Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (40)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

40. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extra scrutiny undertaken when assessing applications for the export of category 5 dual use items to states with a record of oppression and human rights abuses such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Israel. [4670/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The European Union operates an export control framework to prevent the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, to promote regional stability and to protect human rights. The framework regulates exports of Dual-use items. Dual-use items are goods and technology that can be used in both civil and military applications. The framework is given legal effect by Council Regulation (EC) No. 428/2009 setting up a Union regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items. This regulation has direct legal effect in all Member States of the EU. My Department is the national competent authority in Ireland with responsibility for the implementation of this regulation.

Exports of Category 5 "Telecommunications and Information Security" dual-use items from Ireland are predominantly back-office IT systems e.g. data storage, networking, cybersecurity. They are classed as dual-use items by virtue of the fact that they incorporate strong encryption for data security purposes.

Applications for export licences in respect of dual-use goods are subject to rigorous scrutiny by my officials and are assessed against the criteria set out in the Dual-use Regulation. There is a particular focus on the end-user within the country of destination. As part of their application, companies are required to submit a Certificate, signed by the end-user, stating the purpose for which the item to be exported will be used. My officials also consult an EU database to check if similar licence applications have been denied by another EU member state. 

My officials apply the criteria set out in Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP when assessing applications for Dual-use licences. Criterion 2 in particular, specifies consideration of "Respect for human rights in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country of international humanitarian law". 

My officials consult with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in respect of export licence applications for sensitive destinations, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel, seeking observations on any foreign policy or human rights concerns that may arise in respect of a proposed export. Such considerations are subject to constant review in the light of developments in a particular regions.