Senator Daly: I thank the Minister for updating us on the case of Ibrahim Halawa. Will the case be raised at the Council meeting? I understand the Minister is in contact with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Does he think it appropriate to follow the example of the Australian Prime Minister who, by becoming involved in a case, facilitated a successful outcome for one of his country’s citizens?
In respect of the European Union, if we do not have satisfaction, will we be considering trade sanctions in the light of what Amnesty International has stated about Ibrahim Halawa and the fact that he has no charges to answer?
I am aware that we will be discussing the Irish overseas and the diaspora on another occasion, but perhaps the Minister might refer to the undocumented Irish and the progress, or lack thereof, on Capitol Hill on the issue of immigration reform.
The Irish position on neutrality is very clear, but the President of the European Commission has recently suggested having an army would solve the European Union’s problems on foreign policy. I hope the Minister will make a clear statement at the Council that the President’s comment was disgraceful. The suggestion was made by somebody from Luxembourg. If there was an EU army, there would not be many people from that country in it. For Germany to row in behind such a proposal is a step in the wrong direction. I recently attended a foreign affairs meeting in Rome at which the Italians stated they wanted to see the European Union replace the Americans in spheres of influence on our borders. Ireland and other neutral states need to be forceful on this issue. When we see a slow but incremental drift towards an EU army by bigger states which want to save money by pooling resources and dragging the rest of us along, we should reiterate our opposition at every step. If the President of the European Commission can suggest an EU army would be a solution to a problem, he obviously does not know what the problem is. Does he think he can send our lads to Ukraine to sort out that problem?