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The Minister of State for Defence, Paul Kehoe,T.D.
Reviews Irish Troops heading to the Lebanon
Curragh Camp, Co Kildare, 9th May 2014.


Today, the Minister of State for Defence, Paul Kehoe, T.D., reviewed the members of the 45th 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 “There is a long and proud tradition of Irish participation in the UNIFIL mission since its establishment in 1978. Ireland’s 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 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. Your commitment, service and loyalty to the traditions of the Defence Forces on overseas service contribute extensively to the high regard in which Ireland and indeed Irish peacekeepers are held throughout the world.” Referring to his most recent visit to the UNIFIL mission in March of this year Minister Kehoe said “I was able to witness, at first hand, the dedication and professionalism of our military personnel and the tremendous work done overseas by the Irish Defence Forces”.

The Minister went on to say “Finland assumed command of the joint Battalion in UNIFIL. This mission still continues to represent Ireland’s largest overseas deployment. ”

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 The main Defence Forces battalion was withdrawn in 2001, following 23 years of service with UNIFIL.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 45th Infantry Group replaces the 42nd Infantry Group which deployed to Lebanon in November 2013.




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