146. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the ministerial transport costs for the years 2010 to 2013, inclusive, for each Minister and Minister of State in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44891/14 asked on 19 Nov 2014 - Ministerial Transport)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Listed below are details of the cost of Ministerial transport in my Department in the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Official cars are not provided to Ministers of State. The figures reflect the motor travel allowances claimed for official travel undertaken in accordance with guidelines set out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Subsistence paid to the official drivers is also included in the tables.
Minister ...

1177. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of organisations have identified 60 countries throughout the world where Christians are persecuted for their religious beliefs; his position on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33177/14 asked on 17 Sep 2014 - Human Rights Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): My Department has received a publication listing 60 countries where Christians are persecuted from Church in Chains. Church in Chains is a member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade- NGO standing Committee on Human Rights which meets 5 times a year. Ireland strongly condemns, and attaches great importance to combatting, all forms of persecution or discrimination based on religion or belief and incitement to religious ...

62. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the ongoing conflict in the Congo has been discussed at recent EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings. (Question 41215/13 asked on 02 Oct 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region was discussed at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 22 July, which I attended. At that meeting the Council adopted comprehensive Conclusions in support of the ‘Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region’, which had been concluded in Addis Ababa on 24 February in the presence of the UN Secretary Ge...

75. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the proposals he has had to have further discussions with the Northern Ireland Secretary of State and members of the Northern Ireland Executive regarding the proposed bill of rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41218/13 asked on 02 Oct 2013 - Northern Ireland Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The Good Friday Agreement recognizes the need to elaborate the principles according to which society could be protected and flourish and a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland is fundamental to ensuring these principles are given a legislative base. I believe that it is important that all voices are included in the process to formulate a Bill of Rights, most particularly civil society.I have made my views clear to the Se...

46. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide an update regarding to the most recent discussions at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council in relation to the need to advance peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30811/13 asked on 26 Jun 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I welcome the recent progress in efforts to secure a durable solution to the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In particular, I welcome the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the DRC and the Region, which was concluded in Addis Ababa on 24 February, in the presence of the UN Secretary General. The adoption of the Agreement was welcomed on behalf of the EU in a joint statement by...

42. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the series of constitutional changes initiated by the Hungarian Prime Minister were discussed at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23210/13 asked on 16 May 2013 - European Council Meetings)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I can confirm to the Deputy that the issue he has referred to was not discussed at the EU Foreign Affairs Council nor, indeed, could such an issue be expected to be discussed in a forum focussed on EU external relations questions.
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27. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the discussions he has held with his EU counterparts regarding the ongoing conflict in the Congo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15607/13 asked on 28 Mar 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 27, 35 and 44 together.
I share the widespread concerns about the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The country has been ravaged by a long series of violent conflicts. Millions of innocent civilians have been killed, injured or displaced from their homes. There have been systematic abuses of human rights, extremely high levels of sexual violence and r...

40. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the additional steps he and his EU counterparts have taken to address the Syrian conflict; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8921/13 asked on 20 Feb 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 16, 39, 40 and 85 together.
Syria was the major issue discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on 18 February, which I attended. The focus was very much on the most appropriate steps for the EU to take in support of ongoing efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict. 
Against the background of escalating fighting between the Syrian army and opposition ...

226. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of former public servants recruited before 6 April 1995 who are currently receiving a public sector pension including both pensions funded by the Exchequer and through the Local Government Fund, and those pension schemes for which he has responsibility; the age profile of those public servants; if he will provide in tabular form the numbers of public sector pensioners in the following parameters between €1,000 intervals up to €20,000 and those on more than €20,000. (Question 5892/13 asked on 05 Feb 2013 - Public Sector Pensions Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): With regard to the staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the calculation and payment of superannuation benefits is a matter for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Staff of the former Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO) were integrated into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2003. Two former APSO staff and a spouse of a deceased APSO staff member are in receipt of public se...

120. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the De Silva report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56927/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Public Inquiries)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade(Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120-125, inclusive, together. The murder of Pat Finucane was one of a number of cases which gave rise to allegations of collusion by the security forces in one or other of the jurisdictions on the island and which therefore had profound implications for public confidence and, consequently, for the wider peace process. 
It was because of their wider implications for confidence that these ...

121. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the discussions he has held with the British government in relation to the De Silva Report and the need for a full independent inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56928/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Public Inquiries)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade(Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120-125, inclusive, together. The murder of Pat Finucane was one of a number of cases which gave rise to allegations of collusion by the security forces in one or other of the jurisdictions on the island and which therefore had profound implications for public confidence and, consequently, for the wider peace process. 
It was because of their wider implications for confidence that these ...

69. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when a person (details supplied) will receive their renewed passport. (Question 50772/12 asked on 15 Nov 2012 - Passport Applications)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): A passport application was approved for the person in question on 5 November 2012. The new passport was then dispatched to our Honorary Consul in Auckland by diplomatic bag on 7 November 2012 for onwards transmission to the person in question.
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22. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to review the Diplomatic Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50192/12 asked on 14 Nov 2012 - Diplomatic Representation Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I keep the operation of the Diplomatic Service under constant review in order to ensure that the service my Department provides to Irish citizens, the Oireachtas and other stakeholders continues to meet the high standards they have come to expect. In that context last year, and taking into account reduced resources, significant changes were made to the structures of the Department which involved moving to a more geograp...

37. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the measures he has taken in conjunction with his EU counterparts regarding Iranian efforts at nuclear armament; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50189/12 asked on 14 Nov 2012 - Nuclear Proliferation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 37, 49 and 57 together.
The EU and others have been engaged for almost eight years in efforts to negotiate with Iran a solution to the issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme. The EU High Representative, Cathy Ashton, has led negotiations for the E3+3 group (UK, France, Germany, US, Russia and China) with Iran at three negotiating sessions this year, as well as a number of ancillary ...

13. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he is taking to alleviate the plight of displaced and affected persons in the Syrian civil war; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44895/12 asked on 17 Oct 2012 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 59 together.
The people of Syria have been devastated by eighteen months of brutal violence. The numbers are horrifying – more than 19,000 killed in the violence, 2.5 million people in Syria in desperate need of assistance, over 1.2 million Syrians displaced within their own country and over quarter of a million Syrians now refugees in neighbouring countries. Recent reports have ...

17. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he has taken in his role to encourage and promote The Gathering in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44904/12 asked on 17 Oct 2012 - The Gathering)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The inclusion of tourism, as well as trade and investment, in the Government’s Trade Strategy, is a recognition that tourism, as a labour-intensive sector, has a very strong role to play in employment creation and in economic recovery. My Department has always played an important and active role in promoting Ireland as a tourist destination, in particular through our Embassy Network, and we are working very closely with ...