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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 408-422
 Header Item Foreign Conflicts
 Header Item Foreign Conflicts
 Header Item Middle East Peace Process
 Header Item Northern Ireland
 Header Item Culture Policy
 Header Item Human Rights
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item EU Migration Crisis
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Defence Forces Remuneration
 Header Item Defence Forces
 Header Item Defence Forces
 Header Item Defence Forces Properties
 Header Item EU Directives

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 998 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 408-422

Foreign Conflicts

 408. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the extent to which the EU and the UN continue to monitor the activities of Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28825/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Colm Brophy): Information on Colm Brophy Zoom on Colm Brophy Ireland condemns the acts of violence and terror perpetrated by Boko Haram and Al Shabaab. Ireland supports the EU, UN and other international efforts to reduce the influence of Boko Haram and Al Shabaab in the region and to prevent their attacks, especially against civilians.

  The UN is active in working to undermine the influence and impact of Al Shabaab and Boko Haram. The UN continues to monitor the situation in areas affected by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin, through its Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), as well as at its Peacebuilding Commission, in which Ireland actively participates. The UN-mandated African Union-led peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) supports the Federal Government of Somalia in its efforts to combat Al Shabaab.

  The EU is one of the main financial contributors to AMISOM and it has also pledged €50 million in funding to the Multinational Joint Taskforce to improve security in West African territories affected by Boko Haram. More broadly, the EU supports the strengthening of government institutions and provides significant development funding in Somalia, and in the countries affected by Boko Haram's terrorist activities, notably through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. Ireland is a long-term donor to the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and has committed over €15 million to the Fund.

  The Council Conclusions of June 2020 reaffirm the EU’s commitment to tackling terrorism across Africa, particularly in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. The EU has three Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions in the Horn of Africa. A number of Irish nationals are deployed to EUCAP Somalia, including the current Head of Mission. In the Sahel, 13 Defence Forces personnel participate in EUTM Mali, and Ireland also deploys one expert to the Civilian CSDP mission in Niger.    Ireland’s participation in these missions allows us to contribute to international peace and security, protect human rights, and support conditions for sustainable development in the region.

  Ireland also works bilaterally to promote peace and security in areas affected by armed groups. Ireland places a strong emphasis on tackling the poverty, hunger and exclusion which can contribute to radicalisation. We are members of the International Support Group of the Regional Stabilisation Strategy for the Lake Chad Basin (ISG), and observer members of the Sahel Alliance. Both groups offer international partners a forum to coordinate support in addressing the challenges in Boko Haram-affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin.

  In addition, Ireland works with partners to respond to humanitarian need in regions affected by conflict. Ireland has provided €27 million in humanitarian funding to the Lake Chad region since 2015. Ireland has also been a consistent supporter of the humanitarian response in Somalia, providing over €50 million in humanitarian assistance since 2012, including to communities displaced by conflict in Al Shabaab-held areas. With humanitarian needs in these regions likely to remain acute, Irish funding will continue to target those most in need.

  The Embassies of Ireland in Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Abuja will continue to actively monitor the situation on the ground, advise on humanitarian response and guide Ireland’s engagement in EU and UN fora, particularly as we take up our Security Council seat in 2021.

Foreign Conflicts

 409. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the degree to which the EU and the UN continue to focus on various trouble spots worldwide in which child soldiers are involved in conflict; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28875/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The recruitment and use of child soldiers remains a serious problem with tens of thousands of children recruited and used as soldiers in conflicts around the world.

EU policy on child soldiers is set out in Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict, first adopted in 2003 and revised in 2008. These aim to persuade governments and organisations around the world to fully respect international humanitarian law and human rights law that protects children from armed conflict. The Guidelines commit the EU to address the impact of armed conflict on children and fight against impunity for those who are involved in the recruitment of child soldiers.

In 1999, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1261 on the impact of armed conflict on children. Since then, the Security Council has established tools to strengthen child protection and to support international standards, including a systematic and comprehensive monitoring and reporting mechanism.

In December 1996, the UN General Assembly created the mandate of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict to advocate for the protection and well-being of children affected by armed conflict and develop best practices to address the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The Secretary-General of the UN also issues an annual report on children and armed conflict which examines both trends and specific country situations, listing all armed groups – both state and non-state – that recruit and use children.

Ireland is a member of the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict at the United Nations in New York, a network of 47 Member States who support the continued focus on Children and Armed Conflict, as well as the promotion and protection of rights of children affected by conflict.

