Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (131)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

131. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach the breakdown of costs to his Department for the visit of President Donald Trump. [27468/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

The breakdown of costs paid to date by my Department for the visit of President Trump, in June of this year, are as set out below:

Staff travel and subsistence €4,556.72

Hotel costs (staff) €1,000.00

Gifts presented €344.10

Further invoices are expected in relation to this visit, which include provision of media facilities at Shannon Airport, catering and additional hotel costs.

Several state agencies and Departments were involved in the preparations for the visit and costs are borne by each of them in respect of services provided.

Central Statistics Office Data

Ceisteanna (132)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

132. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach his plans to extend the key economic and social metrics employed by the CSO to indicate all aspects of the well-being of persons, along the lines being pursued in New Zealand and other jurisdictions. [27469/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) compiles a wide range of statistics and indicators related to well-being, and aims to deliver these results in thematic reports and formats which promote good use of relevant statistics. The CSO appreciates that Government and policy-makers need to know how Ireland is performing in a general sense; need data to assess economic, social and environmental conditions; and require evidence to evaluate policy outcomes.

Well-being, in its broadest sense, can be viewed as a measure of how people feel about their lives as a whole and as a measure of all aspects of life. As a result, it is a complex multi-dimensional issue influenced by factors such as the state of the environment, the educational levels of the population, economic performance, public safety, and the health of the population, amongst other factors.

The most prominent report on this topic published by the CSO is The Wellbeing of the Nation 2017. This report was published in January 2018 and provides a series of indicators across eight domains. The domains were selected based on their importance to well-being and they encompass many aspects of people’s everyday life. They have also been selected to be in line with international best practice where possible, whilst also remaining relevant to Irish information needs. The table below shows the domains and corresponding indicators.

Domains and corresponding indicators featured in The Wellbeing of the Nation 2017

Domain

Indicators

Economy

Average debt per household

Modified Gross National Income (GNI*)

Average total annual earnings

Consumer price index

Work

Unemployment rate

Long-term unemployment rate

Employment rate of those with a disability

Percentage working greater than 48 hours per week

Enforced job instability

Discrimination in the workplace

Education

Educational attainment

Early school leavers indicator

Digital skills of those aged 16-74

Programme for international student assessment (PISA) mathematics score

Housing and natural Environment

Homelessness

Air quality

River water quality

Recovered packaging recycling rates

Governance and Equality

Female representation in Dáil Éireann

Consistent poverty rate

Equality of income distribution

Percentage that experienced discrimination

Health

Self-perceived health

Healthy life years at birth

Overweight/obesity

Binge drinking at least once a week

Deaths by suicide

Public Safety

Self-reported victimisation

Worry about becoming a victim of personal crime or theft and damage

Perception of seriousness of crime in Ireland

Number of injuries or fatalities from road traffic accidents

Time Use

Volunteering

Participation in sport

Average weekly household expenditure on sports and leisure

Commuting time

Other related work undertaken by the CSO includes the presentation, in co-operation with Ordnance Survey Ireland, of geospatial information on the EU and UN Sustainable Development Goals (see https://www.cso.ie/en/unsdgs/). Further work is under way this year on a CSO thematic report on the SDGs; and the CSO is also developing a set of energy poverty indicators.

To aid with communicating statistics and indicators on well-being, the CSO has also begun work on an interactive well-being dashboard, which will be similar to the Key Short-term Economic Indicators dashboard on the CSO website (https://www.cso.ie/en/statistics/keyeconomicindicators/). The aim of the dashboard will be to present up-to-date statistics on well-being in an easily accessible way.

Departmental Reviews

Ceisteanna (133)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

133. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach the number of live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by him; and the date by which each study, review and research is scheduled to be completed. [27893/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

There are no live studies, reviews and research being undertaken or commissioned by my Department.

The Deputy may wish to be made aware that the National Economic and Social Council is an independent statutory agency operating under the aegis of my Department. The Council analyses and reports on strategic policy matters relevant to Ireland's economic, social, environmental and sustainable development and on occasion commissions research in this regard. Details of the Council's work programme are available on www.nesc.ie.

