Ahern, Dermot

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 599 No. 2

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Priority Questions - EU Constitution.

Was asked: if the referendum on the EU constitution will be held in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government has not yet taken a decision on the timing of the referendum on the European constitution. However, preparatory work on the wording of the necessary amendment to the Irish Constitution ...More Button

I do not accept I am foolish. I suggest the Deputy’s party engage with us as regards consultation on the wording, which we would like to have——More Button

——in advance. The Deputy’s party has been invited. The Government fully accepts the need for complete information on this matter. I guarantee the House that full information will be given. We hope to ...More Button

This is a sovereign decision by the Irish people. In the context of the EU-wide ratification of this process, we must take into account what other countries are doing. However, this is a decision for ...More Button

I happened to look at the Fine Gael website in which Fine Gael Members extol the virtues of the European constitution. I suggest to the Deputy that he put a few more statements on the website.More Button

I will not accept criticism from the Deputy in respect of this matter. It is important that the Irish people are given full information. All the European member states, including Ireland, have until w...More Button

Priority Questions - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: his views on whether the proposed withdrawal from Gaza announced by Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is the first step in a comprehensive set of initiatives within the context of the road map for peace o...More Button

The Government, together with Ireland’s partners in the EU, has repeatedly reaffirmed its position that the proposed Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is to be welcomed so long as it takes place ...More Button

On a general point, I intend to travel to the Middle East in the not too distant future and will meet with the representatives of the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority. It is also antic...More Button

Again, I make the general point that any withdrawal must take place in co-ordination with the Palestinian authorities. The withdrawal from Tulkarem due next week will take place in consultation with t...More Button

Priority Questions - Passport Applications.

Was asked: if provision will be made for on-line passport applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department is implementing a new passport issuing system. This involves the introduction of a new passport booklet and a complete upgrade of the systems and work processes for handling passport app...More Button

The Government has already made a decision to introduce passports containing biometric information. The reason is to comply with EU regulations and US legislation and ensure that Irish citizens are ab...More Button

Priority Questions - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: the position with regard to diplomatic relations between Ireland and Burma; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As I have stated in previous replies, Ireland announced the establishment of diplomatic relations on a non-resident basis with Burma on 13 February 2004. However, the progress anticipated in 2004, mos...More Button

I do not accept these were ill-judged decisions. In Burma’s case, it was decided on the basis that it was indicated that Aung San Suu Kyi would be released and her party would be allowed to participat...More Button

Last week, some of my officials spoke with Chinese authorities about the influence they may be able to bring to this.More Button

Constant efforts at engagement have been made through the EU and whatever influence we have with neighbouring states in the region. Burma is in a pivotal situation and must be dealt with in a delicate...More Button

Priority Questions - Emigrant Support Services.

Was asked: if the Government has discussed or he has had discussions with his British counterparts on the possibility of providing Irish television services, free travel and other such benefits for senior citize...More Button

The Government is determined to continue developing and enhancing Ireland’s relationship with our emigrant communities. Key advancements already achieved include the establishment of an Irish abroad u...More Button

The Irish abroad unit has worked intensely with several groups considering renewing their premises. Financial assistance in this respect will be examined. Most local authorities in the UK are very rec...More Button

In regard to commissioning or buying in programmes, one must have a platform, and obviously the platform would have to run on a commercial basis. I do not see anyone knocking on our door to provide se...More Button

Other Questions - Nuclear Weapons Programme.

