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
operation.

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
duty.

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
July.



Notes to Editors:

1. For more on our involvement in Chad:
http://www.military.ie/overseas/ops/...chad/index.htm.

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


END.


Neil Nolan
Commandant
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
pressofficer@defenceforces.iol.ie