Ahern, Dermot

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 615 No. 76

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Order of Business.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 14 be agreed.”
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Priority Questions - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the number of principal development specialists, senior development specialists and development specialists with Development Co-operation Ireland volunteering to decentralise; and if he will make a st...More Button

Priority Questions - Human Rights Abuses.

Was asked: his views on the findings of a draft report complied by five independent experts further to an 18-month investigation by the UN Commission on Human Rights into detention conditions at Guantanamo Bay, ...More Button

The recent joint report by the four UN special rapporteurs and the Chair of the working group on arbitrary detention is a significant development in the debate regarding the situation of the detainees...More Button

Further to what the Deputy said was taking place in Shannon, the report clearly states and shows that nothing was taking place there. Ireland was one of only three countries that received categorical ...More Button

The Deputy is wrong in that respect. The European Court of Human Rights has set the bar for the acceptance of diplomatic assurances.More Button

It has referred to “a substantial proof of a real risk of a breach of a right being created”.More Button

I did not interrupt the Deputy. A number of academics would normally be critical of the US stance on this but New York University carried out a study for the House of Commons. It stated that actual kn...More Button

Time is limited so the Deputy should allow me to answer the question whether the Garda Síochána has powers to board aircraft. It has been verified by the Attorney General that the Garda Síochána has s...More Button

The issue of these so-called extraordinary renditions on chartered civilian flights is exactly the same as members of the Garda Síochána going into the Deputy’s house. They can only do so on foot of a...More Button

——or on suspicion of a crime being committed. It is exactly the same at Shannon or anywhere else in Ireland for a civilian plane on which extraordinary rendition is supposedly taking place. It is a ma...More Button

Priority Questions - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: his views on whether the EU has a role in assisting the development of a conflict resolution process in the Basque country.More Button

The issue of whether the European Union has a role in assisting the development of a conflict resolution process in the Basque Country is solely for the Spanish Government to decide. I am not aware of...More Button

I accept that the Deputy has been in the Basque Country on a number of occasions with regard to the move towards a peace process. Obviously we would welcome any assistance he and his colleagues could ...More Button

I repeat that all EU members unanimously decided and agreed that Batasuna was merely a cover or alias for ETA. Accordingly, calling on the Spanish Government to revoke the banning of Batasuna is futil...More Button

The Deputy referred to our own peace process and there are similarities between many peace processes happening around the world. In our instance, however, the peace process was a joint initiative betw...More Button

We will not go there.More Button

Priority Questions - Undocumented Irish.

Was asked: the contact made with the administration of the United States of America on behalf of undocumented Irish citizens resident in that country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government attaches the highest priority to the issue of the undocumented Irish in the United States. In all our contacts with US political leaders, we emphasise the importance of addressing the s...More Button

I welcome the support of the Deputy, his party and all Members of the House. It is important that an all-party and all-Oireachtas view be given on this issue. Our efforts are honed in on the legislati...More Button

President Bush articulated the diverse views of the Congress on this matter. The legislative process has taken the road of a closed border issue and dealing with security. It is now recognised that th...More Button

Priority Questions - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: the steps he is taking to support the request of the family of the late Pat Finucane for a full public independent inquiry into the collusion involved in his murder.More Button

The House will be aware of the support which the Government has given to the Finucane family in its long campaign for an independent public inquiry into the murder of Mr. Patrick Finucane. The Governm...More Button

I reiterate the Government’s support for what was agreed at Weston Park. Since the publication of the Inquiries Act, Judge Cory indicated he was not satisfied the proposed inquiry under the new legisl...More Button

The issue of the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings are the subject of a separate inquiry.More Button

While there is a view that British Government co-operation is not as it should be, there are some indications that further information may be produced.More Button

This Government has made its case clearly and does not go cap in hand. People often said Irish Governments tipped the forelock to the British on issues such as Sellafield, the Dublin and Monaghan bomb...More Button

