Thursday, 11 April 2019

Ceisteanna (45)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

45. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps continues to receive specialist training to deal with emergencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17174/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

In accordance with the Framework for Major Emergency Management, primary responsibility for responding to emergencies caused by severe weather events, such as storms and flooding, rests with the three designated principal response agencies, namely, the relevant Local Authority, An Garda Síochána, and the Health Service Executive.  The Defence Forces provide the fullest possible assistance to the appropriate Lead Department in the event of a natural disaster or emergency situation in its Aid to the Civil Authority role. The Defence Forces retains a wide range of specialist skills which can be deployed in such circumstances. 

Primary responsibility for the internal security of the State rests with the Department of Justice and Equality and An Garda Síochána. Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper on Defence is the provision of Aid to the Civil Power (ATCP) which, in practice, means to provide assistance and support to An Garda Síochána when requested to do so.   The Defence Forces retains a wide range of specialist skills which can be deployed in such circumstance. 

There is on-going and close liaison between An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces regarding security matters, including ATCP deployments and a wide variety of military training activities are specifically designed to counter or respond to possible security emergencies. Regular coordination and liaison meetings also take place between the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána in relation to ATCP issues.

I can confirm that the Defence Forces keep their operational plans and response capabilities for dealing with a wide range of threats and emergencies under constant review. It is my priority as Minister with responsibility for Defence to ensure that the operational capacity of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles both at home and overseas.