Dáil Éireann - Volume 673 - 04 February, 2009

Written Answers. - Overseas Missions.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the development and participation in EU or UN sponsored RAPID response forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3798/09]

  Deputy Willie O’Dea: Ireland participated in the Nordic Battlegroup (NBG), which was on standby from 1 January 2008 to 30 June 2008. The other members of the Nordic Battlegroup were Sweden, acting as Framework Nation, Finland, Norway and Estonia. The Defence Forces contribution to the NBG was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (EOD/IEDD) contingent with its own security detail. Battlegroups have been on standby in the European Union since 1 January 2007. To date no Battlegroup has been deployed.

With regard to Ireland’s participation in future Battlegroups, we are committed in principle to participation in the Nordic Battlegroup (NBG), which will be on stand-by for the first six (6) months of 2011. Other contributors to the Nordic Battlegroup are Sweden, acting as Framework Nation, Finland, Norway and Estonia.

[604] Informal discussions have also taken place between staff in the Department of Defence and representatives from Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) regarding Ireland’s possible participation in the proposed Austrian/German Battlegroup. This Battlegroup will be on stand-by for the second six (6) months of 2012. Government approval will be required before participation in either Battlegroup is finalised.

Question No. 228 answered with Question No. 152.