Overseas Organisation

The Defence Forces has been involved in various types of missions overseas. These missions fall under the leadership or sanction of different organisations.

UN Led Operations

United Nations Peacekeeping helps countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace. The UN is comprised of civilian, police and military personnel. In addition to maintaining peace and security, peacekeepers are increasingly charged with with assisting in political processes; reforming judicial systems; training law enforcement and police forces; disarming and reintegrating former combatants; supporting the return of internally displaced persons and refugees.

The Defence Forces made its first contribution to UN peacekeeping in 1958 when some fifty officers were assigned to the United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL) as observers along the Armistice Demarcation Line (ADL) between Lebanon and Israel.

The Defence Forces have 29 Personnel serving with the United Nations in various countries, Congo, Syria - Jordan, Lebanon, Western Sahara and UN HQ New York.

Visit the United Nations Peacekeeping Web site

European Union led Operations

The Member states have committed themselves to a Common Foreign Security Policy for the European Union. The European Security and Defence Policy aims to strengthen the EU's external ability to act through the development of civilian and military capabilities in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management. To influence policies violating international law or human rights, or policies disrespectful of the rule of law or democratic principles, the EU has designed sanctions of a diplomatic or economic nature. The EU is also a leading international actor in the fight against illicit accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

In the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, the Member States of the European Union undertook to enhance co-operation on international affairs through a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The Treaty of Amsterdam further developed the CFSP and the Treaty on European Union now reflects the Petersberg tasks.

Defence Forces personnel are serving with two EU led Operations - 5 with the EUTM in Somalia and forty personnel are serving  in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Read More on CFSP site 

NATO-PfP led Operations

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a programme of practical bilateral cooperation between individual Partner countries and NATO. Based on a commitment to the democratic principles that underpin the Alliance itself, the purpose of the Partnership for Peace is to increase stability, diminish threats to peace and build strengthened security relationships between individual Partner countries and NATO, as well as among Partner countries.

Ireland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme in December 1999 and in 2001 joined the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP). Initial Partnership Goals were agreed, chosen with a view to enhancing interoperability for NATO-PfP led peace support operations.

Currently we have a commitments to Pfop missions for 12 personnel in KFOR - Kosovo and 7 Personnel in ISAF - Afghanistan

Visit the PfP Web site

OSCE led Operations

Ireland is a signatory to the Helsinki Final Act and contributes personnel to Operation for Security and Co-operation in Europe OSCE operations.

These international commitments underscore the capacity and readiness of the Defence Forces to participate in multinational peacekeeping operations with countries with which we share a peacekeeping tradition, and ensure that Ireland is in a position to continue to make an important contribution in the field of peace support operations.

The effectiveness of the Defence Forces in relation to this strategic goal may be assessed by progress in the following areas:

Contribution to the development of UN Peacekeeping Policy and ESDP.

Visit the OSCE web site

Humanitarian Assistance

Traditionally our troops serving overseas have provided humanitarian assistance to the local populations. This includes: 

  • Provision of medical and dental care.
  • Restoration and repair of essential services.
  • Rebuilding and repair of local churches, mosques, schools, etc
  • Assistance to local enterprises.
Humanitarian Missions
1st IRSG August - December 1994 39
IRAM May - June 1999
2nd IRSG January - February 2000 21
3rd IRSG January - February 2001 15
UNJCC in Sri Lanka January - March 2005 4

The Defence Forces have also provided officers on secondment to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Middle East and recently to Goal, Concern and the ICRC in Somalia, Sudan and Angola


Saturday, 23rd June 2018 - New Video

2.00pm - New Video Released to Mark Ireland’s 60 Years of Unbroken Service in Cause of Peace[more]

8th September 2016 - Defence Forces Veterans Day

2pm - Defence Forces Veterans Day, McKee Barracks, Saturday 10th September 2016[more]