Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Election Monitoring Missions
42. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will consider sending Irish election observers to the forthcoming referendum on possible Scottish independence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31868/14]
International election monitoring missions play an important role in the promotion of democracy and human rights around the world. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains and administers a roster of observers for such missions. The Department nominates roster members to participate in missions organised mainly by the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The aim is to ensure that, when requested, Ireland is represented at an appropriate level in international observation missions for both elections and constitutional referendums. These nominations are made following invitation by the organisations concerned. The legal framework for the conduct of the referendum has been clearly set out in the Agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government on a referendum on independence for Scotland(Edinburgh Agreement) of 15 October 2012 between the Scottish and UK governments. No invitation from the EU or the OSCE to send election observers to monitor the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum on 18 September has been received nor is one expected. Nevertheless, Ireland’s Consul General in Edinburgh is closely following the referendum campaign and is keeping the Government updated on developments.
43. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if certain applicants for Ireland’s election roster submitted curriculum vitae and obtained marks as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31869/14]
International election monitoring missions play an important role in the promotion of democracy and human rights. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains and administers a roster of 200 observers for such missions. The aim is to ensure that, when requested, Ireland is represented at an appropriate level in international observation missions for elections and constitutional referendums. The Department carried out a comprehensive review of its election observation roster in 2013. A public call for applications to the roster was issued through the Irish Aid website. All applicants were required to submit a detailed application form, setting out relevant qualifications, knowledge and experience in a number of areas. These areas included: experience of election processes and election observation; knowledge of human rights and / or governance issues; experience of living in challenging environments and language and computer skills. An independent appraisal of all 263 eligible applications was undertaken by two assessors external to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Following this appraisal, the 200 individuals who achieved the highest scores in these areas were appointed to the new election observation roster. This new roster came into effect on 15 May 2013. My officials have confirmed that a small number of applicants submitted Curricula Vitae along with their application form, but that this had no impact on the final selection of the 200 roster members.
44. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide in tabular form the name of each person that took part in Ireland’s international election monitoring since the beginning of 2013 and the cost of each trip involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31872/14]
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains a roster of individuals who are available to participate at short notice in election observation missions organised in the main by the OSCE and the EU. A full list of the observers who have served on election missions in 2013 and to date in 2014, together with the costs arising to date of each trip, is set out in the tables below. As stated in reply to previous Questions, the European Commission covers all costs associated with EU election observation missions. For OSCE missions, the Department covers all costs incurred by the individual Irish election observers. This includes a daily allowance, based on OSCE guidance, to cover the cost of food, accommodation and local transport incurred in country. A return air fare is also provided.
In addition, all Irish election observers receive a once-off grant annually of €600 from the Department to cover pre-departure expenses. Insurance cover is also provided by the Department for all observers.
Observers selected for participation in election observation missions are drawn from Ireland’s election observation roster, established in May 2013. Officials from the Department, who work on relevant geographic desks, may, on occasion also participate in election observation missions. The costs incurred by these officials are paid on the same basis as other election observation roster members, although no pre-departure grant is provided.
Election Observation Missions 2013
|Total Cost for 2013||-||-||-||-||€182,140.40|
Election Observation Missions 2014 to date (July 2014)
|Macedonia||OSCE||STO||Coakley||John Paul||€ 2,720.29|
|Guinea Bissau||EU||STO||Cunniffe||Diarmuid||€ 641.70|
|2014 Total Cost to date (July 2014)||-||-||-||-||€93,149.13|