Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

International Relations

Paul Donnelly (Dublin West, Sinn Fein)
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20. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he communicated with the President of the United States of America to express the concern here at the treatment of black and minority persons by many in US police forces. [10490/20]

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin Bay South, Sinn Fein)
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21. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the administration of the United States of America; and if he will write to President Trump outlining his condemnation of recent police action against civilians (details supplied). [10503/20]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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24. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has spoken to the US Ambassador, Mr. Edward F. Crawford, regarding legitimate Black Lives Matters demonstrations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10612/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 21 and 24 together.

As I stated last week, I was shocked by the tragic death of George Floyd on 25 May and the circumstances surrounding his death. I am also deeply concerned at the underlying issues of racial inequality and racism that gave rise to protests in many cities across the United States and elsewhere in recent weeks, including here in Ireland.

Ireland and the United States share strong ties of kinship and enjoy close diplomatic and political relations, as well as enduring economic, cultural and social connections. As a result, I and my officials hold regular and constructive discussions with US officials on a range of issues.

As part of our regular dialogue, I have raised these issues on two occasions with the US Ambassador, Edward Crawford, both during an initial telephone call and during a meeting on 9 June. I set out our concerns about the circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd and the underlying issues of racial inequality, as well as concerns about some of the policing responses to peaceful protest. We had a good exchange of views and undertook to stay in ongoing contact in the period ahead.

I continue to call for a de-escalation of tensions in the US, and a deepening of engagement at the community and political level to address the underlying issues of racial inequality, which have led to such widespread protest. The disturbing events over the past weeks in the US have also sharply brought into focus the need to look hard at our own societies, in Ireland and elsewhere. I welcome the debate it has opened up in Irish society. We must listen to those speaking out about their own experience of racism and exclusion, identify the challenges in our society, and tackle these scourges head-on, collectively and pro-actively.

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