Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence

Permanent Structured Cooperation: Motion

5:00 pm

Photo of Noel GrealishNoel Grealish (Galway West, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State for coming before us. He said that this committee always talks about the role of our Defence Forces abroad - one could say nearly all over the world but particularly in the Middle East and in the African continent. I am very proud of the Defence Forces and the work they do. We visited Georgia recently and visited an EU monitoring mission along the Georgian-Russian border. Retired members of the Irish Defence Forces headed up this project.

I have no problem with supporting permanent structured co-operation, PESCO. We are part of the EU and I believe we should play our role. We are living in a different and changing world. We see horrendous terrorist attacks taking place around Europe and the world. We discuss them in this committee and offer our condolences to the various countries involved. If PESCO is a new way of trying to prevent terrorism around Europe it is important that Ireland plays a part in this.

Is every country in the EU going to be part of this or is any country opting out? If there is, the Minister might let us know why that country has opted out. If he does not know he can have the reason sent to me by letter. It is just for my own information because I am not aware of the situation.

PESCO allows us to opt out of any particular project that comes up and that will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Will every case in which the Army participates require a vote in the Dáil or will the projects in which we participate be decided by the Cabinet, the Minister or the military?


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