Header Item Ceisteanna - Questions (Resumed)
   Header Item Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Unrevised

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Ceisteanna - Questions (Resumed)

Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements

 1. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will report on his meeting with the Ballymurphy group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6188/14]

 2. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he has spoken to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland regarding an independent panel investigating the deaths of 11 people at Ballymurphy in 1971; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [6189/14]

 3. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he has spoken to Prime Minister Cameron in relation to an independent inquiry into the killings in Ballymurphy in 1971; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6191/14]

 4. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the issues he discussed at his meeting with Prime Minister Cameron; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6192/14]

 5. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if the inquiry into the murder of Mr. Pat Finucane was discussed again with Prime Minister Cameron at their recent meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6193/14]

 6. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will report on his discussions with the Ballymurphy massacre families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8939/14]

 7. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he has raised with the British Prime Minister the proposal by the Ballymurphy massacre families of an independent panel to examine all of the documents relating to the context, circumstances and aftermath of the deaths of their loved ones; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8940/14]

 8. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny his plans to visit Northern Ireland in the near future. [8943/14]

 9. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny when he plans to hold the next debate on Northern Ireland in Dáil Éireann. [8944/14]

 10. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he raised the Pat Finucane case with the British Prime Minister David Cameron. [8946/14]

 11. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed the Ballymurphy murders with Prime Minister Cameron following his own meeting with the Ballymurphy families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10347/14]

 12. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny when the next debate on Northern Ireland will be held in Dáil Éireann. [10468/14]

 13. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he has spoken to Prime Minister Cameron regarding the request from the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Mr. Peter Robinson, for a judicial inquiry into the secret letters given to more than 180 paramilitary suspects; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [11532/14]

 14. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he raised the need for an inquiry into the Pat Finucane case when he met Mr. David Cameron during the EU leaders' meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12758/14]

 15. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he raised the need for an inquiry into the Ballymurphy massacre with Mr. David Cameron when he met him during the EU leaders' meeting on the Russia-Ukraine crisis in Brussels; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12759/14]

 16. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he has spoken to Prime Minister Cameron in relation to the judicial review announced on 27 February in relation to the Hyde Park atrocity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12777/14]

 17. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the matters discussed at his meeting with Prime Minister Cameron in London; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12780/14]

 18. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed the request for an inquiry into the murder of Mr. Pat Finucane during his recent meeting with Prime Minister Cameron; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12783/14]

 19. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed the programme of wind exports between Ireland and the United Kingdom in his recent discussions with Prime Minister David Cameron. [13458/14]

 20. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will report on his meeting in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13459/14]

 21. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he raised the Haass proposals during his meeting with the British Prime Minister David Cameron; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13460/14]

 22. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he raised the Ballymurphy massacre case with the British Prime Minister David Cameron during his meeting in London; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13461/14]

 23. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he raised the Pat Finucane case with the British Prime Minister David Cameron during his recent to London; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13462/14]

 24. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he raised the refusal of the British Government to provide information on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings during his recent meeting with Prime Minister Cameron; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13463/14]

 25. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed with the British Prime Minister the failure to implement all outstanding aspects of the Good Friday Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13464/14]

 26. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed the situation between Russia and the Ukraine with Prime Minster Cameron; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13465/14]

 27. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed Ireland's retrospective debt and the June EU Council statement of 2012 with Prime Minister Cameron; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13467/14]

 28. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he had a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Cameron when President Michael D. Higgins was visiting London recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17509/14]

 29. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he has received any communication from Prime Minister Cameron in relation to an inquiry into the murder of Mr. Pat Finucane; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17517/14]

 30. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he held a bilateral meeting with the British Prime Minister David Cameron during the state visit by President Michael D. Higgins; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19918/14]

 31. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed with the British Prime Minister those outstanding issues arising from the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements which have not been implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19919/14]

 32. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed the response of the Unionist parties in Northern Ireland to the Haass proposals with the British Prime Minister David Cameron during the state visit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19920/14]

 33. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he discussed with the British Prime Minister David Cameron the possibility of joint future trade missions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19922/14]

 34. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the discussions he has had with Prime Minister Cameron on the possibility of a joint Irish-British trade mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19923/14]

 35. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will report on his meetings with UK political leaders during the state visit of President Michael D. Higgins. [19933/14]

 36. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny  if he has been informed by the British Government of the position regarding the request to hold an inquiry into the Ballymurphy massacre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20854/14]

 37. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he has spoken to Prime Minister Cameron or Secretary of State Villiers since it has been confirmed that they do not agree with an independent inquiry into the Ballymurphy massacre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20862/14]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 37, inclusive, together.

These questions concern my bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Cameron on 11 March in Downing Street and Northern Ireland related issues. I answered a question in this respect on the last occasion in January of this year and at that time and in light of previous representations, I took questions in two groups and on a thematic basis to allow for a structured debate on the issues that were raised by Deputies. However, as it has now been some time since I answered questions in the House on these issues, I have chosen to group the questions together on this occasion in order that a full and timely discussion can be had on these topics of interest.

Recent events have reminded us once again of the complexity and fragility of the situation in Northern Ireland, including the difficulties faced by victims of violence and their relatives. Now more than ever there is a need for maturity, leadership and engagement by all the political parties in Northern Ireland. Recently, I have met Prime Minister Cameron, President Obama, Vice President Biden, Speaker Boehner, Dr. Haass, the First Minister, the Deputy First Minister and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

I spoke to Prime Minister Cameron by phone last Sunday week following the arrest and the questioning of Deputy Adams. We took the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the full implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements. We and our Administrations will continue to work closely to do all we can to make them work, and to support the political parties in their efforts to build a better Northern Ireland. I also spoke to the Deputy First Minister over the phone that weekend and the Tánaiste spoke to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Deputy Prime Minister Clegg and the Deputy First Minister. Officials contacted other parties.

Turning to wider matters, it is two years since Prime Minister Cameron and I agreed our joint statement setting out a ten year vision for ever closer bilateral co-operation between Ireland and Britain. We met in Downing Street again on 11 March and I am pleased our bilateral economic relations continue to go from strength to strength. There have been significant developments on progressing recommendations outlined in the joint economic study which we jointly published in July 2013. Examples include further collaboration in research and development to maximise access to Horizon 2020 funding, collaboration to unblock barriers to trade in agrifood products, and the sharing of best practice on Common Agricultural Policy implementation.

The successful completion of a joint trade mission, including ministerial representation from Northern Ireland, to the Singapore Airshow and exhibition in February was a unique event which I believe we can replicate in future. Of course, our joint visit to the war graves in Flanders last December to honour Irish and British soldiers who died in the First World War was also significant, being the first such joint event to commemorate the loss of life that occurred. We also had an open and constructive discussion about political, economic and security developments in Northern Ireland, including the issues of victims and of dealing with the past. We re-affirmed the support of both Governments for the full implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements.

At my meeting with the British Prime Minister we also availed of the opportunity to discuss very wide common interests that we share on the EU agenda, including the spring European Council which took place in March. In that context, I also reminded the Prime Minister of the June 2012 European Council conclusions regarding banking and sovereign debt which remain to be fully implemented, and the implications for Ireland. We also briefly discussed developments in Ukraine which is also featuring very prominently in EU discussions. We acknowledged the ongoing co-operation between the two countries on the reciprocal short-stay common travel area visa arrangements. We discussed the programme of wind exports between Ireland and the United Kingdom. Further analysis by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change has concluded that it will not be possible to put in place an intergovernmental agreement to facilitate green energy export from the midlands by 2020. I regret that it has not been possible at this time to conclude an agreement as envisaged. However, I believe that in the context of a European Internal Market and greater integration, greater trade in energy between Britain and Ireland is inevitable in the post-2020 scenario. The Prime Minister and I remain committed to meeting at annual summits to review and oversee progress in our joint work, and I look forward to our next annual review summit in 2015.