Was asked: the Irish and European position towards the existing situation which pertains in North Korea with regard to the threat of nuclear weapons being developed in that country; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

Was asked: the Government’s views on recent statements from North Korea relating to its nuclear capability and the withdrawal from talks by that country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 63 and 135 together. The issue of the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK, is kept under close and regular scrutiny within the Europea...More Button

It is accepted that the authorities in the DPRK have difficulties regarding the participation of the US in the six-party talks. Regarding Iran, the talks are led by three countries of the EU and the U...More Button

Yes.More Button

I disagree with the Deputy’s “head in the sand” philosophy. There are parameters with which any normal nation must concur. However, I concur with the decision to open diplomatic relations with countri...More Button

We had the Presidency of the EU and in that role we had a duty. Perhaps some day the Deputy will have that opportunity, although it will be 2030 and he may be retired by then or Fine Gael may not be i...More Button

When a country has the Presidency of the EU it must be able to deal on a one-to-one basis with countries outside its normal sphere of interests. It was decided that it would be better to have diplomat...More Button

In view of the indications previously given by the Burmese authorities regarding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the participation of her party in the National Convention of Burma, and given that ...More Button

Other Questions - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: if he raised with the British Prime Minister, at his meeting on 1 February 2005, the jailing of a person (details supplied) and the admission by MI5 that it bugged the Sinn Féin office at Connolly Hou...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, I have pursued both of these issues to the greatest extent possible and appropriate. Raising them again with the British side would not advance either in the absence of further...More Button

My officials spoke to Mr. Doherty’s solicitor following his imprisonment and were told he would prefer to serve his sentence than have someone intercede on his behalf. My officials met a number of oth...More Button

I did not say we did not raise it since September, I said we first raised it in September. On 16 January The Sunday Times reported, as the Deputy said, that the head of MI5 had admitted that British i...More Button

Leaders’ Questions.

It is a 160 page report.More Button

The Government must read the report.More Button

There is such a thing as collective responsibility.More Button

Hear, hear.More Button

The Green Party Deputies just do not like its decisions.More Button

Order of Business.

The Deputy’s party started that piracy.More Button

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 15 be agreed.”
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Where stands the Mullingar accord on that one?More Button

No, we have not.More Button

We only got it this morning. How could we read it before questions were asked today?More Button

We have a duty to read it.More Button

A question on the topic was answered today.More Button

Written Answers - Partnership for Peace.

Was asked: if any staff from his Department are co-operating with the Department of Defence in dealing with such matters as Partnership for Peace and the possibility of Ireland’s supporting battle groups, or the...More Button

Was asked: the efforts he will take to ensure that Ireland can play a role in the battle groups favoured by the UN Secretary General; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 65 and 122 together. A major challenge for the EU is to ensure that it is able to respond rapidly and flexibly to crises overseas. In this context, the Union is taking...More Button

Written Answers - EU Constitution.

Was asked: when the new EU constitution will be put to referendum; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on recent Eurobarometer reports that public awareness of the EU constitution is worryingly low here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for a major public information campaign in advance of a referendum on the EU constitution; if he will consider sending a copy of the draft constitution to every home in the State; and if he ...More Button

Was asked: the actions he will take to raise the profile of the European Union within Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of countries within the European Union that will put the EU constitution to public referendum; if he has held consultations with his counterparts in these countries with regard to the timin...More Button

Was asked: if he has held discussions with his Spanish counterpart with regard to the recent referendum on the EU constitution held in that country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on the outcome of the recent referendum on the EU constitution in Spain; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to a recent Eurobarometer study which shows that while voters here are generally supportive of the EU, they are also hesitant with regard to the proposed EU constitutio...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66, 81, 108, 130, 133, 134, 160 and 163 together. I refer the Deputies to my reply to Question No. 58, in which I set out the Government’s approach to the referendum o...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to recent comments from a person (details supplied) that the Government’s decision to renege on its overseas development funding commitments has affected global efforts...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he and his EU and UN colleagues propose to address the issue of AIDS in Africa; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Nuclear Weapons Programme.

Was asked: if he will report on the latest discussions that have taken place between the European Union and Iran relating to the development of a nuclear capability by Iran; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

Was asked: the Irish and European position towards the existing situation which pertains in Iran with regard to the threat of nuclear weapons being developed in that country; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 79 together. Ireland and its EU partners share the widespread international concern about Iran’s development of its nuclear programme, in particular its uranium...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: his position on the use of development funds for advocacy and empowerment among the poor of the developing world; the basis for such remarks as he has made that called such practice into question; and...More Button

Was asked: if the Government proposes to regain the position of leadership in matters of international aid lost when the Government decided to renege on its commitment to spend 0.7% of GNP on overseas aid by 200...More Button

Was asked: when a new timescale for achieving the UN target for overseas aid will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding overseas aid; the new target date at which Ireland will reach 0.7% of GNP; if he will set out a multi-annual plan to reach this target; if he will enshrine Ireland’s commitment ...More Button

Written Answers - EU Enlargement.

