Order of Business, 21 March 2012

I welcome the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last Thursday of the report of the working group on Ireland’s universal periodic review, UPR. During the review on 6 October last, UN member states made 127 recommendations to Ireland concerning our human rights record. As the Leader knows, I noted on the Order of Business before that the Government immediately accepted 26 recommendations, was unable to support 15 and undertook to further examine 50. On Thursday’s adoption, His Excellency, the permanent representative to the United Nations, Gerard Corr, announced that of the 50 pending recommendations, the Government has fully accepted 29, partially accepted one and was unable to accept four. In total, Ireland has made a commitment before our UN peers to implement either fully or partially 108 of the 127 recommendations.

I applaud Ireland’s civil society organisations for their valuable and committed engagement to the UPR process and commend their representatives who spoke so eloquently at the adoption of the working group report. I welcome the permanent representative’s announcement that he will publish a voluntary interim progress report on implementation in October 2013.

As this first cycle of the UPR comes to a close, the process does not end. We now embark upon the second, and the most important, cycle, the implementation of the recommendations. For that reason, I call on the Leader to invite the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, to provide the House with information on how the Government is planning to implement the recommendations and the structures that will be put in place at national level to ensure effective implementation. The House has a role to play in monitoring and ensuring Ireland upholds its UN obligations.

In light of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill debate in the House last week, the commitment made by the Minister, Deputy Hogan, and the vote that took place, will the Leader call on the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin, to bring in a system of vouched expenses for the party leaders’ allowance without delay?

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