FG wants review of 'triple lock' troop deployment system


THE ‘TRIPLE lock’ mechanism, which requires UN, Government and Dáil approval for any deployment of Irish troops overseas, should be reviewed, according to Fine Gael.

In a speech to be given at a Peace and Neutrality Alliance conference on Irish foreign policy today, the party’s foreign affairs spokesman Seán Barrett will argue that the triple lock system, “though honourable” is “flawed” due to its requirement of a UN security council resolution for any overseas mission.

This, he says, is an “unnecessary limiting factor” in the context of Ireland’s security responsibilities towards the EU.

Referring to the veto power wielded by the five permanent members of the security council – the US, China, France, Russia and the UK – Mr Barrett says the triple lock mechanism in effect allows Ireland’s ability to participate in peacekeeping to be vetoed by any of the five states for their own self-interest.

“The UN security council sometimes veto resolutions based on geopolitical factors rather than humanitarian needs on the ground. That means that, under the current triple lock system, Ireland might be precluded from contributing troops to a mission where the humanitarian need is both obvious and urgent. I believe that to be a flawed state of affairs,” Mr Barrett said in advance of the conference.

The Fine Gael TD gave the example of the EU peacekeeping force deployed to Macedonia.

Ireland could not participate in the mission because, while the force had replaced Nato, and had both EU and UN support, it was not mandated through a formal UN resolution.

Fine Gael, he said, proposes that the triple lock be modified so that instead of requiring a formal motion to be passed by the security council, all missions would merely be required to be “in keeping with the purposes and principles” of the UN charter.

“Such a change would not bypass the UN. It would ensure that our participation is based on principles, not the internal political stances of the five permanent members.

“That, Fine Gael believes, would be fairer, more honest and more honourable. Human rights, not international politics, should be the guiding principle of our role in peacekeeping,” he said.

Other speakers at the conference, which is headlined An Independent Irish Foreign Policy: A Future?include Labour TD Joe Costello, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Green Party Senator Mark Deary, and representatives from Trócaire, Concern and Amnesty International.