Foreign Conflicts

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Ceisteanna (50)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_50">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Brendan-Smith.D.1992-12-14/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Brendan-Smith.D.1992-12-14/image/thumb" alt="Brendan Smith"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Brendan-Smith.D.1992-12-14/">Brendan Smith</a>
</h4>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Brendan Smith</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1014" class="">50. <strong>Deputy Brendan Smith</strong> asked the <strong>Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</strong> if he will outline the most recent discussions he has held at bilateral level with other member states of the European Union or at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council in regard to the ongoing conflict in Syria; if the European Union proposes any new initiatives for this region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18126/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-50">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
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</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-50">
<h3>Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_380">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/image/thumb" alt="Eamon Gilmore"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/50/speech/380/" data-share-text="Foreign Conflicts" title="Share speech #380 by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade"><i>Roinn</i></a></div>

<p id="para_1015" class="">The situation in Syria was the major issue discussed at the most recent Foreign Affairs Council meeting, which I attended in Brussels on 11 March, and also at the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers which I co-hosted with High Representative Ashton in Dublin on 22-23 March. These discussions focussed on how the EU can best promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis and alleviate the sufferings of the Syrian people, 70,000 of whom have been killed since March 2011. We will continue this discussion at the next Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg on 22 April which I will attend and where Syria will figure prominently on the agenda. At the Council meeting on 11 March, my EU colleagues and I had a valuable exchange with the UN/League of Arab States Special Envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, who briefed us in detail on the current situation in Syria. Special Envoy Brahimi was honest in his assessment and expressed the clear view that only a negotiated settlement can salvage what is left of Syria and offer the hope of an end to the conflict. Special Envoy Brahimi is expected to brief the UN Security Council on 19 April where he will update the SECCO members on the situation on the ground and share his views on the prospects for a political settlement. At the informal “Gymnich” meeting at the end of March in Dublin, EU partners reaffirmed their full support for Special Envoy Brahimi and his efforts. We also made clear that the priority for the EU is to achieve a peaceful and negotiated solution to the crisis.</p>
<p id="para_1016" class=""> Considerable attention has also been devoted at EU level recently to reviewing the current EU sanctions which apply against Syria. We want to ensure through these measures that pressure remains on the Assad regime to stop its repression and to engage in a process of political dialogue with the opposition. At the 18 February Foreign Affairs Council, we agreed to renew the full range of existing sanctions for a further period of three months, until 1 June. At the request of the European Council on 14-15 March, we again discussed this subject at the informal Gymnich meeting held in Dublin. We agreed to continue our discussion at the next Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg on 22 April with a view to reaching a common position ahead of the 1 June renewal date.</p>
<p id="para_1017" class=""> There is also a need to ensure full accountability in relation to the gross human rights violations and war crimes which have been committed by all sides to this conflict. Ireland has been to the fore within the EU in supporting calls for the situation in Syria to be referred by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court. As a new member of the UN Human Rights Council, we have been active during the Council’s most recent session in building support for a strong resolution on the current human rights situation in Syria. This resolution, which calls for referral to the appropriate international criminal justice mechanism in the case of gross human rights violations, was overwhelmingly adopted by the Council on 22 March. </p>
<p id="para_1018" class=""> Discussions are currently underway at the UN in New York about a possible adoption by the UN General Assembly of a Resolution on the situation in Syria. Together with our EU and Arab partners, we are working towards ensuring that the Resolution contains strong accountability messages. We are also encouraging the sponsors to seek as wide a measure of support for the Resolution as possible within the General Assembly so as to demonstrate the extent of international concern over the current situation. </p>
<p id="para_1019" class=""> The plight of millions of ordinary Syrians remains a major concern for Ireland and its EU partners as the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, in and outside Syria. I was able to witness first-hand the dreadful cost of the conflict paid by thousands of ordinary civilians including children when I visited the refugee camp of Nizip in southern Turkey on 8 April. Ireland and its EU partners are making a major contribution to the UN-led humanitarian relief operations. The EU is collectively the largest donor to such efforts, having contributed some €600 million in aid to date. Ireland’s humanitarian assistance to Syria over the past year now amounts to €8.15 million which include the additional €1 million pledge I announced when visiting the Nizip camp. </p>
<p id="para_1020" class=""> The conflict in Syria has been a major priority for Ireland and the EU over the last two years and will remain at the top of our foreign policy agenda during the remainder of Ireland’s EU Presidency. We will continue to use whatever influence we have in our Presidency role and at all levels of our international engagement to support and promote European and UN efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.</p>
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Passport Applications

