16. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on whether the current UNDOF mission, in the context of the deployment of Irish troops to the Golan Heights, has now moved away from the original task of the 1974 mandate. (Question 15482/17 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...

684. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on whether the continued presence of the Defence Forces in the Golan Heights as part of the UNDOF mission, could make Ireland complicit in a breach of international law by effectively facilitating the illegal occupation by Israel of Syrian land; his further views on whether the expertise and skills of the Defence Forces could be better used in DRC, Darfur or South Sudan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40064/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - 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 ...

26. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 579 of 21 June 2016, if he will provide details on the criteria involved in periodic reviews by his Department of the deployment of Defence Forces personnel overseas and the way these reviews are carried out; if he will provide details on the recent announcement that a new contingent of Irish troops will be joining the UNDOF mission in the Golan Heights; if he is satisfied that this UN mission and the support for it are making a positive contribution to peace in the Middle East; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27139/16 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 ...

579. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he had discussions regarding discontinuing the Irish participation in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force mission in the Golan Heights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17203/16 asked on 21 Jun 2016 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe) (Deputy Paul Kehoe): A contingent of the Permanent Defence Force has been deployed to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights since 2013. The current Irish contingent, the 52nd Infantry Group, comprising 129 personnel, is based in UNDOF Headquarters in Camp Ziouani. It operates in the role of a Quick Reaction Force, which is on standby to assist with on-going operations within the UNDOF Area...

24. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence the role that the Irish Defence Forces are taking, and plan to take, in the new European Union military mission which intends to disrupt the groups involved in migrant smuggling in Libya; his position as regards the seeking of a United Nations Security Council resolution for the next phase in this mission; if he will provide details of discussions he has had with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in relation to this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25099/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): A Council Decision to launch the European Union military operation, EUNAVFOR MED, was adopted at the formal Meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 22 June. The mission is one element of a comprehensive approach to addressing the migration crisis in the South Central Mediterranean.  Irish Defence Forces Personnel are not taking any part in this mission. The Mission will be implemented in sequential phases and the first phase of the oper...

387. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if he raised any opposition to the European Union proposal to commence a military mission to prevent illegal smuggling off the coast of Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23335/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean remains of great concern to Ireland, and to its EU and Southern partners. On 20 April, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Minister for Justice & Equality attended a joint meeting of EU Foreign Affairs and Justice and Home Affairs Councils in Luxembourg. At that meeting, the Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner presented a 10 point plan of immediate action to be taken in res...

677. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he raised any opposition to the European Union proposal to commence a military mission to prevent illegal smuggling off the coast of Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23333/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In the wake of tragic loss of life in the Mediterranean, the European Council in April agreed that the immediate priority is to prevent more people from dying at sea. It undertook to use all tools at the EU’s disposal and to work with countries of origin and transit of migrants to tackle the root causes of the current human emergency. Ireland strongly supports this comprehensive approach which includes continued provision of deve...

139. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if he has undertaken an evaluation of the work of the Defence Forces in Afghanistan since being reassigned under the Resolute Support Mission on 1 January 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11617/15 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...

5. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence his long-term plans for the participation of the Irish Defence Forces in the United Nations disengagement observer force operation in the Golan Heights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7072/15 asked on 18 Feb 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Mick Wallace: A recent UN report stated that the Israeli military has been in direct contact with Syrian rebels over a period of months, has facilitated the treatment of wounded fighters and, at times, exchanged parcels. How can the Minister justify the presence of Irish soldiers in this region? It is hard to see what they are doing there. If the Israelis are now working with rebels with al-Qaeda links, will the Minister explain what purpose the Irish soldiers are serving there now?
 ...

15. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if he has a long-term understanding of what the Irish Resolute Support Mission hopes to achieve in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6878/15 asked on 18 Feb 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 01 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 Defe...

103. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if, in discussions with the United Nations, he will consider proposing that Irish troops be sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they could play a very positive role; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7073/15 asked on 18 Feb 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): As of 1st February 2015, Ireland is contributing 432 Defence Forces personnel to 11 different missions throughout the world. Four Defence personnel are serving with the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Ireland has participated in this mission since its establishment in 2010. Prior to that, from 2001 to 2010, Defence Forces personnel served with the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Demo...

8. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the decision to approve the participation of seven members of the Defence Forces in the resolute support mission in Afghanistan in view of it clearly not being a peacekeeping or humanitarian mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1219/15 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Mick Wallace: The illegal invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 led to the longest war in US history. The recent pact with the Afghan Government ensures that the US will be there until 2024 at least. The new security pact puts US troops beyond the reach of Afghan law while they are training the Afghan security forces. I do not see for the life of me how the Minister, who is an intelligent man, can argue that the presence of foreign troops from Ireland, America or any other country ca...

21. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide details on the involvement of Irish Defence Forces personnel in ongoing overseas missions; their role and effectiveness in achieving peace; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41253/14 asked on 13 Nov 2014 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): As of 1 November 2014, Ireland is contributing approximately 418 Defence Forces personnel to 11 missions throughout the world. Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas are listed in the following tabular statement. United Nations peacekeeping operations are deployed on the basis of mandates from the United Nations Security Council. Their roles differ from situation to situation, depending on the nature of the conflict and the specific...

27. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence when Defence Forces personnel currently participating in ISAF will be withdrawn from Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41252/14 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. The Government has reviewed and approved, on an annual basis, the continued participation of the Permanent Defence Force in ISAF. There are currently seven (7) personnel serving with the force and they are all located in ISAF HQ, Kabul and work in staff appointments in planning and administrative roles. The overall dra...

153. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the withdrawal of the seven Army personnel remaining with the NATO ISAF forces in Afghanistan, in view of the fact that most other European countries have withdrawn their troops. (Question 12965/14 asked on 25 Mar 2014 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated mission in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002. On 25 June 2013, the Government agreed to continue to provide seven members of the Permanent Defence Force for service with ISAF for a further period from July 2013, subject to ongoing review by the Minister for Defence. On 20 December 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1386 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorising the estab...

21. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 41 of 18 June 2013, if he will confirm if Irish Defence Forces personnel will return home in October 2013 when the current International Security Assistance Force mandate expires; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35792/13 asked on 18 Jul 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Paul Kehoe: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 and 21 together.
Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated mission in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002. On 25 June last, the Government agreed to continue to provide seven members of the Permanent Defence Force for service with the International Security Assistance Force for a further period from July 2013, subject to ongoing review by the Minister for Defence. On 20 December 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolut...

22. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the Irish troops currently participating in the EU Training Mission in Mali; if members of the Irish Defence Forces will participate in the UN peacekeeping force in Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35793/13 asked on 18 Jul 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): On 17 January 2013, the Council of the European Union established the EU Training Mission (EUTM Mali). The mission was formally launched by EU Foreign Affairs Council on 18 February 2013 and its initial mandate is to last for fifteen (15) months. The purpose of the mission is to provide military training and advice to the Malian Armed Forces in order to improve their capacity to maintain security in Mali and restore the authority of the Malian Governme...

41. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence when Irish Defence Forces personnel will be withdrawn from Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29124/13 asked on 18 Jun 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): On 20 December 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1386 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorising the establishment of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. On 9 October 2012, the UN Security Council extended ISAF’s mandate for a further year until October 2013. Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated mission in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002. The continued participation by seven (...

74. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if a decision has been taken on the participation of Irish Defence Forces personnel in the UN peacekeeping mission to Mali approved by the Security Council on 25 April 2013; if he will report on the Irish troops currently participating in the EUTM Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21507/13 asked on 07 May 2013 - Overseas Missions)

(Deputy Alan Shatter): On 25 April 2013, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2100 establishing a peacekeeping force in the west African nation of Mali. Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council established the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, to be known as MINUSMA, for an initial period of 12 months. The new mission will replace the African-led International Support Mission in Mali, AFISMA. On 1...

7. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the participation of Irish troops in the EU training mission in Mali; the cost of deploying Irish troops to Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13274/13 asked on 14 Mar 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 to 8, inclusive, 18 and 21 together.
On 26 February 2013, the Government approved the deployment of approximately eight members of the Permanent Defence Force to the EU training mission in Mali, which has been authorised by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 2071 (2012), to provide military training to the Malian armed forces.
The Irish personnel to be deployed in Mali have completed their pre-deployment training. The...

10. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if Irish troops will participate in the European Union Training Mission due to be launched in Mali in mid-February; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6092/13 asked on 07 Feb 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Alan Shatter: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 10, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 36 together, all of which relate to Mali.
 ...

27. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence if any decision has been taken in relation to the deployment of Irish troops to Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6091/13 asked on 07 Feb 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Alan Shatter: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 10, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 36 together, all of which relate to Mali.
 ...

33. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence the number of Irish Defence Forces personnel currently serving in Syria; the role of Irish Defence Forces personnel in this location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48467/12 asked on 07 Nov 2012 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Five (5) members of the Permanent Defence Force are deployed in Syria as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO). The Defence Forces have participated in UNTSO since 1958. Defence Forces personnel serving with this mission are based in Syria, Israel and Lebanon. The 5 Defence Forces personnel based in Syria are part of Observer Group Golan (OGG) responsible for the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Their duties include man...