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Past Missions

Through our overseas activities with the United Nations, Partnership for Peace and various Humanitarian agencies, the Óglaigh na hÉireann has proven to be a loyal ambassador and representative of the people of Ireland.

European Missions

The break-up of the former USSR (Soviet Union) and the re-emergence of nationalism has led to the requirement for peacekeeping forces to be deployed in parts of Central and Eastern Europe. As a result Ireland has provided military personnel, not only to the United Nations, but also to the European Community (EC), now the European Union (EU), and to the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE).

United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

Past Missions Cyprus

UNFICYP - March 1964 — May 2005
The background to the Cyprus conflict is complicated and centuries old, but in simple terms it stemmed from divisions between the island's Greek and Turkish communities. In 1960 Cyprus gained its independence from Britain. The new country's first years were beset by problems, mainly Greek Cypriot dissatisfaction with the constitution, which they felt gave the Turkish community disproportionate representation. When attempts were made to amend the constitution the two communities began to prepare for conflict. Assistance was requested from the UN and this led to the establishment of UNFICYP. Ireland agreed to participate and in the early stages of the mission was contributing over a thousand troops who were responsible for the entire western portion of the island. The Irish Armoured Group, equipped with the new Panhard AML60s, acted as the Force Mobile Reserve.

The mission had three main aims: to prevent the recurrence of fighting; to help maintain law and order; and to contribute to the restoration of normal conditions. The deployment of UN troops in potential trouble-spots quickly managed to achieve the mission's first aim. A coup by the Army Colonels in Greece in 1968 led to a resurgence of support in Cyprus for union with Greece. In 1973, most of the Irish contingent was transferred to the UN Emergency Force (UNEF II) in Sinai in the wake of the Yom Kippur War. In July 1974 a coup in Cyprus led to expectations of immediate union with Greece. Before this could happen Turkish forces invaded and secured the north of the island. After hostilities ended a buffer zone was formed between the two parts of the island and it was the maintenance of this 'Green Line' that would become UNFICYP's main role.

Decades of political deadlock followed and the situation remains unresolved. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sponsored the most recent attempt at reconciliation but, while it was accepted by the Turkish community, it was rejected by the Greek community. Ireland's involvement with UNFICYP came to an end in May 2005 after 41 years of service.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the Medalunficyp ribbon
Duration:March 1964 — May 2005 
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (troops) 
Commitment: 9655 cumulative missions

International Security Assistance Force (Afghanistan)

ISAF - December 2001 to 2016
In 1989 Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan after a bloody 10-year conflict that left hundreds of thousands of Afghans dead. The communist regime they left behind fell in 1992 when mujahideen fighters took Kabul.
Rather than ending the fighting the country slipped into a vicious civil war between the various mujahideen factions.

In 1996 one group, the Taliban, comprising mainly Sunni Muslim Pashtus and foreign fighters from Pakistan, Chechnya, North Africa, and several Arab countries emerged as victors.

The Taliban introduced the strictest form of sharia (Islamic law) and allowed the establishment of international guerrilla and terrorist training camps, including Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda group.
In the wake of the September 11th attacks on New York in 2001 the US invaded Afghanistan with the support of the Northern Alliance, a mujahideen group opposed to the Taliban.

On December 5th, 2001 the Bonn Agreement was signed by leading Afghan political figures and representatives of the leading world powers. Resulting from this agreement an international force, ISAF, was established to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan. On December 20th, ISAF was mandated by UNSCR 1386.

The initial deployment was 5,300 troops from 30 countries, mainly concentrated on Kabul. Ireland's contribution is seven personnel, who operate in ISAF HQ, four being employed in the Liaison and Negotiations Branch.

