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Minister Coveney welcomes approval of Defence Forces participation in  PESCO projects

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  • Minister Coveney welcomes approval of Defence Forces participation in  PESCO projects

    Minister Coveney welcomes Dáil approval of Defence Forces' participation in new PESCO projects

    From Department of Defence

    Published on 7 July 2022

    Last updated on 7 July 2022

    Minister Coveney welcomes Dáil approval of Defence Forces’ participation in new PESCO projects

    The Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney TD, today welcomed the approval by the Dáil of his proposal for the Defence Forces to join four new Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects.

    Today’s approval by the Dáil means that Ireland will now become fully participants in five PESCO projects, while remaining as observers on a further five projects.

    Speaking after the Dáil approval was confirmed, Minister Coveney said that “participation in these PESCO projects will enhance the Defence Forces’ military capabilities for participation in UN-mandated peace support operations, enhance interoperability and, working with our EU partners, ensure that our troops are equipped with the latest and best equipment and training.”

    The four projects in which the Defence Forces’ will now be full participants relate to such issues as cyber threats, disaster relief capability, Special Operations Forces medical training and systems for mine countermeasures. Ireland is already a full participant in a project relating to maritime surveillance.

    Ireland has been an observer on each of the four projects which the Defence Forces will now join as full participants and the proposal to proceed to full participation follows a detailed evaluation of those projects and, reflecting on the experience as observers, an assessment of the added-value of becoming full participants.

    Speaking of that process of evaluation, the Minister said that “in each case, the conclusion of the analysis and reflection is that full participation would deliver significant benefits to our Defence Forces to support them in their roles and in particular their contribution to international crisis management operations peacekeeping.”

    Following today’s Dáil approval, the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence will continue to assess the value of the other PESCO projects with a view to possible observer status, during which time a further assessment can be made of the added-value of progressing to full participation.


    Note for Editors:

    Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is a process in place since 2017 in which groups of Member States can come together to develop capabilities in support of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations.

    Participation in PESCO is voluntary and, to date, 25 EU Member States have joined. Following their recent decision to reverse their CSDP opt-out, Denmark is eligible to join PESCO since 1 July.

    Observer status enables a Member State to secure information on the project, map its evolution and alignment with national capability development requirements while full participation allows the Member States to contribute to and influence the project, including ensuring that national defence capability needs can be included in the objectives of the project.

    The four PESCO projects that Ireland will join and their main aims are:

    • Cyber Threats and Incident Response Information Sharing Platform - to strengthen EU Member States’ cyber defence capabilities and response to cyber incidents by promoting cooperation in the field of cyber threat information sharing

    • Deployable Disaster Relief Capability package - to develop a tool to support the European Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) response efforts to natural and manmade disasters such as public calamities, natural disasters and pandemics, both within and outside EU territory

    • Special Operations Forces Medical Training Centre - to establish a medical training and excellence centre focused on medical support for special operations

    • Maritime (semi-) Autonomous Systems for Mine Countermeasures - aims to deliver a high-level collaboration and delivery of semi-autonomous underwater, surface and aerial technologies and capabilities for maritime mine countermeasures

    The Report of the Commission on the Defence Forces recommends that “… the opportunities offered by the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) to develop Ireland’s defence capabilities should be more fully explored and exploited than at present.” - Minister Coveney welcomes Dáil approval of Defence Forces’ participation in new PESCO projects (
    For now, everything hangs on implementation of the CoDF report.