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...