Travel Insurance

Ceisteanna (410)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

410. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if clarification will be provided to persons (details supplied) due to travel to a country which has now been removed from the Green list in view of the fact they are unsure if they are covered by their travel insurance to travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26306/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I can advise the Deputy that my Department publishes Travel Advice for over 200 countries to provide an objective assessment of the risks individuals could face if travelling overseas, with a view to helping them to make informed decisions for themselves. The advice is based on consultation with our Embassies and Consulates on the ground, the relevant local authorities in each country and our international partners, together with our domestic partners where appropriate. In the context of COVID-19 and the priority of protecting public health, we have worked particularly closely with the Department of Health and the HSE.

On 15 September, as part of its medium-term plan for living with COVID-19, the Government agreed that Ireland should broadly support the European Commission proposal for a common approach to travel within the EU / EEA, which is currently under discussion in Brussels. The Government also agreed that, pending the outcome of the discussions on the EU approach, Ireland’s ‘Green List’ would be updated to include EU / EEA countries with a 14-day cumulative disease incidence rate of 25 or less per 100,000, based on data provided by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC). The Green List is to be reviewed every Thursday, with any changes taking effect from the following Monday morning. In line with the Government decision, the list including any updates are made available on my Department's website (www.dfa.ie). We continue to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries on the ‘Green List’ where the ‘normal precautions’ security status rating applies. 

The Travel Advice published by my Department is intended to help citizens make informed decisions for themselves when planning a trip overseas.  As the Deputy will appreciate, and as commercial entities will be aware, issues relating to terms and conditions of flights, holiday packages, insurance policies or refunds are not within the remit of my Department, and these should be pursued directly with the airline, tour operator or insurer. Any citizens seeking further information in relation to their consumer rights would be advised to contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Northern Ireland

Ceisteanna (411)

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

411. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will advocate for the State contributing to the legal bill of after their legal case of persons (details supplied) with the British Home Office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26371/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Citizenship and Identity provisions are central to the Good Friday Agreement and it is vital that they are upheld. The Government has consistently engaged with the British Government in support of this, and we will continue to do so.

The Government provided consistent political support for the De Souzas and engaged at the highest levels with the British Government on their situation, the issues raised by their positive and effective campaign, and on the related concerns for the citizenship and identity provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

It is very welcome that, in the context of the New Decade, New Approach agreement in January and the De Souzas' campaign and case, the British Government committed to changing the rules on how the people of Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK, taking into account the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.  This commitment and its implementation signals important progress.

The Government has however always been clear that the legal case taken by Emma and Jake De Souza in the UK courts was a private case in respect of an immigration application, and decisions on the litigation have always been a matter for them, in consultation with their solicitor.  Accordingly, and in line with normal practice, the State will not be contributing to the legal fees.

The Government will continue to engage at all levels in support of the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, centrally including its provisions on rights, citizenship and identity.

Foreign Policy

Ceisteanna (412, 413)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

412. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the support being provided and or offered to assist with the fallout following the fire at Moria refugee camp particularly in view of Covid-19 concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26613/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

413. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the nature of discussions his Department has had with Greek authorities and other EU partners on finding long-term solutions to support persons in need of international protection affected by the fire in the Moria refugee camp in Greece; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26614/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 412 and 413 together.

I am deeply saddened by the fire at the Moria camp on Lesbos and the impact this has had on the refugees and migrants based at the camp. It is a relief that there were no reported deaths or injuries, but the very sudden displacement of thousands of people, including children, has caused great suffering and created a major humanitarian emergency as well as posing a huge logistical challenge for the Greek authorities in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

My colleague, the Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, spoke with his Greek counterpart on 9 September immediately after the fire to offer Ireland's full solidarity and support. The Greek authorities have requested assistance from EU Partners in dealing with the immediate humanitarian needs arising. My Department, through our Embassy in Athens, has confirmed Ireland’s readiness to provide assistance from our humanitarian logistics base in Brindisi, Italy. The Greek authorities have thanked us for our offer of assistance and we now stand ready to respond to a request for the deployment of emergency humanitarian supplies.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have repeatedly urged the need for greater solidarity and burden-sharing among Member States in dealing with the wider issue of migration. The migration crisis continues to be one of the major challenges confronting the European Union and it needs to be urgently addressed. We must find more sustainable solutions involving consensus among Member States based on solidarity and responsibility. I am committed to continuing to work with our EU partners to resolve these issues.

