Consumer Prices Data

Questions (97)

Robert Troy

Question:

97. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Taoiseach the latest annual and quarterly EUROSTAT data for Ireland in relation to EU consumer price levels for goods and services; the EU average figure; and the ranking and position of Ireland in relation to other countries in the EU 28, in tabular form. [50022/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

Price levels for consumer goods and services in the EU can be compared using price level indices which provide a comparison of countries' price levels relative to the EU average (EU28=100) and are calculated using purchasing power parities. The most recent annual data refers to 2018. The data are not available on a quarterly frequency.

The 2018 results show that Ireland was the second most expensive Member State for consumer goods and services (27% above the EU28 average). Denmark had the highest price levels, at 38 % above the EU28 average, and Bulgaria had the lowest, at 49 % below the EU average in 2018.

The results are based on price surveys covering more than 2,000 consumer goods and services which were conducted across countries participating in the Eurostat-OECD Purchasing Power Parities (PPP) programme.

The following table shows the price level indices for household final consumption expenditure in 2018 for each Member State (EU28=100), as published by Eurostat.

Table: Price level indices for household final consumption expenditure (EU-28=100), 2018

EU Member State

Price level indices (EU28=10)

Denmark

137.9

Ireland

127.3

Luxembourg

126.6

Finland

122.5

Sweden

118.5

United Kingdom

116.5

Netherlands

112.1

Belgium

111.1

France

110.3

Austria

109.6

Germany

104.3

Italy

100.6

EU 28

100.0

Spain

92.5

Cyprus

88.8

Portugal

86.8

Slovenia

84.9

Greece

84.2

Malta

82.2

Estonia

80.1

Latvia

73.8

Czechia

70.8

Slovakia

70.2

Croatia

68.2

Lithuania

65.7

Hungary

62.4

Poland

57.4

Romania

52.8

Bulgaria

50.6

Source: Eurostat

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (98)

Barry Cowen

Question:

98. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Taoiseach the amount spent by his Department and each agency under the aegis of his Department on the National Ploughing Championships in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by online advertising, offline advertising, promotional material, wages, photography, stand rental and other costs. [49687/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

Arising from the experience of previous years, a new approach was taken to the Government’s presence at NPC 2019. The broad objectives of this approach were to maximise the opportunity for citizen engagement (visitors to NPC – approx. 300k) to make the overall approach more cost effective, and to have a targeted presence to help citizens get ready for Brexit.

This approach was co-ordinated centrally from the Department of the Taoiseach, which resulted in a consolidated approach to such activities as staffing, communications and the provision of tickets and sites at NPC. As a result of this approach, a number of items were paid for centrally from this Department, for example, cross-site cleaning, maintenance, waste management, utilities, signage and staff facilities. This approach resulted in a number of efficiencies being realised, for example, reduced cost of entry for Government staff and the ‘early bird’ rate being available to all Government attendees for their plot at NPC. As with all such activities, this area will be reviewed ahead of the 2020 NPC to apply any learnings. The Department also managed the Government of Ireland marquee, which hosted a number of citizen focused events on topics such as Brexit readiness and the Climate Action Plan. Due to the change in overall approach, figures from previous years are not comparable.

The following is a table with the figures requested.

Item

2016

2017

2018

2019

Online Advertising

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

Offline Advertising

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

Promotional Material

0.00

0.00

€6,289.79

0.00

Photography

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

Stand Rental

(including Marquee and site costs)

0.00

0.00

€9,979.40

Gov Marquee : €17,869.09

Government of Ireland communal component: €22,841.54

Staff expenses

576.38

203.91

4899.45

€11,843.25

Other Costs

(e.g. Utility, Security, Health and Safety, Design)

0.00

0.00

€ 68,512.64

Government of Ireland Marquee: €46,893.03

Government of Ireland communal component: €205,860.32

Departmental Reports

Questions (99)

Shane Cassells

Question:

99. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach the number of external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each year from March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of each report; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [49911/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The following table details the external consultant reports, including external Information Technology (IT) consultancy, commissioned by my Department in each of the years from March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019.

