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Shatter, Alan

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Defence Forces Reserve Review

Was asked: if he will report on the implementation of the changes he announced for the Reserve Defence Force in November 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The value for money review of the Reserve Defence Force, RDF, recommended the retention of a reserve of approximately 4,000 personnel, with a broad range of reforms aimed at ensuring a viable and c...More Button

A new single force structure underpinned by legislation is now in place since 31 March. All former Army and Naval Service Reserve units have now been disestablished, with both Reserve Defence Fo...More Button

The reorganisation of the reserve dovetails with the recent reorganisation of the Permanent Defence Force. This revised structure will improve access to equipment, expertise and appropriate trai...More Button

The changes being implemented are a direct response to the identified need for reform and will assist in ensuring a sustainable and fit for purpose reserve into the future. I am satisfied that t...More Button

Defence Forces Reserve Review (Continued)

The terms of reference for the value for money review were created by my predecessor in 2009. They were prescribed by the Government led by the Deputy's party. I am satisfied that a very detailed...More Button

The reason I refer to his party in government is that in so far as there is any challenge to the nature of the value for money assessment that was undertaken it was undertaken under terms of refere...More Button

To say something blindingly obvious to the Deputy, if I had an agenda to abolish the Reserve Defence Force I would have announced its abolition. The abolition of the RDF was one of the assessmen...More Button

Defence Forces Reserve Issues

Was asked: if he has taken the opportunity to read the transcript from the Reserve Defence Force Representative Association which was before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence on ...More Button

I can confirm that I have read the transcript from the appearance of the Reserve Defence Force Representative Association, RDFRA, before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equal...More Button

The value for money review of the Reserve Defence Force was conducted in accordance with the guidelines for such reviews, which are followed by all Departments. In accordance with these guidelin...More Button

Defence Forces Reserve Issues (Continued)

I note the Reserve Defence Force Representative Association, RDFRA, is not satisfied with the recommendations of the review. However, I was disappointed at the allegations of bias made. This is a...More Button

We have had an independent VFM review which made a number of key recommendations which are being implemented in the public interest and in that of members of the Reserve. I fully understand and ap...More Button

We are trying to ensure the funding available is directed in a way that is in the public interest. In the context of training days, we are trying to ensure matters are designed to encourage peop...More Button

There was a consultative process by my officials with members of the Reserve Defence Force following the publication of the value for money report. The Permanent Defence Force, PDF, has been engag...More Button

Overseas Missions

Was asked: if a decision has been taken on the participation of Irish Defence Forces personnel in the UN peacekeeping mission to Mali approved by the Security Council on 25 April 2013; if he will report on th...More Button

On 25 April 2013, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2100 establishing a peacekeeping force in the west African nation of Mali. Acting under Chapter VII of the Unit...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the role of Irish troops in Afghanistan.More Button

On 20 December 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1386 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorising the establishment of the International Security Assistance Force, I...More Button

Ireland has participated in the NATO–led, UN-mandated mission in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002, following the Government decision of 2 July 2002 authorising the provision of seven members of the ...More Button

Was asked: if he is considering getting more involved in NATO projects in the future in view of the comments made by Anders Fogh Rasmussed on his recent trip to Dublin.More Button

The Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visited Dublin on the 12th and 13th February this year. He did so at the invitation of the EU High Representative and myself to participat...More Button

As the House will be aware, Ireland has been contributing Defence Forces Personnel to UN mandated, NATO-led missions since 1997, when we contributed personnel to the NATO-led Stabilization Force ...More Button

As members of Partnership for Peace (PfP), Ireland participates in PfP’s Planning and Review Process (PARP). As part of this process, Ireland has adopted a range of Partnership Goals aimed at ass...More Button

  Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 88. More Button

  Question No. 96 answered with Question No. 89. More Button

  Question No. 97 answered with Question No. 77.More Button

Was asked: his plans to develop EU co-operation in the area of maritime security and surveillance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his plans to foster EU co-operation in the area of maritime security and surveillance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the recent meeting on maritime security and surveillance; if he is considering any new measures to enhance our maritime security and surveillance; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98,100 and 109 together. More Button

A Seminar titled “Challenges and Opportunities in Maritime Security and Surveillance for Effective Governance and Innovation in the EU’s Maritime Domain” was hosted in April. High level represe...More Button

The seminar highlighted the importance of building EU wide consensus and cooperation in relation to security and surveillance in the maritime domain in support of EU Sea Basins Strategies (includin...More Button

The seminar also highlighted that the EU’s seas and oceans provide an essential contribution to our wealth and wellbeing and hold immense untapped economic opportunities, in terms of energy, food...More Button

Key initiatives which are now being developed include:More Button

The Atlantic Strategy, which will cover the coasts, territorial and jurisdictional waters of the five EU Member States with an Atlantic coastline – France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United...More Button

The “MARSUR” project, involving 13 Member States, including Ireland, will develop the Recognised Maritime Picture exchange network to allow for the sharing of sensitive and confidential maritime ...More Button

The Common Information Sharing Environment (an EU Commission initiative) - will allow for the exchange of information across all EU maritime sectors, through the integration of existing maritime ...More Button

Ireland’s involvement in this project will enhance information sharing and knowledge transfer between Member States and build working relationships based on “mutual trust” with other European age...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an update in the Defence Forces mission in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the situation with regard to the Defence Forces mission in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 104 together.  

