Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Photo of Neasa HouriganNeasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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181. To ask the Minister for Finance his plans to ensure the Irish Strategic Investment Fund divests itself of holdings in companies currently listed on the UN database of businesses operating within the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13358/24]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The NTMA inform me that the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) constructs its portfolio within the legislative framework set for it by the Oireachtas and will align it with any changes it makes. ISIF endeavours to be a responsible investor, actively integrating ESG factors into its decision-making processes with a view to enhancing the overall outcomes for the Fund and ultimately its beneficial owner.

ISIF has, to date, completed several divestment programmes and excluded investments from the Fund, consistent with legislative changes enacted by the Oireachtas which have had a consequential impact on ISIF’s investment strategy. In this context ISIF operates an exclusion policy which is consistent with its statutory mandate, as amended from time to time. Exclusion is used on a limited basis, reflecting exclusions mandated by legislation (such as the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018 or the Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Act 2008).

Exclusions are also made on sustainable investment grounds using ISIF’s Exclusion Decision Making Framework including in respect of Tobacco and Nuclear Weapons.

At Dáil Second Stage on Tuesday, 16 May the Dáil agreed a 9-month timed amendment to consider the issues raised by the Private Members Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill, 2023. This was to allow for consideration of the issues raised by the Bill including alternative non-legislative based approaches or a combination of legislative and non-legislative based approaches which could achieve a similar outcome.

My Department has been working with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) as part of the NTMA on the most appropriate way to address the issues raised by the Bill.

Officials from my Department along with officials from the NTMA had an engagement with the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in October 2023 to discuss the Bill and a report issued from that Committee in January 2024 . Officials from my Department and officials from the NTMA engaged with the Committee on Finance, PER and Taoiseach for pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill on 20 March, 2024.

The Bill is currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny and I await the outcome of that process.


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