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Coveney, Simon

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


EU Meetings

Was asked: the matters discussed under the specific foreign policy issues agenda item at the June 2019 Foreign Affairs Council meeting; and if Iran, Israel and Palestine were included in the discussions.More Button

At the June EU Foreign Affairs Council, Foreign Ministers discussed the EU Global Strategy, CFSP Effectiveness and Sudan. Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD, participated in t...More Button

Ministers also had a productive exchange of views on regional issues with the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, including the Middle East Peace Process, the Gulf, Iran and Syria. Ireland ...More Button

At the Council, Ministers examined the effectiveness of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. Ministers discussed ways in which the EU can ensure greater unity, coherence and consistency i...More Button

Ministers discussed the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, following the publication of a report assessing the progress made since its launch three years ago. Ireland looks forwar...More Button

Finally, Foreign Ministers welcomed the EU Statement on Sudan. The Council condemned the use of violence against civilians and reiterated strong support to the African Union. The priority for Sud...More Button

Maritime Jurisdiction

Was asked: if the maritime baseline on the east coast is a straight baseline or a low water baseline; and if he will provide a map of the baseline.More Button

Except in three places, on the east coast the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea and the other maritime zones of the State is measured is the 'normal' baseline, being the low-wa...More Button

The three exceptions to the use of the normal baseline on the east coast are bay closing lines drawn between the natural entrance points to Dundalk and Dublin Bays and Wexford Harbour, which serv...More Button

In international law, where a coastline is deeply indented and cut into, or if there is a fringe of islands along the coast in its immediate vicinity, a State may draw straight baselines joining ...More Button

I will arrange for an illustrative map of the State’s baselines, together with the outer limits of the territorial sea from which they are measured, to be furnished to the Deputy.More Button

EU Bodies

Was asked: if he will report on the process leading to the future Commissioner for Ireland.More Button

The nomination of the Irish Commissioner to serve as a member of the next College of Commissioners will be taken by the Taoiseach and Government in due course.More Button

The European Council will propose a candidate for President of the Commission who will then be elected by the European Parliament. I would expect the new President of the Commission to begin work...More Button

I expect this process of consultation will take place over the Summer months in order for the new President to build up a team and for all the Commissioners-designate to attend hearings in the Eu...More Button

Foreign Conflicts

Was asked: the status of the situation in Ethiopia; the response of the European Union to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

EU Programmes

Was asked: his views on reports that an operation (details supplied) was involved in spreading fake news regarding Northern Ireland amongst others; the actions he will take following this report; and if he wi...More Button

I am aware of the recent report by the Digital Forensics Research Lab (DFRLab), a reputable organisation, part of the Atlantic Council, an independent US based Think Tank. The report concerns poss...More Button

Protecting democratic processes and institutions from disinformation is a major challenge for all societies. In order to tackle this challenge, the EU is building a robust framework for coordinat...More Button

Measures adopted to date by the European Council - the EU Joint Action Plan against Disinformation and the dedicated Elections Package – have already helped to deter attacks and expose disinforma...More Button

More broadly, the EU has strengthened its capabilities to identify and counter disinformation, via the Strategic Communication Task Forces and the EU Hybrid Fusion Cell in the European External A...More Button

The EU also works closely with online platforms and industry through a voluntary Code of Practice to increase the transparency of political communications and to prevent the manipulative use of t...More Button

The fight against disinformation is a long-term challenge that concerns all parts of our societies and requires continuous commitment and efforts. The private sector, especially the online platfo...More Button

Middle East Issues

Was asked: the status of the attempts by the European Union to seek compensation from the Israeli authorities for the demolition of EU-funded structures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The issue of confiscation or demolition of donor-funded structures, included those funded by the EU, is of great concern to me. The demolition of Palestinian homes, and demolition or seizure of rel...More Button

Ireland joined the European Commission-led West Bank Protection Consortium in 2017 at my instigation, during my first visit to Israel and Palestine as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The ...More Button

My primary concern is the hardship and injustice that demolitions and confiscations cause for Palestinian families. But it is right that the question of recompense for humanitarian relief funded ...More Button

In October 2018, seven donor-funded humanitarian structures were confiscated by the Israeli authorities from two vulnerable Palestinian communities located in Area C of the occupied West Bank. Th...More Button

