Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (49)

Seán Crowe


49. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is seeking to hire a private security company to provide bodyguard services, armoured transportation, vehicle tracking and route planning for diplomatic staff; if so, the reason he is seeking private security assistance and not using An Garda Síochána or personnel from the Defence Forces for same; the value of the contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37236/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The safety and security of our people who are serving the State and Irish citizens overseas is a top priority for my Department. Officers and their dependents travel and live for extended periods of time in over ninety locations around the world. There are particular security challenges in some locations and access to timely and reliable information is essential.

As part of a suite of measures to enhance the safety and security of officers posted overseas, my Department recently published a tender seeking global security and medical advice. This investment is important given the expansion of the Embassy network under the Global Ireland 2025 Strategy including to parts of the world where the security situation can be dynamic and uncertain. The successful service provider will assist my Department in strengthening the mitigation of particular security and medical risks in these locations.

The principal focus of the security service is specialised international security advice and assistance for our officers and their dependents before and during travel abroad. The particular services referred to by the Deputy are additional services not specified in the Tender, but which may be required from time to time over the course of the contract.

These specialised services will complement and not replace the valuable and comprehensive supports provided to my Department by An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. This includes advice and measures to protect officers and state assets abroad and for the evacuation of Irish citizens in consular emergencies.

The Department estimates that the security advice and assistance provided by the successful tenderer may cost €225,000 excluding VAT over the three – year term of the contract.