1. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach further to the reply from the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to Parliamentary Question No. 21 of 25 January 2018, the status of the proposal to double Ireland’s global footprint by 2025. (Question 19091/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Strategies)

The Taoiseach: Plans to double Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 are advancing. As I have previously stated, that does not necessarily mean a doubling of agencies, embassies, staff or budget – though we are and will be expanding these where appropriate. It means taking the steps necessary to double our impact around the world. The exercise will enhance Ireland’s visibility globally, extending our international influence. It will position us for trade and investment growth in new and existin...

2. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Taoiseach the overall number of staff employed in his Department in 2018 compared with 2017. (Question 19096/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Staff Data)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 to 4, inclusive, together.
There are currently 207.5 whole-time equivalent staff working in my Department. This compares with 203.5 whole-time equivalent staff on 31 December 2017.
My Department is structured around seven main work areas. The breakdown of posts currently in each of these areas is as follows: 29 posts in the international, EU and Northern Ireland division; 25 posts in the economic division; 27 posts in the Government secretariat...

3. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will report on staffing levels in his Department. (Question 19723/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Staff Data)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 to 4, inclusive, together.
There are currently 207.5 whole-time equivalent staff working in my Department. This compares with 203.5 whole-time equivalent staff on 31 December 2017.
My Department is structured around seven main work areas. The breakdown of posts currently in each of these areas is as follows: 29 posts in the international, EU and Northern Ireland division; 25 posts in the economic division; 27 posts in the Government secretariat...

4. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach the number of staff employed in his Department in the past 12 months. (Question 20061/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Staff Data)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 to 4, inclusive, together.
There are currently 207.5 whole-time equivalent staff working in my Department. This compares with 203.5 whole-time equivalent staff on 31 December 2017.
My Department is structured around seven main work areas. The breakdown of posts currently in each of these areas is as follows: 29 posts in the international, EU and Northern Ireland division; 25 posts in the economic division; 27 posts in the Government secretariat...

5. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his visit to Newry on 30 April 2018. (Question 19720/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, together.
On the afternoon of 30 April, I travelled to Northern Ireland following my attendance at the fourth plenary meeting of the all-island civic dialogue in Dundalk.
I had a number of different engagements during my visit, which was part of my efforts and those of the Government to stay engaged with all parts of society in Northern Ireland.
My first engagement was a visit to New-Bridge integrated college in Loughbrickland. ...

6. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his visit to Warrenpoint on 30 April 2018; and if he held meetings there. (Question 19721/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, together.
On the afternoon of 30 April, I travelled to Northern Ireland following my attendance at the fourth plenary meeting of the all-island civic dialogue in Dundalk.
I had a number of different engagements during my visit, which was part of my efforts and those of the Government to stay engaged with all parts of society in Northern Ireland.
My first engagement was a visit to New-Bridge integrated college in Loughbrickland. ...

7. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his visit to a school (details supplied). (Question 19722/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, together.
On the afternoon of 30 April, I travelled to Northern Ireland following my attendance at the fourth plenary meeting of the all-island civic dialogue in Dundalk.
I had a number of different engagements during my visit, which was part of my efforts and those of the Government to stay engaged with all parts of society in Northern Ireland.
My first engagement was a visit to New-Bridge integrated college in Loughbrickland. ...

8. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meetings in Newry, County Down. (Question 19856/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, together.
On the afternoon of 30 April, I travelled to Northern Ireland following my attendance at the fourth plenary meeting of the all-island civic dialogue in Dundalk.
I had a number of different engagements during my visit, which was part of my efforts and those of the Government to stay engaged with all parts of society in Northern Ireland.
My first engagement was a visit to New-Bridge integrated college in Loughbrickland. ...

9. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent visit to Warrenpoint port on 30 April 2018. (Question 19914/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, together.
On the afternoon of 30 April, I travelled to Northern Ireland following my attendance at the fourth plenary meeting of the all-island civic dialogue in Dundalk.
I had a number of different engagements during my visit, which was part of my efforts and those of the Government to stay engaged with all parts of society in Northern Ireland.
My first engagement was a visit to New-Bridge integrated college in Loughbrickland. ...

10. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he met the DUP and Sinn Féin leaders when he visited Northern Ireland on 30 April 2018; and the issues they discussed. (Question 19987/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, together.
On the afternoon of 30 April, I travelled to Northern Ireland following my attendance at the fourth plenary meeting of the all-island civic dialogue in Dundalk.
I had a number of different engagements during my visit, which was part of my efforts and those of the Government to stay engaged with all parts of society in Northern Ireland.
My first engagement was a visit to New-Bridge integrated college in Loughbrickland. ...

11. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his visit to Northern Ireland on 30 April 2018. (Question 20057/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, together.
On the afternoon of 30 April, I travelled to Northern Ireland following my attendance at the fourth plenary meeting of the all-island civic dialogue in Dundalk.
I had a number of different engagements during my visit, which was part of my efforts and those of the Government to stay engaged with all parts of society in Northern Ireland.
My first engagement was a visit to New-Bridge integrated college in Loughbrickland. ...

72. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach the breakdown of the training and development and incidental expenses incurred by his Department in the year ending 31 December 2017. (Question 20261/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Taoiseach (Deputy Leo Varadkar)(Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, together.
A breakdown of expenditure by my Department in 2017 in the categories of training and development and incidental expenses and travel and subsistence is set out in the following tables. There was no expenditure incurred by my Department on consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews in 2017. 
It should be noted that the figures provided for 2017 are based on prov...

73. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach the breakdown of the travel and subsistence expenses incurred by his Department in the year ending 31 December 2017. (Question 20262/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Taoiseach (Deputy Leo Varadkar)(Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, together.
A breakdown of expenditure by my Department in 2017 in the categories of training and development and incidental expenses and travel and subsistence is set out in the following tables. There was no expenditure incurred by my Department on consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews in 2017. 
It should be noted that the figures provided for 2017 are based on prov...

74. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach the breakdown of the consultancy services and value for money and policy review expenses incurred by his Department in the year ending 31 December 2017. (Question 20263/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Taoiseach (Deputy Leo Varadkar)(Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, together.
A breakdown of expenditure by my Department in 2017 in the categories of training and development and incidental expenses and travel and subsistence is set out in the following tables. There was no expenditure incurred by my Department on consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews in 2017. 
It should be noted that the figures provided for 2017 are based on prov...

75. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Taoiseach the capital allocation across his Department in each of the years 2018 to 2022. (Question 20457/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 to 77, inclusive, together.
My Department has no capital allocation for the years 2018 to 2022.
 ...

76. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Taoiseach his Department’s capital allocation for projects under way and projects already tendered or committed to spending contractually. (Question 20474/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 to 77, inclusive, together.
My Department has no capital allocation for the years 2018 to 2022.
 ...

77. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Taoiseach his Department’s capital allocation in each of the years 2018 to 2022 disaggregated according to capital allocated to projects under way, projects contractually committed to and projects yet to be initiated. (Question 20491/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 to 77, inclusive, together.
My Department has no capital allocation for the years 2018 to 2022.
 ...

1. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach the details of the new structure of the communications unit within his Department following the completion of the review. (Question 18891/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Strategic Communications Unit)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.
Following on from the review of the operation of the strategic communications unit, or SCU, my Department will revert to a reformed Government information service, or GIS, model. The GIS will have a smaller budget, fewer staff and a more limited role than the SCU. There will be a managed reversion to the more traditional GIS model with a transition period until July 2018. This transition is now under way and will con...

2. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach when market research on a citizen survey will commence; and when Opposition parties will be briefed in this regard. (Question 18941/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Strategic Communications Unit)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.
Following on from the review of the operation of the strategic communications unit, or SCU, my Department will revert to a reformed Government information service, or GIS, model. The GIS will have a smaller budget, fewer staff and a more limited role than the SCU. There will be a managed reversion to the more traditional GIS model with a transition period until July 2018. This transition is now under way and will con...

3. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the proposed new structure of the communications and publicity section of his Department following the recently conducted review of the strategic communications unit. (Question 19724/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Strategic Communications Unit)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.
Following on from the review of the operation of the strategic communications unit, or SCU, my Department will revert to a reformed Government information service, or GIS, model. The GIS will have a smaller budget, fewer staff and a more limited role than the SCU. There will be a managed reversion to the more traditional GIS model with a transition period until July 2018. This transition is now under way and will con...

4. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent engagement at the University of Leuven in Belgium on 26 April 2018. (Question 18947/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 6, inclusive, together.
I delivered an address on the future of Europe at the Catholic University of Leuven as part of its Wilfried Martens series of lectures. This is an annual event, with previous speakers including Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and former German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.
The event was live-streamed and the text of my speech is available online. My speech covered the many achievements of the Europea...

5. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his visit to Leuven, Belgium. (Question 20060/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 6, inclusive, together.
I delivered an address on the future of Europe at the Catholic University of Leuven as part of its Wilfried Martens series of lectures. This is an annual event, with previous speakers including Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and former German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.
The event was live-streamed and the text of my speech is available online. My speech covered the many achievements of the Europea...

6. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent visit to the University of Leuven. (Question 20128/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 6, inclusive, together.
I delivered an address on the future of Europe at the Catholic University of Leuven as part of its Wilfried Martens series of lectures. This is an annual event, with previous speakers including Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and former German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.
The event was live-streamed and the text of my speech is available online. My speech covered the many achievements of the Europea...

7. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken to the British Prime Minister, Mrs. Theresa May recently. (Question 18949/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 10, inclusive, together.
I had a short meeting with Prime Minister May in the margins of the European Council on 23 March during which we discussed the latest developments in relation to Brexit, Northern Ireland and Russia.
On Brexit, I welcomed her Government’s commitment to ensuring the backstop forms part of the withdrawal agreement, and looked forward to progress on this and on the other options before the European Council in June. I expe...

8. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if Prime Minister May outlined her views on a workable backstop when he last spoke with her. (Question 19989/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 10, inclusive, together.
I had a short meeting with Prime Minister May in the margins of the European Council on 23 March during which we discussed the latest developments in relation to Brexit, Northern Ireland and Russia.
On Brexit, I welcomed her Government’s commitment to ensuring the backstop forms part of the withdrawal agreement, and looked forward to progress on this and on the other options before the European Council in June. I expe...