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Ceisteanna (51)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_51">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Bernard-Durkan.D.1981-06-30/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Bernard-Durkan.D.1981-06-30/image/thumb" alt="Bernard Durkan"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Bernard-Durkan.D.1981-06-30/">Bernard Durkan</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Bernard Durkan</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1021" class="">51. <strong>Deputy Bernard J. Durkan</strong> asked the <strong>Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</strong> if he will issue an Irish passport in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who has already furnished copy of their birth certificate and confirmatory affidavit in respect of their citizenship but who is not in a position to obtain her original birth certificate; if arrangements to process her passport application will be made in the circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18137/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-51">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
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</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-51">
<h3>Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_381">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/image/thumb" alt="Eamon Gilmore"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
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<p id="para_1022" class="">The Passport Service cannot locate a record of a passport application for this person on the basis of the limited information provided. Accordingly, it is not possible to provide a specific answer in relation to this case. However, if the applicant can make direct contact with Mr. Kevin Walzer at the Passport Office, Balbriggan, the application can be progressed. His contact details are - email: kevin.walzer@dfa.ie and telephone: 01.673.3215.</p>
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Undocumented Irish in the USA

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Ceisteanna (52)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_52">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Dara-Calleary.D.2007-06-14/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Dara-Calleary.D.2007-06-14/image/thumb" alt="Dara Calleary"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Dara-Calleary.D.2007-06-14/">Dara Calleary</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Dara Calleary</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1023" class="">52. <strong>Deputy Dara Calleary</strong> asked the <strong>Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</strong> the number of meetings that officials have had with the US authorities in relation to the undocumented Irish and US emigration reform in the past 12 months; his views that these meetings are at an appropriate level and represent the maximum political pressure possible; if there is any specific effort being made to lobby Republican Party representatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18153/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-52">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
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</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-52">
<h3>Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_382">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/image/thumb" alt="Eamon Gilmore"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/52/speech/382/" data-share-text="Undocumented Irish in the USA" title="Share speech #382 by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade"><i>Roinn</i></a></div>

<p id="para_1024" class="">The Government has identified the position of the undocumented Irish in the United States and the need to provide for future flows of migration between the two countries through the E3 visa programme as important priorities in our bilateral relationship. We have engaged in an intense campaign of engagements at political and official level with the US Administration and Congress since being elected to office. This has included direct discussion of the issue at the highest level with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Speaker of the House Boehner, Secretaries of State Kerry and Clinton and the main Congressional leaders on the issue from both the Republican and Democratic Parties. The most recent round of political level engagements with these leaders occurred during the St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington by the Taoiseach and me. Prior to this, I had also discussed the issue with Senator John McCain, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The Embassy in Washington, led by our Ambassador, continue to implement the Government’s lobbying strategy on a daily basis, including regular meetings with Senators, Congressmen and their key staffers from both parties. This strategy is executed in very close consultation with the key Irish immigration reform organisations in the United States, including the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, the Chicago Celts, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Coalition of Irish Emigration Centres. We have also provided significant financial support through the Emigrant Support Programme to assist several of these organisations.</p>
<p id="para_1025" class=""> I am therefore fully satisfied that the Government’s campaign is targeted, strategic and is successfully connected at the highest level within the Administration and in Congress. </p>
<p id="para_1026" class=""> The advice of Ireland’s friends and contacts within the US Administration and Congress has long been that comprehensive reform of the US immigration system and procedures is likely to be the only manner by which such a resolution can be achieved.</p>
<p id="para_1027" class=""> While immigration remains a very challenging issue in the United States, I am encouraged by the progress achieved since President Obama’s re-election and by the legislative work already significantly advanced by the bipartisan group of 8 Senators. In particular, I very much welcome the publication this week of a draft Senate Immigration Bill. I can assure the Deputy the Government will continue to prioritise this issue and will maintain its ongoing close contact with all of the key players.</p>
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Departmental Bodies

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<h3>Ceisteanna (53)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_53">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Dara-Calleary.D.2007-06-14/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Dara-Calleary.D.2007-06-14/image/thumb" alt="Dara Calleary"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Dara-Calleary.D.2007-06-14/">Dara Calleary</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Dara Calleary</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1028" class="">53. <strong>Deputy Dara Calleary</strong> asked the <strong>Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</strong> the number of occasions that the Trade Council has met since September 2011; the number of occasions on which these meetings were chaired at ministerial level; the issues that were discussed at these meetings; and his views on the operation and work of the Trade Council. [18154/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-53">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-53">
<h3>Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_383">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/image/thumb" alt="Eamon Gilmore"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/53/speech/383/" data-share-text="Departmental Bodies" title="Share speech #383 by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade"><i>Roinn</i></a></div>

