Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Ceisteanna (134)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

134. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the annual cost associated with participation in EU battle groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9951/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Participation in EU Battlegroups demonstrates Ireland’s commitment to the development of EU capabilities in the area of crisis management and contributes to our overall credibility within the Union. Ireland’s continuing active engagement in EU Battlegroups enhances our capacity to influence the ongoing development and evolution of the rapid response capacity of the EU, in particular, the role Battlegroups can play in reinforcing and acting as a strategic reserve for UN operations.

The United Nations strongly supports the development of Battlegroups as a capability that could be made available in support of UN mandated missions. It also supports the development of rapid deployment skills and capabilities within the Defence Forces, together with improved interoperability with like-minded States. Participation in EU Battlegroups further supports Ireland’s international security and defence policy and enhances our bilateral relations with contributing Member States.

To date Ireland has participated in the Nordic Battlegroup in 2008, 2011 and 2015, the Austro-German Battlegroup in 2012 and both the German led and UK led Battlegroups in 2016. The total costs directly associated with Irish participation in the two EU Battlegroups in 2016 is €2.763m.  It should be noted that approximately two thirds of this figure relates to direct payroll costs, which would have been incurred in the normal course. The remaining costs relate to subsistence, allowances, transport, flights and other such costs incurred during the preparation and standby period for the Battlegroup.