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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 8 Apr 2003

Vol. 564 No. 5

Written Answers - Departmental Bodies.

Enda Kenny


108 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Defence the task forces, consultant reviews, review groups, tribunals, inquiries and similar bodies set up by his Department since July 1997; when interim or final reports were published or when publication may be expected in each case where applicable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9890/03]

Apart from routine departmental groups which are established on an ongoing basis, the following groups have been set up by my Department since 1997.

In December 1997 a steering group was established to oversee a special study of the Reserve Defence Force. The objective of the study was to develop a blueprint for a more effective, efficient and value for money Reserve Defence Force. The group reported in August 1999. In July 1998 the Government approved the appointment of an interdepartmental task force on the future management and development of the Curragh of Kildare. The task force report was presented in June 1999. The report, while not published, was made available to the public in May 2000.

In July 1999, Sir Frederick Snow and Partners was commissioned to report regarding air safety at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel. The final report was issued in November 1999 and was made available in March 2000. In August 1999, a review group was established to undertake an examination of the full range of medical services provided for members of the Defence Forces and to make recommendations as to the most economical, effective and efficient arrangements by which medical services can be delivered to the Defence Forces and, having regard to the Defence Forces review implementation plan, the future organisation, staffing, resources roles and responsibilities of the Medical Corps. The group reported in July 2000. In March 2001 an independent air accident safety audit of the Air Corps was commissioned, as recommended by the air accident investigation unit report into the Tramore accident. The final report of the consultants was received in July 2001. There are no plans to publish the report.
In August 2001 a special steering group, comprising members of the Defence Forces and civilian experts, was established to study the nature and extent of bullying and sexual harassment in the Defence Forces, to review existing policies and procedures and to make recommendations on strategies and programmes of awareness and education in the area. The report was presented in March 2002 and has been made available. The Government task force on emergency planning was set up in October 2001 following the events of 11 September 2001. The work of the task force is ongoing and it has made three confidential reports to Government.
Earlier this year, an inter-departmental committee on the national military archives was established, comprising representatives from my Department, the Defence Forces, the Departments of the Taoiseach and Arts, Sport and Tourism, the Office of Public Works, the National Archives and the National Museum, to examine and to advise on the best means of protecting and safeguarding the national military archives for the future. A report should be finalised before the end of the year.