Header Item Written Answers Nos. 513-541
   Header Item Ministerial Advisers Remuneration
   Header Item State Bodies
   Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration
   Header Item Departmental Staff Recruitment
   Header Item Army Bomb Disposals
   Header Item Defence Forces Deployment
   Header Item National Emergency Plan Implementation
   Header Item Defence Forces Strength
   Header Item Defence Forces Reserve Strength
   Header Item EU Meetings
   Header Item Overseas Missions
   Header Item Defence Forces Recruitment
   Header Item Programme for Government Implementation
   Header Item Defence Forces Strength
   Header Item Defence Forces Strength
   Header Item Ministerial Advisers Remuneration
   Header Item State Bodies
   Header Item Ministerial Responsibilities
   Header Item Departmental Communications
   Header Item Coillte Teoranta Lands
   Header Item Achomhairc Scéimeanna Talamhaíochta
   Header Item Wildlife Protection
   Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 849 No. 1
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 66 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 513-541

Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

 513. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly if he will provide full details, including salary, of every appointment he has approved since coming into office of special advisers under his remit; the salary cap that is in place with respect to special adviser appointments; the number of appointments he has approved with salary in excess of the cap; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32894/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Special Adviser appointments will be undertaken in accordance with the Instructions on Ministerial Appointments for the 31st Dáil and the Guidelines on Staffing of Ministerial Offices (July 2014).

I have made no appointment of Special Advisers to date but I will be making a proposal in this regard in due course. Sanction for the appointment of Special Advisers is a matter for Government in the first instance and relevant salary requires approval of my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

State Bodies

 514. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of agencies or State bodies under the aegis of his Department that have been abolished since 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32237/14]

 515. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of new agencies or State bodies that have been established under the aegis of his Department since 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32252/14]

 517. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the total number of appointments to State boards since March 2011 under the aegis of his Department; the total number of appointments that have been advertised on his Department’s website; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32297/14]

 518. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of chairpersons appointed to State boards under the aegis of his Department since March 2011 that have appeared before the relevant joint Oireachtas committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32312/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 514, 515, 517 and 518 together.

The State Boards under the aegis of the Department of Defence when the Government took office were the Civil Defence Board, the Board of Coiste an Asgard and the Army Pensions Board.

The Civil Defence Board was identified in the Public Service Reform Plan as a body to be abolished. The then Minister for Defence appointed a 14 person interim Board as a temporary measure in 2011 and in this context none of the positions were advertised nor was the chairperson interviewed by an Oireachtas committee. Legislation to dissolve the Board was passed by the Oireachtas in December 2012. Its functions have now transferred back to the Department of Defence.

There were no appointments to the Board of Coiste an Asgard from 2009. In the context of settling the Estimates for the Department of Defence for 2010, the Government decided that the national sail training scheme operated by Coiste an Asgard would be discontinued as recommended in the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure. The formal wind up of the Company including voluntary strike off with the Companies Registration Office was completed in early 2013.

The only body currently under the aegis of the Department of Defence is the Army Pensions Board. The Army Pensions Board is an independent statutory body established under the Army Pensions Act, 1927. The Act specifies that the Board shall consist of a chairman and two ordinary members. The two ordinary members must be qualified medical practitioners of whom one must be an officer of the Army Medical Corps. The chairman and the non military ordinary member are appointed by the Minister for Defence with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Army Medical Corps ordinary member is appointed by the Minister for Defence on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces.

There have been two appointments to the Army Pensions Board since March 2011. A serving officer was appointed to the position of Army Medical Corps member of the Board in December 2011, and a civilian doctor was appointed as ordinary member in November 2013.

The position of Army Medical Corps ordinary member became vacant due to retirement in 2011. The then Minister for Defence appointed Commandant Adam Lagun to the Board on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff. As the Army Pensions Act, 1927 specifies that one of the ordinary members must be an officer of the Army Medical Corps, this position was not publicly advertised. Details of Commandant Lagun’s appointment to the Army Pensions Board were published in the Iris Oifigiúil on 13 January 2012.

The civilian doctor vacancy was advertised on the Department of Defence website and the Public Appointments Service website. A number of expressions of interest in the position were received and an appointment to the Board was made on foot of this public advertisement process.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 516. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the total value of bonus payments made to staff under the aegis of his Department in 2013 and to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32267/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney No staff of my Department or organisation under the aegis of my Department received bonus payments in 2013 or to date in 2014.

