* To ask the Minister for Defence the number of Irish troops deployed with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan; their role and function in that conflict; the number who have taken part in the mission since its inception; the cost to the Exchequer of the deployment to date; if he has plans to withdraw Irish troops from this mission in view of the fact that it is led by a military alliance involving combatant nations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- DEPUTY CAOIMHGHÍN Ó CAOLÁIN.
* FOR WRITTEN ANSWER ON TUESDAY, 1ST DECEMBER, 2009.
Ref No: 44375/09
Minister for Defence, (Mr. Willie O’Dea, T.D.): On 20 December 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1386 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorising the establishment of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated mission since 5 July 2002, following the Government Decision of 2 July 2002, authorising the provision of seven (7) members of the Permanent Defence Force for service with the force. Over the past number of years the UN is increasingly relying on regional organisations such as the European Union, African Union and NATO to launch and manage operations on its behalf and under its authority.
Since 2002, the Government has reviewed and approved, on an annual basis, the continued participation by seven (7) members of the Permanent Defence Force in ISAF. On 30 June 2009, the Government approved continued participation by seven members of the Permanent Defence Force in ISAF for a further period from July 2009 subject to ongoing review by the Department of Defence.
Since July 2002, a total of 140 members of the Permanent Defence Force, including the contingent currently deployed, have served with the force. The additional cost to the Defence Vote arising out of Defence Force participation in ISAF is approximately €270,000 per annum.
The seven Irish personnel currently participating in ISAF, comprising 4 Officers and 3 Non Commissioned Officers, are located in the two ISAF Headquarters in Kabul. The Irish personnel work in staff appointments in planning and administrative roles.
Decisions such as the continued participation of members of the Permanent Defence Force in ISAF and in other overseas missions, will be a matter for the Government in the context of the Estimates.