Thursday, 27 June 2019
European Union Battle Group: Motion
That Dáil Éireann approves Ireland's accession to the Memorandum of Understanding concerning the principles for the establishment and operation of a battle group to be made available to the European Union in the second half of the year 2020.
In its decision of 6 February 2018, the Government agreed to provide a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force, PDF, to participate in the German-led EU battle group 2020, which will be on standby for six months from July 2020. The motion before the House is to approve the memorandum of understanding, MOU, agreed among the battle group participants arising from that decision.
The MOU relates solely to the administrative and technical arrangements for the operation of the battle group. Any decision on a deployment of the proposed Defence Forces contingent on a battle group operation will require a further decision of Dáil Éireann in accordance with the provisions of the Defence Acts.
Based on advice from the Office of the Attorney General, this MOU is not subject to approval by the Dáil. However, I previously gave a commitment, which I stand by, to bring the memorandum before the Dáil, with due respect for transparency and the role of the House.
In commending the motion, I would like to outline the background to Ireland's participation in this EU battle group which will be led by Germany. The EU aims to be able to respond rapidly to emerging crises as and when they occur. The purpose of the EU battle groups is to meet this objective and undertake operations as outlined in the Treaty on the European Union. These operations, known as the Petersberg Tasks, which were further expanded in the Lisbon treaty, include humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking and peacebuilding, joint disarmament operations, military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and post-conflict stabilisation.
Ireland has worked to uphold the primacy of the role of the United Nations Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security. This commitment has found expression in Ireland's long-standing tradition of participation in UN peacekeeping, peace enforcement and crisis management operations, and our efforts at EU level to enhance EU-UN co-operation. Participation in EU battle groups represents another means for Ireland to express its commitment to the UN and its principles. In this regard, Members will recall that successive Secretaries General of the UN have endorsed the EU battle group concept and have encouraged and advocated for Ireland's participation in battle groups that could act in support of UN operations.
The Defence Forces contribution to this battle group will involve a special operations task group comprising a special operations forces platoon, engineer special search capability, explosive ordnance disposal, EOD, capability and a security platoon together with staff posts at force headquarters. The total number of Defence Forces personnel involved in this battle group will be approximately 150. This level of resource commitment will only arise should the battle group be deployed to undertake an operation and should Ireland agree to participate. The Defence Forces commitment leading up to and during the standby period, where the battle group has not been mobilised to undertake an operation will amount to ten personnel deployed to the battle group force headquarters in Germany.
The German battle group MOU is an agreement between the participants comprising the battle group, namely Germany, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Latvia and the Netherlands. This agreement sets out principles on the operation, deployment and management of the German battle group. The text of this agreement was laid in the Oireachtas Library in advance of our debate today. Its terms are similar to those that Ireland has previously acceded to for the 2016 German battle group.
Each individual battle group participant retains the right to deploy or not to deploy its forces, irrespective of an EU decision to launch a battle group operation. In Ireland's case, the triple lock requirement for the deployment of the Defence Forces contingent will remain unaffected by its accession to this memorandum of understanding.
Ireland's participation in battle groups supports the development of rapid deployment skills and capabilities within the Defence Forces. It enhances Ireland’s credibility as a provider of professional and effective military forces for crisis management operations. It reinforces our standing and capacity to influence the ongoing development of the Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy in support of international peace and security and the UN.
My party is committed to, and embraces fully, the important role our Defence Forces play in peacekeeping operations. Our record in peacekeeping is among the best in the world and our men and women deserve tremendous praise for this. Thanks to their dedication, professionalism and compassion, Ireland's reputation committed to peace is world renowned, and long may this continue. Our involvement in EU battle groups is in keeping with this policy. These special operations comply fully with Ireland's position in pursuing an active neutrality. This means playing a positive role in peacekeeping and assisting developing nations.
Having examined the MOU, I believe these components are at the heart of this particular battle group. In particular, I recognise the focus on being able to provide a rapid response within five days of a humanitarian disaster to deliver aid, food, medicine and supports to help people in crisis and at the point of death. We cannot opt out and be a bystander in any such situation.
Sweden, Finland, Cyprus and Austria, all of which are neutral countries, participate in EU battle groups.
This is also not a new development. Ireland participated in these operations in 2008, 2011, 2012 and in 2016. At no time has there been a deployment of our troops in any of these exercises. They fall under the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU. The key is in the statement: Keeping citizens safe and secure. If we were to opt out of this and not participate, we would effectively be saying to other European nations, "You do it. You keep us safe."
