Priority Questions

Diplomatic Representation

Darragh O'Brien


1. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will expand on the announcement made by the Taoiseach regarding the Government's plans to double Ireland's global footprint by 2025; the implications for his Department and preparations made for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39915/17]

The Taoiseach spoke about Ireland's global footprint to 2025 at an Enterprise Ireland breakfast in Toronto during his visit to Canada in August. I ask the Minister of State to expand on the announcement made by the Taoiseach about the Government's plan to double Ireland's footprint, to outline the implications for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and to elaborate on the preparations that have been made for same. In particular, has preparatory work been carried out and is there a plan, including a schedule and costings? Most importantly, was the Department actually aware of the announcement in advance of the Taoiseach making it in Canada?

I thank Deputy O'Brien for raising this issue. The ambition set out by the Taoiseach to double Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 reflects the scale and the complexity of the challenges we face in the years ahead. These include Brexit-related challenges but also those from growing protectionism internationally, the need to continue the fight for justice, peace, equality and for sustainable development.

Our response includes the further diversification of our markets for trade and investment and the building of alliances to underpin the rules-based international trading system that has served smaller countries like Ireland so well. It must also include a renewed commitment to the fight against global poverty and hunger, protecting human rights, and to United Nations peacekeeping efforts. Now, more than ever, Ireland needs a strong voice internationally to promote our values and interests. We are determined to play our part in support of multilateralism at this time of significant global instability, as reflected in our candidature for membership of the United Nations Security Council in 2021/2022.

Following the Taoiseach’s announcement, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has begun to examine options to expand significantly our footprint and influence internationally, in consultation with other Departments and agencies. This includes augmenting our existing diplomatic presence overseas as well as, in some cases, opening new missions where most impactful. At the same time we have to ensure that the vital service and policy supports at headquarters are up to the task. Any additional expenditure must be consistent with value for money principles and provide clear benefits for the State.

Decisions will also be guided by Ireland Connected, the trade and investment strategy launched last March. This whole-of-Government framework provides direction for trade and investment priorities to 2025. At its heart is the need for policy alignment, co-ordinated action and complementarity in delivering our goals. These include greater investment, tourism and trade, stronger links with our diaspora and enhanced global visibility.

Just before Deputy O'Brien responds, I am sure the House would wish me to congratulate the Minister of State on her recent marriage and to wish her every good health and happiness.

Thank you very much.

I was going to be very difficult with the Minister of State. How can I do that now? Congratulations.

I congratulate her on her wedding but not on her answer. With all due respect, I know the Minister of State is stepping in for the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Coveney, today but the response she has given is pretty much the same response I received to a parliamentary question last week. I welcome the announcement by the Taoiseach of a commitment to increase our diplomatic and business footprint across the world. Currently we have 61 embassies, seven multilateral missions and 11 consulate generals. We have just over 80 offices across the world and the Taoiseach has said that he wants to double that. If we double that, we will have 160 offices. What plans have actually been put in place? What costings have been done? Are there any priorities and if so, where? He said that the time span runs to 2025. When will we see the first new embassies open? I very much fear that this is just another one of Deputy Leo Varadkar's announcements, made for publicity. He was in Canada with his friend and he announced that he was going to double our global footprint. We have asked several serious questions. While we welcome the announcement, we are trying to get a handle on whether there is anything behind this but in this instance, there does not appear to be. I want to know what meetings have taken place between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of the Taoiseach. Have we any draft plan? Will the Minister be submitting a plan to the foreign affairs committee or to this House for discussion? When will the first new embassies actually open?

The Deputy is correct that Ireland currently has 80 diplomatic and consular offices. We have 961 diplomatic staff employed abroad and have relations with 178 different countries. When the Taoiseach speaks about doubling our footprint, that does not necessarily mean doubling the number of offices or doubling the budget. It is about ensuring that what we have currently is working and that we can make things work more efficiently. For example, in a city where we have four or five different offices operating in four or five different buildings, we might be able to make that work better by bringing everybody together and making sure they are connected properly.

In terms of the timeframe and making that work, the Department is currently working on a review of what we currently have, what is working and what is not, as well as examining where we can expand our footprint. We expect the initial report to be published by November. I am not sure whether that would go directly to a committee or whether it would be published by the Minister himself, but we should see the initial report by November.

