Chad Mission Most Expensive In History

Each Irish serviceman in Chad is costing the Irish taxpayer €200,000 according to figures released on Wednesday.

The total price tag of €77 million is the most expensive military operation in the nation's history, €20 million of which was spent entirely on transport and supplies.

The Department of Defence explained that the costs of peace support missions is increasing because Ireland is now seen as a "wealthy country" within the international community and is expected to pay for the operation itself, instead of the usual funding from the UN.

The tough conditions in the central African region are also contributing to the bill as the cost of equipment and vehicle maintenance grows exponentially.

The Army already has 229 troops in a camp on the Chad-Darfur border, including 50 members of the elite Army Ranger wing. The numbers will increase to 430 in total this year.

According to an army briefing paper, there are currently 8,460 personnel in the Army, 1,055 in the Naval Service and 838 in the Air Corps,

A Military spokesman said soldiers in the eastern Chadian Camp Ciara have almost completed the Irish base, which is "a secure base, similar to a small village, with a water supply, fuel farm, generator power, a kitchen, gym, living accommodation for close to 500 people and a maintenance workshop is nearly in place".

The decision to deploy troops to Chad was made in February, led by the troop of 50 members of the Army Ranger Wing.

The mission is to secure the area occupied by 400,000 refugees that have fled fighting in Darfur.

See: Over 160 Irish Troops Land In Chad


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