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‘Child Soldiers: a threat to Irish Peace Support Operations?’
Kiernan, Michael
The Irish Defence Forces have been continuously involved in United Nations Peace Support Operations since 1958. When the 90th Infantry Battalion deployed to the United Nations Mission In Liberia (UNMIL) in November 2003, it represented the first time that Defence Forces personnel had been placed in a theatre in which the phenomenon of the Child Soldier existed. This thesis was undertaken to explore the phenomenon of the Child Soldier and to attempt to determine whether the Defence Forces adequately prepares their personnel for situations in which Child Soldiers may be encountered, both in pre-deployment training and in theatre. The research question was explored through a literary review of material available on the subject, through which the theoretical lens to be adopted of culture, globalisation and socialisation, was identified. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a former Ugandan female Child Soldier and a number of senior Irish Army officers who have served in UNMIL in a variety of prominent appointments. The findings give the reader an understanding of the phenomenon of the Child Soldier; in particular an appreciation of why children become soldiers, what they are likely to experience at a very young age and why it can often be difficult for them to reintegrate back into society, post conflict. The findings also determine whether the levels of preparedness of our troops to deal with ‘live’ situations in which Child Soldiers may be encountered are adequate. It is estimated that there are somewhere in the region of 300,000 Child Soldiers worldwide and that up to 15,000 were located in Liberia at the outset of the UNMIL mission. As a Defence Forces, we have a duty to ensure the safety and protection of our troops both at home and abroad. Understanding the Child Soldier in Liberia and thoroughly preparing to deal effectively with situations in which armed children may be encountered will ultimately enhance the safety of our troops in this theatre.
Keyword(s): History; Child Soldiers; Irish Peace Support
Publication Date:
Type: Master thesis (research)
Peer-Reviewed: No
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): Kiernan, Michael (2005) ‘Child Soldiers: a threat to Irish Peace Support Operations?’. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
File Format(s): other
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First Indexed: 2014-09-20 05:00:10 Last Updated: 2017-04-25 16:20:01