Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (111, 112, 113)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

111. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has spoken with his British counterpart since the British Attorney General completed his discussions with officials and legal advisers in Brussels on the weekend of 9 to 11 March 2019. [12437/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

112. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he spoke to his British counterpart after the UK Attorney General concluded his discussions with officials in Brussels on the withdrawal treaty. [12436/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

113. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if there have been additions or clarification added to the withdrawal treaty before the vote takes place in the House of Commons on 12 March 2019. [12438/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 111 to 113, inclusive, together.

Brexit is a priority issue for this Government, and the Taoiseach, my cabinet colleagues and I take every opportunity to engage with EU partners and the UK to advance Ireland’s priorities.

I remain in ongoing contact with my UK counterparts. I met with David Lidington in Dublin on 28 February, and again during my visit to London on 6 March, and since then by phone. I spoke with Michel Barnier over the weekend, during his visit to Dublin.

There have been an intensive series of meeting between the EU and the UK over the past few weeks, including between the British Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, the UK Brexit Secretary, Stephen Barclay, and the EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier, most recently on 6 March.

On 11 May Prime Minister May and President Juncker agreed a package of measures comprising of an “Instrument relating to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community” and a “Joint Statement supplementing the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” There was constant contact between our team and the Commission's team over the last number of days as these documents were being developed. The Taoiseach also spoke by phone with President Juncker before the package was agreed with Prime Minister May.

These documents are complementary to the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration and aim to provide an additional layer of interpretation, clarification and elaboration to the United Kingdom. They provide the legal assurances sought by the UK on the temporary nature of the backstop, as well as additions to the political declaration on the future relationship setting clearly our commitment to finding alternative arrangements to the backstop.

The Government welcomes this agreement, and has backed this package of measures in the interests of securing an overall deal.

We regret the outcome of last night’s vote in the House of Commons and are disappointed that the UK Government has been unable to secure parliament approval of the Withdrawal Agreement.

It is now for the UK to set out what it intends to do next. We will be closely monitoring further developments and votes in Westminster in the coming days. There is still time for sensible solutions.

Election Monitoring Missions

Ceisteanna (114)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

114. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the details of the election observation competition; the way in which it was operated; the basis for selection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12576/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I refer the Deputy to the response to Parliamentary Question Number 109 of 19 December 2018 which outlined the selection process in detail. The selection process has now concluded. A detailed information note on the operation of the election observation roster, and its mustering, has also been made available to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence, and accompanies this response.

Election Observation Roster

Northern Ireland

Ceisteanna (115)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

115. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether the comments made by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland regarding victims of the Troubles in the House of Commons on 6 March 2019 were appropriate. [12439/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I met with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, in London, on 6 March. I made clear to the Secretary of State the Government's deep concern at the statement she had made earlier that day, regarding deaths caused by British soldiers and police during the Troubles, which had caused intense hurt and distress to families who lost loved ones in dreadful circumstances.

I underlined the need for investigation of all Troubles-related deaths, implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy framework, and honouring of the commitment under the 2001 Weston Park Agreement for a public inquiry in the Pat Finucane case.

I reiterated to the Secretary of State the Government's position that there must be effective investigations into all deaths during the Troubles, regardless of the perpetrator. I underlined that there are no amnesties from prosecution provided for in the Good Friday Agreement or any subsequent Agreements, including the Stormont House Agreement, and that the Government has been clear that it would not support any proposal to introduce such a measure, for state or non-state actors.

I also emphasised the imperative of moving ahead with legislation to establish the Stormont House Agreement legacy bodies, including to provide an effective system for investigation of outstanding legacy cases in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State acknowledged the deeply-felt hurt and concern her comments had caused, and stated that this was not intended. Secretary of State Bradley also confirmed the British Government's continuing support for the Stormont House Agreement and its intention to progress the necessary implementing legislation. She also affirmed that all Troubles-related deaths must be effectively investigated in accordance with the law, whatever the circumstances and whoever the perpetrators.

The Secretary of State's subsequent statement on 7 March which apologised for the offence and hurt caused by her statement to families who lost loved ones is important. It is also important that the Secretary of State publicly confirmed that what she had said was wrong, that "where there is any evidence of wrongdoing this should be pursued without fear of favour whoever the perpetrators might be", and that this is and will remain the basis of the British Government's approach to dealing with legacy issues.

The Government will continue to engage with the British Government to seek the establishment of the Stormont House Agreement legacy institutions, in order to meet the legitimate needs and expectations of victims and survivors, for whom delivery of a comprehensive legacy framework is long overdue.

