Ahern, Bertie

Tuesday, 22 June 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 506 No. 5

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Ceisteanna–Questions. - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the total number of staff serving in his Department; the reason for any changes in numbers since 1 January 1999; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are currently 171 staff serving in my Department. This figure does not include officers serving in organisations under the aegis of my Department or on secondment to other Departments or bodies....More Button

I should have apologised to the Ceann Comhairle at the outset. We had some difficulty forming a quorum because two Oireachtas committees met early today, namely the Select Committee on Education and S...More Button

An examination of the 1956 Act is currently ongoing. Many of the procedures are outdated. The secretary to the Government, who is a civil service commissioner, is examining that together with other pe...More Button

The 1956 Act is dated. The procedures in the timing of examinations and recruitment competitions can be improved upon. In the past, people tended to stay on in the Civil Service, which they viewed as ...More Button

Every employee should sign a contract. As I explained last week, some contracts were not signed because a number of issues remained outstanding. I also said that such contracts should be signed and th...More Button

The Deputy has a hard neck. He knows how many staff the Government of which he was a member employed. On the individual who moved from Leinster House, the reason listed is “for the purpose of question...More Button

It is not a new appointment which was listed when the individual concerned moved from Leinster House. The individual concerned is part of the Taoiseach's staff.More Button

All of the ushers in Leinster House possess particular skills. Because the individual concerned moved to the other side of the corridor, the appointment was listed.More Button

It is my understanding that the usher asked to be transferred to my domain on the other side of the corridor. I presume the usher he replaced moved somewhere else.More Button

There are ongoing discussions concerning those who settled early. The Government has been fair in a number of these cases. This issue mainly concerns lower grades but, unlike in the past, people have ...More Button

Ceisteanna–Questions. - Official Engagements.

Was asked: if he will provide details of the Irish delegation to the EU-Latin American summit at the end of June 1999 following his cancellation of his plans to attend; the agenda in this regard; and if he will ...More Button

Was asked: if he will be represented in any form at the EU-Latin American summit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his attendance on 3 and 4 June 1999 at the EU summit in Cologne; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the bilateral meetings, if any, he held with other EU Heads of Government during the recent EU summit in Germany; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the issues, other than those relating to Northern Ireland, which he discussed with the British Prime Minister in Germany; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the communications, if any, he has had, orally or in writing, with other EU Heads of Government regarding the situation in Kosovo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the activities of his Department in recent months to make an effective Irish input to the work of the European Council on major issues on the EU agenda.More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to attend a special meeting in October 1999 of EU Heads of Government in Finland to discuss internal security issues; the preparatory meetings, if any, he will have in Irelan...More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to meet the Finnish Prime Minister to discuss his plans for his country's Presidency of the EU in the second half of 1999; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his recent meeting with a delegation from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 to 11, inclusive, together. As outlined in my comprehensive statement to the Dáil last Tuesday, I attended the European Council in Cologne on 3 and 4 June. We had a ...More Button

The Cologne declaration was discussed at the general affairs Council and the neutral countries worked together on it. From our point of view and in common with the other neutral states, we are as mili...More Button

Even in these discussions, the neutral countries such as Ireland have a major input such as we had in discussions on the Amsterdam Treaty. We should not adopt an isolationist view. Our position over t...More Button

Yes, we are.More Button

We are being honest. Deputy Bruton has a view on this—More Button

—and he is entitled to that view. I am entitled to my view. Deputy Bruton sees the Petersberg Tasks in a way that other neutral countries do not. While he is entitled to his view which he believes to ...More Button

No matter what I say, Deputy Bruton will not agree with my point of view. There is no question of Ireland—More Button

Seán Lemass always emphasised that there was no question of Ireland joining a nuclear armed military alliance.More Button

We are not going to join such an alliance.More Button

The Cologne Declaration will not prejudice the eventual relationship between the EU and the Western European Union. As the Deputy is aware, this matter revolves around fundamental difficulties in resp...More Button

I agree with the Deputy in respect of the first matter. There will be an ongoing debate and I believe that attempts to make fundamental changes will be made at some future date. In my opinion, such at...More Button

Yes. I have participated in a number of debates on PfP issues in the past six months and I believe the people are well versed on this matter.More Button

Those who have an interest in these issues know what is happening. It is amazing that at some of the debates to which I referred people arrived in possession of the 1945 and 1954 Western European Unio...More Button

This is effectively operating very well in an informal manner. The Minister of State, Deputy Jacob, has been very active in this because there is ongoing interest in this issue. I will discuss it with...More Button

The Deputy has raised a number of points. Under the Cologne declaration and all the many initiatives in this area in recent years, Ireland has played a role based on peacekeeping and we should continu...More Button

This has moved apace.More Button

We do not need the British to provide us with cover in these matters. They now realise they should consider this in a different light and NATO has also indicated that it is ready to define arrangement...More Button

NATO was pressed to protect those people by the actions of Mr. Milosevic. It is a pity it resulted in that but if he had not slaughtered people through ethnic cleansing there would have been no major ...More Button

Javier Solana is a distinguished and experienced former foreign minister of Spain, an EU member state. He will have to leave his NATO post before assuming his CSFP functions. His appointment was made ...More Button

We have not made a decision on a Green Paper but there is a number of evolving issues as we prepare for the next Intergovernmental Conference and the work of next year. It is hoped to make some progre...More Button

I do not. One must distinguish between the humanitarian and construction elements. If we were to boldly follow the line that there cannot be any aid whatsoever, which is what was said, how would that ...More Button

I was in France the day those discussions took place and was with the President. I remember he received a note during lunch and the view was that it was not possible to implement the proposed agreemen...More Button

That is possible.More Button

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 7, the technical motion re further Revised Estimates [Vote 35]; No. 39, the Architectural Heritage (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bil...More Button

As I understand it, the legislation is to be taken tomorrow. I do not know whether a report of a committee of the House is due. I presume if such a report is to be presented, this will be made clear t...More Button

The committee made its position clear last week. The legislation is to be taken tomorrow. It should be debated here tomorrow.More Button

This Bill is almost concluded. It is hoped it will be circulated by the end of the session.More Button

The Criminal Justice (Fraud Offences) Bill will be ready later in the summer. It will amend and up-date the law on fraud offences with preference to recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission. ...More Button

I understand there are eight Bills in total on the list. About four more are to be published and four or five others have been published. There is still an effort being made, as always at the end of s...More Button

I will have to raise that matter.More Button

There is an issue here. The Department is examining the implications of the court's decision. It has not completed that yet and does not know whether it will require amending legislation or may be dea...More Button

The insurance Bill to allocate the regulatory responsibility for the insurance intermediaries is to be available in the autumn.More Button

The proposals are with the Minister for Finance and the Tánaiste who will report on them shortly. They must bring the proposals to Government.More Button

They must bring the proposals to Government.More Button

That legislation is to provide a framework to develop the seaweed industry to full potential. A seaweed forum is sitting at present. As soon as that is completed, we will proceed with the legislation.More Button

Hopefully, the Bill will be before the Government next Tuesday.More Button

The Minister for Finance is endeavouring to complete this Bill. Hopefully, it will be ready later this year.More Button

No, but the national minimum wage will be implemented from next spring.More Button

The Bill will amend the law on defamation, drawing on the reports of the Law Reform Commission and the commission on the newspaper industry. I do not have a date for the Bill at present.More Button

British-Irish Agreement (Amendment) Bill, 1999: Second Stage.

I will use this occasion to say a few words as we enter the final days of negotiation up to 30 June. Time is running short. If the Agreement is to work, we need to make it work now. There is nothing t...More Button


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