161. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if members of the Army Ranger Wing have ever served in Afghanistan; the overseas missions in which members of the unit have served; and if these particular missions have been approved by Dáil Éireann under the triple lock system. (Question 16069/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018)
Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Army Ranger Wing (ARW) are the Special Operations Forces of the Defence Forces. Personnel from the ARW served in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghanistan from October 2006 to March 2007 and from September 2014 to March 2015.
Members of the ARW have also served in the following missions:
United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNISOM) in 1993;
International Force East Timor (INTERFET) from October 1999 to February 2000;
United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) from February 2000 to June 2000;
United Nations mission in Liberia (UNMIL) from July 2003 to March 2004;
European Union Force (EUFOR) CHAD in 2008;
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from 2016 to date.
Specific details of the numbers of the ARW deployed overseas are not released into the public domain for security and operational reasons.
The conditions under which the Defence Forces may participate on overseas peace support operations are set out in the Defence Acts. The conditions, known as the “triple lock”, must be satisfied, that is the operation must be authorised/mandated by the United Nations; it must be approved by the Government; and it must be approved by way of a resolution of Dáil Éireann, where the size of a Defence Forces contribution is more than twelve personnel.
With regard to the above listed missions, Dáil Éireann approval was sought for all of the missions except for Afghanistan where the numbers involved were less than 12 personnel.