9. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence to outline his views on whether the threat level against Irish troops serving on the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon has increased since a person (details supplied) attended a major Israeli military and state public propaganda event on 18 April 2018, an event that coincided with the anniversary of the 1996 Qana massacre (details supplied) and at a time when Israeli soldiers are regularly targeting and firing at Palestinian civilians and wounding or killing them. (Question 20215/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: I asked the Minister of State at a joint committee meeting recently whether he believed it was appropriate for Major General Michael Beary, who is the head of mission of the UN in Lebanon, to attend an Israeli celebration at Mount Herzl and whether that attendance had put the lives of Irish troops at risk.
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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...

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...

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 ...

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 ...

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...

68. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel currently on overseas missions; if there have been any new requests to participate in new missions or to contribute further to existing missions; how long it is expected that the Naval Service will continue to be deployed in the Mediterranean; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41396/15 asked on 24 Nov 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: The question addresses the issue of Irish personnel serving overseas and seeks to establish whether the Minister is considering requests for any new missions or to extend existing missions. I refer in particular to the work of the LE Samuel Beckett and LE Eithne in the Mediterranean and whether it is considered appropriate to continue their life-saving actions after Christmas.
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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.
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123. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update of the work of Irish troops who are deployed with a task force to help in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone, the work they are undertaking, when they will finish this tour of duty and if they will be replaced by a new group of troops when they finish. (Question 11665/15 asked on 24 Mar 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: I have tabled this question to seek an update on the commendable work of all Irish soldiers serving in Sierra Leone and assisting in tackling Ebola. They volunteered for this difficult and challenging tour and left Ireland earlier this year to fight the worst outbreak yet of Ebola which has claimed over 10,000 lives or more. What work have they been doing? When are they due back and will a further detachment be sent to finish or continue their work?
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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?
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2. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence if he will confirm plans to send Irish Defence Forces personnel to the Indian Ocean to tackle piracy; the number of personnel who will be involved; and the possible timeframe for deployment. (Question 1394/15 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Seán Crowe: I welcome the Minister back after the Christmas break. There were media reports in December that the Minister was examining proposals to send Irish troops to the Indian Ocean to battle piracy as part of plans to expand peacekeeping missions abroad. My questions centre on that.
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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...

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...

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 ...

7. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the plans in place for the Defence Forces to undertake more active conflict resolution as distinct from peacekeeping; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20043/14 asked on 07 May 2014 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Since before I was born, the Defence Forces have been distinguishing themselves internationally in their peace support operations. This question seeks to promote the idea that the capacity exists, in consultation with the Department of Finance, for our Defence Forces to play an even greater role in terms of conflict resolution. What are the plans of the Minister and his Department in this regard?
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4. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the participation of the Defence Forces in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46965/13 asked on 06 Nov 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Last July, Fianna Fáil was happy to support the deployment of a contingent of Irish Defence Forces personnel to the Golan Heights in Syria, but that was done against the background of international concern and in a situation where the Austrian, Croatian and Japanese authorities had withdrawn their troops. What we seek today is an assurance of the continued safety of personnel serving in that location.
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2. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the possible ending of the triple lock mechanism prior to Irish Defence Forces participating in overseas missions. (Question 36427/13 asked on 18 Jul 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Paul Kehoe: The statutory authority for the despatch of contingents of the Permanent Defence Force for service overseas as part of an international force is set out in section 2 of the Defence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1960, as amended by the Defence (Amendment) Act 2006. This provision is commonly referred to as the “triple lock”. However, personnel may be deployed for training, for humanitarian operations and for other such reasons, under the authority of the Government in accordance wi...

6. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel presently engaged in overseas operations; and the net cost to the Exchequer of each of these operations. (Question 35791/13 asked on 18 Jul 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Deputy Paul Kehoe: As of 30 June 2013, Ireland is contributing approximately 449 Defence Forces personnel to 13 different missions throughout the world. Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas are listed in the tabular statement together with details of the latest available costings which are in respect of 2012.
The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, with 361 personnel, including the Deput...

8. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the Defence Forces mission in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35732/13 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...

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...

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...

76. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the role of Irish troops in Afghanistan. (Question 21534/13 asked on 07 May 2013 - Overseas Missions)

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 the 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, following the Government decision of 2 July 2002 authorisi...

6. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the Defence Forces mission in Mali; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13265/13 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...