Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Defence Forces

9:10 am

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I am glad that this question was asked so that I can put some of the data on the record. As of 1 March, Ireland is contributing 569 personnel to nine different missions throughout the world. The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, with 344 personnel and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, UNDOF, in Syria with 132 personnel.

In addition, three personnel are deployed to the MONUSCO stabilisation mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; 14 are in MINUSMA, the UN mission in Mali; five are with the EU-led operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina; 20 are deployed to the EU-led training mission, EUTM Mali; 13 are in the NATO-led mission KFOR in Kosovo; 12 are with UNTSO, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation in Israel and Syria; and three personnel are in the EU naval mission, Operation Irini. Ireland also contributes observers and staff to various UN and OSCE missions and personnel to staff appointments at UN, EU, NATO-PfP and OSCE headquarters.

With regard to any future deployments of Defence Forces personnel overseas, Ireland receives requests from time to time regarding participation in various missions and these are considered on a case-by-case basis. The changing nature of demands and potential future mission profiles need to be considered in the context of assets and capabilities that can be made available by the Defence Forces for overseas deployment, given existing operational demands at home and overseas.

I am aware that concerns have been raised, particularly with regard to overseas commitments. In this connection, I can advise that the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces jointly review the overseas deployment of Defence Forces personnel on an ongoing basis. Following a review of overseas deployments in 2021, a decision was taken to withdraw two Defence Forces personnel from the MINURSO mission on completion of their tour of duty in July 2021. This decision was taken in order for the Defence Forces to undertake a process of consolidation with regard to their overseas commitments.


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