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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 96-121
 Header Item Gender Balance
 Header Item Freedom of Information Data
 Header Item Cabinet Committee Meetings
 Header Item Freedom of Information Data
 Header Item Defence Forces Remuneration
 Header Item Defence Forces Allowances
 Header Item Defence Forces Recruitment
 Header Item Air Corps Strength
 Header Item Defence Forces Equipment
 Header Item Defence Forces Recruitment
 Header Item Defence Forces Expenditure
 Header Item Rockall Island Ownership
 Header Item Foreign Policy
 Header Item Travel Documents
 Header Item European Parliament Elections
 Header Item Foreign Policy
 Header Item Freedom of Information Data
 Header Item Departmental Properties
 Header Item Election Monitoring Missions
 Header Item Brexit Preparations
 Header Item Diplomatic Representation

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 984 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 96-121

Gender Balance

 96. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the plans of the CSO to undertake a gendered analysis of full employment to establish the gap between male and female participation in the workforce. [26687/19]

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne There is no commonly agreed measure of what constitutes full employment for Ireland.

  The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is the official source of labour force (ILO) estimates in the State. The CSO publishes data on male and female participation in the workforce as part of the quarterly LFS release. The most recent LFS figures available are for Q1 2019.

  The following table below shows the ILO Economic Status and key economic rates for persons aged 15 years and over classified by gender in Q1 2019.

  Table 1 Persons aged 15 years and over classified by gender and ILO Economic Status and key economic rates, Q1 2019

Gender ILO Economic Status Q1 19
    '000
Males In labour force 1,303.5
  of which: In employment 1,237.5
  Unemployed 65.9
  Not in labour force 610.0
  Total males 1,913.5
     
  Employment rate % 74.3
  Unemployment rate % 5.1
  Participation rate % 68.1
Females In labour force 1,112.8
  of which: In employment 1,064.4
  Unemployed 48.4
  Not in labour force 870.2
  Total females 1,983.0
     
  Employment rate % 64.3
  Unemployment rate % 4.4
  Participation rate % 56.1
All persons In labour force 2,416.3
  of which: In employment 2,301.9
  Unemployed 114.4
  Not in labour force 1,480.2
  Total persons 3,896.5
     
  Employment rate % 69.3
  Unemployment rate % 4.8
  Participation rate % 62.0
     


  Source: Labour Force Survey (LFS), Central Statistics Office, Ireland

  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-March.

  The employment rate is the number of persons aged 15-64 in employment expressed as a percentage of the total population aged 15-64 years.

  The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed expressed as a percentage of the total labour force aged 15-74 years.

  The participation rate is the number of persons in the labour force expressed as a percentage of the total population aged 15 years and over.

Freedom of Information Data

 97. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of freedom of information requests granted, part granted, refused, transferred to an appropriate body, withdrawn or handled outside freedom of information in 2018, in tabular form. [26399/19]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The details requested by the Deputy regarding the freedom of information requests received in my Department in 2018 are as follows:

  Requests received - 490

  Granted - 111

  Part-granted - 243

  Refused - 46

  No records exist - 70

  Transferred - 3

  Withdrawn - 13

  Handled outside FOI - 4

Cabinet Committee Meetings

 98. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of times Cabinet committee C, European Union, including Brexit, has met in 2019; and when it is next scheduled to meet. [26703/19]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Cabinet Committee C, which covers EU and international issues, including Brexit, last met on 21 June 2018.

  Given the significance of Brexit for the country, it is important that all Cabinet Ministers are fully across what is happening.

  Therefore, over the past 12 months, it has been discussed on at least 25 occasions at full Cabinet level.

  Recently Memos were brought to Cabinet for discussion on Brexit Preparedness Planning.

  I also meet with individual Ministers or groups of relevant Ministers to focus on particular issues, including those relating to Brexit and other EU and international issues.

  The date of the next meeting of Cabinet Committee C has not been confirmed.

  The Tánaiste continues to hold Brexit Stakeholder Forum engagements, most recently on 29 May.

Freedom of Information Data

 99. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of freedom of information requests granted, part granted, refused, transferred to an appropriate body, withdrawn or handled outside freedom of information in 2018, in tabular form. [26389/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe My Department received a total of 140 requests in 2018 for records under the Freedom of Information Acts. The table below shows the breakdown of these requests.

  Among the reasons for the refusal of requests was that the records sought did not exist.