One of ISAF's main aims, to assist the transitional authority in conducting free and democratic elections, was completed in 2004 with the election of President Hamid Karzai's government.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the Medal Isaf-Ribbon
DurationDecember 2001 to 2016
Operation typeNATO-PfP led Peace Support Operations
Commitment226 Cumulative Missions


December 1992 — March 1993
Irish officers served on secondment, for 2 cumulative missions, with United Nations High Commission for Refugees — Yugoslavia (UNHCR (Y)) in the former Yugoslavia, a UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) mission. Their main function was as advisers in convoy movement. Aid convoys organised by UNHCR (Y) were operating in very difficult circumstances and it was felt that they would benefit from adopting military convoy procedures, hence the need for military personnel to advise them.

United Nations Military Liaison Office in Yugoslavia United Nations Protection Force

UNPROFOR - January 1992 — January 1996
Following the ceasefire in the war between Serbia and Croatia a force of liaison officers (LOs), drawn from UNTSO and UNIKOM, was established in the former Yugoslavia to operate at the headquarters of both warring sides along the peace-line. Their function was to enhance communications between the two sides and to seek information on alleged breaches of the ceasefire. With the establishment of UNPROFOR the s undertook the task of meeting and briefing the advance recce parties. Most of the LOs operated in Croatia but there were some in Bosnia.

UNPROFORs establishment, the UNMLO group was disbanded. Most of the LOs returned to their former missions although two Irish officers remained on as part of UNPROFOR. Initially established in Croatia to ensure demilitarization of designated areas, UNPROFORs mandate was subsequently extended to cover Bosnia Herzegovina to support the delivery of humanitarian relief and to monitor 'no fly' zones and safe areas. The mandate was later extended to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for preventive monitoring in border areas.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNPROFOR Ribbon
Duration: January 1992 — January 1996
Operation type: UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:36 cumulative missions 

United Nations Military Observer Mission in Prevlaka

UNMOP - February 1996 — December 1999
The UNMOP mission was established by UNSCR 1038 to monitor the demilitarisation of the Prevlaka peninsula, a strategic area disputed by Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

UNMOP carried out its mandate by maintaining a presence in its headquarters at Cavtat and at team sites at Herceg Novi in FRY and Gruda in Croatia.

Observers carried out vehicle, foot and standing patrols, and protested violations of the demilitarised zone to the Croatian and FRY authorities.

Operation Details
Medal for the RibbonUNMOP RIBBON
Duration: February 1996 — December 1999
Operation type:   UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:   10 cumulative missions 

United Nations Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia

UNTAES - February 1996 — January 1998
The UNTAES mission was established by UNSCR 1037 to oversee the peaceful re-integration of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium into Croatia after the Balkan wars.

Its mandate included ensuring the demilitarisation of the region and providing security to personnel from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) who were carrying out exhumations at a mass grave site in Ovcara.

UNTAES also conducted and observed successful elections in the region in April 1997.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNTAES - Ribbon
DurationFebruary 1996 — January 1998
Operation type    UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)
Commitmen10 cumulative missions 

United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo

UNMIK - August 1999 - 21 Oct 2010
In June 1999, following a 78 day-long NATO campaign, the United Nations was tasked to govern Kosovo through its Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), with an unprecedented sweeping mandate to provide Kosovo with a “transitional administration while establishing and overseeing the development of provisional democratic self-governing institutions to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants in Kosovo.”

In accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, UNMIK established an international presence in Kosovo.

Over the eight years since, as Kosovo’s Provisional Institutions of Self Government (PISG) were established and gained capacity to assume more responsibilities, UNMIK has moved back from an executive role to one of monitoring and support to local institutions.

Operations Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNMIk Ribbon
DurationJuly 1999 - October 2010
Operation Type    UN Led Peacekeeping (Observer)
Committment88 Cummulative missions

Middle East Missions

From its early days the UN has been concerned with the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. Since 1948 there have been five wars directly connected with this conflict, resulting in five UN peacekeeping operations. However, war in the region has not been confined to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The outbreak of hostilities between Iran and Iraq from 1980 to 1988, and Iraq and Kuwait in 1991, led to further peacekeeping operations in this region.

