Dáil Éireann - Volume 470 - 30 October, 1996

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Procurement Policy.

33. Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Defence if he will give details of his Department's procurement policy with regard to companies which manufacture or supply landmines; the proposals, if any, he has to exclude such companies from tender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19903/96]

Mr. Barrett: There are no manufacturing facilities in Ireland for military weapons and related items. When required by the Defence Forces such equipment has to be purchased from sources abroad. Procurement policy is already subject to careful scrutiny and conducted on the basis of rigorous controls.

Generally speaking, foreign-based weapons suppliers and manufacturers comprise, or are part [1374] of, extensive commercial organisations. Within such organisations particular units or subsidiaries may be involved with the manufacture of landmines but my Department has little information in the matter as such equipment is not normally purchased for the Defence Forces. Against that background it would not be possible realistically to regulate the admission of suppliers to my Department's competitions for defensive equipment on the basis of degrees of relationship with companies which may be involved with landmines or parts of them.

As I indicated in my reply to a parliamentary question on 2 October 1996 regarding a policy review on the role of landmines, the Defence Forces will not use anti-personnel mines on any military operation. The procurement of small quantities for training and research purposes will continue to be necessary from time to time.

I emphasise that the Government is totally opposed to the indiscriminate nature, production, use and trade of anti-personnel landmines and are seeking support for a complete ban on such weapons.