On Monday, I posted a note to my website and facebook to inform constituents that my Saturday information clinics in Donaghmede are now at the earlier time of 10.30am and that my mobile information clinic is in Donaghmede Shopping Centre carpark itself (near the Newbrook Road entrance to the shopping Centre). I informed constituents that due to these changes in access to parking at Donaghmede, I will now also be at Clonshaugh Shopping Centre from 9.45am and then Bayside Shopping Centre for 12.30pm.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when a decision will be made on the appointment of Ireland’s next EU Commissioner. [7998/19] I put this question about the appointment of our next EU Commissioner earlier to the Taoiseach and he referred it to the Tánaiste. We heard that the current Commissioner, our former colleague, Mr. Hogan, has indicated that he is positively disposed to another five-year term, as of course he would be. What about the role of this House in the appointment? For example, is it a matter for the confidence and supply agreement with Fianna Fáil in this type of coalition Government or is it such a fundamental choice, for example, in agriculture or financial matters, in the post-Brexit era, that this House should be intimately involved?
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he is taking with his EU colleagues to help in bringing the war in Yemen to an immediate end; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47993/18]
34.Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report to Dáil Éireann on the situation in Kurdistan; the steps Ireland is taking to ensure that the national integrity of Kurdistan is supported by the EU and international community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53040/17]
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I ask the Minister for a brief update on any supportive actions Ireland has taken relating to the Kurdish nation which is located within the Turkish, State, Syria, Iraq and Iran. His predecessor, the Minister, Deputy Charles Flanagan, told me last year that the conflict resolution unit in the Department was attempting to assist the Kurdish people in Turkey and I wondered if that was ongoing or if anything has happened at the Foreign Affairs Council.
Deputy Broughan has recently made a number of representations to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Passport Office on behalf of distressed constituents whose passport applications are taking longer than expected. Many constituents who have used Passport Express assumed that the turnaround for their passport renewals or new applications would take the usual 10 days but information on the Department’s website says that Passport Express is now 15 working days turnaround and that “it is important to note that these processing times are a guideline only and not a guarantee. They depend on properly completed applications and also on the volume of applications at any one time”.
I have raised with the Minister the issue of the savage oppression of the Kurdish nation and people on seven or eight occasions since he took office. In July this oppression intensified with the mass arrests of journalists, soldiers, police officers, 120,000 civil servants of all kinds, judges, 28 democratically elected mayors, the destruction of cities and the oppression of the language and the culture of the Kurdish people in Turkey. I would like to know what the Minister, in conjunction with his EU colleagues will do about this.
The Minister had a very successful visit by the Chinese Prime Minister, Mr. Li Keqiang, and also met his counterpart, the Chinese Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wang Yi. Progress was made on lifting the 15 year BSE-related ban. These changes and the meeting are important and several years ago we had the visit of the Chinese President, Mr. Xi. Did the Minister raise with Mr. Wang or Mr. Li the situation of the two large so-called autonomous regions of China, Tibet and the Uighur nation?
Deputy Tommy Broughan has today questioned the Minister Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, on his views in relation to movements for self-determination in Tibet and among the Uyghur nation of Central Asia following the Minister’s meeting with the Premier and Foreign Minister from China this past weekend.