Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Coveney, Simon

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Leaders' Questions

First, when people see the text of the guidelines agreed by leaders, which are to be published tomorrow morning, they will clearly see the determination on the EU side to ensure there is no slide-b...More Button

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

The Government and I believe that the longer the transition period, the better. That period will need to be closer to four or five years than two years. The time that is needed for a transition p...More Button

I would caution against taking a line from some political commentary as outline facts. What we have in writing is what people should look at and see. This is the commitment the British Government...More Button

I share some of the concerns of many people in the Border counties. It is the Government's job to make sure we can reassure people on the basis of what has been agreed, in black and white and i...More Button

The European Union works on the basis of rules, treaties, precedent and negotiated agreements. What does not work is negotiation where a third party changes mid-stream or does not follow through o...More Button

What we will look for and get is a very strong set of guidelines tomorrow which will ensure that if phase 2 is to progress, the commitments made during phase 1 will be fully followed through and, w...More Button

In common with the Deputy, the Government wants to see justice for victims of all cases of sexual abuse, including this case. I understand that the person referred to was the subject of an investi...More Button

As I said, I do not want potentially to prejudice any case that may be taken in future. Unfortunately, sometimes time is a barrier in bringing successful convictions. I do not want to say that is...More Button

We will have to see where that takes us as regards the investigations of An Garda Síochána.More Button

This is territory in which I am personally very interested. It is going to be some time before people see the full benefits of Rebuilding Ireland but we have dramatically increased funding for soc...More Button

While we build up capacity to dramatically increase the number of social housing units that are being delivered through local authorities, approved housing bodies, AHBs, and the private sector un...More Button

We have very significant pressures in the housing market, both in rental properties and those for purchase, because of a dramatic lack of supply, supply which has not been delivered for nearly a ...More Button

One thing we do not need is to try to start all over again with a new plan. We have a plan that is under way.More Button

It is working. I will give the Deputy some statistics because those supplied by the Deputy are simply not true. At the end of the third quarter of 2017, 12,300 social housing units were advancing...More Button

If the Deputy looks at what is happening in the private sector, she will see a 48% increase in commencements and a 50% increase in planning applications. The fast-track planning changes we have ma...More Button

Questions on Promised Legislation

My information is that work on the Bill is under way but we do not have a definitive date for it. I will try to get the Minister to come back to the Deputy on that.More Button

I also take the opportunity to wish everybody in the House a happy Christmas.More Button

As Deputy McDonald knows, this is a three-stage process to which we, as a Government, committed quite some time ago. The Citizens' Assembly carried out comprehensive work and this led to the estab...More Button

The Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, has made it very clear that he needs to work with the Attorney General to put together the heads of a Bill. That is detailed work which needs to be done t...More Button

Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

I do not mean this as a slap-down but, frankly, it would be helpful if people were not declaring victories on anything. This issue is going to divide households across the country and people shoul...More Button

Primary legislation will be required in this area and the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, will have to bring it forward. There will be an opportunity for the Deputy to raise specific issues du...More Button

I cannot discuss the content of that legislation. However, there is a commitment to deliver new legislation, and much work has been done on it, to provide for standards and a proper register for a...More Button

It is a short comment.More Button

There is a role for local authorities and AHBs in delivering social housing. Many fantastic projects have been concluded in the last number of years through good AHBs. The legislation being broug...More Button

I am not laughing.More Button

I assure the Deputy that rural Ireland is a priority for the Government with regard to broadband and a range of other matters. I will ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Enviro...More Button

The legislation the Deputy may be referring to is the Central Bank (Consolidation) Bill where there will be an opportunity to raise some of these issues when it is being debated. That Bill is bein...More Button

If the Deputy sends me a note with the detail of what she has just raised, possibly with some examples, I will pursue it with the line Minister.More Button

I know there are ongoing consultations with GPs, although not necessarily on this specific case but certainly on the broader issue. Again, if the Deputy wants to send me a note on the specific cas...More Button

I expect that the British Government will have a very active debate on this issue in the coming months because under the details that will be published tomorrow, there will be a clear understanding...More Button

The Deputy will have to ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform about that issue. He is the Minister who is dealing with the detail of it.More Button

The Government decision to increase the mandatory retirement age across the public sector from 65 to 70 makes a lot of sense and has broad support in the House. It cannot happen instantly because ...More Button

The Deputy should make sure there are no loose ends to the wiring. I congratulate the Deputy on his Christmas spirit. It got a few smiles in the House for a change, which is always good.

