Wednesday, 29 September 2021
Afghanistan Crisis: Statements
The reply I received stated that the decision was taken in light of the resources needed for the several missions being run in the area. The House recently passed legislation relating to being able to clarify the chain of command in the context of multinational operations. That is very useful legislation but it is only needed now, rather than also in times gone by, because we are not able to produce the same strength for UN peacekeeping missions. We were undertaking missions by ourselves but are now joining with other countries, such as with Malta and Poland on a recent deployment to Lebanon, for example. These issues reflect a concern among members of the Defence Forces that there is a lack of sufficient resources or manpower to be able to commit to an overseas operation while keeping people at home to do the work, mentorship, leadership and management that is needed here.
This issue also speaks to wider concerns and a warning relating to the wider context of closer European military co-operation. Is this going to be about peace, of which Ireland has had a proud tradition, or is it simply going to be about security, whereby we roll in behind much more militarised powers that are using the global system for their own ends and to meet their resource and other needs? Are we to be left mopping up after them? Instead of challenging them and focusing on peace, we are simply focusing on security. These are issues on which we need to reflect in the context of our role in them and our ability in that regard. Consideration must be given to what we want the Defence Forces to be able to do and to actually do. Do we want them to be able to continue those proud traditions or are we looking at simply mopping up after a power gone mad across the globe?