Legislative Process

Ceisteanna (80)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

80. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Taoiseach the number of recommendations for money messages signed by him supporting the expenditure of public funds proposed by a Private Members' Bill in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of recommendations that were refused; and the category under which they were refused (details supplied). [45894/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the tables below.

Table 1: money messages issued

2016

Garda Síochána (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 2014

Parole Bill 2016

2017

Competition (Amendment) Bill 2016

Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016 – a Financial Resolution also issued

National Famine Commemoration Day Bill 2017

Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Bill 2016

2019

Electoral (Amendment)(No.3) Bill 2014

Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill 2017

Parental Leave Bill

Civil Law (Presumption of Death) Bill 2016

Table 2: reasoned responses issued

Bill

Date Laid

Category

Education (Amendment) Bill 2015

8/04/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2016

29/07/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill 2017

July 2019

Oireachtas Money Message

Island Fisheries (Heritage Licence) Bill 2017

17/04/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2016

29/07/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Local Government (Establishment of Town Councils Commission) Bill 2017

29/03/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Mortgage Arrears Resolution (Family Home) Bill 2017

10/07/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Prisons (Solitary Confinement) (Amendment) Bill 2016

29/07/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Waste Reduction Bill 2017

21/03/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Petroleum and Other Minerals (Amendment) (Climate emergency Measures) Bill 2018

5/07/19

Oireachtas Money Message

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (81)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

81. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach the number, date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by his Department since March 2011, in tabular form. [46099/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

No post-enactment reports have been published by my Department since March 2011 as no relevant legislation was enacted in that period.

Consultancy Contracts

Ceisteanna (82)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

82. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if his Department has contracts with external companies that advise on human resources, public relations, legal, financial or other policy matters. [46189/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

My Department has no contracts with external companies to advise on human resources, public relations, legal, financial or other policy matters.

Departmental Offices

Ceisteanna (83)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

83. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach the number of vacant desk spaces available in accommodation allocated to his Department in Civil Service accommodation outside Dublin city. [46301/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

My Department does not occupy any accommodation outside Dublin city.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (84)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

84. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Taoiseach when the disclosures made by his Department under Freedom of Information was last updated; and if this is in line with the disclosure policy of his Department. [46475/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

As part of its FOI publication scheme my Department maintains a FOI disclosures log on the gov.ie website containing details of the non-personal freedom of information requests that were granted or part granted by my Department.

In keeping with its policy to update the disclosures log on a quarterly basis, my Department last updated its FOI disclosures log in October with details of the FOI requests that were granted or part granted in the third quarter this year.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

Ceisteanna (85)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

85. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach the role his Department is playing in the winter ready campaign; the expenditure his Department will incur in this campaign; and the details of expenditure on external consultancy and advertising or communication. [46636/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

This current Be Winter Ready campaign is the ninth campaign launched by the Office of Emergency Planning, which my Department supports through it's membership of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning. The campaign aims to assist households in preparing for severe weather, and coping with it when it actually happens.

The Government Information Services' role is to provide support on the public information aspects of the campaign including about being prepared, staying safe and knowing where people can find help if needed. Information will also be available during severe weather events on Twitter from the Office of Emergency Planning @emergencyIE which all Departments support as part of their public information roles.

The Be Winter Ready booklet is published by the Office of Emergency Planning, on behalf of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning. More information and useful links are available on www.winterready.ie.

There is no expenditure by my Department on the campaign.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (86)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

86. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number, date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by his Department since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46089/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

There have been no post-enactment reports published by my Department since March 2011.

In general, legislation emanating from the Department of Defence is focused on the Defence Forces only and does not apply to the ordinary citizen or the business community.

Defence Forces Pensions

Ceisteanna (87)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

87. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has discretion to increase the pension entitlement of a member of the Defence Forces (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46157/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

There is no discretion available under the Army Pensions Acts to increase the pension of the person in question, which was fixed, under Section 13(2) of the Army Pensions Act 1923, by a bona fide decision of the then Minister for Defence, on the basis that civil compensation was received for the same disablement.

Section 13(2) of the Army Pensions Act 1923 (as amended) provides that any alternative compensation received may be taken into consideration in fixing the level of disability pension or gratuity that might otherwise be awarded for the same injury or medical condition. The underlying objective of section 13(2) is to take into consideration compensation paid ‘on the double’ for the same disablement.

