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Flanagan, Charles

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Anti-Terrorism Measures

Was asked: if the attention of the Coast Guard and Civil Defence was drawn to an arrangement between the RAF and the State to facilitate the shooting down of hijacked planes over Ireland.More Button

I cannot comment on any reports concerning national security matters or responses that might be taken in the event of an attack on Ireland or a serious and immediate security threat to Ireland and ...More Button

Was asked: if the attention of senior officers in An Garda Síochána was drawn to the agreement entered into by the State to grant permission to the RAF to shoot down hijacked planes over Ireland; and if he wi...More Button

I cannot comment on any reports concerning national security matters or responses that might be taken in the event of an attack on Ireland or a serious and immediate security threat to Ireland and ...More Button

Irish Prisoners Abroad

Was asked: if he will report on the welfare of a person (details supplied) currently detained in Egypt in view of renewed concerns for their health and well-being; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

This consular case continues to be a top priority for the Government and substantial resources and time are being devoted to it, by the Taoiseach and the Government and by my Department. Reports a...More Button

While the doctor’s findings are, of course, a private and confidential matter, I can confirm that the Irish doctor shared his assessment and recommendations with the prison authorities who have a...More Button

I have been concerned by persistent reports that the citizen in question is pursuing a hunger strike. The Government has consistently stressed to him and to his family that he should not pursue ...More Button

The Taoiseach has in recent days renewed the Government’s appeal to the Egyptian President to release this Irish citizen and return him to Ireland without delay. This is the Government’s objecti...More Button

The court case in which this person is accused is now moving forward at a much more accelerated pace. At the most recent hearing in the case, on 5 April, 11 more witnesses were called and cross-...More Button

Our Ambassador and his team in Cairo have done exceptional work on this case with an unprecedented number of consular visits being undertaken to ensure that this citizen’s health and welfare is m...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a further progress report on his most recent actions and communications regarding a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

This consular case continues to be a top priority for the Government and substantial resources and time are being devoted to it, by the Taoiseach and the Government and by my Department.More Button

In light of our serious concern for this young man’s welfare, the Government took the unprecedented step last month of making arrangements for an Irish doctor, nominated by the Chief Medical Offi...More Button

I have consistently underlined my concerns about this case in all contacts with Egyptian interlocutors and made clear that the Government expect them to fulfil their responsibilities in relation ...More Button

Ireland’s Embassy in Cairo is continuing to follow up on these matters.More Button

The Taoiseach has in recent days renewed the Government’s appeal to the Egyptian President to release this Irish citizen and return him to Ireland without delay. This is the Government’s objecti...More Button

The court case in which this person is accused is now moving forward at a more accelerated pace. At the most recent hearing in the case, on 5 April, eleven more witnesses were called and cross-e...More Button

For my part, I will be continuing to work urgently at the political level to maintain pressure on the Egyptian Government to release our citizen and allow him to return to his home and his family.More Button

European Council Meetings

Was asked: if he will report on his most recent meeting at the European Foreign Affairs Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I attended the most recent EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg on Monday 3 April where Syria, Yemen and Libya were on the agenda. My EU counterparts and I also met with the Secretary-...More Button

Ireland's humanitarian assistance to the victims of the Syria crisis reached €76 million as of March 2017, and we pledged a further €25 million at the recent conference on “Supporting the future ...More Button

EU Foreign Ministers also discussed the severe humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which is also of grave concern. I have previously discussed Yemen with my counterparts in the Gulf region, and raised...More Button

The Council also discussed the political situation in Libya, and the urgent need for a political solution that would unite the country under the Libyan Peace Agreement.More Button

This was the first meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council since the UK formally triggered Article 50 on 29 March and the circulation of the draft negotiation guidelines on 31 March. I continued ...More Button

Syrian Conflict

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the situation in Syria; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The situation in Syria continues to be a matter of grave concern. 13.5 million Syrians are now in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria including 6.3 million internally displaced people, 1.5...More Button

