Thursday, 5 December 2019

Ceisteanna (50)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

50. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of armoured logistics vehicles purchased for the Defence Forces in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; if extra armoured logistics vehicles will be purchased in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50951/19]

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 to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government, including overseas deployments.

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 White Paper on Defence provides that Ireland's ongoing active participation in a range of peacekeeping and crisis management missions is a key policy requirement. While each mission has elements of danger, it is the Government's position that all actions should be taken to minimise threats to the safety of personnel. Armoured vehicles provide essential force protection and, in this context in accordance with the equipment planning process, the fleet of armoured vehicles is subject to regular review to ensure that it meets operational requirements both at home and overseas.

The White Paper identified the procurement of a small number of armoured logistics vehicles for overseas missions as a force protection requirement. A contract valued at €7.5m (incl. VAT) was awarded to an Irish company, Westward Scania, in 2017 for the provision of 10 new armoured logistic vehicles for the Defence Forces, in order to provide combat service support personnel with the requisite force protection to operate in a supporting role in high threat environments. The vehicles were delivered in 2018 and are in operational service. The procurement of these vehicles also enhances Ireland's ability to participate in integrated multinational deployments. There are currently no plans to procure additional armoured logistics vehicles. The number of vehicles purchased in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 is set out in the following table.

I am satisfied that the Defence Forces have the necessary resources available to them, including a modern and effective range of equipment which is line with best international standards in order to fulfil all roles assigned to them by Government.

Year

Number of Armoured Logistics Vehicles Purchased

2017

0

2018

10

2019 (to date)

0