Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Questions (489)

Micheál Martin

Question:

489. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is concerned for the safety of Irish civil servants working in Brussels and in other missions, if extra safety measures have been implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42293/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The security and safety of staff working in Ireland’s missions abroad is a key priority for my Department.

In 2014, a dedicated Security Unit was established within my Department to identify and regularly assess the security challenges facing our Missions overseas. This Unit draws on a network of security contacts, both nationally and internationally, and works closely with An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. It liaises directly with our missions on specific security incidents and advises on appropriate follow up. It arranges specialised security support and, when necessary, has arranged the deployment of security experts to advise in relation to particular acute threats at missions.

My Department regards the security of its staff as fundamental to its duty of care and security threats are kept under ongoing review, including within the risk management process. In our missions abroad, each Head of Mission prioritises the maintenance of a safe and secure environment for staff, as well as safe living conditions for posted staff and their families. Missions are encouraged to proactively identify threats and to maintain regular communication with the Department’s Security Unit, as well as liaising closely with local security contacts at post in relation to ongoing security related issues.

As part of their pre-posting training, all officers are given training on security issues and personal safety. Officers assigned to more security sensitive locations receive advanced security training.