302. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the number of overseas missions in which the Defence Forces are involved and the number of personnel involved in each mission. (Question 45819/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): As of 1 December 2015, Ireland is contributing 493 Defence Forces personnel to 12 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 198 personnel, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 149 personnel, and the Naval Service humanitarian mission in the Mediterranean with 59 personnel. L....

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...

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.
 ...

89. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence his views on the safety of members of the 51st Infantry Group who will leave later this month for service with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, given the recent attacks on civilians and soldiers in Lebanon, and given the prospect of greater destabilisation. (Question 41165/15 asked on 24 Nov 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The 51st Infantry Group is the latest contingent of the Defence Forces who deployed this month to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Irish contingent comprising 197 personnel is based primarily in Camp 2-45 as part of a joint battalion with Finland. The decision by Government to send troops overseas is never taken lightly. The safety of all Irish Defence Forces personnel serving on all overseas missions is always a concern t...

90. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Defence his plans for the continued participation of the Irish Defence Forces, building on their exemplary work to date, in assisting persons seeking refuge from the conflict in parts of the Middle East; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41184/15 asked on 24 Nov 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney) (Deputy Simon Coveney): The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed in the Middle East are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 192 personnel and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 150 personnel. In addition, the deployment of naval assets to support Italy in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean has been very significant. L.É. Samuel Beck...

94. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the action that is being taken to ensure that Irish troops in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebannon contingent are guaranteed freedom of movement in fulfilling their United Nations mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41172/15 asked on 24 Nov 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The 51st Infantry Group is the latest contingent of the Defence Forces who deployed this month to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Irish contingent comprising 197 personnel is based primarily in Camp 2-45 as part of a joint battalion with Finland. The decision by Government to send troops overseas is never taken lightly. The safety of all Irish Defence Forces personnel serving on all overseas missions is always a concern to...

571. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the work being done by the Irish Naval Service saving refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. (Question 32329/15 asked on 22 Sep 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following a Government Decision on 12 May 2015, the Irish Naval Vessel, L.É. Eithne, was deployed to the Mediterranean on 16 May, 2015, to assist the Italian Authorities with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. During her deployment from mid-May to mid-July 2015, L.É. Eithne rescued a total of 3,377 migrants from the waters between Libya and Sicily. 
L.É. Niamh replaced L.É. Eithne on the humanitarian search and rescue operation, and on 18 July,...

347. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Defence the welfare of migrants taken aboard the LÉ Eithne on 22 June 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25756/15 asked on 30 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following Government approval the L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations.
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is being provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of intern...

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...

21. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the extent to which he has been notified of the requirements for further deployment of Irish troops overseas, at various locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25113/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): As of 01 June 2015, Ireland is contributing approximately 497 Defence Forces personnel to 13 missions throughout the world. Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas including the lead organisation for each mission are listed in the tabular statement attached. The most recent deployment overseas was the despatch of the Irish naval vessel, L.É. Eithne, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the ...

22. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Defence if, in consideration of the hugely positive contribution that the Irish Navy is making in the Mediterranean area, he has had engagement with his European counterparts on a longer term solution to address the influx of persons; if he envisages an expended role for the Defence Forces in this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25116/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean is of great concern to Ireland, and to its EU and Southern partners.
On Monday 20 April, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade attended a joint meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs and Justice and Home Affairs Councils to discuss migration issues, and in particular the situation in the Mediterranean.  At that meeting, Ministers Frances Fitzgerald and Charlie Flanagan, together with our EU partners, confir...

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...

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.
 ...

119. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel currently deployed on United Nations, European Union and other humanitarian missions; his plans in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21292/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): As of 31 May 2015, Ireland is contributing approximately 500 Defence Forces personnel to 13 missions throughout the world. Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas including the lead organisation for each mission are listed in the following tabular statement.
The main overseas missions, in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed, are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 198 personnel and the United N...

124. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence if he has met the five members of the Defence Force’s medical team who have returned home after four months in Sierra Leone, where they assisted efforts to stem the Ebola outbreak; if a replacement team has been sent out; and his plans to harness the skills and experience these members have gained. (Question 21296/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): To assist in Ireland’s response to the Ebola Crisis in West Africa, five (5) Defence Forces medical personnel deployed to Sierra Leone in January 2015 to participate in the wider international response to the crisis. Prior to their deployment, I met with the team in Collins Barracks, Cork.
Irish personnel are part of a UK-led Joint Inter-Agency Task Force tackling Ebola in West Africa. The Irish contingent rotated last month and five (5) medical per...

128. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence his plans to deploy Naval Service and Army resources on a Mediterranean humanitarian mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21291/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): At a special meeting of the European Council on 23 April 2015, the Taoiseach announced that Ireland would deploy an Irish Naval Service vessel to assist in the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
The ro...

134. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence his views on the health and safety of Irish troops in the Golan Heights in Syria, considering that two United Nations peacekeepers were recently injured by motor fire in the region; and if there have been any changes in procedure, considering that fighting has got considerably closer to Irish positions in recent weeks and the area remains very volatile. (Question 21293/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): At the request of the United Nations, following Government and Dáil Éireann approval, 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 safety of all Irish Defence Forces personnel serving on all overseas missions is always a concern to me, my Government colleagues and to the military authorities. Our ability to protect the health and safety of...

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...

94. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the number of overseas missions in which the Defence Forces are currently involved; the number of personnel involved in each mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20921/15 asked on 27 May 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): As of 25 May 2015, Ireland is contributing approximately 500 Defence Forces personnel to 12 missions throughout the world. Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas including the lead organisation for each mission are listed in the tabular statement attached. In addition to the personnel listed in the tabular statement there is one Officer and one NCO deployed to the Embassy of Ireland in Freetown, Sierra Leone under the Emergency Civil...

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?
 ...

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...