United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon

UNOGIL - 28 June 1958 — 18 December 1958
The Irish Defence Forces first contribution to UN peacekeeping began with a call from the Secretary General for an Irish contingent to serve with UNOGIL. Internal divisions between the different cultural groups in Lebanon and pressures from outside powers had led to serious instability and the need for impartial observers. The Muslim opposition had taken up arms against President Camille Chamoun, a Maronite Christian who had announced his intention to alter the constitution in order to retain the Presidency.

The rebels were supported by the United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria) under the leadership of Egypt's President Nasser. The Lebanese government complained to the United Nations of the infiltration of arms and ammunition across the Syrian border. In response the UN instituted the UNOGIL mission comprising of unarmed military observers.

In the six months that Irish personnel served with this mission they were based along the Syrian border, but also patrolled areas such as Baalbek, Tyre and Sidon. Their duties consisted of monitoring border crossing points and visiting local villages to display an international presence and gain the confidence of the population. The force consisted of 600 officers from 21 countries, the Irish contingent, at 50, being the fourth largest.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNOGIL Ribbon
Duration28 June 1958 — 18 December 1958
Operation type   UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment50 cumulative missions 

Second United Nations Emergency Force

UNEF II - 30 October 1973 — 6 September 1974
On October 6th 1973 the Yom Kippur War broke out when Israeli forces were attacked on the Golan Heights by the Syrians (with Iraqi, Jordanian, Saudi and Moroccan contingents) and along the Suez Canal by the Egyptians.

After almost three weeks of heavy fighting a cease-fire was agreed on October 22nd - although General Sharon's Israeli forces continued with an offensive until October 24th. 

The following day the UN Security Council adopted a resolution authorising an emergency peacekeeping force - UNEF II.
The quickest way to get a UN force into the region was to transfer existing contingents from UNFICYP. The Irish Government acceded to a request to supply troops and 25 Infantry Group was pulled out of Cyprus, before it had barely settled in, and flown to Cairo.

The Irish contingent was augmented by 130 extra troops from Ireland, and took up duties in the Sinai Desert.  After six months, the enlarged 25 Infantry Group was replaced by 26 Infantry Group, who were only settling in when serious developments at home caused the Irish Government to withdraw all but a handful of the unit in May 1974.

Irish commitment to the mission ended completely in September of that year.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNEF - Medal
Duration30 October 1973 — 6 September 1974
Operation typeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Troops)
Commitment573 cumulative missions 

United Nations in Tehran

UNIT - 24 June 1984 — 31 July 1988
Located in Baghdad and Teheran, these UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) inspection teams were voluntarily staffed from UNTSO . Irish commitment was mainly to UNIT - T based in the Iranian capital. Irish involvement, after 9 cumulative missions, ended in July 1988, shortly after Iran had accepted UNSCR 598 which called for a ceasefire in their war with Iraq.

United Nations Work and Relief Agency

UNRWA - 1 February 1988 — 30 June 1992
The Relief Works Agency is the largest single employer of personnel in the United Nations. The Agency, established to work with Palestinian refugees, has over 19,000 people throughout the Middle East. The largest concentration of staff is in Jordan, followed by the West Bank. In Lebanon, approximately 3,500 people work with Palestinian refugees. The main functions of UNRWA are education, health, relief and social work. Two Irish officers served on secondment with UNRWA in Beirut.

United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group

UNIIMOG - 14 August 1988 — 10 March 1991

A week before the formal ceasefire which ended the almost decade-long Iran-Iraq War, UNIIMOG was activated. The mission, consisting of 350 observers, deployed along the 800km ceasefire line. In October a 37-strong Irish MP detachment joined the mission in addition to 15 officers serving as observers.

UNIIMOG had to establish agreed ceasefire lines; monitor compliance; and supervise, verify and confirm the withdrawal of all forces to the recognised international boundary.