On 23 September 2020, the Commission published a major new proposal on reforming the EU migration and asylum system - a “New Pact on Migration and Asylum”- and has also established a dedicated Taskforce to resolve the emergency situation on Lesvos effectively and humanely. I welcome both initiatives by the Commission. The Migration Pact proposals represent an opportunity to renew and intensify efforts to agree a common approach and put in place more effective and humane arrangements to manage the considerable migratory pressures that Europe continues to face.

We in Ireland are endeavouring to do our part, having already received 1022 asylum seekers (including six unaccompanied minors) from Greece under the first phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. We have also committed to accept 36 unaccompanied minors in need of international protection in Greece, and I was pleased that the first group of eight such minors arrived in Ireland last June. In the context of the very difficult situation now arising from the destruction of the Moria refugee camp, the Government has decided to accept another group of four unaccompanied minors, as part of this overall commitment, and is continuing to keep under review what further actions it can take to meet the enormous humanitarian and relocation needs arising from this tragic event.

Foreign Policy

Ceisteanna (414)

John Brady

Ceist:

414. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the assistance Ireland has offered and plans to further offer to assuage the suffering of the refugees previously housed at the Moria refugee camp. [26620/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I am deeply saddened by the fire at the Moria camp on Lesbos and the impact this has had on the refugees and migrants based at the camp. It is a relief that there were no reported deaths or injuries, but the very sudden displacement of thousands of people, including children, has caused great suffering and created a major humanitarian emergency as well as posing a huge logistical challenge for the Greek authorities in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

My colleague, the Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, spoke with his Greek counterpart on 9 September immediately after the fire to offer Ireland's full solidarity and support. The Greek authorities have requested assistance from EU Partners in dealing with the immediate humanitarian needs arising. My Department, through our Embassy in Athens, has confirmed Ireland’s readiness to provide assistance from our humanitarian logistics base in Brindisi, Italy. The Greek authorities have thanked us for our offer of assistance and we now stand ready to respond to a request for the deployment of emergency humanitarian supplies.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have repeatedly urged the need for greater solidarity and burden-sharing among Member States in dealing with the wider issue of migration. The migration crisis continues to be one of the major challenges confronting the European Union and it needs to be urgently addressed. We must find more sustainable solutions involving consensus among Member States based on solidarity and responsibility. I am committed to continuing to work with our EU partners to resolve these issues.

On 23 September 2020, the Commission published a major new proposal on reforming the EU migration and asylum system - a “New Pact on Migration and Asylum”- and has also established a dedicated Taskforce to resolve the emergency situation on Lesvos effectively and humanely. I welcome both initiatives by the Commission. The Migration Pact proposals represent an opportunity to renew and intensify efforts to agree a common approach and put in place more effective and humane arrangements to manage the considerable migratory pressures that Europe continues to face.

We in Ireland are endeavouring to do our part, having already received 1022 asylum seekers (including six unaccompanied minors) from Greece under the first phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. We have also committed to accept 36 unaccompanied minors in need of international protection in Greece, and I was pleased that the first group of eight such minors arrived in Ireland last June. In the context of the very difficult situation now arising from the destruction of the Moria refugee camp, the Government has decided to accept another group of four unaccompanied minors, as part of this overall commitment, and is continuing to keep under review what further actions it can take to meet the enormous humanitarian and relocation needs arising from this tragic event.

