Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (59, 64)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

59. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if information on a series of matters (details supplied) regarding the types of person on the 2019 election observation roster will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12555/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

64. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will address a matter regarding the election observation roster (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11704/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 59 and 64 together.

The Department maintains and administers a roster of suitably skilled individuals who are available to participate in election observation missions organised, mostly, by the EU and OSCE. A new roster was set up in January further to a Call for Volunteers which issued in July 2018.

Members of the roster are expected to be of good character. Prior to their circulation regarding election observation missions, those who have been shortlisted for roster membership are subject to security vetting in conjunction with the National Vetting Bureau. That vetting process is ongoing.

Roster members who participate in election observation missions are expected to behave professionally and impartially and to demonstrate sound judgement. Members of the roster are volunteers; the restrictions placed on civil servants in relation to political activity do not apply to volunteer roster members (unless of course the individual concerned also happens to be a civil servant). It is to be expected, and indeed welcomed, that a roster formed in a plural society would contain a broad range of opinion, consistent with Ireland’s international obligations on freedom of expression.