Name

Costs

Date of Commission

Date of Publication

Consultant

Health and Safety Statement 2011

€1,270

2011

N/A

QTS Ltd

Health and Safety Statement 2012

€1,270

2012

N/A

QTS Ltd

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan Assessment and Disabled Access Review

€307

2013

N/A

QTS Ltd

Health and Safety Statement 2013 and Risk Assessment

€1,783

2013

N/A

QTS Ltd

Local Diaspora Toolkit

€14,300

2015

2015

Clinton Institute UCD

Getting smarter about smart cities: Improving data privacy and data security

€14,058

2015

2015

Maynooth University

Dublin’s North East Inner City

€11,800

2016

2017

Kieran Mulvey

Historical Research Project

€2,608

2017

2017

University College Dublin

Health and Safety Statement 2017 and Risk Assessment

€2,583

2017

N/A

Quadra

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan Assessment and Disabled Access Review

€800

2017

N/A

Andrew Doyle Safety Consultants

Information Technology Security Risk Assessment Review

€6,911

2018

N/A

Ward Solutions

Information Technology Security Risk Assessment Review

€6,911

2019

N/A

Ward Solutions

Review of Personal Evacuation Plan

€615

2019

N/A

Andrew Doyle Safety Consultants

Quarterly National Household Survey

Questions (100)

Noel Grealish

Question:

100. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Taoiseach the rate of unemployment in percentage terms in each of the years 2008, 2017 and 2018. [49513/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a household survey which provides quarterly statistics on employment and unemployment and is the official source of labour market estimates in the State. The primary classification used for the LFS results is the ILO (International Labour Organisation) labour force classification.

The unemployment (ILO) rate is the number of unemployed persons aged 15-74 years expressed as a percentage of the total labour force aged 15 to 74 years.

Table 1 shows the annual average unemployment (ILO) rate of persons aged 15 – 74 years in Ireland for the years 2008, 2017 and 2018.

%

2008

2017

2018

Unemployment Rate

6.8

6.7

5.8

Table 1 Unemployment (ILO) rate for persons aged 15-74 years in 2008, 2017 and 2018 (Annual Average)

Source: Labour Force Survey (LFS), Central Statistics Office, Ireland.

Data may be subject to future revision.

Data may be subject to sampling or other survey errors, which are greater in respect of smaller values or estimates of change.

Reference period:January-December

Note: The Labour Force Survey (LFS) replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) in Q3 2017 and, as a result, care should be taken when comparing data from before and after this period.

Unemployment Data

Questions (101)

Robert Troy

Question:

101. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Taoiseach the details of each Nuts 2 region that is within 1% of the national unemployment rate and each NUTS 2 and 3 region that is not, in tabular form. [50023/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a household survey which provides quarterly statistics on employment and unemployment and is the official source of labour market estimates in the State. The primary classification used for the LFS results is the ILO (International Labour Organisation) labour force classification.

The most recent figures available from the LFS are for the third quarter (Q3) of 2019.

The following table shows the unemployment (ILO) rates for persons aged 15 – 74 years classified by NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions and in the State for Q3 2019.

Unemployment (ILO) rate of persons aged 15-74 years classified by NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions, Q3 2019

%

Unemployment Rate

Northern and Western

5.2

Border

5.4

West

5.0

Southern

5.6

Mid-West

4.8

South-East

7.3

South-West

5.1

Eastern and Midland

5.0

Dublin

4.5

Mid-East

6.1

Midland

5.3

State

5.2

Source: Labour Force Survey, Central Statistics Office.

Data may be subject to sampling or other survey errors, which are greater in respect of smaller values or estimates of change.

Data may be subject to future revision.

Reference period: q3=Jul -Sep.

Unemployment Data

Questions (102)

Robert Troy

Question:

102. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Taoiseach the unemployment rate by county using the latest CSO data. [50026/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The exact information requested by the Deputy is not available.

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a household survey which provides quarterly statistics on employment and unemployment and is the official source of labour market estimates in the State. The primary classification used for the LFS results is the ILO (International Labour Organisation) labour force classification.

The most recent LFS figures available are for Q3 2019.

Due to the methodology and sample size of the survey it is not possible to produce reliable county unemployment estimates from the LFS. As a result, the most detailed estimates of unemployment by geographic area available are by NUTS-3 Regions (NUTS-3 is a geocode standard referencing the eight subdivisions of Ireland for statistical purposes).

The following table shows the unemployment (ILO) rate of persons aged 15 – 74 years classified by NUTS3 regions and in the State for Q3 2019.

Unemployment (ILO) rate of persons aged 15-74 years classified by NUTS3 regions, Q3 2019

%

Unemployment Rate

Border

5.4

West

5.0

Mid-West

4.8

South-East

7.3

South-West

5.1

Dublin

4.5

Mid-East

6.1

Midland

5.3

State

5.2

Source: Labour Force Survey, Central Statistics Office.

Data may be subject to sampling or other survey errors, which are greater in respect of smaller values or estimates of change.

Data may be subject to future revision.