<p id="para_1029" class="">The Export Trade Council (ETC) has met on three occasions since its inaugural meeting in September 2011. I have chaired each of these meetings. Members of the Council include Minister Bruton, Minister Varadkar, Minister Coveney and Minister of State Costello. Other relevant Departments are represented at senior official level, while the Chief Executive Officers of Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, SFI, Forfás and Tourism Ireland are also members. The ETC’s role is to strengthen cooperation and coordination across all Government Departments and State Agencies involved in the promotion and development of trade, tourism and investment, and to oversee the progressive implementation of the recommendations set out in the Government Trade Strategy, <em>Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy</em>. </p>
<p id="para_1030" class="">Matters discussed at meetings reflect these goals. For example, at our most recent meeting, the Council considered progress made in 2012 in achieving the targets for export, tourism, FDI and jobs growth set out in <em>Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy</em> and discussed opportunities for Ireland presented by the ongoing negotiation of a number of Free Trade Agreements between the EU and third countries. The schedule of EI trade missions for 2013, which Minister Bruton and I approved, was also reviewed. Examples of other areas which have been considered in previous meetings are my Department’s Africa Strategy; visa issues and their impact of trade, tourism and investment in Ireland; and the issue of education and skills, which Minister Quinn briefed the Council on at its meeting of 20 September 2012. </p>
<p id="para_1031" class="">I believe that the role of the Export Trade Council is key in ensuring a coherent and joined up approach to meeting our growth and jobs targets in the areas of trade, tourism and investment and in identifying areas in which Departments and agencies can work effectively together in promoting Ireland in overseas markets. Progress in meeting the targets outlined in <em>Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy</em> by 2015 remains on track.</p>
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</div>

International Relations

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Ceisteanna (54)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_54">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Brendan-Smith.D.1992-12-14/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Brendan-Smith.D.1992-12-14/image/thumb" alt="Brendan Smith"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Brendan-Smith.D.1992-12-14/">Brendan Smith</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Brendan Smith</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1032" class="">54. <strong>Deputy Brendan Smith</strong> asked the <strong>Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</strong> if he will outline the most recent discussions that have been held at European Union level in relation to North Korea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18162/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-54">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-54">
<h3>Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_384">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/image/thumb" alt="Eamon Gilmore"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/54/speech/384/" data-share-text="International Relations" title="Share speech #384 by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade"><i>Roinn</i></a></div>

<p id="para_1033" class="">Ireland, together with our partners in the European Union, is in close contact on matters of concern involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). We continue to engage with key partners to build a firm and unified response. Recent actions by North Korea directly threaten peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and are a clear violation of the country’s international obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094. On the 18 February 2013, at the Foreign Affairs Council, together with EU colleagues, Ireland agreed to the further strengthening of sanctions against North Korea by adopting EU autonomous measures in addition to those contained in UNSC Resolution 2087. These further measures in particular concern trade in conventional weapons involving North Korea and the export to North Korea of certain key components for ballistic usage. At this meeting, Ireland together with our EU partners further called upon North Korea to reengage constructively with the international community, in particular to rejoin with the other members of the Six-Party Talks on denuclearisation, and thus to work towards lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. </p>
<p id="para_1034" class="">On the 8 April 2013, High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton called the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, Yun Byung-se and discussed the latest developments regarding North Korea. High Representative Ashton reaffirmed the EU’s strong support for the approach of the United Nations Security Councils and again called upon<em>
</em> North Korea to reengage constructively with the international community in order to work towards lasting peace and security on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Both sides also remain in close contact regarding developments in the situation.</p>
</div>
</div>
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Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Ceisteanna (55, 56)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_55">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Pearse-Doherty.S.2007-07-23/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Pearse-Doherty.S.2007-07-23/image/thumb" alt="Pearse Doherty"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Pearse-Doherty.S.2007-07-23/">Pearse Doherty</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Pearse Doherty</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1035" class="">55. <strong>Deputy Pearse Doherty</strong> asked the <strong>Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</strong> if he will provide details of all pay increases awarded to special advisers in his Department over the last two years. [18313/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-55_56">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
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</div>
<div class="question" id="pq_56">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Mary-Lou-McDonald.D.2011-03-09/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Mary-Lou-McDonald.D.2011-03-09/image/thumb" alt="Mary Lou McDonald"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Mary-Lou-McDonald.D.2011-03-09/">Mary Lou McDonald</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Mary Lou McDonald</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1036" class="">56. <strong>Deputy Mary Lou McDonald</strong> asked the <strong>Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</strong> if he will provide in a tabular format a list of all his special advisers pay and that of his Minister of State, to include each salary, name of employee above principal officer standard scale salary rate; and if he will supply the total pay bill for all his special advisers for 2012 [18327/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-55_56">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-55_56">
<h3>Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_385">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/image/thumb" alt="Eamon Gilmore"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Eamon-Gilmore.D.1989-06-29/">Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/55/speech/385/" data-share-text="Ministerial Advisers Remuneration" title="Share speech #385 by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade"><i>Roinn</i></a></div>