Seven (7) members of the Permanent Defence Force continue to serve with ISAF which was established under Security Counc...More Button

  Question No. 102 answered with Question No. 80.More Button

Was asked: his plans to deploy personnel to Syria currently.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an update in the current situation for Irish personnel serving with UNTSO, the UN Troop Supervision and UNDOF, the UN Observer Force on the Golan Heights after meeting with them ...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the four day kidnap of 21 UN Peacekeepers by Syrian rebels; and if there is any serious threat to the Irish personnel serving with the UN Troop Supervision Organi...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103, 105 and 306 together. More Button

I also met with Major General Iqbal Singh Singha of India, the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). I was briefed on security issues in ...More Button

I was also briefed on the detention and subsequent safe release of twenty one (21) personnel serving with UNDOF in early March 2013. In the days following, UNDOF vacated two positions which were p...More Button

The conflict in Syria has spread to the Golan Heights and has had an impact on the operations of both UNDOF and UNTSO. Both UNDOF and UNTSO are working closely together and have taken a number of s...More Button

Currently, members of the Permanent Defence Force are not serving with UNDOF. However, last month Ireland received requests from the UN to deploy a small number of additional observers to the UN Tr...More Button

Six members of the Permanent Defence Force who had been deployed as unarmed military observers to the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) were withdrawn in August 2012 when the mis...More Button

  Question No. 104 answered with Question No. 101.More Button

  Question No. 105 answered with Question No. 103.More Button

  Questions Nos. 106 and 107 answered with Question No. 82.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which payment for costs incurred by the Defence Forces in respect of UN or EU overseas deployments remains up to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The UN reimburses some personnel and Contingent Owned Equipment costs in respect of contributions of personnel to UN led operations. Rates of reimbursement, fixed in accordance with UN categories ...More Button

Since 1 January 2012, the total amount received from the United Nations in respect of contributions towards troop and other costs associated with the participation of Defence Forces personnel in ...More Button

  Question No. 316 answered with Question No. 85.More Button

Overseas Missions (Continued)

I wish I lived in the simplistic world the Deputy inhabits in dealing with these issues. Of course, it is important there are not food difficulties and that those that exist are addressed. It is ...More Button

The Deputy may be interested to know that a report by the UN human rights office in February 2013 on the crisis in Mali revealed serious human rights violations since the beginning of the conflic...More Button

It is important to bring to the Deputy's attention that Ministers in the north were responsible for serious violations, including summary executions, extra-judicial killings and many abuses were ...More Button

Is the Deputy seriously saying that all of that should have been ignored or should continue to be ignored and that those groups should have been allowed to take over the entire Malian state and per...More Button

What is being done now, which is important, is that the EUTM group is not merely providing military training, but is providing training in human rights issues, in conflict resolution and in civilia...More Button

First, there are still difficulties in Afghanistan. The Deputy is wrong about the situation in Afghanistan because there are substantial improvements in that country compared with ten years ago. ...More Button

Is the Deputy suggesting that where there is murder, mutilation and rape-----More Button

-----and where women are being violated and limbs are being cut off, the world should turn its back and do nothing?More Button

Is that what the Deputy is suggesting?More Button

I do not agree with that point of view.More Button

The most recent decision by the Government was taken on 26 June 2012 when it agreed to continue to provide seven members of the Permanent Defence Force for service with the ISAF for a further perio...More Button

We have lost no respect as an international peacekeeper.More Button

As I meet colleagues inside and outside the European Union as Minister for Defence, I find there is enormous respect for the role played by this country. There is enormous respect for the reality,...More Button

One area in which I would expect the Deputy to have some sympathy is the training of individuals to neutralise improvised explosive devices. I presume the Deputy thinks improvised explosive devi...More Button

The Deputy is stuck in something of a time warp. He thinks the Soviet Union still exists and that the Cold War is continuing. The main role of NATO, apart from dealing with European-Atlantic se...More Button

This State has been part of NATO's Partnership for Peace for very many years. I can tell the Deputy that there is no public concern, beyond the concern in his head, and the heads of a small number...More Button

I have absolutely no idea why the Deputy is shouting and getting so exercised nor can I figure what relevance his rather unnecessary and odd reference to Palestinian children has to this issue, unl...More Button

It is not a coincidence that in the context of the question about Afghanistan he diverted to other issues.More Button

Defence Forces Expenditure

Was asked: the savings that will be secured in the Defence Forces budget this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As provided for in the Revised Estimates Volume for 2013, the gross provision for the Defence Votes in 2013 is €895 million. This figure is made up of €680 million for the Defence Vote and €215 mi...More Button