It is also important to point out that participation in these kinds of missions is underscored in the White Paper on Defence. This explicitly states that any threat to the EU is now regarded as a threat to Ireland’s interest and welfare. We are committed to maintaining peace across Europe and participation in these battle groups is a way to ensure people are safe, peace is secure and stability is ensured.
Support for this MOU does not commit us to anything further. Some colleagues will mention an EU army and other matters. It does not advance that type of proposal.
It is important to separate rhetoric on that concept from the constitutional and legal basis for the European treaties, which do not mention that.
Participation in a battle group deployment in any peacekeeping exercise would still come under the provisions of the triple lock protocol and, therefore, would require Government and Dáil approval, and must be supported by the UN. We will support the motion for these reasons.
Participation in this battle group includes a special operations task group. Does this involve the Army Ranger Wing in any way? The Minister of State secured agreement to deploy the ranger wing to Mali for peacekeeping operations. Will the resources and personnel required for domestic security be in any way undermined by our participation in this battle group?
Representatives of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association, PDFORRA, appeared before the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence earlier to discuss peacekeeping missions and deployment of our personnel overseas. They are frustrated over the ongoing delay in publishing the Public Service Pay Commission report and to act on that matter. It is very much intertwined with what we are discussing. Our participation in EU battle groups and in international missions is underpinned by the personnel numbers in the Defence Forces. We are considerably below the White Paper target. Pay and allowances need to be restored in order that the respect and dignity of the Defence Forces can be maintained with their loyalty central to what we are doing.
This is another week of missed opportunity. When will the Minister of State publish the pay commission report? When will he act on it and treat the men and women of our Defence Forces with the respect and dignity they deserve?
They are the people who are central to these operations and battle groups. Unfortunately, we have had an ongoing fudge from the Government. There were pay increase announcements for judges and others in the public service, but our Defence Forces have been ignored. I ask the Government to please publish that report and, if it is not happy with it, to say so. It is time to restore pay and allowances for our Defence Forces.
Deputy Chambers said that the key is in the name. I do not think he was referring specifically to the words "battle group", but the key is in the name. We are talking about combat forces and disarmament. In Europe, there is talk of an EU military headquarters; the key is in the name there as well. I did not coin the term "EU army"; it was coined by the EU Commission and the EU leaders who have supported the further militarisation of Europe for the past number of decades. The Minister of State is uncomfortable with the title "battle group", but it is a battle group.
Sending 1,000 soldiers to take sides in a conflict anywhere in the world is a battle. Europe would have two such groups on standby, with 3,000 battle-ready soldiers to send into an area to disarm one side or the other. That is taking sides and we are a neutral country. That is not our role, has never been our role and should never be in the future.
Rather than rehash what I have been saying about the EU's military apparatus since I was elected in 2002 and before, I will quote one of the Minister of State's colleagues, who said:
I ask that we revert back to what we were the best at, namely, peacekeeping. We do not want all of this. Leave it to others, if they want to become part and parcel of battle groups. Battle groups are not peacekeepers. The words "battle groups" mean that they are trained to go into battle. Do we want to be part of the battle groups? Since when do peacekeepers become involved in battle groups? With the greatest respect, we are losing our way here.
It was not me or another Sinn Féin Member who said that, but the former Minister of Defence, Deputy Seán Barrett. I once again ask the Minister of State to heed the warning of those inside and outside this House who respect our proud tradition of peacekeeping and to stop now, before it is too late, and protect our neutrality.
It is requested that 152 personnel be on standby to be deployed at a moment's notice to anywhere in the world. This is at a time we do not even have enough Defence Forces personnel to deploy the existing naval fleet, to fly the planes and man the equipment that would allow the Air Corps to be fully operational, or to allow the Army to fully carry out the duties that it was expected to in the past. At a time there is no reason to, we are being asked to sign up to sending further troops abroad, on this occasion on a mission that is contrary to the traditions of this House and of Ireland, as a country of neutrality that does not impose itself on other parts of the world.
We do not support the new imperialist attempt to regain past glories for the likes of France, Belgium, Britain or Spain, which have fought proxy wars in Africa and elsewhere. Only last week, the Minister of State made the decision to send Irish troops to Mali in September to support the continuing French adventure, to the detriment of those who live there.
