214. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the level of deployment and location of Irish troops overseas on UN or EU related missions; the extent to which further missions are planned or required; the extent to which the need for the upgrading of equipment has been noted arising from such deployment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44247/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As of 17 October 2017, Ireland is contributing 633 Defence Forces personnel to 10 different missions throughout the world and also to a range of international organisations and National representations. The main overseas mission in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed is the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 369 personnel and 136 personnel to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria. Also on 06 October 2017, L.É. Niamh with a crew of 57 personnel departed Haulbowline to join the EU naval mission Operation Sophia.

Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas are shown in the tabular statement.

The Department of Defence constantly reviews the deployment of Defence Forces personnel overseas. With regard to any future deployments of Defence Forces personnel overseas, Ireland receives requests, from time to time, in relation to participation in various missions and these are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Defence Forces personnel serving on all overseas missions are equipped with the most modern and effective equipment to carry out their mission. The Defence Forces equipment is upgraded on a continual basis. This equipment enables troops to fulfill the roles assigned to them, as well as providing the required protection specific to the mission.

Members of the Permanent Defence Force Serving Overseas As of 17 October 2017

1. UN MISSIONS

(i) UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) HQ - 30

UNIFIL 110th Infantry Battalion - 331

UNIFIL Sector West HQ - 8

(ii) UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation) Israel & Syria - 12

(iii) MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) - 2

(iv) MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) - 4

(v) UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) HQ (Yafour Damascus) - 1

UNDOF Staff Appointments (Camp Ziouani) - 5

UNDOF 55th Infantry Group (Camp Ziouani) - 130

TOTAL - 523

UN MANDATED MISSIONS

(vi) EUFOR (EU-led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina) - 5

(vii) EUTM Mali (EU-Led Training Mission) - 20

(viii) KFOR (International Security Presence in Kosovo) HQ - 12

(ix) EUNAVFORMED (Op Sophia) L.E. Niamh - 57

TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH UN MISSIONS - 617

2. ORGANISATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)

(i) OSCE Mission to Bosnia & Herzegovina - 1

(ii) - Staff Officer, High Level Planning Group, Vienna - 1

TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH OSCE - 2

3. EU MILITARY STAFF

Brussels - 4

4. MILITARY REPRESENTATIVES/ADVISERS/STAFF

(i) Military Adviser, Permanent Mission to UN, New York - 1

(ii) Military Adviser, Irish Delegation to OSCE, Vienna - 1

(iii) Military Representative to EU (Brussels) - 4

(iv) Liaison Officer of Ireland, NATO/PfP (Brussels) - 2

(v) EU OHQ Operation Althea, Mons, Belgium - 1

(vi) Irish Liaison Officer to SHAPE & Military Co-Op Division, Mons, Belgium - 1

TOTAL NUMBER OF DEFENCE FORCES PERSONNEL SERVING OVERSEAS - 633