Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (109)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

109. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if soldiers who are on leave from UN peacekeeping duties and missions abroad must physically leave the area of operation for the duration of their leave; if it is the responsibility of the individual member who is on leave to bear the financial cost of returning here when on leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23526/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The leave that may be granted to Defence Forces personnel when on service outside the State with an International United Nations Force, is subject to the UN regulation governing that Force. As such, different annual leave arrangements apply to different mission areas, depending on specific mission Standard Operating Procedures.  Considerations such as security and operational and logistical concerns that pertain to that mission area and surrounding territories are taken into account.

Defence Forces personnel are not obliged to take mission leave in Ireland.  The cost of returning to Ireland or travelling to another destination while on leave, is borne by the individual, except for specific instances when personnel are granted special leave.  Deployed personnel who avail of special leave during their deployment may have their flights home paid at national expense. Applications for special leave can include, travel on compassionate grounds - e.g. bereavement, exceptional domestic circumstances - travel for work-related purposes such as attendance at meetings and briefings or travel for mission related purposes. 

While deployed on overseas operations, personnel are paid a daily Unarmed or Armed Peace Support Allowance depending on the nature of the mission.  Unarmed Peace Support Allowance ranges from €55.14 to  €79.51 per day depending on rank, equivalent to about €1,677 to €2,418 per month.  For personnel in receipt of Armed Peace Support Allowance, the daily rates range from €76.36 to €101.75, equivalent to about €2,322 to €3,094 per month.  Both unarmed and armed peace support allowance are non taxable and are paid for the duration of the overseas deployment including periods of leave.  In addition, while serving on a UN peacekeeping mission, the UN also facilities the payment directly to personnel of a daily allowance of $1.28 plus a recreational leave allowance of $10.50 per day for up to 15 days of leave taken during each six-month period.

Question No. 110 answered with Question No. 100.