Dáil Éireann - Volume 638 - 04 October, 2007

Written Answers. - Overseas Missions.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the extent and expected strength and location of future deployments of Irish Defence Forces on UN missions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22115/07]

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the number of Irish troops currently on overseas duties; the degree to which this number has fluctuated in the past five years; his plans to increase the strength of the Defence Forces in view of current or expected deployments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22205/07]

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence if he has received a request for further overseas postings of Irish troops; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22206/07]

  Deputy Willie O’Dea: I propose to take Questions Nos. 36, 114 and 115 together.

Ireland receives requests from time to time in relation to participation in various missions and these are considered on a case-by-case basis. Consideration is currently being given to possible Defence Forces participation in UN mandated [1818] military operations that may arise in Africa. At present, the proposed ESDP mission to Chad appears to offer the most suitable opportunity for participating in the region. I am currently in the process of authorising a fact-finding mission to the region. Subject to a satisfactory assessment, it is proposed that the Defence Forces would participate in the mission with a substantive contribution in the region of 300 to 350 personnel. This is within the capacity of the Defence Forces on the basis of our withdrawal from Lebanon.

Planning is progressing at the EU for the proposed EU military operation in the Republic of Chad and the Central African Republic. The proposed EU force will possibly comprise up to approximately 4,000 personnel. It is expected that the Council of the European Union will adopt a “Joint Action” to launch the mission next week. The authorities of Chad and the Central African Republic have welcomed a possible EU military presence in their respective countries.

On 25 September, 2007, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1778 establishing a multi-dimensional UN mission in Chad and Central African Republic that will help strengthen security in the region. Resolution 1778 (2007) establishes the mission, to be known as MINURCAT, for a period of one year, with a mandate focusing on the security and protection of civilians — particularly refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and civilians in danger — and on human rights and the rule of law in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic. At this point in time, a decision to deploy troops to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), which is primarily an African mission and will become operational later this year, looks unsuitable and could not be recommended.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) completes its current deployment at the end of October 2007. The commitment to UNIFIL was for one year and the Defence Forces will withdraw with their Finnish partners on completion of their tour of duty. Approximately seven Defence Forces personnel will continue to serve in the mission headquarters.

Currently, a total of 556 Defence Forces personnel is serving overseas. This number changes on a monthly basis subject to mission rotations and has averaged 622 over the past five years. Full details are listed in the following statements.

The White Paper on Defence of February 2000 sets out a figure of 10,500 personnel for the Permanent Defence Force. There are no plans to increase this number. However, the Agreed Programme for Government proposes to facilitate this target of 10,500 by putting in place, from 2008 onwards, an additional provision for up to 350 troops to be in training, at any given time. The military authorities, and my Department are undertaking the planning necessary to meet this provision.

[1819] [1820] Members of the Permanent Defence Force Serving Overseas as of the 01 October 2007

Number

UN Missions

UNIFIL

(United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) HQ

7

UNIFIL

36TH Inf Gr

166

UNTSO

(United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation — Israel, Syria and Lebanon)

14

MINURSO

(United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara)

3

UNMIK

(United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo)

4

MONUC

(United Nations Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo

3

UNOCI

(United Nations Mission in Ivory Coast)

2

UNMIL

(United Nations Mission in Liberia) FHQ

2

Total

201

UN Mandated Missions

EUFOR

EU-led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

41

KFOR

International Security Presence in Kosovo Framework Nation

58

KFOR

International Security Presence in Kosovo HQ

10

KFOR

International Security Presence in Kosovo 35th Inf Group

206

ISAF

International Security assistance Force in Afghanistan

7

AMIS

EU support to UN authorised African Union Mission in Sudan

3

Total Number of Personnel Serving with UN Missions

526

EU Missions

EUMM

European Union Monitor Mission to the Former Yugoslavia

5

Total Number of Personnel Serving with EU Missions

5

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

OSCE

Mission to Bosnia & Herzegovina

1

OSCE

Mission in Montenegro

1

OSCE

Presence in Albania

2

OSCE

Mission in FYR

2

Staff Officer Higher Level Planning Group, Vienna

1

Total Number of Personnel Serving in OSCE

7

EU Military Staff

EUMS

Brussels

7

EUMS

New York

1

Military Representatives/ Advisers/Staff

Military Adviser

Permanent Mission to UN, New York

1

Military Adviser

Irish Delegation to OSCE, Vienna

1

Military Representatives

To EU (Brussels)

4

Liaison Office of Ireland

NATO/PFP

2

Military Representative

To NATO/ PfP Co-ordination Cell/Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), Mons, Belgium

1

UNHQ New York

Officers seconded to Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO)

1

Total No. Defence Forces Personnel Serving Overseas

556

[1821] Numbers of Troops Serving Overseas

June 2002-October 2007.

Number

June 2002

518

December 2002

441

June 2003

251

December 2003

669

June 2004

752

December 2004

772

June 2005

740

December 2005

766

June 2006

678

December 2006

830

June 2007

495

October 2007

556