Other Questions - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: in view of the importance of capacity building to the attainment of the millennium development goals, the way in which Ireland can best contribute in the context of an expanded Irish Aid programme; h...More Button

Other Questions - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: his views on the further deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, in particular whether he believes that the peculiar command structure and context under which the ISAF forces have been operating is a ...More Button

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 63 and 102 together. It is important to acknowledge the considerable progress that has been made in Afghanistan in recent years. We have witnessed the country’s transi...More Button

It is true to say that the situation, as I have acknowledged, is still very insecure in that country. Equally, when the Deputy refers to the economic issues and the prevalence of narcotics, there has ...More Button

Part of the meeting between the two presidents was concerned with this issue. This is something the UN takes quite seriously and significant resources are being deployed to stop the trade. It is a sco...More Button

Written Answers - Nuclear Programmes.

Was asked: if his Department has had contact with the Pakistani Government with regard to the status of its nuclear programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland, along with our EU colleagues, is deeply concerned about the ongoing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, considering it to be a major threat to international peace and security. The ...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the procedures for the review in general of the association agreement between Israel and the European Union and, in particular, compliance with its human rights clauses; the procedures which are in pl...More Button

The EU-Israel association agreement was signed on 20 November 1995. It entered into force on 1 June 2000. This agreement replaced an earlier EU-Israel co-operation agreement which dated from 1975. The...More Button

Written Answers - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: his views on the stance of the US administration in relation to Hamas to date.More Button

Was asked: if he is in a position to respond, and his views on the Government’s position and that of the European Union, in relation to the recent statement from Hamas that a commitment to ultimate withdrawal be...More Button

Was asked: his views on the statement made by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, following the Palestinian parliamentary elections, to NATO Defence Ministers including a number of EU Defence Ministers...More Button

Was asked: his views on the stance of Israeli officials in relation to Hamas to date.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the 30 January 2006 meeting of EU Foreign Ministers following the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the Middle-East peace talks following the recent elections; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66, 67, 92, 100, 146 and 147 together. The Government, and our partners in the EU, welcomed the professional conduct of the Palestinian legislative elections, which we...More Button

Written Answers - EU Defence Policy.

Was asked: the position with regard to European developments in the sphere of security and defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The European security and defence policy, ESDP, is an integral part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, CFSP, and serves the Union’s general objectives of peace and stability. These objectives ...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: if he has met Dóchas to discuss its concerns regarding the Government decentralisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the occasions on which he has raised the issue of human rights violations at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay with the US Administration; if he will be raising with the US Administration the r...More Button

I refer the Deputy to the reply I gave to the Priority Question No. 58 of today on this issue.More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if he has had occasion to review the position of the Government with respect to the legality of the current war and occupation in Iraq, in view of the information available regarding the legal positio...More Button

Was asked: if he has had occasion to review the position of the Government with respect to the legality of the current war and occupation in Iraq in view of the views recently published by the former Attorney Ge...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 71 and 167 together. On the outbreak of the war in Iraq, the Taoiseach moved a motion which was adopted by the Dail on 20 March 2003, which reaffirmed Ireland’s commit...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: when the Government’s response to the Council of Europe’s inquiry, chaired by a person (details supplied), into secret detention centres and US extraordinary renditions will be issued; if the response...More Button

On 14 December 2005, I stated in Dáil Éireann the Government’s intention to co-operate fully with the Council of Europe investigations into the allegations mentioned by the Deputy. Two investigations ...More Button

Written Answers - National Development Plan.

Was asked: if he has received a copy of Co-operation Ireland’s submission to the National Development Plan 2007-2013; if he has noted its recommendation for increased practical co-operation for mutual benefit; h...More Button

The Government announced in August 2005 that it will prepare a national development plan for the period 2007 to 2013. The current NDP has seen an unprecedented investment in our economic and social in...More Button

Written Answers - EU Membership.