I am also aware of course of the US missile strikes on Shayrat Airfield in Syria. I understand that the US intention was to prevent further chemical attacks. The High Representative, Federica M...More Button

The attack in Khan Sheikhoun further underlines the need for accountability and a genuine political transition in Syria. The search for a sustainable peaceful resolution to the conflict, and, as ...More Button

I had the opportunity to discuss the situation in Syria with EU Foreign Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council last week. My EU colleagues joined me in condemning the continued widespread abuses ...More Button

Minister of State McHugh attended the Conference on supporting the future of Syria and the Region in Brussels last Wednesday at which Ireland pledged an additional €25million in humanitarian assi...More Button

Ireland fully supports the UN-led Geneva peace process and the work of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and remains committed to supporting efforts towards a peaceful resolution to t...More Button

Was asked: the communication he has had with other foreign Ministers or Governments about the savage chemical attack in Syria in recent days; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I was horrified to learn of the apparent chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun last week which killed scores of civilians and seriously injured many more. The attack was simply barbaric, and my though...More Button

My EU colleagues and I have denounced the attack, both individually and as a group.More Button

My Department and I have remained in constant contact with our EU counterparts over the past week. We have also had engagement with many other governments at official level through our network of...More Button

Just before this attack occurred, I had the opportunity to discuss the overall situation in Syria in person with EU Foreign Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday of last week. In ou...More Button

Following the apparent chemical attacks in Khan Sheikoun on Tuesday, we also issued joint statement condemning the attack in the strongest terms. More Button

Minister of State McHugh attended the Conference on supporting the future of Syria and the Region in Brussels last Wednesday at which he had the opportunity to discuss the situation in Syria in g...More Button

At this conference Ireland pledged an additional €25million in humanitarian assistance for Syria and the neighbouring refugee hosting countries in 2017. Ireland has already contributed €76.5 mill...More Button

In parallel, Ireland continues to call for full accountability for full legal accountability for all war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria. In December, Ireland worked with a...More Button

Ireland fully supports the UN-led Geneva peace process and the work of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and remains in constant contact with our UN partners to support the search for...More Button

Northern Ireland

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the current political situation in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following the Assembly election, I spoke on 5 March with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the Taoiseach spoke with Prime Minister May. Both Governments agreed on the need for inten...More Button

Overall there is encouraging progress being made in this renewed phase but I am under no illusions about the challenge of resolving the core issues that remain outstanding. Serious issues remain...More Button

As part of my engagement with the Secretary of State and with each of the parties in the discussions in recent days, I have strongly emphasised the critical importance of forming a new Executive ...More Button

I will continue to participate in the discussions in Belfast this week as required, working with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the political parties to see the power-sharing Ass...More Button

While time is extremely tight, I remain hopeful of a positive outcome to the discussions, and strongly urge all parties to work intensively and cooperatively, to secure the power-sharing institut...More Button

Was asked: if he has raised with the US Administration the appointment of a special envoy to Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Successive US Administrations have provided immensely valuable support to the peace process over the last three decades and the Government hopes that the new US Administration will also remain acti...More Button

During my visit to Washington DC in February of this year, I conveyed the Government’s appreciation for US engagement with the peace process to senior political figures, as did the Taoiseach duri...More Button

In the immediate period ahead, the Government would particularly welcome the continued support of the US Administration and Congress in encouraging the parties in Northern Ireland to take the nec...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the ongoing outstanding requests with the British Government regarding inquiries into the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, the Kingsmill massacre and the murder of a person (details s...More Button

Dealing with long-outstanding issues relating to the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland are of the utmost importance to me as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and for the Government. ...More Button

Was asked: if he and his departmental officials are preparing legislative scenarios required for working towards a united Ireland in the context of the Good Friday Agreement.More Button

The full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements is a priority for my Department and indeed the Government as a whole. In this context, we are of course also guided b...More Button

The principle of consent and the possibility of a change in constitutional status in Northern Ireland is a fundamental part of the Good Friday Agreement, which was endorsed by the people of this ...More Button

