The triple lock governing Irish participation in overseas peacekeeping missions needs to be revisited, Micheal Martin has said.
Under legislation, the Defence Forces can only be deployed on peacekeeping operations if they are approved by the Government, the Oireachtas and the missions are approved by the UN.
The requirement for UN authorisation means Irish operations cannot proceed if wider United Nations support is vetoed by one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, such as Russia.
Mr Martin insisted the current Defence Forces deployment to assist in the evacuation from Sudan is not constrained by the triple lock, arguing it was a humanitarian mission, rather than a peacekeeping one.
“In terms of that triple lock issue, we do need to revisit that,” he told RTE Radio One.
“And that’s why I’ve initiated a major national debate in June around all of these issues.
“In particular, the triple lock, the broader Irish foreign and security policy in respect of a changing world and changing threats.”
He highlighted how rapidly the conflict in Sudan had erupted.
“We have to make sure that our legislation and our mechanisms are responsive enough to cover situations like this,” he said.
“And these are issues that will be debated, because to change that, the broader issue around participation in peacekeeping, for example, you would need to amend the Defence Act of 2006 and given the role of Russia and the Security Council, for example, I think there is merit in a very serious re-examination of that.
“And I’ve articulated that publicly myself.”