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Cabinet due update on Defence Forces deployment proposals

The Cabinet is set to get an update before the Dáil summer recess on legislative proposals to change protocols around deploying members of the Defence Forces overseas.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin had previously indicated the proposals would be drawn up without delay.

However, Sinn Féin is urging the Government not to change the triple-lock protocol which requires UN Security Council, Dáil and Government backing for the deployment of more than 12 troops.

It has been a central tenet of the country’s defence policy for years.

Following consultation and debate on this matter last year, there were moves in Government to look at legislating to end the need for UN permission.

Kildare South Independent TD Cathal Berry, who is a former army ranger, said the fact that Ireland currently needs the approval of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council including two authoritarian Statesin Russia and China does not sit well with him, and it should be changed.

But any change though will be contentious, particularly for a Government seen to be out of step with public sentiment in the recent referendums, and the main opposition party is categoric in its view that the status quo must be maintained.

Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesperson Matt Carthy insisted that Government has no mandate to make any changes.

There are some indications from Government that these proposals “will not be rushed” and given that a general election has to be called inside 12 months, it is possible these mooted changes to the country’s defence policy could ultimately fall by the wayside.

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