<p id="para_1037" class="">I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 56 together.</p>
<p id="para_1038" class=""> Details of the salaries paid to Special Advisers in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which are commensurate with the responsibilities attaching to their positions, are provided in the following table. </p>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_1039" class="">Name</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1040" class="">Position held </p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1041" class="">Annual Salary </p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_1042" class="">Mark Garrett</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1043" class="">Chief Adviser - Office of the Tánaiste</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1044" class="">€168,000</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_1045" class="">Colm O’Reardon</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1046" class="">Economic Adviser - Office of the Tánaiste</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1047" class="">€155,000</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_1048" class="">Jean O’Mahony</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1049" class="">Special Adviser - Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1050" class="">€86,604</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_1051" class="">Niamh Sweeney</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1052" class="">Special Adviser – Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1053" class="">€80,051</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_1054" class="">Stephen O’Shea</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1055" class="">Special Adviser - Minister of State for European Affairs</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_1056" class="">€64,257 </p>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<p id="para_1057" class="">Ms Jean O’Mahony received salary increments of €3,286 and €3,267 in March 2012 and March 2013 respectively and Mr Stephen O’Shea received a salary increment of €2,291 in November 2012, in line with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidelines relating to Special Advisers. The total cost of the salaries paid to Special Advisers in 2012 was €483,635.</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

Bank Charges

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Ceisteanna (57, 58, 65)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_57">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/image/thumb" alt="Peadar Tóibín"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/">Peadar Tóibín</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="social-share">
<a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/57/question/57/" data-share-text="Bank Charges" title="Share question #57 by Peadar Tóibín">
<i>Roinn</i>
</a>
</div>
<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Peadar Tóibín</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1058" class="">57. <strong>Deputy Peadar Tóibín</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Finance</strong> if his attention has been drawn to the changes in cash handling charges by the Allied Irish Banks; and if he, or representatives of his Department, have raised this matter with the bank. [18035/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-57_58_65">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="question" id="pq_58">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/image/thumb" alt="Peadar Tóibín"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/">Peadar Tóibín</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="social-share">
<a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/57/question/58/" data-share-text="Bank Charges" title="Share question #58 by Peadar Tóibín">
<i>Roinn</i>
</a>
</div>
<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Peadar Tóibín</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1059" class="">58. <strong>Deputy Peadar Tóibín</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Finance</strong> the cost impact on the small medium enterprises sector of the changes in cash handling charges by the Allied Irish Bank; and if he will confirm if his Department was consulted with regard to these changes. [18036/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-57_58_65">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="question" id="pq_65">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/image/thumb" alt="Peadar Tóibín"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Peadar-Tóibín.D.2011-03-09/">Peadar Tóibín</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="social-share">
<a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/57/question/65/" data-share-text="Bank Charges" title="Share question #65 by Peadar Tóibín">
<i>Roinn</i>
</a>
</div>
<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Peadar Tóibín</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1060" class="">65. <strong>Deputy Peadar Tóibín</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Finance</strong> if he will confirm if his Department was consulted with regard to changes in charges for cash handling by the Allied Irish Bank. [18038/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-57_58_65">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-57_58_65">
<h3>Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_386">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Michael-Noonan.D.1981-06-30/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Michael-Noonan.D.1981-06-30/image/thumb" alt="Michael Noonan"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Michael-Noonan.D.1981-06-30/">Minister for Finance</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/57/speech/386/" data-share-text="Bank Charges" title="Share speech #386 by Minister for Finance"><i>Roinn</i></a></div>

