Dáil debates

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Other Questions

Defence Forces Equipment.

4:00 pm

Photo of Paul Connaughton  SnrPaul Connaughton Snr (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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Question 10: To ask the Minister for Defence if NBC suits are personal issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2766/07]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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The Defence Forces have available to them equipment for monitoring and protecting their members in dealing with nuclear, biological or chemical, NBC, threats identified from time to time. They hold an extensive range of modern NBC equipment that meets their current requirements, which includes approximately 9,500 NBC suits. The NBC suits are not a personal issue and are retained in stores throughout the Defence Forces. Should an operational scenario arise, the NBC suits would be distributed as required to all personnel involved. In addition, the suits are allocated to all brigades and the Defence Forces training centre as required for training purposes.

The Defence Forces have a sufficient stock of respirators for each soldier. They also have 98 of the most technologically up-to-date chemical agent monitors and Defence Forces personnel have been trained on their operation. Other equipment on hands includes biological agent detector and screening kits, group decontamination equipment and personal decontamination equipment. The requirement for additional NBC equipment is kept under continual review by the Defence Forces. A programme for the purchase of NBC equipment is ongoing and whatever equipment deemed necessary is purchased expeditiously to meet the changing requirements.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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I am happy with the reply.

Photo of Peter KellyPeter Kelly (Longford-Roscommon, Fianna Fail)
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Question 11: To ask the Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces vehicles, such as armoured personnel carriers, jeeps and trucks, currently in use on overseas missions; the number of times these vehicles are rotated back to Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2797/07]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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Defence Forces personnel serving on all overseas missions are equipped with the most modern and effective equipment. This equipment enables troops to carry out the mission assigned, as well as providing the required protection specific to the mission. All military vehicles undergo regular maintenance and overhauls to ensure that they are roadworthy and provide value for money. Vehicles are replaced when, having regard to age, condition and mileage, they are considered by Defence Forces transport personnel to have reached the end of their economic life, at which time they are proposed for disposal.

Currently, a total of 229 vehicles are in use by the Defence Forces on overseas missions, details of which are listed in the following table. All vehicles are rotated back to Ireland as required or in circumstances where they cannot be repaired in the mission area.

Current overseas vehicle deployment
Vehicle TypeKFOREUFORISAFUNMILUNIFILTOTAL
Jeeps3519201286
Trucks7151133
Armour63301857
Trailers2224735
Bus3227
Ambulance112
Miscellaneous Vehicles3159
572439550229

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Question No. 11 refers to jeeps, trucks and armoured personnel carriers on overseas service. What support, if any, is given by the UN towards the purchase, maintenance or replacement of weaponry and equipment used by Defence Forces personnel on overseas missions?

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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The UN does not contribute directly to the cost of maintaining our equipment, which is purchased and maintained from our own budget. However, a standing arrangement is in place between the UN and its constituent members that compensation be paid for expenditure incurred in sending troops on missions. The compensation is paid in arrears according to a fixed formula. Traditionally, the arrears have been substantial but matters have improved recently. There is no direct relationship between what the UN pays and the cost of equipment.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Is the fixed sum of money received by Ireland related to the services it renders?

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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The formula varies according to particular missions, although I do not know its exact details. The Defence Forces inform me as to how much is owed and my Department contacts the UN when the cheque is late, which is often the case.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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How much is owed?

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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The sums vary because the UN pays in arrears.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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How much is owed at present?

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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At one stage, we were owed more than €13 million but I believe the figure has significantly decreased. I can revert to the Deputy with the exact figure.