That seems to be a departure from what the Taoiseach said. In any person's language, doubling is doubling and it is as simple as that. We lag behind comparable European countries like Denmark or Belgium in terms of the size of our network of embassies. When we heard the Taoiseach's announcement, it was something that we welcomed but now we are hearing that doubling does not necessarily mean that. It might mean a consolidation, using offices differently and so on. What I would really like to know is whether the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade was actually made aware in advance that the Taoiseach was going to make the announcement, given that it has massive implications for his Department. Is work underway to identify regions, countries or markets for Ireland to expand into? Have additional resources been allocated for next year to start this doubling of the footprint? The response from the Minister of State today tells me that there is nothing behind this announcement. That is not a great surprise, I might add, but if the Taoiseach and the Government are committing to expanding the diplomatic footprint, they must do it and show us the plan. They cannot just announce it when they are abroad to make themselves look good in front of another prime minister. This is too serious. Ireland needs to look further afield, particularly with Brexit happening. We need to be looking at new markets and I would welcome that but we need concrete answers.

As the Deputy has said, Ireland is a small, open economy. We need to promote our own interests proactively on the international stage, particularly in the context of Brexit. The Taoiseach has spoken very openly about the possibility of offices in New Zealand, Vancouver and Mumbai, to name but a few. We cannot get into the specifics at the moment because we do not yet know the locations for new missions. These locations will be identified on the basis of where they will have the greatest impact and the greatest potential to deliver in terms of the State's economic and political interests. There will obviously be some element of additional cost involved and that will have to be discussed with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. A plan is being put in place. A review is underway at the moment and the Minister will be able to announce the initial stages of that review by November.

Brexit Negotiations

David Cullinane


2. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of Article 50 negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39914/17]

I ask the Minister of State to update the House on the status of the Article 50 negotiations which are ongoing. What progress has been made and in what areas? What challenges still present in terms of issues that relate to Ireland?

Obviously, we had quite an in-depth discussion on this earlier this morning, during which we also heard the personal views of Mr. Guy Verhofstadt, MEP. That said, I will outline the current position. There have been three rounds of negotiations to date, with the most recent round concluding on 31 August. As this is the first phase of negotiations, and in line with the agreed sequencing, the focus has been on the withdrawal issues of citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, other more technical separation issues and the issues unique to Ireland. Both the EU and UK have used these early rounds of negotiations to clarify their respective positions, highlighting the areas of agreement and divergence.

Discussions on several issues have been reasonably constructive to date, with some progress being made in the areas of citizens’ rights and the other separation issues. However, it is clear that difficult and complex issues remain, above all in regard to the financial settlement. It is the area in which the least amount of progress has been made. Although the UK has accepted that it will have financial obligations to honour on its departure, it has not yet advanced a more concrete position on the issue and has argued that its obligations are moral, not legal.

It is imperative that sufficient progress is made on this issue, as well as on all of the other withdrawal issues, in order for the European Council to be able to make a decision regarding the opening of parallel discussions on the framework for future relations. It will be in the second phase that trade and sectoral issues, including the question of transitional arrangements, will be discussed. Given that these issues are of crucial importance to Ireland and our economy, the Government wants to see phase 2 begin as quickly as possible. However, unless the UK demonstrates greater and more constructive engagement on these issues in the next two rounds of negotiations, it is unlikely that the European Council on 19-20 October will be in a position to decide on whether sufficient progress has been achieved in the first phase of the negotiations. The Deputy will be aware that the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, will give a speech tomorrow. While we can speculate as to what might be in that speech it is not until it has been made that we will be able to work out what implications it will have on the negotiations due to commence next week.

I thank the Minister of State for her reply. There is a focus on Ireland now because it is one of the three areas that form part of the current negotiations, namely, the financial settlement, citizens' rights and Ireland. The Minister of State has rightly recognised that there has been positive movement on citizens' rights. There may be an announcement tomorrow by Prime Minister May in respect of the financial settlement or the divorce obligations, as they are named by the European Union. If that happens, it is possible that Ireland will fall down the pecking order in terms of priorities because the discussion will then move towards trade and the broader issue of trade between Europe and the United Kingdom. This will present challenges and so we need to get as many concessions now as we possibly can in respect of Ireland.

I welcomed the Commission's paper in respect of Ireland in terms of its reference to protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the unique circumstances for Ireland. Earlier today, we heard Mr. Verhofstadt say that the North should remain in the customs union but that is not the position of the British Government. What we need to hear from the Irish Government is that it fully supports this and that it is a red line issue. Whatever about the European Commission and others, this must be a red line issue such that the Irish Government will ensure it will not sign up to it, and in fact will use its veto, if necessary, to ensure that the North does not withdraw from the customs union and that we get full protections for the Good Friday Agreement.

