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Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, T.D.,
Reviews Irish Troops heading for service with UNDOF

Athlone - Friday, 22nd September 2017

Today, the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., reviewed the members of the 56th Infantry Group who will leave in the coming weeks for service with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights.

Speaking during the Review, Minister Kehoe said, “UN peacekeeping continues to be one of the most flexible and effective tools available to the international community in responding to crises around the world. Ireland’s participation in UN and UN-mandated peacekeeping missions over almost 60 years is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to the pursuit of international peace and security.

Addressing the 56th Infantry Group, the Minister commented, “.. between you all, you have accumulated approximately 321 tours of duty with overseas missions. In addition to the Golan Heights, personnel have previously served in locations such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chad, the Congo, East Timor, Eritrea, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia and Somalia. No doubt this level of experience will be an invaluable asset for you all, and particularly for the 44 personnel deploying for the first time.”

The Minister went on to say “It is important to acknowledge that participation in peace support missions comes at a personal cost for individuals who must be away from families and friends for extended periods of time in unfamiliar and difficult environments. I would like to thank you for the courage, dedication and commitment to military service being shown by undertaking this mission.”

In his concluding remarks the Minister congratulated all the members of the 56th Infantry Group on their achievements to date and wished them a safe and successful mission.


Note to Editor
At the request of the United Nations, following Government and Dáil Éireann approval, a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force was deployed as the Force Mobile Reserve to UNDOF on the Golan Heights in Syria since 2013.

The Irish contingent, comprising some 130 personnel, will replace personnel of the 55th Infantry Group who will shortly complete their tour of duty. The Irish contingent is based in Camp Ziouani on the Israeli side of the area of separation. Five (5) other Defence Forces personnel are also deployed in staff appointments in Camp Ziouani and one (1) officer is based in UNDOF Headquarters in Yafour, Syria.

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