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Minister Kehoe pays tribute to Irish Peacekeepers on International Day of UN Peacekeepers

The Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D. today paid tribute to all of the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations. The Minister commented in particular on Ireland's proud tradition of participation in peacekeeping missions, both civilian and military. He stated that "since our first deployment of 50 members of the Permanent Defence Force as military observers to Lebanon in 1958, Ireland has participated with honour and distinction in UN peacekeeping operations. The dedication and commitment of our peacekeepers has greatly contributed to the excellent reputation Ireland holds as a major contributor to international peace and security across the globe."

The Minister welcomed the theme for this year's International Day of UN Peacekeepers - Honouring our Heroes. The Minister stated that "since our first deployment, Irish Defence Forces personnel have served in peace support missions all over the world in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and South America, completing over 64,000 tours of duty with UN missions. It is important that we take the opportunity to honour our heroes for their dedication, professionalism and courage.

The Minister went on to say that "currently we have 476 brave women and men of the Defence Forces serving overseas in peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world. Ireland's participation in UN and UN mandated missions illustrate the very positive and practical difference that small countries like Ireland can make in the world's trouble spots."

The Minister concluded by saying that "it is particularly important today that we remember and honour our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Since Ireland's first deployment to a UN Peacekeeping mission, 86 military personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace overseas. Our thoughts and prayers today are with those peacekeepers and their families."


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