Capabilities Commitment Conference
Brussels, 20 November 2000.
Speaking points for Minister for Defence, delivered by Minister of State, Mr Seamus Brennan.
The Minister for Defence, Michael Smith, has asked me to convey his profound regrets that he cannot attend in person at today's Capabilities Commitments Conference. He is at present accompanying our President on official visits abroad which include visits to military personnel in SFOR and KFOR.
The statements being made today by Defence Ministers in this informal gathering signal the decisions of each of their national authorities to make commitments to the European Union's Headline Goal. The focus of the Amsterdam Treaty is to make the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy more effective, more coherent and more visible. The Headline Goal represents a significant new element in this regard and demonstrates specific progress in achieving the shape of the EU's security and defence policy. The Headline Goal has developed in the light of the provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam and derives from the decisions taken by European Heads of State and Government at the EU Councils at Cologne, Helsinki and Feira. - The interim Military Body working under the direction of the interim Political Security Committee are to commended on the excellent work they have undertaken against a very tight time scale to provide the framework within which the member states can make offers to contribute to the Headline Goal. The Headline Goal will provide the EU with the means to undertake Petersberg tasks. The progress now being made will enable the European Union to take effective actions and to have an operational capacity for peacekeeping and crisis management operations. In acknowledging these developments it is useful to note some important features:
The conference is doing no more than achieving the Headline Goal for possible use in Petersberg tasks, as set out in the appropriate provisions of the Amsterdam Treaty. As was stated clearly at Helsinki, the achievement of the Headline Goal does not imply the creation of a European Army. The centrality of the UN and the primary role of the UN Security Council in matters of peace and security is explicitly recognised by the EU. Ireland will consider participation in EU-led crisis management operations in every instance on a case by case basis; and the sovereign decision on whether to participate in any one mission remains with each member state in accordance with its own national legislative or parliamentary requirements. Ireland, for its part, has made it clear that it will only participate in missions authorised by the UN. I am delighted to be able to formally announce the decision of the Irish Government to offer up to 850 personnel to the Headline Goal. The principal element of this commitment will be in the form of a light infantry battalion of up to 750 personnel and otherwise comprising an Army Ranger Wing Platoon, headquarters, national support and observer elements. This commitment comes from within Ireland's current commitment to the United Nations Standby Arrangements System commitment of 850. It will be important to make measured progress in the period to 2003 to refine the work undertaken to date and allow the institutional, planning and associated elements to reach the necessary level of maturity. It will also be important to enhance the link between the United Nations and the European Union with regard to promoting peace and stability. The recent Brahimi Report on the overhaul of UN peace support operations contains many points of similarity with the approach being taken by the EU on capabilities, including rapid reaction. We are encouraged by the positive reaction of the UN Secretary-General towards the development of the EU's approach on ESDP, and consider that the EU should actively assist the UN in implementing relevant aspects of the Brahimi recommendations. A further factor in the Headline Goal project is the need to achieve a coherent approach to the planning and review process. Ireland sees the Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process - PARP - as an important element with regard to planning for Petersberg tasks.
Many countries are involved in a restructuring of their Defence Forces and the Irish Government's White Paper on Defence published last February sets out a comprehensive development strategy for the Irish Defence Forces to ensure that they are geared to face the challenges and opportunities of the evolving defence and security environment. This reshaping takes account of the developments at EU level and builds on the long tradition of participation in international peacekeeping by the Irish Defence Forces since 1958. Finally, it is important that the capabilities being announced by the member states today are fully linked into the broader objectives of EU crisis management. Ireland attaches particular importance to the civilian dimension of the EU's crisis management role. We look forward to playing an active part in the further development of this area. The military elements, which in themselves have a broad utility, should not develop separately from the broad spectrum of responses being identified and being developed for crisis management.
Finally, let me convey my gratitude to the French Presidency for achieving the outcome now obtained.
3 July 2006Speech by Willie O’Dea, T.D., Minister for Defence at the commissioning ceremony for the 81st Cadet Class.
29 May 2006Statement by the Minister for Defence on the International Day of the Peacekeeper 2006, 29/05/06
19 May 2006Statement by the Minister for Defence Adjournment Debate – Seanad Eireann, 17 MAY 2006.
4 May 2006Speech by Mr. Willie O’Dea, T.D., Minister for Defence at the review of 95th Infantry Battalion due to leave on peacekeeping duty with UNMIL, 04/05/06
6 April 2006Address by Minister Willie O'Dea at a 1916 monument unveiling ceremony. 06/04/06
4 November 2005Speech by Mr. Tom Kitt, T.D., Minister for State for Defence at the review of 94th Infantry Battalion Due to leave on peacekeeping duty with UNMILON
4 November 2005Speech by Minister for Defence Mr. Willie O’Dea TD At the opening of the EUROMIL conference South Court Hotel Limerick
5 October 2005Speech by Minister for Defence Mr. Willie O'Dea T.D.,
at the PDFORRA Annual Delegate Conference.
12 September 2002Commisioning ceremony for Naval Service cadets - 40th Class
25 April 2002Opening refurbished Headquarters Block, Ballymullen Barracks, Tralee
4 April 2002Launch of Report of External Advisory Committee on harassment, bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment in the Defence Forces
21 March 2002Minister's speech to a Select Committee on the Defence Estimates for 2002
3 March 2002Opening of FCA Headquarters, Templemore
19 December 2001Opening NCO's Mess East, Curragh
22 November 2001Commissioning ceremony for Air Corps cadets - 20th Class
18 November 200175th anniversary of the Army Equitation School
15 November 2001Review of 1st Contingent UNMEE bound for Eritrea
8 November 2001Minister's address to RACO's 9th Annual Delegate Conference
25 October 2001Unveiling of memorial in Tibnin, South Lebanon
24 October 2001Statement to a Select Dáil Committee seeking approval for the despatch of a contingent to Eritrea
18 September 2001Minister's speech at the Commissioning Ceremony for L.E. Niamh
18 September 2001Tanaiste's speech at the Naming Ceremony for L.E. Niamh
17 September 2001Opening swimming pool/gymnasium in the Curragh
8 September 2001Minister's address to RDFRA's 8th Annual Delegate Conference
7 September 2001Review of 7th Contingent (UNTAET) bound for East Timor
24 July 2001Review of 5th Transport Company (KFOR) bound for Kosovo
2 July 2001Cadet commissioning ceremony - 76th Class
12 June 2001Minister's speech to a Select Committee on the Defence Estimates for 2001
22 May 2001Review of 6th Contingent (UNTAET) bound for East Timor
17 May 2001Adjournment Debate re Clancy Barracks
1 May 2001Seanad Adjournment Debate re Gormanston
9 April 2001Taoiseach's speech in Templemore at the review of troops bound for Lebanon
4 April 200124th Amendment to the Constitution (Treaty of Nice)
22 March 2001Opening new signals building in Cathal Brugha Barracks
23 January 2001Review of 5th Contingent (UNTAET) bound for East Timor
25 November 2000Launch of Report of the Ministerial Steering Group on Reserve Defence Force
20 November 2000Capabilities Commitment Conference, Brussels, 20th November 2000
15 November 2000Minister's address to RACO's 8th Annual Delegate Conference
10 November 2000Opening of Hanger No. 5, Casement Aerodrome
18 October 2000Review of 88th Infantry Battalion (UNIFIL) bound for Lebanon
11 October 2000Minister's address to PDFORRA's 9th Annual Delegate Conference
7 September 2000Naval cadet commissioning ceremony - 38th Class
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