Irish and British troops team up for first time in Mali training mission
IRISH and British troops have joined forces on a training mission for the first time to the war-torn west African country of Mali.
Eight members of the Defence Forces, including a lieutenant colonel, are part of a joint UK/Irish team that travelled to Mali on the same plane.
They form part of an EU mission to provide military training and advice to the Malian armed forces.
Major Simon Holden, from 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment, who is commanding officer of the infantry training team, praised the Irish forces for their work.
"The Irish Defence Forces are well versed in training and mentoring roles and it will be a privilege to command them," he said.
"We have conducted several weeks of pre-deployment training together at Ternhill barracks to prepare for the tour. It is a historic occasion."
The team will work alongside French, Czech and Danish forces as part of the EU mission to bring stability to the region.
The training mission, under the command of French Brigadier General Francois Lecointre, is expected to continue for about 15 months and will involve around 500 staff from 22 EU member states.