Dáil Éireann - Volume 565 - 09 April, 2003
Written Answers. - Overseas Missions.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
63. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the triple lock on Ireland's participation in peacekeeping or peace enforcement measures continues to be a viable policy. [10011/03]
Mr. J. O'Keeffe Mr. J. O'Keeffe
148. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position of Ireland in relation to the European Union peacekeeping missions where a country such as China can veto the UN mandate on the basis of such missions being in a country that recognises Taiwan. [8817/03]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 63 and 148 together.
Ireland fully supports the ongoing development of European Union peacekeeping and crisis management capabilities in the context of European security and defence policy that has derived from the Amsterdam Treaty and the conclusions of successive European Councils. As the Government has consistently made clear, including during the recent Nice treaty referenda campaigns, Ireland will take its own sovereign decision on whether Irish military personnel should participate in any humanitarian or crisis management tasks undertaken by the EU, based on the triple lock of United Nations authorisation, Government decision and Dáil approval.
I am conscious that the Deputies' questions arise against the background of Ireland's non-participation in the EU military monitoring and stabilisation mission which has recently commenced in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM. Irish participation was precluded due to legal advice supplied by the Attorney General which indicated that the particular expression of UN endorsement for the outgoing NATO-led operation in FYROM, as  contained in Security Council Resolution 1371 of 26 September 2001, does not fully meet the requirements specified in the Defence Acts for participation in missions abroad by Defence Forces personnel.
While this does not detract from our overall political support for the EU operation in FYROM, it would have to be acknowledged that the legislation in question dates from a period in which it was not envisaged that the UN would someday become reliant upon regional organisations to provide assistance with such operations. That said, I do not anticipate that the triple lock policy will unduly impinge upon Ireland's future ability to become involved in peace-keeping and crisis management missions. In this regard, I would point to Ireland's participation in the current NATO-led-UN-authorised SFOR military mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina and to the prospect of our continuing involvement in the expected EU take over of that mission in 2004.
In view of the fact that UN reliance on organisations such as the EU is likely only to increase rather than diminish, it may be necessary to reflect on the implications of the current position and on ways by which we can overcome the problems which have arisen in this case, while retaining public confidence in the arrangements for the deployment of Defence Forces personnel overseas.
Dáil Éireann 565 Written Answers. Overseas Missions.