Written answers

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Department of Defence

Overseas Missions

8:00 pm

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 88: To ask the Minister for Defence the expected number and location of overseas Defence Force deployments in the next 12 months, whether under the aegis of the UN, EU or joint operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17811/09]

Photo of Margaret ConlonMargaret Conlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 113: To ask the Minister for Defence the number of Irish Troops serving on UN mandated missions; the location of those missions involving more than 12 Irish Defence Force personnel; the expected duration of these missions; if he expects Irish participation in any of these missions to come to an end in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17653/09]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 113 together.

Ireland has offered, through the UN Standby Arrangements System (UNSAS), to provide up to 850 military personnel for overseas service at any one time. This figure equates to some 10% of Ireland's standing Army (excluding Reserves) and demonstrates Ireland's commitment to the cause of international peace. This is the maximum sustainable commitment that Ireland can make to overseas peacekeeping operations. Ireland is currently contributing 779 Defence Forces personnel to 12 different missions throughout the world. Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas are listed in the tabular statement attached.

The main overseas missions, in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed, are the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) with 421 personnel, the NATO-led International Security presence (KFOR) in Kosovo with 239 personnel and the EU-led operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ALTHEA, with 44 personnel. Other personnel are serving as monitors and observers with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Staff are also deployed at the organisational headquarters of the EU, OSCE and NATO. The commitment to MINURCAT will be for an initial period of 1 year to 14 March 2010. Subject to the renewal of the mandate, a satisfactory review of the mission and available resources, I would propose, subject to Government approval, to extend the Defence Forces participation on a year to year basis thereafter. Participation by the Defence Forces in the NATO-led International Security presence (KFOR) in Kosovo is reviewed by the Government on an annual basis.

Following on from the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) meeting on 10 November 2008, the EU-led Operation "ALTHEA" in Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected to change from its current configuration of some 2,200 troops, to a support and training operation. This transition is now expected to commence after the next meeting of the Peace Implementation Council in June 2009 and should take approximately six (6) months to complete. Ireland currently has Government approval to continue to provide a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force for service with this mission in its current configuration up to 31 December 2009, subject to renewal of UN authority for the mission beyond 20 November 2009 to 31 December 2009.

Members of the Permanent Defence Force Serving Overseas as of 01 May 2009:

1.UN Missions
(i)UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) HQ8
(ii)UNTSO(United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation) – Israel, Syria and Lebanon12
(iii)MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara)3
(iv)MONUC (United Nations Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo)3
(v)UNOCI (United Nations Mission in Ivory Coast)2
(vi)MINURCAT (United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad) –HQ13
MINURCAT (United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad) - 99th Inf Battalion408
TOTAL449
UN Mandated Missions
(vii)EUFOR (EU-led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina)44
(viii)EUFORTCHAD/RCA (EU-led Operation in CHAD and the Central African Republic) OHQ - ParisEUFORTCHAD/RCA (EU-led Operation in CHAD and the CentralAfrican Republic) FHQ –Chad164
(ix)KFOR (International Security Presence in Kosovo) HQ18
KFOR (International Security Presence in Kosovo) 39th Inf Group221
(x)ISAF (International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan)7
759
2.Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
(i)OSCE Mission to Bosnia & Herzegovina2
(ii)OSCE Mission in Belgrade - Serbia1
(iii)Staff Officer, Higher Level Planning Group, Vienna1
4
3.EU Military Staff
Brussels7
4.Military Representatives/Advisers/Staff
(i)Military Adviser, Permanent Mission to UN, New York1
(ii)Military Adviser, Irish Delegation to OSCE, Vienna1
(iii)Military Representative to EU (Brussels)4
(iv)Liaison Office of Ireland, NATO/PfP (Brussels)2
(v)Military Representative to NATO/PfP Co-ordination Cell/Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), Mons. Belgium1
779

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