Question No. 90 answered with Question No. 40.

Naval Service Staff

Questions (91)

Jack Chambers

Question:

91. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the personnel welfare and safety concerns highlighted by the commanding flag officer with two Naval Service ships docked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30577/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

Last Friday, I received a full briefing from Military Management, including senior Naval Service personnel, about ongoing issues in the Naval Service. At the briefing it was reconfirmed that LÉ Eithne and LÉ Orla are in dock for planned maintenance and repair. During this period, the Flag Officer has used the opportunity to move personnel from these vessels to others. This is a prudent step to take.

I emphasised that as we deal with these issues, the safety of serving personnel must be the number one priority. A meeting of a joint civil and military team has been arranged to discuss the issues at hand and to plan ahead to ensure we maximise operational outputs.

The Government is fully mindful of the staffing and personnel issues that are facing the Naval Service and is focusing on returning the Naval Service to its full capacity.

Naval Service Vessels

Questions (92)

Jack Chambers

Question:

92. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the two docked Naval Service ships have interfered or compromised service level responsibilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30578/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Naval Service is the State's principal sea-going  agency tasked with a variety of defence and other roles.  While the main day to day role of the Naval Service is to provide a fishery protection service in accordance with the State's obligations as a member of the European Union, it also carries out a number of other non-fishery related tasks.   The fleet is always managed to ensure maximum availability to meet operational requirements.  In that context, there is a sub set of vessels on patrol within the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone at any one time. 

The two vessels referred to by the Deputy are currently undergoing scheduled periods of maintenance and refit. The issue of their deployment post maintenance and re-fit is currently being considered in the context of overall operational requirements and resources available.  A joint civil/military meeting will take place at the end of this week to review and plan ahead for the short and medium term.  Any proposals developed will be done so in the context of ensuring the safety of serving personnel.  The impact, if any, on service level agreements will be identified through the process.

I can assure the Deputy that the Naval Service will continue to carry out its various roles using available resources.

Cyber Security Protocols

Questions Nos. 94 and 95 answered with Question No. 65.

Questions (93)

Jack Chambers

Question:

93. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the cybersecurity protocols under the remit of his Department; if it has had a cybersecurity breach in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30584/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

My Department places a high priority on information security and cyber defence.  In line with best practice and guidance from Ireland’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is located in the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, my Department has implemented a defence-in-depth cybersecurity strategy that includes people, processes and market leading technologies to mitigate the risk of cyber breach as effectively as possible. 

My Department implements a programme of continuous review in relation to ICT security in order to keep up-to-date with evolving threat levels and to respond appropriately.

For security and operational reasons, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on specific details in relation to cybersecurity.

Questions Nos. 94 and 95 answered with Question No. 65.

Living Wage

Questions (96)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

96. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated cost of implementing a living wage €12.30 for all employees directly employed and-or in agencies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30768/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The information as requested by the Deputy is not immediately available, but is being compiled and will be sent to the Deputy at the earliest opportunity. 

Defence Forces Personnel

Questions (97)

Jack Chambers

Question:

97. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of the review regarding the difficulties for members of the Defence Forces to cast their vote in recent elections; if it will be published; when it will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30821/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The concerns raised by some members of the Defence Forces regarding difficulties in casting their votes in recent elections are being addressed by way of a review.

A key component of this review is liaison with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, who are responsible for the register of electors. A meeting has taken place recently between the Defence Forces and the staff of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The military authorities will prepare a report based on the review and submit it to the General Staff for their consideration later this month. I expect to receive the report and the considerations of the General Staff shortly thereafter.

As I have stated previously, I expect the military authorities to take any necessary action on foot of the report, to ensure the right of military personnel to exercise their right to vote. 

Naval Service Vessels

Questions (98, 99, 101)

Jack Chambers

Question:

98. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the maintenance schedule and timeline for each Naval Service ship in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30822/19]

View answer

Jack Chambers

Question:

99. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the timeline of the maintenance period for each ship in the Naval Service in each of the years 2013 and 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30823/19]

View answer

Jack Chambers

Question:

101. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the timeline of each period each ship of the Naval Service was in dry dock in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30825/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98, 99 and 101 together.