By the time of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 1st 1990, most of UNIIMOG's mandate had been achieved. Continuing improvement in relations between Iran and Iraq, including the establishment of a 'zone of confidence' along the border, allied with the deteriorating situation in Kuwait led to the ending of the UNIIMOG mission.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNIIMOG Ribbon
Duration14 August 1988 — 10 March 1991
Operation typeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)
Commitment177 cumulative missions

United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission

UNIKOM - 18 April 1991 to March 2002
April 3rd April 1991 saw the adoption of UNSCR 687 (1991), which set out specific terms for a formal cease-fire between Iraq and Kuwait and its UN-supported Coalition allies and established a demilitarised zone (DMZ) along the border. A later Resolution (689) established UNIKOM - which began deployment on April 18th.

At the outset, in addition to 300 military observers UNIKOM had almost 700 infantry, drawn from UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force Lebanon) (Nepalese, Fijians and Ghanaians) and UNFICYP (United Nations Force in Cyprus) (Austrians and Danes).

The duties of UNIKOM were to monitor the Khar Abdullah waterway and the DMZ (approximately 200km long and 15km wide); to deter border violations; and to observe any potentially hostile action mounted from the territory of one state to the other.

The mission was carried out by establishing observation posts, conducting patrols and carrying out investigations throughout the DMZ. On March 17th 2003, prior to the military campaign against Iraq by the US-led coalition, the Secretary General suspended UNIKOM's operations and withdrew all but a small HQ, which remained in Kuwait City.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNIKOM - Ribbon
Duration18 April 1991 to March 2002
Operation typeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)
Commitment69 cumulative missions 

United Nations Special Commission

UNSCOM - UN Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission - September 21 1996 — March 2003
UNSCOM was first established by UNSCR 687 in 1991 following the first Gulf War. Its mandate was to supervise the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles with a range over 150km, and related production facilities and equipment. It also provided for the establishment of a system of ongoing monitoring and verification of Iraq's compliance with the ban on these weapons.

UNSCOM's monitors faced years of difficult obstacles in carrying out their mission due to continuous harassment, duplicity, and lack of co-operation from the Iraqi authorities.

In June 1993 Iraq's obstruction of the activities of UNSCOM led to air raids by the US and its Coalition allies.

In December 1998, UNSCOM staff was withdrawn from Iraq and in December 1999 the mission was replaced by UNMOVIC.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNSCOM Ribbon
DurationSeptember 21 1996 — March 2003
Operation typeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment5 cumulative missions 

Central American Missions

United Nations Observer Group in Central America

ONUCA - December 1989 — January 1999
Central America gained independence from Spain in 1831. A short period of unity followed but local interests caused the area to fragment into five countries; Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Over the years, numerous factions emerged which fought guerrilla wars with their own governments and supported factions in neighbouring countries. There was also considerable interference by some of the five governments in their neighbours' affairs. Further complicating the issue was outside interference, particularly by the two superpowers. This situation led to years of terrorism and political turmoil.

In the late 1980s the five governments held meetings aimed at increasing economic co-operation and ending regional disputes. These culminated in a meeting in Guatemala, resulting in the 'Esquipulas II' Agreement. The foreign ministers of the five countries asked the UN for assistance in verifying aspects of the agreement. This led to the formation of ONUCA.

The group's mission was to verify the termination of aid to irregular forces and insurrection movements, and the non-use of the territory of one state for attacks on another. In total, 260 observers were established between the headquarters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and 33 verification centres spread throughout the region. Twelve helicopters, six naval vessels and an aeroplane were also provided. Armed escorts were provided by the armies of countries in which the observers were operating. As the peace process developed, the arms of the Contra rebels and other groups were decommissioned and relations between the governments improved. The mission ended in January 1992.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalONUCA - Ribbon
Duration:3 December 1998 — 27 January 1992 
Operation type:  UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:     57 cumulative missions 

United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador

ONUSAL - January 1992 — May 1994
On the day that ONUCA was terminated, observers from that mission converged on El Salvador to staff the new ONUSAL Mission.