  Questions Nos. 517 and 518 answered with Question No. 514.

Departmental Staff Recruitment

 519. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of retired public servants who have been awarded temporary or term-time posts in his Department in 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014. [32327/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Since the Government took office in March 2011, my Department has engaged two retired public servants to act as civilian drivers to the Minister of State. These appointments are temporary unestablished positions in the Civil Service on a fixed term contract basis. The post of Civilian Driver attracts an annual salary of €32,965. In 2012 a retired public servant was appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Government to the office of Ombudsman for the Defence Forces on a part-time three day week basis. This appointment attracts a pro-rata salary of €62,596.

In 2013 a retired public servant was employed on a contract basis as a civilian employee. The part-time temporary social worker was hired under a fixed-term contract on a salary scale of €38,819 to €51,200 (pro rata to 50%). This fixed-term contract has now expired.

No retired public servants were awarded temporary posts to date in 2014.

Army Bomb Disposals

 520. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of suspect devices that the Army disposal unit has had to deal with to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [32379/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Primary responsibility for the maintenance of law and order rests with An Garda Síochána. The Defence Forces, pursuant to their role of rendering Aid to the Civil Power (ATCP), assist An Garda Síochána when requested to do so. The Defence Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Teams respond when a request is made by An Garda Síochána for assistance.

  Up to 15 July 2014, EOD teams were deployed on 82 occasions and viable devices accounted for 30 of these callouts.

  Other types of callouts would include hoaxes, false alarms, post-blast analysis, and the removal of unstable chemicals in laboratories.

Defence Forces Deployment

 521. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of cash-in-transit escorts carried out by the Defence Forces to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32380/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Pursuant to their Aid to Civil Power role, the Defence Forces provide armed escorts for certain cash movements within the State on request by An Garda Síochána. The number of such escorts provided up to the end of June 2014 is 799.

National Emergency Plan Implementation

 522. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when the next meeting of the national emergency co-ordination committee will take place; the number of meetings that have taken to date in 2014; the number he has chaired; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32381/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I chair the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, which includes senior officials of Government Departments, senior officers of An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces and officials of other key public authorities, which have a lead or support role in Government emergency planning. The Government Task Force on Emergency Planning meets on a regular basis. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, 23 July 2014. So far this year there have been three meetings of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning. The first meeting on 10 February was chaired by my predecessor Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D. The second meeting on 11 April was chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of Defence, Mr. Maurice Quinn. The last meeting on 5 June was chaired by Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Defence.

While the details of matters discussed at meetings of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning are confidential, I can confirm that the Task Force examines current risks and supports coordination arrangements for emergency planning across Government.

The Task Force is regularly briefed on such matters as the current security threat, which is provided by An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces, as well as receiving regular updates specifically from the lead Government Departments. This includes the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, which chairs the National Steering Group under the Framework for Major Emergency Management, along with having the lead Government Department role and responsibilities in eleven of the forty two emergency scenarios.

The Task Force regularly addresses other emergency planning issues ranging from risk assessment to training and exercises as well as receiving regular briefings on current issues from the various lead Government Departments on their specific roles and responsibilities and their associated work programmes.

The Task Force establishes Subgroups from time to time to specifically look at particular areas of emergency planning that may need to be addressed.

Defence Forces Strength

 523. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the 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. [32382/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The strength of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) at 30 June 2014, the latest date for which figures are available, was 9,058, broken down into 7,300 Army, 759 Air Corps and 999 Naval Service. 556 (or 6.14%) are women. The attached tables contain the above mentioned strength, broken down into Army, Naval Service and Air Corps by gender and rank groupings. It is the intention to recruit up to 400 personnel in the latter half of 2014.