Was asked: the position with regard to the opening of EU accession talks with Turkey; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Turkey has been a candidate for membership of the EU since the Helsinki European Council in December 1999, which agreed that it was destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria applied...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if he will report on the political situation in the Congo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the recent tragedy in the Congo that resulted in the loss of UN peacekeepers’ lives; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the degree to which he and his colleagues in the EU and UN are in a position to positively influence matters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; if the administration there is adjusting in accord...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 72, 83 and 257 together. The political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to be characterised by slow progress towards completion of the trans...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if he will report on the humanitarian situation in Uganda and Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Emigrant Support Services.

Was asked: the efforts being made to assist the London Irish Forum identify alternative premises; if he has made contact with the appropriate local authority on behalf of the Irish community in Luton in order th...More Button

I take it the Deputy is referring to the Luton Irish Forum, which is currently in discussions with the local council about its accommodation. We wish to be helpful in every possible way to the forum i...More Button

Was asked: the qualifying criterion for membership of the DION committee; the number of members of the DION committee who work at the frontline in the provision of welfare services to members of the Irish commun...More Button

The practice relating to appointments to the DION committee, since it was established in 1984 by the then Minister for Labour, is that the Minister responsible appoints people to it who have a proven ...More Button

Written Answers - EU Constitution.

Was asked: the areas of enhanced co-operation which are envisaged by Protocol 24 of Article I-41(2) of the EU constitution which states that the Union shall draw up, together with the Western European Union, arr...More Button

Article I-41(2) of the European constitution provides for the possibility of a common EU defence policy, should the European Council acting unanimously so decide. The article, which is carried over fr...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the effect of a recent ruling of a rights commissioner on the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 on his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: his views on whether the proposals upon which NEPAD is based should be based on realistic economic assumptions, in view of the collapse in foreign direct investment in South Africa; his further views ...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: the position with regard to diplomatic relations between Ireland and Burma; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland announced the establishment of diplomatic relations on a non-resident basis with Burma on 13 February 2004. However, given that the progress which had been anticipated in 2004, most notably th...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: his views on recent statements concerning press freedoms and civil rights in Russia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

At the EU-US summit in Brussels on 22 February, the Taoiseach spoke about the relationship between the European Union and Russia. He had been invited to do so by the Luxembourg Presidency. The opportu...More Button

Written Answers - Irish Language.

Was asked: the position regarding negotiations with the European Commission to make Irish an official language of the EU, in view of his commitment to make early progress on the matter; the types of issue that a...More Button

On 24 November last, the Government tabled a formal proposal in Brussels requesting that official and working status in the EU be accorded to the Irish language. On 13 December, I outlined to my count...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the position regarding the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The case the Deputy refers to relates to five Cuban citizens who were convicted in the US in 2001 on charges ranging from espionage to conspiracy to murder, and whose appeal was heard in March 2004. T...More Button

Was asked: if he has raised with his Argentine counterpart, or at European Union level, the implementation of the UN convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in th...More Button

Argentina has ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and it has constitutional status in that country. On 10 December 2004, the Committee...More Button

Written Answers - Military Neutrality.

Was asked: his views on the 2004 figures of 158,549 US troops using Shannon Airport as a refuelling base en route to the occupation of Iraq, including more than 22,000 troops in the month of September alone, and...More Button

The use of Shannon airport for transiting purposes by the US military is a long standing practice which has been ongoing for several decades. The Government’s decision to allow US military personnel t...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Partnership Agreements.

