Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Defence
Irish Territorial Waters
366. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the information his Department or the Defence Forces, including the Air Corps and Naval Service, hold on the incursion into or close to Irish waters and the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone, and territorial waters of vessels, crafts, including submarine vessels belonging to naval services of other nations, during the period 1 April to 31 October 2018; if he will provide such information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44142/20]
Neither my Department nor the Defence Forces have any record of maritime vessels, crafts or submarine vessels belonging to naval services of other nations incurring into Irish Territorial Waters during the period 01 April - 31 October 2018.
With regard to Ireland's EEZ, it is not unusual for naval ships of other States to carry out training exercises within this area. This would normally involve prior notification to Irish Authorities where an exercise was taking place close to our Territorial Waters but this is not a requirement. Other nation's naval ships would be within their rights to carry out a training exercise in our EEZ or to traverse the Irish EEZ.
367. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the information his Department or the Defence Forces hold on the widely reported operations of a vessel (details supplied) in or around 27 July 2020 in Irish waters; if he will provide such information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44143/20]
My Department is aware of a UK naval ship conducting an exercise off the North West coast of Donegal in July. The location where the Royal Navy ship was conducting training exercises was within the Irish EEZ. However the ship did not enter into Irish territorial waters. This is not in any way an infringement of our national territory.
It is not unusual for naval ships of other States, including the UK, to carry out a training exercise within the Irish EEZ. Whether this was a UK, Spanish, French or other naval ship they would be within their rights to carry out a training exercise.
While advance notice from the UK authorities about the exercise would have been welcome, this was not a requirement and the UK authorities have not done anything out of the ordinary in this instance.