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Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D.,
Reviews Irish Troops heading to the Lebanon
Dún Ui Mhaoilíosa (Renmore) Galway
6 November 2014


Today, the Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., reviewed the members of the 47th Infantry Group who will leave later this month for service with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Speaking during the Review, the Minister of State said “Ireland’s participation in UNIFIL, since its establishment in 1978, is a continuation of our honourable tradition of supporting the United Nations in the cause of peace and security. Our participation in the mission has illustrated the very positive and practical difference that small countries, like Ireland, can make in the world’s trouble spots. ”

Addressing the troops directly, the Minister of State said “The excellent reputation that the Defence Forces have as peacekeepers is testament to the quality of the training you have received here at home. In preparation for your deployment to the UNIFIL mission, you have all completed a rigorous training programme which, alongside your standard training, will ensure that you are fully prepared to discharge your mission and to meet the challenges that come your way.”

The Minister went on to say “Ireland’s substantial contribution to international peace support operations depends on the ongoing commitment of Defence Forces personnel to serve overseas. Such deployments are often in difficult and dangerous circumstances, as was evident with our troops recently in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) mission in Syria.”

The Minister concluded by saying that “Overseas service has become a core activity of the Defence Forces. Ireland's record of service in UN authorised peace support operations is second to none. We have made, and continue to make, a significant contribution to such operations throughout the world.”

ENDS

Note for Editor:

Ireland has a long association with UNIFIL since its establishment in 1978. The main Defence Forces battalion was withdrawn in 2001, following 23 years of service with UNIFIL. Ireland again deployed a contingent to Lebanon in 2006, for a period of 12 months, with a Finnish Engineering company, following on from an escalation of hostilities, when the UNIFIL Force was significantly expanded under a UN mandate. An Irish Battalion returned to the Lebanon in the summer of 2011. The 47th Infantry Group replaces the 45th Infantry Group who deployed to Lebanon in May 2014.




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