22. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which he and his EU and UN colleagues continue to address the threat of international terrorism; if particular initiatives are likely with a view to protecting peaceful citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11576/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Ireland is fully engaged in the approaches being developed by the European Union and the United Nations to combat terrorism, in particular, the need for greater international cooperation to address the underlying factors that contribute to terrorist related threats and violence. In the case of the European Union, Foreign Ministers remain focused on implementation of the June 2017 Council Conclusions on Counter-terrorism and on the contribution that the EU can make through external action to preventing and countering terrorism. Engagement with third countries to prevent violent extremism and to strengthen their capacity to detect and prevent terrorism, in full compliance with international law and human rights, remains at the core of the EU’s strategy.

The EU has also placed considerable emphasis on strengthening cooperation with its immediate neighbours in the Western Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries through dedicated political dialogue and the cultivation of effective counter-terrorism partnerships.

The European Council has also expressed its support for practical cooperation and coordination between the EU and the United Nations in the area of counter-terrorism and has welcomed the establishment in June 2017 of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism by the UN Secretary General. This office will provide strategic leadership to United Nations counter-terrorism efforts.

The former UN Secretary General’s comprehensive Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and subsequent reports are an important and welcome contribution to addressing the threat posed by international terrorism. These highlight the need to examine drivers of violent extremism through dialogue and conflict prevention, strengthening governance and the rule of law, gender equality and empowering women, community engagement and youth empowerment, and education and skills development.

Two initiatives in which Ireland has been particularly engaged are the effects of violent extremism on Youth and Women, and their role in countering such extremism. Ireland was strongly supportive of the adoption by the Security Council of Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. This Resolution confirmed that inclusion and participation by young people must lie at the core of efforts by the international community to respond to crises and conflict.

Women, Peace and Security is also a key element in the fight against violent extremism. Ireland has long been a supporter of the full implementation of Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security and its successor Resolutions. Women can have an important role to play in helping to counter radicalisation and extremism in their families and communities, and also have the potential to be radicalised themselves. Therefore, effective Countering Violent Extremism strategies must take cognisance of the particular situation and perspectives of women and girls into consideration.