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Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Boston College Archives (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: In March 2011 the British Government, acting on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, initiated proceedings with the US Department of Justice under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the two countries for the release of selected archived interviews held in Boston College. The archives are part of the Belfast Project,an oral history of Republican and Loyalist former...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Foreign Conflicts (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 30 together. Let me begin by welcoming the holding of Presidential elections in Ukraine on Sunday and the election in the first round of Petro Poroshenko. While there were difficulties in holding the elections in Eastern Ukraine owing to the security situation, elsewhere millions of ordinary citizens exercised their democratic right in choosing the...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Human Rights Issues (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: Considerable ongoing efforts are being made by the international community, in which Ireland is actively engaged, to resolve, and where possible prevent, conflicts, human rights abuses, genocide, ethnic cleansing and imprisonment. The international community, including the EU and UN are using all the available instruments to foster constructive dialogue and to encourage peaceful, negotiated...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Syrian Conflict (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: The conflict in Syria is now well into its fourth year, with no end in sight and increasing signs of a protracted stalemate. In its wake, we are witnessing an unprecedented catastrophe for the Syrian people. Latest estimates from the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights suggest that over 160,000 people have now been killed. More than 2.7 million Syrians have sought refuge in...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Diplomatic Representation (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: The process of re-establishing a resident Embassy to the Holy See involves a variety of logistical issues. Given the range of issues involved in the establishment process, I hope the Deputy will understand that it is not possible at this point to provide a definite timescale. I can confirm, however, that it is the Government’s intention that all necessary arrangements will be...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Northern Ireland Issues (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I believe that the Good Friday and St Andrew’s Agreements provide the essential framework for the achievement of reconciliation and mutual trust in Northern Ireland and in the totality of relations between these islands. In my ongoing contacts with the British government and with the Northern Ireland Executive, I continue to stress the importance of progressing implementation of all...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Middle East Issues (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: Prisoners held in any circumstances should be afforded the rights and protections enshrined in international standards. In Israel, which is an established state and party to most of the relevant international instruments, these standards should apply to all persons imprisoned by Israel, be they in Israel or in occupied territory, be they citizens or not. The same standards should be applied...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Undocumented Irish in the USA (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: This is an issue to which I accord very high priority. I am conscious of the difficulties experienced by Irish citizens who are undocumented in the United States, and I have met and spoken with many of them on my working visits there, and also with the various groups who lobby on their behalf. Immigration reform and the challenges faced by our undocumented remain central to our bilateral...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Human Rights Issues (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: Human rights concerns remain central to our foreign policy. Together with our EU partners, Ireland closely monitors the human rights situations in many countries throughout the world. We do this on the basis of information obtained from a variety of sources including both official channels and non-governmental/civil society organisations. Where and when the situation warrants, we make...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Middle East Peace Process (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I refer the deputy to my reply to Priority Question No. 2 today, in which I dealt with the suspension of the current talks in the Middle East Peace Process. US Secretary of State Kerry has correctly, in my view, called on the two sides to reflect on the progress achieved to date, the possibility of reaching an agreement, and the perils of failure.It is not anticipated that the United States...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Colombian Peace Process (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I strongly support the Colombian peace process. I hope that the negotiations underway in Havana, Cuba will bring an end to a long conflict in Colombia which has caused much suffering. Colombia’s peace process is also supported by the European Union and the wider international community. I welcome the announcement on 16th May last that the negotiators in Havana have now reached...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Middle East Peace Process (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I would refer the deputy to my reply to Question No. 27 (15397/14) on 3 April concerning this issue. Further to that reply, I am aware that the possibility of including Marwan Barghouti has arisen on a number of occasions when prisoner releases were being discussed between Israel and various Palestinian interlocutors, but to date Israel has refused to consider including him in any of these...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Western Balkans Issues (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: Together with my European Union colleagues, I follow very closely the situation in the Western Balkans. Ireland continues to support the consolidation of peace and democracy in the countries of the Western Balkans, as they introduce reforms in preparation for EU membership. The EU enlargement process is founded on the Copenhagen criteria, which reflect the EU’s founding values:...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Semi-State Bodies (28 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: There are no commercial semi-State bodies under the aegis of my Department.

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Boston College Archives (27 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 59 together. In March 2011 the British Government, acting on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, initiated proceedings with the US Department of Justice under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the two countries for the release of selected archived interviews held in Boston College. The archives are part of the Belfast Project, an...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Human Rights Issues (27 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I have strongly condemned the abduction by the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, of more than 200 schoolgirls from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok on 14 April. I am also appalled by the reported abduction of a further 11 girls on 4 May. Through our development policies and programmes, Ireland is a strong supporter of the rights of women and girls, and in particular the right of girls...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Passport Services (27 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: Over 93% of all passport applications within the State are made through Passport Express. This is a joint venture with An Post which enables applicants to lodge applications through some 1,000 post offices across the country and some 70 post offices in Northern Ireland. The Passport Service endeavours to return a passport to all those who submitted properly completed applications through...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Maritime Jurisdiction Issues (27 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is the body of water that stretches from 12 nautical miles offshore out to a distance of 200 miles. Under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea a coastal state has exclusive rights within its EEZ over fishing (although all EU member states have transferred their competence for conservation and management of sea fisheries to the EU), the...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Foreign Conflicts (27 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I strongly support the Colombian peace process. I hope that the negotiations underway in Havana, Cuba will bring an end to a long conflict in Colombia which has caused much suffering. I welcome the announcement on 16th May last that the negotiators in Havana have now reached provisional agreement on their agenda item dealing with illicit drugs. This means that three areas of the...

Written Answers — Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Consular Services Representations (27 May 2014)

Eamon Gilmore: I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 60 together. I wish to inform the Deputy that I have raised my concerns at his continued detention without trial with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, on 11 November and 23 December 2013. The Embassy of Ireland in Cairo has been actively liaising with the Egyptian authorities in relation to the case and contacts have included numerous...

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