Thursday, 5 February 2004

Ceisteanna (17)

Joan Burton


15 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Defence the arrangements which have been put in place to allow personnel serving in Liberia to remain in touch with their families at home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3287/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Defence)

Defence Forces personnel serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, are provided with the following range of services to allow them to remain in touch with their families at home. A home connect telephone system allows personnel dial direct from Liberia via satellite to any phone, fixed or mobile. This facility is normally available from 16.00 hours daily and throughout the weekend and private telephone booths are provided within the camp for this purpose. Another service provided is that of postal arrangements. The Defence Forces have set up a PO box facility with An Post for letter post only. The post is collected twice weekly from this facility and delivered to Defence Forces headquarters for onward transmission to UNMIL; and Internet facilities are also provided for all personnel through an Internet cafe in Camp Clara, the headquarters of the 90th Infantry Battalion, UNMIL. The computers that are available to personnel have both e-mail and video link conferencing facilities. The video conference facility has been used recently by families of personnel serving with UNMIL. A radio service is also provided. I am advised that a Defence Forces VHF radio station transmits throughout the camp and includes broadcasts of Irish radio programmes.