Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (70)

Niall Collins


70. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Ireland will send elections observers to Ukraine for the elections in July 2019; if not, the reason underpinning the decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28860/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade administers and maintains a roster of suitably skilled individuals available to deploy on international election observation missions organised, in the main, by the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The EU and the OSCE-ODHIR regularly issue calls for the nomination of observers to participate in the election missions organised under their auspices. The Department reviews each call and responds accordingly on a case-by-case basis, including with regard to the overall annual budget available for participation in election observation missions, the geographic spread of EU and OSCE missions and the resources of the Department's Elections Desk.

Ireland made a substantial contribution of short-term observers to the OSCE mission which observed rounds one and two of the Presidential elections held in Ukraine in March and April 2019. Twenty-two observers participated in the first round of the election. This contribution was over four times larger than Ireland's usual deployment to an OSCE mission, and also represented the largest ever contribution to an election observation mission from a roster mustered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Five of these observers returned to observe round two in the Presidential election as part of the OSCE mission. Information concerning Ireland's contribution to the OSCE election observation mission in Ukraine is set out in the response to Parliamentary Question No. 51 of 18 April 2019, to which I refer the Deputy.  The complement of observers sent to the two elections in Ukraine is approximately half the number of Irish observers nominated in a calendar year.

To ensure a spread of Irish representation as observers at elections elsewhere this year, including countries in which there are substantial Irish Aid funded programmes, the decision was made not to nominate volunteer observers to the OSCE mission observing the Parliamentary elections in Ukraine this July.