4. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will address concerns that Ireland’s neutrality is being compromised by participation in Permanent Structured Co-Operation, PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19811/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Will the Minister of State address serious concerns that Ireland’s neutrality is being compromised by participation in PESCO? People are genuinely concerned, including the families of Defence Forces personnel.
 ...

5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the meetings he has had with European counterparts in respect of PESCO; the timeline for Irish participation in PESCO projects; and the way in which he plans to inform Dáil Éireann on the progress of and details relating to such projects. (Question 20744/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: I am interested in knowing the detail of how Ireland is operating within PESCO. I am particularly interested in knowing how we, as a Dáil, can get transparency and openness regarding every aspect of the agreement, specific projects, budget and Council meetings and how we will integrate with NATO. I am keen that the Minister of State should set out the means by which Deputies can get clarity regarding what is happening. We regularly hear him refer to Ireland’s neutrality but...

63. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the scale of Ireland’s involvement in the European Union Training Mission Competence Centre and Upgrade of Maritime Surveillance to be developed under PESCO and which were formally adopted by the EU Council on 1 March 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12883/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security. 
Ireland is a strong proponent of the important...

155. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps that have and will be been taken to ensure that companies here have the full support of all relevant State agencies in particular Enterprise Ireland and the IDA in accessing PESCO projects (details supplied) and funding; and if Irish companies will be assured that they will not be placed at a competitive disadvantage or precluded from these opportunities. (Question 13043/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 and 156 together.
While PESCO does not provide for direct funding to Member States or to companies established in Member States, some capability development projects developed under PESCO may be eligible for funding from the European Defence Fund, in particular from the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). 
The text of the proposed Regulation to establish the EDIDP was n...

156. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the discussions or interactions he has had with other Departments and State agencies in respect of PESCO and Ireland’s access to research and development and project funding; and the steps being taken to apply for such funding. (Question 13044/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 and 156 together.
While PESCO does not provide for direct funding to Member States or to companies established in Member States, some capability development projects developed under PESCO may be eligible for funding from the European Defence Fund, in particular from the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). 
The text of the proposed Regulation to establish the EDIDP was n...

9. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Ireland’s triple-lock will apply to all joint military development or procurement initiatives which Ireland undertakes with other countries under PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3133/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

19. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which he expects the Defence Forces to be in a position to avail of extra training and upgrading of facilities to best international level through PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3375/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security. 
Now that we are participating in PESCO, the focus for Ireland will be...

21. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when he plans to publish Ireland’s national implementation plan for Permanent Structured Co-operation; if this plan will be voted on in Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3354/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

23. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if discussions took place prior to Ireland joining PESCO between his Department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Attorney General regarding the constitutionality of Ireland’s involvement in PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3363/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

24. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the impact of increased defence spending as a result of the decision to join PESCO, particularly in relation to public services. (Question 3176/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

31. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the increase in defence expenditure that is envisaged as part of Ireland’s obligations following the joining of Permanent Structured Co-operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3353/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

37. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the triple-lock will be used to ensure that multi-country military procurement which Ireland participates in or financially contributes to under PESCO is approved by the Cabinet, agreed by Dáil Éireann and subject to a UN mandate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3134/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 21, 23, 24, 31 and 37 together.
Under the Defence Acts, the deployment of the Defence Forces overseas on peacekeeping missions requires the approval of the Government and Dáil Éireann and the specific mission must be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. This is what is termed the “triple-lock”. The United Nations Security Council has the primary role in relation to the mainte...

142. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the benefits for Ireland of the decision to sign up to PESCO; the impact this will have for members of the Defence Forces in County Kildare and nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3264/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security. 
Ireland is a strong proponent of the important...

152. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the implications of Ireland’s recent endorsement of PESCO with its binding commitment to yearly increases in defence spending for wider international work on disarmament; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2956/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The decision by Ireland to participate in Permanent Structured Cooperation, approved by the Government on 21 November 2017 and endorsed by the Dail on 7 December 2017, in full accordance with the Defence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, has absolutely no implications for Ireland’s wider international work on disarmament.Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European...

62. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the benefits for Ireland of the decision to sign up for PESCO; the impact this will have for members of the Defence Forces in County Kildare and nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52920/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security.
Ireland is a strong proponent of the important ...

66. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the details of commitments if Ireland signs up to the PESCO agreement in view of that agreement’s requirement to regularly increase the defence budget in real terms and to increasing the share of expenditure allocated to defence, research and technology with a view to nearing the 2% of total defence spending collective benchmark; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52967/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following the completion of national requirements, Ireland yesterday joined the other 24 EU partners in collectively launching PESCO at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels
In relation to the target of 2% of total defence spending on defence research and technology, this is a collective benchmark and applies to the combined expenditure of all PESCO participating member States. The benchmarks do not apply individually to Memb...

74. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the process by which the Government decided to join PESCO. (Question 51717/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy is aware, the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy was published in June 2016. The strategy sets the context and provides a guiding framework for the Union’s external action under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Strategy also identifies key security challenges facing the European Union within its neighbourhood and beyond, and commits to a global order based on international law with the U...

78. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the considerations and planning his Department has taken with regard to Ireland’s imminent joining of PESCO; if the defence budget for 2018, 2019 and 2020 will now increase year on year due to the commitments required of PESCO membership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52965/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Consideration is currently being given to the potential PESCO projects in which Ireland will participate. The work on elaborating the details of these project proposals and potential participants is currently ongoing at EU level and Ireland is playing its full part in those deliberations.
While some additional costs may arise in respect of participation in specific PESCO Project(s) similar to the case where the Defence Forces p...

80. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the State’s potential role in the EU’s new permanent structured co-operation mechanism; and the implications of same for Irish neutrality. (Question 52733/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following the launch of PESCO yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Council, focus will now centre on the participation in potential PESCO projects.
The work on elaborating the details of these project proposals and potential participants is currently ongoing at EU level and Ireland is playing its full part in those deliberations. The types of projects at which we are considering participating in, include:
- Upgrade of Maritime Surv...

86. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the role of his Department and officials in PESCO; and if he will report on his discussions with his EU counterparts on PESCO. (Question 52884/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy was published in June 2016. The strategy sets the context and provides a guiding framework for the Union’s external action under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Strategy also identifies key security challenges facing the European Union within its neighbourhood and beyond, and commits to a global order based on international law with the United Nations at its cen...

564. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the implications for expenditure in his Department over the coming years if Ireland joins PESCO; his plans to ensure a full public debate on the matter before the decision is made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52893/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Deputy will be aware that the allocations for defence already announced in the budget, which were based on the commitments set out in the White Paper on Defence, means that Ireland’s Defence expenditure will increase in real terms over the coming three years. 
While some additional costs may arise in respect of participation in specific PESCO Project(s) similar to the case where the Defence Forces participate in EDA Project...