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

Galway City - 19 September 2016

Today, the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., reviewed the members of the 54th 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, the Minister said, “For close to 60 years now, our Defence Forces have played a vital role as peacekeepers all over the world in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Ireland has an honourable tradition of supporting the United Nations in the cause of stability and security.”

Addressing the 54th Infantry Group, the Minister said, “Soldiers from 25 counties around Ireland are represented among the 130 strong contingent here today, including 21 local personnel from County Galway. For 35 of you present, this is your first tour of duty overseas.”

The Minister congratulated Lieutenant Colonel Mary Carroll on being the first woman to have held the prestigious appointment of Officer Commanding an Irish Defence Forces contingent on an overseas mission. The Minister stated, “The Government are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities.”

The Minister went on to say “I recently attended a UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in London where one of the main issues discussed was improving peacekeeping, including increasing the involvement of women at all levels in overseas missions. One of the key messages coming from that conference is that increasing the participation of women at all levels in overseas deployments, is key to sustainable peacekeeping operations. Moreover, the engagement of, and with, women contributes effectively to peacekeeping and conflict resolution initiatives.”

In concluding the Minister said, “Finally, I want to wish each and every member of the 54th Infantry Group, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Mary Carroll, a safe and successful mission. You are travelling to the UNDOF mission with my best wishes and with those of the rest of the nation.”

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