Thursday, 27 June 2019

Ceisteanna (39)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

39. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the breakdown of costs to his Department of the visit of the President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump; the cost of dispatching the LÉ Niamh to Doughmore Bay and the LÉ Aoife to the Shannon Estuary; the transportation and other associated costs involved in sending members of the Defence Forces to County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27379/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Department of Justice and Equality and An Garda Síochána have primary responsibility for the internal security of the State. 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 assist An Garda Síochána when requested to do so.

The Gardaí requested ATCP assistance from the Defence Forces in support of the recent visit of the President of the United States of America. Unlike other areas of the Public Service and due to the nature of the duties performed, overtime is not available to members of the Defence Forces. In addition to basic pay, the Defence Forces have a wide range of allowances which are unique to their duties. A Military Service Allowance (MSA) is paid to all ranks up to the level of Colonel. Military Service Allowance is designed to compensate for the special conditions associated with military life. These include unsocial hours of duty, exposure to danger, and the restrictions inherent in military discipline. For Privates, Corporals and Sergeants with more than 3 years in service, MSA is worth €115.43 per week, per person. For Senior NCOs the rate is €122.87 per week.

In line with any other occasion when the Defence Forces are requested to operate in an Aid to the Civil Power capacity, Defence Force members on duty in support of An Garda Síochána during the visit of the President of the United States will receive the Security Duty Allowance (SDA). The current rate of SDA is €23.81 for each day on duty for less than 24 hours. The rate is increased to €47.59 for a 24 hour duty. Security Duty allowance is paid to all enlisted personnel and to officers up to and including the rank of Commandant who are not already in receipt of an Army Ranger Wing Allowance or a Patrol Duty Allowance.

LÉ Aoife was decommissioned from the Naval Service fleet on 31st January 2015 following 35 years of service. The decommissioning ceremony took place in Waterford as the ship had a long association with the city. With regard to the Naval element of ATCP support provided for the recent visit of the President of the United States of America, the Military Authorities have informed me that the total cost of dispatching the LÉ Niamh and the LÉ Eithne was €28,000. This figure includes ATCP Allowance, fuel costs, food and Patrol Duty Allowance which are a Defence Forces expense when a ship is on Maritime Defence and Security Operations. Regarding the road transport fuel costs involved in sending members of the Defence Forces to Co. Clare, this amounted to €655.

The assistance provided by the Defence Forces for the duration of the recent visit of the President of the United States of America is greatly appreciated and acknowledged by myself and my colleagues in Government.