There is provision under the Acts for the review of pensions or gratuities awarded or refused, subject to certain conditions, for example if additional relevant medical evidence becomes available. Such circumstances are, however, not relevant in this instance as no such case has been made.

The disability pension, as fixed, would of course have been increased periodically to reflect relevant pay increases in the intervening period.

Departmental Offices

Ceisteanna (88)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

88. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of vacant desk spaces available in accommodation allocated to his Department in Civil Service accommodation outside Dublin city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46291/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The number of vacant desk spaces available in accommodation allocated to the Department of Defence outside Dublin city is 19 and they are located as follows:

Location

Number of vacant desk spaces

Newbridge

13

Galway

0

Roscrea

6

A number of posts are due to be filled in the coming months and this will reduce the number of vacant desks available.

Defence Forces Personnel Data

Ceisteanna (89)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

89. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of vacant promotional positions waiting to be filled in the Defence Forces as of 4 November 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46357/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The manpower requirement of the Defence Forces is monitored on an on-going basis in accordance with operational requirements. Promotions are ongoing within the officer ranks. A promotion competition for NCOs is currently in progress.

The table below outlines the promotional posts vacant in the Permanent Defence Force, per rank, as of 30 September 2019, the latest date for which such figures are available.

Rank

Number of Promotion vacancies as of 30 September 2019

Lieutenant Colonel

8

Commandant

1

Captain

96

Sergeant Major

2

Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant

5

Company Sergeant

17

Company Quartermaster Sergeant

15

Sergeant

250

Corporal

237

Note:

Equivalent Naval Service Ranks

Lieutenant Colonel/Commander

Commandant/Lieutenant Commander

Captain/Lieutenant (NS)

Sergeant Major/Warrant Officer

Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant/Senior Chief Petty Officer

Company Quartermaster Sergeant/Senior Petty Officer

Company Sergeant/Chief Petty Officer

Sergeant/Petty Officer

Corporal/Leading Seaman

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (90)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

90. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when the disclosures made by his Department under Freedom of Information was last updated; if this is in line with the disclosure policy of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46465/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

My Department most recently updated its Freedom of Information Disclosure Log on 7 November, 2019. The Disclosure Log provides information up to the end of the third quarter of 2019. Once all Freedom of Information requests for a particular quarter have been processed and issued, the Disclosure Log for that period is updated.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

Ceisteanna (91)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

91. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the role his Department is playing in the winter ready campaign; the expenditure his Department will incur in this campaign; and the details of expenditure on external consultancy and advertising or communication. [46626/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

In November 2011 the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning launched the “Be Winter-Ready” information campaign to give the public advice on how to prepare in the future for severe weather events. Since then, the Government Task Force (GTF) on Emergency Planning, which I chair, and the Office of Emergency Planning in my Department have coordinated this annual whole of Government information campaign with the support of all Government Departments and Agencies.

The Be Winter-Ready booklets, annual leaflets and website provides information on how to prepare for winter and provides practical advice for coping during episodes of severe weather, with advice and contact details of organisations and agencies that can provide further guidance and assistance.

Each year the campaign has focused on a particular theme. This year the campaign is promoting awareness of the Met Éireann Severe Weather Warning Systems with an associated leaflet on their colour coded warnings that further explains how these are used.

The Office of Emergency Planning in my Department chairs the GTF Subgroup on Winter Preparedness, which meets regularly throughout the year to plan for and review each “Be Winter Ready” campaign. The OEP also has an annual presence at the National Ploughing Championships, which offers an opportunity to further promote the campaign ahead of the official launch by myself and other Ministers in early November each year. The OEP and the GTF review the effectiveness of each campaign annually and plan for the theme and context for the next launch.

The “Be Winter-Ready” annual campaigns have been incorporated into an overall whole of Government approach to winter preparedness across all Government Departments and the wider public service. In the context of expenditure, the costs of the campaign have been kept to a minimum and other Departments are working together and utilizing existing promotional mechanisms and budgets to present their contributions. The OEP and GTF prepares the overall theme each year in collaboration with a lead department and this expenditure is funded from within the OEP Subhead of my Department. While not all expenditure has been finalised, the total estimated cost of the 2019-20 campaign is outlined below and will be approximately €60,500. There has been no expenditure on external consultancy.

