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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 115 - 131
 Header Item Census of Population Publication
 Header Item Visitors Book
 Header Item Departmental Projects
 Header Item International Bodies Membership
 Header Item Quarterly National Household Survey
 Header Item Law Reform Commission Reports
 Header Item Departmental Records
 Header Item Dáil Reform
 Header Item Departmental Staff Numbers
 Header Item Foreign Conflict Issues
 Header Item Military Aircraft Landings
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item EU Trade with Israel
 Header Item Human Rights Issues

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 810 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 115 - 131

  Question No. 115 answered with Question No. 61.

Census of Population Publication

 116. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the reason data from the 1926 census will not be made publicly available until 2027; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33146/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Censuses of Population carried out between 1926 and 1991 were undertaken under the 1926 Statistics Act which did not permit access to Census records at any time. The Statistics Act, 1993 repealed the 1926 and 1946 Statistics Acts, and provided for the release of census forms from these censuses 100 years after the date of the relevant Census. As such, data from the 1926 Census will be made available in 2026. A further reduction of the guarantee could be incorrectly interpreted by some as a relaxation by the CSO in its approach to confidentiality and the protection of data supplied to it under the Statistics Act, 1993.

Independence, objectivity and the guarantee of confidentiality are the core values of official statistics which have helped create a positive image of, and ensure public trust in, official statistics in Ireland. Statistical confidentiality is the cornerstone of all CSO work. This is the reason for the legal guarantees contained in the Statistics Act 1993. Any action that could lead to a weakening of that public trust would be detrimental not just to the Census of Population but also to the broader activities of the CSO covering areas such as economic, business and social statistics.

In conclusion I am satisfied that the 100 year period provided for in the Statistics Act strikes the right balance between facilitating legitimate historical and genealogical research on the one hand, while protecting the confidentiality of census data and maintaining the integrity of CSO guarantees procedures.

Visitors Book

 117. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will provide a copy of the attendance record book for his Department on 29 September 2008 and 30 September 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32862/13]

 118. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will provide a copy of the attendance record book for his Department for the month of September 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32863/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 and 118 together.

The Department does not keep an attendance book for general service staff. A Visitors Book is maintained at the Welcoming Pavilion. This is not an exhaustive record of all visitors who attended at the Department during that period. Visitors who sign the book are in the main attending press events or meetings. Visitors attending the Department by prior appointment may contact an office in advance and arrange parking. These visitors are met at Reception and generally are not asked to sign the Visitors Book. It is also possible to access my Department from Leinster House. My Department will co-operate fully with any inquiry established into these matters.

Departmental Projects

 119. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the number of projects that were approved funding by his Department conditional on a bond being produced from a builder; the amount of the default by builders where such bonds were in place; the amount recovered through the use of bonds in such cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32864/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny No projects have been approved funding by my Department conditional on a bond being produced from a builder.

International Bodies Membership

 120. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will outline each international organisation, international agency or international body of which Ireland is a member for which his Department or a State body or agency under the aegis of his Department is responsible for or co-responsible; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [32865/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has membership of the following international organisations: International Association of Prosecutors, International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law and the European Criminal Bar Association. A prosecutor employed in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, is seconded to the Department of Justice and Equality, and is based at Eurojust in the Hague. In addition Ireland is a member of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission). The Irish member (Ms Finola Flanagan) and substitute member (Mr. James Hamiliton) are appointed by the Government on the nomination of the Attorney General.

Quarterly National Household Survey

 121. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the number of casual/part-time employees who are working in the private sector grouped by category of occupation, that is retail, health care, security; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [32339/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The exact information requested by the Deputy is not available. The Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) is the official source of estimates of employment in the State. In line with EU requirements the QNHS collects sector of employment data according to the standard EU classification (NACE Rev.2). The most recent QNHS figures available are for Quarter 1 2013. The results indicated that there were an estimated 85,000 employees (ILO) employed part-time with a temporary job/work contract of limited duration.

  The table shows the number of employees (ILO) employed part-time with a temporary job/work contract of limited duration classified by NACE Rev. 2 Economic Sector for Quarter 1 2013. A public/private sector employment breakdown cannot be specifically identified within the QNHS. However, in the most recent (final Quarter 4 2012) Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey (EHECS) for NACE Rev.2 (sectors B to S only), public sector employment stood at 381,200 while private sector employment was 1,143,900.

