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EU Battle Groups

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 7 November 2019

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Questions (17)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

17. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of the Army Ranger Wing recently deployed to an EU battle group in Germany, which is the fourth time Ireland has been involved in an EU battle group and the first time the unit has taken part; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45770/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

At its meeting of 6th February 2018, the Government formally approved the arrangements for Ireland’s participation in the German led EU Battlegroup 2020. It agreed to provide a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force to participate in the Battlegroup which will be on standby for the second semester of 2020 from 1st July 2020. The MoU on Ireland's participation in the German Battlegroup 2020 was also approved by Dáil Éireann at the end of June this year.

The Defence Forces contribution to the German Battlegroup will involve a Special Operations Task Group comprising a Special Operations Forces Platoon, Engineer Special Search Capability, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Capability and a Security Platoon together with staff posts at both the Operational and Force Headquarters. The total personnel involved will amount to about 150 if it deploys. The role of the ARW within the Defence Forces contribution would normally involve tasks such as long-range reconnaissance and the gathering of intelligence.

At present, 10 members of the Permanent Defence Force have been deployed to positions in the Force Headquarters in Germany, which include some members of the Army Ranger Wing. These personnel are engaged in training and planning activities in connection with the Battlegroup, in advance of and during the Battlegroup standby period.

As part of Ireland's participation in this Battlegroup, it is planned that an off-island joint field training exercise of all the Battlegroup elements will take place in Germany 16th-27th March 2020. To this end, it is planned that the main Defence Forces component will locate to Ulm in Germany to participate in exercise European Challenge for a limited period at that time.

Battlegroups, as part of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, offer a stand-by military capability that enables the EU to react rapidly and decisively to a crisis situation. Ireland’s participation in any specific Battlegroup operation is subject to the “Triple Lock” requirements of a UN Mandate/Authorisation and Government and Dáil approval, as appropriate, in accordance with the Defence Acts – i.e. a further Government decision would be required before any actual deployment.

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