20. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the action that will be taken by the membership of the UN with a view to making that organisation respected and effective; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11573/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - United Nations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 20 together.
The United Nations plays a critical role in the resolution of conflicts and the maintenance of international peace and security. It does this primarily through the UN Security Council. The Council has a variety of tools at its disposal to address threats to international peace and to contribute towards the settlement of disputes and conflicts: it has the power to aut...

154. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the United Nations has been side-lined in the various conflicts in the Middle East and Africa; if provision is needed to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12376/16 asked on 26 May 2016 - United Nations)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Since its inception over seventy years ago the United Nations has played a critical role in the resolution of conflicts and the maintenance of international peace and security. It does this primarily through the UN Security Council which has, under the UN Charter, ‘primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security’. The Council’s ability and political will to fulfil this responsibility is dependent o...

358. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which he, through the European Union or directly in the context of wider global consultations, can influence a review of the strength, the role and respect for the United Nations with particular reference to the need to meet ongoing challenges caused by war, strife and genocide and the need to establish safe havens for refugees and an orderly method of processing their respective situations; if any study has been done to identify the restoration of an increased role for the United Nations in the Middle East and other trouble spots globally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19765/16 asked on 05 Jul 2016 - UN Guiding Principles)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The United Nations plays a critical role in the resolution of conflicts and the maintenance of international peace and security. It does this primarily through the UN Security Council which has, under the UN Charter, ‘primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security’. The Council has a variety of tools at its disposal to address threats to international peace and to contribute towards the settlement...

228. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether it is time for the UN to regroup, reorganise and focus on the major trouble spots globally with a view to meeting the challenges of war, famine, ethnic cleansing, genocide and people trafficking; if steps are being taken to alert the global community with a view to addressing the issue in the short term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18640/17 asked on 12 Apr 2017 - United Nations)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The number and scale of current humanitarian crises is shocking and presents an enormous challenge for the international community. In this respect the United Nations has recently been loudly sounding the alarm call. Its warning last month of its need for assistance in reducing the risk of starvation and famine in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and northeast Nigeria was a stark reminder of the problems confronting civilian populati...

646. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the proposals he has made to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon, to put new structures in place, given that the current structures are outdated, and the lack of effectiveness of the United Nations in dealing with conflict in many parts of the world and the political changes over many decades; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7090/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - UN Guiding Principles)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The United Nations celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, and like any organisation of that age, there are a number of structures, systems and procedures that need to be updated to better reflect the diverse and complex needs of the 21st century. There is a growing recognition that despite its considerable achievements and successes, there have also been a number of serious failures. The government believes that a UN reform ...

152. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which consideration has been given or is likely to be given to major reform of the UN with a view to enabling that organisation undertake humanitarian protection programmes with particular reference to the protection of civilians including children that have become vulnerable in such situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8973/17 asked on 22 Feb 2017 - UN Reform)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): For over 70 years, the United Nations (UN) has played a vital role in the maintenance of international peace and security and in the resolution of conflicts, which are at the root of many of the humanitarian crises facing the world today. It does this primarily through the UN Security Council which has a variety of tools at its disposal to address threats to international peace and to contribute towards the resolution of conflict...

101. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if a major review of the United Nation’s structure and principles can be undertaken with a view to restoring its effectiveness and its ability to intervene in situations such as the Syrian crisis and the development aid programmes to ensure that aid goes directly to its intended targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14200/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - United Nations)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Secretary General has proposed reforms in the UN’s peace and security architecture, in the UN’s management system and structures, as well as in the UN development system – all with a view to ensuring that the UN is fit for purpose in carrying out its mandate and advancing the achievement globally of the Sustainable Development Goals. Discussions regarding these reforms are currently ongoing among UN Member States, w...

332. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when he plans to meet the new UN Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres; the proposals he will raise with the Secretary General on the urgent reform and strengthening of the UN; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2881/17 asked on 24 Jan 2017 - United Nations)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I have written to Secretary General Guterres congratulating him on his appointment, and I look forward to meeting with him. I believe that his considerable national and international political experience and his familiarity with the work of the UN leave him well placed to address the challenges that face the organisation. Ireland welcomes the more transparent and open selection process which led to Mr Guterres’ appointment, and ...

179. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if consideration has been given to restructuring of the UN with a view to enhancing its capacity to intervene and create safe havens in areas of conflict thereby minimising loss of life, torture and abuse of human rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3521/17 asked on 25 Jan 2017 - UN Reform)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The United Nations plays a critical role in the maintenance of international peace and security and in the resolution of conflicts, which are at the root of the migration and humanitarian crises facing the world today. It does this primarily through the UN Security Council which has a variety of tools at its disposal to address threats to international peace and to contribute towards the resolution of conflicts: it has the power ...

148. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the proposals he has made to the Secretary General of the United Nations to put in place new structures, given that the current structures are totally outdated and in view of the lack of effectiveness of the UN in dealing with conflict in many parts of the world and taking into account political changes over many decades; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29588/14 asked on 08 Jul 2014 - UN Reform)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Ireland has actively championed the reform agenda at the United Nations in recent years and will continue to do so, not only with regards to Security Council Reform, but also in relation to peacekeeping, peace building and other UN structures to increase the effectiveness and accountability of the UN. The nature of conflict is very different from when the UN was founded, and it is important that structures be amended to reflect this...

95. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence to outline his views regarding the operation of Defence Forces overseas missions in the context of being involved in missions that have run for decades and failed to deliver peace and have in fact enabled the conflict participants to avoid making peace; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43331/14 asked on 13 Nov 2014 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Participation in overseas peacekeeping missions is a key element of Ireland’s foreign policy and has been an important dimension in meeting Ireland’s international obligations as a member of the UN and the EU. Irish foreign policy is directed at supporting co-operative arrangements for collective security through the development of international organisations, especially the United Nations, and supporting effective international action in areas such a...

95. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the ten most sensitive locations throughout Africa which remain currently the cause of greatest concern in the context of human rights abuse, famine, war, starvation, genocide, the need for humanitarian aid and the efficacy of the local administrative structures; the ongoing efforts being made to ensure that aid intended for particular areas actually goes to those for whom it was intended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1781/14 asked on 15 Jan 2014 - Human Rights Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Ireland, along with our EU Partners, pursues a strategic and comprehensive approach to countries in Africa suffering the consequences of conflict or natural disaster. This approach encompasses political and diplomatic engagement, development cooperation programming, humanitarian assistance, and support for peacekeeping operations. 
The top ten poorest countries in the world are in Africa. The UN Human Development Inde...

40. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of his Department’s work in securing a seat for Ireland on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for the 2021 to 2022 term in view of Ireland’s contribution to UN peacekeeping; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3563/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - UN Security Council)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Ireland is seeking election to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in June 2020 for the 2021-2022 term. We are one of three candidates for the two seats available to members of the Western European and Others regional group at the United Nations. Canada and Norway are the other two candidates. In order to be elected to the Security Council, Ireland will need to secure the support of two-thirds of the UN me...

211. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 3 of 14 March 2013, if he will explain further rbust Chapter V11 missions/operations in relation to Irish troops serving abroad. (Question 18204/13 asked on 18 Apr 2013 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): UN peacekeeping operations are deployed on the basis of mandates from the United Nations Security Council. Over the years, the range of tasks assigned to UN peacekeeping operations has expanded significantly in response to shifting patterns of conflict and to best address threats to international peace and security. 
Members of the Permanent Defence Force serve on missions under Chapter VI and Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. 
Peacekeeping op...

650. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to report on the ceasefire in Syria; his ongoing efforts to secure peace in the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7094/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - Syrian Conflict)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 630 and 650 together.
I welcome the call by UN Special Envoy de Mistura for a resumption of the Geneva III talks on Friday 15 April, and in particular his focus on achieving a political transition. This remains the core issue in the conflict and no sustainable peace can be achieved without agreement on political change in Syria. I will be discussing the EU’s Syria and regional strategy with my co...

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...

118. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the top ten locations worldwide currently in the throes of warfare, genocide, victimisation, starvation and abuse continue to receive attention and assistance from the EU and UN; the extent to which positive intervention and action continues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36549/16 asked on 23 Nov 2016 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 125 together.
The locations currently experiencing war, starvation, genocide, violence against women and children, and the use of child soldiers remain a constant concern to the EU, UN and wider global community.
The priorities set out following the Foreign Policy Review in ‘The Global Island’ recognise that we are increasingly confronted by an array of challenges that have little precedent...

125. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the most serious locations of war, famine, genocide and abuse of human rights remain a concern for the EU and UN and global communities with particular reference to targeting specific areas such as use of child soldiers, abuse of women and children and in general the civilian populations; if any success has been achieved in restricting the supply of arms to the locations most seriously affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36556/16 asked on 23 Nov 2016 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 125 together.
The locations currently experiencing war, starvation, genocide, violence against women and children, and the use of child soldiers remain a constant concern to the EU, UN and wider global community.
The priorities set out following the Foreign Policy Review in ‘The Global Island’ recognise that we are increasingly confronted by an array of challenges that have little precedent...

144. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the European Union and the United Nations can identify the ten most seriously affected trouble spots globally where war, starvation, genocide, violence against women and children and the use of child soldiers continues; if the European Union and the United Nations are making a combined effort to combat this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12366/16 asked on 26 May 2016 - Foreign Policy)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 and 146 together.
The locations currently experiencing war, starvation, genocide, violence against women and children, and the use of child soldiers remain a constant concern to the EU, UN and wider global community.
The priorities set out following the Foreign Policy Review in ‘The Global Island’ recognise that we are increasingly confronted by an array of challenges that have little precedent...

146. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the international community continues to make efforts to combat the effects of war, starvation, genocide, deprivation of human rights and abuse of women and children in Africa; if it can identify the most serious locations for violations; if adequate resources and procedures are available to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12368/16 asked on 26 May 2016 - Foreign Policy)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 and 146 together.
The locations currently experiencing war, starvation, genocide, violence against women and children, and the use of child soldiers remain a constant concern to the EU, UN and wider global community.
The priorities set out following the Foreign Policy Review in ‘The Global Island’ recognise that we are increasingly confronted by an array of challenges that have little precedent...

116. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence if he continues to be satisfied regarding the adequacy of numbers, equipment and support available to the Defence Forces serving on the Golan Heights and other central locations on peacekeeping missions with a view to ensuring that all such deployments are adequately equipped to meet most eventualities with particular reference to their own sustainability in such situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35058/14 asked on 18 Sep 2014 - Defence Forces Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 116, 117 and 120 together.
The White Paper on Defence, published in February 2000, commits the Government to sustaining the overall level of Ireland’s contribution to peacekeeping, while developing a more selective approach to future requests from the United Nations having regard to the number, size, nature and complexity of its current peacekeeping operations.
Requests from the UN for Irish participation in new missio...

117. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the extent to which he remains in contact with the UN authorities with a view to ensuring that adequate resources are available to members of the Defence Forces serving at various locations abroad with particular reference to their ability to meet ongoing threats; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35059/14 asked on 18 Sep 2014 - Defence Forces Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 116, 117 and 120 together.
The White Paper on Defence, published in February 2000, commits the Government to sustaining the overall level of Ireland’s contribution to peacekeeping, while developing a more selective approach to future requests from the United Nations having regard to the number, size, nature and complexity of its current peacekeeping operations.
Requests from the UN for Irish participation in new missio...

120. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the extent to which adequate back up remains available to all members of the Defence Forces serving abroad in various locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35062/14 asked on 18 Sep 2014 - Defence Forces Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 116, 117 and 120 together.
The White Paper on Defence, published in February 2000, commits the Government to sustaining the overall level of Ireland’s contribution to peacekeeping, while developing a more selective approach to future requests from the United Nations having regard to the number, size, nature and complexity of its current peacekeeping operations.
Requests from the UN for Irish participation in new missio...

19. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the European Union, the United Nations and the international community, in general, are in a position to bring about a peaceful solution to the situation in Ukraine, with particular reference to the need to establish safe areas and zones for the civilian population; if European Union or United Nations peacekeepers will be effectively deployed to the area, at an early date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8280/15 asked on 26 Feb 2014 - Ukrainian Conflict)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The EU has been at the forefront of international efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, which has claimed over 5,500 lives, left many thousands more injured and forced almost a million people to flee their homes. 
The conflict has had a devastating impact on local civilian populations in eastern Ukraine who have endured dreadful suffering since fighting broke out in the Donbas region over ten months ago. I am appalled, in ...

357. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Ireland is doing enough to combat the refugee crisis in Syria and although Irish Aid has distributed humanitarian aid if more vocal and progressive action is needed at European Union level and at international level to combat some of the dreadful atrocities being committed within Syria, which in turn is contributing to the refugee crisis and persons fleeing their homeland. (Question 11881/16 asked on 24 May 2016 - Human Rights Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): It has been over five years since the start of the conflict in Syria, and the suffering of the Syrian people has become a defining crisis of this generation. An estimated 400,000 people have been killed, and some 13.5 million people within Syria need humanitarian assistance. The UN estimates that more than 4.8 million Syrians have now fled to neighbouring countries. The Syria crisis threatens the sovereignty, stability and nati...

177. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the top ten locations worldwide currently in the throes of warfare, genocide, victimisation, starvation and abuse continue to receive attention/assistance from the EU and UN; the extent to which positive intervention/action continues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3248/15 asked on 22 Jan 2015 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The locations currently experiencing warfare, victimization, starvation and abuse, remain a constant concern to the EU, UN and wider global community.
Promoting stability and supporting efforts towards peace and security in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East continue to require and receive major international attention. UN-authorised peacekeeping missions have a major role in stabilising former and current conflict zones th...

46. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide an update regarding to the most recent discussions at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council in relation to the need to advance peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30811/13 asked on 26 Jun 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I welcome the recent progress in efforts to secure a durable solution to the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In particular, I welcome the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the DRC and the Region, which was concluded in Addis Ababa on 24 February, in the presence of the UN Secretary General. The adoption of the Agreement was welcomed on behalf of the EU in a joint statement by...

630. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he and his European Union counterparts are taking to find a political and diplomatic solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6852/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - Syrian Conflict)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 630 and 650 together.
I welcome the call by UN Special Envoy de Mistura for a resumption of the Geneva III talks on Friday 15 April, and in particular his focus on achieving a political transition. This remains the core issue in the conflict and no sustainable peace can be achieved without agreement on political change in Syria. I will be discussing the EU’s Syria and regional strategy with my co...

265. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the international community continues to engage with the various parties in Syria with a view to bringing about a ceasefire and settlement and the elimination of human rights abuses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23075/16 asked on 20 Jul 2016 - Syrian Conflict)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I urge all parties to work for a sustainable political solution to the Syrian conflict, and in particular to support the ongoing efforts by UN Special Envoy Steffan de Mistura on achieving a political transition. This remains the core issue in the conflict - no long-term peace can be achieved without agreement on political change in Syria.
The cessation of hostilities remains critical to the negotiations. There can be no prospec...

139. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the international community continues to monitor and assist the various locations throughout Africa which continue to suffer from human rights abuse, war, famine and genocide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49534/13 asked on 19 Nov 2013 - Overseas Development Aid Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Ireland, along with our EU Partners, pursues a strategic and comprehensive approach to countries in Africa suffering the consequences of conflict or natural disaster. This approach encompasses political and diplomatic engagement, development cooperation programming, humanitarian assistance, and support for peacekeeping operations. 
The progress in African countries, particularly those emerging from confli...

355. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the efforts of the European Union in influencing a peaceful outcome in Syria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9987/16 asked on 24 May 2016 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I welcome the holding of the recent Vienna meeting of the International Syria Support Group, but I am concerned about the absence of an agreed date for the renewal of negotiations. An early resumption of negotiations and progress on the core issue of a political transition are central to achieving a political solution. I discussed these issues with my EU colleagues at the Foreign Affairs Council yesterday, underlining the need f...

15. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he and his European Union and United Nations colleagues continue to press for humanitarian assistance in the various conflict zones globally; if he and they are considering the provision of safe or protective havens for civilian communities fleeing from war, genocide and terrorism, and making peace-keeping interventions in the most sensitive war zones; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11912/16 asked on 26 May 2016 - Humanitarian Aid Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe McHugh): Responding to the unprecedented scale of humanitarian crisis worldwide poses a huge challenge for the international community. Violations of international humanitarian law preventing access to communities in need of assistance compound this challenge. Ireland continues to work with our partners to respond actively and effectively. Last year, we provided some €140 million in humanitarian assistance. Earlier th...

150. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he raised at the most recent meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council the concerns and warnings of the UN’s Chief Special Adviser on genocide prevention in relation to the high risk of genocide in the Central African Republic; if these issues have been raised by the European Union with the United Nations or other international organisations; the proposals, if any, there are to provide additional humanitarian aid to the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18066/14 asked on 15 Apr 2014 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I have raised our serious concern at the appalling situation in the Central African Republic at a number of recent meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council. At the Council meeting of December last, I highlighted the impact the crisis was having on the civilian population and reports by the UN and others of widespread human rights violations, including killings, rapes, kidnappings and recruitment of child soldiers. At th...

254. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the situation in South Sudan; the efforts being made to bring an end to the civil war and to address the emerging famine in the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31030/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Humanitarian Aid Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): I share the grave concern at the protracted political and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. Since the outbreak of violence in South Sudan in 2013, the population of the country have suffered death and injury, the destruction of livelihoods and widespread human rights abuses, in particular serious gender based violence against women and children. Ireland has repeatedly condemned the violence and continues...

69. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on Ireland’s plans for securing a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-2022 term; if the election campaign has begun; the pitch Ireland is using to attract votes; and the issues Ireland will use its seat to promote if successful in the election. (Question 14197/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - UN Security Council Membership)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Ireland is seeking election to a UN Security Council non-permanent seat in June 2020 for the 2021-2022 term We are one of three candidates for the two seats available to members of the Western European and Others regional group at the UN. Canada and Norway are the other two candidates. Like Ireland, both countries have strong records of engagement at the UN and we co-operate closely with them on a range of issues. In ...

133. Deputy Catherine Martin 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. (Question 2929/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Military Neutrality)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 134 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 maintenance of intern...

134. Deputy Catherine Martin 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. (Question 2930/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Military Neutrality)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 134 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 maintenance of intern...

109. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on how the conflict in Syria can be ended. (Question 36988/15 asked on 03 Nov 2015 - Syrian Conflict)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Syrian crisis is first and foremost a tragedy for the Syrian people.
Ending the catastrophe which has befallen Syria, and which has imposed enormous burdens on the States neighbouring Syria is critical to the stability of the Middle East region, and the security and safety of the Syrian people and their neighbours. 
I welcome the announcement on Friday of the understandings by international stakeholders in Vienna on the liftin...

238. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on steps the EU or UN can take to protect persons who are refugees from war zones; if safe areas can be established for international aid under the protection of the military; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18650/17 asked on 12 Apr 2017 - Humanitarian Aid Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe McHugh): The provision of effective humanitarian assistance is a key foreign policy priority for the Government. Ireland provided over €190 million in humanitarian funding in 2016 to assist people affected by crisis and conflict around the world, including refugees from war zones. In addition, Ireland also contributes to the European Commission’s humanitarian action outside the EU, which has an annual budget of some €1...

363. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the international community can improve support for the victims of the war in Syria; if new initiatives are required to protect civilians; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19770/16 asked on 05 Jul 2016 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 363 and 367 together.
I have repeatedly made clear Ireland’s absolute condemnation of military attacks on civilians in Syria. Such attacks are crimes and those responsible, in particular the Assad regime and Daesh, must be held accountable for their actions. 
Ireland, in conjunction with all our EU partners and 29 other States, sponsored a resolution calling for the Security Council of the United ...

367. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which he, in conjunction with his European Union colleagues, can continue to combat the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Middle East; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19774/16 asked on 05 Jul 2016 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 363 and 367 together.
I have repeatedly made clear Ireland’s absolute condemnation of military attacks on civilians in Syria. Such attacks are crimes and those responsible, in particular the Assad regime and Daesh, must be held accountable for their actions. 
Ireland, in conjunction with all our EU partners and 29 other States, sponsored a resolution calling for the Security Council of the United ...

201. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the changing of policy in relation to NATO and the use of troops in Mali and Afghanistan. (Question 9344/13 asked on 21 Feb 2013 - Defence Forces Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): There has been no change in policy in relation to Ireland’s engagement in NATO or in the current deployment of personnel to Afghanistan, or the proposed deployment of troops to Mali, which is subject to Government approval. Ireland’s relations with NATO are set within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and Partnership for Peace (PfP), including its Planning and Review Process (PARP). 
Ireland joined EAPC and Partnership fo...

180. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the activities of Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab are being contained by the international community or the African Union; if the release of girls and women kidnapped over the past number of years continues to be pursued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3523/17 asked on 25 Jan 2017 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe McHugh): Over the past months the Nigerian Government has led efforts in the region against Boko Haram. These efforts have been supported by the international community. The EU has pledged up to €50 million in support of the Multinational Joint Taskforce, which supports 8,700 troops from Nigeria and neighbouring countries to promote regional security. Despite recent progress by Nigerian and regional armed forces, vio...

62. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the ongoing conflict in the Congo has been discussed at recent EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings. (Question 41215/13 asked on 02 Oct 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region was discussed at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 22 July, which I attended. At that meeting the Council adopted comprehensive Conclusions in support of the ‘Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region’, which had been concluded in Addis Ababa on 24 February in the presence of the UN Secretary Ge...

31. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his Department has put forward, or has taken a role in, the development of policies to strengthen the United Nations’ remit, especially in relation to states where the government, and the rule of law, have failed, or where a former government without any democratic mandate is making war on its own citizens. (Question 19203/15 asked on 19 May 2015 - UN Issues)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In international efforts to find political solutions to end conflict we naturally look to the UN and the UN Security Council for leadership. In some situations of protracted conflict where Ireland has limited ability to affect real change on the ground, we focus on the humanitarian relief effort to alleviate suffering, in those areas where we can make a difference.
I believe that the Security Council must be better equipped to re...

30. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the high casualty rates among UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18543/14 asked on 30 Apr 2014 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): UNAMID, the African Union-UN Hybrid operation in Darfur, was established on 31 July 2007 through the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769. The core mandate of UNAMID is the protection of civilians and is also responsible for contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements, assisting an inclusive political process, contributing to the promo...

62. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will raise the ongoing violations of human rights within the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, at the UN Human Rights Council; if the resolution of the current conflict in the DRC remains a key objective of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36584/13 asked on 18 Jul 2013 - Human Rights Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to face one of the most complex and enduring crises in the world, and remains a high priority for Ireland and our partners in the European Union. EU Foreign Ministers will again discuss the situation in the DRC on 22 July and will assess recent progress to secure a durable solution to the crisis. In particular we will consider ways to further support the ‘Peace, Security...

24. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the most recent discussions held at EU Foreign Affairs Council in relation to the ongoing conflict in the Congo; if funding has been allocated this year for humanitarian aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23206/13 asked on 16 May 2013 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The continuing crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is discussed regularly at all levels within the EU, including at meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council.
I have joined with our EU partners in welcoming the recent progress in efforts to secure a durable solution to the crisis in the DRC. In particular, I have strongly welcomed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the DRC and the...

47. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which he, along with EU and UN colleagues, continues to press for humanitarian assistance in the various conflict zones globally; if consideration continues to be given to the provision of safe or protective havens for civilian communities fleeing from war, genocide and terrorism; the extent to which peace keeping interventions are being considered in the most sensitive war zones; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36315/16 asked on 23 Nov 2016 - Humanitarian Aid Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe McHugh): Humanitarian assistance is a key foreign policy priority for Ireland. In 2015, Ireland’s humanitarian funding amounted to more than €142 million. This level of funding will be maintained in 2016, in response to unprecedented levels of humanitarian need.
Ireland also contributes to the European Commission’s humanitarian action outside the EU, which has an annual budget of approximately €1 billion. 
Ireland’s ...

58. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the establishment of a joint EU military headquarters; his further views on the increased militarisation of the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39832/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - European Security Strategy)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The proposal being advanced is not of an EU joint military headquarters but rather the development of a joint civil/military operational headquarters, which can support the effective planning and operations of CSDP operations. As I previously advised the House, there have been proposals around for some time, that the EU should establish a joint operational headquarters to support the planning and conduct of its civil and milita...