ONUSAL's establishment followed the signing of a peace accord between the El Salvadorian government and the Cuban-backed FMLN rebels, who had been fighting since 1979. The key aspects of the accord were a 50% reduction of the El Salvadorian Army; the legalising of FMLN as a legitimate political party and the destruction of its weaponry; and the establishment of a new police force to include a percentage of FMLN supporters.

Under ONUSAL's supervision, the terms of the Accord were mostly achieved. The reduction of the Army was completed six months ahead of time, by July 1992. The FMLN was legalised in December 1992, and complete demobilisation of its troops was achieved in January 1993. Irish commitment to this mission ended in May 1994.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalONUSAL - Ribbon
Duration:January 1992 — May 1994
Operation type:  UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:6 cumulative missions 

United Nations Mission in Haiti

UNMIH - September 1994 — March 1996
Conflict erupted in Haiti following the overthrow of the Duvalier dynasty which had ruled from 1957 to 1986. The Duvalier's brutal, exploitative regime, bolstered by a 50,000-strong private militia, the Ton-Ton Macoutes, had left Haiti's economy in ruins, making life intolerable for most of the six million residents. In the first successful democratic elections in 1990 Father Jean-Bertand Aristide, a left-wing radical priest, was elected president with 67% of the vote. Haitian Army personnel, led by Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras, staged a coup and ousted Aristide. Human rights abuses soared, boosting a steady exodus of Haitians to the nearby United States.
UNMIH was established in 1993 but due to non-cooperation from the Haitian military it could not be fully deployed.

A US negotiation team succeeded in getting Cedras to stand down and an American Joint Task Force (JTF) entered Haiti. The JTF handed over to UNMIH, which had been re-established with a new mandate by UNSCR 940. UNMIH, was tasked with assisting Haiti's democratic government by; protecting key installations; raising the professionalism of the Haitian armed forces; creating a professional police force; and organising free and fair elections. Following the successful holding of parliamentary and local elections UNMIH's mission was complete and the mission ended in June 1996.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNMIH Ribbon
Duration: September 1994 — March 1996
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:6 cumulative missions 

African Missions

United Nations Operation in Congo

ONUC - July 1960 — June 1964
July 27th 1960 marked a watershed when the first element of 32 Inf Bn, the first complete unit from the Defence Forces to serve overseas, took off from Dublin bound for the Congo. After gaining independence from Belgium the previous month the Congo descended into something approaching anarchy.

With Belgian nationals being subjected to random attacks the Belgian government sent troops to their former colony and refused to remove them until the safety of their nationals could be guaranteed. Prime Minister Patrice Lamumba emerged as de facto leader but failed to unite the country. The army mutinied and Katanga province took the opportunity to declare its independence. This led to civil war in Katanga, between the secessionists, led by Moise Tshombe, and the supporters of Lamumba, mainly Baluba tribesmen.

Lamumba successfully appealed to the UN for intervention and on July 13th Ireland was one of the countries requested to provide troops to the proposed ONUC mission. The Irish government passed the enabling legislation on July 19th and a new battalion designated 32 Inf Bn (31 Inf Bn had existed in the Defence Forces until 1946) was activated for deployment. 

Eight days later the first chalk, comprising the battalion commander, Lt Col M J Buckley, and 60 members of the unit, flew out of Dublin, to be followed shortly after by the remainder of the 635-strong battalion. 

Initially deployed in Kivu province the Irish unit was joined by 33 Inf Bn in August, bringing the Irish contingent to over 1,000 troops. Their main tasks were restoring essential services, reassuring the public, and overseeing the resumption of local trade. In November the Irish contingent were redeployed to Katanga, a much more dangerous area of operations where vicious inter-tribal warfare was taking place between the Balubas, the Conekats, and the Pygmies. War parties were rampaging through the countryside, burning villages and attacking trains. 

