Ireland may send up to 400 troops to join a UN peacekeeping force in the strife-torn west African state of Liberia, Government sources said.

A defence ministry spokesman told AFP the 'matter is under active consideration'.

Ireland has a commitment to provide up to 850 troops for service abroad on peacekeeping duties.

Last week, a force of 260 soldiers travelled to Kosovo to serve with the NATO-led peacekeeping force there. They replaced an 80-strong transport unit that had been serving there.

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved sending 15,000 peacekeepers to enforce a ceasefire between government forces and two rebel groups.

Rebels and the government reached a peace deal last month after the departure into exile of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, bringing an end to 14 years of nearly continuous war.