Martin, Micheál

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 683 No. 5

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Order of Business.

Deputy Quinn is a great admirer of the free market.More Button

Deputy Ring is perpetually independent.More Button

Priority Questions - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: the position with respect to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. More Button

Was asked: if he will exhaust all possible avenues in conjunction with his EU counterparts to assist in the peace process with a view to finding a permanent solution to the Middle East conflict; and if he will ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 4 together. The search for peace in the Middle East is a major foreign policy priority for Ireland and for the European Union. The urgency of achieving that obj...More Button

I take on board what the Deputy said about the situation on the West Bank where the policies run counter to facilitating a pathway to peace and a political settlement. The government of Mr. Salam Fay...More Button

There is a widely shared understanding in the European Union that the new Netanyahu Government must clearly demonstrate its commitment to a two-state solution and its willingness to abide by previous ...More Button

The UN Human Rights Council has established a panel to examine violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed during the Gaza conflict. It will investigate allegations on all...More Button

Priority Questions - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: his views as to the appropriate form of international independent investigation to ascertain the facts as to civilian casualties, breaches of human rights or possible war crimes committed in recent t...More Button

I am deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka, the grave humanitarian crisis taking place there and the growing evidence that horrific atrocities were inflicted by both Sri Lankan forces and ...More Button

I agree with Deputy Higgins in regard to the language used towards the conclusion of the war, that is, the phrase “the elimination of terrorists”. For some time, the Government and the EU have said t...More Button

The use of cluster munitions is an important point.More Button

It is very relevant. More Button

To be fair to Deputy Higgins, the question relates to the independent investigation to ascertain the facts on civilian casualties. The country and the Oireachtas are keen to highlight and condemn the...More Button

I take Deputy Higgins’s point. Such consensus is difficult for the Chair to contemplate and deal with.More Button

Priority Questions - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: the number of Irish ambassadors there are currently. More Button

My Department maintains a network of 75 overseas missions — 57 embassies, seven multilateral missions and 11 consulates general and other offices. It also maintains offices in Armagh and Belfast. He...More Button

In terms of Kenya, there are no immediate plans, and we are examining the entire configuration of Irish embassies at the moment, reviewing our strengths and weaknesses, with a view to establishing our...More Button

That would frighten me even more. Present company excluded of course, Deputy Higgins would make a fine ambassador and a fine exponent of foreign policy. I am not comparing one system with another. Th...More Button

Priority Questions - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if he will introduce legislation to ensure that 0.7% of gross national product is devoted to overseas development aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Other Questions - Foreign Adoptions.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Russian Federation has halted intercountry adoptions from that country to Ireland; the support he is providing to the Department of Health and Chi...More Button

Other Questions - Emigrant Support Services.

Was asked: the new arrangements that have been put in place between Ireland and the USA with respect to work visas or any such visas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Other Questions - Departmental Funding.

Was asked: if there is funding available to assist a person (details supplied) in the two cross-Border cross-community projects that he has undertaken and that have been crucial in promoting reconciliation and ...More Button

Other Questions - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: his views on the proposal advanced by a number of aid agencies that, for the purposes of Ireland’s overseas development aid to Third World countries, Ireland should adopt a different and more efficie...More Button

Other Questions - Third Level Funding.

Was asked: the funding for research commissions that have been mediated through the Higher Education Authority to Irish third level institutions. More Button

Was asked: the research that has been initiated or completed under Irish Aid’s programme for strategic co-operation with higher education and research institutions launched in December 2006. More Button

Written Answers - Lisbon Treaty Referendum.

