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Ó Snodaigh welcomes change of command of troops in Chad

5 March, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking in the Dáil today on a motion to transfer the command of the Irish contingent currently serving in Chad Sinn Féin Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh welcomed the fact that Ireland is once again reverting to the UN mandate. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the State's experiment with EU Battle Groups should be brought to an end.

He said, "I welcome the fact that Ireland is once again reverting to the UN mandate, the blue-hatted missions, as indicated by the deployment of over 400 soldiers. This is where we should have been; EU military missions are contrary to our supposed military neutrality. Our experimentation with EU battle groups should be brought to an end, with our defence forces committed only to UN blue-hatted peacekeeping missions. This would be an endorsement of the primacy of the UN model and would allow the UN to operate effectively if we could encourage other countries to do likewise.

"In this time of recession it makes economic sense for Ireland to revert to such missions. The mission in Chad has cost us over €60 million to date, none of which is recoupable, as it would be if it was a UN-led mission. Over 50% of costs of the new mission will be recoupable. It is a sign of the esteem in which Ireland is held when operating in UN-led missions that, of the 14 countries committing to this mission, Brigadier-General Gerald Aherne has been appointed deputy force commander and an Irish officer will take up the position of chief operations officer. I wish the new mission well and hope that this is a sign that the Minister is recommitting to UN led missions only." ENDS

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