I propose to take Questions Nos. 366 and 367 together.
My Department is responsible for the implementation of the Wildlife Act and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, which together provide the legislative framework for the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Ireland.
This UN Convention regulates trade in certain listed species, including elephants, between Parties. Ireland has been a Party to the Convention since 8th January 2002.
Ireland does not have significant trade in ivory specimens and the domestic market allows only for trade in pre-Convention ivory. This trade consists primarily of carved artifacts, antique items and some musical instrument components and is governed by CITES.
Applications for CITES certificates or permits are examined carefully by the Irish CITES Management Authority in my Department to determine that the ivory has an attested legal origin. If the Management Authority is satisfied that the ivory has been legally acquired, it will then issue a certificate or permit to verify that fact in line with current CITES regulations.
The EU and its Member States have been at the forefront in the regulation of ivory trade and stringent rules are already in place cross the Union. While these have functioned effectively to date, the current EU ivory guidance document is in the process of being revised; it is envisaged that the guidance will incorporate stricter rules on trade in raw and worked ivory in the future.
As a Member State, Ireland participates in regular EU CITES Management Committee and CITES Scientific Group meetings and supports a common EU approach to CITES matters, including the ivory trade. The Irish authorities will continue to participate fully in discussions around this issue.