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Minister Coveney Meets Veterans of the Irish Defence Forces at the Curragh Camp, Co Kildare

Today, Minister for Defence Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D. welcomed past servicemen and women to the Curragh Camp to commemorate the Defence Forces commitment to our veterans. On arrival at the Curragh the Minister was greeted by The Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General, Conor O’Boyle and the General Officer Commanding the Defence Forces Training Centre, Brigadier General Shay O’Giollain.

The event was also attended by former service members, of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA), the Organisation of Ex Servicemen and Women (ONE) along with the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (ARCO).

Speaking at the event the Minister said “There are many honours and responsibilities associated with service in the Defence Forces. Today I am happy to acknowledge the important service that former servicemen and women have contributed to Irish society in domestic operations and in hostile regions around the world. Today we are recognising the service of all former members of the Defence Forces across all three services, the Army, the Naval Service and the Air Corp, at home and abroad”. Referring to the history of the Defence Forces on international deployments the Minister stated that “The 27th of July 1960 was a watershed moment when Ireland sent its first peacekeepers with the 32nd Infantry Battalion to the Congo, the first complete Irish unit sent overseas as part of a UN mandate. For a further fifty four years the Irish Defence Forces contributed to the cause of peace in places like Lebanon, Chad, Liberia, East Timor and Syria (to name but a few) and continue to do so today”. The Minister also made reference to the courage and tenacity the Defence Forces have shown throughout 54 years of peacekeeping.

Speaking directly to the former servicemen and women the Minister paid tribute to the 86 members who died on operations at home and abroad in the service of their country and paid the ultimate price in the cause of peace during that period”.

The Minister reviewed a parade involving members of the Permanent Defence Forces along with a representative body from IUNVA, ONET and ARCO. Following a short multi denominational religious service, a wreath laying ceremony to honour departed servicemen and women took place.

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