Friday 28 September 2012 - Chief of Staff and Irish Ambassador to Lebanon Attend medal Parade.

Lieutenant General Sean McCann Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces and Ambassador Ms Isolde Moylan attended the medal parade for the Irish troops deployed to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as the guests of honour in the historic surroundings of Tibnin Castle, South Lebanon this afternon.

Under the Command of Lieutenant Colonel Brian Monahan from Dublin, 160 of the 503 troops of the Irish Finnish Battalion received their United Nations Medals from the Force Commander Major General Paoulo Serra of Italy and Lieutenant General Sean Mc Cann.

Speaking at the conclusion of the medal parade General Mc Cann stated:

“I have been hugely impressed during my visit to the 106th IRISHFINN Battalion and the entire Irish Contingent here in South Lebanon. I am particularly conscious of and want to acknowledge the personal sacrifices and the risks faced by every man and woman in this Battalion each day in the cause of peace. As Chief of Staff of Óglaigh na Éireann, I take great pride in what this joint Irish Finnish Unit has achieved since their deployment in May and I want to wish them a safe and successful conclusion to their tour of duty”.

Ambassador Moylan added:

“The contribution of the Irish Defence Forces to peace support operations worldwide remains significant with 459 personnel serving in 13 mission areas. I have seen today the practical difficulties and challenges which our Irish Troops contend with here in Lebanon and they remain a tangible and practical expression of Ireland’s Foreign Policy and our commitment to peace around the globe.”

The 106 IRISHFINN Battalion’s mission involves the monitoring of the cessation of hostilities along the International “Blue Line” between Lebanon and Israel, ensuring no armed elements other than the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are operating within the area and also joint patrolling of South Lebanon with the LAF.

Earlier in the day, General Mc Cann and Ambassador Moylan visited UNIFIL Headquarters in Naquora and a soon to be occupied new forward position 2-45 in At Tiri where the majority of the Battalion will re-deploy to in the coming weeks. They also visited UN Post 6-52 along the “Blue Line” which marks the boundary between Lebanon and Israel and saw at first hand the daily challenges of work in such a volatile location.

The 106th IRISHFINN Battalion is made up of 332 Irish and 171 Finnish Personnel. The unit deployed to Lebanon in May 2012 after an intensive three month training programme.

There are currently 459 Irish troops serving in 13 missions around the World from Syria to Lebanon, Kosovo to Afghanistan.

Press Release Date:  28 September, 2012

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