Defence Forces

Ceisteanna (134)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

134. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 69 to 71, inclusive, of 29 May 2019 and Question No. 84 of 19 June 2019, the list of athletes that will be sent to participate in the seventh CISM World Games in Wuhan, China in October 2019; if triathletes will be included; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27473/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I can confirm that the Defence Forces will participate in the 7th CISM World Games in Wuhan, China and that the number of athletes being sent CISM World Games is thirty two. These thirty-two athletes make up four teams that will participate in the following disciplines, Soccer, Boxing, Shooting and Lifesaving. There will be no triathletes travelling to these CISM World Games.

Defence Forces Training

Ceisteanna (135, 137)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

135. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the swimming pool in the Curragh Camp will be opened to residents in the area; and if not, the action required to make the pool accessible to residents and groups in the area. [27478/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

137. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to invest in the swimming pool facility in the Curragh Camp; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27480/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 and 137 together.

I am advised that while the swimming pool in the Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh Camp is primarily for Defence Forces related activity and training, my Department positively engages with local schools and club communities in allowing the use of this facility. Currently a total of 18 local schools and 7 local swimming clubs have been given permission to use the swimming pool in the Curragh Camp on a regular basis. Occasional requests from organisations are also considered on a case by case basis.  Permission for the use of the pool is subject at all times to Defence Forces requirements and signed conditions, which includes the requirement for the schools, clubs and organisations to have appropriate insurance.

I am further advised that as the swimming pool in the Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh Camp is a relatively modern facility, which was completed and first taken into use in July 2001, there are no immediate plans or requirement for capital investment in this facility. However, there is provision to spend in the order of €113,000 this year for the ongoing maintenance of the pool.

Defence Forces Personnel

Question No. 137 answered with Question No. 135.

Ceisteanna (136)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

136. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the swimming pool in the Curragh Camp is fully staffed; if it has sufficient lifeguards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27479/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

In the case of the swimming pool in the Curragh Camp, my Department currently employs two civilian lifeguards in order to facilitate the use of the pool outside of Defence Forces' requirements. These lifeguards cover the following hours: 5.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Recruitment of Civilian Employees in military installations is an ongoing process and vacancies are identified and filled on a priority basis.

Question No. 137 answered with Question No. 135.

Naval Service Vessels

Ceisteanna (138)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

138. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to replace the LÉ Orla; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27781/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

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. This is primarily to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out in the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are being considered in the context of the lifetime of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability development and equipment planning process.

In this context the principal aim over the period of the White Paper is to replace and upgrade, as required, existing capabilities in order to retain a flexible response for a wide range of operational requirements at home and overseas. In accordance with the National Development Plan, the capital allocation for Defence has been increased to €106 million for 2019, an increase of €29 million. The Defence Capital envelope for the period 2018-2021 is €416m, and this will enable investment in major equipment platforms, including the continuing replacement and refurbishment of Naval Service Vessels.

The White Paper underpins the ongoing replacement of the Naval Service fleet. A significant investment over recent years has been on the procurement of new Off-Shore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for the Naval Service. The fourth ship in the programme, LÉ George Bernard Shaw, was commissioned into service in May 2019 reflecting an investment by the Government of over €250 million in the new ships programme since 2010. The four ships are performing well in operational service.

Despite the recent acquisitions to the Naval Service fleet, three ships in the current flotilla are over 30 years old (LÉ Eithne and LÉ Ciara were built in 1984 and LÉ Orla was built in 1985). The White Paper provides for the replacement of the current Naval Service flagship LÉ Eithne with a multi role vessel (MRV) which will be enabled for helicopter operations and will also have a freight carrying capacity. It is the intention to hold a public tender competition in due course to cover the supply of the MRV subject to the availability of funding within the overall Defence capital funding envelope. The cost of the MRV will only be known once the tender competition is concluded.

Future Naval Service capabilities are being planned as part of the White Paper project planning process which will determine the Defence Organisation’s maritime capability requirements.

Defence Forces Remuneration

Ceisteanna (139)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

139. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated cost of restoring military allowances to pre-FEMPI levels. [27842/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

It is estimated that the cost of restoring Defence Forces allowances (excluding Military Service Allowance) to pre-FEMPI levels could cost in the region of €7 million. This figure is based on estimates for 2019. As many of the duties are demand led and the number of duties can fluctuate year on year, this variable must be taken into consideration in comparing any actual figures with speculative amounts.