Number of employees (ILO) aged 15 years and over in part-time employment classified by permanency of the job1  and NACE Rev. 2 Economic Sector, Quarter 1 2013

Economic sector (NACE Rev. 2)Jan - Mar 13
SECTION A — AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHING*
SECTION B-F — TOTAL INDUSTRY7.1
Section B-E — Industry[3.0]
Section F — Construction[4.1]
SECTION G-U TOTAL SERVICES76.1
Section G - Wholesale & Retail trade; Repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles18.1
Section H - Transportation & Storage*
Section I - Accommodation & Food service Activities13.1
Section J - Information & Communication*
Section K-L - Financial, insurance and real estate activities*
Section M Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities*
Section N Administrative & Support Service Activities[3.1]
Section O Public Administration and Defence; Compulsory Social Security*
Section P Education12.3
Section Q Human Health and Social Work Activities13.0
Section R-U Other Services Activities9.5
Not Stated*
All85.0


'0001.   Person has temporary job/work contract of limited duration;

Data may be subject to future revision;

Data may be subject to sampling or other survey errors, which are greater in respect of smaller values or estimates of change;

Reference period: q1=Jan-Mar;

*Estimates are too small to be considered reliable;

Parentheses [ ] indicate where estimates are considered to have a wider margin of error and should be treated with caution;

Source: Quarterly National Household Survey, Central Statistics Office.

Law Reform Commission Reports

 122. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny when he expects the Law Reform Commission to examine the issue of the admission of counselling notes in sexual abuse cases as part of its fourth programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32615/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny In accordance with section 4 of the Law Reform Commission Act 1975, the Law Reform Commission has been preparing its proposed Fourth Programme of Law Reform. As part of that Programme it proposes to deal with disclosure and discovery in criminal cases generally and this would include, for example, access by the accused to the therapeutic records in sexual offence cases. I am sure the Commission will give this project appropriate priority in the context of the various projects in the Programme.

Departmental Records

 123. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the protocols in place regarding the cataloguing, retention and filing of documents pertaining to issues of national importance in his Department; the safeguards in place to ensure such records are kept securely, subsequent to his statement on 26 June that his Department retained no such files; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33048/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny All records and data, electronic and paper based, held in the Department are maintained in compliance with the provisions of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003, the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 and the National Archives Act 1986 and in compliance with the records management guidelines set out by the Department of Finance. The Department operates a central registry record-keeping system comprising a Registry File Tracking System and a central repository for the storage of all Departmental records. Files created in the Department are recorded centrally and their location is known, to the time when they are transferred to the National Archives for permanent preservation.

In my remarks of June 26th, I restated my concern at the paucity of documentation held in my Department relevant to the decisions taken by the previous Government in September 2008. My Department will co-operate fully with any inquiry established into these matters.

Dáil Reform

 124. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny subsequent to comments made in response to questions on 2 July 2013, if he will include independent Deputies or representatives from the independent Deputies in all discussions on parliamentary reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [33149/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Programme for Government sets out an ambitious Oireachtas Reform agenda which includes the enhancing of the Oireachtas Committee System and the reform of Dáil procedure. The Government has already introduced a wide range of Dáil reform measures, including:

- An increased number of Dáil sitting days

- An additional Leaders Questions session on Thursdays;

- The introduction of Topical Issues Debates;

- Friday sittings to give TDs the opportunity to introduce their own Bills enhancing the TDs legislative role, and

- A restructured Oireachtas Committee System.

Oireachtas reform has been discussed at the weekly Whips meetings, the Dáil Committee on Procedure & Privileges chaired by the Ceann Comhairle and the Dáil Reform Sub-Committee chaired by the Government Chief Whip.

The Whip of the Technical Group attends the Whips meetings on behalf of her colleagues and is a member of both the Dáil Committee on Procedure & Privileges and the Dáil Reform Sub- Committee. The Dáil Reform Sub-Committee has on a number of occasions since March 2011 discussed in detail Dáil Reform proposals submitted by members of the House. The Government Chief Whip has also met individual Members of the House who have contacted him with Dáil Reform proposals of their own.

In 2011 the Government introduced a new Committee system structure along with a package of Dáil reforms designed as the first phase in the process of reforming Dáil procedure. In June 2012 the Oireachtas Committee system was further restructured. In June 2013, with the publication of the Bill to hold a referendum on the abolition of the Seanad, the Government set out a number of Dáil Reforms necessary for the move to a unicameral parliamentary system.

The Government Chief Whip, along with Dáil Whips from all the political parties and the Technical Group, the Ceann Comhairle, the Chair of the Working Group of Committee Chairs and officials in Leinster House have been involved in developing the next phase of Dáil and Oireachtas Committee reforms. The Government Chief Whip proposes to bring forward this phase of Dáil Reforms in the coming months with the new procedures in place later this year.

