Questions Nos. 57 to 60, inclusive, answered with Question No. 43.

Questions Nos. 61 and 62 answered with Question No. 37.

Air Corps Equipment

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 37.

Ceisteanna (63)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

63. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if aircraft are being serviced abroad from the Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32126/19]

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 Defence Forces, including the Air Corps, is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable them to carry out their roles as assigned by Government.

 The Air Corps operate a fleet of fixed and rotary wing aircraft which provide military support to the Army and Naval Service, together with support for non-military air services such as Garda air support, air ambulance, fisheries protection and the Ministerial Air Transport Service.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in order to ensure their operational capability, all aircraft must undergo regular maintenance and scheduled overhauls to ensure they are fully airworthy and meet the certification standards laid down for the aviation industry.

I am advised that the Air Corps perform all first line maintenance across the fleet where possible, while heavy/annual maintenance is outsourced abroad, generally to the original manufacturer's facility for airframe, engine, avionics or mission equipment maintenance as required, or to an appropriately certified maintenance facility.

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 37.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (65)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

65. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of same; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [32245/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The following table provides details of the external consultant reports commissioned by my Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the costs of those reports; the companies/individuals commissioned to complete the reports; and their titles and publication dates.

Report Title 

 Cost

 Year of Commission

 External Company/Individual

Publication Date

An independent review of United Nations Interim

Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) fatalities in 1989

€51,660

 2011

Mr. Frank Callinan S.C.

9 September 2011 

Third Report of Independent Monitoring Group

(IMG)

 €22,500

 2013

Dr. Eileen Doyle

3 September 2014

Consultancy report to assess the impact of an

upgrade of Department's financial application software

  €24,870.60

 2014

Fujitsu Ltd

30 January 2015

Research on vessels linked to Roger Casement

 €4,605

 2015 

Mr. John Kearon

Not published 

Independent Review of the investigation of the death of Pte. Hugh Doherty and the disappearance of Pte. Kevin Joyce (Caomhán Seoighe) on 27 April 1981 while serving with IRISHBATT in the United Nations Interim Force in the Lebanon (UNIFIL)

€33,665.55 (total cost including editing fees of €1,500)  

2015 

Retired High Court Judge Mr. Roderick Murphy.

 

Editing work conducted by Mr. Jim Blighe

8 June 2018

Review into the safe operation of Civil Defence Watercraft

 €26,400

2016 

Marman & Associates

November 2016

Review of Civil Defence Communications

€1,400

2016 

Mr. Ciaran Motherway

January 2017

Aviation Regulation, Oversight and Safety

Management in the Defence Organisation

 €35,000

 2017

Bureau Veritas

Not published

Report on the Review of the Conciliation and

Arbitration Scheme for Members of the Permanent Defence Forces

€30,000

  2018

Mr. Gerard Barry

2 October 2018

External Quality Assessment Report on the Internal Audit function of the Department of Defence

 €13,975

(ex VAT)

2018

Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors

Not Published

Feasibility of the Institute of Peace Support and Leadership Training

 €106, 272 (value of contract)

2018

Circa Group

Pending

Production of Standard Operations Guidelines for the safe operation of Civil Defence watercraft

€21,600

2019 

Marman & Associates

May 2019

Peer Review on Factory Site (Haulbowline) Report

 €4,700

(ex VAT) 

 2019

Malone O'Regan

Pending

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (66)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

66. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the photography costs for his Department in each year since March 2011 including costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used in tabular form; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32262/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

My Department has not required the services of an external photographer since 2017.  However, if photography services were to be required, the Office of Government Procurement has a framework in place for the provision of Professional Photography and Videography Services, which could be utilised.

Details of the costs of photography paid by my Department for the period in question are set out in the following table.

