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Naval Service Operations

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 24 July 2018

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Ceisteanna (54)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

54. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if agencies operate and-or investigate on Naval Service ships while they are engaged in Operation Sophia. [33145/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

In July 2017, Government and Dáil approval was secured for the deployment of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force to serve as part of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy naval mission in the Mediterranean,  Operation Sophia.  An Irish Naval vessel was subsequently  deployed to the Mediterranean from October to December 2017.  Participation in Operation Sophia represented the first involvement by the Naval Service  in a multilateral security operation under a United Nations mandate.

In February 2018, the Government approved a further Naval Service contribution to Operation Sophia.  This will involve a total of 2 naval vessels deployed consecutively during the year for a period of up to 30 weeks in total.  The deployment will run from mid April to end November.

In accordance with the mandate for the mission, the Naval Service can be involved in surveillance and intelligence gathering operations, search and rescue operations and disposal of migrant boats and Force Protection Operations.

Operation Sophia has a close relationship with other EU organisations and agencies involved in countering human smuggling and trafficking.  Cooperation with such organisations and agencies is mainly around the area of the mutual exchange of information which increases Operation Sophia's overall operational awareness. These agencies are not operating or investigating on Irish Naval Service ships deployed in support of Operation Sophia.

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