Ireland continues to combat the use of child soldiers through our development programme, Irish Aid, with a focus on addressing the socio-economic causes that contribute to this situation, through providing access to education, skills and livelihood opportunities, a priority also reflected in our development policy A Better World.

Middle East Peace Process

 410. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the extent to which efforts continue in the Middle Eastern peace process, in particular with reference to the need for permanent structures to encourage progress in Gaza; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28816/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I have given a high priority to the Middle East Peace Process since my appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2017, and I continue to do so as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence in the current Government. I have made four working visits to Israel and Palestine, most recently in December 2019.

The Programme for Government states that the Government will “Maintain and build our relationships with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and remain active on the Middle East Peace Process. Ireland’s longstanding support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain an integral aspect of our foreign policy and we will continue to build consensus at EU level to take a more proactive approach in supporting a negotiated two-state solution and lasting peace process”.

Ireland has long worked to keep attention on Gaza. In my last visit to Gaza in December 2019, I saw for myself the impact of the blockade. Ireland contributes humanitarian assistance to alleviate the worst of this suffering, including through our support for UNRWA, which is a key provider of public services, health and education in Gaza. I have initiated an Irish-funded solar power project in Gaza, which will help improve water quality in the area. More recently, my Department allocated additional funding to support the medical response to COVID 19 in the Gaza Strip.

I welcome the agreement announced on 31 August to de-escalate the situation in and around Gaza. This should now be fully respected by all parties, including the reopening of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, allowing fuel deliveries to Gaza’s electricity plant, and the restoration of Gaza’s fishing zone.

The roots of the problem in Gaza are political and cannot be solved by funding alone. I have consistently called for the lifting of the blockade, so that normal life and normal economic activity can resume, and I will continue to make every effort to ensure that the situation in Gaza remains high on the international agenda.

Northern Ireland

 411. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú Information on Ruairí Ó Murchú Zoom on Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he has had discussions with the UK Government on the decision not to prosecute British soldiers for their role in the Bloody Sunday massacre. [28472/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Government has noted the announcement on 29 September last by the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland to uphold their decision not to prosecute 15 soldiers in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday, following an internal review.

We understand the disappointment felt by all of the families involved in seeking this review, and who have spent so many years in pursuit of justice for their loved ones. Their dedication has been unwavering on what has been a long and difficult road, and our thoughts are with all of the families of those who were killed or injured on that day. Officials in my Department are remaining in contact with the families at this time.

The NI Public Prosecution Service has confirmed that, while Soldier F is among the 15 individuals to which these new decisions relate, the prosecution that commenced against him in 2019 continues. It is important that nothing is said or done that could be seen to prejudice ongoing due legal process.

All victims’ families must have access to an effective investigation and to a process of justice in accordance with the law and regardless of the perpetrator.

The Stormont House Agreement sets out a framework for dealing with the legacy of the past, agreed by all parties and by both the Irish and British Governments. It must be implemented, and that commitment to implementation forms part of the Programme for Government.

In March, the British Government proposed significant changes to the Stormont House Agreement framework. I have engaged with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and others to set out the Government’s position and serious concerns in relation to those changes. Only through a collective approach can we hope to deal with these issues comprehensively and fairly, and in a way that responds to the needs of victims and survivors, and society as a whole.

Culture Policy

 412. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the embassies in which cultural officers for Ireland have been appointed; the date of each respective appointment; the number of applications that were received for each respective post; the further embassies in which cultural officers have yet to be appointed; when such appointments will be made; the role of the cultural officers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28871/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The appointment of specialist Cultural Officers in priority locations worldwide was identified in the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 strategy as a key action to widen and deepen our global cultural presence and engagement. This new strategic capability is being delivered in a close partnership between my Department and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

The initial three positions in Berlin, New York and London were approved and advertised this year. 30 applications for the Berlin post were received by the due date, 459 for the New York post and 174 for the London post. In the case of Berlin, the successful candidate assumed the role on 24 August 2020. The New York and London recruitments are ongoing and at an advanced stage.

Four other priority locations for the appointment of Cultural Officers were identified in Global Ireland 2025 - Beijing, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo - with the possibility of additional locations in the lifetime of the strategy. The timing for recruitment to these posts is in each case subject to resources and to conditions and requirements in the relevant location.

The role of the Cultural Officers is to enhance the promotion of Irish arts and culture in the relevant countries and regions, working to achieve the objectives of the relevant Missions and of Culture Ireland under the strategic guidance of both Departments. I am arranging to forward to the Deputy the complete role descriptions for the three positions to date.

