Written Answers. - Departmental Correspondence.

Noel Ahern

Question:

288 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the procedure, system and resources used in his Department for replying to correspondence from Members of the Oireachtas; the staff numbers involved; if the numbers have been reduced since freedom of information requests were introduced; if staff were diverted to freedom of information cases; if a tracking or follow up system exists; if there is a rule or guideline for sending replies other than acknowledgements; the standard in this regard; the way in which it is monitored; his views on whether responding to requests from Oireachtas Members is an integral part of the democratic system; and if he has any proposals to improve this service. [20045/00]

All correspondence whether from Members of the Oireachtas or members of the public which are addressed to me or my office are, on day of receipt, acknowledged and electronically scanned and saved as an image document. The scanned document as well as a template for the draft reply are then transmitted electronically to a designated co-ordinator in the division which has responsibility for answering the representations in question.

A timescale of five working days is imposed for receipt in my office of a full draft reply to the representations. Where this timescale cannot be achieved, for example, where material is not readily available or information has to be obtained from other sources, one of our missions abroad for example, the division issues a holding reply and a substantive reply issues from my office as soon as possible thereafter. Where a reply has not issued within the five day deadline, a list of any outstanding representations is transmitted electronically to each head of division for immediate attention. A similar procedure and system is in place for dealing with all correspondence received in the office of the Minister of State Deputy O'Donnell.

Correspondence from Members of the Oireachtas which are not addressed to me or to the Minister of State are sent directly to the relevant section or division, as appropriate, for response. There is no tracking system in place to record receipt of such correspondence or to monitor response times. However, it is the policy of the Department to issue replies to written communications within ten working days of receipt and, in cases where a substantive reply cannot be issued within that time, an interim reply issues explaining the reasons. I regard responding to requests from Oireachtas members as an integral part of the democratic system and this is why they are responded to promptly.
No staff in my office, in the office of the Minister of State or in the rest of the Department are solely involved in dealing with correspondence received from members of the Oireachtas. This work is done in addition to other functions and duties of staff. There has been no reduction in staffing levels in the Department since the introduction of FOI. However, it was necessary to designate one officer in the Department to act as FOI co-ordinator, in addition to performing other duties of a coordinating nature.
I consider that procedures and systems in place in the Department are satisfactory for dealing with all correspondence received. However, you may be assured that the Department is committed to providing a quality customer service and in this regard it will continue to review the effectiveness and efficiency of its service with a view to further improving where possible the standard of service it provides.

Michael Ahern

Question:

289 Mr. M. Ahern asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the names and addresses of all persons appointed to State bodies, semi-State boards and all other institutions under the aegis of his office during the period 16 December 1994 to 26 June 1997. [20093/00]

The table below sets out the information which the Deputy has requested in respect of appointments to State bodies under the aegis of this Department during the period 16 December 1994 to 26 June 1997.

Name of Body

Name of Appointee

County

Cultural Relations CommitteeJanuary 1994 – December 1995

Dr. Brendan Kennelly

Dublin

Mr. Michael O'Siadhail

Dublin

Mr. Paul Brady

Dublin

Dr. Edna Longley

Antrim

Mr. John Behan

Galway

Ms Doireann Ní Bhriain

Dublin

Ms Fionnuala Hunt

Dublin

Dr. Máire de Paor

Dublin

Ms Cecily Brennan

Dublin

Ms Anne Augusta

Dublin

Ms Emer McNamara

Dublin

Ms Liz Sharkey

Wicklow

Mr. Peter Murray

Cork

Mr. Chris Meehan

Dublin

Mr. Alf McLoughlin

Galway

Prof. Terence Brown

Dublin

Mr. Adrian Munnelly

Dublin

Mr. T.V. Honan

Waterford

Cultural Relations CommitteeJanuary 1996 – December 1997

Dr. Brendan Kennelly

Dublin

Mr. John Behan

Galway

Mr. Paul Brady

Dublin

Ms Cecily Brennan

Dublin

Prof. Terence Brown

Dublin

Mr. T.V. Honan

Waterford

Ms Siobhan Burke

Dublin

Mr. Chris Meehan

Dublin

Ms Patricia Quinn

Dublin

Mr. Peter Murray

Cork

Ms Doireann Ní Bhriain

Dublin

Ms Fionnuala Hunt

Dublin

Mr. Alf McLoughlin

Galway

Ms Emer McNamara

Leitrim

Ms Jackie McKenna

Leitrim

Mr. Michael O'Siadhail

Dublin

Ms Liz Sharkey

Wicklow

Ms Ann Deeny

Donegal

The Ireland United States Commission for Educational Exchange – Fulbright Commission 1994-1996