Granted 28
Part-Granted 34
Refused 47
Transferred 13
Withdrawn 13
Dealt with outside of FoI 5
Total number of FoI requests received in 2018 140

Defence Forces Remuneration

 100. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his attention has been drawn to the Public Sector Pay Commission report on the Defence Forces; when it will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26445/19]

 101. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his views on whether the level of pay for personnel in the Defence Forces is adequate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26447/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 101 together.

Similar to other sectors in the public service, the pay of Permanent Defence Force personnel was reduced as one of the measures to assist in stabilising national finances during the financial crisis. The recovery in the economy has provided the fiscal resources to restore payscales to all public servants in an affordable and sustainable manner. Pay is being restored to members of the Defence Forces and other public servants in accordance with public sector pay agreements. The focus of these increases is weighted in favour of those on lower pay.

The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, provides for increases in pay ranging from 6.2% to 7.4% over the lifetime of the Agreement. The increases due under the agreement to date have been paid to Permanent Defence Force personnel. Further increases in pay are scheduled in 2019 and 2020.

By the end of the current Public Service Pay agreement the payscales of all public servants (including members of the Defence Forces), earning under €70,000 per annum, will be restored to pre FEMPI levels. The restoration of the 5% reduction to allowances cut under FEMPI is also scheduled as part of that agreement.

New entrants who joined the Defence Forces since 2011, may also benefit from the measures which will see interventions at points 4 and 8 of the pay scales for all such relevant new entrants to the public service.

The Public Service Pay Commission has conducted a comprehensive examination and analysis of underlying difficulties of recruitment and retention in the Defence Sector. The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform is expected to bring the report prepared by the Commission to Government shortly. The Government will give due consideration to the findings and recommendations in the report.

Defence Forces Allowances

 102. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the estimated full-year cost of restoring the Defence Forces annual instructors allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26603/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Non-commissioned officers who are filling appointments in the Establishment for Instructors in the Military College, Training Depots, Corps Depots and Schools and in the Observer Corps are paid an allowance at the weekly rate of €23.28 or €24.50 depending on personal pension contributions payable by the individual. This continues to be paid for duties performed.

In accordance with the Public Service Stability Agreement, 2013-2016, (the Haddington Road Agreement), all sectors across the public service were required to contribute to additional pay and productivity measures. Other sectors delivered these savings through a variety of approaches including additional working time and reduced rates of overtime payments.

As part of the cost saving measures to be secured in the Defence sector under the agreement, it was agreed with the Representative Association for Commissioned Officers (RACO) that payment of Special Instructors Allowance to Officers of the Permanent Defence Force would cease. The individuals who were in receipt of the allowance at that time were compensated in agreement with the representative association.

There are no plans to reinstate the allowance and in this regard the cost of restoring the allowance has not been computed.

Defence Forces Recruitment

 103. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if a new cadetship competition for the Permanent Defence Force will open in quarter 4 of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26604/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The 2019 competition for cadetships in the Defence Forces was launched in April of this year and the assessment process for applicants is underway. It is envisaged that the next competition for cadetships in the Defence Forces will take place in Quarter 1 of 2020.

Air Corps Strength

 104. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of aircraft technicians in the helicopter wing of the Air Corps in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and the number that left during same period. [26706/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The following table, provided by the military authorities, sets out the number of aircraft technicians in No 3 Operations Wing:

Year Date Strength
2017 31/12/2017 47
2018 31/12/2018 43
2019 20/06/2019 45


  The military authorities have also confirmed that a total of 13 Aircraft Technicians discharged from No 3 Operations Wing between 1st January 2017 and 20th June 2019.

Defence Forces Equipment

 105. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if funding will be provided for the purchase of two additional water tender ladder fire appliances for the Curragh camp fire station; and the frequency with which fire appliances are replaced in military barracks. [26707/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government.

The acquisition of new equipment and the upgrading of equipment for the Defence Forces remains a clear focus for me. Future equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are considered in the context of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability development and equipment priorities planning process. The principal aim over the period of the White Paper will be to replace and upgrade, as required, existing capabilities in order to retain a flexible response for a wide range of operational requirements both at home and overseas.

The Defence Forces operate a fire station at the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC), Curragh Camp with one fire crew on duty at all times. The main purpose of the fire station is to provide a rapid response in the event of a fire at the Ammunition Depot, and also to respond to fire alarms and fire emergencies within the DFTC.

Certain purchasing is carried out by the Defence Forces directly under delegation of financial responsibility which permits the Defence Forces to procure a wide range of goods and services directly, this includes the purchasing of fire appliances. I am advised by the military authorities that the fire station is adequately equipped with a Class B Fire Appliance which was delivered in 2018 following an open tender competition, and there is currently no requirement for the acquisition of additional fire appliances for the DFTC.

