Written answers

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Department of Defence

Overseas Missions

8:00 pm

Photo of Peter KellyPeter Kelly (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Question 93: To ask the Minister for Defence if the use of dietary and body building supplements by Defence Forces personnel in Chad has been prohibited by military authorities; if personnel were notified in advance of this prohibition; if this prohibition applies to all Defence Force personnel, whether serving at home or overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17746/09]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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I am advised by the Military authorities that the Director of the Defence Forces Medical Corps has recommended that all personnel should be discouraged from the use of dietary supplements/muscle building agents of any kind unless taken under medical advice. The Director has also advised that their use by personnel deployed on overseas duty should be forbidden. Any person who believes that he or she requires supplements are advised to consult with a military Medical Officer who will advise accordingly.

This recommendation stems from a routine search of baggage for personnel deploying to CHAD with the 99 Infantry Battalion earlier this year during which Military Police Personnel noted food supplements being consigned with luggage. Upon medical advice, the Officer Commanding directed that food supplements were to be removed from baggage and their consignment to Chad was not permitted. As this issue had not been foreseen, personnel for this flight would not have been notified in advance.

Photo of Charlie O'ConnorCharlie O'Connor (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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Question 94: To ask the Minister for Defence if a decision has been made as to the future participation by Ireland in the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina; if it is intended to keep Irish troops there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17651/09]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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The EU operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Operation "Althea" - was established in December 2004, under the authority of UN Security Council Resolution 1575 of 22 November 2004, to replace the NATO-led Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR). On 20 November 2008, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1845 (2008) renewing EUFOR's mandate for a further period of 12 months. The Defence Forces have participated in EUFOR since December 2004, having previously been a participant in SFOR since 1997. Currently, a total of 44 Defence Forces personnel are serving with the EU-led operation.

Following on from the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) meeting on 10 November 2008, which I attended, the EU-led Operation "ALTHEA" in Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected to change from its current configuration of some 2,200 troops, to a support and training operation. This transition is now expected to commence after the next meeting of the Peace Implementation Council in June 2009 and should take approximately six (6) months to complete. Ireland currently has Government approval to continue to provide a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force for service with this mission in its current configuration up to 31 December 2009, subject to renewal of UN authority for the mission beyond 20 November 2009 to 31 December 2009. Participation by the Defence Forces in the EU follow-on mission is not under consideration.

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