Ministers to sign joint Irish-British troop training agreement

Ministers to sign joint Irish-British troop training agreement

IRISH and British government defence ministers will sign an agreement later this month which will see Irish troops training British troops in peace-keeping duties.

Although the British Army has wide experience of combat throughout the world, British troops don’t have the same level of experience in peacekeeping duties as the Irish Defence Forces, who regularly fulfil that role with the UN in the world’s troubled regions.

Part of the agreement will include the Irish Army being provided, free of charge, with equipment surplus to the requirements of the British Army.

The historic deal, which will result in closer co-operation than ever before between the two countries’ defence forces, will be signed by Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence Simon Coveney and British defence secretary Michael Fallon at a ceremony in Dublin.

The agreement is the culmination of a year of consultation between senior officers.

Irish officers have regular contact with their British counterparts and Irish troops over the last two decades have received specialist training with British officers.

Although not part of Nato, officers from the elite Army Ranger Wing (usually called the Army Rangers), the special operations force in the Irish Army, have trained with British special forces in some of the most troubled and dangerous areas of the world.