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Minister with responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D.
meets Captain and Crew of L.. James Joyce
Announces new medal for humanitarian service by the Defence Forces

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., travelled to Cagliari, Sardinia and met with Naval Service personnel crewing L.. James Joyce under the command of her captain, Lieutenant Commander Neil Manning, who are continuing to undertake a key role in assisting the Italian authorities with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

In emphasising the value of the work being undertaken by the crew, Minister Kehoe, expressed his continuing gratitude, and that of the Irish Government, “
for the outstanding role you have played in saving the lives of men, women and children, who are fleeing desperate circumstances.

The deployment of this ship and other Irish Naval vessels, is an important element in Ireland's response to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. It highlights the Irish Government’s ongoing commitment to assist with efforts to prevent further tragedy and loss of life at sea. The rescue of over 11,500 migrants, to date, by Irish Naval Service vessels demonstrates clearly the value of Ireland’s participation in this important humanitarian response.”

During the visit Minister Kehoe also announced that he looked forward to welcoming those who have participated in Operation Pontus to Rosslare in the latter half of October to present them with a new medal known as the “Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal”. The medal will be awarded for the service of personnel deployed on humanitarian missions. Minister Kehoe said “that those who serve the State in these important humanitarian missions will receive a recognition which is deserving of the contribution which they have made.”

Minister Kehoe concluded by highlighting the voluntary nature of the mission for the personnel deployed and thanked the families and partners for the sacrifices they too are making, saying “They are often the unsung heroes of such missions.”

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