Friday, 6 November 2020
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
Election Monitoring Missions
The Minister of State has not addressed the contradiction between what has been said in the Dáil already about OSCE member states not sending volunteers and the fact that I have demonstrated that they have been sending volunteers. They are also facing the challenges of the pandemic.
It is to disrespect the important work of election monitoring to suggest that the pandemic would be a reason for putting a stop to Irish people going abroad on this important work. It amounts to colluding in a situation where, because many people are unable to do so for medical reasons, the Government would not expand it.
The next review of observers is in 2022, as I understand it. This issue needs to be prioritised. There needs to be a change of criteria and outlook. There is also potential for doing some of this work online. That has to be looked at.
There is something wrong here. I take the point of the Minister of State. If people are raising significant concerns and generating voluminous correspondence, it may be because something is wrong or something is rotten in what is going on. A further reply is needed to this because I do not believe the Minister of State has addressed the particular issue. Other countries are doing it. Other countries are facilitating volunteers and it is important.