I urge him to row back, once and for all, on the trend in the European Union towards further militarisation and the spending of money that could be otherwise spent on peacebuilding. We must ensure that our developed world contributes in a positive way to those who are the least well-off in the world, so that they benefit rather than see their resources plundered, as they have over the centuries.
The term "battle group" sounds quite dramatic, proactive and aggressive. For anyone with a tradition rooted in neutrality and peacekeeping, the instinct is to baulk at the idea of supporting such a thing. EU battle groups exist in a state of preparedness to deploy within five to ten days of a Council decision to a range of possible missions, including crisis management and humanitarian assistance missions. As is referenced in documents supplied by the Minister, the term "battle group" is unfortunate, as it is a standard, technical military term referring to a battalion-sized force with support elements, including logistics and transport. This has been the Irish experience in battle groups since 2008.
It is important to reiterate that Ireland's participation in a battle group operation would be subject to the usual triple lock requirements of a UN mandate, Government approval and Dáil approval, in accordance with the Defence Acts. We in the Labour Party support Ireland's right to determine for itself on a case-by-case basis whether it will participate in any battle group operation. As ever, the Labour Party is committed to protecting Ireland from involvement in any wars or battles of aggression. We have a proud tradition as a neutral arbiter in world conflicts and are synonymous with peacekeeping and peacemaking. Last week, we objected to the motion on sending troops to Mali, as we felt that it breached our standards of what kind of operations we should and should not be involved in. This motion on EU battle groups does not breach that threshold.
We need to have honest debates in this Chamber about our Defence Forces. It is easy to vote against this on the basis of the name including the word "battle". It is also easy to raise alarm bells about super armies and rampant militarisation, but we should vote on the detail of the motion and how it would play out practically in the real world. Involvement in these battle groups provides the members of our Defence Forces with modern training and interesting exercises, and builds up positive relationships with our European partner states. Some in this House might be happy to see our Defence Forces wallowing in domestic barracks with very little to do. However, I have met members of our Defence Forces and know that they want to be active, to travel and to learn. I want that for them as well. They want to mix with other forces and exchange expertise and experiences. Ultimately, our members can learn from these experiences and that assists in the practical application of peacekeeping, which is where Ireland's Defence Forces are in active operation.
We need to be honest and true to Defence Forces personnel and to our principles as a neutral state. We have been in battle groups previously. In 2008, 2011 and 2015, we were members of Nordic-led battle groups, and in 2016, a member of an EU battle group. We have not compromised our values, nor have we supported sending our troops into any battle of aggression. That will not change. Arguments about European super armies are a red herring when it comes to battle groups. There is no appetite in the Labour Party, this House or the country for us to be in any sort of super army. The triple lock will remain in place and we are satisfied with those safeguards.
It is worth acknowledging that the Minister did not have to bring the motion to the House for agreement. He has done so to keep the House up to date and included in the plans and operations for our Defence Forces.
If the House has not gathered it already, Labour will be support the motion.
There are times when debate in this House is surreal, and this is one of them. Apparently, we are just dreaming up the idea that there are moves in the EU to create a European army.
This is a German-led EU battle group so what did Chancellor Angela Merkel say, as the German head of state? She said, in front of the European Parliament at the beginning of this year: "We have to look at the vision of one day creating a real, true, European army." A couple of days before that, she signed an accord with Emmanuel Macron, also a supporter of an EU army, which said they wanted to create a common military culture as a step towards the creation of a European army. That is what the battle groups are about.
Battle groups are about creating a common military culture as a step towards the creation of a European army. Various governments, including ours, seem to be willing to send troops into deadly and dangerous missions because they have just sent troops to Mali. Some of those supporting this battle group opposed that deployment to Mali - not Fianna Fáil, of course - but we are clearly being pushed down a slippery slope by the Government towards involvement in an EU army.
Why does the Government not pay our soldiers instead? Why will it not show us what is in the Public Service Pay Commission report instead of wasting money on this stuff and putting our troops in danger or involvement in a European military project? Why not pay the soldiers? Why not show us what is in the report? Why not pay the rangers who have just been sent to Mali the arbitration award that was granted in 2010, which the Government is refusing to pay? The Government does not respect, and will not pay, our soldiers, many of whom live in poverty, but the Government is quite happy to breach Ireland's neutrality, get them involved in an EU army and send them into dangerous missions in which we should not be involved such as those in Mali.