Was asked: the position with regard to Turkey’s application for EU membership; when the matter is next to be discussed with his EU counterparts; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which discussions have taken place at EU level in the matter of Turkish membership of the Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 248 together. Accession negotiations were opened with Turkey on 3 October 2005, marking the beginning of what is set to be a protracted and complex process. Tur...More Button

Written Answers - UN Recruitment Policy.

Was asked: the manner in which positions within the United Nations and its agencies are advertised to the Irish public; his views on whether more can be done to ensure the widest possible recruitment to such pos...More Button

Recruitment to the United Nations and its agencies is a matter for the UN and the agencies concerned. They conduct recruitment competitions centrally, advertising a range of positions as they arise, b...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if he has had recent discussions with the US Government with regard to the rendition of prisoners through Irish facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Deputies will be aware from my replies to previous questions on this subject, most recently Parliamentary Question No. 35 of 14 December 2005, the United States has given Ireland repeated, clear an...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the level of funding allocated by the Government to Ethiopia for 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the proportion of Irish aid to Ethiopia that is on a Government basis; the proportion that is spent through regional and sectoral agencies autonomous from the federal government; and if he will ensure...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the most recent position in relation to the declaration of results in the recent election in Haiti, including the apparent delay in the declaration of a final result; an...More Button

The Haitian interim government and the provisional electoral authority of Haiti, Conseil Electoire Provisoire, reached an agreement on 16 February under which René Préval was declared the winner of th...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: the status of the comprehensive agreement; if the timetable for the devolution of responsibility for justice and policing to the Northern Ireland Assembly remains the template from which the two Gover...More Button

Regrettably, it did not prove possible to reach agreement on the proposals for a comprehensive agreement in December 2004. However, the package published at that time remains an important reference po...More Button

Written Answers - EU Funding.

Was asked: the position with regard to mid-term review of the agreed financial perspectives for the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the final position with regard to agreement on the future financial perspectives for the EU for the period 2007-2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 80 and 140 together. Deputies will be aware of the political agreement reached at last December’s European Council meeting on the enlarged European Union’s future fina...More Button

Written Answers - Nuclear Programmes.

Was asked: if his Department has had contact with the Israeli Government with regard to the status of its nuclear programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland, along with our EU colleagues, is deeply concerned about the ongoing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, considering it to be a major threat to international peace and security. The ...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: the position in relation to legitimate desire for independence of the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic; if Ireland has changed its position from full recognition accorded some years ago at the UN; the ...More Button

The Government has consistently supported the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination. Ireland played a prominent role in seeking a solution to the Western Sahara dispute during its term on...More Button

Written Answers - Aid Distribution.

Was asked: the level of funding allocated to Pakistan in the aftermath of the earthquake which devastated large parts of that country for 2006; the manner in which such aid is being distributed; and if he will m...More Button

Written Answers - EU Constitution.

Was asked: the most likely procedure to be followed here and in other EU countries in the matter of the ratification of the European constitution; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It is for each member state to ratify the European constitution in accordance with its own legal and political requirements. Belgium completed the parliamentary process required for it to ratify the E...More Button

Written Answers - EU Battle Groups.

Was asked: the EU States which have agreed to participate in the development of EU battlegroups; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has discussed Ireland’s participation in an EU security and defence force with the Department of Defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the contacts he has had in the past 12 months with other EU states concerning Ireland’s proposed participation in EU battle groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has discussed an EU security and defence force with his European counterparts at recent meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if consideration will be given to enshrining the triple lock in the Constitution; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the legislation his Department is considering or preparing to allow Irish troops to fully participate in EU battlegroups; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself regarding the extent of Ireland’s participation in European defence and security measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the result of discussions he might have had with his European colleagues in respect of European defence and security measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 85, 91, 117, 123, 128, 144, 245 and 250 together. The European security and defence policy, ESDP, is an integral part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, CFSP, ...More Button

Written Answers - EU Membership.

