Written Answers. - Defence Forces Operations.

Eamon Ryan

Question:

18 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Defence the security measures and planning being undertaken by his Department in preparation for Ireland's EU Presidency. [29504/03]

Brendan Howlin

Question:

29 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Defence the security role the Defence Forces are likely to be asked to carry out during the period of the Irish Presidency of the EU; the anticipated likely cost of additional security duties during the period of the Presidency; if additional equipment has been acquired or is planned to be acquired; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29449/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 18 and 29 together.

The Garda Síochána has the primary responsibility for law and order, including the protection of the internal security of the State. Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces is the provision of aid to the civil power, meaning in practice to assist when requested by the Garda Síochána, which duties include the protection and guarding of vital installations, the provision of certain security escorts and so on.

In regard to the EU Presidency, consultation on roles and requirements is currently ongoing between the Garda and the Defence Forces, who will render such assistance as may be appropriate. Obviously, having regard to the importance of security in relation to key EU Presidency meetings, it would be inappropriate for me to indicate the nature and extent of any roles which the Defence Forces may undertake in this regard. As such, I do not propose to comment further on the matter or on equipment which has been or may be acquired by the Defence Forces in respect of the Presidency.
As consultations between the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces are at a very early stage, it is not possible to calculate the additional costs which may arise in respect of security duties pertaining to the Presidency.