Minister for Defence, Mr Simon Coveney T.D., accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) of the Defence Forces, Major General Anthony McKenna, reviewed the 121st Infantry Battalion, UNIFIL today at 2pm in Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa Barracks, Galway.

Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Damien Murphy, the 121st Infantry Battalion have been in training for the past two months and are scheduled to deploy to Lebanon in November with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The UNIFIL mission continues to represent Ireland’s largest overseas deployment.

The 121st Infantry Battalion will deploy to the UNIFIL area of operations with 342 personnel (9 Maltese and 333 Irish). Drawn primarily from Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa Barracks, Galway, the 121st Infantry Battalion will replace the 120th Infantry Battalion from Dundalk who deployed to Lebanon last May. There are 101 soldiers within the 121st Infantry Battalion deploying on their first overseas peacekeeping misison. There are also eighteen female personnel deploying.

The ceremonial occasion consisted of a parade, a blessing of the 121st Infantry Battalion unit flag, Ministerial Inspection and address in Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa Barracks, Galway.

Pic 1: 121st Infantry Battalion on parade in Dún Ui Mhaoilíosa, Galway

Pic 2: Minister for Defence, Mr Simon Coveney TD reviews the men and women of 121st Infantry Battalion

Pic 3: Members of the 121st Infantry Battalion salute Minister for Defence, Mr Simon Coveney TD

Pic 4: Members of the 121st Infantry Group Marching into position in Dún Ui Mhaoilíosa, Galway

Bio for Lt Col Damien Murphy

Lt Col Damien Murphy is the Officer commanding the 121st Infantry Battalion. He joined the Defence Forces in 1993 as a Cadet and was commissioned in 1995 as a member of the 70th Cadet Class. Lt Col Murphy has held various appointments in units thoughout the Army, including the 12th Infantry Bn, 4 Field Artillery Regt, 15 Infantry Bn (RDF), CIS Group, DFTC and An Chéad Chathlán Coisithe where he has served in a number of command and staff appointments, most recently as the Officer Commanding. He has also served in DFHQ in Operations and Planning. 

Lt Col Murphy has extensive overseas service and to date has completed 6 tours of duty, 3 to Lebanon, 1 to East Timor, 1 to Kosovo and 1 to the Democratic Republic of Congo. His most recent tour of duty was a twelve month deployment to UNIFIL HQ as the Deputy Chief Liasion Officer in 2020. 

Lt Col Murphy is from Galway and lives in Oranmore with his wife Noreen, son Conor and daughter Maeve.