Human Rights

 413. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he has personally raised the issue of correction camps in Xinjiang province in China with his Chinese interlocutors; if the issue has been raised by his officials with the Chinese authorities or in other multilateral fora; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28892/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Ireland, along with our EU partners, remains deeply concerned about the credible reports regarding the treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, including reports on restrictions on freedom of religion and belief, arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance, forced labour, and forced sterilisations and birth control in the region.

Ireland has been vocal about raising this issue, along with other partners in the international community. [Today, Ireland is supporting a Joint Statement at the UN Third Committee which reiterates our grave concern regarding the situation in Xinjiang, and recalls the exceptional letter of concern issued by 50 UN Special Procedures mandate holders which called on China to respect human rights and to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers.] In our national statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 25 September, Ireland also urged China to allow unrestricted access to the region for the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At EU level, the deterioration of the human rights situation, including the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang, was raised by EU leaders with China on 14 September, and it was agreed to discuss these issues further at an EU-China Human Rights Dialogue later this year. The matter was also raised during the EU-China Summit on the 22 June.

Prior to this, Ireland was also one of 28 States to sign up to a Joint Statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 30 June 2020, which also called on the High Commissioner to provide regular information about the situation in the region, in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms that are guaranteed under international law.

Ireland has previously supported a Joint Statement at the UN Third Committee in October 2019, and a Joint Letter at the UN Human Rights Council in July 2019, which called for the Chinese Government to urgently implement eight recommendations made by the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination related to Xinjiang, and to uphold its international obligations and respect human rights in Xinjiang.

The protection and promotion of human rights is a core pillar of Ireland's foreign policy, and Ireland will continue to monitor and assess the situation and, along with our EU partners, engage with Chinese authorities bilaterally and in multilateral fora as appropriate.

Brexit Issues

 414. Deputy Cathal Berry Information on Cathal  Berry Zoom on Cathal  Berry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the progress that has been made on securing additional direct shipping routes to the continent in order to circumvent the UK landbridge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28905/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Ensuring that the UK landbridge remains an efficient and effective route to market for Irish traders is a priority of the Government's Brexit planning. When the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, operators will still be able to move goods via the landbridge but the way they use the landbridge will change. Each movement will involve new procedures and require a financial guarantee to be in place.

  The UK’s accession to the Common Transit Convention (CTC) is welcome. The CTC allows EU goods to transit through the UK without undergoing full customs import and export formalities on entry and exit from the UK. We continue to work positively with our EU partners on addressing challenges in EU ports for traffic in transit via the landbridge. However, the Government has pointed out for some time now including in our 2019 and 2020 readiness plans that there will likely be delays at ports immediately after the end of the transition period, with Dover-Calais identified as a particular likely bottleneck. This is outside of our control.

By contrast, goods moving directly between Ireland and elsewhere in the EU will not be subject to any new procedures. The Government has been engaging extensively with the shipping sector to assess the capacity available on direct routes to continental ports and I am working closely with my colleague Eamonn Ryan, the Minister for Transport. There is ongoing extensive engagement with the shipping sector who have indicated that sufficient capacity shipping is available on direct routes to continental ports. This is also the view of the Department of Transport and the assessment of the Irish Maritime Development Office who carried out a study of the UK landbridge in 2018, and who are currently updating that assessment based on developments since then.

  A number of new direct services have already been launched in the last year, including; Cork – Zeebrugge, Dublin – Santander, Waterford – Rotterdam, Rosslare – Bilbao and Rosslare – Roscoff. Extra sailings are also planned in 2021, including Rosslare – Cherbourg, Cork – Roscoff.

Ferry operators have indicated they are capable of responding to any further increase in demand. I encourage engagement between traders, hauliers and ferry companies to align capacity with needs. I would also encourage traders, where it is feasible to do so, to avoid the risk of disruption by moving to direct services now and not wait until after 1 January 2021.

EU Migration Crisis

 415. Deputy Cathal Berry Information on Cathal  Berry Zoom on Cathal  Berry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his position on the situation pertaining to the refugees in Lesbos; the number Ireland plans to accept; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28906/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am deeply saddened by the fire at the Moria camp on Lesbos and the impact this has had on the refugees and migrants based there. The very sudden displacement of thousands of people has caused great suffering to those in the camp, as well as posing a huge logistical challenge for the Greek authorities in the midst of the pandemic.