Was asked: if he will report on the latest developments in negotiations surrounding EPAs under the Cotonou Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the industries in Mozambique which he views as being able to sustain opening up to competition from South Africa; his views on the compatibility of this policy with the poverty reduction strategy cons...More Button

Was asked: the level and nature of consultations his Department has had with priority country governments and business community and civil society regarding their EPA related concerns; and if he will make a stat...More Button

Was asked: if the concerns of priority aid countries were reflected in Ireland’s internal EU position on EPAs; if they are catered for in the EU position on EPAs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on reciprocal economic partnership agreements; his views on concerns that EPAs are another example of the dilution of African sovereignty regarding its economic future; and if he will make a...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the Government’s views on the United Nations’ attempts to reach agreement on an international declaration to recognise and protect the rights of indigenous peoples; the efforts Ireland has made to pro...More Button

In recent years, there have been significant advances in international thinking and action on indigenous issues and rights. The first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People took place f...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if he will report on the political situation in Liberia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

While Liberia has made remarkable progress since the comprehensive peace agreement of August 2003, it still faces the major challenges of a successful return to democracy and sustaining the peace proc...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the current priority countries for overseas development aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on progress made towards expanding the Development Co-operation Ireland programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: his views on the effect which the recent suicide bomb in the Iraqi city of Hilla, which killed at least 125 persons, will have on the prospects for stable government in the country following the recen...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the security situation in Iraq; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 97 together. The security situation in Iraq has continued to be a source of great concern. Violent attacks in Iraq increased in intensity in the lead-up to the ...More Button

Written Answers - State Airports.

Was asked: if he will report on his discussions with the US authorities on the issue of covertly rendered prisoners being brought illegally through Shannon Airport.More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 152 of 2 February 2005, and to previous replies given on this matter. The matter has been raised again in recent days in discussions with t...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: his views on the conduct of the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the way in which Ireland will respond to the likely eventuality that the elections on 31 March 2005 in Zimbabwe will not be in accordance with international and SADC principles for the holding of free...More Button

Was asked: Ireland’s and the EU’s role in election observation in view of the fact that the Zimbabwean Government has silenced another independent voice (details supplied) on 1 March 2005 and that this represent...More Button

Was asked: the situation in Zimbabwe with particular reference to progress toward democratic principles; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95, 107, 119 and 256 together. The parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe on 31 March will represent an important test in determining the willingn...More Button

Written Answers - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: his views on the impact the recent bombing in Tel Aviv will have on the recent ceasefires declared in the Middle East; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have issued a statement condemning in the strongest terms the bomb attack in Tel Aviv last weekend, in which five people were killed. I also expressed my sympathies to those injured in the blast and...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: his views on the deteriorating situation in Darfur; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on the application of an arms embargo on the government of Sudan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the situation in Sudan; the action of the Government in assisting in the provision of humanitarian assistance in the Darfur region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the situation in Sudan in general and Darfur in particular and on the findings of an international commission of inquiry mandated by the Security Council of the United Nations, du...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be in a position to influence the international community with a view to addressing the conflict, human rights and starvation issues in Darfur; and if he will make a ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98, 112, 139, 142 and 266 together. The political, human rights and humanitarian situation in the Darfur region of Sudan remains a matter of the deepest concern for Ir...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if he will report on the work being undertaken by the Government to assist in the humanitarian operation in Asia, following the December 2004 tsunami; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he intends to increase the level of aid given in response to the December 2004 Asia tsunami; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding Irish involvement in the ongoing relief effort following the tsunami disaster in south Asia, particularly in regard to the work of Irish aid agencies; and if he will make a stat...More Button

Was asked: the level of funding forwarded to tsunami relief; and when further funding will be given.More Button