As stated by Deputy Cullinane, we do enjoy a high level of support from the task force, headed by Michel Barnier and Mr. Verhofstadt. We are very appreciative of the level of support that the task force and our partners have shown for Ireland's unique concerns. Mr. Barnier, following his meeting with the Minister, Deputy Coveney, on 4 September reiterated that Ireland’s interests are the EU’s interests. The Irish Government has clearly stated that any return to a hard border or physical border for the island of Ireland would be detrimental. The Minister, Deputy Coveney, and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been working very closely with Mr. Barnier and his team to ensure that Ireland’s position is fully reflected in the negotiations. As this process continues and irrespective of what is announced in the statement tomorrow by Prime Minister May, we will continue to engage closely with them in the weeks and months ahead. Our officials are engaged daily with Mr. Barnier and his task force team. Our aim is to ensure that Ireland's priorities are front and centre in the negotiations. It is clear, following on from the first round of negotiations and the publication of a paper around dialogue between North and South of this island, that the manner in which we are proceeding is working. We will continue to engage in that way.

While it is the position of the European Commission and the European Parliament that the North should remain within the customs union, this will be subject to ongoing negotiation with the British Government. What we are trying to work out is what will be the end game — in other words, what will be in the withdrawal agreement. For Ireland, it is a red line that the North remains in the customs union because if it does not then we will be dealing with a border and an EU frontier on the island of Ireland and all talk of open borders and frictionless borders becomes a nonsense. This must be a red line issue for Ireland. Will the Minister of State confirm that this is also a red line issue for the Government?

Sinn Féin has put forward a proposal that the only way to protect the Good Friday Agreement in its entirety is to incorporate it as a protocol into the withdrawal agreement. This means that the Good Friday Agreement would have full legal protection and remain within the European Union and thereby citizens in the North would have access to the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights. We cannot cherry-pick the Good Friday Agreement and so it must, in its entirety, be incorporated as a protocol attached to the withdrawal agreement. Is this also the position of the Irish Government and is it an issue it will press with the Commission?

This is a decision that has been made by the British people and a decision that we respect. That said, the Government would prefer if the UK remained within the European Union and that it would remain in the Single Market and the customs union. Following on our meeting earlier in this Chamber it is clear that the most positive outcome would be for Northern Ireland and the UK to have the closest possible relationship to their current relationship, which would include the UK remaining within the customs union and Single Market. We cannot make that decision for the UK. It is a decision it will have to take itself. However, the UK has again stated that it is committed to maintaining the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process. In terms of imaginative solutions, at this moment in time this seems like the most practical solution to make sure that we maintain the peace that, as stated this morning by Mr. Verhofstadt, is so fragile.

National Risk Assessment

Stephen Donnelly


3. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if contingency plans are in place across all Departments for a no-deal or disorderly exit scenario following Brexit negotiations and the publication of the National Risk Assessment 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39917/17]

The Minister of State will be aware that the National Risk Assessment 2017 was recently published. One of the material risks it identified for this State is not only Brexit but a disorderly Brexit and a risk of no deal. What contingency plans does the Government have in place across any or all of the Departments specifically to deal with a no-deal or disorderly exit of the UK from the EU?

As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit, Deputy Coveney has responsibility for co-ordinating the whole-of-Government response to Brexit, including developing and advancing Ireland’s approach to the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The conclusion of a withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK is a key priority for the Government. A failure to reach such an agreement, resulting in a disorderly withdrawal, would, I believe and I think we all believe is now universally accepted including in the UK, be hugely damaging for the UK and for the EU, most particularly Ireland.

It is therefore incumbent on all sides to act responsibly and to approach the negotiations in a constructive, positive and ambitious frame of mind, with a willingness to compromise.

The immediate focus is on working with our EU partners and the EU institutions to ensure that the negotiations proceed in a positive manner, with a view to making sufficient progress on the withdrawal issues so that we can move on to discussing in parallel the future EU-UK relationship, including as regards trade. The need for effective transitional arrangements is also now very broadly understood.

At a national level, the Government’s National Risk Assessment 2017, which was published by the Department of the Taoiseach on 29 August following a public consultation, acknowledges the significance of risk arising from Brexit and that Brexit represents an overarching challenge that could have far-reaching impacts on nearly all aspects of national life. It identifies areas where Brexit poses a specific risk, particularly in respect of the economy. The national risk assessment provides a systematic overview of strategic risks facing the country and is not intended to replicate or displace the detailed risk management that is already conducted within Departments and agencies.