Passport Applications

Ceisteanna (116)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

116. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if a person (details supplied) in County Kerry can apply for Irish citizenship and an Irish passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12607/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

All passport applications are subject to the provisions of the Passports Act 2008. The Act provides, among other things, that a person must be an Irish citizen before a passport can be issued to him/her. In order to meet this, each person must demonstrate an entitlement to Irish citizenship by providing acceptable documentary evidence of this entitlement.

Entitlement to Irish citizenship is determined by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, under which Irish citizenship may be obtained by birth, by descent, or by naturalisation.

An individual born on the island of Ireland before 2005 is automatically an Irish citizen. For individuals born outside of Ireland, they may claim citizenship if they had at least one parent who was born in the island of Ireland before 2005.

Individuals born outside of Ireland can also claim citizenship through a parent who was not born in Ireland but was an Irish citizen at the time of the individual's birth, or through a grandparent born in Ireland. Individuals who wish to claim citizenship through these means must have their birth entered on the Foreign Births Register (FBR). Citizenship commences after inclusion on the FBR. Further details regarding the process can be consulted at the Passport Service's website: www.dfa.ie/passports-citizenship/citizenship/born-abroad/.

There are no provisions for the spouse or partner of an Irish citizen to acquire Irish citizenship solely by virtue of marriage or civil partnership. Post nuptial citizenship was repealed with effect from 30 November 2005. The Passport Service will accept a valid post-nuptial certificate as evidence of citizenship if this post nuptial certificate was awarded prior to November 30 2005. There is no provision to apply for post nuptial citizenship retrospectively.

In cases where no Irish lineage exists, an individual may apply for Irish citizenship through naturalisation. Minimum residency terms must be satisfied before an individual is eligible for citizenship through naturalisation. The Department of Justice and Equality is responsible for citizenship matters, including applications for naturalisation.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (117, 118, 119, 120)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

117. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the status of new vehicles that car dealers have in stock which were imported through the UK in cases in which the dealership has already pre-registered the vehicles and received VRT quotations; and if they will be tariff free on 29 March 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit. [12447/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

118. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the situation for new vehicles imported from 1 April 2019 if the vehicles are manufactured and invoiced in Italy but delivered through the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit with regard to charges and tariffs. [12449/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

119. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Finance if new vehicles imported through the UK which have already been pre-registered with VRT quotations to garages here will be accepted without extra charges and tariffs at the end of March 2019 if Brexit goes ahead; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12630/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

120. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Finance the changes in respect of new imported vehicles which are manufactured and invoiced from Italy but currently delivered through the UK to garages here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12631/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 to 120, inclusive, together.

I am advised by Revenue that they have had extensive engagement with businesses and trade representative bodies throughout the State over the last number of months to assist them in their preparations for Brexit.

I am further advised that, subject to documentary evidence, a car dealer who has new vehicles in stock that were imported through the UK, which were pre-registered with VRT quotations and are in the State before 29 March, will not be subject to differing rules on tariffs, VAT or VRT.

If a car dealer sells vehicles that are manufactured and invoiced from Italy but are transported to Ireland via the UK, Revenue have advised that these are EU goods which may be transported directly to Ireland via direct shipping routes or alternatively may be transported through the UK under the control of a customs procedure called the Customs Transit procedure.

EU goods moving under the Customs Transit procedure, from one Member State to another, through a third country, are treated as EU goods upon re-entry to the EU and therefore incur no additional import duties or taxes upon arrival into the State.

I am advised by Revenue that new and used vehicles and/or parts imported from the UK post-Brexit, having been manufactured in the UK, would be subject to Common Customs Tariffs (CCT) in the event of the UK leaving the EU without an agreement. A complete description of the item being imported would be required in order to give a full customs tariff classification, this is particularly important for the importation of car parts and accessories. In the case of new or used vehicles imported from a third country, customs duty is chargeable at importation in the normal way, unless the trader has been authorised by Revenue for the deferral of taxes and duties.

Full details of the customs procedures are available on Revenue’s dedicated Brexit website www.revenue.ie/brexit. If further information is required in relation to customs procedures, these can be addressed to brexitqueries@revenue.ie.

In relation to VAT, vehicles that are acquired from Italy and transited through the United Kingdom will be subject to the current VAT rules. Vehicles imported from the UK will be subject to VAT at the point of importation.

In order to alleviate the cash flow burden on Irish businesses post Brexit, I have legislated for postponed accounting for import VAT. Under this system, importers will not pay import VAT at the point of entry but will instead account for import VAT through their VAT return, so that it is reclaimed at the same time that it is declared - a straightforward simultaneous in/out accounting transaction, without the need to pay the import VAT at the point of entry to the State. Use of postponed accounting will be optional and will be available to all traders in Ireland who trade with operators in countries outside of the European Union for a time after Brexit, after which continuation of the facility will be subject to conditions, to be set by the Revenue Commissioners at a later date.