As noted on previous occasions, the outcome of the vote of 23 June 2016 in the UK will have implications across all aspects of the business of the European Union, including in the area of defence. While the vote does not give rise to fundamental strategic issues for Defence Forces operations or for Ireland’s continuing engagement with the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), it is expected that Brexit will be a factor in future developments in the Defence sphere within the EU.
Notwithstanding Brexit, the UK will remain a significant security and defence actor in Europe with the potential to contribute to the EU’s comprehensive approach to crisis management operations across both the civil and military domains. The nature of that potential contribution to EU CSDP missions and operations and to initiatives such as PESCO, are being considered within the EU institutions and with the UK.
Within the EU, it is accepted that Defence is a national competence and that any decisions, including any deepening of EU cooperation, require unanimity. Through our participation in initiatives like PESCO and the Coordinated Annual Review of Defence, Ireland continues to have a strong and equal voice on defence issues within the EU institutions and to meet any commitments agreed as part of our participation in such initiatives.
In relation to security matters, as the Deputy will be aware, responsibility for on-island security in Ireland rests with An Garda Síochána, while the Revenue Commissioners also have responsibilities relating to their particular mandate.