Was asked: the areas in which Irish donated funding has been spent following the south east Asia disaster; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the amount of international aid already spent and the locations following the tsunami disaster; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he has monitored the delivery of funds to the required areas following the tsunami disaster; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: his views on the recent assassination of the former Prime Minister of the Lebanon, Mr. Rafiq Hariri; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his position and views on the recent assassination of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Mr. Rafik Hariri; his views on the impact this is likely to have on the Middle East and the delicate negotia...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 152 together. Both the Taoiseach and I have expressed our shock at the murder of former Prime Minister Hariri, and condemned the appalling attack which took hi...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: the nature of his discussions with the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in Dublin on 2 March 2005; his views on the prospects for polit...More Button

Together with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Paul Murphy MP, I co-chaired a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in Dublin on 2 March. I was accompanied at the m...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if he has considered the Amnesty International report on human rights violations concerning the Kurds in Syria published in February 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland and its EU partners have continuing concerns about the general human rights situation in Syria, including the position of the Kurdish minority. We continue to avail of all appropriate opportun...More Button

Written Answers - Detention of Irish Citizens.

Was asked: if he has contacted his American counterpart with regard to the occasionally extended detention of Irish citizens before deportation from the US; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The position is that all foreign citizens, regardless of nationality, detained in the US in respect of immigration violations, are likely to be held for up to eight weeks while the deportation process...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the World Council of Churches call for divestment from Israel; his position on same; the details of the Government’s investments in Israel; and if he will make a sta...More Button

I am aware of the document to which the Deputy refers, in which the central committee of the World Council of Churches “reminds churches with investment funds that they have an opportunity to use thos...More Button

Was asked: his views on the growing number of unlawful killings in Nepal as the current conflict between the government of that country and the Communist Party of Nepal intensifies; if the Government has raised ...More Button

A rebellion against the monarchy of Nepal, led by the extreme left wing Nepal Communist Party — Maoists — has been ongoing since 1996. The insurgency has, to date, claimed approximately 10,000 lives. ...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the African countries in respect of which the international community is most concerned regarding human rights violations; the extent to which the EU and UN can address the issue; and if he will make ...More Button

Africa is a continent beset by often seemingly insurmountable problems such as conflict, debt, poverty, HIV/AIDS and the abuse of human rights. However, the African Union represents an important strat...More Button

Written Answers - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: if he has as yet had any contact with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Mahamoud Abbas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I had hoped to meet President Abbas at the General Affairs and External Relations Council last month but, unfortunately, pressure of commitments in the region prevented him from taking up the Council’...More Button

Written Answers - National Honours System.

Was asked: if he will introduce an honours system for Irish abroad who have reached excellence in their professions, as recommended by the task force on policy regarding emigrants; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

One of the recommendations of the task force on policy towards emigrants was that an awards scheme be established to recognise the service of Irish persons abroad. I am aware of the invaluable contrib...More Button

Written Answers - Natural Disasters.

Was asked: the number of Irish citizens who remain unaccounted for following the December 2004 tsunami in Asia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are two confirmed Irish casualties. There are two other Irish citizens who, regrettably, are also believed to have lost their lives. My Department remains actively involved in efforts to locate ...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Travel.

Was asked: his travel plans for the coming six month period; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Over the coming six months, I will attend a number of EU related meetings, including meetings of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, GAERC. Other overseas engagements are under conside...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if the Government proposes to support the position taken by Senator Edward Kennedy, whereby the senator proposed that the 292 Montserratians to be expelled from the United States of America following ...More Button

I am aware that the Deputy has taken a strong interest in the history and Irish links of Montserrat and that he was concerned about the humanitarian situation of the islanders after the major volcanic...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if the matter of Ireland’s contribution to overseas development aid was raised during his recent meeting with the Secretary General of the United Nations; and if he will make a statement on the matter...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if he will report on the situation in Uganda; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Uganda’s track record in poverty reduction and economic management over the last 18 years stands up favourably to comparison with much of Africa. The country has earned a good reputation in some areas...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the number of submissions he has received in respect of the recent request for public submissions on the future direction of Ireland’s overseas aid programme; his plans for public meetings and a stake...More Button

Written Answers - European Council Meetings.