The only other military installation with a requirement for a fire service is Casement Aerodrome Baldonnel, where a fire and crash rescue service is required for airfield operations. A contract was awarded last year for the supply of one Rapid Intervention Foam Tender (RIFT) for the Air Corps Fire Service which is due to be delivered into service in June 2020. The delivery into service of the RIFT vehicle will augment the existing capability of the Air Corps Fire and Rescue Service at Casement Aerodrome Baldonnel.

I am satisfied that the Defence Forces have the necessary modern and effective range of equipment available to them in order to fulfil all roles assigned to them by Government.

Defence Forces Recruitment

 106. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans for a recruitment campaign in the UK to recruit a military psychiatrist for the Permanent Defence Force. [26708/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe A recruitment campaign for a civilian consultant psychiatrist for the Defence Forces will commence shortly. To ensure that there is a broad field of candidates as possible, all options for publicising the vacancy are being considered, including the possibility of advertising the post abroad as well as in Ireland.

Defence Forces Expenditure

 107. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the amount spent on replacing military police vehicles in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [26753/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government.

  The acquisition of new equipment for the Defence Forces remains a clear focus for me. Future equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are considered in the context of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability development and equipment priorities planning process. The principal aim over the period of the White Paper will be to replace and upgrade, as required, existing capabilities in order to retain a flexible response for a wide range of operational requirements, including response to security risks and other emergencies, both at home and overseas.

  There is also continuous investment in the non-armoured vehicle fleet and funding is provided on an on-going basis for the required maintenance of vehicles in the military transport fleet, both at home and overseas.

  Certain purchasing is carried out by the Defence Forces directly under delegation of financial responsibility which permits the Defence Forces to procure a wide range of goods and services directly, and this includes Military Police vehicles.

  The following table sets out details of the amount spent on "blue light" Military Police vehicles from 2017 to date in 2019.

Year Number of Vehicles Cost Remarks
2017 Nil Nil  
2018 Nil Nil  
2019 4 €127,680 Vehicles delivered to DF and currently under-going fit-out. (There will be further costs for fitting of blue-lighting)

Rockall Island Ownership

 108. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the detail of the historical negotiations with the UK with regard to ownership of Rockall; if a formal agreement with the UK on the exclusive economic zone of Rockall was made in 2013 as per an article (details supplied); and the developments of all countries contesting ownership claims on the continental shelf to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. [26065/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Rockall is a small uninhabitable rock located approximately 160 nautical miles west of the Scottish islands of St. Kilda and 230 nautical miles to the north-west of Donegal. It marks a point at which the Rockall Bank, part of the very large Hatton-Rockall area of continental shelf extending under the north-east Atlantic Ocean, protrudes 21 metres above sea level. During the 1960s and 1970s the issue of Rockall was a source of legal and political controversy in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. The UK claimed sovereignty over Rockall in 1955 and sought to formally annex it under its 1972 Island of Rockall Act.

While Ireland has not recognised British sovereignty over Rockall, we have never sought to claim sovereignty ourselves. The consistent position of successive Irish Governments has been that Rockall and similar rocks and skerries should have no significance for establishing legal claims to continental shelf. This position is now reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which provides at Article 121, paragraph 3 that: ‘Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.’ Accordingly, sovereignty over Rockall and rights to the Hatton-Rockall area of continental shelf on which Rockall sits are two separate issues.

Under the UN Convention all coastal states are entitled to a continental shelf that extends to the outer edge of the continental margin, or to a distance of 200 nautical miles if the geological continental margin does not actually extend that far. Where a State claims a continental shelf that extends beyond 200 miles it must demonstrate to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf that geologically the margin extends beyond that distance and must provide data to support its case.

In 1988, Ireland and the UK reached agreement on the delimitation of areas of the continental shelf between the two countries in both the Hatton Rockall area of the North East Atlantic and in the Celtic Sea to the south, stretching out up 500 nautical miles from their respective coastlines. Under the UN Convention the location of Rockall was irrelevant to the determination of the boundary in the Hatton-Rockall area.

Notwithstanding the 1988 agreement between Ireland and the UK, the claims by both countries to the Hatton-Rockall shelf beyond 200 miles are not accepted by Iceland or Denmark (on behalf of the Faroe Islands), which make their own claims. The four countries began to meet regularly from 2001 in an effort to resolve the overlapping claims issue, but to date have been unable to reach agreement.

