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Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., welcomes
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to the Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh Camp, Co Kildare.

25th May 2015

The Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., today welcomed the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to the Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh Camp, Co Kildare, on the second day of his visit to Ireland. Following his meeting with the UN Secretary General, the Minister stated that “we have had a very useful discussion this morning. Ireland is extremely proud of its long tradition of participating in UN and UN mandated peacekeeping missions with this year marking the 60th anniversary of Ireland’s membership of the UN. Our meeting provided an opportunity to restate Ireland’s continued commitment to the pursuit of international peace and security.”

The Minister went on to say that “Today, 500 members of the Permanent Defence Force are deployed overseas with a contribution of some 360 personnel to six of the sixteen current UN missions. In addition we are currently developing a new initiative to support peacekeeper training in a number of partner African countries under the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership, following Ireland’s commitment at the Summit on “Strengthening United Nations Peace Operations” in New York last autumn”

After their meeting, the Minister for Defence accompanied the UN Secretary General to the United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI). The Minister commented that “The UN Training School is responsible for the training and education of all Irish Defence Forces personnel preparing to take part in Peace Support Operations globally. The centre draws on the exceptional range of experience gained by Irish peacekeeping soldiers on many missions world-wide. I am examining how the UN Training School, through existing programmes and through the Defence Force’s operational experience, can enhance our contribution to UN peacekeeping.”

UNTSI hosts a number of programmes which are also open to international students and to date some fifty-six countries, representing all continents, have attended courses at the centre.

Prior to his departure from the Defence Forces Training Centre, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon planted a tree to mark the 60th Anniversary of Ireland’s membership of the United Nations.

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