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Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., Addresses the
23rd Annual Delegate Conference of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association
The Minister for Defence Mr Simon Coveney, T.D., today, (Wednesday 1st October 2014) addressed the Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association, (PDFORRA), at the Clarion Hotel, Sligo.

Opening his address to the Conference, Minister Coveney acknowledged the value, importance and significance placed by the Government on the tremendous work being done by members of the Defence Forces in many parts of the world. Referring specifically to the UNDOF mission where in recent weeks UN peacekeepers have come under attack and many peacekeepers have been detained the Minister said “I personally discussed these issues with the Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations. Given the recent UN Security Council Presidency Statement, I am satisfied that the United Nations has acceded to my request to review the mission and its capacity to fulfil its mandate in light of the civil war in Syria. The continued participation by Irish troops and the capabilities provided by Ireland to UNDOF will help ensure that the mission can continue implementing its mandate, a position strongly supported and endorsed by the UN Security Council”

The Minister also spoke about his recent joint initiative with the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade on training support for United Nations Peacekeeping in Africa. Under the joint initiative the Department of Foreign Affairs will provide the funding to support the Department of Defence and Irish Defence Forces to provide the training capacity. Potential areas for training include leadership training, at the tactical and operational level, with a particular focus on officers and NCOs. The Minster said “This, I believe, is a really good example of joined up Government with the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade working together to deliver on key Governmental initiatives. We envisage providing high-quality training over a number of years to develop and enhance the range of skills required for effective peacekeeping in a range of Irish Aid Programme countries”.

Looking to the future the Minister stressed that for the Defence Organisation the preparation of the new White Paper on Defence is a priority for the year ahead. “I consider the preparation of a new White Paper on Defence to be the key priority to provide the defence policy framework for the next decade and beyond. Defence policy is a critical aspect of Government policy and I am determined to ensure that the new White Paper fully addresses the defence response to future security challenges in a comprehensive way.”

Minister Coveney also referred to the important contribution made by the Defence Forces on their domestic security and support duties. The Minister congratulated the Naval Service and the Air Corps on the successful interception and detention of the drugs shipment on board the yacht Makayabella, last week. He also referred to the solemnity and occasion lent by the participation of the Defence Forces in commemorative events marking key anniversaries in the Decade of Centenaries’ calendar.

In conclusion, the Minister referred to the The painful steps that have been taken over recent years which have placed Public Servants at the forefront in playing a key role in our country’s gradual economic recovery”. Recognising the contribution played by the Defence Forces in this regard he stated that “The Government recognises the difficult process and commitments entered into under the ‘Haddington Road Agreement’, and the impact of restructuring and modernisation within the Defence Forces . It is a credit to PDFORRA that despite the significant challenges faced during the past number of years that industrial relations within the Permanent Defence Force remain good.”

The Minister wished the delegates every success with the remainder of the conference.


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