My colleague, the Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, spoke with his Greek counterpart immediately after the fire to offer Ireland's full solidarity and support. The Greek authorities requested assistance from EU Partners in dealing with the immediate humanitarian needs arising from the fire. My Department, through our Embassy in Athens, is in contact with the Greek Ministry of Migration Policy and has confirmed Ireland’s readiness to provide assistance from emergency stocks which we have in place at the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy. The Greek authorities have thanked us for this offer of assistance, and we stand ready to work with them regarding the deployment of the emergency supplies.

In terms of the situation within the camp, Greek authorities have started to transfer refugees and migrants to the Greek mainland in order to reduce overcrowding. In addition, the European Commission has now established a dedicated Taskforce with the aim of resolving the emergency situation on Lesbos effectively and humanely. The Taskforce will work closely with the Greek authorities to build new reception facilities in the coming months, which will be of a European standard and will provide access to healthcare and adequate sanitation.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have repeatedly urged the need for greater solidarity and burden-sharing among Member States in dealing with the wider issue of migration. The migration crisis continues to be one of the major challenges confronting the European Union and it needs to be urgently addressed. We must find more sustainable solutions involving consensus among Member States based on solidarity and responsibility. I am committed to continuing to work with our EU partners to resolve these issues and to ensure that humanitarian and legal obligations continue to be met.

On 23 September 2020, the Commission published a major new proposal on reforming the EU migration and asylum system - a “New Pact on Migration and Asylum”. I welcome this initiative by the Commission. The publication of the Migration Pact proposals represents an opportunity to renew and intensify efforts to agree a common approach and put in place more effective and humane arrangements to manage the considerable migratory pressures that Europe continues to face.

We in Ireland are endeavouring to do our part, having already received 1022 asylum seekers (including six unaccompanied minors) from Greece under the first phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

In the context of the very difficult situation now arising from the destruction of the Moria refugee camp, the Government has decided that Ireland will welcome refugee families from Greece under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP). Up to 50 people in family groups will be resettled following displacement due to the fire. This is in addition to the four unaccompanied minors, to be taken as part of our overall commitment to take 36 unaccompanied minors from Greece.

Officials from the Department of Justice and Equality are liaising with the European Commission on the detail of this commitment, and along with An Garda Síochána will travel to Greece in the coming weeks to make the arrangements.

Departmental Contracts

 416. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he has engaged a third-party company in each of the years 2017 to 2019 and to date in 2020 to conduct online and-or social media monitoring and-or provide reports on social media coverage of his Department; if so, the cost of same; and if the name of the social media platforms being monitored will be provided. [28917/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There were no such costs incurred by my Department in 2017 to 2019 and to date in 2020.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has procured an external monitoring service for press and broadcast media. While this contract allows for social media monitoring if required, this element is not currently utilised. The Department monitors its own and external social media activity through free analytical tools provided by the major social media platforms.

Departmental Staff

 417. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of staff in his Department on sick leave between March and September by month in 2019 and to date 2020; the pay arrangements that exist for staff on sick leave for an extended period of time; the number of sick days accounted for by his Department over the period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28935/20]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The arrangements for staff on sick leave are covered by the Public Service Management (Sick Leave) 2014 Regulations, SI 124 of 2014 and the Public Service Management (Sick Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2015, SI No. 384/15.

  The below table highlights the number of staff recorded as being on sick leave with the associated number of sick accumulated sick days for the periods in question. These figures have been compiled and supplied by the NSSO.

Month Year No. of Staff on Sick Leave No. of Sick Leave Days
January 2019    
  2020 203 1382
February 2019    
  2020 217 1562
March 2019 172 1,090
  2020 151 1,293
April 2019 159 1,056
  2020 50 827
May 2019 177 1,090
  2020 46 698
June 2019 160 1,188
  2020 68 826
July 2019 194 1,382
  2020 85 793
August 2019 190 1,377
  2020 100 946
September 2019 223 1,553
  2020 99 831

Defence Forces Remuneration

 418. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a circular (details supplied) details the fact that members of the Defence Forces are classed under the same pay and conditions as public servants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28199/20]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The circular to which the Deputy refers specifically relates to employment in the Civil Service and is governed by the Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956-2005. The arrangements for pay and allowances in the Permanent Defence Force are set by Defence Force Regulations S3, made pursuant to the Defence Act 1954 -2015.

The matter is currently the subject of a claim through the Conciliation and Arbitration (C&A) scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force. As the proceedings of Conciliation Council are confidential to the parties, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this stage.

