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Elite corps for peace mission role in Chad

SPECIALLY trained members of the Defence Forces' elite corps, the Army Ranger Wing, will be the first Irish peacekeeping troops on the ground in Chad.

The Rangers will be deployed in Chad next month to provide protection for army engineers tasked with building a headquarters for the Irish deployment as part of the peace mission in Chad and the Central African Republic.

It is expected that up to 350 Irish soldiers will be sent to the region.

A reconnaissance team, including Irish personnel, is being sent to Chad today. It will determine what role the Irish contingent should play in the mission and will report back to the chief of staff of the Defence Forces, Lieut Gen Dermot Earley, who will then make recommendations to Defence Minister Willie O'Dea.

Lieut Gen Earley said yesterday that it was likely the Irish would play a significant part in the mission and uppermost in his mind was the safety of any troops that might be deployed there in the coming weeks and months.

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