 Date

 Reason

 Company

Amount 

(Inclusive of V.A.T. )   

25/03/2011 

Publications - Ministerial  Photographic Imagery

Maxwell Photography

€393.25

09/11/2011

Launch of Winter Ready Campaign

Maxwell Photography

€849.42

Total 2011

 

 

€1,242.67

21/11/2012

Launch of Winter Ready Campaign

 Fennell Photography

 €116.85

Total 2012

 

 

 €116.85

10/07/2013

Purchase of Minister's Photograph

Maxwell Photography

€17.22

Total 2013

 

€17.22

21/11/2014

Civil Defence Medal Presentation Ceremony

 Maxwell Photography

 €713.40

Total 2014

 

 €713.40

Total 2015 & 2016

 

 

Nil

26/05/2017

Civil Defence Medal Presentation Ceremony

 Maxwell Photography

 €590.40

Total 2017

 

 €590.40

Total 2018 and 2019 to date

 

Nil

Legal Costs

Ceisteanna (67)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

67. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the expenditure incurred in respect of external legal fees in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32279/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The expenditure incurred by my Department in respect of external legal fees for legal services in the period since March 2011 is set out in the following table.

Year

Amount

Commencing March 2011

€6,286.25

 2012

€30.00

 2013

€30.00

 2014

€10,302.00

 2015

€15,190.59

 2016

€9,213.67

 2017

€40.00

 2018

€645.75

 To date 2019

Nil

The Chief State Solicitor’s Office is responsible for the costs of the State’s legal teams in litigation cases that it manages on behalf of my Department. The State Claims Agency (SCA) manages and provides legal representation in relation to personal injury cases taken against the Minister for Defence.  External legal costs incurred by the SCA arising from the defence of any claims managed by the Agency for my Department are refunded to the Agency by the Department.

Information and Communications Technology

Ceisteanna (68)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

68. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the expenditure incurred in external information technology costs in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32296/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I have set out the details of the expenditure incurred by my Department in relation external information technology costs in each year since March 2011, in the following table.

The costs incurred did not relate to internal staffing costs, but do include costs of external hardware, software and the purchase of licences.

Year

Expenditure

2011

€2,800,350

2012

€2,330,304

2013

€2,144,493

2014

€2,490,000

2015

€2,579,000

2016

€2,911,000

2017

€2,939,000

2018

€3,237,000

2019 to 30th June

€609,764

Departmental Properties

Ceisteanna (69)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

69. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the dates of meetings that have taken place with the Department of Education and Skills in which the location of the site location for a school (details supplied) has been discussed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32349/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

In April 2019, my officials received a request from the Department of Education and Skills seeking my Department's assistance in identifying a suitable site, of between 11 and 15 acres within our property portfolio, for the replacement and expansion of the Curragh Post Primary School.

The request is currently under consideration by both my officials and the military authorities.  While there have been no meetings to date on this issue, I have been advised that there has been ongoing engagement between my officials and officials from the Department of Education and Skills.

Protected Disclosures Data

Ceisteanna (70)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

70. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of protected disclosures for which he has engaged an external consultancy and or legal firm since 2014 to date; the name of the firms engaged; the year and the costs associated with engaging the consultancy and or legal firms in respect of protected disclosures; the way in which persons are protected in cases in which an external consultancy firm is engaged in respect of protected disclosures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32396/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

To date no external consultancy or legal firm in respect of Protected Disclosures has been engaged by my Department. For completeness of response, three individuals have assisted in dealing with three separate Protected Disclosures since 2014.  The associated total payments involved since 2014 were €33,835.24

However, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) have put in place a national Framework for services related to the receipt and investigation of Protected Disclosures and my Department has recently signed a contract with Mazars arising from a tender competition under this Framework. The Framework arrangement and contract clearly set out and provides for the protections provided to persons under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

Defence Forces Personnel

Ceisteanna (71, 84, 87)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

71. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason Defence Forces personnel were ordered to change into and-or out of clothing at an unsuitable location (details supplied); the dignity at work policy for members of the Defence Forces; the date on which it was rolled out, implemented and last updated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32868/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

84. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to carry out an investigation as to the reason a recent incident occurred in which Naval Service personnel were changing for a national commemoration event on the side of a road and in a minibus (details supplied) occurred; the steps he will take to ensure this does not reoccur in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33781/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

87. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Defence Force members that participated in the National Day of Commemoration on 14 July 2019 received a duty allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33819/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 71, 84 and 87 together.

