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Cabinet to hear proposal to send Army Ranger Wing to Mali

If approved this would be the first deployment of the ARW overseas in their special forces role since their deployment to Chad in 2008.

Image: Irish Defence Forces

MINISTER OF STATE Paul Kehoe will this week bring a proposal to Cabinet to deploy the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) with the UN peacekeeping force in Mali.

If approved this would be the first deployment of the ARW overseas in their special forces role since their deployment to Chad in 2008.

The UN mission MINUSMA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali) was established in April 2013 after an upsurge in violence.

Last year Al Jazeera reported that Al-Qaeda attacks in northern Mali were increasing, particularly against MINUSMA forces.

The proposal has been under consideration by the Minister of State for Defence for some time and a detailed review of the mission along with a full threat assessment by the Defence Forces has been undertaken.

General staff are satisfied that there are robust precautions in place to ensure the safety of forces deployed to the mission, while acknowledging that no mission is without dangers – and that this UN mission is particularly dangerous.

Source: Óglaigh na hÉireann/Irish Defence Forces/YouTube

If Cabinet gives the proposal the go-ahead, it will have to proceed to the Dáil for approval.

The deployment would complement Ireland’s current contributions to the EU Training Mission in Mali in support of the Malian Armed Forces and the training Ireland’s Defence Forces provide to the countries of the Sahel in countering mines and improvised explosive devices.

Contributing to security and stability in Western Africa is a key focus of the government’s Development Aid Programme.

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