Was asked: the measures Croatia is taking towards meeting membership criteria for the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Accession negotiations were opened with Croatia on 3 October 2005. According to the agreed negotiating framework, the shared objective of the negotiations — an open-ended process whose outcome cannot ...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: his views on the adequacy of the response by the Government of Egypt and the United Nations in terms of international law to the killing and injuring of large numbers of Sudanese refugees and asylum s...More Button

The tragic events which took place in Cairo on 30 December 2005 were shocking. According to information available to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 27 Sudanese demonstrators were killed in cla...More Button

Written Answers - EU Conventions.

Was asked: when Ireland intends to ratify the European Union convention on corruption; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland has already ratified the Convention on the Fight against Corruption Involving Officials of the European Communities or Officials of Member States of the European Union. For the purposes of thi...More Button

Written Answers - Avian Flu.

Was asked: the co-operative efforts being undertaken by EU member states to establish protection for citizens in the event of an avian flu outbreak; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has had recent discussions with his European counterparts with regard to avian flu protection in the event of an outbreak; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89 and 112 together. As the House is aware, the H5N1 virus, first identified in poultry in south-east Asia two years ago, has since been confirmed in a number of other...More Button

Written Answers - Nuclear Programmes.

Was asked: his views on whether the general failure by key state parties to implement the nuclear proliferation treaty is a crucial element in the current impasse over Iran’s development of nuclear technology; a...More Button

Was asked: the discussions that Iran has had with the EU3 (details supplied) with regard to nuclear development in Iran; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the latest status of IAEA testing in Iran; the discoveries which have been made with regard to nuclear development; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90, 106 and 120 together. The IAEA board of governors adopted a further resolution on 4 February 2006 which set out a number of confidence building measures that Iran ...More Button

Written Answers - Corruption Levels.

Was asked: if his Department has analysed the position in relation to information published as to the existence of high level corruption in Kenya; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government is aware of the allegations of high-level corruption made by Mr. John Githongo. Following a period as director of Transparency International Kenya, Mr. Githongo was appointed Permanent ...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the reason the number of development specialists within Development Co-operation Ireland volunteering for decentralisation has fallen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the progress in the decentralisation of staff from Development Co-operation Ireland to Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of senior development specialists with Development Co-operation Ireland volunteering to decentralise; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94, 97 and 161 together. Under the Government’s decentralisation programme, the development co-operation directorate, DCD, of the Department of Foreign Affairs, curren...More Button

Written Answers - Democratisation Process.

Was asked: the way in which the Government supports and engages in democratisation processes in African countries in which it operates as a donor; the measures which have been taken in response to recent politic...More Button

Was asked: the conditions currently attached to aid from Ireland to developing countries; and the systems in place to ensure that in situations involving human rights abuses aid is redirected through alternative...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: his views on recent comments from the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that the salaries and allowances of MLAs elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly may shortly be terminated; his v...More Button

I understand that the recent comments by the Secretary of State to which the Deputy refers were made in the context of the need to make political progress in Northern Ireland in 2006. The Secretary of...More Button

Written Answers - Nuclear Programmes.

Was asked: if he has discussed the possible development of nuclear weaponry by North Korea with his EU counterparts; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of IAEA inspections undertaken recently in North Korea; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 115 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

Written Answers - EU Constitution.

Was asked: if elements of the EU constitution, which could be acted upon without referendum, will be prioritised for action; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Agreement on the European constitution was arrived at following a long and complex set of negotiations. The outcome represents a finely balanced package and we oppose any suggestions for its selective...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Relations.

