Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence, Mr Alan Shatter, T.D.,
Reviews Irish Troops heading to the Lebanon
2 May 2012
Today, Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence, Mr Alan Shatter, T.D., reviewed the members of the 106th Infantry Battalion who will leave later this month for service with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Speaking during the Review, the Minister said: “Ireland’s substantial contribution to international peace support operations depends on the ongoing commitment of Defence Forces personnel to serve overseas in often difficult and dangerous circumstances. For over half a century now, our Defence Forces have played a vital role as peacekeepers throughout the world. We have an honourable tradition of supporting the United Nations in the cause of peace and security”. Speaking directly to the members of the Battalion he said “You, the men and women of the 106th Infantry Battalion, are the latest to continue this long and proud tradition. .... Ireland’s participation through the years in UNIFIL has illustrated the very positive and practical difference that small countries like Ireland can make in the world's trouble spots”.
The Minister commended Irish troops serving overseas, when he said that they “display not alone their professional commitment in fulfilling the United Nations mandate, but also support and encourage the local people”. He encouraged the contingent to continue the excellent Defence Forces tradition of engagement with the local community at all levels, in particular, providing support to the local community through practical community and humanitarian projects, saying that he was “delighted to see that recent battalions [in UNIFIL] have continued this excellent tradition”.
The members of the 106th Infantry Battalion will be working alongside Finnish Armed Forces as part of a joint Irish/Finnish battalion. Both Ireland and Finland have a long, and honourable, tradition of active involvement in peace keeping operations. Welcoming the Finnish contribution to the mission, the Minister said, “I would like to thank the Government and Armed Forces of Finland for participating in this mission with Ireland. In the absence of partners, such as Finland, the range and nature of overseas operations which Ireland could undertake in support of International Peace and Security would be significantly curtailed.”
Noting that no mission is without its dangers, the Minister assured the troops and their families present that he would continue to ensure, that Defence Forces personnel serving on overseas missions are equipped with all the essential training and equipment they require.
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 106th Infantry Battalion replaces the 105th Infantry Battalion who deployed to Lebanon in November 2011.
|Related Press Releases|
No documents found
Department of Defence
Tel 00 353 45 492000
Fax 00 353 45 492017
* loCall 1890 251890
** Or call 0761 001 607
* Note that the rates charged for the use of 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers
** 0761 numbers are charged as a national number from landlines and mobiles and are often included in bundle deals offered by phone operators