Was asked: the extent to which he and his EU colleagues have engaged in the necessary discussions to address the issues arising from Ireland’s failure to ratify the Lisbon Treaty; the extent to which other EU m...More Button

Last December the European Council agreed to a comprehensive package of measures to respond to the Irish people’s concerns as outlined by the Taoiseach. Specifically, the European Council agreed that...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: when it is proposed to establish a governance unit as proposed in the White Paper and in Irish Aid’s operational plan. More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if he will report on the ongoing efforts at EU level to influence the situation in Burma, including the position of Aung San Suu Kyi; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the position as it pertains in Burma. More Button

Was asked: the steps he has taken arising from the latest behaviour of the military dictatorship in Burma towards the lawful leader Aung San Suu Kyi; and the further steps he will take on the matter. More Button

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 13, 27, 29, 54 and 139 together. The Minister deplores the arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma and esteemed Nobel Pea...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the way the reduction of €45 million in the amount of the overseas aid budget being allocated to the nine core programme countries in 2009 will be allocated to each of them; the programme areas withi...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: the position in relation to the investigation into the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

At the outset, I would like to confirm that the Department is in ongoing contact with the family of the person mentioned by the Deputy and is liaising with them on all aspects of the case. The Departm...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the recent contact he has had with the Ambassador of Iran in relation to the incarceration of members of the Baha’i faith and the form of the charges against them. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the Baha’is in Iran. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the trial of Baha’i leadership in Iran which in February 2009 was accused of espionage. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 16, 41 and 60 together. The situation of members of the minority Baha’i faith in Iran has long been a matter of serious concern to the Government and to members of th...More Button

Was asked: his position with respect to the issue of Armenia’s claim of genocide by Turkey in 1917; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I would direct the Deputy to the Minister’s reply on this matter on 12 May. In that reply, the Minister noted that the events which resulted in the tragic deaths of very large numbers of Armenians in ...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: his views on the assessment of a person (details supplied) that cuts in Irish overseas aid spending were proportionately more severe than in any other country; if he will make an explicit recommitmen...More Button

Was asked: if he plans to meet the Government’s stated target of spending 0.6% of GNP on the overseas aid budget in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his views on whether he will achieve his commitment to 0.7%, its UN target, by 2012. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the Irish Aid programme; the cuts which have been made to the programme on foot of budgetary cutbacks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will introduce legislation to make sure that Ireland honours its promise to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid; and if so, when he will do so. More Button

Was asked: the implications of the decision to cut overseas aid spending by €45 million in July 2008 by €15 million in October 2008, by €95 million in February 2009 and by an additional €100 million in the supp...More Button

Was asked: the percentage of GNP that will be devoted to overseas development aid for the year 2009; the projected percentage by the end of 2010, 2011 and 2012; and when the 0.7% level, to which Ireland has agr...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if he will contact the US administration to offer his support in its efforts to close Guantanamo Bay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has welcomed the Executive Order issued by President Obama on 22 January announcing that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay should close within one ye...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the action he proposes to take to implement the Accra Agenda for Action. More Button

Written Answers - International Agreements.

Was asked: the ongoing consultation between the EU and countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific with regard to economic partnership agreements in view of his recent attendance at a meeting which demon...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the reason for the discrepancy between his Minister of State’s recent appearance on RTÉ when he stated that since the Irish Aid programme focused on short-term emergency humanitarian aid, that there ...More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to the emergency response fund to human disasters and to the humanitarian relief fund. More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: his views on the re-establishment of an Irish embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to establishing an embassy in Nairobi, Kenya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 33 together. Ireland has a relatively small Diplomatic Service, operating on limited resources. While the opening of resident diplomatic missions abroad, includ...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: the initiatives that he and the EU will undertake in response to the massacre of thousands of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan government. More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to the situation in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the emerging situation in Sri Lanka with particular reference to the need to eliminate human rights abuses and restoration of democracy; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 26, 58 and 148 together. As stated in response to the Priority Question today, I remain deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka and in particular about the ...More Button

Written Answers - Good Friday Agreement.

Was asked: the position in respect of funding for North-South bodies under the Good Friday Agreement which come under his responsibility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Arising from the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, six North-South Implementation Bodies and Tourism Ireland were established. These play a significant role in taking forward North-South co-operation on...More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the steps Ireland and the EU are taking to ensure that medical and food aid and reconstruction materials enter and reach those who need them in Gaza. More Button

Was asked: the action taken at EU and UN level to improve the situation in the Middle East with particular reference to the alleviation of hardship, human rights abuses, starvation and oppression in Gaza; and i...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 143 together. There is no doubt that the current volume of aid passing into Gaza is insufficient. The UN continues to report on shortages of basic humanitarian...More Button

Written Answers - Middle East Peace Process.

