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Office of International Security and Defence Policy Branch

  • Formulation & Development of Defence Inputs to European Security & Defence Policy (ESDP) including policy on commitments to EU Headline Goal.

The work of the ISDP Branch centres on issues related to:

· the European Security and Defence Policy,
· Ireland’s participation in Partnership for Peace,
· Ireland’s membership of the UN and the OSCE (international security policy issues),
· the involvement of the Defence Forces in peace support operations overseas.

European Security and Defence Policy

· Formulation and Development of Defence Inputs to European Security & Defence Policy (ESDP).

The European Security and Defence Policy forms an integral part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The ESDP is aimed primarily at conflict prevention, peacekeeping, humanitarian missions and crisis management.

The main priority in the area of ESDP is the continued improvement of the EU’s capability to undertake the agreed range of tasks to meet the objectives of the Headline Goal 2010 and the European Security Strategy.

Another key priority for the EU in the area of ESDP is the continued successful conduct of existing EU peacekeeping and crisis management operations and the successful preparation of new missions. The EU currently (November 2006) has two military operation and a wide range of civilian or civil/military missions, on three continents, with tasks ranging from peacekeeping and monitoring implementation of a peace process to advice and assistance in military, police, border monitoring and rule of law sectors.

A key element of the Headline Goal is the capability to deploy forces at high readiness, broadly based on the Battlegroups concept. The purpose of the EU Battlegroups is to undertake humanitarian and peace-keeping operations the Petersberg Tasks. Ireland supports the development of the EU’s rapid response capability in support of UN-authorised missions and proposes to participate in the Nordic Battlegroup, which will be on standby for six months from January 2008.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) was established in 2004 to support Member States in their efforts to improve European defence capabilities in support of European Security and Defence Policy and to secure improvements and greater efficiency, particularly in the areas of research, technology, manufacturing and procurement, in the European defence equipment market. Ireland participates in the framework of the EDA.

Partnership for Peace

· Management of implementation of Ireland's Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP) for participation in Partnership for Peace (PfP).

Ireland joined Partnership for Peace (PfP) in December 1999. Ireland’s annual Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP) is focused on five priority areas namely - cooperation on international peacekeeping, humanitarian operations, search and rescue, cooperation in the protection of the environment and cooperation in marine matters.


· Provision of timely Defence inputs to the formulation of Government policy in relation to issues pertaining to participation in overseas missions by members of the Permanent Defence Force and administration of approval procedures for such overseas deployments.

A central tenet of Irish foreign policy is support for the multilateral system of collective security represented by the United Nations (UN). In this regard, Ireland has worked to uphold the primary role of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security. This commitment has found expression in Ireland’s longstanding tradition of participation in UN peacekeeping operations. Ireland has participated continuously in UN peacekeeping operations since 1958, a service which has comprised more than 55,000 individual tours of duty.

The White Paper on Defence, published in February 2000, commits the Government to sustaining the overall level of Ireland's contribution to peacekeeping, while developing a more selective approach to future requests from the United Nations having regard to the number, size, nature and complexity of its current peacekeeping operations.

Ireland has offered, through the United Nations Standby Arrangements System (UNSAS), to provide up to 850 military personnel for overseas service at any one time. This figure equates to some 10% of Ireland’s standing Army (excluding Reserves) and demonstrates Ireland’s commitment to the cause of international peace. The system known as UNSAS is intended to enhance the United Nations capacity for rapid response to emergency situations.

The conditions, under which the Defence Forces may participate on overseas peace support operations, which have been referred to as the “triple lock”, must be satisfied, i.e., the operation must be authorized/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.

Ireland is currently (February 2009) contributing 760 Defence Forces personnel to 14 different missions throughout the world. The main overseas missions, in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed, are the UN Mandated EU multi-national mission to Chad and the Central African Republic – EUFOR TCHAD/RCA - with 425 personnel, the NATO-led International Security presence (KFOR) in Kosovo with 233 personnel and EUFOR, the EU-led operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 44 personnel. Other personnel are serving as monitors and observers with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Defence Forces personnel are also deployed at the organisational headquarters of the UN, EU, OSCE and NATO.

· Council of the European Union·
· Treaty on European Union

International Security and Defence Policy Branch
Department of Defence

EU Section: Ms Ashling Hewson
Telephone: 00 353 45 492435

PfP/EDA Issues: Ms Sharon Breen
Telephone: 00 353 45 492460

Overseas Issues: Ms Amy Hubbard
Telephone: 00 353 45 492043

Fax: 00 353 45 492111
* Lo Call: 1890 251890

* Note that the rates charged for use of LoCall numbers may vary among different service providers

Related Links
Contact I.S.D.P. Branch re PfP/EDA Issues
Contact I.S.D.P. Branch re Overseas Issues
Contact I.S.D.P. Branch re ESDP Issues

Contact Us

Department of Defence
Station Road
Co. Kildare
W12 AD93

Tel 00 353 45 492000
Fax 00 353 45 492017
* loCall 1890 251890
** Or call 0761 001 607

* Note that the rates charged for the use of 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers
** 0761 numbers are charged as a national number from landlines and mobiles and are often included in bundle deals offered by phone operators