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Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe Andrew Downes
triple lock

Change to triple-lock mechanism 'sensible' due to changed global situation, says Coveney

A motion at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis is calling for a the triple-lock to be turned into a double-lock.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Simon Coveney has said that moving away from the triple-lock system for sending Defence Force’s troops on missions abroad would be “a sensible change”.

Currently, to send more than 12 Irish troops abroad, there needs to be approval by the Government, approval by the Dáil and a UN Resolution to mandate the mission.

However, a motion at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis is calling for the triple lock to be abolished and replaced with a system that would only require Government and Dáil approval.

Speaking to reporters this morning at the Ard Fheis, Coveney said that he didn’t believe a change to the triple-lock would be radical and that there were currently limitations with the system due to Russia creating gridlock on the UN Security Council.

“I don’t regard a move away from the triple lock as a radical change,” Coveney said.

I would regard that move as a sensible change, recognising the limitations of the triple lock in terms of the ability of the Irish parliament and the Irish Government to make a decision to be part of a peacekeeping operation.

“Don’t forget that one of the elements of the triple lock is that we are required to have a UN mandate. That effectively means that a country like Russia can veto what Ireland chooses to do. Is that neutrality?”

Coveney said that the global political situation has changed in the last 12 months due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and said that Irish people would be uncomfortable with Russia having a veto on peacekeeping operations.

“I think global politics has changed in the last year and I think a lot of Irish people will be very uncomfortable with the fact that somebody making a decision in the Kremlin to frustrate a UN mandate would essentially be able to veto whether Ireland can participate in a peacekeeping mission or a post-conflict management situation or a peace intervention in any part of the world,” he added.

However, Coveney added that there were no plans to change the policy without engagement with other Government parties, alongside engagement with the opposition.

“This isn’t something we’re going to jump into, or change without a lot of consultation and discussion, not only with Government parties but also with opposition parties as well.”

He added that the triple-lock had served Ireland well previously, adding that it was a reassurance to have a UN mandate for any peacekeeping operation.

Coveney also reiterated that the Government had no plans to expel the Russian ambassador Yuri Filatov.

Tadgh McNally will be following all the latest events at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Athlone. Get all the updates by following @TadghMcN and @thejournal_ie on Twitter.

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