Minister Shatter reports on work undertaken in the Department of Defence during 2013

A substantial body of work was undertaken by Minister Shatter in the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Defence during 2013.   A summary of a portion of the work undertaken in the Department of Defence is included below.

Full information on each of this initiatives is available on the Department of Defence website. An overview of work done by Minister Shatter between March 2011 to date is also available on the Defence website.

1. Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Act 2013 – In early May history was made with the enactment of this Act which provided for the granting of an amnesty and apology to those members of the Defence Forces who absented themselves, without leave or permission, to serve with forces fighting on the Allied side against Germany during World War II.

2. Official Visit to the Middle East – Minister Shatter visited the Middle East in March and later in November 2013. On both occasions he met with members of the joint Irish/Finnish Battalion, in Lebanon, Irish troops serving with UNTSO and UNDOF in Jerusalem and Syria. He also met with his ministerial colleagues in Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Ramallahwhere he discussed the impact of the Syrian crisis on the broader region. He also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the business, diplomatic and international communities from across the region. In November, he visited the largest refugee camp in Jordan, eight miles from the Syrian Border in which there are approximately 100,000 Syrian refugees resident.

3. Green Paper on Defence – On the 16 July, following Government approval to prepare a new White Paper on Defence, the Minister published a Green Paper on Defence. This was the first Defence Green Paper in the history of the State and its publication initiated a broad public consultative process which will inform the development of the new White Paper on Defence. The new White Paper on Defence is scheduled for publication in 2014.

4. UNDOF – On the 16 and 18 July respectively, the Minister secured Government and Dáil Éireann approval for the deployment of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force for service with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria. The Defence Forces completed their deployment of 115 troops to the Golan Heights in Syria in late September.

5. Mali Training Mission – In February 2013, Minister Shatter secured Cabinet approval for the deployment of eight members of the Permanent Defence Forces to the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali). While Ireland and UK forces have worked together in different theatres and operations over many years, this is the first time a joint UK/Irish military contingent has been deployed on any such operation.

6. Resilient Threat Management Seminar – Minister Shatter in association with the European Defence Agency hosted a Seminar on Resilient Threat Management and howthe Improvised Explosive Devices threat will be managed in the future.

7. Reserve Defence Forces – At the end of March 2013, new organisational structures were introduced for the Reserve Defence Force (RDF) on foot of a Value for Money Review of the Reserve Defence Force published in November 2012. These revised structures have delivered significant efficienciesand it is anticipated that they will lead to improved interoperability between Permanent and Reserve Army elements.

8. Task Force on Emergency Planning – Under the chairmanship of Minister Shatter, the Task Force developed a National Risk Assessment for Ireland (NRAI) which was noted by Government in March. The NRAI was forwarded to the European Commission on 16 April 2013 as part of the ongoing deliberative process on National risk assessments within the EU.

9. Northern Ireland Weather Emergency – In March 2013, Minister Shatter agreed to the deployment of the Air Corps to Northern Ireland to assist with the weather emergency. The Irish Air Corps provided helicopter assistance to address in particular the circumstances of farming stock in areas where there has been heavy snow.

10. Winter Ready Campaign – On the 11 November 2013, Minister Shatter and Minister Hogan launched the ‘Be Winter-Ready’ 2013-2014 Information Campaign. A key aspect of this year’s campaign was the launch of a Twitter social media presence @emergencyIE to promote the campaign.

11. MATS Data – On the 4 June, Minister Shatter announced that, in line with a commitment given by this Government, statistical information relating to the Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) will be published on the Department of Defence website and this information will be updated on a monthly basis.

12. Cyber Security – In preparation for the European Council of Defence Ministers, Minister Shatter in association with Estonian Ministry of Defence and the European Defence Agency hosted a High Level Conference entitled, “Cyber Security Cooperation in the European Union”.

13. Centenary of the Foundation of the IrishVolunteers – In November 2013 one of the key commemorations under the Decade of Commemorations was successfully organised and executed by the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces.

14. Defence Forces Annual Carol Service – Minister Shatter attended the Defence Forces Annual Carol Service 2013 on the 11 December in Dublin. For the first time this event was live streamed to Irish Troops serving with the United Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria. It was also available live to all Military Installations and Army barracks in Ireland, including the Military compound in Portlaoise Prison. It can now be accessed on YouTube from www.defence.ie or www.millitary.ie

15. Ireland’s Presidency – During Ireland’s Presidency of the EU Minister Shatter pursued an ambitious programme in the defence area to ensure the continued development of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and to enhance Ireland’s position in this important policy area for EU Member States. See the link for comments in relation to Defence achievements: http://www.defence.ie/WebSite.nsf/Release+ID/8D41C447AAC4B47480257B9D003619EB?OpenDocument

19 December 2013

ENDS

Posted in: Department of Defence, Latest News, National
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