The UN Convention imposes a ten-year deadline for the making of continental shelf submissions to the UN Commission and the deadline expired for Ireland in May 2009. The Government therefore arranged to make the submission in March of that year, as did the British Government in respect of the UK’s claim. Denmark submitted its claim on behalf of the Faroe Islands in 2010. Iceland has not made a submission to date.

The UN Commission’s rules of procedure prevent its consideration of a submission relating to a disputed area without the consent of all the States concerned and Iceland does not currently consent to the consideration of these submissions. However, Ireland’s submission within the deadline preserved the State’s legal position and since then the Government has continued to work for the creation of conditions that will permit its consideration by the UN Commission as soon as possible.

The exclusive economic zone (or EEZ) is the body of water beyond the territorial sea that lies above the continental shelf between 12 and 200 nautical miles from shore. In 2013 Ireland and the UK reached agreement on boundaries between the two countries’ EEZs. The 2013 agreement built on the 1988 Agreement that established continental shelf boundaries and it provides that those boundaries, slightly adjusted to ensure that no waters were lost to the high seas, shall also be the EEZ boundaries. This created a single maritime boundary between 12 and 200 miles in the water and on the seabed beneath.

Nothing in either agreement altered Ireland’s longstanding position on Rockall, nor does either agreement have any implications for the present difficulties between Ireland and Scotland over fishing within 12 miles of Rockall.

Foreign Policy

 109. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on the extradition law proposed in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26210/19]

 110. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on the measures used against protestors in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26211/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 110 together.

I am aware of the bill that was proposed in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which sought to amend local legislation to allow for extradition to the Chinese Mainland, Macau and Taiwan. I note that, on 15 June, the passage of this legislation was suspended indefinitely by the Hong Kong authorities in response to ongoing protests by Hong Kong citizens.

The Consulate General in Hong Kong has been closely monitoring and reporting on developments in relation to the proposed extradition bill and the related demonstrations. The Consul General, along with the EU Office and representatives of other EU Member States, has engaged directly with the Hong Kong authorities to set out our concerns with the proposed bill.

In this House last week, I highlighted Ireland's support for the right of citizens to assembly and freedom of expression, which are provided for under Hong Kong's Basic Law. I urged demonstrators to express their rights in a peaceful manner, and for the police to respect these rights and to exercise restraint in response. I note that while the demonstrations have continued since the suspension of the proposed legislation, they have largely passed without incident, which is welcome.

Ireland will continue to monitor the situation through our Consulate General in Hong Kong.

Travel Documents

 111. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the documentation persons (details supplied) require to travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26227/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Passport Service, within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is responsible for the issuance of passports to Irish citizens, as set out in the Passports Act 2008, as amended.

  Immigration or administrative requirements for entry into other States, including what documentation is acceptable for those purposes, are not matters that are within the competence of my Department.

European Parliament Elections

 112. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if the European Commission has carried out a review on whether there were attempts by outside agencies and State actors to manipulate the European Parliament elections in May 2019; if so, the findings of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26244/19]

 113. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on reports that Russian sources conducted disinformation campaigns designed to suppress voter turnout and sway public opinion during the May 2019 European Parliament elections; if action will be taken in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26245/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 and 113 together.

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 coordinated action which is fully in line with European values and fundamental rights.

The most recent EEAS / European Commission Report on the implementation of the EU’s Action Plan Against Disinformation was released on 14 June 2019. The Report found that available evidence did not permit the identification of a distinct cross-border disinformation campaign from external sources specifically targeting the European elections. However, it concluded that the evidence collected revealed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russian sources, aiming to suppress turnout and influence voter preferences.

According to the EU's East Strategic Communication Task Force, activity covered a broad range of topics, ranging from challenging the Union’s democratic legitimacy to exploiting divisive public debates on issues such as migration and sovereignty.

While it is too early to draw final conclusions about the level and impact of this disinformation, it is clear that the measures adopted to date by the European Council - the EU Joint Action Plan against Disinformation and the dedicated Elections Package - helped to deter attacks and expose disinformation.

Within the framework of these actions, individuals and organisations, including journalists, fact checkers, online platforms, national authorities, researchers and civil society organisations contributed to raising awareness about how to counter the threat. This increased public awareness made it harder for malicious actors to manipulate the public debate.

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 Action Service. A Rapid Alert System has also been established to facilitate the prompt exchange of information between Member States and the EU institutions where suspect disinformation campaigns have been detected.

During the election period the EU worked 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 their services. This allows users to know why they see specific political content and ads, and see where they come from and who is behind them.

