O'Dea, Willie

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 598 No. 5

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Ceisteanna — Questions - Legislative Programme.

I am qualified already.More Button

Priority Questions - Overseas Missions.

Was asked: his plans to change the legislation permitting Irish troops to train overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if there is a need to change the law to facilitate Irish participation in EU battle groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he has had discussions with his EU colleagues in the matter of European battle groups or rapid response forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 73, 74 and 390 together. I refer Deputies to my reply to this House on this subject on 26 January last. The position remains as I outlined at that time. The background...More Button

I will not anticipate the outcome of the sub-group’s deliberations. We have identified certain legal barriers to our participation in the so-called battle groups. I have asked people representing vari...More Button

As I emphasised, the Government’s policy is that the triple-lock procedure will remain in place. In accordance with the Defence Act 1960, if we are to deploy troops abroad, provided the number of troo...More Button

No one has asked me to park this issue until the outcome of the referendum on the EU constitution is known or any other time. The concept of our becoming involved in battle groups is still evolving. T...More Button

As Kofi Annan has stated, times have changed and the UN must be in a position to respond quickly to avoid the genocide and slaughter which was witnessed in the Congo last year. The recommendation is t...More Button

I do not accept that there is a conflict. We both agree that to participate in the battle groups as we understand the concept at present, the law will have to be changed. I made the point that there m...More Button

Priority Questions - Bullying in the Workplace.

Was asked: if he will report on the way in which bullying is dealt with in the Defence Forces; and the number of confirmed cases there have been in the past year.More Button

Dr. Eileen Doyle and the external advisory committee presented their report, The Challenge of a Workplace, in March 2002. This independent report addressed the range of interpersonal issues for the De...More Button

The chairperson of the independent monitoring group is Dr. Eileen Doyle who composed the original report. The members include the deputy chief of staff, the assistant secretary of the Department of De...More Button

Apart from those. The final part of my reply puts the issue in context. Since the revised procedures for making complaints were introduced in March 2003, eight complaints of unacceptable behaviour hav...More Button

Priority Questions - National Emergency Plan.

Was asked: his plans to extend the composition of the emergency planning cell; the frequency with which this group meets; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government task force on emergency planning, which I chair, was established in October 2001. The membership of the task force includes Ministers, senior officials of Departments, senior officers o...More Button

No. It has been my practice since becoming Minister to call the emergency planning task force together on at least a monthly basis, which will continue. The next meeting is tomorrow afternoon. No memb...More Button

The plan was prepared by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland. I am aware of it and can make a copy available to Deputy Timmins, if he wishes. He can evaluate it himself.More Button

A definitive plan exists. I wish to explore aspects of it with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. As there will be a large representation at tomorrow’s meeting, we can r...More Button

Priority Questions - Defence Forces Training.

Was asked: if he will report on the human rights training provided to members of the Defence Forces, including subject matter, duration and upskilling requirements.More Button

A number of educational programmes are undertaken in the Defence Forces in regard to international humanitarian law. The military authorities advise that the position is as follows. Lectures on intern...More Button

The Deputy is correct that there is no reference in the White Paper to this aspect. Nevertheless, the position remains that officers — those in charge — get a very good grounding in international huma...More Button

Since becoming Minister, I have not been aware of any investigation in that line and I do not know the outcome of any such investigations. I am not aware that anybody was specifically punished, dealt ...More Button

Other Questions - Defence Forces Regulations.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Defence Forces recruits who are injured in the course of their training are expected to meet the full costs of their medical expenses should they requi...More Button

Medical treatment of military personnel is carried out as far as possible in a military hospital or other medical facility under the auspices of the Army medical corps. If the necessary treatment is o...More Button

It appears unreasonable on the face of it that distinction should be made in such an instance between officers and ordinary members of the Defence Forces. That is the way things have been traditionall...More Button

If recruits, particularly those injured in training, are discharged because they cannot have access to the public health service within the requisite six months, I agree that is unfair and must be loo...More Button

Other Questions - Bullying in the Workplace.

