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First Irish Troops due home from Chad Monday 10th May 2010

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  • First Irish Troops due home from Chad Monday 10th May 2010

    The first chalk of Irish troops, consisting of 212 personnel, is due to
    arrive into Dublin Airport from Chad on Monday the 10th of May at 3.35pm.

    Speaking on the issue, the Minister for Defence, Tony Killeen T.D. extended
    his congratulations to the returning contingent and to all those involved in
    the MINURCAT mission. “This was probably the most difficult mission ever
    undertaken by the Defence Forces and the manner in which it was deployed and
    operated is testament to the effectiveness of the modernisation process
    implemented by the Defence Forces over the past number of years”, the
    Minister said. “I would like to thank all members of the Defence Forces who
    have served in Chad for their dedication, professionalism and hard work in
    contributing to a safe and secure environment for refugees and displaced
    persons. They follow a long and honourable tradition of commitment to
    international peacekeeping. It was unfortunate that we had to end our
    participation in the mission earlier than expected but that was a decision
    that had to be made. The Government remains deeply committed to
    international peacekeeping and, over the coming months, we will be looking
    at possible options for future deployments”.

    A major logistics operation has been underway since the decision was taken
    to withdraw the main body of Irish troops from the MINURCAT mission. This
    operation involves the use of road, rail and air assets to recover all
    personnel and equipment in advance of the rainy season, due to commence at
    the end of May/early June.

    The mission to Chad represented one of the most challenging logistical
    operations ever undertaken by the Irish Defence Forces. Chad is
    approximately twice the size of France, with little or no infrastructure.
    The Irish Area of Operations (Sector South) is approximately the size of
    Munster and is located in one of the most remote parts of the country. It
    includes the border with Darfur (Sudan) and Central African Republic (CAR).
    The Irish Camp in Goz Beida is almost 2000km from the nearest seaport in
    Cameroon, and 800km from the nearest international airport in N’Djamena.

    Over the course of the deployment phase, 139 vehicles and wheeled units and
    269 containers were moved to the Irish camp in Goz Beida. Cargo was moved
    9000km by sea from Dublin to Douala in Cameroon. The operation also required
    21 cargo flights, 14 road convoys and 8 rail convoys. The task was made all
    the more difficult by the fact that there are only 380km of hard-surfaced
    roads in the country, most of which are concentrated around the capital city
    of N’Djamena. A similar process is now underway for the withdrawal

    The Irish camp in Goz Beida was built on a greenfield site in the desert.
    All of the necessary life support systems were either flown in or built on
    site. Wells were drilled for water, sanitation and fuel systems were
    installed and communication and accommodation facilities were constructed.
    Fuel, food and drinking water were all carefully managed as each had to be
    either flown into the local airstrip or transported on road convoys across
    the desert.

    The logistical challenges faced in Chad cannot be overstated, and the
    success of the mission was due in large part to the expertise of our
    logistics and support personnel.

    The Defence Forces have been involved in Chad since February 08, when an
    Initial Entry Force (IEF), consisting of the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) deployed
    to Goz Beida. Since that time, six Irish Battalions and Force Headquarters
    personnel have served in Chad, comprising over 2,500 individual tours of

    The initial phase of the mission to Chad was conducted under the auspices of
    the European Union (EUFOR), which provided a military bridging operation for
    12 months. On the 15th of March 2009, EUFOR was succeeded by a UN military
    component, MINURCAT.

    The Second Chalk of Defence Forces troops, consisting of 186 personnel, is
    due to arrive back in Ireland on Thursday the 20th of May 2010.

    Defence Forces owned equipment is due to arrive in Ireland at the end of

    Notes to Editors:

    1. For more on our involvement in Chad:

    2. Defence Press Officer will be at arrivals on Monday to address
    any press queries.


    Neil Nolan
    Defence Forces Press Officer

    Preasoifig Óglaigh na hÉireann,

    Defence Forces HQ, Infirmary Road, Dublin 7

    Ceanncheathrú Óglaigh na hÉireann, Bóthar na hOtharlainne, BÁC 7.

    p: +353 1 8042687 / f: +353 1 6779018

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.