Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (123)

Tony McLoughlin


123. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans for the Defence Forces in counties Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal in view of Brexit and the possible reintroduction of a hard border; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4740/18]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

As part of a whole of Government approach, my Department is engaged in forward planning with the other Departments involved in addressing all issues relevant to the UK decision to leave the EU.

The progress made towards the end of last year, as part of the first phase of the Brexit negotiations, offers encouragement in relation to border issues where a significant commitment was made to avoid a hard border.

The UK decision to exit the EU does not of itself give rise to additional border control requirements at this time. Furthermore, primary responsibility for the internal security of the State rests with the Minister for Justice and Equality and An Garda Síochána. Responsibility for the security aspect of border control rests with An Garda Síochána while the Revenue Commissioners also have responsibilities relating to their particular mandate.

Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper on Defence is the provision of Aid to the Civil Power which, in practice, means to provide assistance and support to An Garda Síochána when requested to do so. The Defence Forces also provide support to the Revenue Commissioners, again when requested to do so.

There is ongoing close liaison between An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces regarding security matters and regular coordination and liaison meetings take place. My Department will continue to monitor the ongoing situation to ensure that both it and the Defence Forces are fully prepared to address any potential issues that might arise in the defence area as a consequence of Brexit.