In the absence of any prospect of a referendum in the near future, my Department is not preparing specific legislative scenarios for a united Ireland. My immediate priority is to secure the futu...More Button

As a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government will continue its work to protect the peace process and ensure that all provisions of the Good Friday Agreement are respected in the...More Button

In the event of a future referendum within the consent provisions of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government would make all necessary preparations in accordance with the terms of the Constituti...More Button

There are of course aspects of this constitutional issue which relate to my Department’s ongoing work. In the context of Brexit, the Government has made clear its determination to ensure respect ...More Button

Passport Services

Was asked: if he will address concerns with regard to the passport express service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Passport Service aims to process passport renewal applications submitted through Passport Express within 15 working days of receipt, assuming that all documentation is in order. Applicants are ...More Button

Departmental Properties

Was asked: the number of vacant buildings in his Department’s ownership or control; the locations of same; and the time they have been unoccupied in each case.More Button

My Department does not own or control any vacant building. Any properties occupied by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the State are rented and discharged by the Office of Public Works.More Button

Acht na Gaeilge

Tá roinnt eilimintí de Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta agus Chomhaontú Chill Rímhinn nach bhfuil curtha i bhfeidhm go hiomlán go fóill, iad siúd a bhaineann le hAcht Teanga ina measc. Is é seasamh dain...More Button

In idirbheartaíocht Comhaontú Teach Stormont go déanach in 2014, agus mé féin is ionadaithe eile ó Rialtas na hÉireann ag moladh go mbeadh onóir tugtha don choimitmint seo agus é curtha i bhfeidh...More Button

Is nithe tábhachta de Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta iad éagsúlacht teangeolaíoch agus an Ghaeilge.More Button

Sna plé leanúnach i Stormont ar na gealltanais ó na Comhaontuithe a tháinig roimhe nach bhfuil curtha i bhfeidhm, tá sé ráite agam go soiléir do Rialtas na Breataine agus na páirtithe polaitiúla,...More Button

Tá an cheist den méid sonrach lena mbeidh i reachtaíocht ar an nGaeilge i mbun plé gníomhach idir na páirtithe polaitiúla mar chuid de na plé leanúnacha i Stormont agus tá súil agam gur féidir le...More Button

Registration of Births

Was asked: the number of foreign birth registrations from 2012 to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Foreign Birth registration is a process detailed in Irish legislation whereby a person born outside the island of Ireland, who has a parent who is an Irish citizen but who was also born outside the...More Button

Middle East Issues

Was asked: his views on the circumstances surrounding the resignation of a person (details supplied) as Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia of the UN arising from critic...More Button

I am aware of the resignation of the former UN Under-Secretary General and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Executive Secretary, Rima Khalaf, and also of the report commissio...More Button

I cannot comment on the content of the report, which has been withdrawn on the order of Secretary General Guterres, who said that proper procedures had not been followed in issuing the report. S...More Button

It is relevant also to note that the majority of the eighteen ESCWA member states do not recognise the State of Israel. More Button

Nonetheless, there are issues of enormous concern in the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, and a clear need for these to be discussed in an open and impartial manner. More Button

I have argued consistently and repeatedly at EU and UN level that there needs to be a greater focus on the actions and developments in the occupied Palestinian territory which are unjust and whic...More Button

Foreign Naval Vessels

Was asked: if his Department has received reports of US Navy personnel berthed in Cobh, County Cork, bearing arms onshore in March 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In response to a request from the US Embassy, my Department granted permission for the visit of US naval vessel, USS Donald Cook, to the port of Cobh from 21-25 March 2017. The purpose of the visi...More Button

International Relations

Was asked: if he has discussed the general strike and mass demonstrations in French Guiana with the French authorities which have been organised against poor public services, the cost of living, mass unemploy...More Button

I am aware of the situation to which the deputy refers. French Guiana is an overseas Department and region of France. The matters referred to are therefore internal issues for the French authorit...More Button

