Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Questions (830, 831)

Chris Andrews

Question:

932 Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Defence the way he justifies awarding lucrative contracts to Israeli companies when the country has been accused of war crimes in a recently released United Nations report; if he will exclude Israeli companies from future tender competitions until such time as meaningful negotiations commence with Palestine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33448/09]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

Earlier this year, my Department initiated a tender competition for the supply of Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) equipment for four from twenty-seven Light Tactical Armoured Vehicles that are being supplied by BAE Systems in South Africa. Following a detailed evaluation of tenders, the contract for the award of the Surveillance and Target acquisition equipment, with a value of €2.37m inclusive of VAT, was awarded to Elbit Systems Limited in Israel. The four Surveillance and Target Acquisition Suites ordered for use with four of the Light Tactical Armoured Vehicles are required to enhance the capability of the Irish Defence Forces to carry out surveillance and target acquisition for overseas Peace Support Operations. They will be used as an information-gathering asset and will provide a means to enhance force protection and the safety of Irish troops whilst on such missions.

My Department conducts tender competitions in accordance with EU procurement guidelines. For procurements of defensive equipment in excess of €1million, the Code of Conduct on Defence Procurement is observed and competitions are advertised by the European Defence Agency as was the case with the tender competition for the Surveillance and Target Acquisition suite. Tender competitions are held in accordance with the EU Code of Conduct on Export Controls. The tender competitions are open to companies in individual countries in accordance with the terms of all United Nations, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and European Union arms embargos or restrictions. Neither Elbit Systems Limited nor Israel have had embargos or restrictions imposed on them under the terms of these organisations. The Department of Defence is obliged to deal impartially with all companies that are entitled to enter its procurement competitions and must evaluate tenders on the basis of objective criteria set out in the tender documentation.

The principle of competitive tendering for Government contracts is used for the acquisition of defensive equipment for the Defence Forces. Central to those procedures is the requirement to allow fair competition between suppliers through the submission of tenders. The acquisition of the four Surveillance and Target Acquisition Suites followed on from such a tender competition.

Joe McHugh

Question:

933 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Defence his plans for the storage of military equipment from Lifford and Rockhill Army Barracks, County Donegal; the location at which he will facilitate these materials in the long term; if this will involve the construction of a new building; the costs that will accrue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33545/09]

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The Government decision of 14 October 2008 approved a programme for consolidation of Defence Forces formations that included the closure of Lifford and Rockhill barracks. Prior to the closure of these posts all equipment and materials were removed to Finner Camp. The equipment transferred from Lifford and Rockhill was accommodated within the existing facilities and infrastructure in Finner Camp and did not require the building of any new buildings.