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No snow patrol for Clare soldiers in Chad

It’s a case of a long, long way from Clare to Chad for 12 Clare soldiers who will spend the festive period patrolling the borders of Camp Ciara, near the village of Gozbeida.
Clare troops in Chad. Back row: Michael Devine, (Kilmilhil); Eoin O’Niell, (Ennis); John Corry, (Clarecastle) and Pierce Delougrey (Cratloe). Middle row from left: Decy Curran, (Tulla); Michael Cooney, (Cree); Eamon Troy, (Kilrush); Mark Slattery, (Kilkishen); Kenny Rodgers, (Crusheen); Vincent Rodgers, (Kilrush); Alan Costello (Killaloe) and Mick Perry (Killaloe).The Clare troopers are serving with the United Nations in the 101st battalion and have been stationed in Camp Ciara since September on peacekeeping duties.
However, instead of looking forward to spending the Christmas with their families and friends, the soldiers will have to celebrate the festive period with their army colleagues because their peacekeeping mission runs until February.
The only consolation is that they won’t have to button up to the vagaries of the Irish weather. Instead, they’ll be applying copious amounts of suntan lotion because there certainly won’t be snow in Chad this Christmas.
Private Decy Curran from Tulla explains, “Conditions are very hot here, 50 degrees most days. The weather is getting hotter and it’s a safe bet we won’t have snow this Christmas.”
Despite the time of year, it will be work as normal for the battalion.
“Little will change for us during Christmas and New Year, we will still conduct our duties as normal. Even Christmas Day will be treated as no different, although an extra effort will be made to ring home to speak to family and friends,” Private Curran adds.
While the constant sunshine might be a fringe benefit, danger is never too far away.
“While on constant alert, we face different dangers everyday, whether it be on our daily patrols of neighbouring villages or long-range patrols, which could last up to four or five days in the searing  heat.
“Along with our normal patrols, we also provide security for humanitarian aid workers such as the UN World Food Programme so that they can go about their work safely,” he says.
Although they may be thousands of miles from home, Private Curran says all their thoughts will be of their families.
“On behalf of all my colleagues, I would like to wish all our families, friends and loved ones a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year . We look forward to seeing you all soon,” he adds.

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