Human Rights

Ceisteanna (415, 416)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

415. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the representations he made to the Iranian authorities in advance of the execution of a person (details supplied); the assessment that has been made of the impact of their execution on the human rights situation in Iran in particular on the right to a fair trial; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26688/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

416. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the representations he has made to the Government of Iran in relation to the unlawful detention, torture and execution of prisoners in the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26689/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 415 and 416 together.

I remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Iran, including restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, arbitrary arrest, torture in detention and the use of the death penalty.

Ireland opposes the use of the death penalty whenever it occurs. I fully support the statement issued by the EEAS on behalf of the EU on 14 September 2020, which strongly condemned the execution of Navid Afkari, and noted that the death penalty "represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity."

In addition, at the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, HRC, this month, Ireland co-signed a Joint Statement delivered by Germany which expressed deep concern at the continuing human rights violations in Iran, making particular reference to Iran’s ill-treatment of detainees and use of the death penalty. The statement also states clearly that “the sudden execution of Navid Afkari, on 12 September, was appalling, given the concerns about his trial, the reports of forced confessions, and his treatment in detention. We reiterate our opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances, and urge Iran to enact a moratorium.”

My Department has consistently raised human rights issues with Iran at every suitable opportunity, including in our direct contacts with Iranian officials, in contributing to EU policy on Iran, and in international fora such as the UN General Assembly and the HRC.

Diplomatic Representation

Ceisteanna (417)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

417. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when construction works will commence on Ireland House in Tokyo, Japan; the estimated time-frame for completion; and estimated cost of building. [26825/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The project to construct a new Ireland House in Tokyo is an important component of the Global Ireland initiative to  double Ireland’s global footprint and impact by 2025. The new building, housing both the Embassy and State Agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, IDA and Bord Bia, will provide an excellent platform to strengthen bilateral relations with this key partner in Asia and promote trading and economic opportunities with the world’s third largest economy.

On 17th September the RIAI Design Competition to appoint an architect led design team for the new Ireland House Tokyo concluded.  My Department is now engaging with the competition winners, Henry J Lyons Architects, to progress the final design. All detailed design work is expected to conclude by the end of 2021. Construction in Japan is scheduled to commence in mid 2022 and to take two years.  It is envisaged that the new Ireland House Tokyo will be open for business in mid 2024.

The cost of the project is estimated to be €21.4 million. This figure covers construction, design fees and fit out including furniture, AV and ICT equipment. In comparison to continuing the current leasing arrangements or seeking a comparable premises to rent in the Tokyo commercial property market, the development of a new Ireland House in Tokyo is a cost effective option. In addition to savings on rental costs over time, the development of Ireland House will deliver a valuable real estate asset that will remain in State ownership.

Foreign Policy

Ceisteanna (418, 419)

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

418. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps he is taking to engage with the Greek authorities to commence the immediate evacuation of Lesvos and the relocation of unaccompanied children and families from Lesvos and Greece to Ireland in the context of the deepening humanitarian crisis and the increasing risks to refugees on the island; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26865/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

419. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps he is taking to change the approach of the EU with regard to accepting refugees in Greece into the countries of the EU in order to uphold both EU and international conventions on human rights and ensure that non-European nationals will not be arbitrarily deprived of their life Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights or be subject to physical or mental ill-treatment amounting to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Article 3 of the convention in the context of deepening humanitarian crisis on the Greek island of Lesvos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26866/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 418 and 419 together.

