770. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if director medical branch instruction number 52 amendment number 1 of 24 August 2016 is still relied upon by the Defence Forces for vaccinations and other preparations for overseas deployments. (Question 53529/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Medical Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Military Authorities have advised me that Director Medical Branch (DMB) Instruction No. 52 ‘Vaccinations And Other Preparations For Overseas Deployments’ Amendment No. 1 dated 24 August 2016 is still current and used for reference for overseas deployments. 
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771. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the Acts, or parts of Acts, awaiting commencement within his area of statutory responsibility; the reason for the delay in the commencement of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53565/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Commencement of Legislation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): There are no Acts, or parts of Acts, coming under the responsibility of the Department of Defence awaiting commencement.
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772. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the most up to date figures for the strength of the Permanent Defence Force with regard to all three services and all ranks; the gender breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54050/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 772 and 774 together. 
As of the 31st October, 2017 (the latest date for which figures are available), the whole time equivalent strength of the Defence Forces was as follows: 
 Service Total Personnel Female Personnel Army 7,417 496 Naval Service 1,058 74 Air Corps 744 34 


To return to, and maintain, the agreed strength levels, significant targeted recruitment...

773. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the most up to date figures for the strength of the Reserve Defence Force with regard to all three services and all ranks; the gender breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54051/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Reserve Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Numbers 773 and 775 together. 
As of 31 October 2017 (the latest date for which figures are available), the effective strength of the Reserve Defence Force was as follows: 
 Service Total Effective Personnel Female Personnel Army Reserve 1,733 240 Naval Service Reserve 123 19 


I am aware that there is a shortfall between these figures and those of the establishment, whic...

774. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of additional recruits the Permanent Defence Force has recruited in 2017 with regard to all three services; the gender breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54052/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 772 and 774 together. 
As of the 31st October, 2017 (the latest date for which figures are available), the whole time equivalent strength of the Defence Forces was as follows: 
 Service Total Personnel Female Personnel Army 7,417 496 Naval Service 1,058 74 Air Corps 744 34 


To return to, and maintain, the agreed strength levels, significant targeted recruitment...

775. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of additional recruits the Reserve Defence Force has taken on in 2017 with regard to all services; the gender breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54053/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Reserve Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Numbers 773 and 775 together. 
As of 31 October 2017 (the latest date for which figures are available), the effective strength of the Reserve Defence Force was as follows: 
 Service Total Effective Personnel Female Personnel Army Reserve 1,733 240 Naval Service Reserve 123 19 


I am aware that there is a shortfall between these figures and those of the establishment, whic...

776. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of suspect devices that the Defence Forces disposal unit has dealt with in 2017, by county, in tabular from. (Question 54054/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Department of Justice and Equality and An Garda Síochána have primary responsibility for the internal security of the State. Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper on Defence is the provision of Aid to the Civil Power which, in practice, means to assist An Garda Síochána when requested to do so. The Defence Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams respond when a request for assistance is m...

777. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of days spent at sea by members of the Naval Service Reserve in 2016 and 2017. (Question 54055/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The number of days spent at sea by members of the Naval Service Reserve in 2016 and 2017 is as follows: 
 Year Sea Days 2016 150 days 2017 167 days (to date) 
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778. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the use his Department has made of the Government jet since coming into office, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54193/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Travel)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 778 and 779 together.
Information in relation to Ministerial Air Transport is available publically via a link entitled Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) on the Department of Defence homepage at www.defence.ie . This information is updated on a monthly basis. 
The use of any Air Corps aircraft for Ministerial transport is subject to the authorisation of An Taoiseach. 
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779. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the use his Department has made of the Government jet in each of the years March 2011 to February 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54209/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Travel)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 778 and 779 together.
Information in relation to Ministerial Air Transport is available publically via a link entitled Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) on the Department of Defence homepage at www.defence.ie . This information is updated on a monthly basis. 
The use of any Air Corps aircraft for Ministerial transport is subject to the authorisation of An Taoiseach. 
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780. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the photography costs for his Department in each year since March 2011 inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the list of occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used, in tabular form; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54225/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The total costs for photography paid by the Department in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 to date is set out in the table below:- 
 2011 Maxwell Photography €393.25 2012 Fennell Photography €116.85 2013 Maxwell Photography €17.22 2014 Maxwell Photography €713.40 2017 Maxwell Photography €590.40 


The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, following an EU-level advertised procur...

781. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the use of external public relations firms employed by his Department in each year since March 2011; the list of uses of the external public relations firm; the internal Department policy with regard to employing external groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54241/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Public Relations Contracts Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My Department has not incurred any expenditure on external public relations firms since March 2011. 
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782. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the external consultant reports commissioned by his Department since March 2011; the costs per report; the company involved; the title of the report; and the publication date, in tabular form. (Question 54257/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Contracts Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The information requested by the Deputy in relation to external consultant reports commissioned by my Department since March 2011 is set out in the table below. 
 Report Cost Date of Commission Company Publication Date An independent review of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) fatalities in 1989 €51,660 19 April 2011 Mr. Frank Callanan, S.C. 19 September 2011 Research on vessels linked...

783. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the level of expenditure by his Department from 1 January 2017 to date in 2017 on advertising of Government information campaigns published specifically in national and regional newspapers in addition to all online advertising for all such Government information campaigns; the name for each such information campaign to which this expenditure related; the cost of each, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54273/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Advertising Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 783 and 784 together. 
The total expenditure to date in 2017 by the Department of Defence for photography, advertising and website development is set out in the tables below. There was no expenditure in relation to communications advice, public relations and media training and preparation in 2017. 
In relation to expenditure in these areas for the Defence Forces; it was not possible to collate...

784. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the level of expenditure by his Department or organisations under the aegis of his Department from 1 January 2017 to date in 2017 on photography, advertising, communications advice, public relations, website development, media interview training and preparation; the events, campaigns or policies to which this expenditure related; the company or person to which such payments were made, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54289/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Advertising Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 783 and 784 together. 
The total expenditure to date in 2017 by the Department of Defence for photography, advertising and website development is set out in the tables below. There was no expenditure in relation to communications advice, public relations and media training and preparation in 2017. 
In relation to expenditure in these areas for the Defence Forces; it was not possible to collate...

285. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a new recruitment drive for the Naval Service will occur in early 2018. (Question 53358/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government is committed to maintaining the stabilised strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service.
The manpower requirements of the Permanent Defence Force are monitored on an ongoing basis in accordance with the operational requirements of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. As there has always been a relatively large turnover of personnel i...

42. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of discussions he has had with Defence Forces representative organisations on the issue of mandatory retirement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52898/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Retirement Scheme)

Deputy Lisa Chambers: My first question is to ask the Minister of State to give an update to the House on any discussions he has had with the Defence Forces representative organisations on the issue of mandatory retirement, and if he will make a statement on the matter.
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43. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps taken by his Department to address the pay and conditions of the Defence Forces personnel as highlighted by a group (details supplied) in a recent protest. (Question 53034/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: This question is to ascertain whether the Minister of State has taken any steps to address the poor terms and conditions experienced by members of the Defence Forces, as highlighted a fortnight ago by the Wives and Partners of the Defence Forces, WPDF, organisation when it organised a 24-hour vigil outside Leinster House on Wednesday, 29 November.
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44. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces units in which the establishment strength in station for officers is running at less than 50% for November 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52899/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Deputy Lisa Chambers: My question is on numbers in respect of the establishment strength in station for officers where they are running at less than 50%.
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45. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the timeframe for Defence Forces pay restoration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53155/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Deputy Brendan Ryan: For too long, members of the Defence Forces have been treated like second-class citizens in the context of our public service workers. The Defence Forces have always been our last line in service provision. If the weather is too bad for commuting, the Army will be called in. In times past, the Army even cleared rubbish off our streets when industrial action led to environmental damage. The Defence Forces have never been treated on par with the rest of the public sector. ...

46. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the way in which he plans to arrest the ongoing decline in membership of the Reserve Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52897/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Reserve)

Deputy Lisa Chambers: How does the Minister of State propose to arrest the ongoing decline in the membership of the Reserve Defence Forces and will he make a statement in that regard, given that the membership is constantly decreasing and there is no reasonable prospect of any increases in the near future?
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47. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to make provisions for post-2013 Defence Forces members who are mandatorily retired at 58 years of age and who are not eligible to receive a contributory State pension until 66 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52735/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Pensions)

Deputy Clare Daly: There has correctly been much talk recently about the pay and conditions of Defence Forces personnel, but I wish to raise the issue of the Defence Forces pension system, which is a total mess. Rules which have been changed over the austerity years are simply having a brutal impact on retired members. Those who entered the Defence Forces as officers from 2013 and who will have no choice but to retire at 58 or 60, will face the loss of the value of their contributory pensions....

48. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the contingency plans in place to reopen Army barracks that were closed along the Border; his plans to reverse the decline in the Defence Forces to mitigate against increased smuggling activity; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that only two Army barracks remain near the border, at Bundoran and Dundalk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52727/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Army Barracks)

Deputy Declan Breathnach: The roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper on Defence include the provision of aid to the civil power, that is, providing assistance and support to the Garda Síochána when requested to do so, and assisting the Revenue Commissioners in the carrying out of their duties. We in Louth are fortunate to have Aiken Barracks and Gormanston Camp, but many of the Border counties have been denuded of Army barracks. My question refers to the need to have a Defence...

49. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which the strength of the Defence Forces continues to be maintained and-or increased; the degree to which gender balance continues to be observed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52919/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: My question relates to the current and expected strength of the Defence Forces in all grades of the Army, Naval Service and the Air Corps, and the degree to which the gender balance continues to be maintained.
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50. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if, in the event that Ireland becomes a signatory to the permanent structured co-operation framework, PESCO, a request from his Department for an increased budget will be necessary to fund the increase in defence spending envisaged by the mechanism and the associated European Defence Fund. (Question 52736/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Expenditure)

(Deputy Paul Kehoe): I am pleased to inform the House that yesterday, at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, Ireland joined the other 24 EU partners in collectively launching PESCO. Joining PESCO does not involve an additional cost to the Exchequer. Additional costs may arise in respect of participation in specific PESCO projects similar to the case where the Defence Forces participate in European Defence Agency projects. As the projects will relate to the ongoing development of ...