Mick Wallace Our 4th Podcast on #coronavirus #Sanctions and the failure of #EU to show Solidarity inside Europe and beyond. Pres… https://t.co/S9lcBTPQgE
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Mick Wallace RT @DerbyChrisW: My friend @wallacemick is absolutely right to point out that while Cuba and China have demonstrated solidarity with Italy…

To ask the Minister for Defence the number of occasions in 2013 on which An Garda Síochána requested support from the Defence Forces at Shannon Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

DEPUTY MICK WALLACE.

FOR PRIORITY ANSWER ON THURSDAY, 6TH FEBRUARY, 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.

The Defence Forces have provided assistance to An Garda Síochána at Shannon Airport since 2003.  In 2013, Defence Force personnel were deployed to Shannon Airport on 324 occasions in response to requests for support from An Garda Síochána.  The length of each such deployment and the number of relevant aircraft that land and take off during each deployment can vary.  For example, on a given day, troops may be deployed to Shannon Airport once but this mission, as formally requested by the Gardaí, may relate to the arrival and departure of more than one aircraft.  On other occasions, for example if a single aircraft is on the ground for an extended period, perhaps overnight, this may involve two or more deployments of troops as each shift is generally of 12 hours duration.

To ask the Minister for Defence if he will consider a report by an independent party costing a renovation programme for the remaining 101 family dwellings at the Curragh Camp; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

DEPUTY MICK WALLACE.

FOR ORAL ANSWER ON THURSDAY, 6TH FEBRUARY, 2014.

REPLY

My Department is engaged on an ongoing building programme designed to modernise and enhance the training, operational and accommodation facilities available to members of the Defence Forces.

The Department and the Defence Forces, similar to all other Government Departments, must take into account the current difficult economic environment we are now operating in.

The budgetary situation and the operational requirements of the Defence Forces are the primary factors in determining the individual projects which can be completed, including those within the Curragh Camp. The Department does not have the funds to develop assets for other than to meet core, essential, military requirements. As part of the process for the allocation of funding for individual capital projects an assessment of requirements, which includes a cost benefit analysis, is undertaken.

In relation to the Curragh Camp it is understood from the military authorities that of the married quarters properties in question, 47 properties are unoccupied due to their condition, 56 properties are currently occupied, 26 by existing military personnel and a further 30 are occupied by non-military personnel.  It should be noted that currently nearly 50% of the 103 properties concerned are uninhabitable and many others are in need of substantial refurbishment.

As I have said earlier I have asked that a technical assessment of the pool of properties, be undertaken so as to inform a decision on whether it is economically viable to restore and use any of the properties in a cost effective manner.

Any development of property from the public purse at this key location which encompasses the Defence Forces Training Centre must in the first instance be considered for use for military purposes.

Further, any such initiative must support and complement the current policy positions of withdrawing from the provision of Married Quarters and resolving the issue of overholding.  I must repeat as I have said earlier, I cannot support the illegal occupation of military property by those who have no entitlement.  It is important to remember that the Department does not have a role in the provision of housing accommodation for civilians, including ex-members of the Defence Forces. Regarding meetings with other Departments and agencies on this matter, I can assure the Deputies concerned that any engagement with other parties necessary to inform and resolve this issue will be undertaken.

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