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'Shooting is one of the most relaxing things you can do' - When Niamh Horan met the Army's elite Ranger Wing

It's all about mental strength and showing vulnerability in Ireland's elite special forces unit, writes Niamh Horan

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IN YOUR SIGHTS: A member of the Special Operations Force in training. Pic: Mark Condren

IN YOUR SIGHTS: A member of the Special Operations Force in training. Pic: Mark Condren

Members of the Army Rangers Wing during the 1916 Easter Commemoration Parade in Dublin

Members of the Army Rangers Wing during the 1916 Easter Commemoration Parade in Dublin

Army Rangers in training

Army Rangers in training

The Ranger Wing on a training mission at sea.

The Ranger Wing on a training mission at sea.

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IN YOUR SIGHTS: A member of the Special Operations Force in training. Pic: Mark Condren

Inside the Irish military training camp on the Curragh plains, a handful of men have gathered. They have survived a gruelling 10-month course - with a failure rate of 94pc - to become part of Ireland's Special Operations Forces. The unit is Tier One, on a par with the SAS, and covers the most extreme challenges, from free-falling out of planes at 25,000ft to sensory deprivation.

Now, as members prepare to deploy to Mali - one of the most dangerous missions in the world - they give an insight into the mindset they use to meet those demands. The following is extracted from a series of interviews with members of the unit in order to protect personal identities.

Failure is not an option

"In 1519, Hernan Cortes led 600 Spanish soldiers to conquer the Aztec empire. Upon arrival, Cortes turned to his troops with a single order: 'Burn the boats!' When there's no exit strategy, you have no choice but to succeed.


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