As a priority, the Minister, Deputy Coveney, and I continue to work with colleagues across Government to deepen our understanding of the exact consequences of the range of different scenarios. These scenarios include one where no agreement is reached.

By agreement between the Taoiseach and the Minister, Deputy Coveney, new cross-departmental co-ordination structures, chaired at very senior level by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, are being put in place and will be fully operational next week. One of the top priorities will be to develop and pull together the work already done on the effects of a disorderly Brexit and what steps could be taken in response.

I thank the Minister of State for her reply. What I have taken from it is that there are no contingency plans in place but there are groups meeting for the first time next week to put them in place.

While that is better than nothing - it is better that these groups are meeting than not meeting - the Brexit vote took place over a year ago and the idea that Government and official committees would start meeting in late September 2017 to begin planning contingencies is appalling. We have heard from the Government the repeated phrase that Brexit has not happened yet, but for anyone trading with the United Kingdom it has happened. Am I right in surmising that there are no contingency plans in place and that the committees will start meeting about contingency plans next week? If that is the case, when will the House expect to see draft contingency plans for discussion?

What we all know and can acknowledge and recognise is that we do not know what will be the outcome of Brexit. Very shortly after the referendum last year, the Department of the Taoiseach convened essentially a Cabinet of Ministers and cross-departmental officials to discuss the possible implications, examine how we can mitigate the impact of Brexit, and what the challenges will be within individual Departments but also to consider the possible advantages, if there are any, in that regard. Only last week, the Deputy attended a new stakeholder forum, which is clearly cross-departmental, cross-industry and, importantly, cross-party to make sure that the work that has been done by the various industries, Government agencies and by Departments comes together, that we work together, share and speak with one voice. At that meeting it was clear that we are all on the same page.

Regarding the putting of structures in place, last year budget 2017 allowed for certain factors with respect to this year's budget, most significantly in the agricultural sector but also in other areas. Budget 2018, which will be announced in a few weeks, will certainly contain elements that will support the effects being experienced currently and what effects might come down the road depending on the type of outcome we will have from Brexit.

The Minister of State made the point that we do not know what will happen with Brexit, but I put it to her that is exactly the point of having contingency plans. We should have contingency plans because we do not know what will happen, but we do not have them in place. I will give the Minister of State a brief example. I met the British Under Secretary for energy last week in London and he told me that Irish officials in the Department with responsibility for energy have been told not to engage with their British counterparts on developing a contingency plan for energy. As matters stand, if we reach a no-deal situation in 18 months' time, there is no legal framework by which the British can sell us energy, which means the lights would go off in Ireland. We need a contingency plan. We need a legal agreement in place, which the officials would have examined and the politicians would have reviewed and debated that provides that if we hit a worst-case scenario where Britain tumbles out of the EU and there is no agreement on a single energy market, we can take out an agreement we have put in place in order that the lights can stay on here. That is what is at stake here. When can we expect to see some of this? Does the Minister of State agree that our officials need to engage with their UK counterparts to start putting emergency legal frameworks and contingency plans in place?

With respect to the negotiations, Ireland will negotiate as part of one of 27, and that is very clear. The Deputy pointed to the energy sector. Energy is a core sectoral policy domain of the European Union. It is one of the key links between Ireland and the UK. To focus on Ireland's energy needs in this context, it poses particular challenges with Brexit on the horizon. We have set out four key energy priorities in regard to Brexit - first, maintaining trade and secure supplies of energy between the UK and member states; second, maintaining the single electricity market across the island of Ireland; third, accommodating Ireland's ability to meet the EU obligations; and, fourth, supporting energy infrastructure. Each Department is examining what the possible challenges will be coming down the line, what the implications will be with a hard Brexit, a soft Brexit and no Brexit, and what possible actions will need to be taken and put into place. All that work has been done. Departments have not been sitting on their hands waiting to see whether we will have a hard Brexit. While some of those have not come together in the current format in terms of next week, a great deal of work has already been done, and, in that respect, I believe it is a matter of joining up the dots.

Human Rights

Paul Murphy


4. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether stronger measures should be taken against the Myanmar Government in view of the violence and discrimination carried out against the Rohingya people; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39963/17]

Does the Minister agree that the Government should make a very strong statement of condemnation of the genocidal violence by the Myanmar Government against the Rohingya ethnic minority? Does she agree with the growing calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of the Nobel peace prize and of the freedom of Dublin city?

