White Paper on Defence

26 August 2015

Press Release by the Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D. 26th August 2015

At an event in Dublin Castle earlier today the Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D. launched the Government’s new White Paper on Defence.

The preparation of the White Paper was informed by a wide-ranging consultation process. The Minister acknowledged the contributions that were made in developing the White Paper. He said “The Government sought the views of a wide range of stakeholders and there has been an extensive consultative process which has shaped the policy decisions contained in this White Paper. I would like to thank all of those that contributed their views.”

The White Paper sets out Ireland’s defence policy framework for the next decade. Based on a forward looking assessment of the security environment, the Government have set out the defence policy response to security challenges, including the defence contribution to international peace and security. To ensure a flexible and adaptive response from Defence, the White Paper provides for regular reviews of defence requirements.

The Minister said The White Paper on Defence reflects the important role of defence as part of the State’s security framework and whole of Government response. It provides clear direction and a pragmatic approach to defence and to ensuring that we can continue to reflect with pride on the service provided by the Defence Forces to the security of the State. The Defence Forces and Civil Defence are also an integral part of the State’s response to major emergencies and natural disasters”

 The Minister went on to say, The approaches in the White Paper reflect the wider Defence and Security Policy framework and the increasingly complex nature of security threats in the world today and the need for a full spectrum comprehensive response.  The White Paper looks not alone to promoting Ireland’s values in the world but also protecting our interests based on a rules based world order and the importance of global stability and security to our continued social and economic wellbeing.”

In highlighting the wide range of other supports provided by Defence he stated “The Defence Forces will also continue to provide a broad range of “non-security” supports to other Government departments and agencies. This approach minimises the duplication of service provision and ensures that the State gets additional value for money from defence expenditure.”

In commenting on future capability requirements the Minister said “The White Paper sets out the roles that Government have assigned to the Defence Forces and considers associated capability requirements. It sets out decisions on the replacement of major equipment platforms for the next decade and other priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. This will guide long term defence planning.”

The White Paper also explores several new initiatives for Defence. This includes an Institute for Peace Support and Leadership training with a focus on international education in the field of peacekeeping and conflict resolution. The Minister said “we have looked at international best practice to learn what might work in Ireland and I look forward to exploring this concept”. The White Paper also includes a proposal for a new employment support scheme, with the direct involvement of the Defence Forces, aimed at people in the 18-24 age group, who might otherwise struggle to break out of cycles of disadvantage. It is intended to initiate a pilot scheme in 2016.

The Minister concluded by saying that I am very pleased to have had an opportunity to shape this White Paper on Defence. It provides a policy framework, including capability priorities, which will provide the necessary flexibility to respond to a very dynamic security environment. I now look forward to commencing work on its implementation. ”

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