Was asked: if he will report on the recent visit of President Bush to the EU and his meeting with EU leaders; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

President Bush met with the EU Council, Commission and Troika on 22 February 2005. Among the topics discussed at the meeting with the Council were the Middle East peace process, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Uk...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: if, further to his reply of 2 February 2005, under the terms of the comprehensive agreement of December 2004, any party entitled to nominate Ministers to the Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly...More Button

As I said in my reply of 2 February 2005, the Good Friday Agreement provides that the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister should be jointly elected by a cross community vote in the Assembly. ...More Button

Written Answers - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: if he has had recent contact with the Palestinian or Israeli Governments with regard to the renewed attempts to achieve a Middle East peace settlement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

While I have not had the opportunity in recent weeks to meet my colleagues in the Israeli and Palestinian Governments, regular contact is maintained between our governments including through diplomati...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: if officials of his or any other Department were involved in or had their attention brought to negotiations between the family of Robert McCartney, Sinn Féin representatives and IRA representatives pr...More Button

Was asked: the outcome of his meeting with the sisters of Robert McCartney in Dublin on 23 February 2005; the efforts the Government has been making to assist the investigation into his murder; and if he will ma...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 140 together. As the House is aware, I met with Robert McCartney’s sisters and his partner two weeks ago. The family were very clear in their desire to have th...More Button

Written Answers - Ukrainian Presidential Election.

Was asked: the political situation in Ukraine following recent elections in that country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Viktor Yushchenko was inaugurated as President of Ukraine on 23 January following the rerun of the second round of presidential elections. On 4 February Ms Yulia Tymoshenko was appointed as Prime Mini...More Button

Written Answers - EU Membership.

Was asked: if he will report on EU accession negotiations with Croatia; if he envisages any delay in Croatian accession to the Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The June 2004 European Council considered Croatia’s application for membership of the EU on the basis of the Commission opinion presented in April 2004. The European Council agreed that Croatia meets ...More Button

Written Answers - United Nations Reform.

Was asked: the steps and contributions which Ireland has taken towards helping in the task of reforming the United Nations; if he intends to bring the report dealing with this matter recently submitted to Mr. Ko...More Button

The Deputy is referring to the report of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which was issued on 2 December 2004. The high level panel was established in November 2003 by the Unite...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if he will report on the situation in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the levels of activity of the Taliban in Afghanistan and surrounding countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 147 together. On 10 January 2005 Mr. Jean Arnault, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, UNSRSG, for Afghanistan reported ...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: his views on such undertakings as the United Nations has made recently in relation to bonded labour in general, and child slavery in particular; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government is committed to the active promotion of full observance of universal human rights standards and seeks the elimination of all forms of contemporary slavery including bonded labour. Throu...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if the tensions between communities in Kosovo, evident in 2004, are now under control once again; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The outbreak of ethnically motivated violence in March 2004 was a serious setback to the work of building a multiethnic society in Kosovo. In a series of attacks across Kosovo on 17 March, 19 people w...More Button

Written Answers - Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Was asked: the assistance that is given by his Department to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In addition to meeting Ireland’s obligatory assessed contributions to the organisation my Department assists the OSCE in a number of ways by contributing financially to programmes in its various field...More Button

Was asked: the Government’s views on the approach of Russia to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Taoiseach underlined at the EU-US Summit on 22 February, Russia is an important and strategic partner of the European Union. This partnership is moving forward rapidly in the economic area. How...More Button

Written Answers - Travel Safety.

Was asked: his Department’s advice to Irish persons intending to travel to Tel Aviv for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Israel in view of the recent bombing in the city; if he is advising the public tha...More Button

My Department has issued detailed travel advice for the benefit of those intending to travel to Tel Aviv for the forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Israel. This advice can be viewed on the Depart...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the extent to which human rights abuses were discussed during the recent trip of a Government delegation to China; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that those involved in human rights advoc...More Button

As stated previously and on many occasions, the Government continues to take concerns about human rights in China very seriously. We have an ongoing dialogue with the Chinese authorities at both the n...More Button

Written Answers - International Agreements.