I disagree entirely with what the Deputy has to say with regard to my defending of the position of members of the Defence Forces. If the Deputy's party had continued in government, I would not hav...More Button

Defence Forces Expenditure (Continued)

It was because I secured this agreement that we were able to recruit new members to the Defence Forces during the course of last year, and I am anticipating that we will again be recruiting later t...More Button

I am very proud of the fact the Defence Forces have, in fairness to them, implemented substantial reform. They have been ahead of the public service pack in the efficiency with which they have i...More Button

Of course, during the many years when the Deputy's party was in government, members of the Defence Forces consistently had to apply for supplementary welfare allowance and for additional financia...More Button

In the context of any savings that had to be effected, I said that in real financial terms they were not large as they affected any individual, but the approach was that the new financial arrangeme...More Button

If the Deputy's party had not destroyed the fiscal base of this country we would not be in this situation in the first place. We would be in a position whereby, instead of talking about having t...More Button

Defence Forces UN Missions

Was asked: if it his intention to deepen Defence Forces' participation in any UN mission in Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he is preparing to send members of the Defence Forces to serve in a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the current Defence Forces participation in the training mission in Mali. More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a progress report on the Defence Forces mission to Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: how long the most recently deployed personnel to Mali will be based there. More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 77, 81, 83, 87 and 97 together.More Button

I addressed the question of possible Defence Forces participation in the newly established United Nations multidimensional integrated stabilisation mission in Mali in my reply to a priority quest...More Button

On 17 January 2013, the Council of the European Union established the EU training mission, EUTM Mali, which was formally launched by the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 18 February 2013. Its initi...More Button

On 26 February 2013, the Government approved the deployment of approximately eight members of the Permanent Defence Force for service with the EU training mission in Mali. Three officers and fiv...More Button

Defence Forces UN Missions (Continued)

The Defence Forces training team will train two platoons of Malian personnel during its tour of duty and is due to rotate in early September.More Button

Like Deputy Finian McGrath, Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl gives a little too much credence to the nonsense he reads in Phoenix. There has been no decision about numbers of troops. I dealt with t...More Button

It is something at which one can laugh with great regularity.More Button

Yes, that is what I said.More Button

This country will not become involved in anyone's adventures anywhere. We do not get involved in adventures. We have a tradition of which we should be proud in the House and which we should never...More Button

I am very proud of the engagements and the competence of those engagements. I do not want to upset the Deputy but I do not know why people are hung up about NATO. The Cold War was over a long tim...More Button

I do not know if we will participate in the mission because I am waiting for feedback from our defence organisation looking at a range of skills that the UN requested to be incorporated and provi...More Button

The additional issue in the context of the UN mission is maintaining peace in a troubled area. Even with the engagement of the French, there has been a number of incidents in northern Mali in re...More Button

The first question to ask is what it is that Deputy Mac Lochlainn wants us to be neutral over. Should we be neutral when fundamentalist groups are killing people, chopping off their limbs and rapi...More Button

I made reference in one of my earlier responses to AFISMA, the African troops who are trying to provide assistance in Mali. The current strength of the UN-authorised African-led support mission ...More Button

It is worth drawing Deputy Mac Lochlainn's attention to the fact that the role of AFISMA was to assist the Malian army in securing full territorial control throughout the country, which it could ...More Button

Let us not get lost in ideology. I am not neutral when children are being dragooned at the age of ten into armies. I am not neutral when women are being raped. I am not neutral when people are...More Button

The Deputy raised some very important human rights issues. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights produced a report that makes a number of recommendations to the various actors invol...More Button

The situation in Mali was referred from the Government of Mali on 30 July 2012 to the International Criminal Court. After conducting a preliminary examination of the situation, including an asse...More Button

Based on the information gathered to date, the investigation will focus on crimes committed in the three northern regions of Mali, namely, Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu. EU foreign Ministers have welc...More Button

Defence Forces Medicinal Products

Was asked: the medicines recommended for Irish troops travelling to Mali.More Button

Irish personnel being deployed to EUTM Mali are administered the anti-malarial medication mefloquine, also known as lariam. Defence Forces personnel are also issued with individual first aid kits ...More Button

Defence Forces Medicinal Products (Continued)

Malaria is a serious disease which can cause serious complications and death. The World Health Organization, WHO, estimates that approximately 1 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone die ever...More Button

I am almost finished. The Defence Forces do not mass prescribe but rather follow all of the instructions issued by the Irish Medicines Board in order to fully screen personnel who may potentially ...More Button

I like to be as comprehensive and informative as possible.More Button

As I explained to the Deputy, the Defence Forces continue to use it because, unlike the US military, they do not engage in mass prescribing without individualised assessment of Defence Forces perso...More Button

Message from Seanad

One would not have bet on that happening.More Button

Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Order for Report Stage

I move: "That Report Stage be taken now."More Button

Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages

  Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.More Button

  Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."More Button

Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages (Continued)

