160. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if there are guidelines or legislation in place to ensure school places for children of Irish citizens who are serving the State overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13790/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - School Placement)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Officers serving the state abroad may be accompanied by family members on postings and supports are in place to ensure that children of school-going age are in a position to continue their education with minimal disruption.
As officers prepare to return from posting, they are on request provided with a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade attesting to their service overseas. The letter is provided to ...

210. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the cost of applying for a passport is discouraging some persons from applying; his plans to reduce the cost of passport applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41745/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Passport Applications Fees)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The cost of the standard ten year Irish passport compares favourably with many other jurisdictions. At a cost of €80, which breaks down to €8 per year, the Irish passport fee compares with approximately €9.60 per year for a French passport, €8.20 per year for a British passport, €9.40 per year for an American passport and €18.50 per year for an Australian passport. Given that any shortfall in revenue would have to be met by the tax...

471. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the cost of applying for a passport is discouraging some persons from applying for same; his plans to reduce the cost of passport applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37059/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Passport Applications Fees)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The cost of the standard ten year Irish passport compares favourably with many other jurisdictions. At a cost of €80, which breaks down to €8 per year, the Irish passport fee compares with approximately €9.60 per year for a French passport, €9.40 per year for a British passport, €9.90 per year for an American passport and €16.70 per year for an Australian passport.
Given that the shortfall in revenue would have to be met by the tax...

143. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if all agencies under his aegis have an up to date tax clearance certificate; the agencies which do not have an up to date tax clearance certificate; the reason they do not have a tax clearance certificate in each case, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30287/17 asked on 28 Jun 2017 - Departmental Agencies Data)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): There are no agencies under the aegis of my Department so the issue raised by the Deputy does not arise.
 ...

670. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which a person (details supplied) can obtain a passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26838/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Passport Services)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): As the Deputy will be aware, and as set out in the Passports Act 2008, it is only possible to issue Irish passports to Irish citizens. Entitlement to citizenship is in turn subject to the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended. Accordingly, the Passport Service is obliged to seek documentary evidence of Irish citizenship by birth, parentage/descent, or naturalisation before a passport application can be processed. It...

144. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the details of the way the Passport Office implements its customer service charter, which states that the office is committed to providing effective assistance based on each individual’s circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21361/17 asked on 04 May 2017 - Passport Services)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Passport Service provides a range of application channels designed to accommodate individual applicants’ circumstances. These channels include online, postal and in-person options. In order for the Passport Service to provide the most effective assistance possible, applicants are advised to select at the outset the channel that best suits their particular needs. The online passport application serv...

125. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the details of any payments made by his Department, its agencies or any bodies under his aegis to any broadcasters here in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016; the broadcaster to which the funds were provided; the reason for the payments; and if there are any reasons for payments to broadcasters in 2017. (Question 14724/17 asked on 23 Mar 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): My Department made payments to broadcasters here in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 and to date in 2017 as detailed in the table. Payments made to broadcasters here in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 and to date in 2017. 
 Division/Unit Year Payee Amount Reason for Payment Irish Abroad Unit 2014 RTÉ €50,000 This amount was paid to RTE in connection with broadcasting of the Ceiliúradh (Celebration) concert held at the R...

347. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the measures he will undertake with the US Administration to normalise the status of the undocumented Irish in the USA and to help their cause; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4634/17 asked on 31 Jan 2017 - Undocumented Irish in the USA)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 347, 358 and 361 together.
Achieving relief for undocumented Irish migrants in the US and agreement on a facility for future migration between Ireland and the US are longstanding Government objectives. We continue to be committed to these objectives notwithstanding the immigration policy agenda of the new Administration.
The Government has raised the issue of immigration reform with US interlocuto...

361. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to help the undocumented Irish in the USA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4612/17 asked on 31 Jan 2017 - Undocumented Irish in the USA)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 347, 358 and 361 together.
Achieving relief for undocumented Irish migrants in the US and agreement on a facility for future migration between Ireland and the US are longstanding Government objectives. We continue to be committed to these objectives notwithstanding the immigration policy agenda of the new Administration.
The Government has raised the issue of immigration reform with US interlocuto...

348. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of a review his Department is undertaking relating to the work and potential remuneration of the 11 special Irish peace monitors on secondment to the OSCE in eastern Ukraine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39390/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine performs vital work in extremely difficult circumstances, particularly in Eastern Ukraine. As I outlined in response to a Parliamentary Question No. 343 on 25 October 2016, there is currently no funding for supplementary payments by the Government to Irish monitors. However, my Department continues to keep the issue under review.
 ...

167. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines on such investment; if his Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39032/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - State Investments)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): No investments, either directly, or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by my Department. As there are no agencies under the aegis of my Department the issue raised by the Deputy does not arise. My Department administers a number of funding programmes, including Ireland’s official overseas development programme, Irish Aid. Information on development funding is available on the Irish...

343. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the work of the 11 special Irish peace monitors on secondment to the OSCE in eastern Ukraine; if the monitors receive no pay or allowances from his Department for their work; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Ireland is the only western European country that does not provide its monitors with such allowances or pay; if he will consider extending such payments to the monitors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31929/16 asked on 25 Oct 2016 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, which was established by decision of the Permanent Council of the OSCE on 21 March 2014, is composed of international staff from OSCE participating States and unarmed, civilian monitors, supported in their work by local staff from Ukraine. As of 12 October 2016, there were 693 international monitors in Ukraine, of whom 10 are Irish. 
Members of the Special Monitoring Mission are not...

378. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the figures for his Department on the percentage of working days lost to sickness absence through certified leave and uncertified leave in each year from 2011 to 2015 inclusive. (Question 23413/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Departmental Staff Sick Leave)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Details of the sick leave recorded as taken by staff of my Department from 2011 to 2015 are set out in the following table.
 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 
 Year Percentage of working days lost to certified sick leave% Percentage of working days lost to self-certified leave% 2011 3.02 0.32 2012 2.68 0.27 2013 3.02 0.27 2014 2.75 0.22 2015 2.87 0.21 
 ...

389. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of miles claimed for and the amount of travel expenses paid to him and each Minister of State in his Department in respect of their functions as a Minister in his Department between 1 January 2016 and 10 March 2016; between 11 March 2016 and 6 May 2016; and since 7 May 2016. (Question 24298/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Ministerial Travel)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Mileage expenses are paid in accordance with rates and regulations set down by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Mileage expenses are a monthly total and reflect business related travel across Ireland during the respective month, and incorporate deductions for any personal related travel.
Listed in the following table are the details of travel expenses, including mileage, paid to me as Minister for Foreign Affairs ...

390. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide the name, position and annual salary awarded to his special advisers; to provide details of requests, if any, for an increase above the special advisers pay cap as set by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24315/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Ministerial Advisers Remuneration)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The following are the details of the Special Advisers who have been appointed to my Department under the Guidelines on Staffing of Ministerial Offices for the 32nd Dáil.
 Minister Name Annual Salary Scale€ Minister Charlie Flanagan Sarah KavanaghTom Fabozzi 79,401 – 97,19479,401 – 97,194 

I can confirm that no request has been received to date for an increase above the special advisers’ salary cap.
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132. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is aware of the organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China; the actions he has taken to address this disturbing practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21655/16 asked on 14 Jul 2016 - Human Rights Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Government follows closely reports of human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners, including reported cases of organ harvesting. Human rights issues are discussed on a regular basis with the Chinese authorities during both bilateral and multilateral meetings, including during the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Ireland in May 2015.
Through the formal framework of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, which was estab...