Was asked: his views on recent aggressive statements made on behalf of the United States Government by its Secretary of Defence, Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, with respect to certain democratically elected Heads of State...More Button

I am aware of recent comments which US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld has made, including a likening of President Chavez to Adolf Hitler. Such comments reflect continuing tensions in relations b...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if, in view of a recent human rights report published by the UN, he will openly condemn the continued use of the US Government facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to intern and torture prisoners denying ...More Button

Was asked: if he has come to any decision regarding the rendition of passengers at Irish airports; if he has come to a final decision in relation to on the spot inspections in view of the practice of so-called e...More Button

Was asked: the additional steps that will be taken to ensure that no Irish facility will be used for the covert transfer of detainees or prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the steps the Government has taken to ensure that no Irish facilities have been used for the rendition of prisoners or detainees; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103, 136, 155 and 159 together. I refer Deputies to my reply to Question No. 76 of today and, in particular with respect to the US facility at Guantanamo, I refer Depu...More Button

Written Answers - Emigrant Support Services.

Was asked: the steps being taken to assist the undocumented Irish in the US; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to the Kennedy McCain Bill in the US legislature which addresses the urgent position of the out of status Irish in the United States.More Button

Was asked: the position with regard to the Government’s contact with the US Administration to support the Kennedy McCain Immigration Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 105, 122 and 149 together. The Government attaches the highest priority to the issue of the undocumented Irish in the United States. We raise our concerns in all of ou...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the level of overseas development aid for 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the African counties currently experiencing the most serious deficiencies in the administration of democracy, observance of human rights, famine or internal strife; the extent to which he directly or ...More Button

Was asked: if he will indicate the ten African countries currently having human rights strife or deficiencies in democracy; the extent to which he will influence the international community to improve the situat...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the assistance of the African Union countries can be enlisted in the context of the improved distribution of aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the full extent of Ireland’s aid programme to the various African countries; if improved targeting of aid can be achieved in specific locations particularly in areas of strife and famine; and if he wi...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if he or officials of his Department will be appearing before the ongoing European parliamentary committee investigation into the operation of secret prisons and the practice of extraordinary renditio...More Button

Was asked: if, further to his statement to Dáil Éireann in response to Parliamentary Question No. 118 of 14 December 2005 a detailed questionnaire on the subject of secret detention and the practice known as ext...More Button

Was asked: if the question of the possible existence of secret detention centres within the EU has been discussed with his European counterparts; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109, 134 and 160 together. I refer Deputies to my reply to Question No. 72 of today. The Government’s response to the questionnaire circulated by the secretary general...More Button

Was asked: the steps Turkey has taken towards improving human rights and freedoms; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In recent years, Turkey has made significant progress in the adoption of wide-ranging political reforms. Important human rights reforms have been introduced, including in relation to freedom of expres...More Button

Written Answers - EU Membership.

Was asked: the measures Bulgaria has taken to meet membership criteria for the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the measures Romania has taken towards meeting membership criteria for the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 111 and 130 together. The accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union will mark the completion of the fifth enlargement process, which will increase the Un...More Button

Written Answers - Emigrant Support Services.

Was asked: his views on the establishment of a new organisation (details supplied) whose aim is to regularise the position of undocumented Irish in the United States; his plans to meet the said organisation on h...More Button

I warmly welcome the establishment of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. It provides the Irish in the US with a powerful tool to give clear expression to their views on immigration reform. I hope...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Travel.

Was asked: the full list of Irish attendance abroad at ministerial, junior ministerial, official and other representative levels, for the St. Patrick’s Day festival.More Button

A formal decision on Government representation at St. Patrick’s Day celebrations overseas has yet to be taken. In deciding on ministerial travel commitments, the Government will seek to maximise oppor...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the outcome of the recent meetings between the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Mr. Louis Michel on behalf of the European Union; if Ireland will be represented at the court...More Button

Was asked: the political situation in Ethiopia; the effect the situation will have on the level of funding that Ethiopia will receive from here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 and 129 together. Ireland, along with our EU partners, continues to emphasise to the Government of Ethiopia, most recently in a meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr...More Button

Was asked: the contacts that have been made with the military regime in Burma with regard to the detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 165 together. Ireland takes a consistently strong position on Burma in relevant bilateral contacts, in the European Union framework and at the United Nations. ...More Button

Written Answers - Nuclear Disarmament Initiative.

