Thursday, 21 June 2012
Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
Defence Forces Deployment
Question 11: To ask the Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to any discussions being held regarding deployment of the Austro-German EU Battlegroup; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30058/12]
Ireland is committed to participation in the Austro-German led Battlegroup, which will be on stand-by from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2012. In 2010, the then Government approved Ireland's participation in this Battlegroup. The other members of the Austro-German Battlegroup are Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Our contribution will be a Reconnaissance Company together with staff posts at both the Operational and Force headquarters amounting to approximately 175 personnel. Leading up to and during the standby period one officer has been deployed to the Battlegroup Headquarters in Ulm, Germany. This officer is engaged in training and planning activities.
Any decision by Ireland to participate in a specific Battlegroup operation is subject to our national sovereign decision-making procedures - "Triple Lock", i.e. UN mandate, Government and Dáil approval. The issue of Battlegroup usability and flexibility has been discussed at the EU Defence Ministers meetings I have attended. Also, within the EU itself, a number of committees, including the Political and Security Committee and the EU Military Committee, keep the issue of Battlegroup response under constant review in consultation with all EU Member States. Any decision to deploy the Austro-German Battlegroup will continue to be taken by unanimity by the Council of the European Union. In addition, Ireland will retain the sovereign right to decide on participation in any crisis management mission involving the Austro-German Battlegroup. There have not been any discussions to date regarding any particular deployment of the Austro-German EU Battlegroup