Shortly after moving into the area the tragic Niemba ambush took place on November 9th when nine of an 11-man Irish patrol were killed by Baluba tribesmen.
In early 1961, during the tour of duty of 35 Inf Bn and 1 Inf Gp, Katanga erupted in violence and the Irish Contingent sustained casualties in battles with the Katanga Gendarmerie.

On Friday the 15th of September 1961 Trooper Patrick Mullins., who was a member of the 35th Infantry Battalion, died as a result of hostile action in Elizabethville in the Republic of Congo. In 2011 the Defence Forces commorated the 50th Anniversary of his death.

In December 36 Inf Bn arrived in the country and within two weeks they were involved in the Battle of the Tunnel, in Elizabethville, during which three members of the unit were killed. The exploits of the Irish troops in taking the Tunnel were recognised by the 14 Distinguished Service medals awarded to ‘A’ Coy personnel.

The next few years saw the decline of the secessionists and eventually Tshombe went into exile in 1963. By 1964 the Congolese government felt secure enough to let Tshombe return to the country as part of an overall agreement. Although the country was still politically and economically unstable it was felt that the danger from a military viewpoint had passed and the UN’s military mission was wound up. In June of that year 2 Inf Gp flew home to Ireland, ending the Defence Forces’ four-year commitment.

During the ONUC mission the Defence Forces came of age and took its place on the international stage. It had been a difficult and traumatic mission (one MMG and 65 DSMs were awarded over the four years) in which the Irish troops’ performance and even-handedness in dealing with all parties had earned them a new respect within the UN. Even before the last troops had left the Congo Ireland had been requested to supply a contingent to a new UN mission in Cyprus. Little did anyone imagine at the time that the Congo had been the beginning of over 50 years of unbroken service on UN missions for the Irish Defence Forces.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalONUC - Ribbon
Duration28 July 1960 — 30 June 1964
Operation TypeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Troop deployment) 
Committment6191 cumulative missions

United Nations Transition Assistance Group

UNTAG - March 1989 — April 1990
The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) arose from the dispute between the occupying South African authorities, and the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO), which strove for the independence of Namibia. SWAPO and its military wing, the People's Liberations Army of Namibia (PLAN), were supported by neighbouring Angola, which allowed PLAN fighters and their Cuban allies to operate from its territory.

In 1978 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 435, establishing UNTAG for a period of 12 months, to ensure Namibian independence through free elections under the UN's supervision and control. This was not implemented at the time, as South Africa introduced a link between their withdrawal and the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola.

It was November 1988 before all parties (Cuba, Angola, South Africa and the United States) agreed to a phased Cuban withdrawal. UNTAG commenced in 1989.

Because of PLAN's large presence in southern Angola, UNTAG-ANGOLA (UNTAG-A) was formed to monitor the confinement of PLAN fighters to their Angolan bases. UNTAG-A's mandate was fulfilled after only 330 days. UNTAG's duties in Namibia ended a month after independence was secured.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNTAG Ribbon
Duration16 March 1989 — 7 April 1990 
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:    20

Second United Nations Angola Verification Mission

UNAVEM II - July 1991 — September 1993
On May 1st 1991 the Angolan Government and UNITA rebels signed the 'Peace Accords for Angola', aimed at ending the lengthy civil war. An important aspect of the accords was the suspension of hostilities from May 15th.

Resolution 696 was adopted by the UN Security Council at the end of May establishing UNAVEM II.

A number of joint commissions were established by the Angolan Government and UNITA to verify the implementation of the Peace Accords. Observers from UNAVEM II attended all meetings of these commissions. Their main function, however, was to observe the workings of joint Government/UNITA monitoring groups. These groups, consisting of equal numbers of monitors from both sides, were established in 50 locations where troops of the conflicting parties were to be assembled during the cease-fire.

UN Observers were also stationed at 12 other 'critical points' in the country and were tasked with regular patrolling of a number of other locations. The unarmed UNAVEM II personnel also assisted in the investigation and resolution of alleged violations of the ceasefire.

