81. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the position regarding policy formulation in his Department; and the way in which co-operation with other Ministers and Departments is co-ordinated. (Question 2115/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Ministerial Dialogue)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 and 81 together.
The Government acts collectively and any work done by a Minister within a Department is done with a whole-of-Government approach. A Programme for a Partnership Government sets out the Government’s ambitious programme of work and shared aims and we will continue to deliver on this programme.
The primary mechanism for ensuring a whole-of-Government approach is the weekly Cabinet meeting at which all major policy issues are discus...

3. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with Mr. Donald Tusk; and the issues that were discussed. (Question 51993/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

8. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with Mr. Mark Rutte and the issues that were discussed. (Question 52909/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

12. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken to the German Chancellor, Ms Angela Merkel, recently. (Question 53228/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

4. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has written to Prime Minister May since he requested a written commitment by the British on the way in which trade would continue here after Northern Ireland has left the customs union and Single Market as a result of Brexit. (Question 50533/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 17, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May most recently on Wednesday, 6 December and again on Thursday, 7 December. 
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of the situation that unfolded on Monday, 4 December and the prospects of getting back to a point of satisfactory progress. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that had been agreed on Monday, 4 December. On Friday morning, ...

5. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken to Prime Minister May regarding Northern Ireland recently. (Question 50534/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 17, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May most recently on Wednesday, 6 December and again on Thursday, 7 December. 
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of the situation that unfolded on Monday, 4 December and the prospects of getting back to a point of satisfactory progress. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that had been agreed on Monday, 4 December. On Friday morning, ...

6. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken to Prime Minister May since 29 November 2017 in respect of the Brexit divorce bill and the upcoming European Council meeting. (Question 51710/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 17, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May most recently on Wednesday, 6 December and again on Thursday, 7 December. 
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of the situation that unfolded on Monday, 4 December and the prospects of getting back to a point of satisfactory progress. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that had been agreed on Monday, 4 December. On Friday morning, ...

10. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if there were discussions regarding the future of east-west relations post Brexit when he was speaking with Prime Minister May. (Question 51994/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 17, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May most recently on Wednesday, 6 December and again on Thursday, 7 December. 
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of the situation that unfolded on Monday, 4 December and the prospects of getting back to a point of satisfactory progress. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that had been agreed on Monday, 4 December. On Friday morning, ...

12. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the contact he or his officials had with Prime Minister May of her officials over the first weekend in December 2017 prior to the time when the EU-UK deal was nearly finalised. (Question 52907/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 17, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May most recently on Wednesday, 6 December and again on Thursday, 7 December. 
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of the situation that unfolded on Monday, 4 December and the prospects of getting back to a point of satisfactory progress. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that had been agreed on Monday, 4 December. On Friday morning, ...

13. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he or his officials blocked the DUP from seeing the final texts of the EU-UK deal. (Question 52912/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 17, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May most recently on Wednesday, 6 December and again on Thursday, 7 December. 
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of the situation that unfolded on Monday, 4 December and the prospects of getting back to a point of satisfactory progress. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that had been agreed on Monday, 4 December. On Friday morning, ...

16. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his conversations between Prime Minister May and DUP leader Arlene Foster since 4 December 2017 on the draft EU-UK deal on phase 1 of Brexit talks. (Question 53225/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 17, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May most recently on Wednesday, 6 December and again on Thursday, 7 December. 
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of the situation that unfolded on Monday, 4 December and the prospects of getting back to a point of satisfactory progress. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that had been agreed on Monday, 4 December. On Friday morning, ...

94. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he spoke to Prime Minister May on 4 December 2017 regarding Brexit. (Question 52607/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Taoiseach’s Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 to 96, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May on Wednesday 6 December and again on Thursday 7 December.
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of developments since Monday 4 December. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that I am satisfied was agreed on Monday. We discussed our approach to finding a way to move forward and agreed to talk again.
On Friday morning 8 December, I was...

95. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he spoke to Arlene Foster on 4 December 2017 regarding Brexit. (Question 52608/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Taoiseach’s Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 to 96, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May on Wednesday 6 December and again on Thursday 7 December.
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of developments since Monday 4 December. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that I am satisfied was agreed on Monday. We discussed our approach to finding a way to move forward and agreed to talk again.
On Friday morning 8 December, I was...

96. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he spoke to Michelle O ‘Neilll on 4 December 2017 regarding Brexit. (Question 52609/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Taoiseach’s Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 to 96, inclusive, together.
I spoke by phone with Prime Minister May on Wednesday 6 December and again on Thursday 7 December.
On both occasions we had good conversations as we took stock of developments since Monday 4 December. I reiterated the firm Irish position regarding the text that I am satisfied was agreed on Monday. We discussed our approach to finding a way to move forward and agreed to talk again.
On Friday morning 8 December, I was...

97. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach his Department’s policy on dealing with whistleblower complaints. (Question 52610/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Departmental Policy Functions)

The Taoiseach: The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 provides a robust statutory framework within which employees can raise concerns regarding potential wrongdoing that has come to their attention in the workplace in the knowledge that they can avail of significant employment and other protections if they are penalised by their employer or suffer any detriment for doing so.
The Act requires every public body to establish and maintain procedures for dealing with protected disclosures and to provide ...

98. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he spoke with Mr. Michel Barnier on 4 December 2017 regarding Brexit. (Question 52606/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Communications)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 116 together.
I propose taking questions 98 and 116 together. I have been in frequent contact with Michel Barnier during this critical phase in the Article 50 negotiations. 
At the General Affairs Council (Article 50) on 20 November, Mr Barnier provided an update to the EU27 Member States on the state of play with regard to the EU-UK negotiations and I also met with him in the mar...

100. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the ongoing war in Syria will be discussed at the December 2017 European Council. (Question 52911/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - European Council Meetings)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 106 together.
The situation in Syria continues to be one of utmost concern. The conflict, which is now in its seventh year, has cost an estimated half a million lives. Over 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including close to 3 million people trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. Over 5.5 million have fled to neighbouring countries and...

101. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the recent declaration by President Trump of the United States on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel will be discussed at the December 2017 European Council meeting; and his plans to ensure that Ireland’s objections to this declaration will be made known. (Question 53227/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Middle East Peace Process)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 101, 108 and 115 together.
On 6 December I issued a public statement on the announcement by the US Government about Jerusalem, which was as follows:
“Jerusalem is one of the permanent status issues which is to be settled in a final peace agreement in the Middle East. 
It has been the united position of the international community for decades, as set out in UN Security Council Resolutions,...

102. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the regulatory alignment proposed in the latest draft of the EU-UK deal; if this will result in the exact same rules being applied both north and south of the Border; if not, the areas it will not apply to; if these particular areas are known; and if there is research being done on the areas it will not apply to. (Question 53223/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 103 together.
It has been the Government’s consistent position that the best possible outcome for Northern Ireland would be for the UK to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union. However, this is ultimately a decision for the UK and, as of now, the UK government’s stated position is that they will leave the Single Market and Customs when leaving the EU. 
At the request of th...

103. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the added wording to the latest EU-UK deal; and if there is change to the substance of the 4 December 2017 draft. (Question 53224/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 103 together.
It has been the Government’s consistent position that the best possible outcome for Northern Ireland would be for the UK to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union. However, this is ultimately a decision for the UK and, as of now, the UK government’s stated position is that they will leave the Single Market and Customs when leaving the EU. 
At the request of th...

112. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding maintaining full alignment; and the way in which he and his officials are of the view this will be applied in any future EU-UK deal. (Question 52908/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The issue of regulatory alignment arises both in regard to the wider EU-UK relationship, and in the particular circumstances of Ireland.
It is clear that, once the UK exits the EU, the question will arise as to how far the UK, which will not be bound by EU law once it departs and which will not be part of the EU decision making process, will wish over time to exercise its own right to legislate and regulate in ways which...

113. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether Irish-British relations have been strained for the past two years; and the actions that will be taken to correct this. (Question 52910/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - International Relations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): While the UK’s decision to leave the EU has serious implications for Ireland, we maintain a strong and constructive bilateral relationship with the UK. We are fully committed to developing and enhancing this relationship over the coming years. In addition, in the context of the UK exit from the European Union, we will work to secure the closest possible positive relationship between the UK and the European Union.
Durin...

206. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the increased violent attacks on civilians will be discussed at the December EU Council meeting. (Question 53226/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Anti-Terrorism Measures)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The draft agenda for this week’s meeting of the European Council sets out a number of broad areas for discussion by the Heads of State and Government - defence; social issues, education and culture; migration; external relations; and the Brexit negotiations.
The EU’s actions to counter terrorism are a consistent aspect of the agenda of the Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers. The Deputy will wish to know that I attended a me...

248. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he has received correspondence from a person (details supplied); if so, if his Department or an agency under the remit of his Department is taking action on foot of this correspondence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53200/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Departmental Correspondence)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 248 and 360 together.
I, my Department, and an agency under the remit of my Department have received correspondence from the person concerned and have been copied in on related correspondence submitted to other Departments and agencies. My Department and an agency under the remit of my Department are taking action on foot of the correspondence received. 
 ...

360. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he has received correspondence from a person (details supplied); if he or an agency under the remit of his Department is taking action on foot of this correspondence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53153/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Departmental Correspondence)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 248 and 360 together.
I, my Department, and an agency under the remit of my Department have received correspondence from the person concerned and have been copied in on related correspondence submitted to other Departments and agencies. My Department and an agency under the remit of my Department are taking action on foot of the correspondence received. 
 ...