Dáil Éireann - Volume 625 - 12 October, 2006

Written Answers. - Military Co-operation.

Mr. Sargentasked the Minister for Defence the co-operation involved between the Irish and US Defence Forces arising from the fact that Ireland is listed as within the area of responsibility of the US European command, with area of responsibility defined as the geographical area within which the US European commander has authority to plan and conduct operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32313/06]

  Mr. O’Dea:There is no co-operation involved between Irish and US Defence Forces arising out of the existence or the role assigned to EUCOM by the US military authorities. Obviously there is a longstanding relationship with the US Military Forces generally. Moreover, US Forces have also participated in UN mandated peacekeeping operations alongside Irish troops. Cooperation with US Forces generally involves attendance at training courses, equipment demonstrations, exchanges of experience and briefings on current operations. This is the same sort of engagement that the Defence Forces would have in the normal course with the military forces of any country with whom the State has close and friendly relations.

I understand that there are nine unified combatant commands within the US Military Command structure. Five of these have regional responsibilities which, taken together, cover the entire surface of the Globe. The US European Command (EUCOM) is one of these regional combatant commands. Within the US military structures it [846] has responsibility for all of Europe, most of Africa, and parts of the Middle East. However, this assignment of responsibility does not entail any bilateral arrangements between USEUCOM and Ireland. In addition, there are no arrangements in place under which the Commander of EUCOM can exercise any authority to plan or conduct operations in Ireland, nor is any such arrangement foreseen.