Naval Service ships are required to complete drydock maintenance, survey and inspection, twice during each ship five (5) year cycle. An intermediate drydock is carried out between two and a half (2.5) and three (3) years. A full drydock is carried out at five (5) years.

Naval Service ships which are beyond their originally projected 30 year asset life, are drydocked for inspection every year, in order to manage ageing hull risk.

In addition to the planned maintenance (drydocking and refits) carried out on all vessels, there is a requirement to upgrade and refurbish vessels having regard to emerging operational requirements and changes in technology. This is referred to as a Mid-Life Extension Programme and these works aim to extend the life of a vessel and address obsolescence. The Mid-Life Extension Programme of LÉ Róisín commenced in March 2019, with an initial dry-docking phase, followed by an extended period of equipment upgrade and refit works. LÉ Niamh’s extension programme is due to commence in 2020.

Notwithstanding this capital maintenance programme, Naval Service Ships are required to undertake planned routine and non-routine maintenance on plant and machinery every day, 365 days a year, regardless of whether the ship is on patrol, undertaking Maritime Defence and Security Operations or alongside the Naval Base off patrol.

These works are carried out to ensure the operational capability of the Naval Service is maintained to the greatest extent possible so that they can carry out their roles as assigned by Government.

Detailed maintenance and drydocking schedules have not been provided for operational defence and security reasons.

Defence Forces Operations

Question No. 101 answered with Question No. 98.

Questions (100)

Jack Chambers

Question:

100. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Defence Forces networks are monitored on a 24 hour basis; the deficits in staffing numbers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30824/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I am informed by the military authorities that the Defence Forces Networks are monitored on a 24 hour basis. Staffing numbers involved in this area cannot be disclosed for operational and security reasons.

It would be inappropriate to comment further on the cyber and network capabilities of the Defence Forces other than to say that there is on-going and continued development of these capabilities within the Defence Forces.

Question No. 101 answered with Question No. 98.

Defence Forces Review

Questions (102, 103)

Jack Chambers

Question:

102. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the recommendations from the recent NATO review of the Defence Forces here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30826/19]

View answer

Jack Chambers

Question:

103. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the recent NATO review of the Defence Forces revealed capability gaps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30827/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 103 together.

Ireland’s relations with NATO are set within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and Partnership for Peace (PfP), including its Planning and Review Process (PARP). The primary aim of Ireland's PfP participation is to enhance the Defence Forces’ interoperability with other professional military forces for the purpose of engaging in UN authorised peacekeeping and peace support operations led by the UN, EU or NATO.

Ireland participates in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP), which is a mechanism for planning and capability development for Defence Forces deployment on peace support operations that allows for external review of defence capability and provision. PARP is based on a biennial cycle which defines priority areas, elaborates mutually agreed planning targets known as PARP goals, identifies the steps required to meet those targets and jointly reviews progress in implementing them. The cyclical nature of the PARP process along with the further assistance received from NATO in providing their experience to Defence Forces capacity and capability ensures on-going development in our Defence Forces based on the current and ever changing security environment. Ireland completed it's PARP assessment process in June this year.

The PARP assessment is based on an analysis of a number of predetermined goals, of which some are now considered implemented with the capabilities being maintained, some are fully completed, and some are currently being implemented. Ireland’s involvement in Partnership for Peace has delivered significant improvements for our Defence Forces in terms of capability development and operational capacity. This has enabled us to make a positive impact, particularly in undertaking more demanding international crisis management operations.

In tandem with the recent PARP review, given that this year marks the 20th anniversary of Ireland's participation in PfP, a review of the scope and effectiveness of Ireland's engagement in PfP has been initiated by the Department of Defence in association with colleagues in the Defence Forces and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The purpose of this review is to ensure that Ireland is getting full value from our PfP engagement, including on interoperability and capability development, given the changing nature of the security environment and the threats faced. This review has included meetings at senior official level with NATO staff and a more expansive and in-depth engagement between the Department, the Defence Forces, and the NATO International Staff who conduct the biennial PARP reviews. It is expected that this review will be completed later this year.

