11th October 2012 - Irish Troops on Mission Readiness Exercise .

332 Defence Forces troops from the 107th IRISHFINN Battalion are today (12th October 2012) undergoing the final phases of an intensive training exercise in preparation for their forthcoming deployment to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The 107th IRISHFINN Battalion will deploy to Lebanon in November, taking over duties from the 106th IRISHFINN Battalion who have been serving with UNIFIL since May.

The Mission Readiness Exercise puts commanders and soldiers through a demanding series of scenarios based on the current situation in Lebanon and potential threats that may be encountered in the mission area. In the last number of days the troops have faced a series of scenarios involving simulated explosive strikes, air mobile helicopter drills, anti ambush tactics using a variety of advanced weapons systems, detailed planning and traditional peacekeeping methods.

Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) Major General Ralph James visited the exercise today and stated

"I have been very impressed by the standard of training, professionalism and leadership that I have witnessed in today's robust and realistic exercise. I know that this unit will continue the long and proud tradition of Irish soldiers putting themselves in harms way for peace and security overseas."   

The 107 IRISHFINN Battalion will occupy a new post situated south of the village of At Tiri. The new post will be renamed 'Camp Shamrock' and is approx 7 Km from the Blue Line boundary between Lebanon and Israel. The new position offers superior operational and logistical capabilities and its location increases force protection and general security. It also gives greater visibility to the surrounding area and closer proximity to the Blue Line whilst providing greater support to our smaller UN posts 6-50, 6-52. The 106th IRISHFINN Battalion have moved to this location during the final stages of their six month tour of duty.

The 107th IRISHFINN Battalion will be commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Dignam a native of Dublin currently based in Donegal who stated

"I am looking forward to the challenge of leading this joint Irish and Finnish unit in such a potentially volatile area. We have a tough six months of duty ahead if us, including Christmas away from home, but I have full confidence in my multinational team to get the job done." 

The 177 Finnish Soldiers deployed by their country are an integral part of the IRISHFINN Battalion. Both Ireland and Finland share a common, solid reputation in peacekeeping worldwide as well trained and impartial professionals. Irish and Finnish Troops have most recently served together in joint units in Kosovo and Chad. Five Finnish Officers participated in the exercise ahead of their deployment next month.

The Battalion is equipped with substantial armour, anti armour and fire support capabilities which assist our personnel to carry out their mission across the full spectrum of peace support operations. 

The Irish Defence Forces have extensive experience of the culture, geography and the people of South Lebanon and are proud to contribute to the Peace and Security in the region. The Defence Forces have 54 continuous years experience on peacekeeping operations in some of the most hostile countries in the world, protecting some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Read more information about UNIFIL

Press Release Date: Thursday 11 October 2012

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Denis Hanly

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile : 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer