Written answers

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Deployment

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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1215. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the degree to which the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps will continue to participate in overseas missions in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9766/16]

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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As of 1 May 2016, Ireland is contributing 471 Defence Forces personnel to 11 overseas 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 Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 194 personnel, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 138 personnel and the Naval Service humanitarian mission in the Mediterranean with 58 personnel.

Irish soldiers deployed to UNIFIL serve alongside Finnish Armed Forces as part of a joint Battalion which is currently under Finnish command. Ireland takes over command of the Battalion from Finland in November 2016 at which time an additional Company of some 150 personnel will be deployed to UNIFIL bringing Ireland’s contribution to this mission to 340 personnel approximately,

The Department of Defence constantly reviews the deployment of Defence Forces personnel overseas. With regard to any future deployments of Defence Forces personnel overseas, Ireland receives requests, from time to time, in relation to participation in various missions and these are considered on a case-by-case basis. When considering any particular request, the existence of realistic objectives and a clear mandate, which has the potential to contribute to a political solution, consideration of how the mission relates to the priorities of Irish foreign policy and the degree of risk involved are amongst the factors considered.

The Government’s White Paper on Defence includes a commitment to review Ireland's declared contribution to United Nations Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) (formerly UNSAS) and the EU Headline Goal; to include consideration of the potential deployability of the full range of Defence Forces' capabilities including Army, Air Corps and Naval Service capabilities and assets on peace support and crisis management operations. This review will commence in 2017.

The current contribution of some 470 Defence Forces personnel to overseas missions reflects the Government’s continued commitment to our responsibilities in the area of international peace and security.

Members of the Permanent Defence Force Serving Overseas As of 1 May 2016

1. UN MISSIONS

(i)UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) HQ 9

UNIFIL51st Infantry Group 181

UNIFILSector West HQ 4

(ii)UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation) Israel & Syria 12

(iii)MINURSO(United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) 3

(iv)MONUSCO(United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic 4

Republic of the Congo)

(v)UNOCI(United Nations Mission in Ivory Coast) 2

(vi)UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) HQ, 8

Golan Heights, Syria

UNDOF48thInfantry Group130

TOTAL353

UN MANDATED MISSIONS

(vii)EUFOR(EU-led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina) 7

(viii)EUTM Mali(EU-Led Training Mission) 10

(ix)KFOR(International Security Presence in Kosovo ) HQ 12

2. OTHER DEPLOYMENTS

Naval Service Humanitarian Mission in Mediterranean L.É. Róisín 58

TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH UN MISSION440

3. ORGANISATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)

(i)OSCE Mission to Bosnia & Herzegovina1

(ii)Staff Officer, High Level Planning Group, Vienna1

TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH OSCE2

4. EU MILITARY STAFF

Brussels 4

5. EU BATTLE GROUP

German-led Battle Group 2016 HQ Strasbourg10

UK-LED Battle Group 2016, UK 5

6. 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 Officer of Ireland, NATO /PfP (Brussels)2

(v)EU OHQ Operation Althea, Mons, Belgium1

(vi)Irish Liaison Officer to SHAPE & Military Co-Op Division, Mons, Belgium1

TOTAL NUMBER OF DEFENCE FORCES PERSONNEL SERVING OVERSEAS471

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