Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Operations
32. To ask the Minister for Defence if the Defence Forces have been asked to undertake any duties in respect of the forthcoming G8 summit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29105/13]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 32, 38 and 39 together.
In this jurisdiction, security arrangements for the G8 Summit which is currently taking place in Co. Fermanagh are primarily the responsibility of An Garda Síochána. However, one of the roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper on Defence (2000) is to provide Aid to the Civil Power (ATCP) which, in practice, means to assist An Garda Síochána when requested to do so.
Arising from liaison with An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces have a number of requested assets available on stand-by to support An Garda Síochána if required.These include Explosive Ordnance Disposal Teams and Engineer Specialised Search Teams along with Air Corps and Naval Service support.
Until the security operation has been fully wound down, the final costs of the specific contribution by the Defence Forces cannot be confirmed.Such costs are likely to include travel and subsistence and the payment of allowances for those personnel directly involved in the security operation.
No plans have been made to cancel Defence Forces leave during the period of the G8 Summit, however the individual General Officers Commanding have the right to cancel or restrict leave in exceptional operational circumstances.
33. To ask the Minister for Defence the extent to which the Defence Forces Directorate of Intelligence cooperates with intelligence agencies in other countries to conduct remote electronic surveillance; if his attention has been drawn to any instances of such surveillance being conducted upon the communications of Irish citizens here by foreign intelligence agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29128/13]
The Defence Forces Intelligence Branch provide regular assessments, reports and briefings to the Chief of Staff, the Minister for Defence and the Secretary General of the Department of Defence, relating to internal or external threats to the security of the State and to national interests. Intelligence led liaison is conducted between Intelligence Branch and national authorities in other countries to counter any threat to the security of the State. The Intelligence Branch also maintains a very close and effective working relationship with their counterparts in An Garda Síochána.
The Defence Forces adheres to the provisions of all legislation regulating the conduct of intelligence gathering. The Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act, 1993 does provide the Defence Forces with the authority to conduct intelligence led operations involving surveillance, electronic communications and stored electronic information in order to safeguard and maintain the security of the State. The Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009 also provides for surveillance to be conducted by the Defence Forces in order to safeguard the security of the State.
These Acts also provide a system of judicial supervision with reports to be submitted to An Taoiseach by designated judges who are appointed by the President of the High Court to review the conduct of certain sections of the Acts. The relevant legislation further provides that a copy of such reports is laid before each House of the Oireachtas.
In all cases, the capabilities provided to the Defence Forces are the subject of both Ministerial and Judicial oversight and to the restrictions and safeguards as outlined in the legislation.