Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the issue of the undocumented Irish must be kept to the fore of the political agenda.
Deputy O’Brien made his comments following a recent visit by members of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee to the United States.
Deputy O’Brien said, “During my recent visit to the United States I used the opportunity to raise amongst other things the issue of the undocumented Irish. I met with officials from the State Department and also the Friends of Ireland Congressional Group.
“During these meetings I stressed the need for the undocumented Irish to be kept to the fore of the political agenda both in Ireland and the United States. I also emphasised the need for both of our Governments to explore measures which could resolve this long standing issue.
“This time of year can be particularly difficult for the undocumented Irish and their families as they face another Christmas unable to return to Ireland. It is imperative that we continue to highlight this issue and work in cooperation with all levels of the United States administration to gain political will and consensus so we can move forward and resolve this matter.
“Thousands of Irish people have made their homes and their lives in the United States and have made a positive contribution to their adopted country. They are part of the fabric of both of our countries and are a key link in US-Irish relations.
“The Government must continue to press this issue and highlight the benefits of providing a legal pathway for the undocumented for all concerned. I believe it would be mutually beneficial and would help strengthen and enhance the bond between our two nations.”
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the leaking of information relating to Brexit has exposed the media centric priorities of Government Departments.
On November 23rd last, a confidential internal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade report on Brexit was leaked to, and widely reported in the media.
When questioned on the matter by Deputy O’Brien in Dáil Éireann yesterday, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney confirmed that the Secretary General of his Department is currently investigating the leaking of this information.
O’Brien said, “As the Taoiseach recently noted, relations with the United Kingdom are ‘strained’ and given the sensitivities involved in the Brexit negotiations it is worrying that highly confidential material, not intended for public consumption found its way into the media.
“This has been a cause of huge embarrassment for Ireland and to our European colleagues who were quoted in the memo.
“Our diplomats and those who engage with Irish officials and our diplomatic core should assume full confidence in the Irish Government and the leaking of this memo only served to undermine this confidence.
“Undoubtedly these negotiations will continue to present challenges and it is therefore imperative that trust and integrity are central to any discussions.
“Unintentional or worse again, intentional leaking of material is politically and diplomatically dangerous and threatens to compromise negotiations going forward. The Department seems to be more focused on putting out the best line through media rather than protecting Ireland’s relationship with the UK post-Brexit.
“I am glad to hear that there have been temporary amendments made to the circulation procedures in the Department, however, it is essential that a full investigation is carried out and conclusions are reached as to who leaked this information and had they received permission to do so.
He concluded, “Every effort must be made to prevent further leaks of confidential and sensitive data in relation to Brexit. This cannot occur again.”
Syrian conflict is not on the agenda at this week’s European Council meeting
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the European Union must recognise its role in establishing lasting peace in Syria.
The Deputy was commenting as it emerged that the ongoing Syrian conflict is not on the agenda for this week’s meeting of the European Council.
In the latest violent clashes, Russian and Syrian fighter jets have launched attacks in southern Aleppo and the Damascus countryside, causing civilian casualties while hundreds of families have been displaced from surrounding villages and towns.
Deputy O’Brien commented, “Seven years of conflict; a loss of life close to half a million people; 13 million Syrians are in extreme need of humanitarian aid while over 5 million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries.
“The statistics are staggering and underscore the scale and brutality of this conflict, yet the European Council doesn’t wish to acknowledge the ongoing destruction during its meeting later this week.
“President Putin’s declaration of victory and a withdrawal of troops does not necessarily bring the Syrian war to an end, particularly a conflict as complex as this has been.
“The actions of Putin’s Russia, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Islamic State have major consequences on Europe too.
“The European Union must recognise its place in the Syrian peace process by persuading the Syrian delegation to begin direct discussions during the eighth round of UN peace talks in Geneva this week.
“In order for political settlement to be reached in Syria, the details of this conflict must remain at the forefront of the European Union’s agenda. There can be no reluctance to forge lasting peace.
He concluded, “I hope that both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste in his role as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to highlight the importance of finding resolution in Syria with EU counterparts."
Weather Warning : Code Level Orange Significant falls of snow are expected Saturday night and into Sunday. Accumulations of 4 to 8 cm are expected quite widely with greater totals possible. Drifting snow locally at times too with brisk winds. Slippery paths and treacherous roads also due to snow accumulation and ice. Valid from 23:01 Saturday 9-December-2017 until 23:00 Sunday 10-December-2017