I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. The Government is deeply concerned about the situation in Rakhine State, in particular the ongoing violence which has been taking place following the attacks which were undertaken by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army militants on 25 August. The excessive response by the security forces in response to these attacks is deeply troubling. It is critical that an immediate end should be brought to the violence in Rakhine State. It has led to a severe humanitarian crisis both within Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh, which is seeking to manage the humanitarian needs of well over 400,000 refugees.

My colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Simon Coveney, issued a statement on 15 September in which he called on the security forces to de-escalate the situation, to respect international human rights law, and to ensure the protection of all civilians in the affected area. Along with other EU member states, Ireland has consistently urged the Government of Myanmar to restore access to Rakhine State by humanitarian actors and media organisations. We have also called on the Government of Myanmar to allow access to the UN fact-finding mission to the country.

Going beyond this immediate crisis, it is clear that there is a need to comprehensively tackle the long-standing drivers of the tensions which have existed in Rakhine State against the Rohingya community. In this context, Ireland urges the Government of Myanmar to take forward the recommendations which have been set out by the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State as soon as possible. These measures provide the strongest path forward for the long-term peace and development for all communities in the region.

I thank the Minister of State for her response and for the Government's statement a few weeks ago. To describe what is happening as excessive violence by the Myanmar state is a significant understatement. What is happening appears to be ethnic cleansing carried out by the Myanmar military in collusion with Buddhist chauvinist mobs. The consequences are very shocking. More than 400,000 have fled in the last month into neighbouring Bangladesh and 20,000 are being forced to leave each day, according to the International Organization for Migration. UNICEF has stated that 250,000 children have left Myanmar in the last month, and that is on top of the broader repression and oppression over the Rohingya people.

Real questions have to be asked and a light shone on the role of Aung San Suu Kyi in this. She is portrayed in sections of the media as being stuck between a rock and a hard place. In reality, she has been covering up for these brutal acts by the Myanmar state. She was the one who coined the term "fake rape" to describe the violence against women that was being perpetrated by those linked to that state.

It is important that we recognise the extremely complex challenges the Government of Myanmar faces and that it has taken a range of positive steps in pursuit of peace, in reconciliation, in democratic reforms and economic growth. Ireland absolutely supports the democratic transition which is currently under way in Myanmar following the elections in 2015. It is important we address the root causes of the issues in Rakhine State. That is fundamental to ensuring the peace and the socio-economic development for all the communities in the region. As a Government, we very much welcome the commitment that the State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has made in dealing with the root causes of the problems facing the region through the establishment of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

In terms of what we are doing in this regard, on 15 September the Minister, Deputy Simon Coveney, issued a statement again in which he expressed deep concern about the situation. The Government is also raising concerns through our bilateral contacts with the Government of Myanmar via our participation at the EU and the UN. Ireland's embassy in Bangkok, which is accredited to Myanmar, is monitoring the situation closely and the ambassador there has raised our concerns again and again regarding the situation in Rakhine State with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs during a visit to the country in January. We are keeping in close communication in respect of what is happening.

The notion that slow and steady progress is being made towards democracy in what was Burma is contradicted by what is happening to the Rohingya people. They are a severely oppressed ethnic minority and they are not recognised as such, unlike 135 recognised ethnic groups in Myanmar. They have been denied citizenship under the 1982 law. The Government presents them as having come from Bangladesh, despite being a traditional, long-standing element of what was formerly Burmese society. Unfortunately, Aung San Suu Kyi got the votes of ethnic minorities and those who hoped for a break from the old military rule but she has been completely incorporated into a crony capitalist, military system with the increasing dominance of China. The Government should support the call for her Nobel Peace Prize and for the freedom of the city of Dublin to be taken from her. I support those on Dublin City Council who are trying to do that.

Ireland very much urges the Government of Myanmar to begin implementing all the recommendations contained in the final report of the advisory commission on the Rakhine State as soon as possible. We very much welcome the Government's announcement on 12 September of the formation of the implementation committee to take this forward. When the time comes, it is critical that the refugees and many of those to whom the Deputy referred who have fled their homes in Rakhine State are also allowed to return. The Government has called on the Government of Myanmar to end its discriminatory policies and practices towards the Rohingya people and to take comprehensive steps to address the root causes of the situation. We in Ireland understand that building peace and trust takes time and we are particularly aware that respect for human rights and access to livelihoods for all these communities is central to enabling long-term peace and stability.

Human Rights

Maureen O'Sullivan


5. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the use of detention centres in Libya to address the migrant issue. [40014/17]

My question relates to the detention centres in Libya. I seek the Minister of State's views on these centres being used to address the migrant issue.