Every time we discuss battle groups or their equivalents in this House, the establishment parties wince in embarrassment at the name "battle groups" and try to explain away and justify the fact that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party will vote in favour of Irish participation in a German-led battle group by saying there is nothing to see here because it is all humanitarian.
What war has ever been fought with an open explanation that it is a war for oil or an imperialist war for plunder? Wars are always fought on the basis of false premises. Humanitarian reasons have, since the beginning of conflict, been a tried and trusted reason that various imperialist powers have reached for. A justification for First World War was the protection of Belgian refugees. The 19th century French intervention in Syria was justified as being for humanitarian reasons. The US invasion of Haiti in 1915 was for humanitarian reasons. It stretches to the present day, through the first Gulf War in the 1990s and the later Gulf War based on the dodgy dossiers. There were also the NATO interventions in Yugoslavia and Kosovo and, in 2011, the NATO-led attacks in Libya. Imperialist interventions are often justified as being on the basis of humanitarian need so this is no exception.
Is it true, as Deputy Wallace has said in the past, that Ireland's participation in battle groups has resulted in our troops being trained in the use of armoured personnel carriers armed with 30 mm cannons, grenade launchers and other such advanced weaponry? What on earth does that have to do with disaster relief and rescue missions?
Peace enforcement is also listed in the Petersberg Tasks to which the Minister of State referred. "Enforcement" is to make something happen or force somebody to do something. In conflicts, peace enforcement means using military force, or the threat of same, to impose one's will.
The Government hides behind the idea that unanimity is needed at European Council level so Ireland will not be forced into anything. As Deputy Boyd Barrett did, I will quote the words of Angela Merkel. Not only did she come out openly in favour of a European army, she also said that, in the long run, Europe must become more capable to act:
We have to reconsider our ways of deciding and to renounce the principle of unanimity where the European treaties allow and wherever this is necessary. I proposed a European security council in which important decisions can be prepared faster.
This is a German-led battle group.
I am sharing time with Deputy Wallace, soon to be a Member of the European Parliament. I fully support a very strong Army, Navy and Air Force defending our country and taking part in UN operations, which Óglaigh na hÉireann has done with great distinction over the past number of decades. Like colleagues, I was worried when I read about the Franco-German treaty, which seems to be built on mutual defence and where even the term a "real European army" was used. It was not only President Trump who used that term. All of the other European countries seem to be expected to operate under the mutual defence clause.
There is also the situation in NATO. The Minister of State will know about Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's new rapid response formula and which will mean 30 combat ships, 30 land battalions, and 30 air squadrons being available within 30 days. There are NATO battle groups in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. How do we disentangle this EU approach from NATO's?
How would this interact with the European intervention initiative, EI2, of ten countries headed by France and Germany, which seems to be a rapid reaction force running what they call the EU navy? Will this not just be a subset of that? As Deputy Brendan Ryan said, battle groups have existed since 2007 but there are grave concerns that we could be involved in actions up to 6,000 km from home in north Africa, the Middle East and so on. That would not be in the interests of our country and not remotely befitting our long tradition of neutrality. We should look to the broader world and strengthen the UN. The organisation is exasperatingly weak when it comes to international crises.
The Minister of State knows I do not agree with this at all. The Europeans knew what they were talking about when they called these "battle groups". The word "peace" is nowhere there.
I was not here for the debate on Mali last week but I find it reprehensible that we have any involvement there. All we are doing there is backing up western financial imperialism in Africa. The French are up to their nuts in the area and there is no gain for the people of the region. It is all about financial gain for the French. The Americans and others are there as well, as are the Chinese and Russians. I do not agree with any of them exploiting that region for financial gain and we are facilitating it by sending troops there. There is no fairness or logic to doing that.
Deputy Brendan Ryan said that we are not sending people into battles of aggression. I am sorry, and it is nothing personal, but I strongly disagree. I do not take any comfort from the triple lock given that the Government of the day will decide if it feels like going further and more aggressively. We have seen what the Government of the day has been doing since 2001 in Shannon. Sadly, Fine Gael objected to it before going into government but went along with it in government. I strongly disagree with the fact that Shannon is being used by the US military to cause terrible destruction worldwide.
More than 60 million people are now displaced because of war. The militarisation of the planet has gone off the Richter scale and we are now looking at a gradual militarisation of Europe. It is very dangerous. Money is now being taken from environmental projects in Europe to go towards military subsidy. That is only subsidising the arms industry. The lobbyists from that industry are wearing out the carpets in Europe to get what they want.