The process of Oireachtas Reform is an ongoing one. Following the introduction of this current phase of Dáil reforms, consultation on further Oireachtas Reforms will take place involving, among others, all the Dáil Whips, including the Technical Group Whip. Any Member of the House who has Dáil reform proposals can contact the Government Chief Whip directly to discuss those proposals in detail and they will be considered as part of the ongoing process of Dáil reform.

Departmental Staff Numbers

 125. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 150 and 152 of 2 July 2013, the positions the seven officials in his Department held at the time of the banking guarantee and what positions they hold now. [33294/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The positions held by the seven staff referred to in the reply to Parliamentary Questions of 2 July are as follows:

September 2008July 2013
Assistant Secretary

Northern Ireland and International Division

and Corporate Affairs Division
Secretary General
Assistant Secretary to the GovernmentAssistant Secretary to the Government
Assistant Secretary

European and International Affairs Division
Assistant Secretary

Economic, International and Northern Ireland Division
Principal Officer

Northern Ireland and International Division
Principal Officer

Protocol
Principal Officer

Northern Ireland and International Division
Principal Officer

Corporate Affairs Division
Principal Officer

Economic and Social Policy
Assistant Secretary

Social Policy, Public Service Reform and Corporate Affairs Division
Principal Officer

European and International Affairs

(on secondment from the Department of Foreign Affairs)
Assistant Secretary

European Affairs Division

Foreign Conflict Issues

 126. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if his attention has been drawn to the Israeli Government's plans to ethnically cleanse the Naqab, Negev; and if he will make urgent representation to the Israeli Government to express concerns regarding the negative and destructive consequences of such a policy. [33007/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Of the Arab population of Israel, about 170,000 are Bedouin living in the Negev desert in the south of the country. While none of these are any longer truly nomadic, they suffer from the difficulties common to non-settled communities in many developed countries, including in Europe, and other Bedouin living in many Arab countries in the region. These include lack of title to traditionally used lands and resources, pressure from a growing settled community, traditional distrust and disengagement from external official authority, difficulty in operating within a legal system developed for settled communities, lack of understanding and intermittent attention from public authorities, and lack of political weight in decisions which affect them. These are issues in many countries, not just Israel. It is an exaggeration to describe these as a policy of ethnic cleansing.

We have discussed more general issues relating to Arab citizens of Israel here in the Dáil in recent weeks. In relation to the Bedouin specifically, the most difficult problems relate to some 60,000 who live in as yet unrecognised villages, mostly in the area of and in some cases clustered around the rapidly growing city of Beersheva, one of Israel’s major cities and the principal centre for the southern half of the country.

While there are genuine planning and development needs in the vicinity of Beersheva, we clearly would expect that these must be addressed as much as possible through consultation, compromise and agreement, using the same standards applied for Israeli citizens generally. There have been a number of official inquiries and plans in recent years to address these issues, usually involving the recognition of some further Bedouin villages, and consolidation of existing unrecognised villages into these.

The implementation of these plans has sometimes been piecemeal and non-transparent, and it remains the case that a number of villages have seen repeated demolitions of homes and schools, in a way that I do not think would be considered acceptable in relation to the majority community in Israel. Indeed I cannot help contrasting this with the extreme reluctance of the Israeli Government to act against illegal Israeli settlements even where these have been ordered to be removed by Israeli courts. Both the EU and Ireland nationally have already raised these concerns with the Israeli authorities, and it will continue to feature in our dialogue about human rights issues in Israel.

Military Aircraft Landings

 127. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will confirm the destination, purpose and cargo of three US military airplanes (details supplied) which landed at Shannon on 30 June 2013. [33008/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore On 25 June 2013, my Department received requests from the Embassy of the United States seeking permission for two Hercules C-130 aircraft with tail numbers 644852 and 650986 to land at Shannon Airport on 30 June for the purposes of crew rest and refuelling. Both flights were en route from Trapani-Birgi, Italy, to Newfoundland, Canada. The requests confirmed that the aircraft carried no arms, ammunition, explosives, photographic or intelligence gathering equipment. Insufficient details have been provided in relation to the third aircraft to identify the destination, purpose and cargo as requested. However, should the Deputy wish to provide additional information, my Department will be happy to look further into the matter.

Citizenship Applications

 128. Deputy John Paul Phelan Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if a person (details supplied) is eligible for Irish citizenship and the process to be completed in applying for Irish citizenship in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33022/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I understand that the person referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration to the Consulate General of Ireland in Chicago on 2 July 2013. The application will be processed in the normal manner.

EU Trade with Israel

 129. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he is in favour of introducing formal governmental advice to discourage Irish businesses from purchasing goods from Israeli settlements and from having any other commercial or investment links with those settlements.  [33019/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore It is important to re-emphasise that the Government’s main focus is on the Israeli settlements themselves, their relentless expansion and the restrictions enforced to bolster them, rather than on the less significant sub-issue of settlement products. The comparatively small amount of settlement products available on the EU market are insignificant in terms of EU trade with Israel, and are not even critical for the viability of the settlements themselves.