Estimated Be Winter-Ready Information Campaign Costs to date:

Advertising and Promotional Costs:

Promotional material with the Be Winter Ready logo

€4,500

Stand at the National Ploughing Championships

€2,700

Radio Advertisements

€30,000

Two page ‘Be Winter Ready’ article in the Irish Independent

€8,000

‘Be Winter Ready’ leaflet drop feature in the Irish Independent

€14,000

Communications Costs:

Irish translation of winter ready leaflets, Ministers speeches and Q&As etc.,

€1,000

Sign Language Interpreter for launch

€300

Total Costs (estimated):

€60,500

Defence Forces Recruitment

Ceisteanna (92)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

92. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when a new cadetship competition for the Defence Forces will open; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46694/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

It is envisaged that the next competition for cadetships in the Defence Forces will be launched in Quarter 1 of 2020.

Defence Forces Allowances

Ceisteanna (93)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

93. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated full-year cost if the explosive ordnance disposal duty allowance was increased by a further 20% based on 2018 figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46704/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The estimated cost requested is set out in the table beneath.

Cost in 2018.

€0.310m

Estimated full year cost of restoration (10% from 4/7/19) based on 2018.

€0.031m

Estimated cost in a full year of a further 20% increase (based on 2018 plus 10%restoration).

€0.068m

Northern Ireland

Ceisteanna (94)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

94. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the role of his Department in North-South co-operation. [46660/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The North South Cooperation that we enjoy today brings tangible benefits to the daily lives of people, across the island of Ireland, particularly to those living in the border region, and contributes to economic opportunity and development. It is also a very practical outworking of the peace process which allows for, and in turn encourages, the normalisation of relationships between people across the island.

The Government, and my Department, are firmly focused on protecting the full range of areas of North South cooperation, including in the context of Brexit, as well as providing for its continued development.

The North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), which was established under Strand Two of the Good Friday Agreement to develop consultation, cooperation and action within the island of Ireland, is the formal means for advancing North South cooperation. In the Council, the Government works with the Northern Ireland Executive to advance areas of practical cooperation which are to our mutual benefit. The NSMC provides the opportunity for a strategic and structured approach to cooperation across a range of key policy areas within the competence of the two administrations.

Since the Northern Ireland Executive ceased to function in January 2017, the NSMC has been unable to meet and bring the Government and Executive together to oversee ongoing North South work and further develop cooperation, as provided for under the Good Friday Agreement. This is a most serious absence, and particularly so at a time when the Council should be continuing the work it commenced in 2016 to deal with the challenges of the UK exit from the European Union.

Despite the absence of Ministers from Northern Ireland Departments, there is a wide variety of activity underway, both in terms of the formal areas of cooperation, the ongoing work of the North South Implementation Bodies and in cooperation outside of the formal North South institutional framework.

The NSMC is supported by a standing Joint Secretariat in Armagh, staffed by members of the Irish and Northern Ireland Civil Services, with staff costs met separately. In addition to servicing the Council, the officials from my Department who are working in the Joint Secretariat also perform other important functions focussed on advocacy for North South cooperation.

My Department’s officials in Armagh actively pursue our priorities for advancing cooperation by developing networks of contacts and outreach to Northern Ireland’s economic and business sector, as well as analysing and reporting on the progress of such cooperation, including the work of the North South Implementation Bodies. The Department’s officials in Dublin and in Armagh also play a coordinating role in Government activity on North South issues, attending and chairing meetings of the North South Interdepartmental Coordinators, and encouraging and advancing cross-border cooperation at official level.

Human Rights

Ceisteanna (95)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

95. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to recognise the Armenian genocide that occurred 104 years ago (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46021/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Government has expressed its deepest sympathy for the enormous suffering of the Armenian people during the terrible events of 1915 which resulted in the tragic deaths of very large numbers of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire.

No Irish Government has taken a position on the recognition of the events of 1915 as genocide, believing that it is not in a position to adjudicate on this contentious matter, involving the consideration of a number of legal issues and an assessment of the actions and intentions of many parties during that time. Ireland follows the practice of recognising genocide only where it has been established by a judgment of an international court or where there is international consensus on the matter.

