Dáil Éireann - Volume 533 - 28 March, 2001

Written Answers. - Defence Forces Training.

53. Mr. Finucane asked the Minister for Defence if he is satisfied that military personnel have sufficient space available to them to satisfactorily conduct training and manoeuvres in keep[989] ing with general European standards; and his views on whether there is a deficiency in collective training. [9018/01]

87. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Defence if he is satisfied that military personnel have sufficient space available to them to satisfactorily conduct training and manoeuvres in keeping with general European standards; and his views on whether there is a deficiency in collective training. [9162/01]

Minister for Defence (Mr. M. Smith): I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 and 87 together.

New investments in the development of training are being applied from resources made available as a result of barrack closures and the former VER scheme. At present, significant investment is being made at Kilworth and at the Glen of Imaal.

A perceived deficiency in collective training was referred to in the Price Waterhouse review and, accordingly, this aspect has been addressed as a matter of priority. The Defence Forces training strategy for 2000-02 encompasses training up to APC battalion level operations. As part of that strategy, the concept of annual assessment of units was introduced. This assessment is designed to ensure that all operational troops are trained in the most modern and up-to-date procedures and practices, so that tasks can be achieved safely, efficiently and cost effectively. The assessment includes all traditional military skills and drills. In 2000, the strategy commenced with platoon level exercises. In 2001, company groups will be exercised. It is planned that these exercises will evolve into full APC battalion exercises in 2002-03.