Defence Questions – Aid-to-Civil-Power – Shannon

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To ask the Minister for Defence the number of occasions that members of the Defence Forces have been called to undertake Aid to the Civil Power ATCP duties at Dublin, Cork, and Shannon Airports, respectively, in the past 12 months; and the way these operations are funded.

DEPUTY CLARE DALY

FOR ORAL ANSWER ON THURSDAY, 13TH NOVEMBER, 2014.
REPLY

An Garda Síochána has the primary responsibility for law and order, including the protection of the internal security of the State. Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces is the provision of Aid to the Civil Power (ATCP) which, in practice, means to assist An Garda Síochána when requested to do so.

There is ongoing and close liaison between An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces regarding security matters. The Defence Forces were not deployed in an ATCP role to Dublin or Cork airports during the period in question. There were 362 ATCP deployments carried out by the Defence Forces to Shannon Airport during the 12 month period from the 6th November 2013 to the 6th of November 2014. The length of each such deployment and the number of relevant aircraft that land and take off during each deployment can vary. For example, if a single aircraft is on the ground for an extended period, perhaps overnight, or over a number of days, this would involve more than one deployment of troops as each shift is generally of 12 hours duration.

The costs of these operations, which include Security Duty Allowance, rations and fuel, are met from the Defence Vote.

Simon Coveney, T.D.
Minister for Defence

PQ No: 41264/14

QUESTION NO:22

To ask the Minister for Defence the steps taken by the Irish Defence Forces, and in particular the Irish Air Corps in monitoring US military aircraft while on Irish territory and in Irish air space to ensure that they comply with Irish neutrality regulations.

– DEPUTY CLARE DALY
FOR ORAL ANSWER ON THURSDAY, 13TH NOVEMBER, 2014.
REPLY

Primary responsibility for the regulation of activity by foreign military aircraft in Ireland rests with the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade in

accordance with the Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952.

The Air Corps do not have a monitoring role with regard to foreign military aircraft on Irish territory and in Irish air space.

I understand from my colleague, Mr. Charlie Flanagan, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade that arrangements under which permission is granted for foreignmilitary aircraft to land at Irish airports are governed by strict conditions. These include stipulations that the aircraft must be unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives and must not engage in intelligence gathering, and that the flights in question must not form part of military exercises or operations.

Requests to permit the landing of military aircraft are considered by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade on the basis of these conditions. Permission is not granted for the conduct of foreign military operations in Irish airspace.

Simon Coveney, T.D.
Minister for Defence
Ref No: 41266/14

QUESTION NO:28

To ask the Minister for Defence his plans to withdraw the seven Irish soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan on 31 December 2014, as there will be mainly only US troops left on that date making the Irish soldiers much more vulnerable as theTaliban insurgents will seek to over throw the Western supported Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– DEPUTY CLARE DALY.
FOR ORAL ANSWER ON THURSDAY, 13TH NOVEMBER, 2014.

Ref No: 41262/14

REPLY

Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002. Seven members of the Permanent Defence Force are currently serving in the mission headquarters.

The ISAF mission is due to conclude on 31 December 2014 and the overall drawdown of ISAF personnel is currently underway. Thewithdrawal of the Defence Forces personnel will be coordinated in the contextof the overall drawdown of the mission however it is expected thatIrish personnel will complete their service with the mission on 31December 2014.
The risks posed to all Irish personnel deployed on overseas missions are constantly monitored as part of the Defence Forces risk management process. The situation in Afghanistan will continue to be monitored by the Defence Forces.

The proposed NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, post 2014, will be a follow on training advisory and assistance mission in support of the Afghan National Security Forces capacitybuilding. The question of Ireland contributing to the follow on mission in Afghanistan is currently being considered in the context of what other contributing countries are planning. Any participation by Ireland in the follow on training mission will be subject to Government approval.

SIMON COVENEY, T.D.
MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
PQ 41262/14

QUESTION NO:29

To ask the Minister for Defence noting the US Department of Defence Africa Command Document Published in September 2011 stating that Lariam should be the drug of last resort after Malarone and Doxycycline, and other international moves away from usage of this drug; the reason the Irish Defence Forces continued use of same..

– DEPUTY CLARE DALY
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 13th November, 2014.

Ref No: 41263/14
REPLY

The Irish Defence Forces are not the only Defence Force using Lariam. I am advised that Lariam is also used by Sweden, Israel, Greece, Canada and Slovenia. The Military Authorities advise that it is a matter for individual Defence Forces to determine whichever malaria chemoprophylaxis it deems most suitable for use. Individual Defence Forces may have regard to the operational commitments and the medical and ancillary support available to its personnel on the ground whilst also taking account of the particular licensing regulations in respect of the drug, pertaining to their jurisdiction.

The Health Product Regulatory Authority (HPRA) formerly the Irish Medicines Board is the statutory authority with responsibility for quality, safety and efficacy of medicines in Ireland. The Defence Forces policy in regard to the prescribing of Lariam is in line with current HPRA guidelines.

It is the policy of the Defence Forces that personnel are individually screened for fitness for service overseas and medical suitability, i.e. a medical risk assessment for Lariam is carried out on an individual basis.

The Defence Forces are fully aware of the range of reported side effects attaching to all anti-malarial medications. Significant precautions are taken by the Medical Corps in assessing the medical suitability of members of the Defence Forces to take any of the anti-malarial medications. The choice of chemoprophylaxis is dependent on a number of factors. These include the type of malaria in the destination, resistance to particular drugs, the profile of the traveller (contra-indications, underlying health conditions, purpose of travel), the duration of travel and adherence issues. The choice of medication is a medical decision made by Medical Officers in the Defence Forces having regard to the specific circumstances of the mission and the individual member of the Defence Forces.

Anti-malarial medications must remain in the formulary of medications prescribed by the Medical Corps for Defence Forces personnel on appropriate overseas missions, to ensure that our military personnel can have effective protection from the very serious risks posed by this highly dangerous disease.

Simon Coveney, T.D.
Minister for Defence

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