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Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D.,
Hosts a Symposium on the White Paper on Defence

The Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D. hosted a Symposium on the White Paper on Defence today (Friday 15 May 2015) in Farmleigh House. A new White Paper on Defence is being prepared and the symposium was part of the concluding phase of that process. The symposium facilitated an open policy debate, as envisaged under the Civil Service Renewal Plan, and drew a wide range of national and international policy experts and practitioners.

The Minister said “Defence is an issue which generally receives very little debate or discussion in Ireland”. He noted that the publication of a Green Paper on Defence in July 2013 had been a welcome development in this regard. However, while there has been a significant degree of consultation in the preparation of a new White Paper on Defence, the Minister noted that “the views of individuals and organisations, although valuable, do not constitute debate.” For this reason, the Minister arranged for a symposium “to provide an opportunity to hear alternative views, to learn from the experience of others and to debate the merits of differing courses of action”. The Minister also highlighted the need for Defence to “clearly articulate the rationale underpinning expenditure and funding requirements”.

The Minister was very pleased at the number of participants that were able to attend the event. The participants came from national and international organisations and represented a broad range of interests. While not expecting to produce a consensus of views on the day, the Minister hoped that “all concerned would be better informed of the challenges and have been able to contribute to the choices that lay ahead”

The Minister intends bringing a draft White Paper on Defence to Government in July 2015.


Note to Editor
Ireland’s first White Paper on Defence was published in 2000. In the intervening period there have been significant changes in the security environment and the emergence of new and complex challenges. In this context, the Government decided that there was a requirement to prepare a new White Paper on Defence.

A key part of the development of the White Paper on Defence has been an engagement with key stakeholders in particular and the wider community in general. The publication of a Green Paper on Defence in July 2013 initiated the public consultation on the White Paper on Defence. A total of 122 written submissions were received. Discussions were also held with other Government Departments on cross-cutting policy issues and likely future demands from Government bodies and State agencies. The views of international organisations were also sought with a particular focus on likely future trends in international peace support operations.

In advance of completion of the White Paper, the Minister for Defence wanted to afford a wide stakeholder group the opportunity to engage in debate across a number of issues, as a concluding phase to the process. In this regard, he hosted a symposium on the White Paper in Farmleigh House on Friday 15 May 2015. The audience comprised top level civil and military staff of the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces, representatives from across Irish State Departments, representatives from Irish and international think tanks and academic institutions, international organisations including EU, UN, NATO, the Representative and official veterans Associations of the Defence Forces and other interested parties.

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