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 platforms, have a particular responsibility. The Commission will shortly report back to the European Council in more detail on the implementation of the measures introduced during the election period and on the effectiveness of the Voluntary Code of Practice. Further proposals to strengthen our collective action in response to this ever-evolving threat are likely.

Foreign Policy

 114. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his attention has been drawn to reports that a number of Ukrainian journalists are being detained in Russia and Crimea; the actions the EU has taken with regard to the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26378/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Ireland and its EU partners closely follow developments in relation to media freedom and the treatment of journalists in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and monitor the environment for journalists and any legislation which encroaches on the freedom of speech. Developments are discussed on a regular basis in Brussels and by EU Missions in Moscow and Kyiv.

The EU plays a key role in funding the European Centre for Press and Media freedom (ECPMF) and Ireland supports the targeted protection of journalists through Human Rights Defenders programmes.

At the European Council on 20 June, EU leaders discussed developments in Eastern Ukraine and the Azov Sea and the overall implementation of the Minsk agreements and negotiations in the Normandy format. EU leaders unanimously agreed to roll over the economic sanctions on Russia for another six months and called for an urgent resumption of negotiating efforts to implement the Minsk agreements. The European Council will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine and stand ready to consider further options, including non-recognition of Russian passports issued in contradiction to the Minsk agreements.

Freedom of Information Data

 115. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of freedom of information requests granted, part granted, refused, transferred to an appropriate body, withdrawn or handled outside freedom of information in 2018, in tabular form. [26393/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A breakdown of the Freedom of Information (FOI) requests received by my Department in 2018 is set out in the table below. A total of 320 requests were received in 2018, plus 16 requests received in 2017 which were carried over into 2018 for reply.

Freedom of Information Number of requests
Number of FOI requests granted 60
Number of FOI requests part-granted 91
Number of FOI requests refused 40
Number of FOI requests withdrawn 51
Number of FOI requests withdrawn and handled outside of the Act 69
Number of FOI requests transferred to other FOI bodies 7
Number of FOI requests carried over into 2019 for reply 18

Departmental Properties

 116. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the full rental and-or purchase costs, maintenance and-or upkeep and-or alteration costs associated with all property outside the State that his Department has an interest in, that is, properties that are embassies, Consulates General and official accommodations by accommodation type, cost per year per property and location of property for the past five years to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26586/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department delivers Ireland’s foreign policy objectives through our Embassy network. At present, my Department is responsible for 159 properties comprising Embassies, Consulate Generals, Permanent Missions, Permanent Representations, Secretariats, Representative Offices and official accommodation.

  As part of the duty of care to staff, their families and visitors to our buildings for meetings and functions, the Department must ensure that security and health and safety standards are met, as well as provision of universal access facilities. The Department maintains appropriate health, safety and security standards in our properties overseas while also applying any additional international standards in the location in question, as necessary. All refurbishment and maintenance at missions are conducted in line with the Department’s procurement obligations under Government public tendering and contracting rules, including both national and EU public procurement thresholds.

  The full rental and or purchase costs, maintenance and/or upkeep and or alteration costs for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are outlined in the first table.

  A list of offices by type and location are set out in the second table.

  The purchase costs of properties purchased by the State from 2014 to 2018 are listed in the final table. The purchases were official accommodation in Lilongwe, land to build Ireland House Tokyo in Japan and purchase of an adjacent building to the Embassy of Ireland in Washington to allow for its expansion.

