Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (119)

Bernard Durkan


119. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the EU and UN remain alert to the threat of Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram; the extent of the success of the international community in this regard over recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25580/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I remain deeply concerned by the threat to peace and security represented by armed groups such as Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. The Government consistently condemns their brutal attacks on civilian populations, and particularly the targeting of women and girls. Communities across Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon live fearing that they will be Boko Haram's next targets, people in Somalia, Kenya and the wider east Africa region remain terrorised by Al-Shabaab.

Earlier this year the UN Security Council was briefed on joint efforts by Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria which have resulted in considerable progress in the fight against Boko Haram, including the liberation of hostages as well as territorial gains. However, the group has stepped up the use of women and girls as suicide bombings. The EU has pledged €50 million in support of the Multinational Joint Taskforce which promotes regional security in West African territories affected by Boko Haram.

Ireland is working with partners to implement a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of radicalisation and violence in both regions. The EU is engaged through political dialogue and through development and humanitarian assistance. Additionally, there are a number of EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions in East Africa, including EUCAP Somalia, EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta and EUTM Somalia.

The former Director of the Irish Coast Guard deployed in January of this year to Mogadishu to take up the position of Deputy Head of Mission at EUCAP Somalia. Ireland’s participation in these CSDP Missions allows us to contribute to international peace and security, to protect human rights, and to support conditions for sustainable development.

To assist the efforts against Al-Shabaab, the EU actively supports training and capacity building for maritime law enforcement, and provides considerable support to the UN-mandated AMISOM, the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Through a wide variety of programmes and partnerships, the EU also supports the strengthening of Somalia’s Government institutions.

Ireland works bilaterally, as an EU Member State, and with UN partners to promote peace and security in areas affected by armed groups. The Embassies of Ireland in Nairobi and Abuja actively monitor the situation on the ground, advise on humanitarian response and guide Ireland’s engagement in EU and UN forums on these matters.

In addition, Ireland works with partners on our collective humanitarian response. In 2018, Ireland provided €5.5 million in humanitarian support to the Somalia and €4.8 million to the Lake Chad region. As well as this direct bilateral aid, Ireland has also contributed significantly to humanitarian support through the multilateral system and via the EU. The European Union last year provided almost €89 million to Somalia and €90 million to the Lake Chad region. Ireland is the 7th largest donor to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, which last year allocated €15 million to Somalia and €43 million to the Lake Chad region. With humanitarian needs likely to remain acute throughout 2019, Irish funding will continue to target those most in need.