Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 28 Mar 2001

Vol. 533 No. 4

Written Answers. - Russian Armed Forces.

Trevor Sargent


30 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Defence the reason, during a visit to Moscow in 1999, an invitation was extended to the Russian Premier to allow members of Russia's Federal Security Service, who have been accused of human rights violations in Chechnya, to train with the Irish Army in the Curragh and in Galway. [5894/01]

As I indicated to the House on 14 February 2001 when replying to a question an this subject, the Taoiseach, during his visit to Russia from 14 to 16 September 1999, indicated to the Russian Federation authorities that the Irish security forces would be willing to share their expertise with regard to helping the Russian Armed Forces in dealing with terrorism. It should be noted that this commitment was made shortly after a number of bombs had exploded in Russia, killing many civilians in their apartments. The Deputy will agree that these atrocities were a gross violation of the most fundamental human right, the right to life. The Russian Armed Forces were experiencing problems in dealing with urban terrorism, particularly in relation to car bombs, and other explosive devices planted in urban areas. The Irish Defence Forces have a recognised expertise in this area and the Russians were anxious to avail of such training. The Government agreed on 28 September 1999 to official visits to Russia by the Chief of Staff and the Garda Commissioner. As a result of this decision the Chief of Staff visited Moscow from 26 to 28 June 2000, and met the Russian Armed Forces to discuss their training requirements.

Two explosive ordnance disposal experts from the Defence Forces travelled to Moscow from 13 to 17 November 2000, to assess the Russian Federation's needs in this field. Following on from this, 12 members of the Russian Armed Forces have visited Ireland for appropriate ordnance training. This training is, of course, purely of a defensive rather than an offensive nature.

The Deputy may wish to note that similar training facilities have been provided to other countries, including the USA, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland and Austria.