Army (PDF)

RankMaleFemaleTotal
Lt Gen11
Maj Gen22
Brig Gen55
Col3535
Lt Col1033106
Comdt21625241
Captain25743300
LT19236228
SM2828
BQMS3333
CS1091110
CQMS1661167
Sgt83754891
Cpl1,2281141,342
Pte3,6111803,791
Cadets17320
Total6,8404607,300


Air Corps (PDF)
RankMaleFemaleTotal
Lt Gen
Maj Gen
Brig Gen11
Col22
Lt Col1414
Comdt3030
Captain46652
LT29130
SM718
BQMS44
CS4949
CQMS1414
Sgt1196125
Cpl14512157
Pte2509259
Cadets1414
Total72435759


Naval Service (PDF)
RankMaleFemaleTotal
Lt Gen
Maj Gen
Brig Gen11
Col22
Lt Col1313
Comdt39645
Captain391049
LT321244
SM66
BQMS77
CS6666
CQMS1515
Sgt1703173
Cpl16211173
Pte37119390
Cadets1515
Total93861999

Defence Forces Reserve Strength

 524. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the most up-to-date figures for the strength of the Reserve Defence Force; the gender breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32383/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The effective strength of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF) at 30 June 2014, the latest date for which figures are available, was 2,326, broken down into 2,188 Army Reserve and 138 Naval Reserve. 368 (or 15.82%) are women. The attached tables contain the above mentioned strength, broken down into Army Reserve and Naval Service by gender and rank groupings.

Army Reserve

RankMaleFemaleTotal
Lt Gen
Maj Gen
Brig Gen
Col
Lt Col55
Comdt4040
Captain1084112
LT19435229
SM88
BQMS1010
CS5959
CQMS69372
Sgt31621337
Cpl33978417
Pte703196899
Cadets 
Total1,8513372,188


Naval Service Reserve
RankMaleFemaleTotal
Lt Gen
Maj Gen
Brig Gen
Col
Lt Col
Comdt44
Captain77
LT617
SM
BQMS22
CS99
CQMS
Sgt12113
Cpl21425
Pte462571
Cadets
Total10731138

EU Meetings

 525. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when the next meeting of EU Defence Ministers will take place; the agenda for same if decided; his priorities for the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32384/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The next informal meeting of Defence Ministers will be hosted by Italy as part of their Presidency of the EU Council and will take place in Milan on 9 and 10 September. The agenda has not yet issued but it has been suggested that Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Missions and Operations and progress following the European Council meeting on defence in December 2013 will be discussed. In relation to the CSDP Missions and Operations it is anticipated that Operation and Mission Commanders of the five ongoing EU military missions will brief Defence Ministers on the current state of play regarding their missions. These are Operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Operation EUNAVFOR ATALANTA the EU’s anti-piracy maritime mission off the coast of Somalia; EUFOR RCA, the EU mission in the Central African Republic; and the EU Training Missions in Mali and Somalia (EUTM Mali and EUTM Somalia).

  The meeting of the Heads of State and Government at the European Council in December 2013 focused on Defence. The areas considered were broken into three clusters dealing with

  I. increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP including rapid response:

- Developing new regional strategies where necessary and update existing ones,

- Further development of the comprehensive approach

- Working with the United Nations, African Union, NATO and partner countries

- Strengthening ties between CSDP and Freedom Security and Justice actors to deal with horizontal issues e.g. illegal immigration, organised crime etc.

- Increasing the ability to respond to emerging challenges including in the areas of cyber defence, maritime, border challenges, energy security and space.

  In the area of Rapid response and Battlegroups (BGs) the proposals included:

- Improving the usability and deployability of Battlegroups through modularity

- Taking forward the agreed Framework Nation approach for the roster

- Enhancing and streamlining the Battlegroup exercises so as to improve transformation, interoperability and co-operation

- Involving Battlegroups in advanced planning

- Carrying out political exercises for the Battlegroups on standby

- Considering the financial aspects as part of the Athena Review (funding mechanism for EU military operations)to be carried out in the second half of 2014.

  II. enhancing the development of capabilities:

- A systematic and longer term approach to Defence co-operation

- Increased transparency and information sharing

- Consolidation of demand and harmonisation of requirements

  III. strengthening the defence industry:

- The need for a strong healthy and competitive Defence technological and industrial base

- A defence market that is open, transparent, opportunistic and based on equal treatment

- The importance of SMEs as innovators and key enablers for competitiveness

- The development of tangible measures on standards and certification

- The exploitation of synergies between civil and defence related research.

  Following the Council discussion and adoption of conclusions a detailed overview of the actions to be taken forward at EU level and by the Member States was prepared and consisted of over sixty (60) actions. This overview is considered a “living document” and reports on its implementation are provided by the EU organisations on a regular basis.

