Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (422)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

563 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence if he has plans to introduce less than lethal weapons for use by the Defence Forces in the course of the duties in aid to the civil power, or otherwise; if he will report on the participation by officials in his Department and the Defence Forces in the Jane’s conference on less lethal weapons taking place in Dublin on 19 and 20 October 2004; the number of officials who are participating; the positions and briefs of same; and the number of members of the Defence Forces who are participating and their rank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25537/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

The introduction of less lethal weapons for use by the Defence Forces in the course of aid to the civil power duties is the subject of ongoing consideration in my Department. Such consideration follows the proposal of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, noted by Government in November 2002, to authorise the introduction of a limited range of less-lethal weapons for use by the Garda emergency response unit, ERU, where this is necessary to avoid the use of firearms.

The less-lethal weapons for use by the Garda ERU are the bean bag shot, a pepper spray device and a ferret pepper spray shot. There is no participation by officials of my Department or the Defence Forces in the Jane's conference on less lethal weapons on 19 and 20 October 2004. The Defence Forces will have one senior officer, rank of commandant, from the directorate of operations attending the conference purely as an observer.