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Minister Kehoe awards the new Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal to members of the Permanent Defence Force
Friday, 20 January 2017

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., today presented the new Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal to a further 80 members of the Permanent Defence Force at a ceremony held in the Naval Base, Haulbowline, Co. Cork. Similar ceremonies were held last year in Wexford, Cork and Dublin.

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.

The medal was awarded to personnel who took part in search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean during 2015 or 2016. Personnel receiving a medal had served onboard L.. Eithne, L.. Niamh, L.. Risn, L.. James Joyce or L.. Samuel Beckett.

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 “Irish participation in the humanitarian mission, to date, has resulted in the recovery of over 15,600 migrants from unseaworthy crafts, which clearly demonstrates the value of Ireland’s involvement in this important humanitarian response.

"While on the mission, each crew member displayed professionalism and commitment of the highest level and each has made a very real and substantial difference to the lives of many migrants."

The Minister noted that “To date, there have been six Naval vessel deployments to the Mediterranean. L.. Eithne was the first Irish Naval Vessel deployed in 2015 to assist the Italian Authorities with search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean.

"Ireland has always lived up to our international humanitarian obligations, and we will continue to do our part in responding to the migration crisis. Members of the Permanent Defence Force have played a key role in that response to date."

In his concluding remarks the Minister congratulated the men and women on parade for their valuable contribution and commented that “Not alone did they take part in important rescue operations, but they brought hope to those rescued, and helped to focus the attention of Irish and international public opinion on this crisis”.


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