21. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he is satisfied that the public and the Houses of the Oireachtas were sufficiently informed in regard to overseas missions (details supplied) as to the make-up of the Defence Forces contingents serving on those missions in view of the fact that in cases in which motions pursuant to section 2 of the Defence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1960 were passed approving the despatch of Defence Forces members on overseas missions did not refer to Army Ranger Wing involvement. (Question 20412/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 42 together.
The Army Ranger Wing (ARW) are the Special Operations Forces of the Defence Forces.
Defence Forces personnel, including ARW personnel, are deployed to United Nations peacekeeping missions in accordance with the provisions of the Defence Acts.
The statutory authority for the despatch of contingents of the Permanent Defence Force for service overseas is set out in Section 2 of t...

94. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the published number of Defence Forces members serving on overseas missions (details supplied) in each relevant year in which the missions were ongoing includes members of the Army Ranger Wing serving on those missions. (Question 17930/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 96 to 98, inclusive, together.
All published numbers of Defence Forces personnel serving overseas includes members of the Army Ranger Wing serving on those missions where relevant.
Personnel from the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) served in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from October 2006 to March 2007 and from September 2014 to March 2015. They also participate...

96. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 161 of 17 April 2018, the number of Defence Forces personnel who were in Afghanistan for the two full periods identified (details supplied); and if the number of Defence Forces personnel exceeded 12 during this period. (Question 18019/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 96 to 98, inclusive, together.
All published numbers of Defence Forces personnel serving overseas includes members of the Army Ranger Wing serving on those missions where relevant.
Personnel from the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) served in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from October 2006 to March 2007 and from September 2014 to March 2015. They also participate...

97. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 161 of 17 April 2018, the areas in which these persons were located with particular reference to if they were in Helmand province. (Question 18020/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 96 to 98, inclusive, together.
All published numbers of Defence Forces personnel serving overseas includes members of the Army Ranger Wing serving on those missions where relevant.
Personnel from the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) served in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from October 2006 to March 2007 and from September 2014 to March 2015. They also participate...

98. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Army Rangers are serving in Afghanistan or on other missions abroad at the present time about which Dáil Éireann has not been informed. (Question 18021/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 96 to 98, inclusive, together.
All published numbers of Defence Forces personnel serving overseas includes members of the Army Ranger Wing serving on those missions where relevant.
Personnel from the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) served in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from October 2006 to March 2007 and from September 2014 to March 2015. They also participate...

161. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if members of the Army Ranger Wing have ever served in Afghanistan; the overseas missions in which members of the unit have served; and if these particular missions have been approved by Dáil Éireann under the triple lock system. (Question 16069/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Army Ranger Wing (ARW) are the Special Operations Forces of the Defence Forces. Personnel from the ARW served in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghanistan from October 2006 to March 2007 and from September 2014 to March 2015.  
Members of the ARW have also served in the following missions:
United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNISOM) in 1993; 
International Force East Timor (INTERFET) from October 1999 ...

65. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of Defence Forces activities as part of operation Sophia to date. (Question 52737/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The EU Common Security and Defence Policy naval operation EUNAVFOR MED (Operation Sophia), against human smugglers and traffickers, is one element of a comprehensive approach to addressing the migration crisis in the South Central Mediterranean. Operation Sophia was launched in June 2015 as part of the EU’s broader action to provide a comprehensive response to the global migration and refugee crisis and to encourage a democrati...

7. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the detail of the imminent deployment of a further contingent of Irish troops to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, UNDOF, mission in the Golan Heights in view of the recent statement by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that he has asked the US President to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the concern that the UNDOF mission is effectively facilitating the illegal occupation of the Golan Heights by Israel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15264/17 asked on 29 Mar 2017 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Clare Daly: I have raised this issue previously with the Minister. It concerns the imminent deployment of a further contingent of Irish troops to the Golan Heights. As the Minister is aware, Israel, in violation of international law, has established an Israeli administration using Israeli as the official administrative language. It has enforced the implementation of Israeli curricula in schools and has enacted a slew of other measures aimed at permanently annexing that region. It is r...

55. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the presence of Defence Forces personnel on the Golan Heights in essence protecting illegal Israeli occupation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7339/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was established on 31 May 1974 by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 350 (1974), following the agreed disengagement of the Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights in May 1974.
UNDOF was established to:
- Maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Syria;
- Supervise the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces; and
- Supervise the areas of separation and ...

45. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of members of the Defence Forces who will be deployed to the Golan Heights in the coming weeks, following the announcement on 19 September 2016 that a new contingent of troops would be joining the UNDOF mission in the near future; and his views on whether this deployment is a good use of Defence Forces capability. (Question 27098/16 asked on 27 Sep 2016 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Mick Wallace: My question is a basic one. What criteria are examined in the periodic reviews by the Department on the deployment of Defence Forces personnel overseas? How are the reviews carried out? Will the Minister of State provide details on the recent announcement that a new contingent of Irish troops will be joining the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, UNDOF, mission to the Golan Heights? Is he satisfied with the mission and that it is making a positive contribution ...

50. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence if he will review the deployment of Irish troops to the Golan Heights, given that Israel has indicated that it intends to claim oil found in the Golan Heights as its own, in contravention of international law, and the ongoing failure of the United National Disengagement Observer Force mission to achieve the goals laid out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. (Question 2951/16 asked on 26 Jan 2016 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Clare Daly: I am disappointed to note that the Minister believes he will get his job back, because I had my eye on it. I also know Deputy Wallace is pretty hopeful of getting the justice portfolio - one never knows.
This is an important question, which asks the Minister to review the deployment of Defence Forces personnel to the Golan Heights. Given the failure of the United Nations Disengagement Observe Force, UNDOF, mission, which is more than 40 years old, and the virtual annexation ...

63. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence the details of his recent discussions with his European Union counterparts in relation to the possibility of increased numbers of Irish troops being sent to Mali. (Question 2797/16 asked on 26 Jan 2016 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): 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. 
As the Deputy is aware, I recently attended the meeting of Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers, which took place in Brussels on 17t...

489. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has consulted with the Department of Defence regarding the implications of the deployment of Irish troops to Mali, given the potential impact of such a deployment at this time on the perception of Ireland’s neutrality abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45531/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): On 16 November, in the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, President Hollande stated that France was invoking Article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union. The article states that “If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Th...

67. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence the merits of deploying members of the Irish Defence Forces in Mali, given the history of that country. (Question 41375/15 asked on 24 Nov 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Clare Daly: This question is obviously posed in the context of the French authorities invoking Article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union, including the requirement to aid and assist in the event of an attack on another member state. There is speculation in the media that the Minister was considering allowing French troops currently located in Mali to be relieved of their duties and go elsewhere, and for their spaces to be filled by extra Irish Defence Forces personnel. I think that w...

3. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence if he will explain his previous responses that the Irish Defence Forces were not involved with Operation Triton in view of the fact that Frontex, which runs the operation, says that we are involved, and his comments to the media that Ireland has agreed a new military mission with other European countries, involving the disruption of smuggling gangs, which is awaiting sanction from the United Nations Security Council. (Question 25231/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Clare Daly: This question follows on from previous ones. The Minister is developing quite a reputation as a bit of a hawk. There is a major contradiction between what he has just said, what he said on the last occasion and what he said on the airwaves and in other public statements. When I asked during our last Question Time whether it was appropriate for LE Eithne to take part in a Frontex operation, Triton Mission, the Minister said it was not taking part. However, Frontex says we a...

111. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the continued presence of Defence Forces personnel in Afghanistan, with particular reference to the prospect of the extension of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission there. (Question 21537/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Clare Daly: This question is on the numbers and activities of our Defence Forces personnel who remain in Afghanistan given that they do so after the exodus of British troops and large numbers of US troops and the current and continuing destabilisation and insecurity that exists in that country. I am particularly concerned about this in light of the prospect of the extension of the NATO mission in the area and how our Defence Forces personnel feed into that or not.
 ...

504. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide, in detail, the activities of personnel of the Defence Forces during their latest mission in Afghanistan; and his views on whether this justifies their continued presence there. (Question 21539/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): On 9 December 2014, the Government approved the participation of seven members of the Defence Forces in the new NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, which commenced on 1 January 2015, following the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission from Afghanistan.
Resolute Support Mission is a non-combat training and advisory mission. It is designed to support and develop the capacity of the Afghan National Defence...

130. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide a numerical breakdown of officers and enlisted personnel on overseas peacekeeping missions for each of the past four years; his views on whether officers are being assigned duties that were formerly carried out by enlisted personnel; the impact of such a development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11615/15 asked on 24 Mar 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Currently Ireland is contributing a total of 430 Defence Forces personnel to 11 different missions throughout the world. The details of the Defence Forces average end of month overseas strengths are as follows. In 2012 there were 122 Officers and 310 Enlisted Personnel; in 2013 there were 127 Officers and 310 Enlisted Personnel; in 2014 there were 131 Officers and 288 Enlisted Personnel; and in 2015 there were 134 Officers and 296 Enlisted Personnel...

136. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence if he is satisfied with the operation of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan; and the basis upon which he will decide whether to continue the involvement of the Defence Forces in this mission. (Question 11614/15 asked on 24 Mar 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): On 9 December 2014, the Government approved the participation of seven members of the Defence Forces in the new NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, which commenced on 1 January 2015, following the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission from Afghanistan.
Resolute Support Mission is a non-combat training and advisory mission. It is designed to support and develop the capacity of the Afghan National Defenc...

143. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence if he has been involved in recent discussions in the European Union in relation to a future peacekeeping arrangement in Libya under the European Union Common Security and Defence Policy; his views on whether the involvement of the Irish Defence Forces in such an operation would be appropriate, in view of the role of a number of European Union member states in the bombing of Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11612/15 asked on 24 Mar 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): My colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Dara Murphy, T.D., attended the recent Foreign Affairs Council on Monday 16 March 2015, when the crisis in Libya was discussed. During the meeting, EU Foreign Ministers reiterated their support for the ongoing UN-facilitated talks on Libya, and the efforts of United Nations Special Representative Bernadino León to achieve a sustainable ceasefire between the partie...

3. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence whether he will acknowledge the serious mistake and breach of our neutrality by successive Governments in sending Irish troops to Afghanistan, making us complicit in war crimes and torture; the reason that mistake is now being compounded by the continued presence of Irish troops since the ending of the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1318/15 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Clare Daly: As Ireland is a neutral country, I do not believe our Defence Forces personnel should ever have had any involvement with the occupation forces in Afghanistan. None the less, given the ending of the ISAF mission before Christmas, it is regrettable that the Minister did not use that opportunity to withdraw the seven Defence Forces personnel but instead chose to have them remain as part of the Resolute Support Mission, RSM. Could the Minister comment in that regard? Will he pr...

14. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence in view of the human suffering and human rights abuses taking place in Darfur and in Congo DRC, if this is an area where Irish troops could make a real difference in terms of peace-keeping missions. (Question 1206/15 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Defence Forces have a long association with peacekeeping missions in Africa. The work carried out by Irish personnel deployed with such missions represents an important contribution to the peace and security of the region. Ireland is currently contributing four personnel to the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Ireland has participated in MONUSCO since its establishment in 2010. Prior to th...

105. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 255 of 25 November 2014, if he will clarify the impression that the Defence Forces are considering sending soldiers to Afghanistan after 31 December 2014 and that those Defence Forces personnel will be directly involved in training Afghanistan soldiers, in view of such an exercise being inappropriate for Irish personnel to be involved with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46530/14 asked on 04 Dec 2014 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002. Seven members of the Permanent Defence Force are currently serving in the mission headquarters in Kabul. 
The ISAF mission is due to conclude and withdraw from Afghanistan on 31 December 2014, whereupon the Afghan National Security Forces will take over full responsibility for security within Afghanistan.  NATO...

3. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence if he will re-examine the effectiveness of the Irish Defence Forces in overseas missions and, to that end, limit involvement to fully-fledged UN missions, avoiding those that have been running for decades without creating peace and ending participation in EU and NATO-controlled missions. (Question 43328/14 asked on 13 Nov 2014 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Clare Daly: The issue I am raising was raised by my colleague, Deputy Mick Wallace, on the last occasion on which the Minister for Defence took Question Time. It relates to the effectiveness of our overseas missions. Currently, we operate under a number of different banners and on a fairly ad hoc basis. Does the Minister intend to stand back and review the effectiveness of our overseas missions? Would it not be better to restrict ourselves to fully-fledged UN missions rather than the ...

28. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence his plans to withdraw the seven Irish soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan on 31 December 2014, as there will be mainly only US troops left on that date making the Irish soldiers much more vulnerable as the Taliban insurgents will seek to overthrow the western supported government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41262/14 asked on 13 Nov 2014 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002. Seven members of the Permanent Defence Force are currently serving in the mission headquarters. The ISAF mission is due to conclude on 31 December 2014 and the overall drawdown of ISAF personnel is currently underway. The withdrawal of the Defence Forces personnel will be coordinated in the context of the overall drawd...