Row with UN over €6.4m cost of pullout
IRELAND is at loggerheads with the United Nations over a failure to pay the full cost of withdrawing our troops from strife-torn Chad four years ago.
Security officials admitted last night that an end to the financial impasse, which is costing Irish taxpayers more than €6m, is not yet in sight.
The peacekeepers had to pull out early to avoid the contingent being trapped there without a mandate by the four-month rainy season.
The then government had intended that the troops should remain in the mission for longer but a lengthy delay by the UN security council to renew the mandate because of strong opposition from the Chadian president, Idriss Deby, raised concerns about leaving expensive equipment behind.
The soldiers were ordered home by then Defence Minister Tony Killeen in March 2010 after the UN admitted they could not give a firm indication that the mission there was likely to continue.
Planning immediately got under way to ensure all the military equipment was transported out of Chad before the onset of the rainy season, which can last up to four months.
A massive logistics operation was launched and all the equipment was subsequently shipped home and arrived in Dublin by the end of July 2010.
But when the Defence Forces submitted their claim for costs in 2011, the UN refused to pay for the flights and said the equipment should all have been taken by land and sea.
The claim is still under a "full review" and as a result the taxpayer is €6.4m out of pocket.
Meanwhile, the Irish equipment was checked out and redeployed with the troops in subsequent missions with the UN in south Lebanon and on the Golan Heights in Syria.
It is not clear when the UN "review" of the claim in New York will be completed.
At the moment, the Defence Forces are contributing 410 personnel to 13 different missions throughout the world.