Thursday, 10 April 2008
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Equipment
Question 12: To ask the Minister for Defence if the working group established by the Defence Forces to investigate the possible provision of roll-over protection systems in troop carrying vehicles has presented its report to the Deputy Chief of Staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13546/08]
Question 27: To ask the Minister for Defence if he will report on the recent road traffic accident on the M50 involving military vehicles carrying Army personnel; the plans he and the military authorities have for installing safety devices such as roll bars and safety belts; if he has received the report following the Granard accident; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13454/08]
Question 28: To ask the Minister for Defence if he has received a preliminary report in regard to the accident involving Defence Forces personnel which recently occurred on the M50; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13548/08]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 12, 27 and 28 together.
On the morning of Tuesday 18th March, 2008, a nine vehicle convoy containing 75 Defence Forces personnel departed Cathal Brugha Barracks for an exercise in the Cooley Mountains in County Louth.
While on route, three of the military trucks were involved in a multi-vehicle road accident on the northbound carriageway of the M50 near the Ballymun exit. A total of 28 Defence Forces personnel, who had sustained injuries, were taken to five hospitals in Dublin following the accident. All 28 were discharged from the various hospitals by 7pm that evening.
An investigation by the Military Police into the accident is ongoing and interviews are continuing at present. I do not propose to make any comment on the incident until this investigation is completed and the findings are presented to the military authorities.
As the Deputies are aware the Defence Forces established a Study Group to examine the possible introduction of Roll Over Protection Systems in Troop Carrying Vehicles, following the accident in Granard last year.
The Study Group presented their report to the military authorities in February this year. The Group have recommended the fitting of a Roll Over Protection System incorporating roll bars and safety belts to military trucks. The Defence Forces have begun the process of setting up a programme for the purchase of this equipment. Funds have been allocated to commence this programme and potential suppliers are being sought. This programme will proceed as soon as possible in accordance with relevant public procurement procedures.