2018 - The year Ireland celebrated 60 years of unbroken UN peacekeeping service
During 2018, each month on average, over 600 Defence Forces personnel, were deployed overseas in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
In total, 1,692 Defence Forces personnel served in overseas United Nations mandated Peace Support and security operations in 14 countries and one sea.
Irish personnel served in Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Western Sahara, Congo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mali, Kosovo, Mozambique, Vienna, Belgium, New York and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Defence Forces also supported the UN in the delivery of Counter IED training in Burkina Faso over a three week period in November 2018.
Commenting on Ireland’s peacekeeping record, Minister with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe TD said:
“UN peacekeeping operations enjoy a special place in the hearts of the Irish people. Ireland has always accepted the obligations that arise from being part of the world community and over the past sixty years, tens of thousands of Irish women and men have worn the blue helmet on UN peacekeeping operations. The Defence Forces have the longest unbroken record of overseas service with the United Nations of any country in the world since first deploying to a United Nations mission in 1958.”
The Wexford TD added:
“In June this year, I had the honour of hosting an official State ceremony in Dublin Castle to mark the 60th anniversary of Irish involvement in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The event was attended by President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
The Government was also very proud to mark this significant anniversary internationally by hosting a ceremony at U.N. headquarters, New York in July, to recognise the contribution of Irish men and women across An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and civilians to international peacekeeping.
It was above all, fitting that these ceremonies afforded an opportunity to once more remember and honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Participation in peace support missions comes at a personal cost for individuals who must be away from families and friends for extended periods which is particularly difficult at this time of year. Without their commitment and dedication Ireland’s strong tradition of service overseas, under the auspices of the United Nations, would not be possible.
As Minister, I also want to recognise the members of the Defence Forces who are on deployment at home during the Christmas period.
2018 was again an extremely busy year for the Defence Forces, whose members carried out a diverse range of activities both at home and overseas.
From our soldiers, sailors and air crew - the myriad of duties were carried out in a professional, dignified and diligent manner, exemplify the high standards that are the trademark of the Defence Forces.
The greatest asset that the Defence Forces possesses is its people – the servicemen and women of Óglaigh na hÉireann."