Search Press Releases
Home > Press Releases > Press Release

The Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O’Dea TD has secured formal Cabinet approval today for Ireland’s participation in an EU Battlegroup.
 
Deployment of the Irish element of the Battlegroup on an operational mission will be subject to the requirements of the Triple Lock. “Ireland’s commitment to the Triple Lock is absolute. Irish troops will not be deployed to any conflict zone without the triple lock of UN, Government and Dáil approval,” confirmed Minister O’Dea.
 
Following recent discussions, Sweden, as the lead nation for the Nordic Battlegroup, has said it will welcome a contribution from Ireland.
 
“The formal approval I secured today for Ireland to provide a contingent of the Permanent Defence Forces to participate in a Nordic Battlegroup will now be followed by the signing a Memorandum of Understanding for the Nordic Battlegroup, by the Minister for Foreign Affairs subject to the approval of Dáil Éireann. The MoU is an agreement between the participants comprising of the Nordic Battlegroup, namely Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia, which sets out principles in relation to the operation, deployment and management of the Battlegroup. 
 
In a press release today Joe Costello of the Labour Party said
“that [signing] any such memo would be in total conflict with national law given our responsibilities under the triple lock mechanism... If we do so it could only be with our fingers crossed behind our back as any commitment to take part in military operations without a UN mandate would breach the triple lock procedure and conflict with Irish law.”
 

“The Attorney General has reviewed the MoU for the Nordic Battlegroup and has advised that it is not in conflict with Irish Law.  If it were, Ireland could not sign it,” stated Minister O’Dea.
 
”The MOU for the Nordic Battlegroup does not undermine the triple lock.  It specifically recognises that any decision by a participant to commit to a particular mission is subject to
“a decision by the respective and competent national authorities in accordance with their national constitution, legislation and policy decisions”, which in Ireland’s case means the Triple Lock,” added Minister O’Dea. 
 
”The MoU does not refer to a prerequisite for a UN Mandate as this is not a requirement for all the other participants.  It would be farcical for Ireland to insist that all other participants be bound by the terms of our Defence Acts, just as it would be unacceptable for any of the other participants to require Ireland to comply with the requirements of their national law.  Neither situation arises under the terms of the MoU.  Each country will decide whether to participate in a particular operation in accordance with its own national decision making procedures and on a case-by-case basis. The Memorandum of Understanding will soon be laid before the Dail and everyone will see that there is nothing behind Deputy Costello’s ridiculous claims.”
“Ireland and Sweden have a long history of close cooperation on UN missions. Our forces have worked well together for many years, most recently as part of the Quick Reaction Force in Liberia.”



“The proposed Irish Defence Forces contribution will involve an EOD/IEDD contingent with its own security detail, together with staff posts at the Operational and Force headquarters.  (EOD/IEDD means Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal.  EOD relates to normal type munitions whereas IEDD generally refers to devices devised by terrorist groups, such as car bombs etc.)   The total number of Defence Forces personnel involved is expected to be somewhere between 80 and 100.  This level of commitment will only arise should the Battlegroup be called on to undertake an operation.  Any contribution to a Battlegroup will be met within the context of the overall ceiling of 850 personnel serving overseas at any one time set in the White Paper on Defence and will have no adverse impact on our existing peace support operations,” added Minister O’Dea.

Joint training for the Nordic Battlegroup, including field manoeuvres, will take place in Sweden in September/October 2007.  There will be no joint training in Ireland, given the constitutional prohibition on forces not raised or maintained by the Oireachtas being based in the State. 
 
Possible participation in Battlegroups with other EU partners is also being considered and there have been some informal exploratory discussions with Finland and Austria in this regard, concluded Minister O’Dea.



Related Press Releases

No documents found




Contact Us

Department of Defence
Station Road
Newbridge
Co. Kildare

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

info@defence.ie

eolas@defence.ie

* 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