Was asked: the Government’s position with regard to reform of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There is no reform process, as such, under way in respect of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT. Review conferences take place every five years, however, and afford an opportu...More Button

Written Answers - Freedom of Information.

Was asked: if requests to his Department for information regarding the use of Shannon Airport by United States military forces have been refused under section 24 of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and if he ...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 381 of 31 January 2006 which was as follows. The Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 established an independent process for consideration of freedo...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the progress that has been made in regard to the development of the voluntary humanitarian corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has discussed the proposals for the development of the voluntary humanitarian corps with the Department of Defence or with representatives of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

Was asked: if the Defence Forces will have the lead role in co-ordinating Ireland’s response to disasters, both natural and man-made and in co-ordinating civilian volunteers for such responses; and if he will ma...More Button

Was asked: if the Defence Forces will have the lead role in co-ordinating Ireland’s response to disasters, both natural and man-made, and in co-ordinating civilian volunteers for such responses; and if he will m...More Button

Written Answers - Official Travel.

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

During the next six months, I will have a number of EU related engagements including meetings of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, GAERC, the informal meeting of EU Ministers for For...More Button

Written Answers - Irish Community Abroad.

Was asked: the steps he and his Department are taking in order to maintain links with members of the Irish community living abroad, with particular reference to those in Argentina and Uruguay, on whose behalf di...More Button

Maintaining and strengthening links with Irish communities abroad is a key priority of my Department. Ireland’s diplomatic missions and consular offices are dedicated to the pursuit of Ireland’s inter...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if, in view of recent developments, he remains as satisfied with the conduct of the trial of Saddam Hussein as expressed in his response to a Parliamentary Question No. 59 of 14 December 2005.More Button

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 131 and 145 together. The democratic elections which were held in Iraq on 15 December 2005 marked the start of the final phase in the political process for the reconst...More Button

Written Answers - UN Security Council Reform.

Was asked: the reforms of the UN Security Council deemed necessary by the Government; and the steps he has taken and intends to take to identify the necessary reforms and to promote these at the UN level in view...More Button

At the UN 2005 World Summit, world leaders reaffirmed the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security. Despite the absence of agreement on re...More Button

Written Answers - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: the status of peace talks in the Middle East; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on the survival of the Quartet roadmap for peace in the view of the recent statement by the acting Prime Minister of Israel that Israel intends to retain control over east Jerusalem and two ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 152 together. The Government and its partners in the EU firmly believe that a lasting and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be f...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if, in view of the Pakistan earthquake, early response measures are being discussed with NGO’s and foreign Governments to ensure that an adequate response will be issued in the future to combat the ex...More Button

Written Answers - Citizens’ Risk Abroad.

Was asked: his views on whether Irish citizens in certain countries are at an increased risk following recent rioting related to the publication of cartoons in European media; and if he will make a statement on ...More Button

I am aware that there were a number of incidents of hostility and aggression towards some European interests and individuals following the publication of the cartoons referred to by the Deputy in some...More Button

Written Answers - Sudanese Famine.

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

Was asked: the Government’s position with respect to the proposed engagement of United Nations forces in Darfur, western Sudan, in particular if it has formed a view of the optimal relationship of such a force t...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which achievements have been made in respect of the alleviation of starvation or strife in Darfur; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 138, 169 and 241 together. In the past year, there has been progress in stabilising the long-running conflict between the north and the south of Sudan. A comprehensive...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: if he has had discussions on the proposals of the British Government to extend to Northern Ireland legislation on donations to political parties; if, in particular, he has discussed the need to co-ord...More Button

The proposals referred to by the Deputy were discussed with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, and with his predecessor Paul Murphy, on a number of occasions prior to the publica...More Button

Written Answers - Travel Advice.

