Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Ceisteanna (166)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

166. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to participate with other European countries engaged in peace keeping and or peace enforcement throughout the EU and other countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13115/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

As of 1 March 2018, Ireland is contributing 586 personnel to 9 different missions throughout the world. The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 377 personnel and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 135 personnel.

Other missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) with twenty (20) personnel; the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina with five (5) personnel; the NATO-led international security presence (KFOR) in Kosovo with twelve (12) personnel and the EU Common Security and Defence Policy naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia with four (4) personnel.  Ireland also has observers and staff in several United Nations, EU and OSCE posts.

In February 2018, I secured Government approval for the deployment of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force to serve once again as part of Operation Sophia.  Arrangements are currently being made for two Irish naval vessels to deploy consecutively under rotation for a period of approximately 30 weeks in total.  

With regard to any future deployments of Defence Forces personnel overseas, Ireland receives requests from time to time in relation to participation in various missions and these are considered on a case-by-case basis.  In addition at both Ministerial and official level, there is continual engagement relating to current peacekeeping missions particularly with other EU countries.

Due to Ireland's current level of commitment in overseas peacekeeping operations, notably to UNDOF and UNIFIL, we are not in a position to make any significant commitment to other missions at this time.

The current contribution of some 586 personnel to overseas missions reflects the Government’s continued commitment to our responsibilities in the area of international peace and security.