In relation to settlement products, I have kept the House informed of work under way at EU level to establish EU-wide guidelines on the labelling of settlement products. I have made very clear publicly my negative view of settlements and of the misappropriation of resources which enable the production of some settlement goods. My Department’s website already contains advice warning that the purchase of property in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory or the occupied Golan Heights is subject to risk and that potential purchasers should seek independent legal advice before undertaking such purchases. I have also stated that I believe consumers wish to be able to distinguish settlement goods, and that labelling should not be able to mislead them in this regard. It is my expectation, and my preference, that action on labelling will take place at EU level. Until that EU discussion is complete, I do not wish to speculate on what further national actions may be desirable or necessary. It is again important to state that the Government does not support, and will not move to achieve, boycotts against goods from Israel.

It could also be necessary to take legal advice on any proposal to discriminate officially against goods which, in practical terms, would be bought not directly from settlements but from suppliers established in other EU member states, and goods legally present on the EU market.

Human Rights Issues

 130. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will support the Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's recent denouncements as discrimination and violations of human rights, the recent proposals in Burma-Myanmar to restrict interfaith marriages and the restriction of Rohingya families to two children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [33028/13]

 131. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he intends imposing trade restrictions on Irish-based parent companies engaging in business within or with Burma, while the recent UN reports and recommendations of unsatisfactory conditions of internally displaced persons' camps, particularly those accommodating the Rohingya population, remain ignored and unanswered by the Burma-Myanmar Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [33029/13]

 135. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will continue to raise the plight of the Rohingya persons directly with his counterparts in the Burmese Government, and at European Union level, in particular in view of the strong trading links between Burma and the United Kingdom and France; if he will ensure the matter is raised directly with Burmese President Thein Sein during his imminent visit to Europe to meet EU leaders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33309/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I propose to take Questions Nos. 130, 131 and 135 together.

The Government is concerned about the human rights situation of the Rohingya community in Rakhine State. We continue to work through our Embassy to Myanmar/Burma (based in Hanoi) and through the mechanisms of the EU and UN to ensure that human rights are respected in Myanmar/Burma, including those of the Rohingya people.

As the Deputies are aware, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has condemned local orders that have placed marriage and family size restrictions on the Rohingya community. She has been joined in her condemnation by the Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights Situation in Myanmar/Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, who has called these measures a clear-cut human rights violation. I support them in urging the Government of Myanmar/Burma to review and revoke all orders which violate international human rights standards.

Myanmar/Burma is currently undergoing a political, economic and social transition in which positive steps are being taken to transform the country and establish the country as a respected member of the international community. However, together with our international partners, Ireland recognises that complex challenges remain, particularly in regards to the Rohingya minority and other ethnic groups. In January 2013, the Irish Ambassador in Hanoi presented his credentials to become the first Ambassador of Ireland accredited to Myanmar/Burma. Following accreditation, the Ambassador met with both the President and Foreign Minister of Myanmar/Burma and discussed a range of issues, including the human rights situation in Rakhine State.

In March 2013, during a visit to Brussels by the President of Myanmar/Burma U Thein Sein, the EU and Myanmar/Burma agreed, among other things, to work in partnership to promote human rights and the rule of law for all people living in Myanmar/Burma, including the Rohingya community. At the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in May/June of this year, Ireland and our fellow council members adopted a Presidential Statement regarding the Situation of Human Rights for Muslims in Myanmar/Burma. HRC members expressed deep concern at the gross violations of human rights against Muslims in Myanmar/Burma, including the Rohingya community, and urged the government there to grant full citizenship rights, to the Rohingya in Rakhine and review the 1982 Citizenship Law.

In regards to trade restrictions, on 22 April 2013 Ireland together with our EU partners decided to lift all restrictive measures on Myanmar/Burma, with the exception of the arms embargo and the embargo on equipment which might be used for internal repression. This decision was taken in light of the political and economic reforms that have been taking place in Myanmar/Burma since 2011. Also, in June 2013 during Ireland’s Presidency of the EU, the reinstatement of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for Myanmar/Burma was secured, and will help promote economic development in the country. Any move to re-impose sanctions would in my view be counterproductive.

Finally, officials from my Department have just returned from a scoping mission to Myanmar/Burma. They held meetings with a wide range of government, opposition, business and civil society figures, with a view to making recommendations on how Ireland can assist with the humanitarian situation, promote economic development, and increase linkages with Ireland. I expect to receive recommendations in this regard shortly.


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