Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ceisteanna (129)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

129. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Frontex officers working with the Defence Forces or other bodies under the aegis of his Department; and the number that will be working with those organisations after 29 March 2019. [13449/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Primary responsibility for the internal security of the State rests with the Minister for Justice and Equality and An Garda Síochána. Accordingly, responsibility for the security aspect of border control on a national basis rests with An Garda Síochána, while the Revenue Commissioners also have responsibilities relating to their particular mandate.

Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper on Defence is the provision of Aid to the Civil Power which, in practice, means to provide support to An Garda Síochána when requested to do so. The Defence Forces at all times keep operational plans under constant review and there will continue to be ongoing close liaison between An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces regarding security matters, including through regular coordination and liaison meetings.

Ireland does not participate in matters related to the Schengen area and is not a participant to the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation 2016/1624 (also known as the Frontex Regulation).

In relation to Defence Forces Operations, an interface between the Irish Defence Forces and Frontex officers exists through EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia which has been operating in the Mediterranean in parallel with the separate Frontex Joint Operation Themis, (formally Triton).

Irish naval vessels when deployed on Operation Sophia do not participate in Frontex operations. They may be tasked by the Force Commander of EUNAVFOR MED with providing protection to Operation Themis assets when they are deployed to engage in search and rescue operations. However, Irish Naval Vessels cannot be tasked by Frontex Joint Operation Themis in any circumstances and Irish Defence Forces units and sub units remain under the command of an Irish Officer at all times. Ireland lodged caveats to that effect with the Operation Commander prior to joining the operation in October 2017.

Question No. 130 answered with Question No. 128.