577. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which he has received notification from the UN regarding the deployment of members of the Defence Forces overseas in the context of peacekeeping; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53189/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 574 and 577 together.

As of 1 December 2017, Ireland is contributing 639 Permanent Defence Force personnel to 9 different missions throughout the world. T he main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 377 personnel, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria with 136 personnel and the United Nations mandated Naval Service deployment to the EU naval mission (Operation Sophia) which commenced in October 2017 with 55 naval personnel.

Ireland has, in addition, pledged to the United Nations Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System to make certain additional capabilities (troops and equipment) available to the United Nations on request. Also, at the United Nations Defence Ministerial summit held in Vancouver last month, Ireland pledged certain training capabilities for delivery in Ireland and in partner countries overseas. Any additional deployments will be subject to the provision of the Defence Acts and the triple lock as appropriate. Ireland will continue to work with the United Nations to make peacekeeping operations as efficient and effective as possible.

The overall current contribution of some 639 personnel to overseas missions reflects the Government’s continued commitment to the United Nations and to our responsibilities in the area of international peace and security.

Details of all personnel currently serving overseas are listed in the following table:

Members of the Permanent Defence Force Serving Overseas as of 1st December 2017

1.   UN MISSIONS 
  
(i)   UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) HQ        30 
UNIFIL 111th Infantry Battalion                 339 
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)   3 
  
(iv)   MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic     4 
Republic of the Congo) 
  
(v)   UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) HQ (Yafour Damascus) 1 
UNDOF Staff Appointments (Camp Ziouani)           5 
UNDOF 56th Infantry Group (Camp Ziouani)         130 
  
TOTAL                        532 
  
  
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)   Naval Service EU Naval Mission (Op Sophia) L.E. Niamh       55 
  
  TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH UN MISSIONS          624 
  
  
2
ORGANISATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)
  
(i)   Staff Officer, High Level Planning Group, Vienna         1 
TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH OSCE         1
  
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    639