132. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he intends to hold a new recruitment drive for the Defence Forces in 2014. (Question 53231/13 asked on 11 Dec 2013 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 141 together. 
 I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force, at 31 October 2013, the latest date for which details are available, was 9,222 comprising 7,422 Army, 778 Air Corps and 1,022 Naval Service personnel. 
General Service recruitment recommenced in September 2013, from the existing competition panels from which, as of 2 December, there has been an intake of 3...

15. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence his views on recent reports that Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called on European countries to step up efforts towards co-operation on defence matters. (Question 46641/13 asked on 06 Nov 2013 - Defence Forces Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): I understand that Secretary General Rasmussen referenced the need for greater cooperation among EU member States when he addressed an Inter-parliamentary Conference hosted by the Lithuanian Presidency in Vilnius on the 6th September 2013. At the conference, he stated that if European countries are to have access to the full spectrum of capabilities and forces they require for crisis management operations, they must cooperate more closely. In this reg...

29. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he will report to the Dáil on the deployment of the 43rd infantry group of the Irish Defence Forces in the Golan Heights in Syria; the missions the Irish Defence Forces have been involved in to date in Syria; and the date on which it is expected that those members of the Defence Forces will return home. (Question 46640/13 asked on 06 Nov 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): I propose to take Questions Nos. 17, 23 and 29 together.
I addressed the question of Defence Forces participation in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights in Syria, in answering the priority PQ earlier. 
The Irish 43rd Infantry Company currently serving with UNDOF deployed to the mission area on 28 September 2013 and achieved full operational capability on 02 October 2013. Their role includes the provision of a Qu...

16. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence the number of incidents for which the services of the Army bomb disposal unit were required in the years 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; and if he will provide examples of incidents that the unit have dealt with in the first half of this year. (Question 28709/13 asked on 18 Jun 2013 - Defence Forces Operations)

Deputy Alan Shatter: The primary responsibility for the maintenance of law and order rests with An Garda Síochána. The Defence Forces, pursuant to the role of rendering aid to the civil power, assist An Garda Síochána when requested. The explosive ordnance disposal, EOD, teams respond when a request is made by An Garda Síochána for assistance in dealing with a suspect device or for the removal of old ordnance. The number of times that the EOD teams have been deployed in the years 2011, 2012 a...

48. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he is satisfied with the continued use of the anti-malarial drug lariam for members of the Defence Forces serving in certain locations overseas in view of numerous reports of the drug’s adverse effects on the mental well-being of some persons who have taken the drug, including the report contained in the “Prime Time Investigates” programme that was broadcast on Wednesday, 29 May 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28708/13 asked on 18 Jun 2013 - Defence Forces Medicinal Products)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 48 together.
Malaria is a serious disease that kills approximately 1 million people per year in sub-Saharan Africa alone. It is a serious threat to any military force operating in the area. The anti-malaria regime in place in the Defence Forces – including the use of Lariam – has worked. In the decade of deployment to sub-Saharan Africa by the Defence Forces, not a single member of the Defence Forces has died ...

81. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he is preparing to send members of the Defence Forces to serve in an UN peacekeeping in Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21128/13 asked on 07 May 2013 - Defence Forces UN Missions)

Deputy Alan Shatter: I propose to answer Questions Nos. 77, 81, 83, 87 and 97 together.
I addressed the question of possible Defence Forces’ participation in the newly established United Nations’ multidimensional integrated stabilisation mission in Mali in my reply to a priority question.
On 17 January 2013, the Council of the European Union established the EU training mission, EUTM Mali, which was formally launched by the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 18 February 2013. Its initial mandate is t...

109. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the recent meeting on maritime security and surveillance; if he is considering any new measures to enhance our maritime security and surveillance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21127/13 asked on 07 May 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): I propose to take Questions Nos. 98,100 and 109 together. 
A Seminar titled “Challenges and Opportunities in Maritime Security and Surveillance for Effective Governance and Innovation in the EU’s Maritime Domain” was hosted in April. High level representatives from the European Commission, European External Action Service, the European Defence Agency, NATO and national and international academics and practitioners, made presentations at the Seminar....

13. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence his views on recent comments by the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on his visit to Dublin when he stated that he hoped that the Irish Defence Forces would participate or cooperate in NATO led projects and missions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13153/13 asked on 14 Mar 2013 - Overseas Missions)

(Deputy Fergus O’Dowd): The Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visited Dublin on 12 and 13 February this year. He did so at the invitation of the EU High Representative and the Minister, Deputy Shatter, to participate in the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers, which was held at Dublin Castle, as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the EU Council 2013. During his visit Mr. Rasmussen expressed his appreciation for the co-operation NATO has had with Ireland since we joined th...

21. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the deployment of a number of Irish troops in a joint mission with the British Army personnel on a 500 strong EU military training mission to Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13152/13 asked on 14 Mar 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 to 8, inclusive, 18 and 21 together.
On 26 February 2013, the Government approved the deployment of approximately eight members of the Permanent Defence Force to the EU training mission in Mali, which has been authorised by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 2071 (2012), to provide military training to the Malian armed forces.
The Irish personnel to be deployed in Mali have completed their pre-deployment training. The...

14. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the possibility of Irish Defence Forces personnel being sent to Mali as part of any EU led peace mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6085/13 asked on 07 Feb 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Alan Shatter: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 10, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 36 together, all of which relate to Mali.
 ...

34. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the participation of Irish Defence Forces personnel in the NATO led UN mandated operation in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6084/13 asked on 07 Feb 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): I propose to take Questions Nos. 17, 34 and 147 together. 
 On 20 December 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1386 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorising the establishment of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. On 9 October 2012, the UN Security Council extended ISAF’s mandate for a further year until October 2013.Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated mission in Afghanist...

187. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he has received a request from the EU for Irish soldiers to participate in the EU training mission in Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6310/13 asked on 06 Feb 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): On 17 January 2013, the Council of the European Union established the European Union Training Mission (EUTM Mali), which will provide military training and advice to the Malian Armed Forces to improve their military capacity and their effectiveness in guaranteeing the country’s territorial integrity. Training will also be provided in international humanitarian law, the protection of civilians and human rights. It is envisaged that the training componen...