Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Equipment
Question 61: To ask the Minister for Defence the arrangements that have been made to finance the purchase of the new ships to be provided for the Naval Service over the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34432/07]
Following Government approval to go to tender, notice of a competition for the purchase of replacement vessels for the Naval Service was sent to the Official Journal of the European Union on 24 August 2007. The competition for the purchase of two Offshore Patrol Vessels, with an option on a third and one Extended Patrol Vessel, with an option on a second, uses a Restricted Procurement Procedure in accordance with EU Procurement Directives. The process comprises two stages â Stage 1, a Request for Proposals and Stage 2, an Invitation to Tender.
The closing date for Stage 1- Request for Proposals was 26 October 2007. Stage 1 Proposals are being evaluated at present in my Department and following the evaluation a detailed specification will issue to those invited to participate in Stage 2 â Invitation to Tender. The "Invitation to Tender" is expected to issue in May 2008, with tenders due for return in July/August of that year. Following detailed tender evaluation it is expected that a contract will be awarded in late 2008/early 2009.
The decision to proceed to purchase the vessels will be subject to further Government approval and agreement on funding, the full requirement for which will not be known until the tender competition has concluded. Once details of costs are known, funding arrangements will be a matter for further consideration in consultation with the Minister for Finance in the context of the Estimates process. It is expected that the cost of the three new ships will be of the order of some â¬180m excluding VAT. There has been an increase of â¬1million (10%) in Subhead J â Naval Service Equipment for 2008 to facilitate on-going project development. It is expected that the vessels will be delivered on a phased basis between 2010 and 2012.
Question 62: To ask the Minister for Defence if the military authorities have reported to him on their examination of the military police investigation into the road accident at Granard, County Longford; when he expects to receive the recommendations of the study group established to examine the introduction of roll over protection systems in troop carrying vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33988/07]
Question 94: To ask the Minister for Defence if he has received the report of the study group to examine the possible introduction of the use of roll over protection systems in Irish troop carrying vehicles, which he was due to receive in early December 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34162/07]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 94 together.
Following a Road Traffic Accident involving a military vehicle near Granard in June of this year, the Defence Forces established a Study Group to examine the possible introduction of Roll Over Protection Systems in Troop Carrying Vehicles. The Group was asked to consider the implications of a number of matters that could arise from the introduction of the Roll Over Protection System. These include:
Health and safety,
Driver and passenger training,
Regulation and instructions,
Fleet composition and strength,
The Board was expected to have completed their deliberations by December 2007. However, they are still awaiting information from some suppliers in relation to the costs and types of Roll Over Protection Systems. This information is necessary for the Group to form their conclusions and provide their recommendations. Due to the unanticipated delay in the receipt of responses from potential suppliers, the Board will not be in a position to submit its final report and recommendations until mid to late January 2008.