More Button

Some guidelines on-----More Button

Microgeneration Support Scheme Bill 2017: First Stage

No.More Button

Estimates for Public Services 2018: Referral to Select Committee

I move:More Button

Planning and Development Regulations: Referral to Joint Committee

I move:More Button

Ministerial Rota for Parliamentary Questions: Motion

I move:More Button

Consular Services Data

Was asked: the Irish embassies worldwide which have enterprise attachés stationed; and the number of such attachés stationed in each such specific embassy by city and country.More Button

The establishment of a network of locally hired Commercial Attachés was one of the key components of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Economic Diplomacy Strategy launched in January 20...More Button

Under the initial phase of the pilot scheme attachés were appointed in Mexico City, Brasilia, Buenos Aires (also covering Chile), Bucharest (also covering Bulgaria), and Jakarta. Economic Develop...More Button

Working closely with the economic state agencies and with Trade Division within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the posts have facilitated trade promotion in such areas as market acc...More Button

The Commercial Attachés and Economic Development Officers participated in the recent Team Ireland Conference at Croke Park. The Conference, jointly hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs an...More Button

Human Rights Cases

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the trial of a person (details supplied) in Turkey that began on 7 December 2017; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that the Turkish authorities...More Button

The Deputy will recall that my predecessor issued a statement expressing serious concerns when the co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic (HDP) Party, Figen Yüksekdað and Selahattin Demirtas, were ar...More Button

Legislative Programme

Was asked: the Acts, or parts of Acts, awaiting commencement within his area of statutory responsibility; the reason for the delay in the commencement of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Specific provisions of Acts under my Department that have not yet been commenced are Sections 14(8) and 14(9) of the Passports Act 2008.More Button

These Sections of the Passports Act, if commenced, would provide that guardians’ consent to the issuing of a passport would be considered to be enduring for the child up to the age of 18. The co...More Button

European Council Meetings

Was asked: the issues discussed at the recent EU Foreign Affairs Council; the outcome of such discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I attended the most recent EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Monday 11 December, where developments in the Middle East, including the Middle East Peace Process, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, ...More Button

The Council had a good exchange of views on the Middle East Peace Process and developments in the wider region. We discussed what more the EU can do to promote peaceful solutions to the various ...More Button

Over lunch, I participated in a discussion with Foreign and Development Ministers and the Foreign Ministers of the G5 Sahel countries. Following this, Foreign and Development Ministers had a dis...More Button

Was asked: if Prime Minister Netanyahu met the EU Foreign Affairs Council; if so, the outcome of such discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Brussels on 11 December preceded the Foreign Affairs Council, and was not therefore a meeting with the Council itself. The meeting was an informal break...More Button

Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed himself in particular on regional security issues in the Middle East, and on the opportunities to improve relations and trade between the EU and Israel. In the...More Button

Led by HR Mogherini, the EU and its Member States restated our firm commitment to a two state solution which must include finding a way through negotiations for Jerusalem to serve as the future c...More Button

For my part, I also stressed to him the destructive impact of continued settlement building both on Palestinian lives and on the viability of the peace process.More Button

Brexit Negotiations

Was asked: the status of the EU-British agreement on Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the legal standing of the joint report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 ...More Button

Was asked: his views on Brexit Secretary, David Davis's, comments that the agreement reached in phase 1 of Brexit negotiations is a statement of intent more than anything else.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 41, 50 and 53 together.More Button

I welcome the Joint Report from the EU and UK negotiators on progress in phase one of the Brexit negotiations, published on 8 December. On Irish-specific issues, the Government achieved the goal...More Button

We were consistently clear in seeking tangible commitments from the UK. We now have a written guarantee that a hard border will be avoided and commitments as to how this will be achieved.More Button

In the event that it is not possible to resolve the border issue as part of a wider EU-UK future relationship agreement, which has always been the Irish Government’s preference, or through specif...More Button

The agreement between the EU and UK on Irish-specific issues set out in the Joint Report represents, as do the other elements of the Progress Report, a set of very strong political commitments an...More Button

Was asked: the priorities of Ireland for phase two of Brexit negotiations as they relate to individual sectors of the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on all meetings scheduled with Task Force 50 in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 52 together.More Button

The second phase of the Article 50 negotiations will enable discussions to get under way between the EU and the UK on transitional arrangements and on the framework for the future relationship be...More Button

Ireland’s overriding objective is that a future EU-UK agreement should be comprehensive and ambitious and as wide as possible in its scope, while ensuring a level playing field and protecting the...More Button

It will also be important to maintain a clear focus on the unique challenges faced by Ireland. All aspects of the Irish specific issues will continue to be worked on in a distinct stream of work...More Button

There is no question that Brexit poses very significant and serious challenges to Ireland’s economy and trade, as well as across a range of other sectors. While in recent years we have been dive...More Button