I am deeply saddened by the fire at the Moria camp on Lesbos and the impact this has had on the refugees and migrants based at the camp. It is a relief that there were no deaths or injuries, but the very sudden displacement of thousands of people, including children, has caused great suffering and created a major humanitarian emergency as well as posing a huge logistical challenge for the Greek authorities in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

My colleague, the Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, spoke with his Greek counterpart on 9 September immediately after the fire to offer Ireland's full solidarity and support. The Greek authorities have requested assistance from EU Partners in dealing with the immediate humanitarian needs arising. My Department, through our Embassy in Athens, has confirmed Ireland’s readiness to provide assistance from our humanitarian logistics base in Brindisi, Italy. The Greek authorities have thanked us for our offer of assistance and we now stand ready to respond to a request for the deployment of emergency humanitarian supplies.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have repeatedly urged the need for greater solidarity and burden-sharing among Member States in dealing with the wider issue of migration. The migration crisis continues to be one of the major challenges confronting the European Union and it needs to be urgently addressed. We must find more sustainable solutions involving consensus among Member States based on solidarity and responsibility. I am committed to continuing to work with our EU partners to resolve these issues and to ensure that humanitarian and legal obligations continue to be met.

On 23 September 2020, the Commission published a major new proposal on reforming the EU migration and asylum system - a “New Pact on Migration and Asylum”- and has also established a dedicated Taskforce to resolve the emergency situation on Lesvos effectively and humanely. I welcome both initiatives by the Commission. The publication of the Migration Pact proposals represents an opportunity to renew and intensify efforts to agree a common approach and put in place more effective and humane arrangements to manage the considerable migratory pressures that Europe continues to face.

We in Ireland are endeavouring to do our part, having already received 1022 asylum seekers (including six unaccompanied minors) from Greece under the first phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. We have also committed to accept 36 unaccompanied minors in need of international protection in Greece, and I was pleased that the first group of eight such minors arrived in Ireland last June. In the context of the very difficult situation now arising from the destruction of the Moria refugee camp, the Government has decided to accept another group of four unaccompanied minors, as part of this overall commitment, and is continuing to keep under review what further actions it can take to meet the enormous humanitarian and relocation needs arising from this tragic event.

Overseas Development Aid

Ceisteanna (420)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

420. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the amount of overseas aid paid by Ireland to Mozambique annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27026/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Mozambique is among the world’s poorest countries, ranked 180th of 189 countries in the 2019 United Nations Human Development Index. Approximately 62 per cent of the population lives below the income poverty line of $1.90 a day and average life expectancy is 60 years.

Ireland established a development cooperation programme in Mozambique in 1996, with a mandate to provide humanitarian and development assistance in the post-civil war period. In 2020, Mozambique remains a priority country for the Irish Aid programme, and is the second largest recipient of Ireland’s bilateral official development assistance (ODA).

The table below details Ireland’s ODA expenditure in Mozambique between 2015 and 2019. These figures comprise both bilateral expenditure managed by Ireland’s Embassy in Mozambique, and other expenditure managed by Ireland’s United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners providing development and humanitarian assistance in Mozambique.

Ireland’s Official Development Assistance to Mozambique (2015-2019)

Year

Funding in € 000’s

2019

26,528

2018

20,584

2017

26,320

2016

25,472

2015

37,034

Ireland’s expenditure in Mozambique is guided by a five-year strategy devised in line with our foreign and development cooperation policies. Ireland’s current strategy in Mozambique, covers the period 2020-2024, and sets out Ireland’s intention to support:

- Progress towards a more peaceful, safe and prosperous country, inclusive of all citizens;

- Improved business and fiscal environments with inclusive economic growth and job creation, with a strong focus on women and adolescent girls;

- Improved social services, including a stronger education system with increased girls’ participation, improved access to quality health services and working with partners to contribute towards a strengthened social protection systems;

- Strengthened governance, institutions, state accountability and civil society participation in national development processes, which are responsive to citizen’s needs.

In 2020, Ireland’s Embassy in Mozambique has been supporting the Mozambican response to COVID-19, including through the provision of significant funding to the health sector, and is also supporting urgent humanitarian assistance for more than 250,000 civilians who have been forced to flee their homes due to a violent insurgency underway in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Ireland releases information on ODA expenditure annually in the ‘Government of Ireland Official Development Assistance Annual Report’, previous editions of which can be accessed at the Irish Aid website, www.irishaid.ie.

