Dáil Éireann - Volume 557 - 13 November, 2002

Written Answers. - EU Conventions.

[516]   109. Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the resources he has made available to Ireland's participation in the Convention on the Future of Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21504/02]

  Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): One section of the European Union division of my Department, comprising four diplomatic officers, has lead responsibility for supporting the participation in the convention of the Governments representative, the Minister of State with responsibility for European Affairs, Deputy Roche, and his alternate, Mr. Bobby McDonagh. While the section has a number of other responsibilities, the bulk of its time is devoted to the convention. Advice and briefing on specific topics are also being supplied by other sections in the Department, and by other Departments, as appropriate.

  I am anxious that whatever support and assistance my Department or I can offer to Oireachtas representatives is made available. Briefing for convention plenary sessions prepared for the Government representatives is also being made available to Oireachtas representatives, and arrangements have been put in place for regular meetings at the convention itself among all the Irish representatives.

  The question of staffing support for the Oireachtas representatives of the convention is primarily a matter for the Oireachtas itself. However, I welcome the fact that, in addition to the involvement of Oireachtas staff members, who travel regularly to the convention, the Minister for Finance has made additional resources available to enable full members of the convention to employ assistants.