Defence Forces Pensions

Ceisteanna (140)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

140. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated cost of restoring the supplementary pension for post-2013 entrants to the Defence Forces. [27843/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The occupational pension scheme terms of post-1 January 2013 new entrants to the public service, including the Permanent Defence Force (PDF), are governed by the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012. All first-time new entrants to pensionable public service employment on or after that date are members of the ‘Single Scheme’.

The terms and rules of the Single Scheme, which are fundamentally different to previous superannuation public service arrangements, make no provision for the concept or award of supplementary pensions for any new entrants joining any public service group from 1st January 2013 onwards.

As there is no provision for supplementary pensions in the Single Scheme, for example, in terms of its scope, qualifying criteria, methodology etc., there is no basis upon which to calculate the estimated cost of introducing the measure in question for post-1 January 2013 new entrants to the PDF.

Under the 2012 Act, overall statutory responsibility for the Single Scheme pension terms and rules rests with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Defence Forces Recruitment

Ceisteanna (141)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

141. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated cost of bringing Defence Forces personnel numbers up to 10,500 across all ranks and formations services. [27844/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Department does not maintain costings for increasing the strength of the PDF to those outlined by the Deputy. This would require detailed consideration of the capability requirements underpinning such an increase and consideration of associated personnel issues, including organisational structures as well as equipment, infrastructure and other additional requirements and associated costs.

Departmental Projects

Ceisteanna (142)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

142. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by him; and the date by which each study, review and research is scheduled to be completed. [27879/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by the Taoiseach as Minister for Defence and myself as Minister with Responsibility for Defence are set out in the following table setting out when they are scheduled to be completed.

Name

Scheduled to be completed by

Annual Report 2018

To be published in July 2019

Peer Review of Factory Site (Haulbowline) Report

To be published in July 2019

Review of the current roles and activities of Civil Defence, with the intention of publishing a policy document "Towards 2030" which will set out a roadmap for the development of the organisation over the next 10 – 15 years.

To be completed in 2019

Report on the Feasibility of an Institute for Peace Support and Leadership Training

To be completed in 2019

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (143)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

143. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the documents published by his Department since 1 January 2016 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27903/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

In accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Management Act 1997, the current Department of Defence and Defence Forces Strategy Statement, covering the period 2017–2020, was approved by the Taoiseach, as Minister for Defence, on 17th December 2017 and published in January 2018. Development of the Strategy Statement followed consultation with staff throughout the Defence Organisation, the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence, as well as with the Defence Forces’ Representative Associations.

The Government Task Force (GTF) on Emergency Planning provides strategic direction and coordination of national-level emergency planning. It comprises Ministers and/or senior officials from all government departments and key public bodies. As part of the work of the GTF, a review of the existing national-level structures and processes was initiated in 2014 and this culminated in the production of the “Strategic Emergency Management (SEM): National Structures and Framework” document, which was published following Government approval in July 2017 with associated guideline documents developed in 2018 and 2019. The aim of the SEM document and its associated annexes is to ensure that all state bodies can react quickly and efficiently to any large-scale emergency. It provides strategic guidance and direction on various elements of emergency management at a national-level to government departments and agencies under their aegis.

As the Minister with responsibility for Defence, and as Chair of the GTF on Emergency Planning, I also submitted the National Risk Assessment (NRA) for Ireland 2017 to Government on 21 November 2017 and it was subsequently published on the Office of Emergency Planning website (July 2018). The purpose of the NRA for Ireland 2017 is to identify hazards facing the State across a broad range of emergencies, to assess the likelihood and impact of these hazards and to inform actions at national level aimed at mitigating such risks, including the allocation of resources.

Policy Document/Strategy

Year published

1.

Department of Defence and Defence Forces Strategy Statement 2017-2020

2017

2.

Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework

2017

3.

A National Risk Assessment for Ireland

2017

4.

Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework - Emergency Communications

2018

5.

Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework - Critical Infrastructure Resilience

2019

Defence Forces Recruitment

Ceisteanna (144)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

144. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a recruitment campaign for dentists and nurses for the Defence Forces medical corps will occur in the third quarter of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27932/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

There are currently no plans to conduct a recruitment campaign for dentists and nurses for the Defence Forces medical corps in 2019.

