FG call for boost to Army's overseas peace missions
Fine Gael last night proposed a radical change in Ireland's foreign policy by allowing troops to take part in overseas peace missions without the approval of the United Nations.
At the moment, the involvement of the Defence Forces in peace missions is controlled by the "triple-lock" policy.
This means that approval for a mission must initially be granted by the UN Security Council and our troops' involvement must then be sanctioned by the Government and the Dail.
The Government has committed 850 troops to overseas duties, although the Defence Forces have had no major mission involvement since the withdrawal from Chad.
Last night, Fine Gael's foreign affairs spokesman Sean Barrett said Ireland's influence within the UN far transcended the reality of our status as a small nation, due mainly to our hard-earned reputation as peacekeepers and our willingness to participate in missions around the globe.
It was now time to examine whether we should continue to allow ourselves to be limited by the triple-lock mechanism in deciding to deploy troops overseas, he said.
Mr Barrett said the council represented World War Two allies and did not reflect new 21st Century realities or fair representation of its 192 member countries.
He said a comprehensive overhaul was necessary to allow the UN to react more quickly and said the current crisis in Pakistan was the latest example of the world's slow response.