Deputy Jack Chambers named a number of so-called neutral countries that have also signed up to these battle groups. Unfortunately, the number of countries in Europe that are prepared to stand up to the might of the military complex is zero. We will take no credit from being in the same boat as them.
This is the wrong path and that is an enormous problem.
Everybody seems to be interested in the environment all of a sudden, but there is no entity on the planet causing more problems for the environment than the United States military and its 4,800 bases worldwide. There is no logic to us having anything to do with military expansion in Europe. It is a huge mistake and not what the people want.
I wish Deputies Wallace and Clare Daly and the others elected to the European Parliament the very best. I was present for Deputy Wallace's maiden speech and also present to listen to his leaving speech. I hope they will not be gone for too long, but I wish them well and know that they will be good representatives in the European Parliament. We will miss Deputies Wallace and Clare Daly from the Independent benches.
I too have major concerns about the ongoing situation with the Army. We know that the Defence Forces are being mistreated because the report of the Low Pay Commission has not been published. We meet members of the Defence Forces every week in our clinics and although they cannot go on strike, they are being treated appallingly. I am worried as week after week we are becoming involved in different issues across Europe and with the United Nations. I am proud of our record in United Nations missions in conflicts around the world through the decades. There are many people from Clonmel in the different representative organisations who have been to the Congo and elsewhere where it was very dangerous.
The wording of the motion is blatant and there is reference to a "battlegroup". Surely they could have called it some other kind of humanitarian mission and found a better name for it. We have heard what Mrs. Merkel has said and should not sign up. The Minister of State has listed the countries which are joining and implied that we should follow suit. We have been punished enough for being the good boy in Europe and cheerleading. The members of the battle group are Germany, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Latvia and the Netherlands. We do not have to be the best boy in the class in Europe as we were the best boy when money was shovelled in here to completely mess up the economy before we were fleeced in the so-called bailout, against which I voted and bitterly opposed. This is a most serious matter.
We must support our troops on UN missions but not in battle groups or similar positions. We had a debate last week about sending them to Mali and such places which are very dangerous. That was without having a proper debate or understanding of what went on in these countries. Many other speakers have said that we do not have personnel to equip Naval Service ships or fly the limited aircraft we have available. Soldiers are voting with their feet to leave because they are living in poverty. We want to send them to join what is blatantly called a battle group. If this is a neutral country, how can we add support to a battle group? It is what it says on the tin. It is not a peacekeeping mission. If it was, why would they call it a battle group?
I do not know what the Minister of State expects us to do. There is already a coalition on many issues between Fianna Fáil and the Government and the Labour Party is also supporting the Government on this one. I certainly will not be supporting it as I have the greatest of respect for our soldiers and what they have done. We decided to send the Army Rangers off last week. The Government should look after them and their families at home. They should be treated with respect by the Minister of State with responsibility for defence, rather than being placed in more perilous positions. Sometimes it is done with subterfuge and we do not know where troops are going, but the motion mentions "battlegroup". I will not support the motion and many of my colleagues in the Rural Independents Group will not support it either.
The Minister of State mentioned the triple lock, which is meant to be great. It is meant to be like having braces and a belt or two braces and two belts, but it will depend on the Government of the day and the majority it enjoys. A Government can push a triple lock mechanism any way it likes and achieve the outcome it desires, but we need to tread cautiously and consider things carefully when we hear the comments we heard from Mrs. Angela Merkel whose country will lead the battle group. We must make haste slowly and examine things carefully.
Deputy Wallace mentioned the expanding use of Shannon Airport, with troops heading to different war zones around the world. We are in a precarious enough time and should not be putting our soldiers in peril. It is appalling that in the past 18 months two lots of peacekeepers who were ready to return home were left stranded, high and dry. There were families waiting for them to attend weddings, First Holy Communion and other events. They were stranded because of technical issues. The Government should respect them by keeping them at home where they are safe. They should go on United Nations missions but not with this kind of battle group.
I thank all Deputies across the House for their contributions. Our previous experiences in participating in EU battle groups where countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden have led nations have all been very positive and valuable to members of Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Defence Forces. I again state how important our participation is in developing improved interoperability between the Defence Forces and the forces of other EU member states. This is vital for Ireland when deployed with other countries in peacekeeping operations.
