Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -1°C
Irish Defence Forces An Irish Army EOD expert during a NATO exercise.

Irish soldiers could train Ukrainian troops to make Russian minefields safe, minister says

Simon Coveney said that Ukraine had asked for demining training from Ireland.

UKRAINE HAS REQUESTED Irish troops to train its soldiers in removing Russian mines from battlefields, the Minister for Defence has revealed. 

Simon Coveney, during Defence parliamentary questions in the Dáil last night, said that an official approach had been made. 

In response to a question from Deputy Neale Richmond the Minister said that his Government wanted to do more to help the Ukrainian people but that the programme for Government did not permit them.

It is not known how the training would be delivered, whether Irish EOD experts would travel to Ukraine or if Ukrainian soldiers would come here to Ireland.

In recent months Ukrainian troops have travelled to NATO allied countries such as the US, Britain and other jurisdictions where they have been trained on the use of various weapon systems. 

The Minister referenced Ireland’s involvement in the European Peace Facility which is an initiative used to manage the European Union response to the war in Ukraine. 

Ireland has, since the Lisbon Treaty, been exempt from involvement in armed military operations by a European Union force. It is also exempt from participation in an EU mutual defence pact. 

“We want to do more but where we can do more is where Ireland has skill sets and credibility.

“There has been a specific request for training on demining. This is something in which the Irish Defence Force has specific expertise. We have been involved in demining training programmes in Afghanistan and Mali. This is something we should pursue.

“I was very involved in finalising the wording of the European Peace Facility. We got agreement on including in the programme for Government being part of the European Peace Facility on the basis of not providing lethal weapons through that funding mechanism. Of course we can provide everything else.

“The European Peace Facility was not designed to do what it is being used for in Ukraine. It is a useful vehicle to assist the Ukrainian military. We will continue to look to do more but we want to try to do it in a way that is consistent with the programme for government,” he said.

Following the Russian withdrawal from the Kyiv region in April Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said that the Russians had heavily mined the region around the capital city.

He said there was a particular problem of booby trapped homes, equipment, “even the bodies of people who were killed, there are a lot of trip wires, a lot of other dangers.”

The Ukrainians EOD specialist are busily attempting to clear the ground at present but such is the scale of the task that they need more help. 

52167948410_87255b9d97_o Irish Defence Forces An Irish EOD expert discussing a mission with foreign experts including (on the right) a Geneva Police special operations officer. Irish Defence Forces

Sources within the Defence Forces had told The Journal in March that there was a hope among the ranks that Irish troops would be asked to provide their expertise in training Ukrainian forces. 

The Irish Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit attached to the Ordnance Corps in the Curragh have a world leading reputation in dealing with Improvised Explosive devices. 

As revealed by this website last year two bomb disposal experts from the Ordnance Corps travelled to Qatar to test the preparedness of the local security forces there ahead of the recent Arab Cup, and of course the World Cup next year.

The unit has also provided training for foreign soldiers and agencies here in Ireland in the threat of a marauding terror attack similar to that of London, Paris and Mumbai. 

These attacks generally involve gangs of terrorists move across a city with explosives and firearms.

The Irish Defence Forces have developed global best practice in how to manage the response across multiple agencies and contain the threat. 

They just recently held a conference, the First NATO Homemade Explosives International Workshop in the Curragh with an exercise involving the Garda Emergency Response Unit, Army Ranger Wing and bomb disposal teams from the US, Germany, Belgium, Swiss and other states. 

In Qatar the Irish soldiers delivered a briefing to the multinational EOD teams on their expertise regarding chemical weapons and Nuclear explosives and marauding terrorists.

EOD officers said at the time the relationship between Ireland and the various countries had already been established as members of their armed services, including some from Qatar, had attended a specialist course hosted in the Curragh.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel