Mick Wallace Would be good if #mainstreammedia held #FiannaFail + #FineGael to account for voting for a terrible #CAP that aband… https://t.co/RFUXVmKnea
Mick Wallace The #EU needs to do more to stop the Collective Punishment of the people of #Tigray - This is a form of Genocide b… https://t.co/G5c6hiCa2q
Mick Wallace RT @wallacemick: The lack of concern shown by the #EU for the people of #Venezuela has been shocking and says much about their so called 'E…
Mick Wallace RT @wallacemick: #EU says they're interested in Dialogue - So why don't they talk to #Syria ..? They say they're interested in Rule of Law…

PQ - Foreign Affairs

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will work at EU level to impose the Chemical Weapons Convention on the Middle East.

- Mick Wallace

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 2nd October, 2013.

REPLY

Ireland has always supported the universalisation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and we will continue to encourage the six states which have not ratified or acceded to it (Israel, Egypt, South Sudan, Angola, North Korea and Myanmar) to do so as quickly as possible.  The EU, through its Strategy on Weapons of Mass Destruction endorsed by the Council of the European Union on 9 December 2003, has also given strong support to universal accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention and has provided substantial financial assistance to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to that end.

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To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the continuing deterioration of the political situation in Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Mick Wallace

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 26th June, 2013

REPLY

The general political and security situation in Libya remains fragile.  The persistence of armed militias in many parts of southern and eastern Libya, and the widespread availability of arms in general, continue to pose serious threats to the stability of the state.  Most recently, heavy fighting broke out in Benghazi on June 15th after an unidentified militia attacked government troops, killing five soldiers and a civilian.  A week previously, in one of the most serious incidents since the end of the civil war in 2011, an estimated 35 people died in a separate confrontation near a militia barracks which resulted in the militia in question being expelled.

Such episodes have exposed the problems faced by Prime Minister Zidan and his Government in exerting control over the entire country, particularly in rural and tribal areas where the state has traditionally had little or no presence.  Border security is also critically important given the limited capacity of the Government to control its territory and the possible impact of militants returning from Mali.

On the political front, there are serious concerns, both inside and outside Libya, about the likely implications of the adoption of a recent political exclusion law by the General National Congress which is aimed at banning anyone linked to the Gaddafi regime from participating in government.  It has already resulted in the resignation of the President of the GNC, Mohammed Magarief, and could yet lead to other members of the current Government being forced to resign.  It is a development which does not bode well for overall reconciliation within the country and which has been criticised by the UN for further weakening Libya’s already fragile state institutions.  The strong support for this law expressed by various militias, which led them to blockade various Government ministries prior to its adoption, only underlines the urgent need for progress on security sector reform within Libya.

Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the enormous progress which has been made since the fall of the Gadaffi regime less than two years ago.  The holding of Libya’s first democratic elections in July 2012 was a momentous achievement and the new Government has made significant progress in many areas, including the drafting of a new constitution.

Ireland and other partners are continuing to offer all possible support and assistance to the Libyan Government and people as the process of transition continues.  The EU will be shortly deploying a new civilian CSDP mission to assist the Libyan authorities in the area of border management.  The EU has also stated its willingness to negotiate an Association Agreement with Libya to develop a more formal framework for assistance and cooperation.

On a bilateral basis, Ireland is advancing practical cooperation with the new administration in Libya in a number of key strategic areas of mutual interest, including trade, education and health. My Department also continues to work to facilitate political-level contacts with the new Libyan Government.

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To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will consider ordering inspections of United States military aircraft passing through Shannon Airport in order to ensure that the aircraft are unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives, do not engage in intelligence gathering, and that the flights in question do not form any part of military exercises or operations en route to Syria or elsewhere.

- Mick Wallace

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 26th June, 2013.

REPLY

The Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952 gives the Minister for Foreign Affairs primary responsibility for the regulation of activity by foreign military aircraft in Ireland. In this context, permission for foreign military aircraft to land at Irish airports is given only on condition that the aircraft are unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives and do not engage in intelligence gathering and that the flights in question do not form any part of military exercises or operations. These conditions apply fully to US aircraft.

In accordance with international practice, state aircraft passing through Ireland with the permission of the Government are not subject to search or inspection.

Furthermore, the carriage of weapons through Shannon Airport on commercial aircraft is prohibited under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order, 1973, adopted under the provisions of the Air Navigation and Transport Act, 1946, unless an exemption has been obtained by the commercial carrier from my colleague, the Minister for Transport. Before issuing such an exemption, the Department of Transport seeks the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in relation to any foreign policy issues which may arise.

In relation to the provision of arms to Syria, my views on this subject are well known and have regularly been stated in this House.  I do not believe that the provision of further arms will assist ongoing efforts to achieve a political resolution.

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To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether Ireland should be more vocal in its condemnation of the indiscriminate use of drones by the United States, which threatens world peace, and is in breach of international law; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Mick Wallace.

For PRIORITY answer on Wednesday, 26th June, 2013.

REPLY

Ireland has consistently taken the view that combating terrorism must be conducted in full respect of international law, in particular the law of armed conflict and human rights law.  In line with the UN Global Strategy on Counter Terrorism, we believe that effective counter terrorism and the protection and promotion of human rights are mutually reinforcing and not competing goals. Together with our EU partners, we have regular discussions with the US about the legal aspects of combating international terrorism, and the US is well aware of our views on these issues.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (commonly referred to as “drones”) are used for both civilian and military purposes.  Under international law, there is no prohibition on UAVs as such. Their use in armed conflict is subject to international humanitarian law.    This sets specific requirements in relation to the use of force in armed conflict, including the principles of necessity, proportionality and distinction.

I am deeply concerned about any indiscriminate use of UAVs, which would clearly be contrary to international law, and by instances where innocent civilians have been killed by attacks using UAVs. Outside of an armed conflict situation, international human rights law applies.  We and our partners in the EU are strongly opposed to extra-judicial killings. Not only are these contrary to international human rights law, but they undermine the concept of the rule of law, which is a key element in the fight against terrorism. This applies regardless of the means used.

 

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