Was asked: the number of cases of alleged bullying which are under investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to recent comments from a person (details supplied) that bullying is rife in the military despite the launch of a Defence Forces anti-bullying campaign; if his attentio...More Button

Was asked: if the latest public statement by a female recruit of Army bullying is accurate; his Department’s policy on bullying; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the efforts being taken by him to tackle bullying and harassment in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79, 114, 124 and 131 together. My previous reply on this subject detailed the comprehensive measures which have been taken since Dr. Eileen Doyle and the external advi...More Button

I agree. How the Defence Forces operate is predicated on the simple assumption that lawful orders must be obeyed. Accordingly, the discipline in the Defence Forces not just in this country but elsewhe...More Button

Without wanting to be flippant about the matter, it is analogous to crime in Limerick. When a crime of a particular nature takes place in Limerick, everyone is keen to talk about it. The same crime wo...More Button

Other Questions - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: the extent of his Department’s property portfolio in Dublin city and county; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department of Defence holds property in Dublin city and county as follows: Married Quarters at 47 McKee Park, Dublin 7 64 McKee Park, Dublin 7 2 Tomar Court, Arbour Hill, Dublin 7.More Button

Other Questions - Overseas Missions.

Was asked: the statutory authorisation required in respect of non-UN overseas missions in which the Defence Forces participate, as listed on the Defence Forces website; if none was required, the reason therefor;...More Button

The Defence Forces participate in two main types of overseas missions, namely, traditional UN-led “Blue Hat” missions and UN-authorised missions, where the mission is established under the authority o...More Button

The Deputy is mistaken. There are two types of operations, which might involve Irish troops going abroad. There are traditional UN-led operations, where the UN organises the mission and approaches its...More Button

The missions conform perfectly with the Defence Acts. The interpretation of successive Attorneys General is that the word “established” in the Acts covers the scenario where the UN decides that a miss...More Button

Was asked: if Irish participation in EU battlegroups will be limited to the Petersberg Tasks; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will reform the triple lock mechanism which governs the deployment of contingents of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the formation and participation in European battlegroups has evolved; if he will outline his perception regarding the way in which the logistics will be determined; and if he will ...More Button

Was asked: if Ireland will participate in EU-led groups that can intervene in a rapid manner to prevent the loss of life; the circumstances under which such participation may take place; and if he will make a st...More Button

Was asked: if military operations carried out by an EU battlegroup on the authority of the UN Security Council falls within the definition of a UN peacekeeping force for the purposes of the State’s triple lock m...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82, 90, 92, 93 and 107 together. The background to the rapid response elements concept, commonly referred to as battlegroups, is that at the European Council in Helsin...More Button

In reply to Deputy Sherlock, the answer to both questions is “Yes”. It is our policy that the UN mandate will continue to be required. Second, activities are confined to the Petersberg Tasks, the defi...More Button

It will be very interesting to see how they square that circle come the next general election. The Government is firmly committed to the triple lock, which is and will remain the lodestone of its poli...More Button

It is the case as far as this Government is concerned, which will be with us for many a long day. Written answers follow Adjournment Debate.More Button

Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2005: Report Stage.

Question put.
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: the number of Defence Forces personnel currently working to assist those affected by the December 2004 tsunami; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reports he has received from members of the Defence Forces who travelled to tsunami affected countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the work of those members of the Defence Forces seconded to the UNJLC in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to assist in the relief effort following the tsunami in south Asia; if further troops ...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the deployment of a Defence Forces team to Sri Lanka to assist in relief following the tsunami disaster; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 83, 110, 111 and 123 together. As soon as the scale of the recent disaster in south-east Asia became clear, the Department of Foreign Affairs deployed a high level tec...More Button

Written Answers - United Nations Reform.

Was asked: if he will clarify recent comments attributed to him (details supplied) that he has been informed by senior figures in Brussels that the UN intends to introduce reforms that may lead to the speedier a...More Button

The comments attributed to me were made consequent to the publishing of the UN’s Report of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which issued on 2 December 2004. I refer Deputies to ...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Equipment.