Ministerial Advisers

Ceisteanna (421)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

421. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if a schedule of advisers and special advisers appointed and or recruited by him since his appointment will be provided; the roles and responsibilities attributed to each; and the salary for each appointee in tabular form. [27053/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Following the commencement of the Dáil, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issued guidelines setting out the arrangements for the staffing of Ministerial Offices. The appointment of Special Advisers is subject to section 11 of the Public Service Management Act (PMSA) 1997.

The appointment of individual Special Advisers is a matter for each Government Minister subject to the terms set out in the aforementioned guidelines and appointments are subject to formal Government approval.  

I intend to appoint two Special Advisers in line with the aforementioned guidelines.

Foreign Policy

Ceisteanna (422)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

422. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the discussions he has had with Spanish and EU authorities to secure the release of elected public representatives from Catalan held in arbitrary detention according to the UN Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27101/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

My Department follows developments in Spain closely and I am aware of the United Nations Working Group to which the question refers.

I maintain contacts with my Spanish counterparts on a range of issues, including the situation in Catalonia. The question of Catalan independence remains a deeply divisive and contentious issue in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain.

As I have previously stated, the constitutional and political arrangements in Spain are matters to be determined by their own citizens, through their own democratic and legal processes and institutions, in keeping with the rule of law. We respect the constitutional and territorial integrity of Spain.

Passport Applications

Ceisteanna (423)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

423. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the delay in processing the passport of a baby (details supplied) will be clarified and rectified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27341/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

All passport applications are subject to the provisions of the Passports Act 2008 as amended (“the 2008 Act”). The 2008 Act provides, among other things, that a person must be an Irish citizen before a passport can be issued to him/her. Entitlement to Irish citizenship is in turn determined by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 as amended (“the 1956 Act”), under which and in general Irish citizenship may be obtained by birth, by descent or by naturalisation.

A person is entitled to Irish citizenship if born on the island of Ireland before 1 January 2005 or after that date subject to certain conditions. Section 6A of the 1956 Act provides that a person born in the State on or after 1 January 2005, where neither parent is an Irish or British citizen or otherwise entitled to reside in the State or Northern Ireland without restriction (at the time of the birth of the child), may claim citizenship by birth in the State where a parent has been lawfully resident in the State for three years of the four years preceding their birth.

In respect of the application referred to, I am advised by the Passport Service that sufficient evidence of a parent's lawful residence in the State for three years of the four years preceding the birth of the child applicant in question was not received. Furthermore, I am advised that the Passport Service issued correspondence to the parent of the applicant on 3 September 2020 outlining the matter in further detail.

Departmental Staff

Ceisteanna (424)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

424. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of requests on hand from his Department and from State agencies under the aegis of his Department for approval to increase staff levels; the number of public and civil servants in total involved in these requests; the method by which decisions are made on the requests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26474/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

My Department uses workforce planning processes to identify the critical resource needs required to deliver its business goals.  Workforce planning is a key tool in enabling my Department to forecast its current and future staffing needs (subject to the limits of the annual estimates process, the usual budgetary constraints and approvals by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform). The Workforce Plan aims to ensure a long-term, proactive and strategic plan by which my Department aims to have the right people, with the right levels of talent and skills, in each location and Division, doing the right thing at the right time. 

My Department operates in a rapidly changing environment and its structure must facilitate the flexibility to deploy resources to priority work, as the need arises.  As business needs arise, staff are allocated to support organisational priorities within my Department.  Overall staffing levels within Divisions are continually monitored and staff transfer in and out of Divisions as the workload demands.  Where skills gaps have been are identified, the HR Division reviews these requests on a quarterly basis and approves staff assignments on the basis of business cases made by Divisions.  One such iteration of this process has just been completed, so no requests are currently on hand for consideration from within the Department.   

