Dáil Éireann - Volume 649 - 11 March, 2008

Written Answers. - Rapid Response Corps.

Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of people assigned to the Rapid Response Corps; the funding allocated to the Rapid Response Corps in each of the years 2008 to 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10357/08]

[872]   Deputy Michael P. Kitt: Sixty-four volunteers were invited to become members of the Rapid Response Corps in 2007 following a rigorous selection and interview process. Fifty-two of this group completed their pre-departure training and checks last year, and are ready to deploy when requested. Since November 2007, eight Corps members have been deployed in Sri Lanka, Kenya, Somalia, Nepal, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In each of these countries, they are making a valuable contribution to saving lives and rebuilding livelihoods.

A new campaign to recruit further members was launched in the national media on 14 February. This campaign is seeking to recruit volunteers with the logistics, engineering and humanitarian skills most requested, together with new skills profiles identified to us by our partner agencies. The response to the campaign has been very positive again this year, both in terms of the number of applicants and their calibre. A further period of selection and interviews will commence shortly. The next pre-departure training course will be held in early May, at which we would expect to deliver induction training to about 25 Corps members. A further training course will be scheduled for September, at which it is anticipated that a further 25 Corps members will participate.

The level of funding assigned to the Rapid Response Corps will be dependent on the number of deployments of the Corps and the requested needs in the field. In 2008, it is estimated that the Corps will absorb approximately €1 million and the Deputy can be assured that the necessary funding will be made available to fund the Rapid Response Corps in the period to 2012.