  Table 1. Cost per Mission (€) 2014-2018

Location 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
ABU DHABI 229,252 258,047 300,226 366,315 292,580
ABUJA 215,770 269,383 151,915 183,141 318,248
ADDIS ABABA 164,208 188,699 199,438 218,037 360,175
AMMÁN N/A N/A N/A N/A 99,727
ANKARA 134,098 138,453 264,230 332,270 586,751
ARMAGH 408,325 422,910 435,644 414,194 413,699
ATHENS 170,266 167,579 154,752 226,106 171,335
ATLANTA 56,534 66,574 60,308 97,664 82,692
AUSTIN 14,144 246,429 123,424 135,571 135,990
BANGKOK N/A 550,087 197,067 173,483 197,191
BEIJING 1,018,923 170,658 656,734 605,323 779,418
BELFAST 274,250 201,098 273,381 820,869 369,077
BERLIN 443,042 400,390 366,171 374,641 360,362
BERNE 100,251 134,420 212,280 125,703 114,438
BOGOTA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
BOSTON 160,370 202,275 204,859 177,847 241,461
BRASILIA 270,189 266,868 242,179 244,283 170,018
BRATISLAVA 186,270 188,683 184,005 188,819 237,426
BRUSSELS (EMBASSY) 398,275 369,174 172,237 137,726 131,280
BRUSSELS (PfP) 167,320 172,634 231,664 176,022 172,085
BRUSSELS (PR-EU) 1,857,073 2,233,370 1,721,385 1,791,836 1,802,174
BUCHAREST 268,657 277,487 235,395 177,732 174,217
BUDAPEST 260,946 277,364 283,846 294,287 290,816
BUENOS AIRES 156,158 202,745 222,107 226,258 229,978
CAIRO 231,784 282,837 318,009 268,105 272,426
CANBERRA 148,227 133,946 155,420 143,096 132,535
CAPETOWN N/A 27,742 724.23 41,214 15,168
CARDIFF N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
CHICAGO 95,709 110,989 118,777 116,380 115,346
COPENHAGEN 66,615 260,608 74,112 134,558 89,868
DAR ES SALAAM 178,928 156,295 159,982 165,726 147,541
EDINBURGH 101,420 115,988 83,301 80,523 80,540
FREETOWN 136,687 196,756 143,358 130,701 128,268
GENEVA 527,828 614,230 599,581 693,211 525,395
HANOI 263,976 297,161 329,580 393,347 319,292
HELSINKI 275,714 268,682 197,395 287,312 323,109
HOLY SEE N/A 101,748 135,272 139,303 140,609
HONG KONG 70,307 667,275 377,003 342,955 403,528
JAKARTA 560,125 667,911 355,533 602,059 214,921
KAMPALA 461,474 286,780 306,748 345,671 502,530
KUALA LUMPUR 224,495 156,310 266,985 167,367 181,751
LILONGWE 149,937 182,651 161,646 565,070 108,687
LISBON 164,411 159,823 168,759 235,630 679,691
LJUBLJANA 174,963 169,794 156,017 147,350 149,665
LONDON 1,128,679 1,263,321 1,069,698 1,318,672 3,270,254
LUSAKA 110,640 123,751 123,803 144,577 112,849
LUXEMBOURG 179,560 124,230 118,430 111,768 111,579
MADRID 339,922 282,320 280,628 301,302 322,823
MAPUTO 280,192 211,840 256,144 216,123 210,334
MASERU 32,288 N/A N/A N/A N/A
MEXICO 223,290 266,849 255,426 286,783 261,087
MONROVIA 7,511 2,610 43,748 44,884 38,432
MOSCOW 469,459 239,783 276,151 306,094 299,344
MUMBAI N/A N/A N/A N/A 10,184
NAIROBI 32,919 348,401 504,470 212,954 204,966
NEW DELHI 690,172 840,329 889,434 862,586 822,366
NEW YORK - C.G. 1,018,992 1,214,806 1,250,791 1,227,057 1,133,043
NEW YORK - PMUN 897,309 1,103,880 1,151,669 1,195,844 1,540,357
NICOSIA 118,925 120,724 119,520 125,391 146,073
OSCE - VIENNA 264,814 261,275 256,214 295,620 229,672
OSLO 280,978 425,774 261,858 240,414 338,398
OTTAWA 145,699 168,692 156,383 168,598 185,044
PARIS 954,226 463,781 616,324 539,064 538,663
PRAGUE 239,335 228,622 222,710 231,895 241,959
PRETORIA 256,188 294,029 263,065 311,603 305,365
RAMALLAH 147,526 199,024 173,503 167,634 158,852
RIGA 98,268 89,981 91,595 99,871 118,987
RIYADH 206,926 206,144 200,513 162,015 210,128
ROME 209,630 211,445 241,990 165,259 147,277
SAN FRANCISCO 210,081 249,143 266,360 275,730 281,258
SANTIAGO N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
SAO PAOLO N/A 16,663 123,022 660,694 190,195
SEOUL 171,124 182,851 589,533 172,839 205,640
SHANGHAI 376,028 346,540 334,816 331,077 316,845
SINGAPORE 501,492 438,781 394,198 427,263 423,803
SOFIA 229,886 235,510 217,331 196,235 209,301
STOCKHOLM 271,699 264,753 200,492 183,977 274,296
STRASBOURG 112,911 110,989 119,880 124,875 111,821
SYDNEY 299,657 199,205 255,825 262,580 268,334
TALLINN 321,105 366,703 199,175 202,742 210,560
TEL AVIV 374,381 396,831 532,657 443,899 400,442
THE HAGUE 168,895 210,618 172,034 260,568 228,791
TOKYO 597,042 552,372 889,391 8,633,108 953,306
VALLETTA 233,879 225,059 182,080 156,869 161,281
VANCOUVER N/A N/A N/A N/A 19,800
VIENNA 258,856 374,704 256,784 284,634 271,062
VILNIUS 201,363 148,429 154,305 153,592 156,221
WARSAW 418,924 478,642 413,159 402,165 403,805
WASHINGTON DC 229,085 147,450 140,806 173,057 3,939,344
WELLINGTON N/A N/A N/A N/A 13,778
ZAGREB 3,986 249,043 148,609 153,826 144,153


