Sunday 17th March 2013 - 436 Irish Troops Will Celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

On St Patrick's Day 2013, 436 Irish Soldiers will find themselves deployed in 15 countries on 12 different peace support missions across the globe.

From the Congo to Kosovo, Afghanistan to Uganda, Irish Troops will complete their duties first and then celebrate our National Day with a mixture of military and national tradition whilst proudly wearing the Irish Tricolour on their left sleeve.

In a message to Irish Troops serving abroad for St Patrick's Day Chief of Staff , Lieutenant General Sean Mc Cann said: 

"As Chief of Staff, I have seen at first hand the commitment, sacrifice and professionalism of you, our men and women deployed overseas. Your work in the cause of peace, far from home, remains a tangible manifestation of our shared values of patriotism, integrity and dedication to service on our National Day. Go n'eirí­ an t-ádh libh ar Lá Fhéile Phadráig"

In Kinshasa, Congo, the members of the Irish Contingent with MONUSCO were presented with shamrock on Friday by the Force Commander Lieutenant General Chander Prakash of India. Irish Civilians working for the various sections of the United Nations in Congo also received shamrock presented by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo,Mr Rodger Meece. The Irish Contingent hosted a night of traditional music for invited guests Friday evening to mark the occasion and the Senior Irish Officer from Kilkenny , Commandant Noel Maher is expected to lead a póc fada competition.

In Kabul, Afghanistan, the seven Defence Forces members serving with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a Remembrance Ceremony and Dinner. The Shamrock will be blessed by UK and US Military Chaplains and then a minutes silence will be observed to remember all Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. This will be followed by a lament played by a piper from 1st Battalion, Scottish Guards. The Irish Contingent will then invite members of the Irish Community in Kabul and servicemen and women from ISAF with Irish heritage to be presented with shamrock. The Guest of Honour will be Major General Tom Beckett of the British Army, with roots in Borrisokane and who was educated in Dublin, he is expected to say a cúpla focail.

In Pristina, Kosovo, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated on Friday with a shamrock parade involving the 12 Defence Forces members serving with the Kosovo Force (KFOR), members of An Garda Sí­ochana and the wider Irish Community. The shamrock was presented by the Commander KFOR Major General Volker Halbauer of Germany. The parade was then followed by a traditional food and drinks reception hosted by Senior Irish Officer Colonel Daniel Murphy.

The Organisation for Secuirty and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, based in Sarajevo, celebrated St Patrick’s Day with a shamrock presentation to mission members followed by a function with special guest, the Irish Ambassador for the region, Mr Kieran Dowling. The Irish Defence Forces have a proud tradition of participation in the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina from post war conflict in 1993 until the present day.

In the Headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in Naqoura the Force Commander, Italian Major General Paolo Serra attended and addressed invited guests to the Irish House on Friday evening. The Irish House is named ‘Dún Aonghusa‘ in honour of Lieutenant Aonghus Murphy, a member of the 59th Infantry Battalion who was killed whilst on a landmine sweep in South Lebanon on 21st August 1986.

The majority of Irish Troops serving abroad this St Patrick's Day are located in UN Post 2-45, Camp Shamrock in south Lebanon. The troops in Camp Shamrock celebrated St Patrick's Day with a special mass in UNP 2-45 with a blessing of Shamrock by Fr David Tyndall, Chaplain to the 107 IRISHFINN Battalion. The Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel David Dignam accompanied by the Senior Irish Officer Colonel Philip Brennan presented shamrock to all the members of the Battalion.

The members of the 107 IRISHFINN Battalion then participated in a fun run in aid of St Vincent de Paul before sitting down to a special St Patrick's Day lunch made of traditional Irish Stew prepared by Sergeant Mulhall from Co Kildare and his team of Irish Chefs. The normal patrolling and operational duties will continue in the Battalion area. The troops from the 107 Infantry Battalion are drawn mainly from the west and north west including counties Donegal, Sligo, Roscommon, Galway, Mayo and Westmeath.

Irish Military Personnel serving overseas for St Patrick's Day will proudly wear shamrock this weekend across the globe with their minds firmly set on home.

Press Release Date:  17 March, 2013

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Denis Hanly

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