Was asked: the contacts he has had with the Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Netanyahu; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

My reply to Questions Nos. 1 and 4 have set out the importance I attach to making every effort to support and encourage the Middle East Peace Process. I have not yet had any contact with Prime Minist...More Button

Written Answers - Territorial Waters.

Was asked: the position in relation to Ireland’s submission claiming an extension of the continental shelf under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

The regime governing the exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf in international law is set down by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. Under that convention a...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: the reason he is closing down Ireland’s consulate in Wales; if this will adversely affect relations with Wales; if there are plans to close further consulates; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

It was with regret that I recently informed the Right Honourable, Rhodri Morgan A.M., First Minister of Wales, of the decision to close our Consulate General in Cardiff. While the closing of the offi...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: his views on Zimbabwe; if the international community is positive about the formation of a unity government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The formation of a unity government in Zimbabwe in February was far from being a solution to Zimbabwe’s problems, but was nonetheless a sign of some limited progress in the political process. Three m...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the percentage of the overall overseas aid budget which is being devoted to the implementation of the recommendations of the Hunger Task Force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if he will follow the French lead and without further delay make arrangements to offer protection to some of the innocent men in Guantanamo who will not be charged but have nowhere to go. More Button

I understand that France has taken an Algerian individual detained in Guantanamo who was cleared for release and who has family connections in France. The acceptance of detainees is a matter for deci...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the Irish and other development non-governmental and missionary organisations that have been informed of reductions in funding from the overseas aid budget in 2009; the amount of the reduction in eac...More Button

Was asked: the amount of the overseas aid budget that will be channelled through Irish and other development non-governmental and missionary organisations in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter....More Button

Was asked: the number of long-term development workers, volunteers and missionaries in the developing world who will be funded in 2009 by the aid programme administered by Irish Aid; and if he will make a state...More Button

Was asked: the aid that has been given in recent times to the Karamojo area of northern Uganda. More Button

Written Answers - State Visits.

Was asked: the reason he did not meet opposition figures during his official visit to Cuba in February 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I visited Cuba from 17 -19 February 2009 on what was the first working visit by an Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs. Cuba is undergoing a major transformation, and its relations with the EU have en...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the action he has taken in responding to the UN’s appeal for humanitarian aid for more than 1.5 million people being displaced by fighting in Pakistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Military Neutrality.

Was asked: his views on whether it is appropriate for the vice-president of the United States to address US military troops in Shannon Airport in view of the fact that Ireland is a neutral country and the US mi...More Button

The arrangements in place regarding the use of Shannon by the US military are long-standing arrangements which have been in place for decades and are not specific to the current situation in relation ...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Relations.

Was asked: the contacts he has had with the new President of South Africa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Jacob Zuma was elected President of South Africa by the country’s parliament on 6 May, following a general election in which Mr. Zuma’s African National Congress won more than 66% of the vote. Mr. Zu...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the extent of the cut to Ireland’s contribution to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the impact of this cut on the prevention and treatment of disease in developing countries; ...More Button

Written Answers - Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Was asked: if he will ensure that the European Union will offer adequate financial support to countries which have to adhere to climate change targets and may have difficulty in doing so. More Button

Written Answers - EU Enlargement.

Was asked: if all obstacles have been cleared to make way for Croatia’s entry to the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Croatia hopes to conclude its accession negotiations in 2009. The European Commission has produced a road map for the conclusion of these negotiations, but this depends on Croatia making the required...More Button

Written Answers - Inter-Country Adoptions.

Was asked: the efforts he is making to finalise an agreement on inter-country adoption with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; if he plans on visiting that country to help secure the agreement; the level of sup...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is working to create the appropriate legislative, policy and administrative frameworks that will ensure a well regulat...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

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

Was asked: his views on the language being used in relation to the response to terrorism by the government of Pakistan, which was reported as seeking the elimination of all terrorists. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 and 63 together. The military offensive against the Taliban, which re-opened in the Swat area of Pakistan at the start of May, is continuing. It follows the breakd...More Button

Written Answers - Lisbon Treaty Referendum.

