I propose to take Questions Nos. 80 and 108 together.
My Department, along with the Defence Forces and the Civil Defence, has been working across Government to provide a range of supports in response to the Ukrainian crisis.
Following a direct request from Ukraine, the Defence Forces has provided approximately 10 tonnes or 5,000 units of ready-to-eat meals and 200 units of body armour which have been shipped from Defence Forces stocks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The contribution of the ready-to-eat meals and body armour is a specific element of the Government’s contribution through the European Peace Facility, EPF.
The Air Corps, on behalf of the HSE, has completed four air ambulance airlifts of Ukrainian patients and their families from Poland. The Department of Defence continues to engage with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the HSE in support of potential similar assistance in the future.
The European Peace Facility allows the EU to support the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian armed forces. In February, March, April and May of 2022, the Council of the European Union adopted assistance measures under the European Peace Facility. To date, a €2 billion package has been approved that will allow the EU to support the Ukrainian armed forces in defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, and to protect the civilian population against the ongoing Russian military aggression.
In line with the commitment laid out in the 2020 programme for Government and the provisions of the memorandum on the European Peace Facility, approved by the Government in March 2021, Ireland’s financial contribution supporting the Ukrainian armed forces via the European Peace Facility is directed towards providing non-lethal support such as food, medicine and personal protection equipment, which have been specifically requested by the Government of Ukraine. This equipment could include such items as body armour and helmets. A similar approach is also followed by both Austria and Malta. Ireland is providing its full contribution to the EPF assistance measures. Ireland’s contribution so far stands at €44 million.
Following a request from the Ukrainian Prime Minister to the Taoiseach for the provision of specialist training to the Ukrainian armed forces, the Defence Forces have been in contact with the Ukrainian armed forces to clarify the precise training needs and to assess the possibility of providing such training.
In terms of any future defence supports, my Department will continue to assess fully any requests for assistance that are received. We have, of course, also sent ambulances and so on, but that has not been a military support, as such, and is of a more general nature.