7. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Finance the status of the investigation of the German Sparkassen model for the development of local public banks that operate regionally, as outlined on page 48 of the programme for a partnership Government. (Question 34056/16 asked on 10 Nov 2016 - Banking Sector)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: I am aware that the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has the lead responsibility for investigating how a public banking model, the Sparkassen model, might be set out here but am keen to hear if the Department of Finance has played any role in this so far. What will be the Department of Finance’s input into the roll-out of such a model? The Sparkassen model concentrates on SME lending, particularly at a regional level, where deposits are kep...

29. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the action his Department is taking to secure the release of a person (details supplied). (Question 31811/16 asked on 25 Oct 2016 - Consular Services Representations)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: The Ceann Comhairle will be aware of the motions that were brought before the Dáil and Seanad calling for the release of Ibrahim Halawa. I am particularly interested in hearing an update from the Minister on what the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is doing to help secure his release, given Mr. Halawa is approaching his 21st birthday, having been imprisoned without trial for more than three and a half years since his arrest at age 17 and that under Egyptian law, as a ...

47. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of recent efforts to secure the release of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31817/16 asked on 25 Oct 2016 - Consular Services Representations)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: The Ceann Comhairle will be aware of the motions that were brought before the Dáil and Seanad calling for the release of Ibrahim Halawa. I am particularly interested in hearing an update from the Minister on what the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is doing to help secure his release, given Mr. Halawa is approaching his 21st birthday, having been imprisoned without trial for more than three and a half years since his arrest at age 17 and that under Egyptian law, as a ...

4. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to outline the steps he will take to support a peaceful settlement in Palestine. (Question 3849/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Middle East Peace Process)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Following his recent visit to the Middle East, I am keen to hear the Minister’s latest thinking on what Ireland can do to support the peace process in Palestine and the resolution of what is an intolerable situation. The peace process has effectively stalled. If anything, it is in reverse, particularly with the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem. There is no sign that the process that had been engaged in for the past 25 years is working any longer. How do we help to break ...

31. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the presidential decree of law 140 was submitted again for a person (details supplied) in August 2016 and that there is limited time this decree can remain effective; if he will put adequate pressure on the Egyptian Government to ensure the person can be released as many inmates have recently received a presidential pardon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30281/16 asked on 25 Oct 2016 - Consular Services Representations)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: The Ceann Comhairle will be aware of the motions that were brought before the Dáil and Seanad calling for the release of Ibrahim Halawa. I am particularly interested in hearing an update from the Minister on what the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is doing to help secure his release, given Mr. Halawa is approaching his 21st birthday, having been imprisoned without trial for more than three and a half years since his arrest at age 17 and that under Egyptian law, as a ...

64. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his Department’s plans in view of the most recent and fifteenth postponement of a person’s trial in Egypt (details supplied); his views on whether previous attempts to resolve the case need to be amended and a new strategy adopted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30284/16 asked on 25 Oct 2016 - Consular Services Representations)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: The Ceann Comhairle will be aware of the motions that were brought before the Dáil and Seanad calling for the release of Ibrahim Halawa. I am particularly interested in hearing an update from the Minister on what the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is doing to help secure his release, given Mr. Halawa is approaching his 21st birthday, having been imprisoned without trial for more than three and a half years since his arrest at age 17 and that under Egyptian law, as a ...

68. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Taoiseach if he participated in the section of the European Council meeting on 28 June 2016 that was attended by the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Tready Organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19593/16 asked on 05 Jul 2016 - European Council Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I participated in the entire European Council meeting on Tuesday 28 June, including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s presentation to Heads of State or Government.
The presence of the Secretary General is in line with the practice at previous meetings where issues of common interest arise. For example, in June 2015 the Secretary General attended the European Council discussion on security and defence to explain how NATO is responding to new security challenges.
EU-NATO co...

23. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if discussions took place prior to Ireland joining PESCO between his Department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Attorney General regarding the constitutionality of Ireland’s involvement in PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3363/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

37. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the triple-lock will be used to ensure that multi-country military procurement which Ireland participates in or financially contributes to under PESCO is approved by the Cabinet, agreed by Dáil Éireann and subject to a UN mandate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3134/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

9. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Ireland’s triple-lock will apply to all joint military development or procurement initiatives which Ireland undertakes with other countries under PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3133/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

24. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the impact of increased defence spending as a result of the decision to join PESCO, particularly in relation to public services. (Question 3176/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

21. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when he plans to publish Ireland’s national implementation plan for Permanent Structured Co-operation; if this plan will be voted on in Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3354/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

74. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the process by which the Government decided to join PESCO. (Question 51717/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware, the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy was published in June 2016. The strategy sets the context and provides a guiding framework for the Union’s external action under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Strategy also identifies key security challenges facing the European Union within its neighbourhood and beyond, and commits to a global order based on international law with the U...

31. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the increase in defence expenditure that is envisaged as part of Ireland’s obligations following the joining of Permanent Structured Co-operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3353/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the discussions her Department has had with a company (details supplied) regarding the future development of the proposed data centre in Athenry. (Question 49764/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Job Creation)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: What contact has the Department had with Apple? We know the Taoiseach met the company in California about the potential loss of the Athenry data centre. Was the Tánaiste informed when the company decided to go ahead with the second Danish plant, which had not been expected, in July this year? When does she expect it might make a decision on whether it will, in the end, proceed with an Irish plant? From where does she think it will get the 100% renewable power? Do we have ...

11. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans regarding NATO membership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8960/13 asked on 20 Feb 2013 - NATO Membership)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 52 together.
The Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visited Dublin on the 12th and 13th of February. He did so at the invitation of the High Representative and Minister Shatter to participate in the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers which was held at Dublin Castle. 
It is customary practice that the EU invites NATO to participate in the informal meeting...

52. Deputy John Halligan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans regarding to NATO membership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8961/13 asked on 20 Feb 2013 - NATO Membership)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 52 together.
The Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visited Dublin on the 12th and 13th of February. He did so at the invitation of the High Representative and Minister Shatter to participate in the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers which was held at Dublin Castle. 
It is customary practice that the EU invites NATO to participate in the informal meeting...

44. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to set out the expected emissions from the transport sector in 2020 and 2030; and the reason the national mitigation plan has a number of gaps relating to reductions in emissions from the transport sector. (Question 22362/17 asked on 10 May 2017 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: I am asking the Minister about his ambition in terms of the transport contribution to reduce climate change emissions. Everyone else is saying that they are going to expand. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport was absent without leave at the recent formation of the national climate mitigation plan. We can see it in the plan. Large sectors are supposedly going to have plans to reduce emissions, but there is nothing from the transport sector.
I am keen to hear the...

9. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Defence if he has had discussions with any of his European counterparts following the European Parliament report advocating possible military action in the Black Sea Basin, following the annexation of Crimea by Russia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25111/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Foreign Conflicts)

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: I listened with interest to the Minister’s definition of neutrality in the context of the worsening situation in the Black Sea area. The Minister was excusing the Fine Gael MEPs’ decision to vote for this motion, which backs possible North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, military build-up in the Black Sea. What is the Government’s position on the NATO military build-up and the motion calling for increased defence spending in Europe specifically to support this ...

4. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meetings at the European Council. (Question 45033/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 10, inclusive, together.
I attended my second meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 19 and 20 October. The agenda included migration; Digital Europe; security and defence; and external relations. The future of Europe was also discussed over breakfast on Friday, followed by a meeting of the European Council in Article 50 format - without the UK - to discuss progress in the Brexit negotiations.
In advance of the meeting, I was invited...

134. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the triple lock will be used to ensure that multi-country military procurement which Ireland participates in or financially contributes to under PESCO is approved by the Cabinet, agreed by Dáil Éireann and subject to a UN mandate. (Question 2930/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Military Neutrality)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 134 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council.  This is what is termed the “triple-lock”.  The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the maintenance of intern...

46. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the way in which her Department is working with the Departments of Justice and Equality, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Education and Skills and Health to ensure that concerted adequate provision is made for refugee minors in all aspects of State responsibility on entry into Ireland, in view of the complexity of the integration process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7044/17 asked on 14 Feb 2017 - Unaccompanied Minors and Separated Children)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: I do not know if the Minister read the Sunday Times magazine, because she had a busy day yesterday. However, Christina Lamb had an article in that paper about unaccompanied migrant children. Some 25,800 unaccompanied minors arrived in Italy last year, half of whom have now gone missing. Some 91% of the children on those boats coming across the Mediterranean do not have their parents with them. We now have a slave trade or trafficking problem as well as a migration one. In...

19. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the stage at which the development of smart metering for every home is; and the way such a scheme will be funded. (Question 32081/16 asked on 26 Oct 2016 - Energy Conservation)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: The Minister is right that in some areas we are leading. There are not many, and I am not too sure whether we are leading in some of the areas he mentioned, but an area where I know we are not leading but falling dramatically behind is that of demand management efficiency and domestic home management energy systems. We have no smart metering programme roll-out ready. We have been working on this. I remember working on it seven or eight years ago, when it was first thought ...

131. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the arrangements Ireland has in place for a liaison office to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; the resources that are available to this office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24234/13 asked on 21 May 2013 - Partnership for Peace)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Ireland’s cooperation with NATO is conducted through the Partnership for Peace (PfP). PfP has since been joined both by states who wish to become NATO members and by states that do not, including neutral and non-aligned states such as Finland, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland. Russia is also a member. Russia is also a member. Ireland became a member of the PfP and its political counterpart, the Euro Atlantic Partners...

25. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the representative from his department who attended the informal meeting of European Union Defence Ministers in Bratislava on 26 September 2016 had any discussions with the Secretary General of NATO, who was also in attendance, regarding Ireland’s neutrality not being compromised by accelerated EU-NATO co-operation; and if he will provide details of the discussions that took place at that meeting. (Question 33810/16 asked on 09 Nov 2016 - EU Meetings)

Deputy Clare Daly: My question relates to the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Bratislava at the end of September. It took place around a flurry of NATO-related activity. A statement was issued following the meeting, which referred to accelerated practical co-operation between the EU and NATO. What stance did the Minister of State take in those gatherings, given that we are supposed to be a neutral country?
 ...

133. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Ireland’s triple lock will apply to all joint military development or procurement initiatives which Ireland undertakes with other countries under PESCO. (Question 2929/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Military Neutrality)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 134 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council.  This is what is termed the “triple-lock”.  The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the maintenance of intern...

49. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to alleviate congestion in Dublin within the next four years, in view of the estimated annual cost of €350 million due to delays in traffic. (Question 22109/17 asked on 10 May 2017 - Traffic Management)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: My question is set in the context of the latest report, according to which the €350 million cost of traffic blockages in Dublin will increase to €2 billion unless we do something about the issue. I am keen to hear about the Minister’s measures to reduce congestion. Everyone can see that, with the economy growing quickly, Dublin’s traffic is like the Richter scale - when traffic volume increases by 5%, congestion increases by 20% or 30% as roads near their capacity limits, wh...

16. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to introduce measures to ensure a larger and dedicated contribution of female Defence Forces members in peacekeeping operations, taking into account UN Resolution 1325 which acknowledges the disproportionate impact of armed conflict on women and girls; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33973/16 asked on 09 Nov 2016 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Deputy Brendan Ryan: I am interested to hear the Minister’s response on what he will do to build a first national action plan for UN Resolution 1325, which was introduced by a previous Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the former Deputy Eamon Gilmore and former President Mary Robinson, and how the follow-up national action plan 2015-2018 is progressing.
 ...

5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has considered continuous cover as an alternative, in view of the afforestation his Department has planned; and if he has carried out a review of the potential for higher value output derived from continuous cover. (Question 21383/17 asked on 04 May 2017 - Forestry Sector)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: We are at a point of real change in the forestry industry. There was a massive increase in afforestation to meet our climate change targets. We need to learn from what has happened in the past 50 years and move to what I believe is a form of forestry with a higher value, with a higher value product, with far more jobs and where we protect biodiversity and the long-term quality of soil. It should be in the form of continuous cover forestry as in Germany, Switzerland and many...

4. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the role his Department has in the establishment of an Oireachtas budget office to support the Committee on Budgetary Oversight; the appropriate public service grade that should be head of such an office; and the reason for the delay in the hiring of necessary staff. (Question 10846/17 asked on 02 Mar 2017 - Budget Consultation Process)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: It is vital that this Dáil is involved at every stage of the budget process, reviewing capital plans. We agreed this less than a year ago. The Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, at the time said that we should look at what the OECD is saying and bring in the best analysis. The OECD said clearly that we need a budget oversight capability, budget office and economics office within the Parliament to assist in this review process. We agreed to that eight or nine months ago, bu...

246. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the discussions at the EU Council meeting on PESCO. (Question 49076/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - European Council Meetings)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I presume that the Deputy is referring to the FAC Defence Council which took place in Brussels on 13 November last, where Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers discussed over a working lunch, developments in the security and defence area, including PESCO.
As the Deputy is aware, PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable countries to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly d...

4. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in view of the approaching centenary of the 1916 Rising if he will provide details on the projects being undertaken by the Office of Public Works in preparation for this event; the current state of progress in regard to these projects; the total amount of money being spent by the office on 1916 celebrations in 2015 and 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12045/15 asked on 25 Mar 2015 - Easter Rising Commemorations)

Deputy Sean Fleming: In view of the centenary of the 1916 Rising, which is fast approaching, I am keen ask the Minister whether he will provide a list of projects being undertaken by the Office of Public Works in preparation for the event and to set out the current state of progress. In particular, I seek details of the allocation of funding for 2015 and, separately, the amount for next year. There is no point in not preparing this year for the major event that will take place next year. I am...

63. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the metro north project, including if he will bring the start date forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15607/16 asked on 14 Jun 2016 - Public Transport Provision)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I wish the Minister well and thank him for meeting the very important road safety groups in recent weeks and committing to a programme of action in this area. On the question before us, which is about metro north, as the Minister knows the north and west sides of Dublin and Fingal were totally shafted in the planning and construction of the Luas. There was to be a north side line but it never happened. Here we are 15 or 20 years later trying to get the whole project...

35. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the status of the timeline to connect all premises under the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44873/15 asked on 15 Dec 2015 - National Broadband Plan Implementation)

Deputy Michael Moynihan: Before getting to this question, I am astonished that a priority question I submitted relating to mobile telephone coverage throughout the country was disallowed yesterday. The same question was tabled and allowed in September and I wanted an update on what has happened since. It was not allowed in December, so I am at a loss as to how that happened in the Ceann Comhairle’s office. I would appreciate an explanation.
 ...

30. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will request the banning of trade from the EU with Israel in view of ongoing breaches of the Geneva Convention in the form of settlements which are illegal under international law. (Question 8758/17 asked on 22 Feb 2017 - Israeli Settlements)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Directly following on from Deputy Paul Murphy’s question, I do not believe we can be seen as a strong voice when these settlement expansions are happening on an ongoing basis. I listened to the Minister’s earlier answers on the same issue in which he said he does not want to make a symbolic gesture or take one measure or another. We are in effect taking no measures to stop what is clearly an illegal and unjust act. Where is our voice? We could have a voice if we made a str...

564. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the implications for expenditure in his Department over the coming years if Ireland joins PESCO; his plans to ensure a full public debate on the matter before the decision is made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52893/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Deputy will be aware that the allocations for defence already announced in the budget, which were based on the commitments set out in the White Paper on Defence, means that Ireland’s Defence expenditure will increase in real terms over the coming three years. 
While some additional costs may arise in respect of participation in specific PESCO Project(s) similar to the case where the Defence Forces participate in EDA Project...

109. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the increased defence expenditure committed to by Ireland under PESCO has been factored into the State’s capacity to fund longer-term projects, for example, the capital plan 2016 to 2021; and if that increased defence expenditure will necessitate cuts to long-term projects such as the capital plan. (Question 54589/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

110. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the increased defence expenditure committed to by Ireland under PESCO has been factored into the State’s capacity to fund longer-term projects, for example, public sector pay increases; and if that increased expenditure will necessitate cuts to, or rowing back on, long-term projects such as public sector pay increases. (Question 54590/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

54. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the supports she is putting in place to support self-employed persons if, for example, the business fails or closes due to unexpected sickness or ill health. (Question 43366/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits)

Deputy Mattie McGrath: I draw the attention of the Minister to the plight of the self-employed. We know how important they are in this country, especially in the recovery, in keeping employment going and keeping the coffers filled through the payment of taxes. Could the Minister outline what the Government is doing to support those very people when they get into difficulty, when they fall ill or get an injury? We made a lot of play of that in the talks prior to the agreement of a programme fo...

111. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the knock-on effects of increased defence expenditure committed to by Ireland under PESCO on other expenditure, for example, health, education and housing have been examined; and the Government’s plan to ensure that no cuts under other expenditure headings will be necessitated by the commitment to increase defence spending. (Question 54591/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

112. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the detail of the Government’s plans to raise the revenue necessary to finance the increased defence expenditure committed to by Ireland under PESCO without cutting other areas of public expenditure. (Question 54592/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

122. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will provide a copy of the PESCO agreement, ancillary documentation and documents relevant to the primary agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54996/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

47. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the recent informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20415/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - EU Meetings)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Defence Ministerial Informal Ministerial was held in Sofia on the 4th and 5th of May. The meeting was hosted by Bulgaria who currently hold the Presidency of the EU. 
There were two working sessions over the course of the meeting which was chaired by the High Representative, Ms Federica Mogherini. The two sessions dealt with a range of ongoing developments in relation to EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP); specifi...

35. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans for the development of naval capabilities, including increasing the role of the Naval Service in fisheries protection and monitoring Irish waters after Brexit. (Question 23587/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Naval Service)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: I tabled this question to think big, look outward and look into the future as to what is the vision of the Minister of State for the development of the Naval Service. From my perspective, the north Atlantic is our largest area. Our sea area is ten times our land area. The north Atlantic is changing because of climate change and overfishing. We need to survey, monitor and manage the north Atlantic. We need huge marine conservation areas. To manage this and the scientific ...

86. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the role of his Department and officials in PESCO; and if he will report on his discussions with his EU counterparts on PESCO. (Question 52884/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy was published in June 2016. The strategy sets the context and provides a guiding framework for the Union’s external action under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Strategy also identifies key security challenges facing the European Union within its neighbourhood and beyond, and commits to a global order based on international law with the United Nations at its cen...

30. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Social Protection the new measures his Department may be considering regarding the way in which unpaid forms of work such as caring may be rewarded by the State; and the initial measures in this regard he may introduce in the next budget. (Question 26234/17 asked on 31 May 2017 - Tax and Social Welfare Codes)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Following questions to the Taoiseach earlier on how we value caring work, I saw in one of the Minister’s manifesto documents recently that this is one of his stated aims. I want to work out the detail of what the Minister will do, recognising, as I see it, that the current system is deeply unfair particularly for parents in the home. We support every couple in whatever parenting they do. There is an almost €4,500 difference in take-home pay between a dual income couple with...

2. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to set out her plans regarding the current direct provision system in view of concerns that it is archaic, inhumane and not fit-for-purpose; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35740/14 asked on 24 Sep 2014 - Direct Provision System)

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: There has been a long overdue focus in recent times on the direct provision centres. I welcome much of what the Minister’s colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has said on the matter. We have been raising this issue throughout this Dáil session. The Minister’s predecessor, Deputy Shatter, was deeply disappointing in his responses and attitude to this issue. It is refreshing to hear a new message coming from the Department and the Minister ...

26. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence if he has plans for the State to join NATO. (Question 13161/13 asked on 14 Mar 2013 - NATO Membership)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): I can confirm that this Government does NOT intend to join NATO. Our cooperation with NATO will continue to be conducted through the Partnership for Peace. There has been no change in policy in relation to Ireland’s engagement in NATO or indeed in our Policy for deploying our troops to NATO-led Missions, which requires that the Mission be UN Mandated, and Government and Dáil approved. Ireland’s relations with NATO are set within the framework of th...

8. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach his strategy for Ireland in the event that the United Kingdom fails to negotiate access to the European Economic Area post invocation of Article 50. (Question 19473/16 asked on 13 Jul 2016 - UK Referendum on EU Membership)

The Taoiseach: At the informal meeting of 27 EU Heads of State and Government on 28 June there was a preliminary discussion about next steps, further to the outcome of the recent referendum. I should emphasise that a large degree of uncertainty persists on the UK side in regard to a number of key issues. These in turn will have a significant bearing on the process in the months ahead. To a great extent therefore, it is not possible to speculate on negotiation outcomes at this point.
Partner c...

1. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the nature of his planned engagement with the banks in respect of the Central Bank tracker mortgage examination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44937/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Tracker Mortgages)

Deputy Michael McGrath: We all know that the Minister, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, has been meeting the banks over the past two days in respect of the tracker scandal. I have two key questions to which I think most people want an answer. Can the Minister give a categoric commitment to all those affected by the scandal that they will get justice, that they will get their money back and that they will get compensation? Can he give a commitment that there will be accountability as to how this happen...