Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (125)

Niall Collins

Question:

125. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the meetings attended in the United States of America by the special envoy to the United States since his appointment; the costs incurred as a result of this appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30660/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Taoiseach appointed Deputy John Deasy as Special Envoy to the United States Congress on the Undocumented Irish in June 2017. As the Taoiseach indicated at the time of the appointment, no additional remuneration is paid to the Deputy Deasy in his role as Special Envoy.  

Deputy Deasy is supported, from a logistical perspective, by my staff in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The staff resources required are drawn from existing resources in relevant sections of my Department, as needed and on a case by case basis. Likewise, Deputy Deasy’s travel and subsistence expenses are covered from within the existing resources of my Department, as and when he undertakes activities in connection with his role as Special Envoy. 

In 2017, Deputy Deasy made four trips to the US in connection with his role as Special Envoy. In 2018, Deputy Deasy made ten trips, and he also had a series of engagements in Ireland with visiting US officials in the summer of 2018. To date in 2019, Deputy Deasy has made two trips to the US in connection with his role as Special Envoy.  

The total costs for Deputy Deasy’s flights, accommodation and subsistence in 2017 were €11,103.44. The cost in 2018 was €27,722.70 and the cost, to date, in 2019 has been €7,867.17. The total costs incurred by Deputy Deasy in connection with his role as Special Envoy amount to €46,693.31. 

Over the last year, Deputy Deasy has particularly engaged with key US stakeholders on the issue of E3 visas for Irish citizens. In this regard, Deputy Deasy has met with senior officials in the US Administration as well as with key representatives from the US Congress in relation to this visa bill. Over St. Patrick’s Day 2019, Deputy Deasy also accompanied the Taoiseach on some of his engagements in Washington, D.C. He also participated in the key elements of the visit of US Speaker Pelosi and her accompanying Congressional delegation in April, and more recently with a bi-partisan congressional delegation.