Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Ceisteanna (52, 53, 54, 55, 59)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

52. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Irish soldiers that served in Chad between 2008 and 2010; and the number of soldiers that had to be repatriated ahead of schedule or ahead of the end of their deployment on health or other grounds. [21534/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

53. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the cost of repatriating soldiers ahead of schedule; and if such journeys were reimbursed by the UN. [21535/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

54. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the cost of Ireland's participation in the UN mission in Chad in 2008 to 2010; and the amount that was reimbursed by the UN. [21536/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

55. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if military or other equipment related to Ireland's mission in Chad was left behind as being too expensive or not cost effective to return here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21537/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

59. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Irish soldiers that served in Chad on UN duties in each of the years 2008 to 2010, that were repatriated on medical grounds were deemed less than critical. [21721/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52 to 55, inclusive, and 59 together.

The Defence Forces troop contribution to the United Nations mandated, European Union led peacekeeping mission to Chad and the Central African Republic commenced on 21 February 2008.  Initially the force was known as EUFOR TCHAD/RCA.  The aim of the mission was to protect civilians in danger, particularly refugees and internally displaced persons, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and protect UN personnel.  It helped to create a safe and secure environment where humanitarian aid could be delivered safely and the local civilian population could go about their lives in safety.  EUFOR TCHAD/RCA was mandated under a UN Security Council Resolution.

On 20 November, 2007, Government approved the despatch of a contingent of Permanent Defence Force personnel to the EUFOR TCHAD/RCA mission.  A resolution was also passed in Dáil Éireann on 28 November, 2007, approving participation in the mission.

The force changed over to UN command on 15 March 2009 and became known as United Nations Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT).  On 28 October, 2008, Government approved the continued participation of the Defence Forces in this follow-on mission. 

On 30 March, 2010, in the face of significant uncertainty regarding renewal of the mission mandate, the Government decided to withdraw the Irish contingent from MINURCAT for logistical reasons ahead of the onset of the rainy season.  In May 2010, the United Nations Security Council decided to terminate the MINURCAT mission at the end of 2010. 

In the case of EU led missions, costs are borne by the participating States on the basis of "costs lie where they fall".  As such, the costs of participation in EUFOR TCHAD/RCA mission was met by each of the relevant troop contributing countries including Ireland.  Ireland also contributed to the common costs of the operation under the Athena Mechanism.  These costs are allocated across the EU member States (except for Denmark which has an opt-out) on the basis of a GNI key.  As MINURCAT was a UN led operation the UN reimbursed certain troop and equipment costs mainly in the form of Appropriations-in-Aid to the Exchequer.

As published in the Departments Appropriation Accounts, the cost of participation in the EUFOR Chad mission in 2008 was €39.1m, the cost of participation in EUFOR Chad and MINURCAT in 2009 was €42.3m and the cost of participation in MINURCAT in 2010 was €21.2m.  Total receipts from the UN in respect of the MINURCAT mission amounted to €19.5m.  Irelands contribution of personnel to these missions was in the region of 420 personnel per month.

Certain equipment and assets were not brought back to Ireland following completion of our deployment in Chad as it was deemed economically unviable to do so.  This equipment was handed over to the UN for disposal and included gymnasium equipment, kitchen equipment,  trailers, multi-cabins, waste tyres and oil, timber decking and plastic matting. 

There are currently 637 members of the Defence Forces serving in missions overseas.  Individual Permanent Defence Force personnel are repatriated ahead of the scheduled rotation date from time-to time at Ireland's expense for a variety of reasons, including health grounds, family bereavement and disciplinary issues.  Records of overall numbers and costs of repatriation are not held in a readily accessible format.