<p id="para_1061" class="">I propose to take Questions Nos. 57, 58 and 65 together.</p>
<p id="para_1062" class=""> As the Deputy will be aware the Relationship Framework with the bank provides that the State will not intervene in the day-to-day operations of the bank or their management decisions. These frameworks are published on the Department of Finance website. I must ensure that the bank is run on a commercial, cost effective and independent basis to ensure the value of the bank as an asset to the State, as per the Memorandum on Economic and Financial Policies agreed with the EU Commission, the ECB and the IMF.</p>
<p id="para_1063" class=""> However, AIB has informed me of the following:</p>
<p id="para_1064" class=""> While AIB’s standard notes lodged fee is one of the most competitive in the market, we are aware that the above changes will impact on c. 5% of our business customers. </p>
<p id="para_1065" class=""> Changes to European Regulations in 2011 have meant that AIB is now obliged to check cash lodgements for fitness and authenticity before lodgement to the Central Bank. Historically, AIB has been one of the only Banks to offer a discount to some of its business customers who prepared lodgements to an agreed standard. This removed the requirement to check the cash in such lodgements and thus allowed for reduced cash handling/notes lodged rates (€0.25 and €0.17) off the standard €0.45c per €100 fee. </p>
<p id="para_1066" class=""> As a result of the manual nature now involved in checking/counting cash, a review has taken place of AIB’s historical cash handling fees.</p>
<p id="para_1067" class=""> In this regard, we have written to all impacted customers offering them the opportunity to approach the Bank to discuss their transaction fee arrangements in advance of the next fee charging period. These discussions and any potential revised fee negotiation and transaction fee arrangements can be put in place up to 30th August next and back dated to the start of that fee quarter. AIB’s business customers often negotiate individual fee arrangements based on their specific circumstances and needs, and the bank is offering them the opportunity to do so in the coming months in order to minimise the impact of the above changes.</p>
<p id="para_1068" class=""> More broadly, there may be opportunities for business customers to reduce their overall cash handling and fees through some electronic banking services such as:</p>
<p id="para_1069" class=""> - AIB’s Point of Sale systems</p>
<p id="para_1070" class=""> - AIB has also launched its ‘contactless payment’ service for transactions up to €15 which involves customers holding their card up to a secure reader which records the transaction in seconds</p>
<p id="para_1071" class=""> - For business customers with larger cash lodgement requirements, the use of AIB’s centralised Lodgement Processing may reduce costs. </p>
<p id="para_1072" class=""> - In-store ATM’s offers the ability to recycle cash and which may reduce cash lodgement costs.”</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

Property Taxation Administration

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Ceisteanna (59)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_59">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Finian-McGrath.D.2002-06-06/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Finian-McGrath.D.2002-06-06/image/thumb" alt="Finian McGrath"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Finian-McGrath.D.2002-06-06/">Finian McGrath</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="social-share">
<a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/59/question/59/" data-share-text="Property Taxation Administration" title="Share question #59 by Finian McGrath">
<i>Roinn</i>
</a>
</div>
<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Finian McGrath</h4><span class="question-start">Ceist:</span>
<p id="para_1073" class="">59. <strong>Deputy Finian McGrath</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Finance</strong> if he will support a matter regarding the property tax (details supplied). [18061/13]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-59">Amharc ar fhreagra</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-59">
<h3>Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_387">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/ga/members/member/Michael-Noonan.D.1981-06-30/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Michael-Noonan.D.1981-06-30/image/thumb" alt="Michael Noonan"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/ga/members/member/Michael-Noonan.D.1981-06-30/">Minister for Finance</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2013-04-18/59/speech/387/" data-share-text="Property Taxation Administration" title="Share speech #387 by Minister for Finance"><i>Roinn</i></a></div>

<p id="para_1074" class="">I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the Local Property Tax is a self-assessed tax so in the first instance it is a matter for the property owner to calculate the tax due based on his or her assessment of the chargeable value of the property. The chargeable value is defined in the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, as amended, and means the price that the unencumbered fee simple of a residential property might be expected to fetch on a sale on the open market, were that property to be sold on the valuation date of 1 May 2013, in a manner that would secure the best possible price for the property. In assessing the market value of a residential property no account may be taken of any encumbrance on the property. Therefore, any restrictions on the sale of the units in the complex referred to are not relevant when establishing the chargeable value for Local Property Tax purposes. The individual units should be valued as if there was no restriction on their sale. However, the state of the completion of the complex, including the common areas, is clearly a relevant factor in assessing the valuation band for the individual units.</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>