Professor Brian Farrell

Dublin

Senator JJ Lee

Cork

Dr. Yvonne Scannell

Dublin

Mrs. Ann Fuller

Dublin

Mr. Jay Fox

US Citizen

Dr. Patricia Walsh

US Citizen, Dublin based

Mr. Denis A. Sandberg

US Embassy Staff

Ms Lynn Cassell

US Embassy Staff

Name of Body

Name of Appointee

County

Fulbright Commission 1996-1998

Professor Brian Farrell

Dublin

Mrs. Ann Fuller

Dublin

Dr. Yvonne Scannell

Dublin

Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh

Galway

Ms Jean Kennedy Smith

US Ambassador

Ms Madeline Spirnak

US Embassy Staff

Dr. Patricia Walsh

US Citizen Staff, Dublin based

Mr. Brian P. Burns

US Citizen

Irish Aid Advisory Committee (IAAC)

Prof. John Kelly (Chairperson)

Dublin

Mr. Seán Byrne

Dublin

Ms Sylda Langford

Dublin

Mr. Howard Dalzell

Dublin

Mr. Justin Kilcullen

Dublin

Mr. John O'Shea

Dublin

Ms Deirdre Farrell

Dublin

Mr. Garrett Sheehan

Dublin

Mr. John Gogan

Dublin

Ms Gretchen Fitzgerald

Dublin

Ms Cherrie McIlwaine

Down

Mr. Michael O'Donnell

Mayo

Ms Mary Jennings

Dublin

Mr. Paddy McGuckian

Dublin

Mr. Niall Tobin

Dublin

Mr. Tony Fahey

Dublin

Mr. Margaret Fitzgerald

Dublin

Mr. Noel McDonagh

Dublin

Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO)

Dr. Anthony Clare (Chairperson)

Dublin

Fr. Des McGillicuddy

Dublin

Mr. Paul Cullen

Dublin

Ms Anne Connolly

Dublin

Ms Mary Sweeney

Dublin

Mr. Robin Haran

Dublin

Ms Maeve Healy

Dublin

Ms June Carr

Dublin

Ms Philomena Murnaghan

Foreign Affairs

The Refugee Agency

Ms Iseult O'Malley

Dublin

Mr. Barry O'Hara

Department of Justice

Ms Mary Lally

Dept SW

Mr. Barry Murphy

Foreign Affairs

Mr. Robert McLean

Dept ET&E

Mr. C. E. Maoláin

Dept of Education

The National Committee for

Mr. Seán MacNamara

Dept of Education

Development Education

Ms Noreen O'Sullivan

Dept of Health

Mr. Frank Donoghue

Dept Environment

Archbishop Dermot Clifford

Tipperary

Ms Wendy Cox

Dublin

Colonel Jim Croke

Dublin

Mr. Stan Broneé

UNHCR, London

Mr. David Keane

Dublin

Sr. Phil Sinnott

Dublin

Mr. Liam Wegimont

Dublin

Ms Philomena Murnaghan

Foreign Affairs

Ms Bet Aalen

Dublin

Joint Department of Foreign Affairs/NGO

Amnesty International

Standing Committee on Human Rights

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Irish Commission for Justice and Peace

Dochas

UNICEF

Banluacht

Trocaire

Concern

Oxfam

Goal

Christian Aid

Note:It should be noted that in the case of the foregoing Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) it is the organisation concerned which is the appointee and not an individual member of the organisation.

Mr William Duncan, TCD

Dr. Gerard Quinn, Law Reform Commission

Ms Niamh Reilly, Open University

Ms Karen Kenny, Human Rights trainer for Irish Aid

Question No. 290 taken with Question No. 280.