Ireland seeking to abandon ‘triple lock’ restriction on troop deployment

‘Absurd that Russia would effectively have veto’ on Irish peacekeeping deployments, Taoiseach says

Taoiseach Simon Harris has reiterated the Government’s intention to abandon the “triple lock” under which Irish troops can only be committed abroad if there is a decision of the Government, a vote in the Dáil and a UN resolution.

The Government has argued that the requirement for a UN resolution effectively gives the permanent members of the UN security council – the US, Russia, France, the UK and China – a veto over the deployment of Irish peacekeepers.

Speaking in Brussels on the second day of the summit of EU leaders, Mr Harris said it was “absurd that Russia would effectively have a veto on where we can send peacekeeping troops”.

He said that Tánaiste Micheál Martin intended to bring forward legislation to change the triple lock, adding, “I hope that’s something that can be done in the lifetime of this Government.”


“That is not to say – and this is distorted time and time again at home – in any manner of means a move away from military neutrality, which Ireland is intends to absolutely keep,” he said.

The summit has so far been dominated by international affairs with leaders discussing the Middle East and the increasingly gloomy situation in Ukraine. The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to the leaders via video-link last light, repeating requests for further military aid.

Mr Martin announced plans to scrap the triple lock in November. The Government also held a consultative forum on international security policy last year.

Mr Martin said he wanted Ireland to be able to respond to crises without waiting for approval from the UN Security Council, which has not authorised a new peacekeeping mission since 2014.

Under the Triple Lock system, 12 or more Defence Forces troops cannot be deployed on an active overseas mission without approval from the Dáil, the Government and authorisation from the UN.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times