There were worrying reports that the confiscated humanitarian assets were to be auctioned by the Israeli Civil Administration earlier this month, but I understand that the auction has since been ...More Button

The practice of demolition and confiscation of humanitarian assets, including education infrastructure, is contrary to Israel’s obligations under International Law, including provisions of intern...More Button

Ireland regularly conveys our views on these actions to the Israeli authorities, both directly and through the EU. I have done so myself on my visits to the region. More Button

Emigrant Support Services

Was asked: the expenditure on the emigrant support programme; the estimated full-year cost of increasing the expenditure by 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

EU Funding

Was asked: the expenditure on the Trust Fund for Africa; the estimated full-year cost of increasing expenditure by 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Peace and Reconciliation Programme

Was asked: the expenditure on the peace and reconciliation fund; the estimated full-year cost of increasing expenditure by 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Reconciliation Fund has been in operation since 1982 and awards grants to organisations working to build better relations within and between traditions in Northern Ireland, between North and So...More Button

Overseas Development Aid Expenditure

Was asked: the expenditure on overseas development aid; the estimated cost of reaching the 0.7% of gross national product for overseas development aid target from its current base of approximately 0.3%, in ta...More Button

Diplomatic Representation

Was asked: the nature of diplomatic ties between Ireland and Vietnam; his plans to further develop the links; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1996 and opened an Embassy in Hanoi in 2005. Vietnam is accredited to Ireland on a non-resident basis through its Embassy in London. Vietnam...More Button

Bilateral relations between Ireland and Vietnam are positive and President Michael D. Higgins paid a State Visit to Vietnam in November 2016. Most recently, Minister of State at the Department of...More Button

A strategy for Ireland’s continued engagement in Vietnam and the Mekong sub-region (2017-2020) was approved in 2017. The strategy has three high-level objectives: i) Ireland’s People in the regio...More Button

The Department works closely with State Agencies and other relevant Government Departments to advance trade and investment relations with Vietnam which is an emerging priority market for Ireland ...More Button

United Nations

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions regarding the murder of a person (details supplied); and if ...More Button

The recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Agnes Callamard, into the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi makes for horrific and shocking...More Button

An Interactive Dialogue with Ms. Callamard took place at the UN Human Rights Council on 26 June, covering all issues within her mandate. Ireland supported an EU statement at that session welcomi...More Button

Ireland also took the opportunity to make a national statement in this dialogue, emphasising that the protection of journalists and media workers is essential in protecting and promoting the free...More Button

Ireland, from the beginning, has supported calls for thorough, credible and transparent investigation into the killing of Mr Khashoggi, which must get to the facts of the case and ensure full acc...More Button

I met with the Saudi Ambassador in October 2018 and February 2019 and stressed the need for a full and transparent investigation to establish the truth.More Button

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right under international human rights law and journalists play a vital role in holding governments to account. In September 2018, Ireland co-sponsored a re...More Button

Data Protection

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to an article regarding surveillance (details supplied); his views on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have been made aware of the article in question regarding surveillance technology being supplied to assist with the development of facial recognition software in Serbia. The internal security of ...More Button

Departmental Projects

Was asked: the number of live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by him; and the date by which each study, review and research is scheduled to be completed.More Button

There are no such live projects scheduled to be completed in my Department.More Button

Departmental Information

Was asked: the documents published by his Department since 1 January 2016 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for two votes - Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Vote 27 (International Cooperation).

  My Department has publis...More Button

Working Holiday Visas

Was asked: the number of working holiday authorisations granted to citizens of the United States of America that have applied through the Irish Embassy and consulates in the USA in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2...More Button

In 2008, Ireland and the US signed a Memorandum of Understanding on an Intern Work and Travel Pilot Programme (a.k.a. the Working Holiday Agreement) that enables Irish and US citizens to work and t...More Button

These Working Holiday Authorisations (WHAs) are intended to facilitate US citizens who wish to travel for an extended period in Ireland and to engage in employment as an incidental aspect of thei...More Button

In 2017, 528 WHAs were granted to US citizens through the Government’s Embassy and Consulate network in the US. In 2018, 466 were granted and to date in 2019, 203 have been granted, with 37 pendi...More Button

Earlier in the year, the Government launched a new strategy for the US and Canada. In this ambitious Strategy, the Government has committed to doubling Ireland’s impact and footprint in the US ov...More Button