Defence Forces Medical Services

Ceisteanna (145)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

145. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 46 of 20 June 2019, if the State does not cover the treatment costs of ex-servicemen and women suffering from post traumatic stress disorder; if ex-servicemen and women suffering with the condition are granted medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27977/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

As outlined in my previous reply to PQ 25904/19, to which the Deputy refers, former members of the Permanent Defence Forces have access to the range of supports available to all citizens of the State. Medical cards are granted by the Health Service Executive based on an individual's personal and family circumstances and are not a matter within the remit of my Department.

Defence Forces Data

Ceisteanna (146)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

146. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 34 of 13 June 2019, the reason all personal injury claims finalised by the State Claims Agency on his behalf did not have subsequent disability benefits and pensions reduced under section 13(2) of the Army Pensions Act 1923 (as amended); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28009/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Army Pensions Acts 1923-1980 provide for the grant of pensions and gratuities to former members of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) in respect of permanent disablement due to a wound or injury attributable to military service (whether at home or abroad) or due to disease attributable to or aggravated by overseas service with the United Nations.

The award of a disability pension or of a disablement gratuity is considered under Section 13(2) of the Army Pensions Act 1923 (as amended) in situations where civil action compensation is received in respect of the same injury (or injuries).

Not all claimants whose personal injuries claims are finalised by the State Claims Agency on my behalf are eligible for consideration for an award under the Army Pensions Acts. However, where the individuals concerned are eligible for an award under those Acts the terms of Section 13(2) are applicable.

In advance of consideration by the Minister under Section 13(2), the person or his/her solicitor is advised of the statutory provisions and of the potential implications for his/her application. The person is invited to put forward a case setting out their circumstances, details of the compensation actually received, and whether there are any special or extenuating circumstances involved. Each case is considered on the basis of its own individual circumstances by the Minister.

Defence Forces Recruitment

Ceisteanna (147)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

147. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a new recruitment campaign for the Defence Forces School of Music will take place in the second half of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28130/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I am informed by the military authorities that a recruitment competition for the Defence Forces School of Music in 2018 resulted in 20 personnel being recruited, which brought the School to full strength.

There are currently no plans to run a similar recruitment competition in 2019.

Defence Forces Reserve

Ceisteanna (148)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

148. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Reserve Defence Forces personnel inducted or assigned since the reorganisation in 2012 into corps (details supplied), by individual unit, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28136/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The re-organisation of the Army Reserve (AR) and Naval Service Reserve (NSR) was implemented in 2013. The AR and NSR has an establishment of 4,069 personnel. The military authorities have provided the following table, which sets out the information requested.

Year

Engineer

Transport

CIS

Medical

MP

2019 ( as of 21st June)

2

1

2018

2017

3

1

2016

7

2

2015

1

4

1

2014

10

1

2

2

1

2013

1

1

2012

11

19

13

5

1

Defence Forces Expenditure

Ceisteanna (149)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

149. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the amount provided in each of the years since 2012 for payment for Reserve Defence Forces first line and separately for the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve; the actual amount expended in those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28137/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The budget for the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) has been maintained for a number of years at a constant €2.150m of which some €2.068m (96%) is dedicated to paid training.       

The amounts provided, and expended, in each year since 2012 for payment for First Line Reserve (FLR), Army Reserve (AR) and Naval Service Reserve (NSR) are as set out below. The figures for 2019 are as of the 30th June.

Amounts Expended for Reserve Defence Forces Pay

 Year

 Budget

 FLR

 AR

 NSR

 2019

€2.150m (€2.068m allocated to paid training)  

 215*

 512,051

 42,602

 2018

€2.150m (€2.068m allocated to paid training)   

 24,085

 1,444,917

 104,983

 2017

€2.150m (€2.068m allocated to paid training)   

 451**

 1,287,525

 94,732

 2016

€2.150m (€2.068m allocated to paid training)   

 18,925

 1,449,571

 98,988

 2015

€2.150m (€2.068m allocated to paid training)   

 21,733

 1,625,230

 88,910

 2014

€3.150m (€3.110m allocated to paid training)   

 24,965

 1,705,310

 127,701

 2013

€3.325m (€3.243m allocated to paid training)   

 27,106

 1,787,398

 94,447

 2012***

€4.386m (€3.500m allocated to paid training)

 33,477

 3,512,906

 58,050 

*The majority of FLR payments are made in Q4.

