Written Answers - Overseas Missions

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 759 No. 2

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  16.  Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn  Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn   asked the Minister for Defence  Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter   the persons who will be responsible for negotiating recoupment of the cost to the State of deploying members of the Defence Forces on an EU mission through participation in the Austro-German battlegroup; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14016/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  In 2010 the Government approved Ireland’s participation in the Austro-German Battlegroup, which will be on stand-by for the second six months of 2012. The other members of the Austro-German Battlegroup are Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Each country contributing to this or any other Battlegroup pays its own costs. However, there are certain common costs, for EU missions including Battlegroups, which are financed by the ATHENA mechanism. ATHENA is the mechanism which administers the financing of common costs of EU operations having military or defence implications, on behalf of EU Member States contributing to the financing of EU military operations. These costs can include transport, infrastructure, and medical services, as well as the Nation Borne Costs, which include lodging, fuel, and similar costs linked to the national contingents.

During the Polish Presidency, a detailed review of the ATHENA Mechanism was completed which resulted in a new Council Decision on ATHENA on 19 December 2011. A Council Declaration on common funding for Battlegroup deployment was also agreed which allows for the transport costs of the deployment of a Battlegroup to be paid for through the ATHENA mechanism. This will enable Member States contributing to an EU Battlegroup that is deployed to receive recoupment of these costs instead of funding the costs themselves.

[540]In the event that Ireland participates in the deployment of a Battlegroup, officials in the Department of Defence will be responsible for recouping the costs from ATHENA.

However, to date no battlegroup has deployed so the recouping of costs does not arise.

Question No. 17 answered with Question No. 9.

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