Was asked: if his Department has altered travel advisories for any countries for Irish citizens abroad recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice is available on its website, www.dfa.ie. The advice is regularly updated and is designed to help Irish citizens make informed decisions before travellin...More Button

Written Answers - International Agreements.

Was asked: if the Government will move beyond its position of qualified support for the idea of an arms trade treaty and join the 50 countries that have declared their full support for the treaty under considera...More Button

Ireland’s support for the concept of an international arms trade treaty is unqualified. The process of negotiating such a treaty is, however, likely to be lengthy and complex and it is not at this sta...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if his Department has studied the recently published report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented to King Mohammed VI of Morocco; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The establishment of the Justice and Reconciliation Commission by King Mohammed VI of Morocco in January 2004 was a courageous initiative, unprecedented in the region, to investigate human rights abus...More Button

Written Answers - International Agreements.

Was asked: the agreements reached between Ireland and the United States and only recently revealed to Dáil Éireann; if the trawl of departmental records he subsequently ordered has revealed additional agreements...More Button

The two agreements in question are the Agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United States of America concerning Security Measures for the Protection of Classified Mili...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if he views with concern the extension of the US blockade against Cuba into Mexico, as evidenced by an incident in Mexico City in February 2006 in which a US subsidiary hotel, following pressure from ...More Button

I am aware of the incident to which the Deputy refers. The Government, in common with its EU partners, regards the extra-territorial provisions of the Helms-Burton Act as contrary to international law...More Button

Written Answers - International Agreements.

Was asked: if he has had discussions with India with regard to its status as a non-signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland has a long-standing policy of support for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT, with which we have had a close association since Frank Aiken’s initiative almost 50 years...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: if he has received a copy of the SDLP’s recently published North South Makes Sense document; the efforts he is making to progress North-South economic and social development while the institutions cre...More Button

I welcome the SDLP North South Makes Sense document launched on 13 February. It represents a positive contribution to the agenda of North-South co-operation and the development of the all-island econo...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if he will provide an update on such work as is taking place at the United Nations or through its agencies to deal with the issue of bonded labour and, in particular, child bonded labour; and Ireland’...More Button

Article 42 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or t...More Button

Written Answers - International Agreements.

Was asked: his views on the prospect of Israel joining NATO anti-terrorism naval patrols in the Mediterranean.More Button

The first meeting at the level of Defence Minister between the 26 NATO countries and the southern Mediterranean countries was held in Italy on 10 February 2006. Israel was represented at the meeting, ...More Button

Was asked: the Government’s view as to whether it has a responsibility under international law to ensure Ireland does not serve indirectly as a link in US extraordinary renditions where planes transit through Ir...More Button

The Government is satisfied that it is fully in compliance with its obligations under international law in regard to the issue of so-called “extraordinary renditions”. With regard to the landing at Sh...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Trials.

Was asked: the Government’s attitude to the continuing incarceration of the Miami five; if he supports the international campaign for their release following the nullification of their conviction; if he has resp...More Button

The case to which the Deputy refers relates to five Cuban citizens who were convicted in the US in 2001 on charges ranging from espionage to first degree murder. A panel of three judges from the 11th ...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if the Government is supporting humanitarian aid programmes in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: the measures he proposes to take to secure such an adequate, transparent public inquiry as would meet the requirements of international law, from the Government of the United Kingdom in relation to th...More Button

I refer the Deputy to today’s priority question on this case. The House will be aware of the support which the Government has given to the Finucane family in its long campaign for an independent publi...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Missions.

