My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government.
The acquisition of new equipment for the Defence Forces remains a clear focus for me. Future equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are considered in the context of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability development and equipment priorities planning process. The principal aim over the period of the White Paper will be to replace and upgrade, as required, existing capabilities in order to retain a flexible response for a wide range of operational requirements, including response to security risks and other emergencies, both at home and overseas.
The Army's fleet of recovery vehicles is a key asset and assists in the recovery of Defence Forces armoured and non-armoured vehicles both at home and overseas. The fleet consists of 19 vehicles in total comprising five heavy recovery vehicles, five medium recovery vehicles and nine light recovery vehicles.
During the period 2017 to 2019 to date there were no heavy recovery vehicles withdrawn from service and, consequently there were no vehicles of this particular nature purchased in that period.
I am satisfied that the Defence Forces have the necessary modern and effective range of equipment available to them, which is in line with best international standards in order to fulfil all roles assigned to them by Government.