In this regard, Ireland’s approach to phase two of the negotiations will continue to be informed by the detailed sectoral work being done by individual Departments, and through cross-Departmental...More Button

Since taking up office, engagement on Brexit with Michel Barnier and his Taskforce, and with other EU partners, has been a central element of my work and that of my Department and our Missions. ...More Button

  Question No. 53 answered with Question No. 41.More Button

EU Directives

Was asked: his plans in respect of the implementation of the European Union work-life balance directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The European Commission initiated a proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU on ...More Button

Discussions on the proposed Directive will continue at working group level under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2018. The Bulgarian Presidency hopes that ...More Button

The Department of Justice and Equality is leading the negotiations on behalf of Ireland.More Button

Consultancy Contracts Data

Was asked: the expenditure on external consultant reports commissioned by his Department since May 2016; the names of the reports in tabular form; the publication or expected publication date of each report; ...More Button

Was asked: the external consultant reports commissioned by his Department since March 2011; the costs per report; the company involved; the title of the report; and the publication date in tabular form.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 59 together. 

  The Department is responsible for two votes - Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Vote 27 (International Cooperat...More Button

Passport Data

Was asked: the number of passports issued by his Department in each of the years 2012 to 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The number of passports issued in the years requested is as follows:

More Button

Passport Applications Data

Was asked: the number of persons from Great Britain and Northern Ireland that have applied for an Irish passport in each of the years 2012 to 2017, in tabular form. More Button

Tracking of passport applications is in general carried out against channel of application rather than by other metrics, including country of origin. Bearing this in mind, the following general br...More Button

Overseas Development Aid Expenditure

Was asked: the target date set by his Department for reaching the 0.7% ODA GNP target; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Human Rights

Was asked: if he will report on recent events in Venezuela including the banning of opposition parties from the 2018 election there; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The situation in Venezuela continues to be a matter of serious concern to the Government.More Button

Municipal elections took place in Venezuela on 10 December 2017. Preliminary results released by the country’s national electoral institute suggested that the ruling party of President Maduro, t...More Button

In parallel, attempts to foster meaningful dialogue between the government and the opposition, aimed at bringing about political stability and addressing the severe challenges facing the country,...More Button

Presidential elections are due to take place in December 2018. Ireland and its EU partners have called for concrete action to ensure the full respect and independence of Venezuela’s democratic in...More Button

On 13 November last, at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers, which I attended, it was agreed unanimously to adopt restrictive measures, underscoring our concerns at the situation in the country. T...More Button

Undocumented Irish in the USA

Was asked: the estimated number of Irish persons living in the United States of America without documentation; the recent efforts that have been made to resolve this issue; the number of meetings held; and if...More Button

I want first of all to reassure the Deputy that the Government remains committed to finding a solution to the plight of the thousands of undocumented Irish in the United States.

 &nbs...More Button

Departmental Budgets

Was asked: if a budget has been allocated to the person in the role of US special envoy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Taoiseach appointed Deputy John Deasy as Special Envoy to the United States Congress on the Undocumented Irish in June 2017.

  The work of the Special Envoy is conducted unde...More Button

  Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 41.More Button

EU Issues

Was asked: if he has raised the European Ombudsman report on unpaid internships in the European External Action Service with his EU colleagues; if he will recommend action on the report; and if he will make a...More Button

As I noted in my response to the Deputy regarding this matter on 13 July 2017, the EU Ombudsman report on unpaid internships in the European External Action Service is an “own initiative” report th...More Button

Ireland participates in the “EEAS Junior Professionals in EU Delegations” paid programme. In addition my own Department offers a limited number of paid 11 month internships for graduates which a...More Button

Ministerial Travel

Was asked: the use his Department has made of the Government jet since coming into office, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the use his Department has made of the Government jet in each of the years March 2011 to February 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 56 together. 

  The core functions of my Department are predominantly concerned with international political and security policy, adv...More Button

Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: the photography costs for his Department in each year since March 2011 inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the list of occasions for which photographers were booked; ...More Button

Was asked: the use of external public relations firms employed by his department in each year since March 2011; the list of uses of the external public relations firm; the internal department policy with rega...More Button

I propose to take Question Nos. 57 and 58 together.

Photography

  My Department only avails of the services of external photographic agencies where ...More Button

  Question No. 59 answered with Question No. 43.More Button

Was asked: the level of expenditure by his Department from 1 January 2017 to date in 2017 on advertising of Government information campaigns published specifically in national and regional newspapers in addit...More Button

Was asked: the level of expenditure by his Department or organisations under the aegis of his Department from 1 January 2017 to date in 2017 on photography, advertising, communications advice, public relation...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 61 together.

  Photography - 2017

  My Department only avails of the services of external photographic agencies ...More Button