Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Questions (320)

Francis Noel Duffy

Question:

320. Deputy Francis Noel Duffy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on his engagement with both Presidents Herzog and Abbas on Israel’s designation of six Palestinian non-governmental organisations as terrorist organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57344/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I made a statement on 27 October expressing my concern at these designations.

I raised the matter in my recent visit to the region, including in my meetings with President Herzog and Foreign Minister Lapid. My programme did not include a meeting with President Abbas on this occasion. I discussed the designations in my meetings with Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh and Deputy Prime Minister Abu Amr.

Our partners in the EU are also aware of this matter, and have been in touch with the Israeli authorities to seek further clarification. As I have stated, in the absence of detailed evidence from the Israeli authorities to support the designations, Ireland will continue to support the organisations concerned.

Ireland has been active on this matter at the UN Security Council, and we supported the holding of a discussion on the designation and the recent settlement announcements at the Council on 8 November. We made a joint press statement following the meeting with EU Member States, France and Estonia, joined by Norway and Albania.

In this statement, we underlined our serious concern at this designation and the potential political, legal and financial consequences. This designation has the potential to impact, not only these six organisations, but civil society more broadly across the oPt and to seriously undermine vital humanitarian, development and human rights work.

Civil society organisations and human rights defenders play a critical role in promoting international law, peace, human rights and democratic values. Ireland is committed to funding civil society organisations and human rights defenders through the Irish Aid programme, including Palestinian civil society.

Ireland maintains a high level of oversight and are collectively and individually vigilant about governance and the potential misuse of funds. My Department has robust controls in place to ensure that funds are used or distributed as agreed. Its procedures are aligned to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Public Spending Code.

In addition, my Department has an independent Evaluation and Audit Unit that provides objective assessment, assurance, advice and insight on governance, risk management and internal control.