101. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the reason for the cut to expenditure on a programme (details supplied); and the elements of this programme that will be affected by these cuts. (Question 44408/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Emigrant Support Services)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): There has been no reduction in my Department’s Emigrant Support Programme or the programme to promote reconciliation.
Programme A, Our People, has increased current expenditure by €2.2m, from €69.6m in 2017 to €71.8m in 2018. It has reduced capital expenditure by €3.9m as the specific capital requirements will reduce in 2018. Capital is allocated on a project basis and the reduction in the capital allocation of €3.943m relate to tw...

102. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to reopen the Irish consulate general office in Cardiff; the estimated cost of reopening the office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44522/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Consular Services Provision)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): At present, Ireland’s diplomatic network includes 61 Embassies, 7 multilateral missions, 11 Consulates General and one Representative office. The scale and presence of the network is considered by the Government on an ongoing basis.
Any decision to adjust the State’s external representation, including the opening of missions, will have regard to national priorities and available financial and staffing resources. A range of factors a...

113. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the situation with regard to LGBTQI persons (details supplied) in Egypt. (Question 44089/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Human Rights)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am aware of the worrying situation with regard to LGBTI people in Egypt, to which the Deputy refers.
The promotion and protection of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals globally is a priority for Ireland in our international human rights advocacy, including our engagement at the UN Human Rights Council, at EU meetings and through our diplomatic network. Ireland attaches importance to...

114. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the reports that at least 4,000 refugees, including pregnant women, newborn babies and unaccompanied children, were caught up in violence between rival factions battling for control of Sabratha in Libya and had to be rescued; if his attention has been further drawn to an organisation’s (details supplied) reports on conditions faced by refugees trapped in detention centres in Libya; and if he will meet with the organisation to discuss the gross violation of the human rights of refugees in Libya. (Question 44121/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The situation in Libya is very unstable, and the violence in Sabratha and the humanitarian consequences for civilians, are a cause for serious concern. As I have stated before in this House, the ongoing fighting in Libya exacerbates the situation for migrants. The government has only partial control of the territory, which limits the capacity of the international community to ensure accountability for these alleged abuses.
I know t...

115. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the progress made in dealing with legacy issues despite the absence of the Northern Ireland Executive; the discussions that have taken place with Secretary of State James Brokenshire or the UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on legacy issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44201/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Northern Ireland)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government is determined, as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, to do everything in our power to ensure all of its institutions are operating effectively, and that outstanding commitments from previous Agreements are fully implemented.
The Government is continuing to work with the British Government and the parties to support the urgent resumption of the devolved institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. Thereafter, I b...

116. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the significant increase in the level of rejections of young Irish citizens for J1 trainee programmes by the US Embassy in Dublin; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that a number of young persons who are legally in the USA and who wish to stay and further their training legally prior to returning to Ireland to employ their skills will be making applications to extend their stays within the next six months; his views on whether the recent change of US policy in respect of the J1 programmes threatens its viability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44260/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Emigrant Support Services)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am aware of media reports that the J1 programmes are being reviewed by the US administration, in the context of President Trump’s “Hire American” Executive Order. Any cuts to the J1 trainee programme or any significant increase in the level of rejections would be of serious concern to the Government.
My officials in Washington and Dublin have made clear to the US Administration the importance that the Government places on the J1 p...

117. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has communicated a position to the Government’s view of the position which should be reflected in the mandate being prepared and is due to be given to the European Commission for trade negotiations with UK; if the Government emphasised the importance of ongoing equivalence in equality, employment and environmental standards within such negotiations; if he has expressed a view for or against the inclusion of investor courts in this trade mandate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44261/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Brexit Negotiations)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Article 50 negotiations between the EU and the UK are proceeding on the basis of the phased approach set out in the European Council Guidelines of 29 April 2017.
Ireland fully supports this approach, which foresees that discussions on the future EU-UK relationship, including trade, will get underway as soon as sufficient progress has been made on the EU’s key priorities under the withdrawal process – notably citizens’ rights, the...

203. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of his Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. (Question 43416/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Departmental Bodies Data)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): There are no State bodies or boards that fall under the aegis of my Department.
 ...

204. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the negotiations being held in Northern Ireland; and his views on whether the Executive will be reinstated. (Question 43447/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Northern Ireland)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government is determined, as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, to do everything in our power to ensure that all of its institutions are operating effectively, including the devolved Assembly and power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland and the North-South Ministerial Council.
I remain in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, and the political parties, as both Governments ...

205. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has received the report of the Revenue Commissioners on Brexit that was leaked on 8 October 2017; if so, if he has discussed same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43448/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Revenue Commissioners Reports)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am aware of the report to which the Deputy refers. I understand that this was a draft internal working paper and preliminary analysis carried out by the Revenue Commissioners, which dates from September 2016. Therefore, as it was an internal report, I would not have expected to receive it. I understand that a redacted version of this document has since been published on the website of the Revenue Commissioners.
As Minister for F...

206. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to introduce a scheme that would financially support, with regard to the repatriation costs, the families of Irish citizens who have died abroad. (Question 43459/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Repatriation Costs)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Department of Foreign Affairs responds to around 3,000 consular emergency cases each year, and the highest priority is always given to those involving the deaths of Irish citizens overseas. In 2016 my Department assisted in 250 such cases. Sadly, this number looks likely to increase in 2017 and could be around 300.
My Department and its staff are well trained and experienced in the provision of such consular assistance, and the...

207. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the announcement that Ireland will open five new diplomatic missions between 2018 and 2019; the timeframe for opening these new embassies and consulates; the estimated cost of each mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43737/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 to 209, inclusive, together.
The opening of three new embassies in Santiago, Chile, Bogotá, Colombia and Amman, Jordan and two new consulates general in Vancouver, Canada and Mumbai, India between 2018 and 2019 is an important first step in doubling Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 and building our capacity to respond to the complexity of the challenges we face in the years ahead. 
This phase of...

208. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which the €2 million allocated in budget 2018 to expanding Ireland’s global footprint will be utilised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43738/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 to 209, inclusive, together.
The opening of three new embassies in Santiago, Chile, Bogotá, Colombia and Amman, Jordan and two new consulates general in Vancouver, Canada and Mumbai, India between 2018 and 2019 is an important first step in doubling Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 and building our capacity to respond to the complexity of the challenges we face in the years ahead. 
This phase of...

209. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which the €3.5 million allocated in budget 2018 to the Article 50 negotiations will be utilised; if it will result in additional staff in his Department; the details of the way in which the money will be spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43739/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 to 209, inclusive, together.
The opening of three new embassies in Santiago, Chile, Bogotá, Colombia and Amman, Jordan and two new consulates general in Vancouver, Canada and Mumbai, India between 2018 and 2019 is an important first step in doubling Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 and building our capacity to respond to the complexity of the challenges we face in the years ahead. 
This phase of...

210. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which the €13 million allocated to official development assistance, ODA, in budget 2018 will affect our ODA to GNP target; the resulting estimated ODA as a percentage of GNP as a result of this increase; the percentage of ODA to GNP in each of the years 2007 to 2016 and to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43740/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Overseas Development Aid Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Last week for budget 2018, the Government announced a total allocation of €707 million to Official Development Assistance (ODA). This represents an increase of some €26 million on the current year, and is the third consecutive year the Government has increased budget allocations to Ireland’s Aid programme.
Just over €500 million of the total ODA allocation for 2018 will be managed by my Department through V...

211. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the progress to date in addressing the undocumented Irish in the United States of America; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43964/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Undocumented Irish in the USA)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am acutely aware of the very understandable concerns which exist among members of the Irish community in the U.S. in light of recent developments in the area of immigration under the new U.S. Administration.
The changed political landscape in the US has resulted in a renewed focus on the plight of the many millions of undocumented people living in the US, including thousands of Irish citizens.
Ireland’s diplomatic representatives i...

84. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if clarification will be sought of the incidents which occurred in Tumaco on 5 October 2017 (details supplied). (Question 43295/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 to 87, inclusive, together.
I wish to express my sincere condolences to the families of those killed and my sympathies to those injured in the violence which took place in Tumaco in the Nariño province of Colombia on 5 October, which resulted in the deaths of at least six civilians and the wounding of many more. Such violence is entirely unacceptable. It must be thoroughly investigated and its per...

85. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will make representations to ensure that those responsible for the massacre in Tumaco on 5 October 2017 in Colombia are brought to justice and held to account for their crimes. (Question 43296/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 to 87, inclusive, together.
I wish to express my sincere condolences to the families of those killed and my sympathies to those injured in the violence which took place in Tumaco in the Nariño province of Colombia on 5 October, which resulted in the deaths of at least six civilians and the wounding of many more. Such violence is entirely unacceptable. It must be thoroughly investigated and its per...

86. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will condemn the violence in Colombia, the militarisation of territories and the use of repressive strategies against rural dwellers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43297/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 to 87, inclusive, together.
I wish to express my sincere condolences to the families of those killed and my sympathies to those injured in the violence which took place in Tumaco in the Nariño province of Colombia on 5 October, which resulted in the deaths of at least six civilians and the wounding of many more. Such violence is entirely unacceptable. It must be thoroughly investigated and its per...

87. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will propose immediate political dialogue in Argelia and Cauca in Colombia to ensure the end of the militarisation of the area and the ongoing threat of state violence. (Question 43298/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 to 87, inclusive, together.
I wish to express my sincere condolences to the families of those killed and my sympathies to those injured in the violence which took place in Tumaco in the Nariño province of Colombia on 5 October, which resulted in the deaths of at least six civilians and the wounding of many more. Such violence is entirely unacceptable. It must be thoroughly investigated and its per...

107. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has raised at the EU Foreign Affairs Council the intensive extension of Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights; if the difficulties in the Golan are given active consideration in the Middle East peace initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43116/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Israeli Settlements)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am aware of the extension of Israeli settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan, and of the broader difficulties faced in the region, which are certainly a cause for concern. Officials from my Department have recently met with NGOs operating in the Golan, and I will continue to monitor the situation closely. In the occupied Syrian Golan, as in the West Bank, the introduction and settlement of communities of the occupying power, to a...

185. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the third plenary session of the All Island Civic Dialogue; and the actions that will be taken after same. (Question 42990/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The third plenary session of the All Island Civic Dialogue took place on Thursday 28 September in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and brought together almost 300 representatives across industry and civil society to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by the decision of the UK to leave the European Union. This event focused on the impact of Brexit on enterprise and society on the island and the steps taken by organisations t...

186. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the Irish and-or EU legislation which requires Irish citizens to input their passport information into the website of their chosen airline before they depart the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42524/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Passport Controls)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Passports are internationally recognised travel documents which attest to the identity and nationality of the bearer.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for the issuance of passports to Irish citizens and for the maintenance of the security and integrity of the Irish passport. 
However immigration or administrative requirements for entry into third States are not a matter within the competence of the Passport ...

187. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to subsidise or make a grant available to persons over 70 years of age applying for passports in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42688/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Passport Applications Fees)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not provide grants or subsidies to any particular category of applicant for a passport. 
The cost of the standard ten year (adult) 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 €8.30 per year for a British passport, €8.60 per year for a French passport, €9.40 per ...

188. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the powers he has delegated to the Ministers of State in his Department; the date on which such delegation was made; if there were changes in powers delegated relative to the situation in place prior to 14 June 2017; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42781/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Ministerial Functions)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): There are two Ministers of State at my Department, Ciarán Cannon T.D. and Helen McEntee, T.D. Minister Cannon was appointed Minister of State with special responsibility for the Diaspora and International Development at my Department on 15 June 2017. Minister McEntee was appointed Minister of State with special responsibility for European Affairs at my Department on 20 June 2017.
The Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) (No.2) Act...