The National Day of Commemoration took place in the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin on Sunday 14 July 2019. This event is a highlight in the Defence Forces ceremonial calendar and one which the Defence Forces take great pride in performing to the highest standards. This year’s event saw personnel from the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps perform with distinction on behalf of the State.

All state ceremonial occasions involve pre-event coordination conferences and Defence Forces rehearsals with participating formations and/or units. Logistical arrangements including the Defence Forces participation and arrangements are discussed and clarified at these conferences.

As part of an After Action Review of this year’s event, the Defence Forces will examine the arrangements for each of the participating elements, in order to ensure that all arrangements in this area are fully addressed for future events.

The Defence Forces Equality Diversity and Equal Status Policies were introduced in 2007 and were rewritten in 2013 and they comprise policies and charters including the Defence Forces Dignity Charter. There have been extensive additions and updates to these policies in relation to Equality, Diversity and Equal Status in line with legislation and good practice and they remain under constant review.

Defence Force personnel partaking in the National Day of Commemoration do so as a normal duty and would not be in receipt of an additional allowance.

Air Corps Strength

Ceisteanna (72)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

72. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of female pilots in the Air Corps; the number of female pilots in training; the number of female air traffic controllers in the Air Corps; the number of females in training to become air traffic controllers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32895/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The information requested by the Deputy has been provided by the military authorities and is set out in the following table: 

 Category

 Number of female personnel

 Pilots

 0

 Pilots in Training

 1

 Air traffic controllers

 2

Trainee air traffic controllers  

 0

 The Government remains committed to maximising recruitment capacity in order to return to, and maintain, the agreed strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel.

In this context, applications for the following Air Corps specific recruitment campaigns are currently being progressed. In addition, a range of alternative recruitment approaches are being developed, aimed at addressing vacancies in specialist areas. 

The recent report of the Public Service Pay Commission on recruitment and retention in the Defence Forces made recommendations that will impact on the Air Corps, for example the restoration of the Service Commitment Scheme for pilots and the review of technical pay arrangements have been prioritised for immediate action in the associated implementation plan. 

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (73)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

73. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of feasibility studies conducted by his Department in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the names of each project being studied; the amount allocated and drawn down for each study; the person or body that sought each study; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32939/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

My Department did not conduct any feasibility studies in County Galway in the years 2016 to 2018 or to date in 2019.

Defence Forces Training

Ceisteanna (74, 75)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

74. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 107 of 27 November 2018, the date on which it became policy and or standard practice to train new members of the Defence Forces as part of basic training in the use of general service respirators; the date on which it became policy and or standard practice to upskill and or train serving members of the Defence Forces in the use of general service respirators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33176/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

75. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 107 of 27 November 2018, the date on which it became policy and or standard practice to provide Defence Forces members with RPE training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33180/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 75 together.

The State Claims Agency is currently managing 10 claims taken against the Minister for Defence, for personal injuries alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances whilst working in the Air Corps. I am advised that the questions asked by the Deputy appear to involve matters which are raised in the proceedings currently before the Courts. The Deputy will appreciate that as the questions appear to encroach into on-going litigation, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.

Defence Forces Strength

Ceisteanna (76, 77)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

76. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the staffing levels in the Naval Service in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33204/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

77. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the staffing levels in the Air Corps in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33205/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 76 and 77 together.

The following table shows the staffing levels (Whole Time Equivalent) in the Naval Service and Air Corps in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019: -

Year

 Naval Service Strength (WTE)

 Air Corps Strength (WTE)

 2015

1,083 

748 

 2016

1,090 

704 

 2017

1,053 

734 

 2018

989 

725 

 2019*

 955

 708

  * As at 30th June 2019, the latest date for which this data is available.

 The Government remains committed to returning to, and maintaining the agreed strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel as set out in the White Paper on Defence (2015).

