17 March 2017 - Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, T.D., spends St. Patrick's Day with troops on the Golan Heights.

Minister Paul Kehoe, accompanied by Deputy Chief of Staff (Ops), Major General Kieran Brennan, is spending St. Patrick's Day on the Golan Heights meeting with troops deployed to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).  

The Minister met with Major General Jai Shanker Menon, Head of Mission and Force Commander, UNDOF before meeting with troops. He was briefed on the mission and discussed the challenges in implementing the mission mandate. Minister Kehoe advised the Head of Mission that the Irish Government remains strongly committed to the maintenance of peace and security in the Golan Heights through our continued participation in UNDOF. 

When addressing the troops, the Minister commented, “I am truly delighted to be here today, particularly on our national day. On behalf of myself and the Irish Government, I want to extend my gratitude to you for your commitment to the demanding role you are undertaking here.

We have a long and well respected history of participating in overseas missions under United Nation mandates, and today overseas service is a fundamental part of life in the Defence Forces. 

The Irish Defence Forces have continually risen to the challenges presented to them, providing professional peacekeepers that have the experience and capability to operate in complex and robust operations, and in responding to changes in the international security environment."

The Minister added, “What you do here, on an ongoing basis, turns into reality our words of commitment to peacekeeping and to progress in the region. Your dedication and loyalty, to the tradition of Defence Forces peacekeeping has promoted a positive image of Ireland and of our Defence Forces within the International community at the United Nations, and with the local communities you are called on to serve. 

During the course of the Minister’s visit to the Golan Heights, the Minister presented a number of Defence Forces personnel with a medal in recognition of their service overseas on this UN mission. The Minister also presented the International Operational Service Medal to two Irish personnel who were deployed to Sierra Leone in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2015.  

In his concluding remarks the Minister wished all present a Happy St Patrick’s Day and “a continued safe and successful mission, and a safe return to your families in Ireland.”

 


Press Release Date: 17 March 2017

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