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Written Answers — Foreign Conflicts: Foreign Conflicts (20 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: The persistence of the conflict in Darfur, albeit at a lower level than the intense violence of 2003-2004, and the continuing suffering of the people in the region are of grave concern. The UN estimates that the past seven years of conflict there have resulted in the deaths of over 300,000 people and the displacement of nearly three million while there are reports of ongoing security...

Written Answers — Foreign Conflicts: Foreign Conflicts (20 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: There are several countries in Africa which are suffering from conflict, food shortages, and human rights abuses, and some which have suffered genocide. The international community continues to intervene to address these issues on the African continent, whether on a bilateral or multilateral basis. With regard to the issue of hunger and famine, it is estimated that more than a billion...

Written Answers — Emigrant Support Services: Emigrant Support Services (20 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: Finding a solution for our undocumented citizens in the United States remains an important priority for this Government. The Government is also committed to working with our friends in Congress to enhance Ireland's bilateral visa arrangements with the US through the establishment of a two year renewable E-3 visa facility. The Government is encouraged by President Obama's continued commitment...

Written Answers — Middle East Peace Process: Middle East Peace Process (20 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: The EU has continued to follow closely developments in relation to the blockade of Gaza following the announcement by Israel in June of a significant easing of the terms of the blockade. The measures to ease the blockade have, so far, proved inadequate and we need to see much greater action from Israel and more quickly, if conditions in Gaza are to be genuinely improved. The level of imports...

Written Answers — Middle East Peace Process: Middle East Peace Process (20 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: I refer the Deputy to my answer to the Priority Question on the same issue on today's Order Paper, a transcript of which is below. As Deputies are aware, the direct Israeli-Palestinian talks were suspended shortly after they began in September, following Israel's refusal to extend its partial freeze on settlement construction. The United States, as the convenor of the talks, engaged in a...

Written Answers — EU Enlargement: EU Enlargement (20 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: As a beneficiary of past enlargement, and on the experience of more recent accessions, Ireland is generally supportive of enlargement. The prospect of enlargement bolsters economic and political reform processes and helps to promote stability, security and prosperity in Europe. Ireland takes an active role in discussions on the issue, both at Council meetings and in bilateral discussions...

Termination of Ministerial Appointments: Announcement by Taoiseach (20 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: On 11 March, following enactment of the Finance Bill 2011, we will go to the country with a strong Front Bench line up that will put the case of this party to secure the future of our country and to stay with the policies which will bring us success. I will not back down from such a challenge now or in the future.

Written Answers — Consultancy Contracts: Consultancy Contracts (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: In September 2010, following a public tender process, Indecon International Economic Consultants were awarded the contract to provide technical economic assistance to officials in Government Departments conducting Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIAs) and other technical exercises relating to the Better Regulation agenda. The aim is to help Departments improve the quality of the quantitative...

Written Answers — Passport Applications: Passport Applications (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: The arrangement whereby citizens aged 65 and over were exempted from passport fees was introduced in 2005. In light of the current budgetary situation, the Government found it necessary to discontinue this arrangement. Accordingly, all passport applicants aged 18 years or over will pay the same fee of €80 for a ten year passport.

Departmental Strategy Statements (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: -----the Forfás Making it Happen document, the trade and tourism strategy, the jobs and growth strategy,-----

European Council Meeting: Statements (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: It should be on the way. I agreed that these consultations should be concluded in time to allow formal adoption of this decision in March 2011, completion of national approval procedures by the end of 2012 and entry into force of the amendment on 1 January 2013. The proposed amendment is simple and states: The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be...

Official Engagements (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: In respect of Deputy Rabbitte's first question, the interest rates are manageable. Ireland was the first entrant into the new mechanism. The EU element of the mechanism is new but, as Members are aware, the IMF has been involved in activity of this sort for many years. The point the Tánaiste was making is that any change in the arrangements relating to Ireland - I will return in a moment...

Order of Business. (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: The Order of Business is No. 18, statements on European Council, Brussels; and No. 3, the Bretton Woods Agreements (Amendment) Bill 2011 - Order for Second Stage, Second and Remaining Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted on the conclusion of Private Members' business,...

Order of Business. (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: If I may, a Cheann Comhairle, I do not at all accept the contention of the Deputy. We have made it clear that this is the final parliamentary term for the Government and that we will seek to dissolve Dáil Éireann upon the enactment of the Finance Act. We have already indicated that the timeframe for this will be the end of February-early March, and we will move in that way. Therefore, on...

Order of Business. (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: That will be tested. If the Labour Party means to test that next week, that is fine.

Order of Business. (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: On every occasion that it has been questioned so far, that confidence was available to me and I am confident it remains available to me. There is another point to make in regard to the internal party matter that was resolved yesterday. If the Deputies are suggesting that I do not enjoy the confidence of my own party then that would suggest that democratic decision-making is something they do...

Order of Business. (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: It is unfortunate the trade unions did not have a vote. Deputy Quinn should do something about that. He should try to become a socialist some time by giving them a vote.

Order of Business. (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: The point I am making is important. When Deputy Quinn got more votes than Deputy Howlin, all of the Labour Party subscribed to the leadership of Deputy Quinn, and rightly so, and everyone united behind that decision. It is similar with my party.

Order of Business. (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: The Deputies are suggesting that people take the opportunity to vote in a certain way when an issue comes up but do not subsequently support the leader.

Order of Business. (19 Jan 2011)

Brian Cowen: I recall the time when the Deputies opposite were more interested in democratic centralism than they are now. That was not something in which they would have been involved, in a situation where everyone agreed or, more likely, the late Eamon Smullen or somebody else would send in a text and it would have to be read out because the politburo in Gardiner Street was telling the Labour Party...

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