British authorities regarding paratroop deployment in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have conveyed to the British authorities my concerns at the deployment, after the IRA ceasefire, of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in West Belfast. I have also emphasised our serious...More Button

Written Answers. - Situation in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Was asked: the actions, if any, he is taking to highlight and help alleviate the sufferings of the people of Bosnia.More Button

Was asked: the action, if any, the Irish Government is taking to alleviate the suffering of the people of Bosnia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 33 and 52 together. The Government remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian and political situation in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The assistance which Ireland has give...More Button

Written Answers. - Passport Costs.

Was asked: the costs of ten year and one year Irish passports in 1995; the estimated cost of obtaining the European ID card when available; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The standard fee for a ten-year passport with 32 pages is £45. A 46-page version is available at £55. One-year passports are no longer issued. A three year, non-renewable, passport is available for...More Button

Written Answers. - International Fund for Ireland.

Was asked: the procedure to be followed whereby interested groups and local authorities can obtain finance from the International Fund for Ireland.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that, while the Chairman and members of the Board of the International Fund are appointed by the Irish and British Governments, they are required under the Agreements establis...More Button

Written Answers. - UN Security Council.

Was asked: when Ireland will next receive a seat on the United Nations Security Council.More Button

The Security Council consists of five permanent and ten non-permanent members, five of which are elected each year by the General Assembly for a term of two years. Of the ten non-permanent seats two a...More Button

Written Answers. - Funding of International Organisations.

Was asked: the number of issues and situations which led to increased contributions to international organisations in the 1995 Estimates.[3857/95]More Button

A provision of £8.9 million has been included in the 1995 Estimates (Subhead A of the International Co-operation Vote) to cover Ireland's contributions to international organisations in the current ye...More Button

Written Answers. - Development Loans.

Was asked: his views on the development loans to ACP countries as discussed at the EU General Affairs Council.More Button

The Lomé Convention and its financial Protocol are due for updating by the end of this month. The special meeting of the General Affairs Council held in Brussels on 15 February 1995 failed to agree o...More Button

Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Policing.

Was asked: his Department's input in relation to a review of policing in Northern Ireland in the context of the ongoing ceasefire; and whether there is a need for a review of the role of the RUC in Northern Irel...More Button

The question of policing falls within the remit of Article 7 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement which, inter alia, records the agreement of the two Governments that there is a need for a programme of speci...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental PR Budget.

Was asked: the public relations budget allocation for his Department; the reason this sum has been allocated; and the person who has been retained to carry out the public relations function in his Department.More Button

My Department has an Information Section and a Press Section at home and press officers at several embassies abroad. All those working in these areas are permanent civil servants of the Department. ...More Button

Written Answers. - Possibility of Two-Tier Europe.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the possibility of a two-tier Europe after 1997; and the proposals, if any, he has to change the growing attitude of the French Presidency in relation to the eligibility...More Button

Ireland, in its approach to the European Union, has opposed the creation of an exclusive “inner core” group of member states. Ideally, we also favour a single-speed approach to European integration. H...More Button

Written Answers. - Emigrant Services.

Was asked: the particular issues or problems, if any, that have been brought to the attention of his Department in relation to the services available to Irish emigrants; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

A total of £650,000 in Government assistance was given last year to Irish emigrant advice and welfare organisations in Britain and the United States. Through the Vote for Foreign Affairs a total of £...More Button

Written Answers. - UN Children's Fund.

Was asked: the level of Government funding in each of the years 1993 to 1995 to the United Nations Children's Fund; if he has satisfied himself with the Irish contribution; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

The level of Government funding to the United Nations Children's Fund — UNICEF — in 1993 and 1994 was as follows: 1993, £600,000 and 1994, £750,000. The figure for 1995 has not yet been allocated but ...More Button

Written Answers. - Diplomatic Relations with Haiti.

Was asked: the progress, if any, that has been made to establish diplomatic relations with Haiti; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are no plans to establish diplomatic relations with Haiti at present. However, this does not affect our support for the restored government of President Aristide or our continued efforts to hel...More Button


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