First, I thank colleagues in the House for their supportive remarks. In marking the passage of the Bill through the Dáil today, we are making a small piece of history. It is very desirable that M...More Button

The Government's rationale for introducing the Bill was twofold, first, to put to rest the concerns of those individuals still alive who had deserted from the Defence Forces to fight with the All...More Button

In seeking to grant an amnesty to these individuals the Government has been very careful to respect the vital contribution made by members of the Defence Forces who did not desert during the Seco...More Button

The enactment of the Bill sends an important message to those surviving and the relatives of those who have since passed on. It is a very simple message: "You can be proud of your contribution, ...More Button

As I said, it is estimated that over 60,000 citizens of the then Free State and in the region of 100,000 who resided on this island fought against Nazi tyranny during the Second World War. I bel...More Button

To return to the theme Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn raised, I appreciate the sentiments he expressed about others who had fought fascism. The Bill is addressing a State issue. It is addressing ...More Button

It marks an important milestone in the maturity and politics of the State that we are taking this step. I am very pleased the Bill has met with the approval and support of all sides of the House. ...More Button

I thank Members for their constructive and support engagement and I thank Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl for his generous comment. I am very pleased we can mark that at 6.20 p.m. on this day in this Ho...More Button

Common Foreign and Security Policy

Was asked: his proposals for cultivating closer EU/UN relations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his proposals for improving EU/UN relations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 84 together. More Button

The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy forms an integral part of the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. In the area of Common Security and Defence Policy, the role of the Presidency...More Button

Following on from an initiative by Ireland, the EU adopted an Action Plan on EU/UN co-operation. This action plan provides the contextual backdrop to the adoption as part of Ireland’s Presidency...More Button

I, and my Department, hosted a very successful and well attended seminar in Dublin Castle on this subject. Speakers from the EU, NATO, the UN and, for the first time, the African Union, as well ...More Button

This seminar informed the follow up discussion at the Informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers who recognised the primacy of the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security and the ...More Button

Evidence of the deepening of co-operation between the European Union and the United Nations has resulted in the re-establishment of an EU/UN steering board which now meets on a regular basis. Th...More Button

In summary, this priority has and will continue to provide impetus to the Union as a whole to the enhancement of co-operation between the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy and the United Na...More Button

Proposed Legislation

Was asked: when he proposes to introduce new legislation for the Red Cross; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he proposes to update legislation in the Red Cross; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 80 and 102 together. More Button

To this end, my Department has commenced work on the review and has had discussions with the Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross on the proposed legislative proposals, which in the main rela...More Button

  Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 77.More Button

Ministerial Travel

Was asked: if he will provide a report on his St. Patrick's Day programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his visit to Lebanon, Israel and Palestine; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his visit to Lebanon, Israel and Palestine; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will outline to Dáil Éireann, in respect of this year's overseas travel for Saint Patrick's Day, the benefit of this trip; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82, 93, 106 and 107 together. More Button

My visit to Lebanon afforded me an opportunity to see, at first hand, the dedication and professionalism of military personnel and the tremendous work done overseas by the Irish Defence Forces pe...More Button

The visit to the troops was part of a comprehensive St Patrick’s Day programme in the Middle East. During my visit to the Irish/Finnish battalion’s area of operations, I received briefings on the c...More Button

When in Lebanon I also met with the Lebanese Minister for Defence, Mr. Fayez Ghosn and we discussed the current security and political situation and the challenges being faced by Lebanon and how th...More Button

On 12 March 2013, I visited the Golan Heights and I met with Irish Defence Forces personnel who are serving with the UN Truce Supervision Organisation as unarmed Military Observers in support of UN...More Button

In Israel, I engaged in trade promotion activities, attended a business breakfast organised by the IDA and the Embassy. I also attended the Israel launch of the Ireland-Israel Business Network.The ...More Button

In relation to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I received briefings and had a number of discussions on the overall political situation, with a number of politicians including both the outgoi...More Button

While visiting Ramallah in the West Bank, I met with Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official and negotiator, with the Minister for Justice of the Palestinian Authority, Mr Ali Muhanna and with ...More Button

I was also briefed by Mr Kenneth Deane Head of mission of EUPOL COPPS, the EU’s police training mission with the Palestinian police, which Ireland has strongly supported. Throughout my visit to the...More Button

  Question No. 83 answered with Question No. 77.More Button

  Question No. 84 answered with Question No. 79.More Button

Defence Forces Deployment

Was asked: the number of Defence Forces personnel currently deployed throughout the world; and the number of countries.More Button

Was asked: the degree to which further overseas, EU or UN associated troop deployments are likely to emerge; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number and location of Army, Navy and Air Corps personnel deployed overseas on foot of EU or UN deployment missions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 85, 316 and 318 together.

  Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas are listed in the following tabular statement.  ...More Button

Was asked: if he foresees more Irish troops being deployed to Lebanon as a result of the current conflict in the region.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the Defence Forces mission in the Lebanon; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 95 together. More Button

The 107th Infantry Battalion, comprising some 332 personnel, will complete its deployment with UNIFIL later this month when it will be replaced by personnel of the 108th Infantry Battalion. The I...More Button

The Irish/Finnish Battalion conducts operational tasks on a daily basis, which include the provision of security, vehicle and foot patrols, checkpoints, establishing and occupying temporary observa...More Button

The security situation in the area in which the Irish/Finnish Battalion operates remains calm but increasingly unstable due to domestic and international factors largely stemming from the spillover...More Button

Ireland currently holds command of the joint Irish Finnish Battalion.Finland, in accordance with agreements entered into on the deployment of the joint battalion, will assume command of the joint b...More Button

Ireland is operating in accordance with agreed arrangements with the UN and Finland.There are no plans at this time to increase Ireland’s contribution to UNIFIL.More Button

Defence Forces Sporting Activities

Was asked: the rules regarding the participation of Defence Forces personnel in extracurricular sporting activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the rules in place with regard to the participation of Defence Forces personnel in extracurricular sporting activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 86 and 92 together.More Button

As such, participation by members of the Defence Forces in sporting activities at local, regional and higher level competition is encouraged and where possible is facilitated having regard to, fo...More Button

Participation in sports and sporting activity forms an integral part of reaching and maintaining the Defence Forces desired fitness profile. As part of an overall structured training programme, a...More Button

  Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 77.More Button

EU Presidency Agenda

Was asked: if he will provide a progress report on Ireland's EU Presidency in so far as it relates to defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an update on his work programme for Ireland's EU Presidency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89 and 96 together.

  The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy forms an integral part of the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. In th...More Button

Military Archives

Was asked: since his Department has facilitated the availability of archive material to the nation, if he will outline the importance of this service; the cost to the State; the usage of same since this infor...More Button

The mission of the Military Archives is to acquire, preserve and make available to the public the documentary heritage of the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence. The...More Button

EU-IMF Programme of Support Issues

Was asked: his views that arising from the consequences of the Troika agreement, if it will be possible to maintain the full scale of activity, services and support for the Defence Forces without the further ...More Button

In the context of the very serious economic crisis that this country is experiencing, all elements of Defence expenditure have been critically reviewed in order to deliver savings. The required ...More Button

Arising from the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure in 2011, the Government agreed to stabilise the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel. More Button

The Defence Organisation has recently undertaken further significant re-organisation and reform as a result of the revised strength ceiling. These changes are designed to ensure that the Defence ...More Button

The Chief of Staff has advised me that the Defence Forces retain the capacity to fulfil all roles assigned by Government. The operational capacity of the Defence Forces will continue to be priori...More Button

  Question No. 92 answered with Question No. 86.More Button

  Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 82.More Button

Emergency Planning

Was asked: if he remains satisfied regarding the ability of the Defence Forces to respond to any security requirement including natural disasters that may arise notwithstanding expenditure cuts brought about ...More Button

My priority as Minister for Defence is to ensure that the operational capacity of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible. Whilst the Defence Forces are not a Principal ...More Button

In relation to security, primary responsibility for the maintenance of law and order rests with An Garda Síochána. However, one of the roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper on ...More Button

Similar to all other Government Departments, it is imperative that the Department and the Defence Forces take into account the current difficult economic environment we are now operating in. The ...More Button

  Question No. 100 answered with Question No. 98.More Button

Value for Money Reviews

Was asked: the financial supports that will be made available to members of the Reserve Defence Forces into the future in view of the Value for Money Review.More Button

Arising from the implementation of the recommendations of the VFM Review of the Reserve Defence Force, direct expenditure on the Reserve will reduce to €11 million in 2013. This reduction has ari...More Button

The budget for Reserve training activity is €3.243 million for 2013. In order to sustain a Reserve Force at a strength level of 4,069 within existing resources, gratuities have been withdrawn fr...More Button

This will provide financial supports to all Reservists undertaking paid training. In contrast, only 1,828 Reservists qualified for the payment of a gratuity in 2012.More Button

  Question No. 109 answered with Question No. 98.More Button

Garda Vetting Applications

Was asked: when a Garda vetting clearance will be granted in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that no vetting application has been received in respect of the individual concerned. In the circumstances, I can only suggest that the person contacts the r...More Button

Personal Insolvency Act

Was asked: if a person and their spouse apply for insolvency, will entering into an insolvency agreement affect their spouse's qualified financial adviser qualification; and if it will affect other employment...More Button

The Personal Insolvency Act 2012 does not require that a person's employment be affected by entering into an insolvency arrangement. However, certain professions may be governed by bodies where per...More Button

Therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the possible consequences of a person entering into an insolvency arrangement. It would, rather, be a matter for the relevant professio...More Button

Was asked: if he has considered giving authorisation to persons other than solicitors and accountants who pass relevant exams to act as personal insolvency practitioners; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question 498 on 23rd April, 2013. The position remains as stated:More Button

All Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs) will be authorised and regulated by the Insolvency Service of Ireland, in accordance with Part 5 of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 - Sections 159 to...More Button

Coroners Service

Was asked: if the results of a post mortem in respect of a person (details supplied) will be provided to their family without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Under the Coroners Act, 1962, a Coroner is a statutory officer exercising quasi-judicial functions in relation to which he/she is independent and neither I nor my Department has any role in the cor...More Button

DNA Database

Was asked: the recent developments in the establishment of a DNA database; the date on which he expects legislation to be published regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill, which is included in the Government Legislation Programme for this term, will provide for the establishment of a DNA database ...More Button

Garda Equipment

Was asked: if the variations of speed camera vans that are in use here require clear identification; if the vans are meant to be adequately marked; the regulations and guidelines surrounding the identificatio...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is no legal requirement for members of An Garda Síochána to use marked vehicles when conducting speed enforcement, or that the vehicles be visible ...More Button

Was asked: if a directive has been issued telling Gardaí that they are no longer allowed to buy new batteries for their flash lamps which they need for their night patrols; and if he will make a statement on ...More Button

Was asked: if, in view of the lamps that are used for road checks at night by the traffic corps which require batteries, a directive has issued informing An Gardai Síochána that they are no longer allowed to ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 300 and 302 together.

  The provision and deployment of Garda equipment is undertaken by the Garda Commissioner. In that context I am informed...More Button

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Staff

Was asked: the legislation used in the appointment process to the recently announced Equality Board.More Button

Was asked: if the independent panel appointed to select commissioners and the chief commissioner has been stood down; and if this is the case the way he will ensure that the process to appoint the chief commi...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 and 283 together.More Button

Legislation to set up the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) is expected to be published before the end of the summer term and, in the meantime, the members of the new Commiss...More Button

As I indicated when announcing the 14 persons recommended by the Selection Panel for appointment as members designate of the new IHREC, the Selection Panel has reported that it has not proved pos...More Button

I consider this issue requires time for reflection and consultation and that the debate in the Houses of the Oireachtas on the Bill to establish IHREC will be an opportunity to explain the diffic...More Button

I am very grateful to the members of the Panel for their unstinting public service work on essentially a voluntary basis. I consider that the experience of the process requires a critical review...More Button

Supreme Court Rulings

Was asked: if he intends to bring legislation forward to deal with the outcome of a Supreme Court case (details supplied) in view of the fact that the court stated that the Oireachtas could legislate if it wa...More Button

The Supreme Court in its judgment in Fleming v Ireland and Others (delivered on 29 April last) upheld the constitutionality of section 2(2) of the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993. Section 2(2) prov...More Button

Crime Statistics

Was asked: further to the broadcast of the Prime Time investigation entitled Riches from Rags on 25 April, 2013, which chronicled scores of alleged thefts from charitable clothes bins across the State, if he ...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that it is not possible to provide the number of individual reports taken by Gardaí relating to charitable clothes bins across the State as they are not recor...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question 900 on 16 April, 2013, the way a member of the public who has reported a crime to An Garda Síochána can be confident that the crime has been entered onto the Garda...More Button

The General Crime Counting Rules and the Technical Notes referred to in my reply to Parliamentary Question 900 of 16 April 2013 provide detailed information on the recording of crime. The most rec...More Button

Courts Service Issues

Was asked: the number of summonses issued at the behest of An Garda Siochana in each of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; if there are any trends which are of concern to him; and if he will make a s...More Button

I have requested reports from the Garda authorities and the Courts Service in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the reports are to hand.More Button

Garda Corruption

Was asked: the number of prosecutions initiated against current or former members of An Garda Síochána under section 62 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.More Button

I have sought the relevant information from the Garda authorities and I will communicate further with the Deputy as soon as it is available.More Button

Departmental Properties

Was asked: if his Department and agencies under its aegis, who own or rent property in commercial developments are in compliance with their responsibilities under the Multi Unit Development Act 2011; if he wi...More Button

I wish to inform the Deputy that neither my Department nor any agencies under it's aegis, own or rent properties that fall within the scope of his Question. I have no responsibility to the Dáil in...More Button

Was asked: if his Department and agencies under its aegis, who own or rent property in commercial developments are in compliance with their responsibilities under the Multi-Unit Development Act 2011; if he wi...More Button

There is no property either rented or owned by my Department or agencies under the aegis of my Department to which the provisions of the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 apply.More Button

Garda Deployment

Was asked: the level of Gardaí currently servicing a station (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when a Garda Sergeant will be appointed to a Garda Station (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 290 and 291 together.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the...More Button

As of 31 March 2013, the latest date for which figures are readily available, the personnel strength of the Mayo Garda Division was 304. Specifically in relation to the Foxford area, I am inform...More Button

