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 and the upgrading of 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 both at home and overseas.
The Defence Forces operate a fire station at the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC), Curragh Camp with one fire crew on duty at all times. The main purpose of the fire station is to provide a rapid response in the event of a fire at the Ammunition Depot, and also to respond to fire alarms and fire emergencies within the DFTC.
Certain purchasing is carried out by the Defence Forces directly under delegation of financial responsibility which permits the Defence Forces to procure a wide range of goods and services directly, this includes the purchasing of fire appliances. I am advised by the military authorities that the fire station is adequately equipped with a Class B Fire Appliance which was delivered in 2018 following an open tender competition, and there is currently no requirement for the acquisition of additional fire appliances for the DFTC.
The only other military installation with a requirement for a fire service is Casement Aerodrome Baldonnel, where a fire and crash rescue service is required for airfield operations. A contract was awarded last year for the supply of one Rapid Intervention Foam Tender (RIFT) for the Air Corps Fire Service which is due to be delivered into service in June 2020. The delivery into service of the RIFT vehicle will augment the existing capability of the Air Corps Fire and Rescue Service at Casement Aerodrome Baldonnel.
I am satisfied that the Defence Forces have the necessary modern and effective range of equipment available to them in order to fulfil all roles assigned to them by Government.