I propose to take Questions Nos. 91 and 92 together.
Ireland’s relationship with NATO operates within the framework of the Partnership for Peace (PfP), which Ireland has been a member of since 1999.
Ireland’s membership of the PfP framework has served to improve the capacity of the Defence Forces to participate in international peace support operations and has been of significant importance in the development of their interoperability with other potential peacekeeping contributing nations.
Our participation in PfP enables us to build an individually tailored relationship with NATO, selecting priorities for cooperation. Recent policy priorities for cooperation have included the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and related resolutions, the protection of civilians, and the protection of children in armed conflict. Potential additional areas of engagement include efforts to counter cyber and hybrid threats, building on the Government’s recent decision to participate in NATO’s Malware Information Platform and our involvement in the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn.
Ireland’s partnership is conducted via our PfP Liaison Office in Brussels. My officials meet on an ongoing basis with NATO officials to take forward work on our shared priorities. In addition, EU-NATO cooperation is a regular item on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council in Defence format, which I attend in my capacity as Minister for Defence. This involves regular exchanges of views with the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg. In common with other EU Member States who are not members of NATO, Ireland recognises the importance of enhanced cooperation between the EU and NATO, particularly where it benefits international peace and security, is focused on avoiding duplication of structures, systems and interoperability standards, and adds value in combating cyber or hybrid threats.