Was asked: his views of the attempts by the President of Paraguay to extend his term and the movement of opposition to this; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am concerned at recent events in Paraguay, including violence in the capital Asuncion and attempts to burn down the Parliament Buildings.More Button

The immediate cause of this violence was an attempt to introduce a referendum on an amendment to the Paraguayan constitution to permit President Horacio Cartes, and any previous President, includ...More Button

While it is generally considered to be within democratic norms for a President to stand for a second term, the situation in Paraguay is unique due to historical sensitivities following the extend...More Button

I am particularly concerned by reports of the police raid on the headquarters of the Liberal Party which resulted in the death of a young party member. I hope that this tragic incident will be u...More Button

I urge all sides in Paraguay to remain calm, desist from violence and seek a peaceful solution to this situation. I also urge the Government of Paraguay, the members of the Paraguayan Congress a...More Button

Paraguay has over the last ten years undertaken important reforms which have created the basis for economic growth. I hope that current political tensions will de-escalate and attention will foc...More Button

While Ireland does not have a resident Embassy in Asuncion, the situation in Paraguay is being followed closely by the accredited Embassy in Buenos Aires.More Button

North-South Ministerial Council

Was asked: if he will report on the North-South Ministerial Council and ensure that the treaties and agreements between Ireland and the UK will be fully implemented.More Button

At the most recent Plenary meeting of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) on 18 November 2016 in Armagh the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive agreed on a number of important comm...More Button

It was agreed that this work would be taken forward through continuing bilateral discussions within the NSMC at sectorial level, as well as through a high-level working group comprising senior of...More Button

The Government hopes that as a result of the ongoing talks in Stormont, in which I am participating, a new Northern Ireland Executive will be in place shortly and that dates for the next round ...More Button

The Executive is responsible for politically representing Northern Ireland’s interests, including in relation to the upcoming EU-UK negotiations. With those negotiations due to begin shortly, it...More Button

The Government is also working to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement and the overall balance of the settlement is not in any way disturbed by the UK’s exit from the European Union. The legal ...More Button

The Government’s firm position is that the Good Friday Agreement and the subsequent Agreements must be implemented in full, and this is reflected in the Programme for a Partnership Government. T ...More Button

As co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, both Governments have a role to play in supporting the effective operation of the devolved institutions, and in upholding both the letter and the sp...More Button

The Government views as a solemn responsibility our role and mandate as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. We have been unstinting in our efforts to uphold the principles of the Agreemen...More Button

Brexit Issues

Was asked: if he has met the UK Secretary of State for Exiting the EU.More Button

Along with the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. and the Minister of State for European Affairs Dara Murphy T.D., I met the UK Secretary of State for Exiting t...More Button

Middle East Peace Process

Was asked: if officials in his Department are reviewing the two-state solution in Israel and Palestine as they support international policy, as outlined in his Department's strategy.More Button

Ireland has supported a two state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict since 1980, and for many years now this has been the overwhelming consensus of the international community. I believe that t...More Button

I believe the two-state solution can be achieved, if there is the political will to bring it about. More Button

Undocumented Irish in the USA

Was asked: his views on comments made by the Boston mayor during St Patrick's Day festivities in the USA on the undocumented Irish.More Button

While I am aware of the comments made by the Mayor of Boston calling for comprehensive legislation to provide clarity to all immigrants in the US, it remains the responsibility of the Government to...More Button

In this context the Government and our Ambassador and diplomatic representatives in the US will continue to seek opportunities to make the US Administration and members of Congress aware of the i...More Button

White Papers Publication

Was asked: his views on the publication of the European Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe published on 1 March 2017.More Button

I welcome the publication of the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe. It is essentially a discussion paper which contains much valuable food for thought both about the international c...More Button

It is important that all member States, national parliaments and citizens across Europe are involved in this discussion in the period ahead. In the first instance, I would suggest that it might ...More Button

The White Paper should also be seen in the light of the Declaration of twenty-seven Heads of State or Government, which issued in Rome to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the signature of the Tre...More Button