Reference period: q3=Jul -Sep.

Legislative Measures

Questions (103)

Barry Cowen

Question:

103. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Taoiseach the number of Bills sponsored by his Department that have been enacted since November 2013, in tabular form. [50326/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

My Department has not sponsored any Bills that have been enacted since November 2013.

Defence Forces Representative Organisations

Questions (104, 106)

Willie Penrose

Question:

104. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps he will take to facilitate a group (details supplied) to achieve affiliate status to a union on the basis that it has publicly committed to never strike if such affiliation is granted. [49686/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

106. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the affiliation of a union (details supplied) to another union; when the affiliation will be approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49778/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 and 106 together.

Section 2(3) of the Defence (Amendment) Act 1990, prohibits the Defence Forces representative associations from being associated with or affiliated to any trade union or any other body, without the consent of the Minister. Members of the Permanent Defence Force also cannot become members of a trade union.

To compensate for these limitations there are a range of statutory redress mechanisms are available to serving members, including redress of wrongs, a Defence Forces Ombudsman and a Conciliation and Arbitration scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force.

In 2017, the European Committee of Social Rights, in a non-binding ruling, upheld the prohibition of the right of military personnel to strike but did conclude that Ireland was in violation of Article 5 of the European Social Charter on the grounds of the prohibition against military representative associations from joining national employees organisations and in respect of Article 6.2 of the Charter regarding the right to bargain collectively.

It should be noted that the basis for the complaint pre-dates a number of significant Government initiatives. In relation to collective bargaining, the Permanent Defence Force Representative Associations were afforded equal standing to other public sector trade unions and representative associations during the negotiations which led to the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020.

The findings of the European Committee of Social Rights were considered as part of an independent review of the Conciliation and Arbitration scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force, which was completed last year.

One of the recommendations from that review was that the official side should, with the consent of the Minister, engage in discussions with ICTU to explore the practicalities of a PDF representative association forming association/affiliation with ICTU, while giving due consideration to any likely conflict that might arise between such an arrangement and the obligations of military service.

Association with ICTU poses complex questions for the Defence Forces from a legal, operational and management perspective. I asked my officials to examine this matter further and, in this regard, Defence management (civil and military) have engaged in discussions with ICTU. Defence management have met with the Permanent Defence Force Representative Associations, RACO and PDFORRA, to discuss this matter. I have also discussed the matter of ICTU affiliation/association with both RACO and PDFORRA.

I am aware of PDFORRAs longstanding ambition to affiliate with ICTU. I am also aware that RACO, the representative body for Commissioned Officers, have a conflicting position on this matter.

The implications of possible association or affiliation are being carefully considered.

Defence Forces Retirement Scheme

Question No. 106 answered with Question No. 104.

Questions (105)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

105. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason some members of the Defence Forces must retire at 50 years of age; if the matter is being examined in the context of the retention crisis in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49771/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

Military life places unique demands on individuals and it is necessary that Defence Forces personnel are prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations. To this end, it is vital the age and health profile of personnel be such as to ensure that operational capability and effectiveness are not compromised in any way.

The age and fitness profile of the Permanent Defence Force was an issue of serious concern during the 1990's and was the subject of severe criticism in a series of external reports. One of the key areas identified for urgent action was the development of a manpower policy with an emphasis on lowering the age profile of Permanent Defence Force personnel. As a result, new terms and conditions were introduced for personnel enlisting after 1 January 1994 and new contracts for enlisted personnel were for a period of five years’ service. Since that time, the maximum period of service has been extended out to twenty-one years for line Privates and Corporals. Following an adjudication Corporals and Privates in receipt of Tech Pay Group 3 or higher may be extended to age 50 subject to meeting certain criteria for continuance in service.

Earlier this year, following further discussions with PDFORRA and in light of the adjudication, agreement was reached with PDFORRA that all Privates and Corporals recruited post 1994, will be allowed to continue in service to 31 December 2022 (or until they reach the age of 50), provided these personnel meet certain criteria during this interim period, including medical grades and fitness tests. This is to allow for a review of upper age limits for Post 94 Privates, Corporals and Sergeants as provided for in the White Paper on Defence.

Furthermore, as I announced at the PDFORRA, Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) held on 2 October 2019, officials from my Department have entered into discussions with PDFORRA with a view to also allowing post 1994 Sergeants continue in service to the same date, subject to their meeting agreed criteria in the interim period.

The actions set out in the implementation plan for the report of the Public Service Pay Commission on recruitment and retention in the Permanent Defence Force also include the examination of issues relevant to age and duration of contracts.

