Thursday, 5 July 2018

Questions (77)

Clare Daly

Question:

77. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if US army personnel were authorised to wear military combat uniforms in Shannon town on 26 June 2018; if so, the basis for this authorisation; and if not, his plans to address the issue of foreign military personnel wearing uniforms on streets here. [29813/18]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The wearing of foreign military uniforms in the State is governed by section 317 of the Defence Act 1954 which prohibits the wearing of a foreign military uniform in the State without ministerial permission.

In accordance with the requirements of the Defence Act 1954, express permission was granted by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs in January 2003 to the US authorities to allow for their military personnel wear their uniforms in the transit areas of Irish airports, including Shannon airport. Further permission must be sought for wearing of uniforms outside these areas. Where permission is granted, conditions under which uniforms may be worn are stipulated by my Department.

On 26 June 2018 these conditions were not strictly adhered to and my officials raised our concerns about this with the relevant Embassy on 27 June, emphasising the necessity for strict compliance with the criteria as laid down by my Department. My Department has sought, and received, assurances that the Embassy is strengthening its measures to prevent any recurrence.

My Department receives requests from various States for the wearing of military uniforms for a variety of reasons- attendance at official meetings or functions, diplomatic events, seminars or courses. Where permission is granted, the applicable conditions and restrictions are specified and explained in detail. Issues rarely arise. If they do, my Department takes prompt action to ensure that the need for compliance is fully understood.