**Due to accelerated end of year payroll deadlines in 2017, approximately €17,400 of 2018 FLR payments relate to 2017.  

***An additional amount of €74,344 was paid from the Reserve Pay Vote in relation to Grant to Unit Funds in 2012.

Defence Forces Medical Services

Ceisteanna (150)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

150. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if members of the Army Medical Corps in the Permanent Defence Forces and Reserve Defence Forces are subject to PHECC certification and are fully compliant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28138/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I can confirm that all Defence Forces pre-hospital emergency care practitioners (i.e. EMTs, paramedics and advanced paramedics) are subject to PHECC certification and are fully compliant.

Civil Defence

Ceisteanna (151)

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

151. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on reports that the Civil Defence could be prevented from assisting at community events due to issues relating to the licence from the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council and assurances from his Department; if all steps are being taken to avoid same taking place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28152/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Civil Defence is a volunteer based organisation of approximately 3,500 volunteers who give generously of their time and expertise for their community and in support of the Principal Response Agencies.

As outlined in the  2015 White Paper on Defence, Civil Defence policy is set down by the Minister for Defence through the Civil Defence Branch of my Department. The Department also  provides up to a maximum of 70% grant aid to each Local Authority Civil Defence unit, as well as other supports such as training for local volunteer instructors. It also supplies vehicles, equipment, uniforms and personal protective equipment

The White Paper also recognises the important role of Local Government in the management of Civil Defence. The Civil Defence Officer who is an employee of the Local Authority is responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of Civil Defence in their Local Authority area.

When Civil Defence’s current PHECC operating licence was up for renewal in November 2018, my officials reviewed the current Statutory Declaration which must be signed by organisations who wish to provide emergency medical services. That review identified that some assurances and details required as part of the licensing process are not within the control or remit of my Department as responsibility for operations rests with Local Authorities.

Since January 2019, my officials have been working closely with senior officials in both PHECC and Local Authorities in order to find a satisfactory solution to this issue, while conscious of the unique structure of Civil Defence.

Following recent engagement between officials from my Department and from the County and City Management Association, it has been agreed that Local Authorities will provide some of the assurances required as part of the signing of the Statutory Declaration. In order to put in place the necessary processes and collate the required assurances, my officials applied for a further extension to its existing licence which currently expires on 30 July 2019. Upon considering that request, PHECC agreed to give a further month's extension, up to 31 August 2019 subject to a satisfactory progress report at the next PHECC Council meeting on 11 July 2019.

I can assure you, I am committed to ensuring the excellent service Civil Defence volunteers provide in terms of emergency medical services continues beyond the 30 July 2019. My officials continue to engage constructively to resolve the issue.

Defence Forces Remuneration

Ceisteanna (152)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

152. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the Public Sector Pay Commission report on the Defence Forces. [27993/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) is an independent body established to advise Government in relation to public service pay. The Commission has presented a report on Recruitment & Retention Challenges in the Defence Forces to Mr. Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, who has responsibility for public service pay policy. The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform is due to bring the report to Government shortly.

EU Meetings

Ceisteanna (153)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

153. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the matters discussed under the specific foreign policy issues agenda item at the June 2019 Foreign Affairs Council meeting; and if Iran, Israel and Palestine were included in the discussions. [28006/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

At the June EU Foreign Affairs Council, Foreign Ministers discussed the EU Global Strategy, CFSP Effectiveness and Sudan. Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD, participated in the meeting.

Ministers also had a productive exchange of views on regional issues with the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, including the Middle East Peace Process, the Gulf, Iran and Syria. Ireland and our EU partners recognise and greatly appreciate the stabilising role that Jordan plays in the Middle East region.

At the Council, Ministers examined the effectiveness of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. Ministers discussed ways in which the EU can ensure greater unity, coherence and consistency in its external action. Enhancing our effectiveness will allow us to respond to future foreign and security challenges in a more flexible and strategic way.

Ministers discussed the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, following the publication of a report assessing the progress made since its launch three years ago. Ireland looks forward to continuing to advance all five strands of the Strategy.

Finally, Foreign Ministers welcomed the EU Statement on Sudan. The Council condemned the use of violence against civilians and reiterated strong support to the African Union. The priority for Sudan is to find a swift consensus that allows the transfer of power to a civilian-led authority.