The PARP assessment documents contain confidential information. The documents have not been published to-date and it is not my intention to depart from the standing practice of not publishing the PARP documents. A report and assessment on the feedback from the recent engagement with the NATO International Staff on the PARP process and on capabilities should be finalised in the coming months and I will consider the report and its conclusions at that stage.

Public Service Pay Commission Reports

Questions (104)

Jack Chambers

Question:

104. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Public Service Pay Commission survey on the numbers intending to leave the Defence Forces will compromise existing future peacekeeping deployment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30828/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

At its meeting held on 4th July 2019, the Government accepted, in full, the report of the Public Service Pay Commission on recruitment and retention in the Permanent Defence Force.  The report contains a broad range of recommendations to deal with the recruitment and retention challenges in the Permanent Defence Force.

The Government also agreed an extensive implementation plan for the report.  The plan sets out the actions to be taken and the timelines within which they will be taken.

The availability of personnel to undertake all roles assigned will continue to be carefully monitored. 

Departmental Data

Questions (105)

Denis Naughten

Question:

105. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the different income streams directly paid by persons to his Department or agencies under his remit, such as motor tax; the number of persons making annual payments; the value of same; the number of payments made through staged or increment payments; the value of same; the additional income generated as a result of payments being made on an incremental basis; if incremental payments are not available, the reason for same; the corresponding figures for 1999 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30851/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

My Department does not receive staged or incremental payments in the manner referenced in this question, however, certain individual receipts processed through normal financial or payroll channels are received as Appropriation’s-in-Aid throughout the year.

Examples of Appropriation’s-in-Aid received in the Defence Vote would include the following;

- Receipts from Occupation of Official Quarters - (Through Payroll)

- Receipts from Rations and other Issues on Repayment – (Through Payroll)

- Pension Related Deductions from Defence Sector Personnel (Through Payroll)

- Receipts for the letting of Land and Premises (Payment by Individuals).

- Receipts from Discharge by Purchase (Payment by Individuals)

Curragh Plains Representative Forum

Questions (106)

Martin Heydon

Question:

106. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the progress being made with Kildare County Council on potential collaboration on addressing issues and identifying opportunities for the improved management and presentation of the Curragh Plains; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30863/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

Officials from my Department have met with Kildare County Council to discuss collaborating on the future management and presentation of the Curragh Plains.  

As the Minister with responsibility for Defence, I am the custodian and guardian of the Curragh lands pursuant to the provisions of the Curragh of Kildare Act, 1961. I believe it is important to bear this in mind, as under that Act, the Curragh Plains is recognised as a working environment for the state's Defence Forces as well as being a place of historical and cultural importance.

Both the Department of Defence and Kildare County Council are cognisant of the need to have in place a means of ensuring the conservation of this ancient landscape. My Department is considering the procurement  with the Local Authority of a multi-disciplinary consultancy team to explore ways and find opportunities through which the area can be uniquely identified, and also scope out the development potential of the area as a high value visitor attraction.

The Curragh Plains comprise the central training facility for the state's military forces; the centre of the Irish horse racing industry; and additionally are used by sheep owners who avail of long established rights of pasture on the lands. Any future plans must take account of the necessary military requirements of the Defence Forces use of Curragh lands and of these other stakeholders.

The Deputy is already aware new Land Staff were recruited earlier this year to enhance the Curragh team.

White Paper on Defence

Questions (107)

Martin Heydon

Question:

107. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the progress being made on plans for a peace and leadership institute on the Curragh; the status of a feasibility study on the proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30865/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The White Paper on Defence includes a commitment to evaluate the potential development of a new Institute for Peace Support and Leadership Training at the Defence Forces Training Centre in the Curragh. A formal feasibility study in this regard has been underway since January 2018. An interim report was presented to the project steering group in November 2018, and a final report is expected to be finalised in Q3 2019. This will inform the next steps to be taken.

