EESC hosted Lt. Col Louis Flynn from United Nations Training School Ireland

On February 6th, Eastern Europe Studies Centre welcomed Lieutenant Colonel Louis Flynn, a School Commandant of the United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI). The primary mission of UNTSI’s is to prepare members of the Defense Forces for the challenges they will face as they prepare to deploy on complex Peace Support Operations (PSO) throughout the globe.

Mr. Flynn divided his presentation into 2 main parts. On the first one, he overviewed the structure of Ireland’s Defense Forces and explained several roles of it – to defend the state militarily, provide aid to the civil power, support various government departments on their request, contribute to maritime security and participate in PSO worldwide. Later on, the speaker presented the history and development of Ireland’s PSO, which lasts for more than 60 years. Ireland’s PSO were involved in various parts of the world under different emergencies, including deployment in Yugoslavia during Balkan wars in 1991, East Timor in 1999 or Sierra Leone in 2015 to deal with Ebola crisis. The latter was predominantly a humanitarian mission, where hundreds of medical personnel were deployed. Currently, nearly 600 Irish military personnel are deployed on various hot spots worldwide. This includes mechanized infantry units, quick reaction forces, training teams, military observers and land and maritime staff officers.

In the second part of his speech, Mr. Flynn mainly focused on the Irish experience of preparation for peacekeeping and the challenges and opportunities the small nations are facing in the performance of it. Speaker talked about United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI) – a school of military college, which captures the best practice in peacekeeping through liaison with similar institutions worldwide. This institution has been the pivotal point of the Defense Forces effort to standardize preparedness for PSO globally. Mr. Flynn concluded his presentation by mentioning, that small states have become very solid international players, which make huge contributions towards PSO worldwide. Historically, such countries, including Ireland, transformed from net gainers to net providers of security. Many people still believe that small states can barely do anything regarding international security. Here, our speaker denied this statement, saying that now the majority of countries, which participate in PSO, are indeed the small ones, which together form a substantial bundle of world’s peacekeeping forces.

To summarize, Lieutenant Colonel Louis Flynn emphasized the importance of PSO and their long-lasting impact worldwide, sharing the Irish experience and marking the contributions the small states are actually providing towards making the world a more peaceful place to live in.