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Minister for Defence Simon Coveney signs Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Minister Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Defence, welcomed the Rt. Hon. Mr. Michael Fallon, M.P., Secretary of State for Defence to Dublin Castle today where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Defence, Ireland and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence on enhancement on certain aspects of Security and Defence Cooperation.


The Minister stated that “the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding places existing cooperation arrangements in the Defence area between Ireland and the UK on a more formal and enduring footing”.


The Memorandum of Understanding has been under discussion for some time. It builds on the longstanding practical engagement that exists between the Department of Defence/Defence Forces and the UK Ministry of Defence and its Armed Forces. The Minister went on to say that the “Memorandum of Understanding is a voluntary, non-binding arrangement between the Department of Defence and the UK Ministry of Defence and does not affect or prejudice the position, policy or security arrangements of either country”.


The drafting of the Memorandum of Understanding arose from the initiative for increased cooperation across all areas of Government in the East-West relationship between Ireland and the UK which is led by the Taoiseach and UK Prime Minister at Head of Government level. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding will be followed by the drafting of a three-year Action Plan that will contain the detailed programme of bilateral co-operation activities for the forthcoming year and set the objectives for the succeeding two years. This may include military forces training, exercises and education, joint procurement and general sharing on reform in defence services.


The Minister went on to say that, “the Memorandum of Understanding and the associated Work Programme will also support the development of a greater mutual understanding of the policy considerations underlying our respective actions and engagement in multilateral arrangements for collective security such as the UN. It provides opportunities for more joint and collaborative work in support of international peace and security. It will also enhance the potential for further joint contributions to UN peacekeeping operations”.

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