Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (112)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

112. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of staff in his Department assigned solely or primarily to work on North-South issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21265/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The engagement by my Department on North South issues involves officials from across the Divisions of the Department. This engagement is led by the Department's Ireland, UK and Americas Division and particularly by a current team of four Dublin-based officials working within the Brexit and North South Coordination Unit who deal primarily with matters, including Brexit, relating to North South co-operation; and the nine Armagh-based officials who are working as part of the Joint Secretariat of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), as well as by officers in our HQ dealing with Northern Ireland political issues.

My Department’s officials play a co-ordinating role in Government activity on North-South issues, attending and chairing meetings of the North-South Interdepartmental Coordinators, and encouraging and advancing cross-border co-operation at official level.

In addition to servicing meetings of the NSMC, my officials in the Joint Secretariat also perform other important functions focussed on advocacy for North-South co-operation. They are involved in developing networks of contacts, actively pursuing our priorities for advancing cooperation, as well as analysing and reporting on the progress of such cooperation, including the work of the North-South Implementation Bodies.