Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (50)

John Brady

Ceist:

50. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Defence the operations in which the Defence Forces are engaged in abroad; and the number of operations that were subject to approval by Dáil Éireann. [29080/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

As of 2nd October 2020, Ireland is contributing 571 personnel to 10 different missions throughout the world and also to a range of international organisations and National representations.

The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed is the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 342 personnel and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 137 personnel. The UNIFIL mission in Lebanon continues to represent Ireland's largest overseas deployment.

The conditions under which the Defence Forces may participate on overseas peace support operations are set out in the Defence Acts. Where the Defence Forces contingent comprises part of an International United Nations Force, the conditions, known as the “triple lock”, must be satisfied, that is the operation must be authorised/mandated by the United Nations; it must be approved by the Government; and it must be approved by way of a resolution of Dáil Éireann, where the size of a Defence Forces contribution is more than twelve personnel. No Dáil Éireann approval is required where members of the Defence Forces are deployed in a training role, which is consistent with the provisions of Section 3(1)(b) and 3 (1)(d) of the Defence (Amendment) Act, 2006.

With regard to current military operations overseas, Dáil Éireann approval was sought for Defence Forces participation in the following missions:

UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon)

UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force)

MINUSMA (United Nations Mission in Mali)

EUFOR (EU-led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina)

KFOR (International Security Presence in Kosovo)

EUTM Mali is a training mission. Pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(1)(b) and 3 (1)(d) of the Defence (Amendment) Act, 2006, Dáil Éireann approval is not required where members of the Defence Forces are deployed in a training or advisory role as is the case on this mission.

The other missions where Defence Forces personnel are deployed either fall below the threshold requiring the approval of Dáil Éireann, or do not require such approval pursuant to the Defence (Amendment) Act, 2006 - e.g. appointments in international organisations, representative offices and observer missions.

Ireland has always been a strong supporter of the United Nations and UN Peacekeeping. Our commitment and support for the primary role of the United Nations, in the maintenance of international peace and security, is expressed in Ireland's long-standing tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping operations. This commitment is also expressed in our engagement in the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas are shown in the tabular statement beneath.

MEMBERS OF THE PERMANENT DEFENCE FORCE SERVING OVERSEAS - As of 2nd October 2020

UN MISSIONS

MEMBERS

UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) HQ

8

UNIFIL 116th Infantry Battalion

330

UNIFIL Sector West HQ

4

UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation) Israel & Syria

12

MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara)

2

MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic of the Congo)

3

UNDOF (COS Staff/FHQ Staff - Camp Faouar - Bravo side)

9

UNDOF 58th Infantry Group (Camp Faouar - Bravo side)

128

TOTAL

496

UN MANDATED MISSIONS

EUFOR (EU-led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina)

5

EUTM Mali (EU-led Training Mission)

13

KFOR (International Security Presence in Kosovo) HQ

13

Naval Service EU Mission (Op Irini HQ)

3

MINUSMA

14

TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH UN MISSIONS

544

ORGANISATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)

Staff Officer, High Level Planning Group, Vienna

1

EU MILITARY STAFF

Brussels

6

EU BATTLE GROUP

German Led Battle Group 202-2, FHQ, Stadtallendorf

10

MILITARY REPRESENTATIVES/ADVISERS/STAFF

Military Adviser, Permanent Mission to UN, New York

1

Military Adviser, Irish Delegation to OSCE, Vienna

1

Military Representative to EU (Brussels)

4

Liaison Officer of Ireland, NATO/PfP (Brussels)

3

EU OHQ Operation Althea, Mons, Belgium

1

TOTAL NUMBER OF DEFENCE FORCES PERSONNEL SERVING OVERSEAS

571

Question No. 51 answered with Question No. 21.