Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (111)

Bernard Durkan


111. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the international community continues to pressurise Boko Haram and Al Shabaab with a view to curtailing their respective activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46611/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government condemns, in the strongest terms, the brutal attacks committed on civilian populations by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab.

Ireland remains engaged in efforts by the international community including European Union and the United Nations to combat terrorism. We continue to work with international partners to address the root causes of radicalisation and violent extremism in areas affected by these groups.

Ireland strives to promote peace and security in affected regions through our bilateral and multilateral engagement. The Embassies of Ireland in Nairobi and Abuja, as well as in other parts of Africa and the Middle East, actively monitor the situation on the ground and guide Ireland’s humanitarian response and engagement in EU and UN forums on these matters.

Military operations in the region continue to focus on areas in which these terrorist organisations operate, and to this end, the EU has pledged €50 million to support the Multinational Joint Taskforce which promotes regional security in West African territories affected by Boko Haram. The EU provides strong support to the UN-mandated African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). EU support to AMISOM has allowed it to contain al-Shabaab in many parts of Somalia, and ensure avoidance of a security vacuum in areas that al-Shabaab has vacated. AMISOM has been instrumental in the capacity development of the Somali National Army with the aim of a gradual hand-over of security responsibilities to Somali institutions.

The EU also plays a significant role in supporting Somalia’s efforts to promote peace and stability for its citizens by contributing to capacity building within the Somali Security Sector. These efforts are focused on enhancing the Somali authorities’ ability to deal with security concerns, including the threat posed by Al-Shabaab. The three EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions in East Africa, including EUTM Somalia, EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta and EUCAP Somalia are central to this. The former Director of the Irish Coast Guard was appointed Head of Mission at EUCAP Somalia effective 1 September 2019.

In terms of humanitarian assistance, Ireland has, since 2015, provided over €17 million in humanitarian assistance to the Lake Chad crisis through partners such as the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund, the International Committee of the Red Cross and NGOs. Ireland is one of the top ten donors to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, which last year allocated €43 million to the Lake Chad region. Ireland has also been a consistent supporter of the humanitarian response in Somalia year on year, providing over €45 million in humanitarian assistance since 2012, including to communities displaced by conflict in Al-Shabaab held areas.