Question No. 106 answered with Question No. 104.

Defence Forces Remuneration

Questions (107)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

107. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a Gleeson style commission will be established on the pay and conditions in the Defence Forces; if so, if it will review contracts, duty allowances and technical payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49779/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

Overarching Public Sector Pay Policy is a matter for the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform.

In 2016, the Government established the Public Service Pay Commission to provide objective advice to Government in relation to Public Service Pay Policy. Following the publication of the Public Service Pay Commission report in May 2017, the Government initiated negotiations on an extension to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, which culminated in the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020.

The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 was accepted by the representative associations, RACO and PDFORRA and their members are receiving the benefits.

Following the first report of the Pay Commission and in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, the Government tasked the Commission with prioritising a comprehensive examination of recruitment and retention difficulties in the Defence Forces.

The report of the independent Public Service Pay Commission was published and accepted by Government in July this year. The Report contains a broad range of recommendations aimed at improving recruitment and retention in the Permanent Defence Force. In accepting the report of the Public Service Pay Commission, the Government also approved a plan Strengthening Our Defence Forces – Phase 1 to implement the recommendations in the report. The plan provides for a number of specific projects which are being progressed by civil and military personnel.

The Defence Forces have received the benefits of collective agreements in the past and it is intended that future remuneration of Defence Forces personnel will continue to be dealt with within this process. There are currently no plans to establish a pay commission, specific to Defence.

Departmental Reports

Questions (108)

Shane Cassells

Question:

108. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each year from March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of each report; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [49901/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The following table provides details of the external consultant reports commissioned by my Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of those reports; the companies-individuals commissioned to complete the reports; and their titles and publication dates.

Report Title

Cost

Year of Commission

External Company/Individual

Publication Date

An Independent review of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) fatalities in 1989

€51,660

2011

Mr. Frank Callinan S.C.

9 September 2011

Third Report of Independent Monitoring Group (IMG)

€22,500

2013

Dr. Eileen Doyle

3 September 2014

Consultancy report to assess the impact of an upgrade of Department's financial application software

€24,870.60

2014

Fujitsu Ltd

30 January 2015

Research on vessels linked to Roger Casement

€4,605

2015

Mr. John Kearon

Not published

Independent Review of the investigation of the death of Pte. Hugh Doherty and the disappearance of Pte. Kevin Joyce (Caomhán Seoighe) on 27 April 1981 while serving with IRISHBATT in the United Nations Interim Force in the Lebanon (UNIFIL)

€33,665.55 (total cost including editing fees of €1,500)

2015

Retired High Court Judge Mr. Roderick Murphy.

Editing work conducted by Mr. Jim Blighe

8 June 2018

Review into the safe operation of Civil Defence Watercraft

€26,400

2016

Marman & Associates

November 2016

Review of Civil Defence Communications

€1,400

2016

Mr. Ciaran Motherway

January 2017

Aviation Regulation, Oversight and Safety Managemant in the Defence Organisation

€35,500

2017

Bureau Veritas

Not published

Report on the Review of the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for Members of the Permanent Defence Forces

€30,000

2018

Mr. Gerard Barry

2 October 2018

External Quality Assessment Report on the Internal Audit function of the Department of Defence

€13,975 (ex VAT)

2018

Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors

Not Published

Feasibility of the Institute of Peace Support and Leadership Training

€106,272 (value of contract)

2018

Circa Group

Pending

Production of Standard Operations Guidelines for the safe operation of Civil Defence watercraft

€21,600

2019

Marman & Associates

May 2019

Peer Review on Factory Site (Haulbowline) Report

€4,700 (ex VAT)

2019

Malone O'Regan

July 2019

Review of Recruitment Methods in the Defence Forces (Working Title)

Yet to be determined

2019

Mr. Padraig Love

Yet to be determined

Naval Service Data

Questions (109)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

109. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of days spent at sea by members of the Naval Service Reserve to date in 2019. [50007/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I am advised by the military authorities that, from 01 January 2019 to 29 November 2019, the total number of days spent at sea by members of the Naval Service Reserve is 118.

Defence Forces Medicinal Products

Questions (110)

Jack Chambers

Question:

110. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the details of the drawdown of anti-malarial drugs prescribed to individual Defence Forces members operating in sub-Saharan Africa in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of troops prescribed each drug, respectively, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50010/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

In the timeframe for answering PQs it is not possible to answer this question at this time. I have requested the information sought by the Deputy and I will issue a response on receipt of same.