Garda Districts

Was asked: if he will explain the proposed new County Mayo Garda Districts on a DED by DED basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner completed a comprehensive review of the district and station arrangements and set out, in his Policing Plan for 2013, a revised district and stat...More Button

Citizenship Ceremonies

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Dublin, will be called to attend a citizenship ceremonyMore Button

I am advised by the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person referred to by the Deputy will shortly be invited to attend a citizenship ceremon...More Button

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpos...More Button

Charities Regulation

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the implementation of the Charities Act 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Charities Act 2009 was designed to support and enhance public trust in charities by providing for the statutory registration and regulation of charities operating in Ireland by an independent C...More Button

The decision was taken in 2011, because of the urgent need to make savings in Government expenditure, to defer full implementation of the Charities Act. This decision was taken for financial rea...More Button

My Department has therefore examined methods of how best to implement the Charities Act in the current financial climate. As part of this process, in January of this year I published for consult...More Button

My Department is currently reviewing the submissions received and I look forward to publishing the results in due course and a further indication of the Government's timeframe for the introductio...More Button

Visa Applications

Was asked: if he will provide the number of persons that have applied for, and the number of persons that have received a visa under the visa investment scheme programme and the start-up visa scheme.More Button

The Immigrant Investor Programme and the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme were opened for applications in April 2012. Since then, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service have received 27 a...More Button

To date the total investment committed under both Programmes is of the order of €10.5 million and that it is projected that 270 jobs will be retained or created on foot of these investments in ...More Button

Asylum Applications

Was asked: if he will outline the way the Common European Asylum System will ensure that the European Union has a fair and effective system for processing asylum applications that is also robust and not open ...More Button

The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is provided for in Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which states that the Union shall constitute an area of freedom, se...More Button

Measures relating to the CEAS are covered by the EU Treaty Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice. The Protocol allows...More Button

The Dublin Regulation provides that an application for asylum (international protection) lodged by a third country national in a Member State shall be examined by a single Member State which shal...More Button

The 2005 Asylum Procedures Directive contains provisions dealing with:More Button

a) basic principles and guarantees, including access to the procedure, the right to remain in the Member State pending the examination of the application, the personal interview of an asylum applic...More Button

b) procedures at first instance, including the examination procedure, prioritisation and acceleration of any examination, inadmissible applications, the safe country of origin concept, subsequent a...More Button

c) procedures for the withdrawal of refugee status and appeals procedures.More Button

The 2004 Qualification Directive contains provisions dealing with:More Button

a) the assessment of applications for international protection, including assessment of facts and circumstances on an individual basis;More Button

b) qualification for being a refugee, including cessation and exclusion clauses;More Button

c) qualification for subsidiary protection, including cessation and exclusion clauses; andMore Button

d) the content of international protection, including protection from refoulement, residence permits, access to employment, education, social welfare and health care.More Button

My Department and the independent bodies under the aegis of my Department, i.e. the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, have considerable experience ...More Button

Charity Clothes Bank Thefts

Was asked: the penalties that apply for those convicted of theft from charity bring banks; if he is considering strengthening the laws in this area, in view of the significant loss of revenue this theft cause...More Button

Theft is an offence contrary to section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001. A person convicted upon indictment of theft is liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years and/...More Button

I am concerned about the reported practice of some collectors of clothing and bric-a-brac who convey the impression in their promotional literature that they are a charity, when this may not actu...More Button

In addition to these existing measures under the Criminal Justice Acts, the Charities Act 2009 also contains measures aimed at preventing the abuse of charitable status. Under section 46 of the C...More Button

While further implementation of the Charities Act and creation of the Register of Charities have been delayed for financial reasons, the Government remains committed to progressing the implementa...More Button

Garda Stations Closures

Was asked: the reason the green man phone mechanism is being removed from all Garda stations, that is, not just Garda stations that are closed but stations that are still operational and are now seeing the gr...More Button

Decisions in relation to the deployment of Garda equipment and resources are operational matters for the Garda Commissioner.More Button

In this context I am informed by the Garda authorities that the decision to discontinue the provision of public access call boxes at Garda stations has been based primarily on the results of an o...More Button

Subsidiary Protection Applications

Was asked: the position regarding an application for subsidiary protection in respect of a person (details supplied).More Button

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 3...More Button

In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of t...More Button

The case of the person concerned is amongst many to be considered at present and it is not possible to provide a specific indication as to when this case will be finalised. More Button

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this pu...More Button

  Question No. 302 answered with Question No. 300.More Button

Passport Controls

Was asked: following the recent installation of automated passport checks in Dublin Airport, if data on the entry of Irish citizens into the State is retained; if so, the length of time for which such data is...More Button

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (INIS) recently commenced a six month trial of automated border control gates (e-gates) at Pier A/D of Terminal One in Dublin Airport. The e-gates...More Button

Ministerial Transport

Was asked: the total costs involved in the operation of the Government jet for the years 2008 to 2012.More Button

The Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) is primarily provided by the Gulfstream IV and Learjet 45 aircraft, which were specifically acquired for that purpose.  ...More Button