After our meeting I went to the annual CHAMP reception at Westminster which was sponsored by Tourism Ireland, an event which was attended by many involved in the peace process in Northern Ireland. I did not have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Cameron or other UK political leaders during the state visit in April. As I said earlier, the current political situation in Northern Ireland remains fragile. Following my discussions with Prime Minister Cameron in London, I met President Obama, Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner in Washington over the St. Patrick's Day period. I also met the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Washington over that same period. We discussed the political situation in the North, including prospects for political talks on dealing with contentious issues and the past. I emphasised the need for courage and leadership from the Northern Ireland Executive and the political parties and said that both Governments would support them in their work. I also availed of the opportunity to meet Dr. Haass in New York over the St. Patrick's Day period to hear at first hand his assessment of the talks process and prospects for further progress between the political parties there. The Tánaiste met the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland most recently in April to discuss the talks and the support which both Governments are giving to the process.

As Deputies will be aware, I met the Ballymurphy families in Dublin in January as part of my series of meetings with victims and relatives affected by the Troubles. The families explained their proposals for an independent panel review of the events that took place in Belfast in August 1971 when 11 people were shot dead. I told the families that the Government supported their case. Following my meeting with the families in January, I wrote to Prime Minister Cameron asking that their request for a limited review be granted. I also raised the matter with him directly at our bilateral meeting in London on 11 March. The decision by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland not to agree to their proposals for an independent panel is something that I regard as very disappointing. Notwithstanding this particular setback, I hope it will still be possible to find a way for the families to get the truth and to vindicate fully the good names of their loved ones. I also recall the suffering of the families of those killed and injured in the La Mon bombing, and I note the Secretary of State's decision not to initiate a review of that case. These incidents remind us of the needs of all those who have lost family members to violence during the Troubles.

As Deputies will be aware, this coming Saturday will be the 40th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. I am deeply honoured to have been invited to the commemoration service. Despite the passage of time, I know that the resulting pain is still being felt by the families of those killed and injured and our thoughts will be with them on this Saturday and indeed every day.

Last summer, I met the representatives of Justice for the Forgotten and the families of those killed in the bombings. I was struck by their unwavering commitment to seek justice for their loved ones. This Government has continually urged the British Government to allow access to documents relevant to these events. I have raised the matter directly with Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Tánaiste has also raised the matter with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

I also raised the Pat Finucane case directly with the Prime Minister. As I have previously indicated to the House, the Government's position continues to be that the British Government should fulfil the commitments entered into at Weston Park, as we did with the publication of the Smithwick tribunal report.

In relation to the so-called on the run cases, Prime Minister Cameron has established an inquiry led by Justice Hallett. In the circumstances, I believe we should await the outcome of this process, and in the meantime, the two Governments and the Executive should focus on the many other important challenges that must be faced.

I expect to host the next North-South Ministerial Council plenary meeting in Dublin on 4 July and plan to visit Northern Ireland afterwards. We had a useful and constructive debate on Northern Ireland matters in the Dáil in February. The date for the next Dáil debate on Northern Ireland remains to be agreed between the Whips.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is somewhat ridiculous that we are being asked to deal with 37 questions in one bundle. Fifteen of those 37 questions are in my name. This grouping of questions span issues related to the Ballymurphy murders, the Hyde Park atrocity, retrospective banking debt in regard to Europe and the bilateral meetings and so on with Prime Minister Cameron. They could have easily been segmented into those related to the Ballymurphy murders, the Hyde Park atrocity, the Pat Finucane case and other economic issues that are separate altogether. Including the situation in Russia and Ukraine in the middle of this grouping seems to be utterly absurd and ridiculous and brings Question Time into disrepute.

In terms of the questions on the Ballymurphy murders, there is no doubt that innocent people were murdered by British soldiers in Ballymurphy in August of 1971. Forty-three years later, the official account has not been corrected and the families have been denied the right of being told exactly how these murders happened. The British Government, as the Taoiseach said, through the Northern Secretary, recently asserted that there should be no review of the murders because of what she called "the balance of public interest". This goes to the nub of the ongoing detachment and mishandling of the peace process and reconciliation generally. It speaks of a policy that suggests that everything has been achieved, all the big things have been achieved and we do not need to deal with these issues. I met the Ballymurphy group some years ago and it seemed to me that, at the very least, an independent panel of investigators, with some international dimension attached to it, should have been established to report on the murders, such is the appalling nature of what happened.


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