Senator Mark Daly asks the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to come to the House to discuss the US-Ireland Alliance

Order of Business

17/5/12

Senator Mark Daly:

I ask the Deputy Leader to ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to come to the House to discuss the US-Ireland Alliance. The Mitchell scholars programme is a great programme in honour of an extraordinary man but, unfortunately, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade has been unable to get a definitive answer from the president of the US-Ireland Alliance on whether she will appear before the committee to talk about the role and work of the organisation. A letter was sent to her from the chairman of the committee, following a request by members on all sides and from both Houses that she appear before the committee to talk about the US-Ireland Alliance. I find it extraordinary that she would not reply in a clear manner that she is willing to appear. Many members have received invitations from her to attend an event in Dublin next week, which she will be at, yet she does not see fit to talk to the committee. She is most evasive and, rather than accept the invitation, she avoided giving a definitive answer.

Senator David Norris:

Surely that is a matter for the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Senator Mark Daly:

It is and it has come up twice, which is why I am asking for the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to appear in the House seeing as the president of the US-Ireland Alliance will not indicate whether she will appear. The Irish taxpayer will give over €20 million to the programme—–

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:

The matter is more appropriate to the committee.

Senator Mark Daly:

The president has not indicated that she will appear before the committee. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is a member of the board of the US-Ireland Alliance and when he comes in he could explain why the president of the organisation will not indicate whether she will appear before the committee.

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