Dáil Éireann - Volume 606 - 29 September, 2005
Written Answers - Overseas Missions.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
160. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence if Irish troops are likely to train alongside other European defence forces in anticipation of participation in rapid response action, PfP and battlegroups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26122/05]
Mr. O’Dea Mr. O’Dea
Mr. O’Dea: In order to reach the requisite level of interoperability, and taking account of the short timeframes envisaged for the deployment of the EU’s rapid reaction elements, it would seem to me that the various forces and elements comprising a battlegroup would need to be familiar with the equipment,  standard operating procedures, organisation and operations of the group as a whole. However, that does not lead on to an inevitable conclusion that there is a requirement to undertake extensive overseas training. Indeed, Defence Forces personnel have for many years attended workshops, training courses, desktop exercises, seminars and other events overseas as part of their military training and I expect that they will continue to do this. The Defence Forces have also attended training courses and workshops under PfP PARP, the purpose of which is to learn from best practice in other defence forces and includes improving the level of interoperability between forces in the context of peace support operations and the Petersberg Tasks. Whether possible participation in battlegroups would change this situation remains to be seen.
As the Deputy is aware, I have established an interdepartmental working group to examine all issues in relation to Ireland’s potential participation in battlegroups. Among the issues to be examined in this regard will be the question of the need for overseas training and the issues which such training might give rise to, including the policy and legal issues. Pending the completion of the work of the group, I cannot say whether overseas training will be necessary, having regard to Ireland’s possible contribution to a battlegroup.
Question No. 161 answered with Question No. 159.
Dáil Éireann 606 Written Answers Overseas Missions.