  Table 2. List of Offices by Type and Location
Mission
Abu Dhabi chancery
Abu Dhabi official accommodation
Abuja chancery & official accommodation
Addis Ababa chancery
Addis Ababa official accommodation
Amman chancery
Amman official accommodation
Ankara chancery
Ankara official accommodation
Armagh Joint Secretariat
Armagh official accommodation
Armagh Staff Apartments
Athens chancery
Athens official accommodation
Atlanta CG chancery
Austin CG chancery
Bangkok chancery
Bangkok official accommodation
Beijing chancery and official accommodation
Beijing Visa office
Belfast British-Irish Intergovernment Secretariat
Belfast official accommodation
Berlin chancery
Berlin official accommodation
Berne chancery
Berne official accommodation
Bogota chancery
Bogota official accommodation
Boston chancery
Brasilia chancery
Brasilia official accommodation
Bratislava chancery
Bratislava official accommodation
Brussels Embassy official accommodation
Brussels, Deputy Permanent Representative official accommodation
Brussels, P.S.C. official accommodation
Brussels, Permanent Representation chancery & Embassy
Brussels, Permanent Representative official accommodation
Bucharest chancery
Bucharest official accommodation
Budapest chancery
Budapest official accommodation
Buenos Aires chancery
Buenos Aires official accommodation
Cairo chancery
Cairo official accommodation
Canberra chancery & official accommodation Compound
Capetown chancery
Cardiff chancery
Chicago CG chancery
Copenhagen chancery
Copenhagen official accommodation
Dar Es Salaam chancery
Dar Es Salaam official accommodation
Edinburgh CG chancery
Freetown chancery
Freetown HOM official accommodation
Geneva chancery
Geneva official accommodation
Hanoi chancery
Hanoi official accommodation
Helsinki chancery
Helsinki official accommodation
Holy See chancery
Holy See official accommodation
Hong Kong CG chancery
Jakarta chancery
Jakarta official accommodation
Kampala chancery
Kampala official accommodation
Kuala Lumpur chancery
Kuala Lumpur official accommodation
Lilongwe chancery
Lilongwe official accommodation
Lisbon chancery
Lisbon official accommodation
Ljubljana chancery
Ljubljana official accommodation
London chancery and official accommodation
London, Passport Information Centre
Lusaka chancery
Lusaka official accommodation
Luxembourg chancery
Luxembourg official accommodation
Madrid chancery
Madrid official accommodation
Maputo chancery
Maputo official accommodation
Mexico chancery
Mexico official accommodation
Monrovia chancery
Monrovia official accommodation
Moscow chancery and official accommodation
Mumbai chancery
Nairobi chancery
Nairobi official accommodation
New Delhi chancery
New Delhi official accommodation
New York, Consulate General chancery
New York, Consulate General official accommodation
New York, PMUN chancery
New York, PMUN official accommodation
Nicosia chancery
Nicosia official accommodation
Oslo chancery
Oslo official accommodation
Ottawa chancery
Ottawa official accommodation
Paris chancery and official accommodation
Paris, OECD official accommodation
Prague chancery
Prague official accommodation
Pretoria chancery
Pretoria official accommodation
Ramallah chancery
Ramallah official accommodation
Riga chancery
Riyadh chancery and official accommodation
Rome chancery
San Francisco Consulate General chancery
Santiago official accommodation
Santiago chancery
São Paulo Consulate General chancery
Seoul chancery
Seoul official accommodation
Shanghai chancery
Singapore chancery
Singapore official accommodation
Sofia chancery
Sofia official accommodation
Stockholm chancery
Stockholm official accommodation
Strasbourg chancery
Strasbourg official accommodation
Sydney Consulate General chancery
Tallinn chancery & official accommodation
Tel Aviv chancery
Tel Aviv official accommodation
The Hague chancery
The Hague official accommodation
Tokyo chancery
Tokyo official accommodation
Valletta chancery
Valletta official accommodation
Vancouver CG
Vienna chancery (Embassy & OSCE)
Vienna official accommodation
Vienna, OSCE official accommodation
Vilnius chancery
Vilnius official accommodation
Warsaw chancery
Warsaw official accommodation
Washington chancery
Washington chancery (adjoining site purchased 2018)
Washington official accommodation
Wellington chancery
Wellington official accommodation
Zagreb chancery
Zagreb official accommodation


