Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Equipment

Paul Donnelly (Dublin West, Sinn Fein)
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368. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the amount that the Defence Forces spent on purchasing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence jackets for the Permanent Defence Forces in 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form. [44406/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Under the Framework for Major Emergency Management the Defence Forces can be tasked in aid of Civil Power to provide operational support in a response to a national chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incident in order to mark, cordon, monitor, measure, decontaminate, retrieve and dispose of any CBRN devices and matter so found. Additionally, the Defence Forces in the context of overseas deployments may be required to operate in CBRN environments.

To that end a stock of CBRN suits to enable this capability is maintained by the Defence Forces. The existing stock was last acquired in 2006 and is now falling due for replacement. There was no expenditure in 2019 and to date in 2020.

The necessity to replace the stock has been identified as a priority acquisition under the Equipment Development Plan (EDP)process. Planning is underway for a competition to acquire new CBRN suits. Extensive subject matter research has been undertaken by the Ordnance Corps and a rigorous specification has been developed to ensure that the replacement suits provide the best possible protection levels for Defence Force personnel dealing with CBRN events.

A Prior Information Notice (PIN), which is the precursor to the competitive process, is scheduled to be published on the e-Tenders platform in Q1 2021, with a view to a competition being rolled out in Q4 2021 to facilitate a phased purchase program commencing in 2022. I am satisfied that, with this new planned acquisition the Defence Forces will continue to have the necessary modern and effective range of CBRN suits available to them in order to fulfil all roles assigned to them by Government.

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