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Question

306. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the new visa deal between the European Union and Turkey; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37148/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The European Commission launched a visa liberalisation dialogue with Turkey on 16 December 2013, in parallel with the signature of an agreement between the European Union (EU) and Turkey on readmission of irregular migrants. A road-map of reforms to be undertaken by Turkey prior to the completion of visa liberalisation was agreed between the EU and Turkey as part of the process. I understand that the re-admission agreement is expected to be implemented in June 2016, and October 2016 has been set as the expected time-frame for completion of the lifting of the visa requirement.
These proposals relate to visa liberalisation between the EU member states operating visa free travel within the Schengen area. Ireland has not applied to participate in those aspects of the Schengen Aquis that provide for the abolition of internal border checks. This decision has been taken to maintain the Common Travel Area with the United Kingdom which remains a priority for Ireland.