Was asked: the improvements to the Air Corps he proposes to make in terms of aircraft over the coming 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The focus with regard to new aircraft for the Air Corps this year is on the acquisition of helicopters. I previously informed the House that following a comprehensive tender competition, two contracts...More Button

Written Answers - Commemorative Events.

Was asked: if, further to his reply of 26 January 2005, there is further information on an appropriate form of commemoration for the Irish soldiers involved in the events in Jadotville more than 40 years ago whi...More Button

As outlined to the House on 26 January 2005, detailed consideration was being given to the most appropriate form of commemoration for those involved in the events in Jadotville and I am pleased to be ...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Equipment.

Was asked: the degree to which the Defence Forces are equipped and capable of dealing with eventualities in the event of a terrorist attack, with particular reference to the availability of breathing and skin pr...More Button

Was asked: the number of NBC protective clothing suits that will be purchased by his Department in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 and 102 together. The Garda Síochána has primary responsibility for law and order, including the protection of the internal security of the State. It continuously m...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Missions.

Was asked: the position regarding Irish troops serving in Liberia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the situation in Liberia and the operations that members of the Defence Forces are engaged in; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 95 together. The Defence Forces contingent, which was deployed for service with the United Nations Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, in December 2003, comprises a moto...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: if it is proposed to sell lands or buildings under his control in the remainder of 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for the part development or sale of Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the total receipts to date from the sale of military installations closed in 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89, 127, and 393 together. The Government, on 15 July 1998, approved a programme of evacuation and sale of six barracks considered surplus to military requirements. Th...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Reserve.

Was asked: the current strength of the reserve Defence Forces; the type of operations they are engaged in; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if the RDF unit in Cahir, County Tipperary, will be retained at its present location; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans to permit the service of RDF personnel overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the current strength of the Reserve Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the current strength of the Reserve Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 91, 101, 108, 125 and 378 together. On 26 July 2004 my predecessor the former Minister, Deputy Michael Smith, officially launched the Reserve Defence Force review impl...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: if the building that has been identified as the new permanent headquarters of the Civil Defence board in Roscrea is available to be occupied; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the situation with respect to the decentralisation of Civil Defence to Roscrea; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 104 together. The Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for the provision of official accommodation for Government Departments, has issued tenders fo...More Button

Written Answers - Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Was asked: if the position of British and French nuclear weapons has been discussed within the European security and defence policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if the stationing of 480 US nuclear weapons in eight bases in six European countries, five of which are in the EU, has been discussed at meetings of EU Defence Ministers; the implications of these wea...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 130 together. At the European Council at Helsinki in 1999, member states set themselves a headline goal, that is, that “by the year 2003, co-operating together ...More Button

Written Answers - Overseas Missions.

Was asked: the number of members of the Defence Forces who are available to the United Nations; if this number will be increased in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the overseas missions that it is envisaged the Defence Forces will contribute to in the remainder of 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the overseas locations to which Irish troops are likely to be deployed in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97, 100 and 391 together. Ireland is currently contributing approximately 770 Defence Forces personnel to 22 different missions throughout the world, full details of w...More Button

Written Answers - Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Was asked: his plans for joint procurement of arms and equipment for the Defence Forces and the military forces of other States; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A decision to establish an intergovernmental agency in the field of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments, known as the European Defence Agency, EDA, was formally adopt...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the stage at which his plans for decentralisation are; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the progress being made with regard to decentralisation from his Department or agencies under his control; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 and 126 together. The Government decision on decentralisation provides for the transfer of my Department’s Dublin based Civil Service staff to Newbridge, County Kil...More Button

Written Answers - Military Police Investigations.

Was asked: if, further to his reply of 26 January 2005, the second of two military police investigations into suggestions of near mutinous behaviour on a Naval Service vessel has been concluded; the action which...More Button

The military police investigation into the second alleged incident is still ongoing and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Equipment.

