24. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of the purchase of new aircraft for the Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20292/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government.
The White Paper on Defence provides for the replacement of the current Cessna fleet with three larger aircraft which will be equipped for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acq...

7. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the position regarding the replacement of Air Corps Cessna aircraft; the position regarding the replacement of CASA maritime patrol aircraft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12152/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
The White Paper provides for the replacement of the current Cessna fleet with three larger aircraft which will be equipped for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition a...

575. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the aircraft throughout the Air Corps are constantly assessed for upgrading or replacement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53187/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out on the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are being considered in the context of the lifetime ...

734. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the details of the aircraft fleet replacement programme for the Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49904/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out on the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps are being considered in the context of the lifetime ...

531. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason he indicated (details supplied) further to the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 1383 of 7 November 2017, when the question related to the current gloves being used by Air Corps personnel for protection against toxic chemical exposure was found to have been inadequate and if there was an oversight on procurement of health and safety personal protective equipment; and if he now will answer the question posed. (Question 48165/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Deputy will appreciate that it would be wholly inappropriate for me to comment in respect of any matters relating to ongoing litigation and I deemed the wording of his previous question to be such as to potentially encroach into the remit of the Courts in relation to the litigation referred to in my reply. 
However, I wish to assure the Deputy that I have been advised by the Military Authorities that Air Corps personnel ar...

439. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the amount of funding necessary to replace or upgrade aircraft within the Air Corps; if new aircraft will be purchased in 2018; the number of aircraft deployed with the Air Corps; the age of each aircraft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44993/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out on the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps are being considered in the context of the lifetime o...

282. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to fund the replacement of Cessna 172H aircraft for the Air Corps which are over 45 years old; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44519/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out on the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps are being considered in the context of the lifetime o...

50. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the support the Air Corps has been able to provide when assisting emergency services dealing with serious gorse and forest fires; the type of equipment available to the Air Corps when attempting to extinguish such fires; and his plans to upgrade or modify its existing air fleet in order that it is better equipped to assist in tackling out-of-control fires in view of the damage caused by gorse and forest fires in recent weeks. (Question 23195/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The White Paper on Defence (2015) outlines the fact that Defence Forces’ capabilities are primarily developed for security purposes and this remains the key capability driver. In this context, the White Paper sets out the investment priorities for the Air Corps. A unique feature of Ireland’s defence policy is the extent to which these capabilities are used towards other ends.
The Deputy will appreciate that while the Defence F...

65. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his Department investigated claims that students from the University of Limerick were exposed to hazardous chemicals and organic solvents during the course of their work placement at Casement Aerodrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23305/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Deputy may be aware that I received correspondence on 26 April 2017 which was also sent to a number of other Oireachtas members. There was a reference to University of Limerick students in that correspondence but without any specific detail in relation to the students.
I am arranging for the elements of the correspondence which relate to previous protected disclosures concerning health and safety issues in the Air Corps to ...

290. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he is satisfied that all equipment available to the Air Corps, including aircraft and communications technology, is adequately upgraded and updated in accordance with international best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23434/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces, including the Air Corps, is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable them to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
Future equipment priorities for the Air Corps are being considered in the context of the lifetime of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability developm...

403. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the State’s elementary daytime interdiction capability against slow to moderate speed targets now no longer exists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18869/17 asked on 13 Apr 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As stated in the White Paper on Defence (2015) the Air Corps’ existing Pilatus PC9 aircraft provide a very limited air to air and air to ground capacity. A decision was made in 2016 to replace a PC-9M aircraft which was written off following a fatal crash in 2009. The replacement PC-9M aircraft, scheduled for delivery this year from Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland at a cost of €5m plus VAT, will bring the fleet up to 8 and wil...

688. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the detail of the 2017 opening stock figure, current stock figure, cumulative new stock figure to date in 2017 and cumulative issued stock figure in 2017 for chemical hazard PPE respirators for technical personnel at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel; and if he will exclude military grade respirators used for military training purposes. (Question 16143/17 asked on 04 Apr 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 688, 689 and 691 together.
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to compile the information requested in the time available. My officials are working with the military authorities to obtain the information which will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.
 ...

689. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the detail of the 2016 opening stock figure, closing stock figure, cumulative new stock figure and cumulative issued stock figure for disposable coveralls at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel. (Question 16144/17 asked on 04 Apr 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 688, 689 and 691 together.
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to compile the information requested in the time available. My officials are working with the military authorities to obtain the information which will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.
 ...

691. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the testing and selection criteria for disposable overalls in use by the Air Corps to insure they offer personnel adequate protection from the toxic chemicals in use. (Question 16146/17 asked on 04 Apr 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 688, 689 and 691 together.
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to compile the information requested in the time available. My officials are working with the military authorities to obtain the information which will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.
 ...

207. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the type of aircraft which the Defence Forces plan to purchase in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15551/17 asked on 29 Mar 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces, including the Air Corps, is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable them to carry out their roles as assigned by Government.
Future equipment priorities for the Air Corps are being considered in the context of the lifetime of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability developmen...

1325. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to equip the Air Corps with fighter jets that are capable of defending Irish airspace; and if he has considered leasing options similar to the Czech-Swedish contract for aircraft (details supplied). (Question 12821/17 asked on 21 Mar 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The principal aim over the lifetime of the White Paper on Defence will be to ensure that the Air Corps can continue to undertake required military operations and to deliver a broad range of air supports to other Government Departments and agencies in line with Memoranda of Understanding and Service Level Agreements. 
The future equipment priorities for the Air Corps as set out in the White Paper recognises that there are several...

44. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason the military authorities did not act on foot of the first Health and Safety Authority report into the handling of dangerous and carcinogenic materials by Air Corps personnel without the appropriate protective clothing, adequate training or basic equipment, instead of waiting for the final report, thus prolonging the exposure of personnel at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel. (Question 7298/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: We dealt earlier today with the questions on what has occurred for many decades in Baldonnel Aerodrome. I ask once again that the Minister of State take the required action to ensure protective clothing is provided and every single step is taken to ensure the current serving members of the Air Corps are protected.
 ...

311. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which all military aircraft, fixed wing and helicopters remain available and in operational order to the Air Corps in the event of emergency and search and rescue operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7758/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 311 and 313 together. My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
Defence Forces personnel and equipment are available for deployment in response to any security and other emergencies...

313. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which all military vessels and equipment remain ready and in operational order in the event of emergency or rescue operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7760/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 311 and 313 together. My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
Defence Forces personnel and equipment are available for deployment in response to any security and other emergencies...

45. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to enhance the Air Corps capability by upgrading or replacing the current fleet of PC9s with jet aircraft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33799/16 asked on 09 Nov 2016 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe) (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Special Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces, including the availability of specialised equipment for the Air Corps, is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out on the White Paper on Defence.
In respect of the Air Corps, the pr...

209. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if adequate updating and replacement of military aircraft is ongoing with particular reference to the needs for the Air Corps to meet best international standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34024/16 asked on 09 Nov 2016 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out on the White Paper on Defence.
In that regard, the acquisition of new equipment and equipment upgrades for the Defence Forces remains a clear focu...

241. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Defence his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the replacement of aircraft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6320/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The equipment priorities for the Air Corps will be considered in the context of the lifetime of the recently published White Paper. The White Paper recognises that there are several new and or enhanced platforms to be procured for the Air Corps. 
This will include the replacement of the Cessna fleet with three larger aircraft suitably equipped for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance tasks. The preparatory work for the t...

449. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Defence if he will investigate the age of each aircraft within the Air Corps; when each aircraft is next due to be replaced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1505/16 asked on 13 Jan 2016 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): There are 26 aircraft in the Air Corps fleet, 16 of which are fixed wing and 10 of which are helicopters. The age of each aircraft in the fleet is as follows: 
 Aircraft Type – Fixed Wing Number in Service Age Year Delivered Cessna 5 43 years 1972 Casa 2 21 years 1994 Defender ** 1 18 years 1997 Learjet 1 12 years 2003 Pilatus 7 11 years 2004 Total 16 

 Aircraft Type - Helicopters Num...

295. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the extent to which the Air Corps is adequately equipped to detect and intercept any activity posing a threat to national security; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41774/15 asked on 24 Nov 2015 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Air Corps is not tasked or equipped to monitor and communicate with aircraft overflying Irish airspace. However, on a routine basis the Air Corps monitors and communicates with foreign military aircraft where such aircraft are flying in the airspace in the vicinity of Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, where air traffic control is provided by the Defence Forces.
The Government’s recently published White Paper on Defence (2015) provides for periodic u...

125. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel that can be transferred by an individual Air Corps helicopter. (Question 41102/15 asked on 19 Nov 2015 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Air Corps’ fleet consists of eight general purpose helicopters comprising six Agusta Westland AW139 and two Eurocopter EC135 aircraft. Each AW139 helicopter is certified to carry a maximum of 14 personnel including crew. Each EC135 helicopter is certified to carry a maximum of seven personnel including crew.
 ...