Thursday, 28 January 2021
Department of Defence
143. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Irish troops currently deployed overseas; the extent of requests for further deployment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4893/21]
As of 5 January 2021, Ireland is contributing 586 personnel to 10 different missions throughout the world. The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 350 personnel and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 138 personnel.
The UNIFIL mission in Lebanon continues to represent Ireland's largest overseas deployment and on 15 May 2020 the Government approved the continued participation of the Defence Forces in UNIFIL for a further 12 month period. Irish troops are currently serving as part of a joint Irish-Polish Battalion in UNIFIL.
In relation to UNDOF, Defence Forces personnel are currently based in Camp Faouar on the Syrian side of the area of separation. On 12 June 2020, the Government approved the continued participation of the Defence Forces in UNDOF for a 12 month period up to June 2021.
Other missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) with 20 personnel; MINUSMA, the UN authorised operation in Mali with 14 personnel, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in Israel and Syria with 11 personnel, the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) with one (1) person, the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina with five (5) personnel, the NATO-led international security presence (KFOR) in Kosovo with 13 personnel and the EU Naval mission (Operation Irini) with three (3) personnel. Ireland also contributes observers and staff to various United Nations and OSCE missions and personnel to staff appointments at UN, EU, NATO/PfP and OSCE headquarters.
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.
Ireland has always been a strong supporter of the United Nations and UN Peacekeeping. Our commitment and support for the primary role of the United Nations, in the maintenance of international peace and security, is expressed in Ireland's long-standing tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping operations. This commitment is also expressed in our engagement in the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).