The Republic of Ireland and the UK have agreed an historic deal covering, among other things, the training of British military personnel in peacekeeping operations by Irish Defence Force personnel. Peacekeeping with the UN is a traditional role for the British armed forces but one that has taken on less of an importance in light of the combat operations undertaken in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ireland on the other hand has been a regular contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts deploying its small but skilled force to places such as Africa including Sierra Leone were the Ebola virus is rampant.
British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Irish Minister of Defence Simon Coveney signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Dublin Castle yesterday. The MoU will mean greater cooperation between Irish and British forces in the fields of training and military operations on behalf of the United Nations and the European Union (Ireland is not part of NATO).