Air Corps Equipment

Ceisteanna (78)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

78. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if funding has been provided in 2019 for the replacement of Cessna F172H Aircrafts in the Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33309/19]

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 Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government.

The White Paper on Defence provides for the replacement of the current Air Corps Cessna fleet with three larger aircraft which will be equipped for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR). Following an open tender competition, a contract was placed with Pilatus Aircraft Ltd in December 2017 at a cost of some €32m for the provision of three PC-12 fixed wing utility aircraft suitably equipped for ISTAR tasks which will replace the Cessna fleet. The contract is well underway and it is expected that the three aircraft will be delivered by 2020.

The Deputy may wish to note that the White Paper  also provides for the replacement of the two CASA 235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft with consideration of their replacement with larger more suitable aircraft, which would enhance maritime surveillance and provide a greater degree of utility for transport and cargo carrying tasks. A public tender competition for the replacement of the CASA Maritime Patrol Aircraft is underway in my Department at present.

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 NDP provides for a total of €541 million over the period 2018 to 2022. This level of capital funding will allow the Defence Organisation to undertake a programme of sustained equipment replacement and infrastructural development across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service as identified and prioritised in the Defence White Paper and builds on the significant investment programme over recent years. The replacement of the Air Corps Cessna aircraft and the CASA 235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft are among the projects included.

Illegal Dumping

Ceisteanna (79)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

79. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the actions being taken to prevent illegal dumping on the Curragh plains; if ways to improve this issue are being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33337/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

As the Deputy is aware, there is a team of Land Staff (the Curragh Maor and two Fó-Mhaor) employed by my Department to assist with the management of the Curragh Plains including but not limited to a programme of work dealing with litter, sheep branding, patrolling boundaries, monitoring users of the lands and illegal encampments.

In addition to the permanent land management team, an environmental maintenance contract is also in place to deal with matters such as the collection of all rubbish dumped on Curragh lands including its removal to an approved waste facility.

My Department is also committed to involvement with Kildare County Council regarding plans for the future management of the Curragh. Both the Department of Defence and Kildare County Council are cognisant of the need to ensure the conservation of this ancient landscape. In that regard, my Department is considering the procurement  with the Local Authority of a multidisciplinary consultancy team to explore ways and find opportunities through which the area can be uniquely identified and also scope out the development potential of the area as a high value visitor attraction.

Fire Service Staff

Ceisteanna (80)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

80. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if members of the Fire Service will be awarded medals in commemoration of 1916; if he will consider granting the medals to veteran members of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33347/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Recognition of the contribution to the State by members of the Fire Service, and other emergency services, is a matter that is not within my remit as the Minister with responsibility for Defence. 

The Programme for Government provided for the award of the 1916 Commemorative medal to all Defence Forces personnel, Permanent and Reserve, who were recorded as being in service in the course of 2016. This was a special acknowledgement from the Government to the members of Óglaigh na hÉireann who served during the centenary year.  

In recognition of the contribution of veterans to the centenary commemorative events in 2016 it was agreed to present a framed medal to each of the Veterans Associations along with a plaque for each of the 41 Branches of the Organisation of Ex-Service Personnel (O.N.E.) and each of the 21 Posts of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA).  It is not proposed to revisit this arrangement.

Defence Forces Recruitment

Ceisteanna (81)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

81. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Defence Forces is considering reducing the height requirements for all recruits and cadets at entry; if so, when a decision on same can be expected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33348/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

A study group was convened by the Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) in September 2018 to review the standards of height for entry into the Defence Forces. The terms of reference provided for the group to assess and recommend changes to the current height standards.

The group contains representatives from all three services of the Defence Forces and includes medical personnel, personnel from training establishments and military HR.

A new appointment to the position of Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) was made on 3rd April 2019. On taking up office, the Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) reviewed the original submission and tasked the Working Group to reconvene and address a number of matters.

The military authorities have informed me that the board is due to report soon to the Deputy Chief of Staff  (Support). The General Staff will then examine the board's recommendations before sending them for my consideration and review.

I look forward to receiving recommendations in due course.