  It is expected that the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the EU Commission will brief Ministers at their informal meeting on work undertaken by those organisations to progress the Council Conclusions arising from the European Council discussions last December. I expect reasonable progress to have been made and for further progress to be outlined to Ministers.

Overseas Missions

 526. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of overseas missions in which the Defence Forces are currently involved; the number of personnel involved in each mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32385/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As of 01 July 2014, Ireland is contributing approximately 416 Defence Forces personnel to 13 different missions throughout the world. Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas are listed in the tabular statement attached. The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 199 personnel, and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 133 Defence Forces personnel.

  Other missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) with eight (8) personnel; the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina with seven (7) personnel; the NATO-led international security presence (KFOR) in Kosovo with twelve (12) personnel; the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan with seven (7) personnel, and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in South Sudan with five (5) personnel. Ireland also contributes 26 observers and staff to various United Nations and OSCE missions, 3 personnel to the Nordic Battle group headquarters in Sweden and 16 other personnel to staff appointments at UN, EU and OSCE headquarters.

  The current contribution of some 416 personnel to overseas missions reflects the Government’s continued commitment to our responsibilities in the area of international peace and security.

AS OF 01 July 2014

1. UN MISSIONS-
UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) HQ9
UNIFIL 45th Infantry Group186
UNIFIL Sector West HQ   4
UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation) Israel, Syria and Lebanon13
MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara)3
MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo)4
UNOCI (United Nations Mission in Ivory Coast)2
UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) Golan Heights Syria133
UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service ) South Sudan5
TOTAL359
UN MANDATED MISSIONS
EUFOR (EU led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina)7
EUTM Mali (EU led Training Mission)8
KFOR (International Security Presence in Kosovo) HQ12
ISAF (International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan)7
TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH UN MISSIONS393
2. ORGANISATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)
OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina2
OSCE Mission in Belgrade – Serbia1
Staff Officer, High Level Planning Group Vienna1
TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING OSCE4
3. EU MILITARY STAFF
Brussels6
4. NORDIC BATTLE GROUP 2015
FHQ Sweden3
5. MILITARY REPRESENTATIVES/ADVISERS/STAFF
Military Adviser, Permanent Mission to UN, New York1
Military Adviser Irish delegation to OSCE, Vienna1
Military Representative to EU (Brussels)4
Liaison Office of Ireland, NATO/PfP (Brussels)2
EU OHQ Operation Althea, Mons, Belgium1
Irish Liaison Officer to SHAPE and Military Co-Op Division, Mons, Belgium1
TOTAL NUMBER OF DEFENCE FORCES PERSONNEL SERVING OVERSEAS416

Defence Forces Recruitment

 527. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of additional recruits the Defence Forces have taken on to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32386/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The military authorities advise that the Defence Forces have not inducted any new recruits to date in 2014. However, it is the intention of the Permanent Defence Force to recruit 400 personnel in 2014. This recruitment is planned for the latter half of 2014. In relation to the Reserve Defence Force, the military authorities had intended to recruit up to 500 personnel to the Reserve in 2014. However, because of a disappointing response to the recruitment campaign this will not now be possible and it is now planned to recruit up to 250 personnel to the Reserve this year.

Programme for Government Implementation

 528. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide in tabular format the commitments under the programme for Government which his Department is responsible for; the progress made to date with regard to each commitment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32392/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The commitments in the Programme for Government relating to Defence and the progress that has been made are set out in the table below:


CommitmentStatus
The implementation of the Defence Forces Medical Services Review as resources allow.In line with the recommendations of the Defence Forces Medical Service Review, the Central Medical Unit was formally established in 2012. Options for outsourcing Defence Forces medical services to a civilian medical services provider have been reviewed and consideration is now being given to outsourcing options on a per service basis e.g. physiotherapy services, laboratory services, pharmacy services. Arrangements for existing services which are already outsourced are also being regularised e.g. GP’s, dental services.
CommitmentStatus
The initiation of a detailed legal review of the basis, structures and governance of the Irish Red Cross to improve its functioning in the light of changing circumstances.The Department is continuing work on the review in consultation with the Irish Red Cross Society. The review mainly relates to the codification and updating of the various legal instruments on the Red Cross which date from 1938. I anticipate, subject to Government approval, that a Red Cross (Amendment) Bill will be published during the lifetime of this Government.