Army Barracks Closures

Was asked: if any arrangement for the future use of Columb Barracks, Mullingar, County Westmeath has been agreed upon; thet options that may be available to organisations who wish to express interest in using...More Button

Since the announcement of the Government decision on barrack closures my Department has written to each Government Department, various agencies and local authorities seeking expressions of interest...More Button

  Question No. 306 answered with Question No. 103.More Button

Naval Service Vessels

Was asked: his plans to replace vessels in the naval fleet over the coming years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A strategy for the replacement of Naval Service Offshore Patrol Vessels is currently in train. A contract was signed in October, 2010 with Babcock Marine in the United Kingdom for the provision of ...More Button

I am satisfied that the equipment issued to the Naval Service is in keeping with the most modern requirements and the highest international standards. The ongoing investment in the Naval Service ...More Button

Defence Forces Reserve Training

Was asked: if he will outline his plans for the future and maintaining of the Reserve Defence Force's base on Bere Island, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Bere Island is a Defence Forces training resource used by both the Permanent Defence Force and the Reserve Defence Force. There are no plans to change the status of the facility and military traini...More Button

Defence Forces Strength

Was asked: if he is satisfied regarding the current strength of the Defence Forces including the Reserve at Army, Navy and Air Corps level; if any particular weaknesses have been brought to his attention; and...More Button

I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force, at 31 March 2013, the latest date for which details are available, was 9,189, comprising 7,375 Army, 781 A...More Button

A major re-organisation of the Permanent Defence Force has recently been completed. In addition, and in response to the findings of a Value for Money Review which was published in late 2012, the ...More Button

The combination of the measures I have outlined will ensure that the Permanent Defence Force can continue to deliver required operational outputs for all approved Aid to the Civil Power and appro...More Button

Defence Forces Equipment

Was asked: the extent to which the upgrading of equipment has taken place in the Army, Navy and Air Corps; the degree to which any particular deficiencies have been identified; the proposals, if required, in ...More Button

The acquisition of new equipment for the Defence Forces remains a focus for me as Minister for Defence. However, it is imperative that the Department and the Defence Forces, similar to all other Go...More Button

Defence Forces Operations

Was asked: if he is satisfied regarding the ability of the Defence Forces to meet the challenge of any emergency that might arise of security of natural disaster nature; the degree to which the Army, Navy and...More Button

My priority as Minister for Defence is to ensure that the operational capacity of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible.The involvement of the Defence Forces in respondin...More Button

In relation to ATCA, the Framework for Major Emergency Management sets out the structure for enabling the Principal Response Agencies (An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive and Local Au...More Button

The full spectrum of Defence Forces personnel and equipment, commensurate with operational requirements, is available for deployments in response to emergencies and crises. I am satisfied that De...More Button

Defence Forces Personnel

Was asked: the extent to which the number of women serving at all ranks, in the Army, Navy and Air Corps has increased over the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The tables set out the number of women by rank serving in the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps at 31 December for each of the years 2003 to 2012, and at 31 March 2013, the latest date for which fi...More Button

Maritime Surveillance

Was asked: the discussions, if any, he has had with his European colleagues in the context of a European contribution towards the costs associated with coastal surveillance from the point of view of security ...More Button

The Naval Service conducts routine maritime surveillance patrols on a daily basis throughout Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The primary day-to-day tasking of the Naval Service is to provi...More Button

Funding is available from the EU under the Fisheries Control Programmes to strengthen fishery surveillance systems in Member State countries. The Naval Service and the Air Corps, through my Depa...More Button

In relation to maritime surveillance generally, an Inter-Departmental Maritime Surveillance Working Group, chaired by the Department of Transport, was established under the auspices of the Marine...More Button

In addition, Ireland, along with six other EU Member States, participates in the EU Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N) which is an international co-ordination force that...More Button

Defence Forces Properties

Was asked: if he expects to be in a position to maintain the comprehensive network of military installations throughout the country in order to ensure adequately and a high level of preparedness for any event...More Button

My Department's property portfolio is kept under constant review to ensure that adequate facilities are available for the Defence Forces to carry out the duties assigned to them by Government. As ...More Button

Targeted recruitment will ensure that into the future the Permanent Defence Force can continue to deliver all operational outputs required by Government in the domestic environment as well as for...More Button

  Question No. 318 answered with Question No. 85.More Button

Was asked: the number and location of the various military installations throughout the country which are currently fully operational, those that have been earmarked for closure in the coming years; the exten...More Button

The military installations including permanently occupied barracks currently fully operational are set out in the following table. Whilst my Department’s property portfolio is kept under constant ...More Button

Air Accident Investigations

Was asked: if the Defence Forces have completed their investigation into the heavy landing by the Air Corps air ambulance on 19 June last; the results and recommendations on foot of the investigation; and if ...More Button

In accordance with relevant legislation, my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and I agreed that the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) in the Department of Transport, Tour...More Button