These terrible events continue to overshadow relations between Armenia and Turkey and the two sides maintain sharply different historical interpretations of these events. As the Irish experience demonstrates, the process of reconciliation and coming to terms with the past is never easy. Ireland would urge Armenia and Turkey to take advantage of any opportunity to progress reconciliation for the good of their peoples and the wider region.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (96)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

96. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number, date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by his Department since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46093/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Since March 2011 my Department has sponsored six items of legislation, as set out in the table below.

Post-enactment scrutiny was adopted for the duration of the 31st Dáil through Standing Order 141A, effective from 5 November 2013, and was adopted by Standing Order 164A for the 32nd Dáil. In that light, the requirement to report does not apply to the first three pieces of legislation listed as they pre-date the requirement.

The post-enactment reports made under Standing Order 164A for my Department are as follows:

- Diplomatic Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2017 was laid with the Oireachtas Library on 13 December 2018.

- Protection of Cultural Property in the event of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention) Act 2017 was laid with the Oireachtas Library on 29 March 2019.

My Department will comply with future review requirements on each piece of legislation when they fall due. This includes the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019.

Name of Act

Year Enacted

Biological Weapons Act

2011-10 July

European Communities (Amendment) Act

2012- 3 July

Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution Bill (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Act

2012-27 June

Diplomatic Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act

2017-13 December

Protection of Cultural Property in the event of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention) Act

2017-21 December

The Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 - 'The Brexit Omnibus Act'.

2019-17 March

Human Rights

Ceisteanna (97)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

97. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Ireland supports the development of a legally binding international treaty on business and human rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46128/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The question of a legally binding treaty to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises has been under consideration by an open-ended inter-governmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises, which was established on foot of a resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council in 2014.

The working group has had five sessions to date, with the most recent having taken place in Geneva from 14 to 18 October 2019. It considered the revised draft text of a legally binding instrument which had earlier been circulated by Ecuador, the chair of the working group. Ireland was among those EU Member States which advocated a greater engagement by the European Union in the process and I am pleased therefore that the EU participated and made statements at the opening and closing debates.

As the proposed treaty covers matters for which the EU is competent, it will be for the European Commission to negotiate on behalf of the EU and its Member States. For my part, I am open to looking at options for progress on a legally binding treaty, which I believe should be firmly rooted in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. I would like to see any new initiative build on, rather than duplicate, existing measures such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy.

Any new treaty would have to reaffirm the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights and stress the primary responsibility of States under existing human rights obligations to protect against human rights violations. I also believe that it would have to treat all economic operators, whether transnational or purely domestic, in a non-discriminatory manner.

Ultimately, if it is to achieve its objectives, any legally binding instrument should enjoy broad support among UN Member States to ensure its effectiveness as well as international coherence in the framework of business and human rights. On this point, I would note that of the 22 countries which to date have adopted National Plans on Business and Human Rights, 16, including Ireland, are EU Member States.

Consular Services Representations

Ceisteanna (98)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

98. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the case of a person (details supplied); if contact has been made to the relevant embassies; and if a multi-agency delegation will be sent to Saudi Arabia in order to make contact with the person to offer assistance. [46135/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I am aware of this case, which is very complex and sensitive.

My Department has been in ongoing contact with the family of the citizen, and has provided wide-ranging consular assistance, since the case was first brought to our attention. Our Embassy in Riyadh has had extensive engagement with the local authorities regarding the welfare of the citizen, and will continue to do so. My Department will continue to provide all possible and appropriate consular assistance in relation to this difficult situation.

As with all consular cases, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the details of this case.

United Nations

Ceisteanna (99)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

99. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the establishment of a parliamentary assembly at the United Nations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46152/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Since joining the United Nations in 1955, Ireland has been consistent in our commitment to the values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

As a strong supporter of the United Nations, Ireland actively and positively engages in discussions and actions at the UN level to promote and affect reform of the organisation, across a range of priority areas.

Ireland remains open-minded to the concept of a UN Parliamentary Assembly in the context of overall UN reform.

I am conscious that those who advocate for the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly seek increased transparency and oversight of the UN and its work. My Department remains open to engaging with those advocating for a Parliamentary Assembly.

The United Nations will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year, in 2020. As we near this important anniversary, Ireland will continue to support UN reform measures to improve the functioning of the organisation, so that the objectives of the UN Charter, which are widely shared in the Oireachtas, can be achieved.