I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 and 170 together.
International election monitoring missions play an important role in the promotion of democracy and human rights. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains and administers a roster of observers for such missions. We aim to ensure that, when requested, Ireland is represented at an appropriate level in international observation missions for both elections and constitutional referendums.
As outlined in my reply to Parliamentary Questions 393, 394 and 396 on 26 July 2017, following a comprehensive review and a public call for applicants, a new roster of 200 members with a reserve panel of 10 was established in May 2013. The roster was determined by an independent appraisal process.
Two applications submitted curricula vitae along with their application form. This had no impact on the final selection of roster members.
Three late applications were permitted, which were subject to the same independent appraisal process. The decision to permit the late applications was taken at official level.
The roster currently stands at 193 members, the reserve panel having been fully utilised. I am confident that the current roster is well equipped to deal with the requirements of the EU and the OSCE missions.
Officials have begun working on the criteria and methodology for the call for applications for the next election observation roster and are consulting with the EU, OSCE and international Focal Points. It is anticipated that this preparatory work will be finalised before the end of the year and a public call for new applicants will issue shortly thereafter. Details will be published on the Irish Aid website (www.irishaid.ie). Existing roster members and those who have expressed an interest in receiving details about the next roster will also be advised.