As I have stated before, I have concerns about use of the name "battlegroup" as it sends the wrong message, but people should look beyond the name to the many positives in Ireland's participation in this mission. I emphasise that battle groups, in common with all other capabilities under the Common Security and Defence Policy, have been developed to enable the European Union to carry out a range of crisis management tasks as outlined in the Lisbon treaty. They include humanitarian rescue tasks. In that context, it is possible that battle group formations could be called on to assist in large-scale complex emergencies where we would want to be useful and effective partners. I have no doubt that if a humanitarian issue arose, many Deputies who will vote against the motion today would want us to assist.
Participation in the battle group will have no effect on our traditional policy of military neutrality. A commitment to a battle group does not involve any commitment to common or mutual defence. Should a battle group be deployed, each battle group participant will retain the right to deploy or not to deploy its forces, irrespective of an EU decision to launch a battle group operation. The deployment of the Defence Forces contingent as part of a battle group in peacekeeping or peace enforcement operations will continue to require an EU mandate, Government and Dáil approval, in accordance with the triple lock provisions of the Defence Acts. This fact remains unaffected by Ireland being a signatory of the memorandum of understanding.
A number of Deputies spoke about an EU army. The formation of a battle group is not a dry run for a European army as certain Deputies claim each time I bring any motion such as this before the House. Some Members would love it if members of the Defence Forces rode to barracks in the morning and stayed there all day, except to shovel snow, help when there is flooding or cut trees, etc. They do not want the Defence Forces to participate in anything.
-----the specific and different policies of member states in the area of security and defence. Battle groups, as part of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy, offer a stance in terms of military capability and enable the EU to react rapidly and decisively in a crisis situation.
Deputy Boyd Barrett spoke about the Lisbon treaty and almost dismissed it. It is a very important document because if there is ever talk of an EU army, the Deputy will have a say in that as an Irish citizen. I will not decide that. Neither the Government nor this House will decide that. The citizens of this country will decide that. Deputy Boyd Barrett often dismisses that but it is contained in the protocols of the Lisbon treaty, which are unique and important in terms of this country.
I want to address a final issue very briefly. I was asked about the Army Ranger Wing and if we had the capability to be able to respond to-----
-----that the Ordnance Corps and the Army Ranger Wing are in a position to support fully and meet the requirements of the EU battle group 2020 without compromising Ireland's security requirements or explosive ordnance disposal, EOD, outputs.
I thank the Members who spoke in favour of the motion. I am disappointed that some Members will vote against it.
In conclusion, I will miss my constituency colleague, Deputy Wallace, when he is gone to Europe. I will miss him in Wexford and I wish him and Deputy Clare Daly the very best of luck.
They may be back here in this House again but as a constituency colleague, I genuinely wish Deputy Wallace well in the next five years as a Member of the European Parliament. I have no doubt we will continue to hear his views on military operations and other issues.
Bobby Aylward, Maria Bailey, Seán Barrett, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Colm Brophy, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Joan Burton, Catherine Byrne, Thomas Byrne, Dara Calleary, Seán Canney, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Niall Collins, Simon Coveney, Barry Cowen, Michael Creed, John Curran, Michael D'Arcy, Jim Daly, John Deasy, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Paschal Donohoe, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Frances Fitzgerald, Peter Fitzpatrick, Seán Fleming, Brendan Griffin, John Halligan, Michael Harty, Seán Haughey, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Billy Kelleher, Alan Kelly, Seán Kyne, John Lahart, James Lawless, Michael Lowry, Marc MacSharry, Josepha Madigan, Helen McEntee, Finian McGrath, Michael McGrath, Tony McLoughlin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Kevin Moran, Aindrias Moynihan, Dara Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Jim O'Callaghan, Kate O'Connell, Willie O'Dea, Patrick O'Donovan, Fergus O'Dowd, Kevin O'Keeffe, Frank O'Rourke, Jan O'Sullivan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Willie Penrose, John Paul Phelan, Anne Rabbitte, Michael Ring, Noel Rock, Shane Ross, Brendan Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Brendan Smith, David Stanton, Katherine Zappone.
Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Tommy Broughan, Pat Buckley, Joan Collins, Michael Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Dessie Ellis, Michael Fitzmaurice, Séamus Healy, Gino Kenny, Mattie McGrath, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Catherine Murphy, Paul Murphy, Louise O'Reilly, Maureen O'Sullivan, Eoin Ó Broin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Maurice Quinlivan, Róisín Shortall, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Mick Wallace.