Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Questions (110)

Niall Collins

Question:

110. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the meetings the special envoy to the United States of America has had since his appointment; the date and locations of meetings; the travel costs incurred as a consequence of their appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52019/19]

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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. In this role, Deputy Deasy reports directly to the Department of An Taoiseach on the outcomes of his visits. He is supported, however, from a logistical perspective, by my staff in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Since 2017, Deputy Deasy has made 18 trips to the US in connection with his role as Special Envoy to the US Congress: four in 2017, ten in 2018 and four so far in 2019. He will again travel to Washington, D.C. the week beginning 9 December.

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. The total costs for Deputy Deasy’s flights, accommodation and subsistence in 2017 were €13,784.25. The cost in 2018 was €30,295.90 and the cost, to date, in 2019 has been €10,729.76. Therefore the total costs incurred by Deputy Deasy to date in connection with his role as Special Envoy amount to € 54,809.91. This includes supporting some engagements with high level US contacts that have visited Ireland.

The focus of Deputy Deasy’s engagements in the US has been advocating on behalf of the Government and informing high-level US officials and politicians on the Government’s dual priority for seeking legal pathways for Irish immigration, such as through E3 visas, and on relief for the undocumented Irish. In this regard, Deputy Deasy meets with key contacts in the US Administration as well as political leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate. These meetings are therefore primarily in Washington D.C.