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Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D.,
Reviews Irish Troops heading to the Lebanon
Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick
5 May 2015

Today, the Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., reviewed the members of the 49th 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 said “Ireland has participated in the UNIFIL mission since its establishment in 1978. This 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, Minister Coveney said “You, the personnel of the 49th Infantry Group, are expected to maintain the outstanding reputation of the Irish Defence Forces as committed, conscientious, professional and humane peacekeepers.”

The Minister referred during his speech to the current difficult situation in the Golan Heights and stated that “Events over the last few days in the Golan Heights very clearly highlight the difficult environment in which our peacekeepers operate. I want to assure you that every precaution is being taken to protect all Irish forces deployed overseas, including our troops in UNDOF.”

The Minister concluded by saying “I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all of your families and friends, many of whom are here today, for the important but unsung role you play in Ireland’s contribution to peacekeeping missions abroad.”


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 The main Defence Forces battalion was withdrawn in 2001, following 23 years of service with UNIFIL.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 49th Infantry Group replaces the 47th Infantry Group who deployed to Lebanon in November 2014.

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