Defence Forces Strength

 529. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 408 of 10 June 2014, when a reply will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32707/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In his reply to the Parliamentary Question 408 on 10 June 2014, the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence indicated that the Department was seeking to compile the data requested and that Deputy Ó Fearghaíl would be provided with the information when it came to hand. I am advised that a reply is currently being finalised and will be issuing to the Deputy shortly.

Defence Forces Strength

 530. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the establishment figure for the three Permanent Defence Force units of Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath, 6 Infantry Battalion, 2 Field Artillery Regiment, 2 Field Engineer Company, and the number of troops in Custume Barracks presently undergoing career or skills courses in the detached element from Dublin of the 2 Brigade Training Centre at Custume Barracks Athlone; and the number of recruits and two-star soldiers in training in Custume Barracks, Athlone, with either the 6 Infantry Battalion or 2 Field Artillery Regiment. [32717/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The military authorities advise that the total establishment all ranks, based at Custume Barracks is 995 personnel. (A tabular breakdown of this figure is included below). The establishment for 6 Infantry Battalion, Athlone is 474 personnel, the establishment for 2 Brigade Artillery Regiment is 257 personnel and the establishment for 2 Field Engineer Company is 103 personnel.

  There are no personnel presently undergoing career or skills courses in the detached element from Dublin of the 2 Brigade Training Centre at Custume Barracks, Athlone.

  There are no recruits or 2 Star Privates in training in Custume Barracks, Athlone with either the 6 Infantry Battalion or 2 Brigade Artillery Regiment at this time.

9,500 CS4 Establishment

Effective from 30 November 2012

UNITESTABLISHMENTCUSTUME BKSREMARKS
6 Inf Bn474
2 BTC (Ath)17Bi located – 2 BTC Est - 36
2 Bde Cadre9
2 Bde AR257
2 Bde Fd Eng Coy103Bi located –2 Bde Eng Gp Est - 128
2 Bde Tpt Coy*44Bi located –2 Bde Tpt Est - 139
2 Bde Ord Gp*27Bi located – 2 Bde Ord Gp Est - 93
2 Bde MP Coy*11MP Det in all 2 Bde Bk locations
DFSM36
Med Det – CMU*17Med Det in all 2 Bde Bk locations
TOTAL995
  *Please note the CS4 establishment does NOT detail the exact no. of Appointments in Custume Bks. The establishment Custume Bks is what has been deployed by GOC 2 Bde and the relevant Unit Commanders.

Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

 531. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide in tabular form a detailed breakdown of the name and number of ministerial special advisers in his Department; their annual remuneration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32743/14]

 535. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide full details, including salary, of every appointment he has approved since coming into office of special advisers under his remit; the salary cap that is in place with respect to special adviser appointments; the number of appointments he has approved with a salary in excess of the cap; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32892/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 531 and 535 together.

  I have not appointed any special advisors in my role as Minister for Defence. Similarly no special advisors were appointed by my predecessor, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D.

State Bodies

 532. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the gender quota targets for the boards of State bodies and agencies under their remit; the level reached to date; and their future plans to meet and maintain the targets. [32758/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Programme for Government 2011-2016 includes a commitment to take steps to ensure that all State Boards have at least 40 per cent of each gender. My Department reviews the gender balance of State boards under its aegis and returns are made annually to the Department of Justice and Equality which has a coordinating role in this regard. The only State body under the aegis of my Department is the Army Pensions Board. The Army Pensions Board comprises 3 members: a chairman, a civilian medical doctor and an officer of the Army Medical Corps. The chairman and the non military ordinary member are appointed by the Minister for Defence with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Army Medical Corps ordinary member is appointed by the Minister for Defence on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces.

The Army Pensions Board currently has 1 female member who was appointed in 2013 following a publicly advertised competitive process.

Ministerial Responsibilities

 533. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his priorities for the remainder of his term in office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32773/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My main priority will be to ensure that the Defence Forces retain the capabilities to fulfil all roles assigned by Government, both at home and overseas. In this context, and within the available resource envelope, decisions to replace equipment and ongoing recruitment to the Permanent Defence Force will prioritise the maintenance of required operational outputs. The defence and security environment has changed significantly in the period since the publication of the last White Paper on Defence. In line with the Government’s decision, work on the preparation of a new White Paper is currently underway. When completed and approved, it will set out a revised policy framework which will underpin Defence provision for the next decade. Accordingly, this project will remain a key priority and is central to identifying and prioritising future policy requirements, and associated operational and capability requirements.

