564. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the implications for expenditure in his Department over the coming years if Ireland joins PESCO; his plans to ensure a full public debate on the matter before the decision is made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52893/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Deputy will be aware that the allocations for defence already announced in the budget, which were based on the commitments set out in the White Paper on Defence, means that Ireland’s Defence expenditure will increase in real terms over the coming three years. 
While some additional costs may arise in respect of participation in specific PESCO Project(s) similar to the case where the Defence Forces participate in EDA Project...

80. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the State’s potential role in the EU’s new permanent structured co-operation mechanism; and the implications of same for Irish neutrality. (Question 52733/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following the launch of PESCO yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Council, focus will now centre on the participation in potential PESCO projects.
The work on elaborating the details of these project proposals and potential participants is currently ongoing at EU level and Ireland is playing its full part in those deliberations. The types of projects at which we are considering participating in, include:
- Upgrade of Maritime Surv...

78. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the permanent structured co-operation from an operational point of view and Ireland’s commitment to future operations. (Question 10350/18 asked on 28 Feb 2018 - Defence Forces Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Ireland has always strongly supported the development of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the EU’s capacity to respond to international crises in support of the United Nations. We have participated in all aspects of the CSDP since it was established and are one of the leading contributors to CSDP Operations, both military and civil. 
Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is a further initiative in stren...

109. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the increased defence expenditure committed to by Ireland under PESCO has been factored into the State’s capacity to fund longer-term projects, for example, the capital plan 2016 to 2021; and if that increased defence expenditure will necessitate cuts to long-term projects such as the capital plan. (Question 54589/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

111. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the knock-on effects of increased defence expenditure committed to by Ireland under PESCO on other expenditure, for example, health, education and housing have been examined; and the Government’s plan to ensure that no cuts under other expenditure headings will be necessitated by the commitment to increase defence spending. (Question 54591/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

110. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the increased defence expenditure committed to by Ireland under PESCO has been factored into the State’s capacity to fund longer-term projects, for example, public sector pay increases; and if that increased expenditure will necessitate cuts to, or rowing back on, long-term projects such as public sector pay increases. (Question 54590/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

112. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the detail of the Government’s plans to raise the revenue necessary to finance the increased defence expenditure committed to by Ireland under PESCO without cutting other areas of public expenditure. (Question 54592/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

122. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will provide a copy of the PESCO agreement, ancillary documentation and documents relevant to the primary agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54996/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, and 122 together.
Expenditure Allocations for all Departments, both current (2018-2020) and capital (2018-2021), were published as part of the Budget documentation.  It is expected that any investment or expenditure on defence, including that arising from Ireland’s participation in PESCO, will be met from within these allocations, in the same way as current investment in ED...

498. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the criteria or commitments he deems appropriate for Ireland to make within Permanent Structured Co-operation; and if it is planned that Ireland will participate fully within this new structure. (Question 33135/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - European Defence Agency)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The PESCO criteria set out in Articles 1 and 2 of Protocol 10 annexed to the Lisbon Treaty, outlines the general guidance on participation in PESCO. Member States have to be both willing and able to contribute forces to the EU, participate in equipment programmes and European Defence Agency (EDA) activities, participate in EU Battlegroups, invest in defence equipment, improve interoperability and enhance their military capabilit...

78. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the considerations and planning his Department has taken with regard to Ireland’s imminent joining of PESCO; if the defence budget for 2018, 2019 and 2020 will now increase year on year due to the commitments required of PESCO membership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52965/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Consideration is currently being given to the potential PESCO projects in which Ireland will participate. The work on elaborating the details of these project proposals and potential participants is currently ongoing at EU level and Ireland is playing its full part in those deliberations.
While some additional costs may arise in respect of participation in specific PESCO Project(s) similar to the case where the Defence Forces p...

5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the meetings he has had with European counterparts in respect of PESCO; the timeline for Irish participation in PESCO projects; and the way in which he plans to inform Dáil Éireann on the progress of and details relating to such projects. (Question 20744/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: I am interested in knowing the detail of how Ireland is operating within PESCO. I am particularly interested in knowing how we, as a Dáil, can get transparency and openness regarding every aspect of the agreement, specific projects, budget and Council meetings and how we will integrate with NATO. I am keen that the Minister of State should set out the means by which Deputies can get clarity regarding what is happening. We regularly hear him refer to Ireland’s neutrality but...

23. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if discussions took place prior to Ireland joining PESCO between his Department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Attorney General regarding the constitutionality of Ireland’s involvement in PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3363/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

31. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the increase in defence expenditure that is envisaged as part of Ireland’s obligations following the joining of Permanent Structured Co-operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3353/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

63. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the scale of Ireland’s involvement in the European Union Training Mission Competence Centre and Upgrade of Maritime Surveillance to be developed under PESCO and which were formally adopted by the EU Council on 1 March 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12883/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security. 
Ireland is a strong proponent of the important...

21. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when he plans to publish Ireland’s national implementation plan for Permanent Structured Co-operation; if this plan will be voted on in Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3354/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

24. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the impact of increased defence spending as a result of the decision to join PESCO, particularly in relation to public services. (Question 3176/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

9. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Ireland’s triple-lock will apply to all joint military development or procurement initiatives which Ireland undertakes with other countries under PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3133/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

37. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the triple-lock will be used to ensure that multi-country military procurement which Ireland participates in or financially contributes to under PESCO is approved by the Cabinet, agreed by Dáil Éireann and subject to a UN mandate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3134/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

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 ...

156. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the discussions or interactions he has had with other Departments and State agencies in respect of PESCO and Ireland’s access to research and development and project funding; and the steps being taken to apply for such funding. (Question 13044/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 and 156 together.
While PESCO does not provide for direct funding to Member States or to companies established in Member States, some capability development projects developed under PESCO may be eligible for funding from the European Defence Fund, in particular from the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). 
The text of the proposed Regulation to establish the EDIDP was n...

62. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the benefits for Ireland of the decision to sign up for PESCO; the impact this will have for members of the Defence Forces in County Kildare and nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52920/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security.
Ireland is a strong proponent of the important ...

142. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the benefits for Ireland of the decision to sign up to PESCO; the impact this will have for members of the Defence Forces in County Kildare and nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3264/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security. 
Ireland is a strong proponent of the important...

155. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps that have and will be been taken to ensure that companies here have the full support of all relevant State agencies in particular Enterprise Ireland and the IDA in accessing PESCO projects (details supplied) and funding; and if Irish companies will be assured that they will not be placed at a competitive disadvantage or precluded from these opportunities. (Question 13043/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 and 156 together.
While PESCO does not provide for direct funding to Member States or to companies established in Member States, some capability development projects developed under PESCO may be eligible for funding from the European Defence Fund, in particular from the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). 
The text of the proposed Regulation to establish the EDIDP was n...

246. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the discussions at the EU Council meeting on PESCO. (Question 49076/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - European Council Meetings)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I presume that the Deputy is referring to the FAC Defence Council which took place in Brussels on 13 November last, where Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers discussed over a working lunch, developments in the security and defence area, including PESCO.
As the Deputy is aware, PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable countries to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly d...

39. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on Fine Gael MEPs who voted in favour of a European Parliament report requesting each member state to spend 2% of its GDP on defence; if such a proposal could be considered Government policy; the measures he has taken to ensure that the State’s contribution to the Athena funding mechanism will not be required to increase as common costs of EU missions rise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20218/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): With regard to defence spending, Government policy is defined within the parameters of our national budgetary process and role of Dáil Éireann. Within the EU, it is accepted that defence and security is a national competence, including national spending on defence and security. 
As part of Ireland’s participation in Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), Ireland has committed to regularly increase our defence budgets in real ...

74. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the process by which the Government decided to join PESCO. (Question 51717/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware, the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy was published in June 2016. The strategy sets the context and provides a guiding framework for the Union’s external action under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Strategy also identifies key security challenges facing the European Union within its neighbourhood and beyond, and commits to a global order based on international law with the U...

86. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the role of his Department and officials in PESCO; and if he will report on his discussions with his EU counterparts on PESCO. (Question 52884/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy was published in June 2016. The strategy sets the context and provides a guiding framework for the Union’s external action under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Strategy also identifies key security challenges facing the European Union within its neighbourhood and beyond, and commits to a global order based on international law with the United Nations at its cen...

19. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which he expects the Defence Forces to be in a position to avail of extra training and upgrading of facilities to best international level through PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3375/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security. 
Now that we are participating in PESCO, the focus for Ireland will be...

2094. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the timeframe for the implementation of the agreement that was reached in 2015 to allow an extension of the upper service limit of 50 years of age for chefs serving in the Defence Forces; and when similar arrangements will be put in place for other members of the Defence Forces presently forced to retire after 21 years service. (Question 37483/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Defence Forces Retirements)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 2090, 2091 and 2094 together.
Military life places unique physical and psychological demands on individuals and it is necessary that its members be physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations and to undertake their duties on deployment overseas.  To this end, it is vital the age and health profile of personnel be such as to ensure that operational capability...

