Thursday, 6 December 2018

Ceisteanna (74)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

74. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if issues with the election observer roster appraisal process have been rectified (details supplied); the reason for the delay; the other steps required to finalise the process; the date on which persons will be placed on the new roster; the appeal process for unsuccessful candidates; the amount expended on consultancy fees to date regarding this process; the number of candidates who have applied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51489/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

International election observation missions play an important role in the promotion of democracy and human rights. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade aims to ensure that, when requested, Ireland is represented at an appropriate level on international election observation missions. Irish observers participate primarily in missions organised by the European Union or the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The process of establishing a new international election observer roster is at an advanced stage. It is expected that the new roster will be established on 1 January 2019.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aiming to release results of the recent appraisal process shortly, following determination of the availability of an Appeals Panel. Information on the Appeals Process will be provided to candidates with their results. Once candidates have been informed, the Irish Aid website will be updated with information on the remaining stages in the process. These are: language verification for certain candidates, security vetting and the training of new roster members. Language verification and security vetting will run concurrently during the month of December. Training will be provided in January, with prioritisation given to candidates who have not been previously trained in election observation duties. Those shortlisted for the new roster will also be asked to undertake the online election observer training provided by the OSCE and the EU and to provide certification to the Elections Desk. Information on these courses will be provided along with results.

The costs incurred to date in the establishment of the new roster are approximately €15,000. This includes the training of the panels which appraised applications, the payments to external panel chairpersons and the cost of the quality assurance service.

395 applications were received by the deadline of 17:30 on 20 August 2018. Of the 395 total applications, 377 were deemed to have met the essential requirements listed on pages 3 and 4 of the Volunteer Information Booklet. These 377 applications were assigned to panels for stage 2 assessment. The 18 applicants deemed not to have passed the essential requirements check were informed on 15 November 2018 that their application was not successful.