Sinn Féin’s Defence Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has called on Minister Simon Coveney to schedule time in the Dáil or to call an emergency meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality to discuss the deployment of Irish troops to the Golan Heights.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“Sinn Féin was against this deployment from the beginning because we felt the lifting of the EU arms embargo on Syria robbed Irish troops of their neutrality in the Syrian conflict, which had already seen foreign peacekeepers come under fire and some even held hostage before Irish troops were deployed.
“The situation has deteriorated rapidly over the past few days and it is clear the Golan Heights has become a full conflict zone in Syria's brutal civil war. This UN Mission was not designed to operate in such a zone and we are concerned for the safety of the 130 Irish troops that are currently serving there.
“Over the weekend news broke that Irish forces helped around 35 Filipino peacekeepers escape their besieged camp and once again Irish troops have shown their skill and courage when operating on UN Peacekeeping missions; they are a credit to Ireland.
“However as the situation on the ground changes rapidly the whole viability of the UN Mission is being called in question.
“Sinn Féin continues to call for the withdrawal of Irish troops and at the very least a full review of the UN Mission and its mandate.
“I am calling on Minister Coveney to schedule time in the Dáil to discuss this issue of huge concern or an emergency meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.”