Project Ireland 2040

Questions (108, 109, 110)

Jack Chambers

Question:

108. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the capital projects which have been delayed under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies in tabular form; when these projects will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30880/19]

View answer

Jack Chambers

Question:

109. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the capital projects which have commenced under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30916/19]

View answer

Jack Chambers

Question:

110. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if expenditure estimates for capital projects under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies match projected cost requirements in tabular from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30962/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 108 to 110, inclusive, together.

Project Ireland 2040 sets out the Government’s strategic infrastructure priorities for future growth and development. The National Development Plan 2018 – 2027, as part of Project Ireland 2040, allocated €541 million in Defence capital funding for the period 2018 to 2022.

The annual capital provision over the 2018 to 2022 period is outlined in the following table.

Defence Capital Allocations 2018-2022

Year

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Total

€ Million

77

106

113

120

125

541

This level of capital funding will allow the Defence Organisation to undertake a programme of sustained equipment replacement and infrastructural development across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service as identified and prioritised in the Defence White Paper and will ensure that the Defence Forces have the capabilities necessary to deliver on all the roles assigned by Government. Most Defence capital projects operate within a multi-annual timeframe and expenditure timeframes are dependent on the achievement of certain milestones.

The following major capital projects are currently being progressed:

- Mid-life upgrade of the Mowag Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) fleet;

- Procurement of Fixed Wing Utility aircraft (Pilatus) as replacement for Cessna aircraft;

- Procurement of replacements for the two CASA 235 Maritime Patrol aircraft;

- Mid-life refit of Naval Service Vessels and the ongoing planning for the acquisition of a multi-role vessel;

- Virtual Desktop Architecture (VDA) project for Defence Forces IT infrastructure;

- Equipment renewal and replacement programmes along with investment in further force protection, transport, communications and information technology, weapons and ammunition systems.

Investment in Defence Forces Built infrastructure, including the following specific projects -

- Replacement of secure storage facilities in the Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh Camp;

- Upgrade of target range facilities in the Defence Forces Training Centre;

- Upgrade of accommodation facilities in the Defence Forces Training Centre;

- Construction of new Gymnasium at Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick;

- Construction of new Gymnasium at Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny;

- Upgrade and refurbishment of accommodation facilities in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin;

- Upgrade and refurbishment of accommodation facilities in Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel;

- Upgrade of catering facilities in Custume Barracks, Athlone;

- Upgrade of fuel storage safety system in the Naval Base, Haulbowline.

Within my Department, all capital expenditure projects/programme are subject to ongoing monitoring and evaluation, and, to date, there has been no significant delay or cost variation attached to any of the Project Ireland 2040 capital projects currently underway.

Defence Forces Medical Services

Questions (111)

James Browne

Question:

111. Deputy James Browne asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a psychiatrist has been appointed to the Defence Forces to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31058/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Deputy will be aware that, following previous unsuccessful attempts in 2018 to recruit a direct-entrant military psychiatrist and locum psychiatrist for the Defence Forces, sanction was sought from, and granted by, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to conduct a competition for a contracted civilian consultant psychiatrist at pay rates equivalent to those available in the HSE. My Department, in conjunction with the Public Appointments Service, is currently working to finalise the necessary arrangements for this competition to be advertised. I am advised that the position is scheduled to be advertised in the coming weeks.  

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (112, 113)

Barry Cowen

Question:

112. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of capital projects in excess of €5 million being undertaken by his Department; the final agreed tender price; the estimated cost of each capital project in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31072/19]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

113. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the capital projectsin excess of €5 million completed since 2010; the final agreed tender price for each project; the actual cost of each project; if the actual cost exceeded the tender price; the reason therefor in each case in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31088/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 and 113 together.

The specific information sought by the Deputy is not available in the format requested and it is not possible to prepare the material in the timeframe given. I will write to the Deputy with the information requested at the earliest opportunity.

Departmental Communications

Questions (114)

Shane Cassells

Question:

114. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the oversight of his Department of directives, circulars, advice or requirements issued since 2016; if surveys have been carried out of compliance with these communications to date; the surveys carried out; the results of the surveys; the compliance rate; the actions taken by his Department following these results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31322/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

My Department does not issue directives, circulars, etc. which are effective outside of the Defence Organisation and as such, undertaking surveys of compliance has not been required.