Defence Forces

 419. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the status of a matter (details supplied) in relation to the awarding of medals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28278/20]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The siege of Jadotville was a prominent event that occurred during Ireland's peacekeeping mission in the Congo in September 1961. "A" Company, 35th Infantry Battalion took responsibility for the UN post at Jadotville on 3rd September 1961. On the 9th September, a large force of Katangese Gendarmerie surrounded them and early on the morning of the 13th September "A" Company came under attack. From the 13th to the 17th September they endured almost continuous attack. They were taken into captivity on the 17th September and remained in captivity until finally released on the 25th October 1961.

The issue of the award of medals to the men of “A” Company, 35th Infantry Battalion was addressed in 1962 and 1965. A properly constituted Medals Board considered the various cases presented. The board did not award any medals whose citations mention Jadotville. The Chief of Staff of the day considered the decision of the Board and was satisfied with the findings. Subsequently at that time, the question was raised again in a letter to a newly appointed Chief of Staff. He forwarded the letter to the original Medals Board and asked that they reconvene and review their decision. The Board indicated that the issues raised had received due consideration and that they were not prepared to alter their findings.

A review was conducted in 2004 by military officers for the purpose of a broader examination of the Jadotville case. This Board recommended that the events of Jadotville and the contribution of the 35th Battalion be given recognition. In this context, a number of measures have taken place to honour and to commemorate the events at Jadotville and the very significant contribution of “A” Company and of the 35th Battalion, as a whole, to the UN Peace Support Mission in the Congo.

Recognition of their contribution over the years include:

A. A presentation of scrolls to "A" Company in 2006.

B. Portraits of Lt Col McNamee (35th Battalion Commander) and Comdt Quinlan (Company Commander “A” Company) were commissioned in 2006.

C. In July of 2010 the 50th anniversary of the first deployment to the Congo was commemorated in a highly publicised and well attended event in Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel.

D. A nominal roll of “A” Company, printed in copper, was affixed to the monument in Custume Barracks and was unveiled as part of the 50th Anniversary of the Jadotville affair in September 2011.

E. On the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Siege of Jadotville, a Unit Citation to honour the collective actions and bravery of the men of “A” Company was issued. This was the first time a Unit Citation was awarded within the Defence Forces.

Furthermore, on 13th June 2017, the Government decided, as an exceptional step, to award a medal known as “An Bonn Jadotville” or “The Jadotville Medal” to each member of “A” Company, 35th Infantry Battalion and to the family representatives of deceased members to give full and due recognition in honour of their courageous actions at the Siege of Jadotville. This medal presentation ceremony took place on 2nd December 2017 in Custume Barracks, Athlone. This location is considered the spiritual home of “A” Company and it is from here that “A” company assembled in advance of their fateful deployment to the Congo.

I would like to thank the Deputy for the correspondence submitted with this Parliamentary Question. This correspondence quite rightly outlines the courage and bravery of "A" Company. Over the past number of years similar representations have been received and all have been considered and responded to acknowledging the valiant actions of "A" Company while under siege in Jadotville.

With regard to enquiries about any additional medals, it has been previously indicated that any additional documentation, information or evidence to support the request to award such medals will be considered. At this juncture, no new information has come to light.

Defence Forces

 420. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding exam leave for Army recruits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28295/20]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am advised by the Military Authorities that the provisions for the granting of Leave to members of the Permanent Defence Force are set out in Defence Forces Regulation A11.

  This Regulation provides that Special leave with pay may be granted to a member of the Permanent Defence Force for the purpose of attending examinations held by the Public Appointments Service, the Department of Education, the Universities, recognised professional institutions, the Institute of Public Administration and other similar bodies.

  Any member of the Permanent Defence Force who wishes to avail of such leave should submit their request to their respective Unit Commander.

Defence Forces Properties

 421. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a club (details supplied) will be permitted to use again the Gaelic pitch at Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines, Dublin 6, which it has used for many years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28373/20]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department is committed to ongoing positive engagement with local schools and club communities in allowing the use of military facilities, where possible. In light of COVID-19, all long term and routine users of such facilities were notified at the time that the use of facilities was suspended. My Department will be in touch with clubs and other such users shortly with a view to informing them, subject to the requirements of the Defence Forces, as to the extent that facilities may be available for the period ahead.

EU Directives

 422. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the cost to his Department to date of all fines paid by Ireland for non-transposition of EU directives into Irish law; the breakdown, by directive of the lump sum cost and the daily cost of each fine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28607/20]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am advised that no EU fines were paid by my Department relating to the non-transposition of EU directives into Irish law.


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