Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (165)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Ceist:

165. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the requirement for members of the Defence Forces from around County Donegal, who are based at Finner Camp, County Donegal, to assist with Covid-19 testing in Dublin and other locations that are long distances from their base; and the number of those members that have tested positive for Covid-19 while carrying out those duties. [29382/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I am advised by the Military Authorities that all Defence Force deployments, within means and capabilities, are undertaken in line with the national policy in response to COVID-19.

PDF personnel been conducting operations in support of the Health Service Executive to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic since March 2020. These operations cover a wide range of activities including contact tracing, swab testing, logistical support in distributing PPE and transporting test samples, supplying tentage, marshalling and traffic control to test centres around the country, and transportation of patients, among other support tasks.

Members of the are Defence Forces are deployed to where they are required, in line with operational requirements. However, I want to assure you that the welfare of Defence Forces personnel when on operations, or otherwise employed, is always a priority and that risk assessments are undertaken by the Defence Forces.

I am advised that the Government and HSE guidelines to counter the spread of COVID-19 have been put in place. The military authorities have issued comprehensive instructions to Commanders, which provide for safe working conditions and work practice. The intent is to ensure that personnel are protected and that capabilities are maintained, in order to be in a position to respond to assigned tasks.

The Defence Forces will continue to keep work practices under review as the situation develops in order to ensure that they remain in a position to provide appropriate capability, in support of the Health Service Executive and other Primary Response Agencies.

I have requested the military authorities to provide the further information requested by the Deputy and will revert to you once the information is received.