Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Operations
70. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Ireland’s agreement to the EU SOFA would expand the breadth of the peacekeeping missions of the Defence Forces to include crisis management and battlegroups. [9687/19]
Prior to Ireland's agreement to become party to the EU SOFA Irish Defence Forces' missions and operations included crisis management operations, such as Operation Sophia, and included participation in a number of EU Battlegroups including the Nordic Battlegroups in 2008, 2011 and 2015. The agreement of the EU SOFA does not change this position.
Participation on crisis management operations strengthens Ireland's ability to make an effective contribution to the promotion of global peace, security and development, whether through the UN, the EU or our own bilateral actions. Participation in EU Battlegroups supports the development of rapid deployment skills and capabilities within the Defence Forces, together with improved interoperability with like-minded States. Ireland's participation in EU Battlegroups also reflects Irelands support for the UN, where successive Secretaries General of the UN have endorsed the development of the EU Battlegroup concept and Ireland's participation therein.