  Table 3. Purchase cost of properties 2014-2018
  Year of purchase Purchase value (€)
Lilongwe official accommodation 2017 410,619
Tokyo Chancery and official accommodation - purchase of land 2017 7,739,705
Washington Chancery 2018 2018 3,489,976

Election Monitoring Missions

 117. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the name and age range of each observer appointed to the 2018 election observer roster; the country in which each resides; if they were members of the previous roster; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26641/19]

 118. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason no long-term election observer from Ireland was sent to the election events in Ukraine in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26642/19]

 119. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason the 2018 call for election observers made no provision for reasonable accommodation for disabled applicants; if his officials have been contacted by the Department of Health regarding the matter; if this aspect of the selection process will be reviewed having regard to the obligations of Ireland under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; his plans to appoint disabled election observers whose marks suffered due to the absence of reasonable accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26643/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciarán Cannon Zoom on Ciarán Cannon I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 to 119, inclusive, together.

  The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade administers and maintains a roster of suitably skilled individuals who are available to deploy on international election observation missions organised, in the main, by the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

  A new roster was mustered in January 2019. As the security vetting of the persons shortlisted to that roster continues, the position regarding the disclosure of the list of names of the new roster remains as stated in the response to Parliamentary Question No. 73 of 29 May 2019, to which I refer the Deputy.

  The roster mustering process is now complete. The Department did not receive any request for a reasonable accommodation during the seven week period for the submission of applications, or any stage prior to the appeals process deadline. The issue of reasonable accommodation has been addressed in the responses to Parliamentary Questions No. 60 of 23 January, No. 153 of 5 February, No. 65 of 6 February, No. 58 of 7 February, No. 124 of 12 February, Nos. 100 and 105 of 26 February, Nos. 117 and 119 of 5 March, Nos. 74, 76 and 81 of 6 March, No. 68 of 12 March, No. 157 of 26 March, No. 115 of 16 April and No. 73 of 29 May 2019. Further information is set out in the Information Note attached to this response.

  The EU and the OSCE-ODHIR regularly issue calls for the nomination of observers to participate in the election missions organised under their auspices. The Department reviews each call and responds accordingly on a case-by-case basis, including with regard to the overall annual budget available for participation in election observation missions and the resources of the Department's Elections Desk.

  Information concerning Ireland's substantial contribution to the OSCE election observation mission in Ukraine is set out in the response to Parliamentary Question No. 51 of 18 April 2019, to which I refer the Deputy.

Election Observation Roster note

Brexit Preparations

 120. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the provisions that have been made to protect in as much as feasibly possible all-island financial services in a no-deal Brexit scenario; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26697/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Department of Finance has policy responsibility for matters relating to Financial Services.

Throughout the Brexit process, Ireland and the EU have been at one in our determination to do all we can, deal or no deal, to protect the peace process and to avoid a hard border. The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland which was agreed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement underpins, in a dynamic way, continuing North-South cooperation and the all-island economy as well as recognising the Common Travel Area.

Supporting the financial services sector to prepare for Brexit is a key part of our whole-of-Government approach to prepare for Brexit, and a number of key steps have been taken at both EU and national level.

These includes legislative provisions which have been passed by the Oireachtas in the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019. This remains ready to be deployed if and when required.

The Government is continuing its intensive preparations for the possibility of a no deal Brexit. At its meeting of 21 May the Government agreed that this work should continue to be taken forward as a matter of priority by all Government Departments and Agencies.

Diplomatic Representation

 121. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the foreign ambassadors that have an embassy here who he has met formally to date in 2019. [26713/19]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There are 62 resident Embassies in Dublin.

  Opportunities to meet Heads of Mission - Ambassadors or Chargé d'Affaires - at each Embassy arise on a frequent basis. I will meet Heads of Mission from the entire diplomatic corps (both resident and non-resident) at the National Day of Commemoration on 14 July.

  I also meet Heads of Mission on the occasion of visits by my counterparts to Ireland; at regular events I attend across Ireland; when participating in credential ceremonies at Áras an Uachtaráin and on numerous other occasions.

  To date in 2019, in addition to the foregoing, I have had formal bilateral meetings with four resident Ambassadors: the Ambassador of India; the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the former Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


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