Was asked: if security at Irish embassies and consulates abroad has been reviewed following recent rioting in the wake of publication of cartoons in the European media; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

My Department regularly reviews the security of Irish missions abroad from the point of view of the safety and protection of personnel, both staff and visitors, and the security of all official premis...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if the Government is supporting humanitarian aid programmes in Iraq; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the current threatened drought in southern Somalia is a powerful indictment of the international community, both states and personalities, that engaged with the Somali famine in 1...More Button

A number of countries in the Horn of Africa region, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, have been suffering from prolonged drought and are in food crisis. It is estimated that some 5.5 mil...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: if he, or representatives from his Department, have had meetings with representatives from the Parades Commission to discuss upcoming contentious parades in Northern Ireland; if such meetings will be ...More Button

In line with the close attention which the Government gives to parades issues, yesterday I met the chair of the Parades Commission, Roger Poole. I expressed support for the work of the commission and ...More Button

Written Answers - Avian Flu.

Was asked: his views on the funding announced in January 2006 to be given to developing countries to combat avian flu; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - EU Constitution.

Was asked: when the EU Constitution will next be discussed with his European counterparts; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The European constitution is a major issue on the European Union’s agenda and is therefore regularly discussed when I meet with my European counterparts. Following the “No” votes in France and the Net...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: his views on opening an embassy in Venezuela.More Button

Ireland currently has diplomatic relations with Venezuela on a non-residential basis. The ambassador to Mexico is also accredited to Venezuela. Ireland also has an honorary consul in Caracas. The open...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: his views on the detention of an Irish citizen (details supplied); the details of communications made to his Department, and to Irish embassies or consulates by or on behalf of this person since 2003;...More Button

On 8 December, the detention in Syria of the person referred to by the Deputy, and his proposed deportation to Tunisia, was first brought to the attention of my Department. The Irish Embassy in Cairo ...More Button

Written Answers - Nuclear Programmes.

Was asked: the action being taken with regard to the potential development of a nuclear capability by Iran; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are several dimensions to the action being taken with regard to the potential development of a nuclear capability by Iran. There is an ongoing investigation by the International Atomic Energy Ag...More Button

Written Answers - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: if he intends to respond to an inquiry from Amnesty International as to the status of a recent report prepared by diplomatic missions of the EU in Ramallah and Jerusalem in regard to the present posit...More Button

The Government and its partners in the EU remain seriously concerned at Israeli activities in the occupied territories, including the building of settlements, house demolitions and continuing construc...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: his views on whether the Government could play a role in assisting the development of a conflict resolution process in the Basque country.More Button

The issue of any possible role for the Government in assisting the development of a conflict resolution process in the Basque country is a matter for the Spanish Government to decide. We have not been...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: if he will raise once again with the British Government the murder of solicitor Mr. Pat Finucane; and if support will be given to the family on this matter.More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Deputy Gregory to Priority Question No. 61. The House will be aware of the support the Government has given to the Finucane family in their long campaign for an indep...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if it is correct that Columbian security forces have killed civilians and covered it up by dressing the bodies as guerrillas; and if same came up recently in a United Nations human rights report.More Button

The report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCHR, on Colombia on 20 January 2006 states that while a number of indicators of violence at the national level continue t...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: if he contemplates opening further embassies worldwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

With the opening of new missions in Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Vietnam in the latter half of last year, Ireland now maintains a network of 55 embassies, six multilateral missions ...More Button

Written Answers - Democratisation Process.

Was asked: the extent to which the democratic institutions are established or developing in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The transition process inaugurated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, under the 2002 Sun City peace accords is due to conclude formally on 30 June 2006. Over the course of the past four yea...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Relations.

Was asked: if he has taken initiatives through the EU or the UN to establish stronger links with the Ukraine; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which greater links have been established between the EU and the Ukraine; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 and 247 together. Following the Ukrainian people’s choice of democracy and reform in the presidential elections of late 2004, Ireland took steps to strengthen bila...More Button

Written Answers - International Terrorism.

Was asked: if he has had discussions recently with his EU colleagues in the matter of combating terrorism; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, is primarily responsible for the integrity and security of the State. He oversees the assessments which the Garda Síochána makes and th...More Button


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