Defense Questions

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Defense Questions

Apr
2017
05

Defence

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel currently in receipt of family income supplement and housing assistance payments; his views on pay levels in the Defence Forces in view of the fact that in 2013 over 20% of Defence Forces personnel were in receipt of FIS; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

DEPUTY CLARE DALY.

FOR ORAL ANSWER ON WEDNESDAY, 29TH MARCH, 2017.

REPLY

Rates of remuneration and conditions of employment in each part of the Irish public sector have traditionally been set by reference to levels of pay available in related public sector employments.

I fully appreciate that many of our citizens continue to face some difficulties in the current economic and fiscal environment, including members of the Defence Forces. The Government is making every effort, within available resources, to support all those who face hardship. In addition, there are various schemes in place through the Department of Social Protection, including Family Income Supplement, housing Assistance to support those on low incomes.

The circumstances surrounding an application for Family Income Supplement, or indeed any other scheme operated by the Department of Social Protection, is a private matter between the applicant and the Department of Social Protection. I am, therefore, not aware of the eligibility of individual members of the Permanent Defence Force to receive such allowances, or the total numbers of Defence Force members that may be in receipt of this financial support. Various factors can give rise to such claims. However, the important thing is that, despite the difficult economic environment we have witnessed over the last few years, the Government has maintained this important safety net for families who by virtue of their particular circumstances require financial support.

In terms of remuneration going forward, the new Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC), announced by my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, has been tasked with providing objective analysis and advice to the Government on public service remuneration , including the Defence Forces , in the context of the FEMPI Acts 2009 – 2015 and is due to report in the coming months . Once this report is available, the Government intends to initiate negotiations on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement ahead of Budget 2018 considerations. Future remuneration of Defence Forces personnel will be dealt with within this process.

QUESTION NO: 46

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Army was called on to perform aid to civil power duties at Shannon airport on 23 and 24 January 2017; and if aid to the civil power duties were requested for a plane (details supplied).

– DEPUTY CLARE DALY .

FOR ORAL ANSWER ON WEDNESDAY, 29TH MARCH, 2017

A Miami Air international registration N739MA

REPLY

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 (ATCP) which, in practice, means to assist An Garda Síochána when requested to do so.

Since 5th February 2003, the Gardaí have requested support from the Defence Forces at Shannon Airport on occasion. The decision to seek support from the Defence Forces is an operational matter for An Garda Síochána.

I can confirm that An Garda Síochána did not request assistance from t he Defence Forces at Shannon Airport on the 2 3 rd   January 2017. I can also confirm that An Garda Síochána did request the support of the Defence Forces on 24 th January 2017 , and personnel were deployed to Shannon Airport on that date.

The issue of overflights by foreign military aircraft and the use of Shannon Airport by foreign military aircraft is the responsibility of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. Successive Governments have made overflight and landing facilities available at Shannon Airport to the United States for well over 50 years.

Minister of State at the Department of Defence,

Paul Kehoe T.D.

 

Ref No: 15263/17

QUESTION NO : 6

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reviews of a matter (details supplied) that have been conducted by his department; the outcomes of those reviews to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

DEPUTY CLARE DALY.

FOR ORAL ANSWER ON WEDNESDAY, 29TH MARCH, 2017.

Ref No:

In light of the fact that he has previously stated that the possibility of access to the State’s industrial relations machinery for Defence Forces members would be kept under review by his Department.

REPLY

As I indicated in my earlier reply I remain satisfied with the present arrangements , under the combined mechanism of the C & A scheme and the parallel process, in place for the Defence Forces and have no immediate plans to make any changes.

That being said, I have acknowledged to the Represen t ative Association s on foo t of representations made to me that I will keep the matter under ongoing review in the light of the recent Government decision to provide the Garda Representative Associations with access to the State industrial relations institutions. I am advised that a Working Group has been established by the Department of Justice & Equality to examine this matter with a view to developing the necessary draft legislative proposals. My officials are and will continue to liaise with their colleagues in that Department as this matter progresses and will report back to me when that Group has completed its deliberations.

However, for the avoidance of any doubt as I do not want to appear to be pre-empting any future Government decisions on these matters, I am satisfied that the current structures in place are adequate and fit for their intended purpose.

Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D.,
Minister of State at the Department of Defence