36. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the Irish embassies worldwide which have enterprise attachés stationed; and the number of such attachés stationed in each such specific embassy by city and country. (Question 53667/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Consular Services Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The establishment of a network of locally hired Commercial Attachés was one of the key components of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Economic Diplomacy Strategy launched in January 2016. The initiative was designed to bolster the capacity of our Mission network in selected locations to support economic promotion under the Department’s ‘Prosperity’ high level goal. Its focus was to improve our capacity to ...

37. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the trial of a person (details supplied) in Turkey that began on 7 December 2017; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that the Turkish authorities are not allowing them attend their own trial in person; his views on whether they will receive a fair trial in view of the present conditions in Turkey and the fact that President Erdogan openly calls his political opponent a terrorist; his views on the imprisonment of other HDP members and MPs; and if an official from the Irish embassy in Turkey is attending and monitoring this high profile trial. (Question 53545/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Human Rights Cases)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Deputy will recall that my predecessor issued a statement expressing serious concerns when the co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic (HDP) Party, Figen Yüksekdað and Selahattin Demirtas, were arrested in November 2016. A representative of the Embassy in Ankara tried without success to gain access to the court when Figen Yüksekdað’s trial opened in July and, when Selahattin Demirtas’s trial opened on 7 December, a num...

38. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the Acts, or parts of Acts, awaiting commencement within his area of statutory responsibility; the reason for the delay in the commencement of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53569/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Legislative Programme)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Specific provisions of Acts under my Department that have not yet been commenced are Sections 14(8) and 14(9) of the Passports Act 2008.
These Sections of the Passports Act, if commenced, would provide that guardians’ consent to the issuing of a passport would be considered to be enduring for the child up to the age of 18. The commencement of these provisions is currently under consideration as part of the ongoing passp...

39. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the issues discussed at the recent EU Foreign Affairs Council; the outcome of such discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53909/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - European Council Meetings)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I attended the most recent EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Monday 11 December, where developments in the Middle East, including the Middle East Peace Process, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Libya were discussed.
The Council had a good exchange of views on the Middle East Peace Process and developments in the wider region. We discussed what more the EU can do to promote peaceful solutions to...

40. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Prime Minister Netanyahu met the EU Foreign Affairs Council; if so, the outcome of such discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53910/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - European Council Meetings)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Brussels on 11 December preceded the Foreign Affairs Council, and was not therefore a meeting with the Council itself. The meeting was an informal breakfast meeting, essentially an exchange of views, and so there was no formal outcome as such. High Representative Mogherini hosted the meeting, and a similar encounter with Palestinian President Abbas has been scheduled for Janu...

41. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the EU-British agreement on Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53915/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 41, 50 and 53 together.
I welcome the Joint Report from the EU and UK negotiators on progress in phase one of the Brexit negotiations, published on 8 December. On Irish-specific issues, the Government achieved the goals we set out to achieve in this phase. They included maintenance of the Common Travel Area, protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and the gains of the p...

42. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans in respect of the implementation of the European Union work life balance directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53954/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - EU Directives)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The European Commission initiated a proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU on 26 April 2017. The proposed directive aims to address women’s under-representation in employment and support their career progression through improved conditions to reconcile their working and private duties.
Discussions on th...

43. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the expenditure on external consultant reports commissioned by his Department since May 2016; the names of the reports in tabular form; the publication or expected publication date of each report; the cost of each report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53969/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Consultancy Contracts Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 59 together. 
The Department is responsible for two votes - Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Vote 27 (International Cooperation).
The Department commissions external expertise where highly specialised skills are not available within the Department and in particular where ongoing independent evaluation of programmes and projects is required. During the course of their engagem...

44. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of passports issued by his department in each of the years 2012 to 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53970/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Passport Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The number of passports issued in the years requested is as follows: 
 Year Passports issued 2012 635,600 2013 634,635 2014 632,156 2015 672,760 2016 733,060 2017 (1st Jan. 0 10th Dec.) 752,296 
 ...

45. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of persons from Great Britain and Northern Ireland that have applied for an Irish passport in each of the years, 2012 to 2017, in tabular form. (Question 53971/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Passport Applications Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Tracking of passport applications is in general carried out against channel of application rather than by other metrics, including country of origin. Bearing this in mind, the following general breakdown of applications will give the available detail on numbers of passport applications received from Northern Ireland and Great Britain for 2012 to 2016 and in 2017 to date:
 Year Northern Ireland Great Britain 2...

46. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the target date set by his Department for reaching the 0.7% ODA GNP target; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53972/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Overseas Development Aid Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): The Government is strongly committed to Ireland’s overseas development cooperation programme and to its place at the heart of our foreign policy. Our policy for International Development, “One World, One Future”, clearly articulates our commitment to the UN target of providing 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) in Official Development Assistance (ODA), as economic conditions allow.
The current Programme for...

47. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on recent events in Venezuela including the banning of opposition parties from the 2018 election there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53973/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Human Rights)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The situation in Venezuela continues to be a matter of serious concern to the Government.
Municipal elections took place in Venezuela on 10 December 2017. Preliminary results released by the country’s national electoral institute suggested that the ruling party of President Maduro, the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV), won a significant majority of available seats. The electoral process was partly boycotted...

48. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the estimated number of Irish persons living in the United States of America without documentation; the recent efforts that have been made to resolve this issue; the number of meetings held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53974/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Undocumented Irish in the USA)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I want first of all to reassure the Deputy that the Government remains committed to finding a solution to the plight of the thousands of undocumented Irish in the United States.
By their nature, it is difficult to put exact numbers on undocumented communities, and the thousands of undocumented Irish in the US are no different. Estimates vary as to the numbers but our priority is to assist those who need our help and to f...

49. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if a budget has been allocated to the person in the role of US special envoy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53975/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Budgets)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Taoiseach appointed Deputy John Deasy as Special Envoy to the United States Congress on the Undocumented Irish in June 2017.
The work of the Special Envoy is conducted under my overall direction and is part of the ongoing engagement by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the issue of the undocumented Irish in the United States.
Our diplomatic network across the United States continues to engage at every op...

50. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the legal standing of the joint report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 of the treaty on European Union on the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54102/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 41, 50 and 53 together.
I welcome the Joint Report from the EU and UK negotiators on progress in phase one of the Brexit negotiations, published on 8 December. On Irish-specific issues, the Government achieved the goals we set out to achieve in this phase. They included maintenance of the Common Travel Area, protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and the gains of the p...

51. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the priorities of Ireland for phase two of Brexit negotiations as they relate to individual sectors of the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54103/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 52 together.
The second phase of the Article 50 negotiations will enable discussions to get under way between the EU and the UK on transitional arrangements and on the framework for the future relationship between the EU and the UK. 
Ireland’s overriding objective is that a future EU-UK agreement should be comprehensive and ambitious and as wide as possible in its scope, while ensu...

52. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on all meetings scheduled with Task Force 50 in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54104/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 52 together.
The second phase of the Article 50 negotiations will enable discussions to get under way between the EU and the UK on transitional arrangements and on the framework for the future relationship between the EU and the UK. 
Ireland’s overriding objective is that a future EU-UK agreement should be comprehensive and ambitious and as wide as possible in its scope, while ensu...

53. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on Brexit Secretary, David Davis’s, comments that the agreement reached in phase 1 of Brexit negotiations is a statement of intent more than anything else. (Question 54105/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 41, 50 and 53 together.
I welcome the Joint Report from the EU and UK negotiators on progress in phase one of the Brexit negotiations, published on 8 December. On Irish-specific issues, the Government achieved the goals we set out to achieve in this phase. They included maintenance of the Common Travel Area, protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and the gains of the p...

54. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has raised the EU Ombudsman report on unpaid internships in the European External Action Service with his EU colleagues; if he will recommend action on the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54136/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - EU Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): As I noted in my response to the Deputy regarding this matter on 13 July 2017, the EU Ombudsman report on unpaid internships in the European External Action Service is an “own initiative” report that has not been the subject of formal discussion among EU foreign ministers. I noted also that the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission Mogherini has respo...

55. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the use his Department has made of the Government jet since coming into office, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54197/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Travel)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 56 together. 
The core functions of my Department are predominantly concerned with international political and security policy, advancing reconciliation and cooperation on the island of Ireland, representing Ireland at the EU level, and promoting Ireland’s economic and trade interests in Europe and internationally. 
The Deputy will find details of use of the Ministerial Air Transpo...

56. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the use his Department has made of the Government jet in each of the years March 2011 to February 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54213/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Travel)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 56 together. 
The core functions of my Department are predominantly concerned with international political and security policy, advancing reconciliation and cooperation on the island of Ireland, representing Ireland at the EU level, and promoting Ireland’s economic and trade interests in Europe and internationally. 
The Deputy will find details of use of the Ministerial Air Transpo...

57. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the photography costs for his Department in each year since March 2011 inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the list of occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used, in tabular form; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54229/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Question Nos. 57 and 58 together.
Photography
My Department only avails of the services of external photographic agencies where it is warranted, in particular for major events and State occasions. This is a service which my Department provides so that the media can easily and freely avail of photography where their own staff photographers cannot be fully accommodated. Events such as the visit of Princ...

58. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the use of external public relations firms employed by his department in each year since March 2011; the list of uses of the external public relations firm; the internal department policy with regard to employing external groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54245/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Question Nos. 57 and 58 together.
Photography
My Department only avails of the services of external photographic agencies where it is warranted, in particular for major events and State occasions. This is a service which my Department provides so that the media can easily and freely avail of photography where their own staff photographers cannot be fully accommodated. Events such as the visit of Princ...

59. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the external consultant reports commissioned by his Department since March 2011; the costs per report; the company involved; the title of the report; and the publication date in tabular form. (Question 54261/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Consultancy Contracts Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 59 together. 
The Department is responsible for two votes - Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Vote 27 (International Cooperation).
The Department commissions external expertise where highly specialised skills are not available within the Department and in particular where ongoing independent evaluation of programmes and projects is required. During the course of their engagem...

60. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the level of expenditure by his Department from 1 January 2017 to date in 2017 on advertising of government information campaigns published specifically in national and regional newspapers in addition to all online advertising for all such government information campaigns; the name of each such information campaign to which this expenditure related; the cost of each in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54277/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 61 together.
Photography - 2017
My Department only avails of the services of external photographic agencies where it is warranted, in particular for major events and State occasions. This is a service which my Department provides so that the media can easily and freely avail of photography where their own staff photographers cannot be fully accommodated. Events such as the visit ...