I strongly condemn all human rights violations and abuses against refugees and migrants, both in Libya and along the central Mediterranean route. I am aware of reports of appalling conditions currently faced by migrants in Libya.

The security situation in Libya is fragile, and the Government has only partial control of the territory, which limits the capacity of the international community to ensure accountability in response to reports of abuses.

At the June 2017 Foreign Affairs Council, FAC, Ireland expressed deep concern at the conditions experienced by migrants in detention centres in Libya. EU Foreign Ministers adopted Council conclusions in July which urge the Libyan authorities to improve humanitarian access to and conditions in detention centres, as well as to look for alternatives to detention.

The EU has a number of initiatives which provide assistance and protection to migrants in Libya, in particular inside detention centres. The EU also supports the work of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration, IOM, to ensure that there are adequate reception facilities for migrants. The EU also provides training and other support to enhance the border management capacities of the Libyan authorities. Total EU support to these initiatives amounts to €182 million.

Bringing real improvements to the situation of migrants in Libya will require restoration of political stability, through the formation of a functioning government and a return to order throughout the country. Ireland supports both UN mediation and regional efforts in pursuit of stabilisation in Libya.

The fight to reduce poverty in countries of origin, which is one of the main drivers of large irregular migratory flows, remains firmly at the core of Ireland’s aid programme.

There is an irony in depending on the Libyan authorities to sort this out because the situation in Libya is one of turmoil and of chaos. I tabled a Topical Issue matter on this a few months ago and the then Minister said the EU would closely monitor the migrant issue because it recognised the difficulties on the ground. Months later, the horror continues, as documented in a recent report by Amnesty International and by medical teams from Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, who are telling us about cases of torture, sexual violence and rape, forced labour and extortion. The EU, therefore, is not meeting its international obligations, which are to protect and to assist people in need. European policy is exposing refugees and migrants to awful conditions and violations in these detention centres. At the next FAC, will Ireland be a voice advocating a review of this policy of containment?

The Deputy is correct that EU Foreign Ministers adopted Council conclusions in July which urge the Libyan authorities to improve humanitarian access to and conditions in detention centres, as well as to look for alternatives to detention. People are making huge profits from smuggling and we need this to be brought under greater control. The EU has a number of initiatives which provide assistance and protection to migrants, refugees and host communities in Libya, in particular inside detention centres. It also provides training, including in international humanitarian law and rights and gender issues, and other support to enhance the border management capacities of the Libyan authorities. The Union also supports the work of the UNHCR and the IOM. Of the €182 million provided for migration-related projects, Ireland has provided €9.5 million to support the International Committee of the Red Cross this year. Ireland is very much supportive of the measures that are being put in place. However, the most important step in ensuring better conditions for migrants in Libya is the formation of a functioning government, which can restore order in the country. Through the EU, Ireland supports both UN mediation and regional efforts in pursuit of stabilisation in Libya.

I question the UNHCR funding because reports are saying that due to difficulties with access and restrictions on personnel on the ground, officials are not in a position to implement and to monitor and, therefore, the funding is not having an impact. There is also a need for monitoring of the training of the coastguard personnel in order that we know exactly what work they are doing because there have been difficulties in this regard as well.

With regard to funding, according to a reply I received some time ago, €90 million was provided for the protection of migrants; €4.8 million for protection activities; and €42 million for socioeconomic development at municipal and local government level. This was on top of an earlier €120 million allocation. There is a need for an exact breakdown of where that money is going because the Amnesty International report and the MSF medical teams are telling us that the horror is continuing and these detention centres are not the answer.

I am, unfortunately, unable to give the Deputy a breakdown but perhaps I will be able to get that for her. Given the particularly difficult situation in Libya, the monitoring and evaluation of programmes is very much subject to a number of other measures regarding good delivery and proper reporting. These include the fact that beyond the obligation of partner organisations to report regularly on the implementation of the projects the Deputy mentioned, third party monitoring will also be conducted. In addition, the European Commission can conduct additional ad hoc monitoring and should conditions on the ground not allow for proper implementation, further measures can be taken, including the suspension of programme activities. These are being closely monitored but I share the Deputy's concerns. People are experiencing horrendous conditions and others are making huge profits from the situation the Libyan Government finds itself in. We will do everything we can to work with the Government to make sure a stable government is in place and to ensure we continue to support and provide aid. I will get the breakdown for the Deputy as soon as possible.