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Minister Kehoe awards new Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal to serving and retired members of the Permanent Defence Force

Saturday, 5 November 2016

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., today presented the new Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal to 68 personnel at a ceremony held in Cobh, Co. Cork.

The new Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal is designed to recognise the service of Defence Forces personnel who have been deployed on overseas missions by direction of the Government where no other mission medal has been awarded.

A medal was awarded to serving and retired members of the Permanent Defence Force who served on Operation Pontus, assisting the Italian authorities in search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean. Also receiving a medal was a member of the Permanent Defence Force deployed to Sierra Leone during 2014/2015 as part of the international response to the Ebola Crises in West Africa.

While speaking during the event, the Minister acknowledged the outstanding contribution the men and women of the Permanent Defence Force are making in missions overseas. The Minister noted that “While on the mission, the crews demonstrated professionalism and commitment at the highest level in undertaking their role and made a substantial difference to the lives of many migrants.”

The Minister stated that “there have been six Naval vessel deployments to the Mediterranean. The deployment of 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 14,700 migrants, to date, by Irish Naval Service vessels clearly demonstrates the value of Ireland’s participation in this important humanitarian response.

The Minister noted that “Here with us today we have personnel who served in the Mediterranean on board L.. Niamh, L.. Eithne, L.. Samuel Beckett and L.. James Joyce.

Minister Kehoe also stated that “The contribution of the Defence Forces to two initiatives in Sierra Leone, no doubt, assisted the international effort to fight the Ebola Virus disease in West Africa. I thank you for your professionalism and commitment for contributing to these important initiatives.”

In his concluding remarks the Minister congratulated the men and women on parade for their valuable contribution while serving on these missions and wished them well in their future careers.

A similar medal ceremony will take place on 26 November in Dn Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.


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