Was asked: the cost to date of maintenance on Mowags; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The initial contract for 40 APCs with Mowag of Switzerland was valued at €51 million inclusive of VAT and saw deliveries completed by March 2002. The second contract for an additional 25 armoured pers...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Strength.

Was asked: the strength of the Defence Forces at 1 July 1998 and 1 January 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the strength of the Naval Service at 1 July 1997 and 1 January 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 119 together. The White Paper on Defence of February 2000 sets out a figure of 10,500 personnel for the Permanent Defence Force, comprising 930 for the Air Cor...More Button

Written Answers - European Council Meetings.

Was asked: the agenda for the informal meeting of Defence Ministers in Luxembourg on 18 and 19 March 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As of today, 1 March 2005, I have not received the agenda for the forthcoming informal meeting of Defence Ministers, which will take place in Luxembourg on 18 and 19 of March next. However, indication...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Equipment.

Was asked: if it is proposed to augment the Naval Service with any new craft over the coming 18 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In the White Paper on Defence, the Government decided that the Naval Service will be developed around the provision of an eight ship flotilla. In recent years, two new ships have been delivered to the...More Button

Written Answers - Partnership for Peace.

Was asked: if he will report on activities undertaken by the Defence Forces to date under the auspices of Partnership for Peace; the future activities that may be undertaken; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

Ireland’s participation in Partnership for Peace, PfP, to date is set out in our four individual partnership programmes, IPPs, copies of which have been lodged in the Oireachtas Library. Ireland’s fou...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Property.

Was asked: when it is proposed to carry out the refurbishment of the RDF unit at Fair Street, Mallow, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are no current plans for refurbishment of the RDF premises at Fair Street, Mallow, County Cork. The matter, however, is being kept under review.More Button

Written Answers - Military Neutrality.

Was asked: the current position with regard to the development of a common defence and security arrangement across the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have had no discussions with my counterparts at European Union level on the development of a common defence arrangement across the EU. Ireland’s position with regard to the issue of common defence i...More Button

Was asked: the reason this Deputy has not received a copy of the advice from the Attorney General on the legal basis of the triple lock; if this information will be supplied; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

I have written to the Deputy in the past few days setting out the nature of the advice available to me.More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Property.

Was asked: the details of the recently announced €33.5 million programme to upgrade military buildings around the country; when this upgrade will commence; the type of projects involved; and if he will make a st...More Button

A sum of €33.447 million has been provided in my Department’s Estimates for the building and refurbishment programme for 2005. This amount is divided into capital and non-capital expenditure. The capi...More Button

Written Answers - Hearing Impairment Claims.

Was asked: the number of Army deafness claims that remain outstanding; when he expects these to be dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

On 31 January 2005 there was a total of 1,290 army hearing loss claims still outstanding. It is hoped that these claims can be disposed of this year subject to the plaintiffs’ solicitors having these ...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Equipment.

Was asked: if cutbacks will be expected in future defence expenditure arising from the need for economies in Government spending following the Supreme Court decision on the illegal charging of elderly medical ca...More Button

The acquisition of new equipment for the Defence Forces is a key focus for me as Minister and I intend continuing the good work done in this area in recent years. Investment in new equipment for the A...More Button

Was asked: the progress in the tendering process for light tactical armoured vehicles for the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The acquisition of light tactical armoured vehicles, LTAVs, for the Defence Forces has been identified as a key priority by the military authorities for 2005. The LTAVs will complement the work of the...More Button

Written Answers - Military Neutrality.

Was asked: if he will report on the terms under which Ireland joined the European Defence Agency; the reason membership of the agency was not referred to in Dáil Éireann; and if he will clarify the budget 2005 a...More Button

Was asked: if the proposed European Defence Agency will encourage Ireland and other EU member states to increase military spending; and if this proposal will damage Ireland’s integrity as a neutral country.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 and 379 together. A decision to establish an intergovernmental agency in the field of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments, known ...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Equipment.

