Written Answers. - Defence Forces Equipment.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

71 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Defence when the issue of ear defenders commenced in the Defence Forces; whether the issue and receipt of these were recorded in a personal record sheet for each individual; if the individual had access to a replacement set where the ear defenders were lost, damaged or misplaced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15422/98]

Since 1952 the Army authorities issued general routine orders, instructions and guidelines on the need to protect the hearing of personnel involved in the firing of weapons. Protection in the form of cotton wool, as used in other armies, was made available.

The personal issue of earplug type defenders was authorised in 1972 and introduced the change from cotton wool to ear protection products. Each issue of ear defenders is noted in an individuals form AF 245(B) entitled "Record of Issues of Personal Clothing".

Ear defenders lost, damaged or misplaced are replaced after each kit inspection. It should also be noted that ear defenders are inspected during training for range practices while undergoing tests on elementary training and that no personnel are permitted on firing ranges without appropriate protection.