Defence Forces personnel to serve in EU battlegroup in 2020

Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe brings memo to Cabinet on issue

A Government spokesman said eight to 10 Defence Forces personnel would be involved in the EU battlegroup. Photograph: Defence Forces

A Government spokesman said eight to 10 Defence Forces personnel would be involved in the EU battlegroup. Photograph: Defence Forces

 

Irish Defence Forces personnel will join a German-led EU battlegroup in 2020, the Cabinet decided on Tuesday.

Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe brought a memo to Cabinet which will allow Defence Forces join the German-led group.

A Government spokesman said eight to 10 personnel would be involved.

The EU battle group will be actively on standby for the second half of 2020. The military grouping will also include personnel from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia and the Netherlands.

Irish Defence Forces have participated in previous EU battle groups, most recently one led by the United Kingdom in 2016. Ireland also participated in several Nordic led battle groups in 2008, 2011 and 2015.

Member states are involved in EU battle groups on a rotating basis, which came into full operation back in January 2007, and a battle group has never been deployed into military action to date.

There are always two battlegroups waiting on standby ready for deployment, each made up of 1,500 military personnel.

A Government decision, the approval of the Dáil, and a United Nations mandate, are required under a ‘triple lock system’ before Irish personnel could be deployed as part of the battle group in any military action.

The Dáil would only vote if it was proposed to deploy a battlegroup.

Irish participation in the EU battle groups assists in securing partners for future United Nations peacekeeping missions, the Cabinet heard on Tuesday.

Finland, a previous partner in the Nordic battle group, has since gone on to partner with Ireland on several peacekeeping missions in Chad and in southern Lebanon.

The approval from Cabinet means the Defence Forces will now begin planning to participate in the EU battle group over the next two years.