Was asked: the number of aircraft within the service of the Air Corps; the age of the aircraft within the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are 40 aircraft in service with the Air Corps at present, comprising 14 helicopters and 26 fixed-wing aircraft. The type and age of the aircraft is set out in the following tabular statement whi...More Button

Written Answers - Courts Martial.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself with the outcome of the court of inquiry regarding an incident (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that every soldier involved in an incident (details supplied) was treated fairly in subsequent disciplinary procedures, particularly in relation to the use of warnings and ...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 264, 265 and 266 of 27 January 2004, if the officer in charge is responsible for complying with paragraph 4 of training circular 03/77; if he has satisfied him...More Button

Was asked: if he has established the identity of the person who was responsible for the failure to carry out proper procedures that led to an incident (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that the current system regarding the application of military law provides for fair procedures and due process and that such procedures pertain regarding an incident (detai...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 380, 381 and 387 to 389, inclusive, together. As my predecessor outlined in a reply to a previous question on this matter on 8 July 2004, when an incident involves inj...More Button

Written Answers - Medical Discharge.

Was asked: if he will investigate the reason a person (details supplied) was discharged from the Defence Forces.More Button

The military authorities advise that the person in question enlisted in the Permanent Defence Force on 13 April 1973 and was discharged on 23 January 1977. His reason for discharge is recorded as “bel...More Button

Written Answers - Official Engagements.

Was asked: his proposed itinerary for St. Patrick’s week celebrations; the areas and countries involved and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

From Monday to Thursday of St. Patrick’s week, I will attend to my ministerial duties and to constituency matters in Limerick. On Friday and Saturday, I will be in attendance at an informal defence mi...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Reserve.

Was asked: the arrangements which exist for recruitment to the RDF; if the Army authorities are proactive in encouraging recruitment to this part of the Defence Forces; his plans to augment the numbers in the RD...More Button

The Defence Forces reserve, comprising An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, FCA, and An Slua Muirí, recruits approximately 1,300 reservists annually. This level of recruitment reflects the success of the various...More Button

Written Answers - Army Barracks.

Was asked: the reason a commitment made by his predecessor to hand over part of the Army land in Ballincollig, County Cork, to various community groups has not taken place; if he will honour this promise; if so,...More Button

An area comprising more than 27 acres of the property in question is being handed over to Cork County Council for community use, including the provision of playing pitches. At meetings held at County ...More Button

Was asked: if there are any microwave antennae or transmitters in Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There is one microwave transmitter utilised for Defence Forces purposes operating from the communications mast in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines. Defence Forces communications systems comprising VH...More Button

Written Answers - National Emergency Plan.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself regarding the adequacy and alert warning mechanisms in the event of a terrorist attack; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Garda Siochána has primary responsibility for law and order, including the protection of the internal security of the State. The potential threats to the State arising from international terrorism...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Equipment.

Was asked: if all military equipment, including vehicles, is not up to date; if there are any areas in need of modernisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The acquisition of new equipment for the Defence Forces has been a key focus in recent years. Significant investment has taken place and I am satisfied that the Defence Forces are now well equipped wi...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Strength.

Was asked: the current strength by rank of the Air Corps; the way in which this figure compares with that of ten years ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the current strength by rank of the Naval Service; the way in which this figure compares with that of ten years ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the current strength by rank of the Army; the way in which this figure compares with that of ten years ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 395 to 397, inclusive, together. The White Paper on Defence of February 2000 sets out a figure of 10,500 personnel for the Permanent Defence Force, comprising 930 for ...More Button

Written Answers - Search and Rescue Service.

Was asked: the total number of Naval Service and Air Corps personnel currently involved in air and sea rescue; the degree to which adequate equipment and training is available; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

The Irish Coast Guard has overall responsibility for the provision of maritime search and rescue services within the Irish search and rescue region. The Air Corps had been providing search and rescue ...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Accommodation.

Was asked: the current total number of Army overholders; his proposals to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As I indicated in my reply to the Deputy’s Parliamentary Question No. 67 on 12 October 2004, personnel on being discharged from the Permanent Defence Force are obliged to vacate married quarters withi...More Button


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