Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (47)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

47. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there has been a request for Ireland to partake in maritime EU or NATO missions or naval exercises since 2011 other than Operation Pontus or Operation Sophia. [31873/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

I would like to clarify that Operation Pontus was neither an EU nor a NATO maritime mission.  It was a humanitarian search and rescue mission undertaken as part of a bilateral arrangement with the Italian authorities.  Irish Naval vessels participated in this operation between 2015-2017.

Irish Naval ships were deployed in 2017 and 2018 as part of Operation Sophia which is the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy naval mission in the Mediterranean.

Rather than a specific request to a member State, the EU holds regular Force Generation Conferences for each of the EU-led missions and operations, where all member States are advised of current and future requirements in terms of personnel and assets.  At these conferences member States can also make offers of capabilities to a mission as Ireland did in the case of our participation in Operation Sophia. 

No invitations were received from NATO in the period referenced in relation to Ireland's participation in maritime operations and exercises.