Was asked: the position in relation to the holding of a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the date and the form, including such guarantees as have been referred to in the press, of his next proposed consultation with the public here on the matter of a European treaty. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 72 together. The Government is working with the other Member States and the EU institutions to finalise the texts of the legal guarantees which the European Co...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: the progress made through the medium of the United Nations or other agencies towards resolving the conflict over the future of Kashmir. More Button

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir continues to be fragile, despite improvements following the State elections in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir in December 2008. I very much welcome the fact ...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the cost to date of the decentralisation of Irish Aid to Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if the political situation in the Balkans is causing instability in the region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Together with its EU partners, Ireland attaches considerable importance to achieving stability in the countries of the Western Balkans, which the European Council, meeting in Thessaloniki in 2003, rec...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the number of meetings that have been held of the inter-departmental committee on aid. More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

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

The situation in Nepal has deteriorated since I last replied to a Parliamentary Question on Nepal on 27 January. The situation has been especially tense since the decision by the former Prime Minis...More Button

Was asked: if he will call for the suspension of the EU-Mediteranean Association Agreement with Israel, if Israel refuses to fully co-operate with the UN Human Rights Council inquiry into war crimes in Gaza. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the commission of possible war crimes arising from recent events in Gaza. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 71 together. During the course of the military operations in Gaza in December and January, I strongly and consistently condemned the use of disproportionate mil...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the steps he is taking to ensure value for money with the overseas development aid budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the contacts he has had with a bank (details supplied) in terms of constructing an appropriate response to the impact of the global economic crisis on sub-Saharan Africa. More Button

Written Answers - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: the extent to which he and his EU and UN colleagues have identified the top ten countries worldwide wherein it is deemed that the most serious human rights abuses take place; the extent to which it h...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that adequate steps are being taken or can be taken through the EU or UN to deal with human rights abuses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the 20 countries currently most readily recognised for human rights abuses; the action taken or planned at EU and UN level to bring about an improvement in the situation; and if he will make a statem...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 70, 146 and 147 together. Unfortunately, no part of the world is totally free from human rights abuses. As has been stated on previous occasions, in response to simi...More Button

Written Answers - Good Friday Agreement.

Was asked: the position regarding funding for Irish bodies under the Good Friday Agreement. More Button

Arising from the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, six North/South Implementation Bodies and Tourism Ireland were established. These Bodies play a significant role in taking forward North/South co-operat...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: if he will report on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo with particular reference on the hardship experienced by the international community; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is slowly recovering from the effects of the brutal civil war which lasted from 1996 to 2003. While much of the country now enjoys a degree of stability, I r...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the extent to which the international community is combating the problem of AIDS in Africa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The international community has demonstrated real commitment to combat HIV and AIDS and its consequences through a number of high profile agreements that include the Millennium Development Goals unive...More Button

Written Answers - EU Enlargement.

Was asked: the extent to which he and his EU colleagues remain to be engaged in positively influencing the situation in the Western Balkans with particular reference to EU enlargement; and if he will make a sta...More Button

Together with its EU partners, Ireland attaches considerable importance to achieving stability in the countries of the Western Balkans, which were recognised as having a perspective towards EU members...More Button

Written Answers - Diplomatic Representation.

Was asked: the extent to which it is expected or intended to establish further embassies abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Ireland has a network of 75 resident diplomatic and consular Missions abroad, as well as the British-Irish Inter-Governmental Secretariat in Belfast and the North-South Ministerial Council Joint Secre...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: if procedures have been put in place to ensure that all international aid goes directly to those for whom it was intended thereby eliminating waste or corruption; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

Was asked: if specific new efforts are being made to ensure that international aid to various countries is received in full by those for whom it was intended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Conflicts.

Was asked: the extent to which the international community expects to stabilise the situation in Darfur; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the international community plans to make further positive intervention in the Sudan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 149 and 150 together. The situation in Sudan continues to be a focus of considerable international concern with attention centring on the resolution of the ongoing c...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the situation in Chad has improved or stabilised; if intervention by the international community can assist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The situation in Chad has long been characterised by north-south tensions, and since 2002 the stability of the country has been threatened by armed rebellion against the government of President Idriss...More Button


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