Was asked: the number of international constitutions to which Ireland is a signatory; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will no doubt be aware, the treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was signed by Ireland in Rome on 29 October 2004. In addition a number of international organisations and bodies...More Button

Written Answers - Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Was asked: if Ireland will join a European Union common defence and security arrangement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland’s position is absolutely clear. The amendment to Bunreacht na hÉireann approved by the people in October 2002 at the initiation of the Government precludes Ireland from participating in a comm...More Button

Written Answers - United Nations Missions.

Was asked: if he will report on Ireland’s current and possible future involvement in United Nations peacekeeping missions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that members of the Permanent Defence Force are currently serving overseas in eight UN missions in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Western Sahara, the Democratic Republic of the Congo...More Button

Written Answers - Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

Was asked: if he has had discussions with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform on the future responsibilities of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service office; and if he will make a state...More Button

The establishment of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and the transfer to it of the visa section of the Department of Foreign Affairs has been the subject of intensive consultation bet...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Travel.

Was asked: his travel plans for the period around St. Patrick’s Day 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am currently scheduled to represent the Government at St. Patrick’s Day events in Boston before accompanying the Taoiseach to Washington. I very much welcome the opportunity to promote Ireland in th...More Button

Written Answers - Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Was asked: his preferred options in regard to European defence and security in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since the entry into force of the Amsterdam treaty in May 1999 the EU has worked to make a constructive reality of the treaty’s provisions on the Petersberg Tasks through the development of the Europe...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: the number of EU states in which Ireland has an embassy; his plans to open embassies in the EU and throughout the world; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of Irish embassies abroad; his proposals to increase this number; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 156 and 258 together. At present there are 64 resident Irish missions abroad: 49 embassies, 12 consulates general and other offices and 6 multilateral missions. Detail...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Meetings.

Was asked: if he will report on his recent meeting with UN Secretary General in New York; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The main purpose of my meeting with the Secretary General and his officials in New York on 8 February was to review prospects and preparations for next September’s summit meeting at the United Nations...More Button

Written Answers - Lisbon Strategy.

Was asked: if he will report on the ongoing discussions at EU level with regard to the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Implementation of the Lisbon Strategy is a priority for the Government. The strategy covers a wide range of areas under the headings of competitiveness and employment, social policy and the environmen...More Button

Written Answers - Nuclear Non-Proliferation.

Was asked: his views on whether the international treaty governing nuclear threat and proliferation did not envisage a reduction in nuclear weapons by the existing nuclear powers; his further views on whether th...More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT, which entered into force in 1970. The NPT has three pillars; disarmament, non-proliferation and the pea...More Button

Written Answers - African Union.

Was asked: if he will report on the development of the African Union; his views on such assistance as may be appropriate from the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The African Union represents an important strategic partner for the European Union and one with whom ever closer relations are being forged in the interests of promoting peace, security, democracy and...More Button

Written Answers - Illegal Immigrants.

Was asked: if the question of undocumented Irish living in the United States will be raised with President Bush at the St. Patrick’s Day 2005 celebrations in the White House; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

Was asked: if the matter of amnesty for illegally resident Irish citizens in the USA will be raised with President Bush during his visit to the USA; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 and 252 together. The number of Irish people who may be resident in the United States without the appropriate authorisation is difficult to estimate. While the US ...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the funding budgeted for third world relief in Ghana in 2005.More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the number of persons employed in his private office and his constituency office; the annual amount paid in respect of salaries and expenses in regard to each such office; and if he will make a statem...More Button

The following tables set out the number of personnel in my private and constituency offices, their positions and payscales. Private Office. I have also appointed a press adviser, under terms and condi...More Button

Written Answers - EU Enlargement.

Was asked: if the Ukraine is likely to be considered in the context of future EU enlargement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the countries most likely to feature in discussions on further European enlargement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his preferred options in the progress toward further European enlargement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 to 264, inclusive, together. The question of the future enlargement of the Union is one which will feature prominently on the EU’s agenda for the foreseeable futur...More Button


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