2090. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the timeframe for implementing the agreement reached by PDFORRA and Defence Forces management for the discretionary extension of an additional two years service to the upper service limit of 50 years of age for members of the Defence Forces. (Question 37479/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Defence Forces Retirements)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 2090, 2091 and 2094 together.
Military life places unique physical and psychological demands on individuals and it is necessary that its members be physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations and to undertake their duties on deployment overseas.  To this end, it is vital the age and health profile of personnel be such as to ensure that operational capability...

2091. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to change the upper service limit of 50 years of age for privates and corporals (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37480/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Defence Forces Retirements)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 2090, 2091 and 2094 together.
Military life places unique physical and psychological demands on individuals and it is necessary that its members be physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations and to undertake their duties on deployment overseas.  To this end, it is vital the age and health profile of personnel be such as to ensure that operational capability...

276. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will review post 1994 contracts whereby those that have not made the rank of sergeant have no choice but to retire after 21 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22264/17 asked on 10 May 2017 - Defence Forces Contracts)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Military life places unique physical and psychological demands on individuals and it is necessary that its members be physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations and to undertake their duties on deployment overseas.  To this end, it is vital the age and health profile of personnel be such as to ensure that operational capability and effectiveness are not compromised in any way. 
The unsat...

398. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 127 of 9 June 2015, the estimated cost of restoring a three-brigade structure in the Permanent Defence Force. (Question 23622/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The current organisational structures of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) ensure that it can operate efficiently and effectively within a strength ceiling of 9,500 personnel. Within that strength ceiling , the return to the previous three Brigade structure would cause a range of inefficiencies arising from under-strength Units and an increased administrative burden. This would compromise the current operational effectiveness of the PDF imposing an u...

152. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the implications of Ireland’s recent endorsement of PESCO with its binding commitment to yearly increases in defence spending for wider international work on disarmament; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2956/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The decision by Ireland to participate in Permanent Structured Cooperation, approved by the Government on 21 November 2017 and endorsed by the Dail on 7 December 2017, in full accordance with the Defence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, has absolutely no implications for Ireland’s wider international work on disarmament.Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European...

647. Deputy James Browne asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to address the concerns surrounding the use of Lariam in the Defence Forces while on overseas missions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29499/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Defence Forces Medicinal Products)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Malaria is a serious disease and is a threat to any military force operating in areas where the disease is prevalent. There are three anti-malarial drugs in use by the Irish Defence Forces, namely Lariam (mefloquine), Malarone and Doxycycline. The choice of medication for overseas deployment, including the use of Lariam, is a medical decision made by Medical Officers in the Defence Forces, having regard to the specific circums...

16. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the way he proposes to improve gender balance in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25803/14 asked on 18 Jun 2014 - Defence Forces Personnel)

The Taoiseach: The Government is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities. While some progress has been made by the Military Authorities in addressing gaps between male and female participation in the Defence Forces, it is recognised that more work needs to be done to meet the gender target for recruitment of females of 20% which was set by the Military Authoritie...

66. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the details of commitments if Ireland signs up to the PESCO agreement in view of that agreement’s requirement to regularly increase the defence budget in real terms and to increasing the share of expenditure allocated to defence, research and technology with a view to nearing the 2% of total defence spending collective benchmark; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52967/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following the completion of national requirements, Ireland yesterday joined the other 24 EU partners in collectively launching PESCO at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels
In relation to the target of 2% of total defence spending on defence research and technology, this is a collective benchmark and applies to the combined expenditure of all PESCO participating member States. The benchmarks do not apply individually to Memb...

88. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence the number of females within the Defence Forces who were promoted in 2014 and to date in 2015, by rank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20878/15 asked on 27 May 2015 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities. Unlike many other national armed forces, the Defence Forces have no restrictions as regards the assignment of men or women to the full range of operational and administrative duties. All promotions and career courses are open on the basis of competence and capab...

49. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on concerns regarding the ongoing use of lariam as an anti-malarial medication for members of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32090/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Defence Forces Medicinal Products)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Deputy will be aware that this matter was the subject of discussion at a recent Private Member’s Motion in the Dáil on 28 th June last. As I indicated to the House, Malaria is a serious disease and is a threat to any military force operating in areas where the disease is prevalent. There are three anti-malarial drugs in use by the Irish Defence Forces, namely Lariam (mefloquine), Malarone and Doxycycline. The choice of me...

111. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the number of women promoted in the Defence Forces annually, in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7348/15 asked on 18 Feb 2015 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities. Unlike many other national armed forces, the Defence Forces have no restrictions as regards the assignment of men or women to the full range of operational and administrative duties. All promotions and career courses are open on the basis of competence and cap...

128. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there are proposals to participate in a cyber security project at EU level under PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15413/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Cyber Security Policy)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security. 
Ireland is a strong proponent of the important role the EU can play i...

107. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the way the numerical strength of Ireland’s Permanent Defence Force compares, on a per capita basis, with other neutral European Union member states. (Question 8391/15 asked on 25 Feb 2015 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The 2011 census figures show a population of 4,588,252. As of the 31st of January, 2015 the whole-time equivalent strength of the Permanent Defence Force stood at 9,244. This gives a per capita figure of 1 member of the Permanent Defence Force for every 496 individuals in State. 
My Department does not compile or maintain data in relation to the detailed composition of other armed forces and, as such, it is not possible to provide the information re...

29. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence his plans for enlisting more women into the Defence Forces in the years ahead (Question 5622/14 asked on 06 Feb 2014 - Gender Balance Issues)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 29 together.
The Government is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities. Significant progress has been made by the Military Authorities in addressing gaps between male and female participation in the Defence Forces, with an increase of 23% of female participation in the PDF since 20...

81. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Defence his views in relation to the issues raised regarding contract soldiers; if he will restructure their pay and conditions; if he has discussed the issues with the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24054/14 asked on 05 Jun 2014 - Defence Forces Personnel)

The Taoiseach: The terms and conditions of members of the Permanent Defence Force are dealt with in the context of the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme. The Scheme is comprised of Officials from the Department of Defence, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Military management and the Representative Associations.
The unsatisfactory age and fitness profile of the Permanent Defence Force was an issue of serious concern during the 1990’s and was the subject of severe criticism by a ser...

599. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the total number of women in the Defence Forces; the extent to which this number has fluctuated in the last five years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36599/13 asked on 18 Jul 2013 - Defence Forces Personnel)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): The following table sets out the number of women serving in the Permanent Defence Force at 31 December for each of the years 2008 to 2012, and at 30 June 2013, the latest date for which figures are available. These figures show that at 30 June 2013 there were a total of 561 women serving in the Permanent Defence Force, a figure which equates to 6.17% of the overall strength of the Permanent Defence Force on that date. This compares favourably with a ...

343. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his proposals to compensate members of the Permanent Defence Forces that have been transferred to other military installations and that incur substantial costs in travelling to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4912/17 asked on 01 Feb 2017 - Defence Forces Personnel)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The re-organisation of the Defence Forces, finalised in October 2012, resulted in a fundamental re-structuring of Army Formations and Units across the country including the closure of a number of operational posts. This was undertaken in order to enhance operational readiness and deployability, while reducing the number of personnel involved in administration. This re-organisation led to a re-configuration of the Defence Force...

135. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the annual cost over each of the next five years associated with participation in PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9952/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018 - Common Security and Defence Policy)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security. 
Now that we are participating in PESCO, the focus for Ireland will be...

16. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to change the need for compulsory medical examinations for serving Defence Forces members over 40 years of age; the rationale for compulsory medical examinations for persons over 40 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20435/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Medical Services)

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I can assure the Deputy that the health and safety of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a high priority for me. Given the robust nature of military life and the unique physical and psychological demands it places on individuals, it is necessary that the members of the Defence Forces are physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations. The State has a duty of care to ensure that each individual ...

54. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the fact that 335 members of the Defence Forces have left voluntarily to date in 2017; if he has satisfied himself that the pay and conditions of the Defence Forces is acceptable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52966/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Retirements)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Given the unique and demanding nature of military life, there is understandably a relatively high level of turnover among Defence Forces personnel. However, this is not new and the Defence Forces have always had a level of turnover that far exceeds other are a s of the public service.
Voluntary exit interviews of personnel of all ranks conducted by the Defence Forces indicate that the reasons for leaving range from economic fac...

166. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to participate with other European countries engaged in peace keeping and or peace enforcement throughout the EU and other countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13115/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Deployment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As of 1 March 2018, Ireland is contributing 586 personnel to 9 different missions throughout the world. The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 377 personnel and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 135 personnel. 
Other missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are t...