I will be discussing these and a range of other issues with the Secretary General of the Department of Defence and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces in the coming weeks. Subject to my defining other priorities, work will then commence on the preparation of a new Strategy Statement, which is required in accordance with the Public Service Management Act, 1997.

Departmental Communications

 534. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide a copy of the briefing he has received upon entering office from his Department; if he will publish the briefing; and if so, when the briefing will be published. [32788/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A copy of the briefing note, with some redacted text, has been published and is now available to view on the Department of Defence website www.defence.ie.

  Question No. 535 answered with Question No. 531.

Coillte Teoranta Lands

 536. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when correspondence sent to him on 19 June 2014 (details supplied) in County Laois will be dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32020/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The correspondence in question deals with an issue concerning the people named and their interaction with Coillte. Coillte Teoranta was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act, 1988. Day-to-day operational matters are the responsibility of the company. The issue outlined in the Deputy’s correspondence was, however, brought to the company’s attention. I am advised that there is some question over the ownership of the particular lands. My officials are currently considering the matter and I will respond to the Deputy’s correspondence as soon as possible.

Achomhairc Scéimeanna Talamhaíochta

 537. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney an bhfuil cinneadh déanta maidir le hachomharc a cuireadh chuig an Oifig Achomharc Talmhaíochta ag feirmeoir i gContae na Gaillimhe (sonraí leis seo); má tá cinneadh déanta, cén toradh a bhí air; mura bhfuil cinneadh déanta, cén uair a dhéanfar é; cén fáth a raibh moill leis an gcinneadh a dhéanamh; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [32021/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Tá achomharc déanta ag an té thuasluaite le hOifig na nAchomharc Talmhaíochta. Tá an gearán sannta ar Oifigeach Achomharc. Mar a cinntioch leis an té thuasluaite, tá éisteacht ó bhéal á lorg sa chás seo agus tá an Oifig Achomharc á eagrú sin faoi láthair. Déanfar cinneadh i ndiaidh na héisteachta agus scríobhfar chuig an té thuasluaite chun an cinneadh a chur in iúl dó/di.

Wildlife Protection

 538. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the official policy in place within his Department which outlines the procedure for the rescue efforts of beached whales; if this policy is circulated to the various stakeholders such as Local Government and the National Parks and Wildlife Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32027/14]

 539. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on whether it is best practice to allow beached whales to perish without any intervention in order to ease the suffering of the animal; his views on whether it is standard practice to prohibit volunteers from making rescue efforts; his plans to review this policy in the near future in view of the distress of the whales beached in Falcarragh, County Donegal, recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32028/14]

 540. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reasons the necessary equipment was not available to the National Parks and Wildlife Service in County Donegal to allow them to humanely put beached whales in Donegal to death by chemical injection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32029/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 538 to 540, inclusive, together.

All whale species, including their habitats, are protected under the Wildlife Acts and the EU Habitats Directive. This legislation is enforced by of the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht whose officials, I understand have worked with various bodies including the local authority, the Garda Síochána and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group in order to alleviate the suffering of the beached whales. My Department has liaised with and has issued a burial licence to the Environment Division of Donegal County Council in respect of the burial of the carcasses.

With regard to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, my Department has, in recent years, provided funding to the Group to assist its work in promoting best practice in marine tourism and whale-watching in Ireland and with conservation of cetaceans, including whales in Irish waters. The Group has recently produced a welfare policy document which will be of interest to my Department and the various other government Departments and agencies involved with the Whale and Dolphin Group.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 541. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 130 of 19 June 2014, when payment of AEOS1 will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32156/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS 3) with effect from 1 May 2013.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, have to be completed before any payment can issue.  During these checks in respect of the 2013 Scheme year an over-claim was identified in relation to the Species Rich Grassland/Traditional Hay Meadow actions which resulted in a penalty being applied. The application has been processed on this basis and 75% entitlements in respect of 2013 issued to the person named on 11 July 2014. Final arrangements are in train to issue the balancing 25% payment to all eligible AEOS 3 participants as soon as possible.


Last Updated: 24/10/2014 16:08:06 First Page Previous Page Page of 66 Next Page Last Page