Along with academic exchanges and our long term support for the diaspora in the US, WHAs help foster these people-to-people links and the Government’s strategy for the US and Canada commits to pr...More Button

Human Rights

Was asked: his views on reports that tuberculosis is widespread in detention centres in Libya; his further views on the treatment of detainees and the conditions which they are subjected to; and if he will ma...More Button

The situation in Libya has deteriorated significantly in recent months, with an outbreak of conflict which has put civilians, including migrants and refugees in danger. I am concerned by persistent...More Button

Political fragmentation and the fragile security situation in Libya limit the capacity of the international community to access all areas where migrants are located, or to influence the situation...More Button

Ultimately, ensuring adequate treatment of migrants and refugees will require restoration of political stability, and a fully functioning Government. Ireland and the EU continue to support the ef...More Button

EU Issues

Was asked: the position of the European Union on the status of US-Iran relations including sanctions imposed by the United States of America; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Growing tensions between the United States and Iran which have escalated in recent months and weeks, are a worrying development. Following US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) last year...More Button

Following the recent ratcheting up of tensions, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini made a statement on 13 May 2019, which called on both parties to show maximum restraint and t...More Button

The EU strongly urges Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the JCPOA in full and to refrain from any escalatory steps. Ireland and the EU will continue to endeavour to ensure the e...More Button

Northern Ireland

Was asked: the status of talks to restore the Executive in Northern Ireland; the progress made to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The absence of vital institutions of the Good Friday Agreement is of grave concern for the Government, as it is for the British Government. More Button

Inclusive multi-party talks are continuing in Belfast involving all five main parties and the two Governments, with a view to reaching agreement which would secure the operation of all the insti...More Button

I have been engaging extensively with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to encourage the parties to reach an accomodation on outstanding issues and engage substantively on the shape of ...More Button

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I believe that there remains a genuine but narrow window of opportunity to reach agreement in the period immediately ahead and intensive talks are ...More Button

There has been constructive engagement in the process and it is clear that the parties want to see the institutions of the Agreement operating again on a sustainable basis. There has been broad c...More Button

The awful murder of Lyra McKee and the outpouring of public feeling that followed demands a serious response at political level. People want to see real progress made. There is no patience for an...More Button

Ultimately the challenge is for the parties to find an agreement. This will be difficult, but the two Governments believe that this can, and must, be achieved to get the devolved, power-sharing A...More Button

The Government will continue to do everything in its power, in accordance with its responsibilities as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, to secure the effective operation of all of its...More Button

Citizenship Applications

Was asked: the status and timeline for a citizenship application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Foreign Births Registration, by its nature, can be a detailed and complex process, genereally involving official documentation related to three generations and issued by several jurisdictions. Due ...More Button

With regard to the specific application the Deputy has enquired about, I am advised that the application in question has been received. A member of the Foreign Births Registration Team will cont...More Button

Brexit Preparations

Was asked: if there will be more Getting Brexit Ready roadshows in 2019; the cost of running each of these roadshows; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government has overseen and co-ordinated a sustained intensification of Brexit preparedness. As part of these efforts, my Department organised “Getting Ireland Brexit Ready” public information ...More Button

These events brought together over a dozen Agencies and their parent Departments – the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and t...More Button

While I am currently not yet in a position to confirm any specific plans to hold further events in this particular format in 2019, other Brexit preparedness-related public information activities ...More Button

Ministerial Meetings

Was asked: his plans to have a bilateral meeting with his Portuguese counterpart; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I met bilaterally with Portuguese Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Augusto Santos Silva when he visited Dublin in April 2018 and we are both regular attendees at meetings of the Foreign Affairs Cou...More Button

While I have no plans to have another bilateral meeting with Minister Santos Silva in the immediate future, I will continue to engage regularly with him at EU-level and we will have further bilat...More Button

Consular Services

Was asked: when the new consulate general offices in Frankfurt and Los Angeles will open; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The new Consulates General in Frankfurt and Los Angeles will open later this year with the first staff arriving at the end of August and the formal openings taking place a short time later once the...More Button

Working closely with the Embassy in Berlin, the new Consulate General in Frankfurt will focus on strengthening Ireland’s relationship with Germany, both bilaterally and in the context of our shar...More Button

The new Consulate General in Los Angeles will facilitate the development of high level business, community and political contacts, and will maximise the economic opportunities on offer in the fif...More Button