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Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Cross-Border Co-operation (5 Jul 2021)

Thomas Byrne: My best wishes to the Acting Chair, Senator Flynn, not just in the role this morning, which is significant, but I hope for her and her community that it will become routine and part of the normal fabric of our society. This is very important. I thank the Acting Chair for all the work she is doing. I thank Senator McGreehan for taking a patriotic approach to the island rather than an...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Cross-Border Co-operation (5 Jul 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I will bring the exact proposal to the attention of the Taoiseach and he will be watching this closely today. I will also bring it to the shared island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach. Expanding the North-South school exchange programme is a crucial part of the programme for government commitments on a shared island. We need to bring young people together. The Senator mentioned...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Radon Gas Levels (5 Jul 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I thank the Senator for raising this issue. I must say that it is an issue about which I am most concerned. We often hear scaremongering when new technologies or particular products are developed that they may pose a health risk. While that always is debatable, in this case, it is not. Radon poses a clear risk to health, as the Senator has mentioned. It is something of which we all need...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Radon Gas Levels (5 Jul 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I thank the Senator for raising the matter. There is information available and there are things going on. I will bring the Senator's concerns to the attention of the Minister. Progress on the implementation of the radon strategy is reported to Government regularly. This discussion has been very useful and I have a strong interest in the issue as well. I will bring the Senator's concerns...

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: Sorry, I will happily answer the question on vaccine passports. I am not aware of any discussions in 2017 on this. I was not at the meeting of the General Affairs Council of the European Council but the passports were certainly discussed at the European Council last week. To be clear, the digital Covid certificate is an instrument for travel but if member states want to use it for domestic...

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I want to be absolutely clear on the nonsense that is being peddled by Deputy Mattie McGrath that somehow we were late. Some member states have yet to submit their plans. The indicative timeline was the end of April and our application was submitted, with the agreement of the Commission, in May. There was some media speculation at the time about the discussions that were ongoing with the...

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I will begin by making a brief comment on the announcement today by Vice-President Šefčovič extending the grace period for the importing of chilled and non-frozen meats to Northern Ireland from Britain. This follows a formal request by the UK Government to the EU. There were some other announcements today, one of which is on the very important issue of green insurance...

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I am sorry, gabh mo leithscéal.

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: Regarding the vaccines, I already mentioned what the EU is doing with the WTO. More importantly, and Deputy Brady asked about this aspect, I refer to supporting manufacturing capacity in Africa and putting significant resources into that endeavour, apart from what our own manufacturing capacity is doing. Turning to the issue of Israel and Palestine, it is fair to say that the motion from...

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I will knock on the head the Deputy's claim that this application somehow was late. It was not late. Deputy Mattie McGrath keeps announcing it in the Dáil but that is not the case. As a point of information, therefore, the application was not late. There was no lateness in this regard

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: The application went in exactly when the European Commission wanted it and it was submitted in conjunction with the European Commission. It was not late.

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I do not have the exact date to hand, but the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Michael McGrath, can give that detail. However, I absolutely assure the Deputy and this House that there was no lateness. In fact, no member state was late in submitting an application for the recovery fund. Deputy Mattie McGrath is also implying that only a certain amount of money was applied...

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: There was no delay.

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: If there are not enough Deputies in the Chamber, I am happy to answer the questions that have already been asked.

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I have a script for the last contribution which deals with the issues laid out by the Taoiseach. Almost none of them, except Turkey, has been raised in the debate but they are very important. I will speak on Turkey at the end of the debate as there is quite a detailed script on it. With regard to the vaccines, we are very hard on ourselves in this Chamber as regards what the European...

Post-European Council Meeting: Statements (30 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: That is not true. We got €2 billion.

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Diplomatic Representation (29 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: I apologise that I do not have printed copies of my script available for circulation, but that will be rectified shortly. My officials are making arrangements to have some brought here as soon as possible. Gabhaim buíochas leis an Seanadóir as an ábhar tábhachtach seo a ardú i dtosach an tsuí inniu. The issue of remuneration or benefits for Irish citizens...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Diplomatic Representation (29 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: The Department and I have great respect for Irish citizens working in various institutions around the world. A number of the affected people were in touch with me directly on my appointment as Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs. This month, I had a meeting with the OSCE Secretary General, Helga Schmid. I was delighted to note that there a number of Irish people at...

Affordable Housing Bill 2021 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed) (24 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: Tá mé ag roinnt mo chuid ama le roint Teachtaí eile ach níl na hainmneacha agam. I want to pay tribute to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, and the Minister of State, Deputy Noonan. We have heard a lot of people talking about fishing, insulation and rural and urban Ireland, but I have heard very few people...

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Brexit Issues (15 Jun 2021)

Thomas Byrne: Gabhaim buíochas leis an Teachta Richmond as an ábhar tábhachtach seo a ardú anocht. The protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland is a joint solution by the United Kingdom and the European Union to the serious challenges raised by Brexit on the island of Ireland. The agreement took more than four years of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union,...

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