Defence Forces Training

Questions (111)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

111. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if funding has been provided in 2020 for the refurbishment of the military hospital at the Defence Forces training centre, Curragh, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50013/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

Under the Defence Forces Built Infrastructure Programme there has been considerable investment in various military installations over the last number of years. In regard to the hospital building, I am advised that there are currently no plans for the refurbishment of this facility in 2020. Routine maintenance and repair works of the facility will continue to be carried out as the need arises.

Legislative Measures

Questions (112)

Barry Cowen

Question:

112. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Bills sponsored by his Department that have been enacted since November 2013, in tabular form. [50316/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

A significant amount of Defence Legislation is implemented through Defence Force Regulations. The basis and authority for the issuing of such regulations by the Minister lies in the Defence Act 1954, as amended. In terms of Primary Legislation, the information requested by the Deputy is as follows:

Act

Date signed into law by the President

Defence (Amendment) Act 2015

22 July 2015

Defence Forces Expenditure

Questions (113)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

113. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the operational non-pay budget for the Air Corps is less than 2% of the Defence Vote in view of his recent decision to temporarily shut down the helicopter operation in Athlone, County Westmeath. [50343/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Gross provision for the Defence Vote in 2019 is €758 million. This level of funding provides €528.8 million for the pay and allowances of over 10,400 Defence Sector employees, €106 million in capital funding and €123.2 million in non-pay current expenditure, which provides mainly for the ongoing standing, operational and support costs of the Defence Forces.

Defence funding is provided for within one Programme which covers the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. Subhead A.9 is particular to the Air Corps and provides for some specific Air Corps support costs mainly for the upgrade and maintenance of Aircraft Equipment, the purchase of Aircraft Fuel, Specialised Training and Air Operations support services. For 2019, in terms of actual figures, the amount in Subhead A.9 is equivalent to 13.6% of the non-pay current operational allocation within the Defence Vote.

There is no connection of any kind between the recent decision to temporarily adjust the Emergency Aeromedical Support (EAS) Service and the 2019 non-pay current operational budget provided to this subhead. The interruption to the EAS service provided by the Air Corps, for four days a month for four months, starting last month, was on foot of military advice relating to governance and safety in the Air Corps.

Passport Data

Questions (114)

Catherine Martin

Question:

114. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of passports issued in each of the past five years to high net worth individuals that planned to invest here; the details of such persons; the investments of each; and his plans to review the enabling legislation. [50073/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

All passport applications are subject to the provisions of the Passports Act, 2008 ("The 2008 Act"). The 2008 Act provides, among other things, that a person must be an Irish citizen before a passport can be issued to him or her. In order to meet this requirement, each person must demonstrate an entitlement to Irish citizenship by providing acceptable documentary evidence of this entitlement.

Entitlement to Irish citizenship is determined by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, under which Irish citizenship may be obtained by birth, by descent, or by naturalisation.

Where an individual has obtained citizenship via naturalisation, a copy of their naturalisation certificate must be submitted in support of their passport application. The issuance of naturalisation certificates and the legislation that provides for citizenship through naturalisation are matters for the Department of Justice and Equality.

Human Rights

Questions (115)

Micheál Martin

Question:

115. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on recent reports in the media (details supplied) regarding more than 1 million persons being detained in camps in China; his views on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49786/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government is aware of the recent reports in the media, but as a matter of practice, does not comment on leaked documents.

However, our position on the situation in Xinjiang is clear, and we remain deeply concerned over the credible reports of the treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang region. We, along with our EU partners, take these reports very seriously and have raised our concerns at official and political level with our Chinese counterparts on a consistent basis.

Most recently, Ireland was one of 23 States to sign up to a Joint Statement at the UN Third Committee in New York on 29 October 2019. This statement called for the Chinese Government to urgently implement eight recommendations made by the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination related to Xinjiang, including by refraining from the arbitrary detention of Uighurs and members of other Muslim communities.

Ireland was also one of 22 States to sign up to a Joint Letter at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in July this year. This letter expressed concerns about credible reports of arbitrary detention in large-scale places of detention, as well as widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly targeting Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. It called on China to uphold its national laws and international obligations, and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Xinjiang.

At EU level, this issue was raised at both the EU-China Summit and EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in April this year. During the dialogue the EU noted that while actions to counter terrorism are essential, these actions must respect the principle of proportionality, fundamental freedoms, and international laws. The EU has also raised this issue at multilateral level, calling on China to allow meaningful, unrestricted, and unsupervised access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Ireland, along with our EU partners, will continue to raise our concerns during contacts with Chinese authorities in bilateral and multilateral contexts, at both official and political level.