The question of staffing levels in the State Agencies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter, generally delegated to the Agencies themselves and I will ask the Agencies to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.  However, I am aware of one request for additional staff resources, related to Brexit.

Defence Forces Properties

Ceisteanna (425)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

425. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Defence the steps he is taking to address the dereliction of the military barracks site in Nenagh, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26452/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The former barracks in Nenagh is no longer required for military purposes. In accordance with Government policy and my Department's practice to dispose of such surplus properties, matters relating to the disposal of Nenagh Barracks are currently being progressed.

My officials are in the process of regularising outstanding legal matters relating to the property with the assistance of the Chief State's Solicitor's Office.  It is the intention to dispose of the property when the outstanding legal matters have been resolved.

Defence Forces Properties

Ceisteanna (426)

John Brady

Ceist:

426. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Defence his plans for a site (details supplied) and the surrounding land. [26562/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The property in question is surplus to military requirements, and in line with Government policy the intention is to dispose of the property by way of transfer to Wicklow County Council. In that regard, officials from my Department are currently liaising with the Chief State's Solicitors Office on the necessary legal preparatory matters.

Air Corps

Ceisteanna (427)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

427. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Defence when the runway at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel was last resurfaced; and if there is funding available to have the runway resurfaced in quarter 4 of 2020. [26821/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

A contract for Runway and Taxiway Overlay works was completed in December 2002 and a subsequent contract for Apron Repairs work was completed in November 2005. I am advised by the military authorities that there are no plans to have the runways at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel resurfaced this year.

Naval Service

Ceisteanna (428)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

428. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Defence if a tender will be put out before year end to replace the LÉ Eithne and LÉ Orla; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26822/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The White Paper on Defence sets out an ambitious programme of capital investment including mid-life refit and upgrade of the P50 class vessels, LÉ Róisín and LÉ Niamh, as well as, in due course, the replacement of LÉ Eithne. The P50 mid-life upgrade programme is well underway. The replacement of the flagship LÉ Eithne with a multi role vessel (MRV) is the next scheduled component of the White Paper fleet investment programme. Projects for other vessel replacement such as LÉ Orla will be considered over the life-time of the White Paper in the context of overall capability development and funding and the Equipment Development Plan (EDP) process. The EDP outlines that the MRV project is in planning ongoing stage within the indicative timeframe of 2020 to 2024.

Naturally, concurrent progression of all projects included in the White Paper is not possible within the capital funding envelope available to Defence, and as a result, some projects such as the replacement of LÉ Eithne are planned to commence later in the ten-year life-span of the White Paper. This complex project is being managed by a civil-military project team and work is ongoing on the pre-tender concept of operations stage and on preparing a detailed specification of capability requirements for a tender competition.

Defence Forces Data

Ceisteanna (429)

Patrick Costello

Ceist:

429. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Defence the estimated full-year cost of increasing the Reserve Defence Force from 2,330 to 4,500. [26855/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The establishment of the Army Reserve (AR) and Naval Service Reserve (NSR) is 4,069 personnel. The current effective strength is 1624 personnel, as at end August 2020.

Expenditure relating to the cost of the AR and NSR is drawn from a range of subheads. Subhead A.5 of the Defence Vote provides for a budget of €2.15 million of which €2.068 million is allocated for paid training for members of the AR and NSR. This allocation will provide seven days annual paid training for each effective member of the AR and NSR. The budget also provides for fourteen days paid training for all additional personnel recruited to the AR and NSR in 2020, along with career and specialist courses for selected members of the Reserve in line with Reserve priorities. This provision is sufficient having regard to the existing strength of the RDF and the voluntary nature of Reserve training and can be adjusted if required.

Providing for numbers beyond the current establishment would require consideration of the capability requirements underpinning such an increase, and as assessment of the associated cost implications which, as with the PDF, would include personnel and equipment costs. The Department does not retain such costings.