101. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the person that has the ultimate responsibility for allowing RAF jets to fly over Irish airspace on intercept missions; the details of the bilateral agreement reached by his department and the Irish Aviation Authority and its British counterparts (details supplied) that permits such missions; if RAF planes are allowed to conduct armed operations over Ireland in the event of a terrorist attack, real or suspected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23194/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Military Aircraft)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 71, 82 and 101 together. I propose taking Questions 71, 82 and 101 together. The Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952, made under the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1946, gives the Minister for Foreign Affairs primary responsibility for the regulation of activity by foreign military aircraft in Ireland. Successive Ministers for Foreign Affairs have put in place strict condition...

174. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to urge the Egyptian Government to release a person (details supplied) on humanitarian grounds. (Question 12457/17 asked on 09 Mar 2017 - Human Rights Cases)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): This consular case remains a top priority for the Government. The Taoiseach has been in regular contact directly and personally with the Egyptian President about this case. As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I am continuing to devote very considerable time and effort to this case. I travelled to Cairo to raise the case with the Egyptian authorities at the highest levels. I have raised the case with my Egyptian counterp...

179. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will consider issuing a text and e-mail providing six months advance notice of a passport’s expiry date to passport holders, given the huge backlog that occurs each summer and the problems persons have when they notice their passports are out of date. (Question 16467/16 asked on 16 Jun 2016 - Passport Services)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As advised in the briefing on the passport applications process that I circulated to Members on 26 May, I am pleased to confirm that the Passport Service already offers a passport reminder service to customers. The reminder service, which can be accessed via the Passport Service web pages at www.passport.ie, sends an e-mail both three months and six months before a passport is due to expire to those who register. Registration si...

590. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the additional resources he has made available to ensure there is not undue delay in processing passport applications at this busy time of the year. (Question 10503/16 asked on 17 May 2016 - Passport Services)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Throughout this year the demand for passports has been exceptionally high. From 1 January to 13 May the Passport Service has received a total of 314,585 applications for passport books and 9,475 for passport cards. This represents a significant increase of almost 15% in applications for passport books compared to the same period last year.
To address the anticipated increase over the summer season, the Passport Service has recrui...

591. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is aware that An Post is advising its customers that Passport Express will deliver a passport within ten working days whereas the Passport Office is suggesting at least six weeks; and to ensure An Post gives out the correct advice at times of increased workload on the Passport Office given that it cannot reasonably comply with or achieve the ambitious timeframe of Passport Express, thus leaving many Irish travellers scrambling to get their passports at the last minute. (Question 10504/16 asked on 17 May 2016 - Passport Services)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Department works closely with An Post to ensure that Passport Express customers are updated regularly on target turnaround times for passport applications.
Passport renewal times can vary depending on seasonal and other factors. The Passport Service has experienced a 15% increase approximately in applications so far this year over 2015 and demand is expected to remain very high in the coming months. We have taken a number of...

723. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of annual subscriptions to external membership bodies and groups his Department has including the cost and details. (Question 46729/15 asked on 13 Jan 2016 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The information as requested by the Deputy on the number of annual subscriptions to external membership bodies and groups made by my Department, including the cost and details, is set out in the table below:
 Name of Organisation Details Annual subscription fee in 2015 € Institute of Public Administration Governance Forum The Governance Forum is a network providing events and advice on governance issues from a public in...

724. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of annual subscriptions to newspapers or magazines his Department has including the cost and details. (Question 46730/15 asked on 13 Jan 2016 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In 2015, the Department’s Library spent €208,537 on subscriptions to 82 print and online newspapers and magazines for headquarters and Missions abroad. The Department has a network of 80 Diplomatic, Consular and other offices overseas. Missions abroad perform a wide range of functions in pursuit of Ireland’s foreign policy interests, including representing and advancing government policies internationally, in particular at the EU...

725. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the annual cost to his Department of advertisements placed on its behalf in newspapers, magazines, television and radio and social media. (Question 46731/15 asked on 13 Jan 2016 - Departmental Advertising Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for two Votes – Vote 28: Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Vote 27: International Cooperation. There are no agencies under the aegis of my Department. Advertising undertaken by my Department relates mainly to notification of changes to passport and consular fees, public office opening hours, and occasional notices concerning employment, grants, and other matters, including I...

90. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to ensure outstanding issues in relation to the Stormont House Agreement and previous multi-party agreements are implemented; and the measures his Department is taking to ensure the devolution of fiscal powers to Stormont to ensure sustainable and workable budgets may be agreed. (Question 28659/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Northern Ireland Issues)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: In my question I ask the Government about its plans to deal with the outstanding issues arising from the Stormont House Agreement and previous agreements and call on it to ensure fiscal powers are transferred in order that there can be a sustainable and workable budget in the North in the future. In the most recent budget we saw the scale of the cuts imposed by the Tory Government which did not win a single seat in the North.
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93. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is aware that the Sri Lankan Government continues to refuse co-operation with international investigations into alleged war crimes committed by their military, that there is ongoing persecution of the Tamil persons in Sri Lanka and that a significant military presence remains in the northern and eastern provinces of the state; and if he will raise these concerns with his Sri Lankan counterpart. (Question 28660/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Foreign Conflicts)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: I tabled this question as I firmly believe that the international community is ignoring the plight of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Is the Minister aware of their plight? Is he aware that the Sri Lankan Government continues to refuse to co-operate with international investigations into alleged war crimes committed by its military during the war which ended in 2009? Is he aware of the ongoing persecution of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, in particular in the northern and e...

99. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is aware that new data from Medical Aid for Palestinians show that 17 hospitals, 56 primary health care facilities and 45 ambulances were damaged or destroyed during Israel’s attack on Gaza in July 2014, that the total cost of the conflict to Gaza’s health care system is estimated at $50 million, and that 511 Palestinians died after their ambulances were obstructed; and if he will raise the issue with his Israeli counterpart. (Question 28358/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Middle East Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am aware of the report produced by Medical Aid for Palestine and other NGOs. This troubling report essentially confirms the view which I and many others expressed in the Dáil during the conflict last year, which was that both the scale and nature of the military action, and the high level of civilian casualties, inevitably led to the conclusion that the principles of distinction and proportionality were not being adequately res...

101. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his Department is still assisting the families and victims of those affected by the balcony tragedy in Berkeley in the United States of America and the attack on tourists in Sousse in Tunisia. (Question 28356/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Consular Services Provision)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade activated its Emergency Consular Response plan and its standing Emergency Consular Response Centre to give immediate consular assistance to those affected by the tragic events in both Berkeley and Sousse.
With regard to the Berkeley balcony collapse, the Consulate General in San Francisco and the Consular Division here in Dublin, remain in ongoing contact with the families of the decease...

103. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is aware that the Sudanese President, Mr. Omar Al-Bashir, who has an International Criminal Court warrant for his arrest over alleged war crimes, travelled to and from an African Union summit in South Africa unimpeded; his views on whether the International Criminal Court’s legitimacy is in crisis after this event; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28359/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - International Criminal Court)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The President of the Republic of Sudan, Mr Al Bashir, travelled to South Africa, to participate in the 25th Summit of the African Union, on 13 June 2015 and left on 15 June.
There are two International Criminal Court arrest warrants outstanding in relation to President Al Bashir. He is sought by the ICC in relation to a number of charges, including charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. These charges arise ...

119. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is aware of the case of a person (details supplied), an imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger and activist, who has been handed a sentence of 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison for insulting Islam; if he agrees this is an extremely cruel, inhuman and unjust sentence for starting an Internet discussion group and that the right to freedom of expression should be respected; if he is aware that this person’s lawyer, who is also a human rights activist, is still in jail; and if he will raise the case with his Saudi Arabian counterpart. (Question 28360/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Human Rights Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am aware of the cases raised.
I share the Deputy’s serious ongoing concern about this case. My concern is both about the conviction for activities which would be widely regarded here as the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the nature of the sentence, which included corporal punishment.
Concerns about both of these cases have been raised by the European Union on behalf of its Member States...

126. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is aware that at the beginning of May 2015, the Israeli High Court ruled that officials could carry out demolition orders on the entire village of Susiya in the southern West Bank; that, if these demolitions go ahead, over 250 persons will be evicted from the place in which they have lived since before the occupation of the West Bank in 1967; and if he will inform the Israeli Government of Ireland’s opposition to its plans to demolish the entire village of Susiya. (Question 28357/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Israeli Settlements)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Ireland has consistently condemned the dispossession and eviction of Palestinian people in order to clear land for Israeli settlements. This is clearly contrary to international law. I have expressed these concerns in public statements, in contacts with the Israeli Embassy here, and directly to the Israeli Foreign Minister when I visited in February.
We have also consistently made this clear at EU level. The EU has consistently...

710. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 has not been granted access to the Irish embassy in Egypt to receive their visa to return to Ireland; and the steps if he will take to assist the person in doing so. (Question 28799/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Visa Applications)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The person referred to was denied entry to the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo due to a previous security incident at the Embassy. In addition, concerns were raised with the Embassy by third parties regarding the alleged conduct of this person in relation to visa matters. Should this person wish to submit a visa application, it is open to him to do so by having the application delivered by courier service to the Embassy’s public off...

724. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will be present for any part of the financing for development summit in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia; and his Department’s key proposals. (Question 28361/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Overseas Development Aid)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): This week’s Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa is the first of three major inter-linked global conferences on sustainable development this year. The others will be on a new framework for global development at the UN in New York in September and on a new climate change agreement in Paris in December. Taken together, they aim to deliver a new and transformative sustainable development agenda, with Sustainable D...

202. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is aware that this year, 24 April 2015, the annual Armenian genocide remembrance day, marks the centenary of the genocide, and that no Irish Government has officially recognised the genocide; and his plans to officially recognise and remember the genocide this year. (Question 15267/15 asked on 21 Apr 2015 - Human Rights Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 2015 marks the centenary of terrible events which resulted in the tragic deaths of very large numbers of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire. President Higgins recently expressed the sympathy of the Irish people for the enormous suffering of Armenians in that era to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. The Ambassador of Ireland to Armenia, John Biggar, will represent Ireland at the official centennial commemorations taki...

513. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the proposal to require all public sector workers under the aegis of his Department who interface with service users to wear a name badge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8567/15 asked on 24 Feb 2015 - Departmental Staff)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The HR section of my Department would be happy to discuss such a proposal with Staff Side representatives. At present, frontline staff in our passport offices provide their names to customers on request and also identify themselves by name in routine correspondence.
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132. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 will receive a refund of €80 from the passport office. (Question 25919/14 asked on 17 Jun 2014 - Passport Application Fees)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): A refund of €80 in respect of the paid passport fee was made by the Department to the person in question last week. 
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7. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the recent detention of Bahraini opposition leader Khalil al-Marzooq; if he will raise the case with the Bahraini authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41158/13 asked on 02 Oct 2013 - Human Rights Issues)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): According to reports received, Khalil al-Marzooq, assistant secretary general of the Bahrain opposition party al-Wefaq, was arrested on 17 September. Mr. al-Marzooq is a former Deputy Speaker of Parliament who resigned with other opposition MPs in response to the government’s suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations in February 2011. It appears that Mr. al-Marzooq’s arrest was in response to a speech ...

70. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the case of Wael Abu-Sada, a 40 year old Palestinian citizen who died of a serious illness on 23 September 2013 after he was prevented from travelling through the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt for medical treatment in Jordan; if he will raise this case with the Egyptian and Israeli Governments and encourage them both to lift the illegal blockade and siege of Gaza. (Question 41154/13 asked on 02 Oct 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 70 together. 
As the Deputy is aware, I have consistently called for the end of the restrictive measures imposed on the border crossings into and out of Gaza, which impose many hardships on the people of Gaza but paradoxically strengthen the control there of Hamas and other militant groups. The terms under which the Rafah border crossing to Egypt operates are restricted by the agr...

167. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) in County Down being held in Maghaberry Prison for over six months, whose disproportionately restrictive bail conditions if acceeded to would affectively ban them from living with their family in their home town and prevent them from even visiting their family doctor; if he has discussed the case in his meetings with the British Secretary for State Ms Teresa Villiers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31977/13 asked on 02 Jul 2013 - Northern Ireland Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The detention of the person referred to does not arise by virtue of powers vested in the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland but under devolved powers vested in the Northern Ireland Courts which are independent in the exercise of their functions. This is in keeping with the devolved settlement arising from the Good Friday Agreement and the Hillsborough Agreement. As such it would be inappropriate for me to seek to in...

36. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the failure of the Spanish Government to enter significant negotiations to formulate a peace process with pro-independence Basque groups; and if he has raised the issue with the Spanish authorities. (Question 30778/13 asked on 26 Jun 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I have closely followed developments in relation to the Basque Country, including the outcome of the San Sebastian Conference in October 2011 and the subsequent declaration by ETA on 20 October 2011 that the organisation had “decided on the definitive cessation of its armed activity”. The Government supports and encourages any initiative that could lead to a definitive peace in the Basque Country.
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56. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Afghan Government has taken over complete control of security in the country; his views on whether this is a positive and timely development; his views on the recent breakdown in negotiations between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. (Question 30774/13 asked on 26 Jun 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The Deputy is referring to the announcement on 18 June of the beginning of the final phase of the Transition process that will see the Afghan National Security Forces take full responsibility for security across Afghanistan by the end of 2014. I hope that this will enable Afghanistan to make further progress towards the goal of becoming a peaceful, self-governing and democratic state, based on respect for human rights, ...