Irish participation with UNAVEM II came to an end in September 1993.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNAVEM Ribbon
Duration3rd July 1991 — 9th September 1993
Operation TypeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)
Committment18 Cummulative Missions

Second United Nations Operations in Somalia

Past Missions Irish Soldiers in Somalia

UNOSOM II - August 1993 — January 1995
In 1990 a loose association of Somali clans ousted President Siad Barre from power in the strategically placed East African country, which dominates the entrance to the Red Sea. Two of the clan leaders, Ali Mahdi and General Farah Aideed, took the main positions but soon fell out. Vicious inter-clan fighting led to the deaths of 30,000 Somalis in 1991/1992, in addition to the estimated 200,000 who died as a result of famine.

International aid agencies trying to alleviate the effects of the famine were unable to operate effectively due to the looting of ships and aid convoys, and the murder of aid workers in the country, which had descended into anarchy.

In January 1992 UNSCR 733 led to the establishment of UNOSOM. However the strength of the initial force was inadequate. After visits to Somalia by Foreign Minister David Andrews and President Mary Robinson, Ireland agreed to contribute a transport company.

However, a deteriorating situation in the country led to the UN Security Council invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter in November 1992. UNSCR 794 effectively changed the mission to one of peace enforcement. This caused 1 Tpt Coy's deployment to be delayed as new legislation was required in the Dáil for Irish troops to participate in peace enforcement missions. Also UNOSOM had been sidelined by the US-led UNITAF task force. With a strength of 37,000 UNITAF quickly stabilised the situation and handed over to UNOSOM II in May 1993. The new mission had a revised mandate, which included the requirement to disarm the Somali factions. On June 5th, 24 Pakistani UNOSOM troops were killed in fighting with Aideed's clan, and in October 18 US Rangers, operating independently of UNOSOM, were also killed, leading to the US declaring its intention to pull all its troops out by the end of March 1994.

It was into this cauldron that 1 Tpt Coy eventually flew in September 1993. Equipped with 40-plus vehicles, the Irish contingent was based in Camp Shannon in Baidoa, 177 miles from Mogadishu. The Irish contingent's main task was ferrying supplies for the brigade based in the Baidoa region. Initially this was a French brigade but they were replaced towards the end of 1993 by an Indian brigade.

The weekly 'Mog run' to Mogadishu, where all supplies arrived, was a dangerous affair. Even in the wake of an October 1993 ceasefire attacks aimed at capturing vehicles, arms or food were still a regular feature of life in Somalia. One such attack on the 'Mog run' during 2 Tpt Coy's tour of duty led to a fire fight between the convoy's Indian escort and a large group of bandits, resulting in the deaths of at least 11 of the attackers.

In September 1994, the Irish contingent withdrew from the mission, although Lt Col Dorcha Lee, UNOSOM's Senior SO Co-ordination, remained in his position until the mission came to a complete end in February 1995.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNOSOM Ribbon
DurationAugust 1993 — January 1995
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Troops)
Commitment:177 cumulative missions 

United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea

UNMEE - November 2001 to June 2003
In 1998 a border dispute erupted in conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. An agreement brokered by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1999 fell apart and fighting resumed in May 2000. Another agreement reached in July 2000 committed both countries to the cessation of hostilities and pledged both to call on the United Nations, in co-operation with the OAU, to establish a peacekeeping operation.

UNSCR 1312 outlined the UNMEE (United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea) mission with 100 military observers. Following a report by the UN Secretary General in August a new Resolution was passed which expanded the mission to 4,200 military personnel, including 200 observers.

The Defence Forces contributed a 200-strong Guard & Administration Component to the mission from November 2000 until June 2003.

The unit was responsible for providing security for UNMEE Force HQ, the Staff Officers' Camp, and the Irish base, Camp de h-Íde, as well as carrying out convoys and recce patrols.

Operational Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNMEE-Ribbon
DurationNovember 2001 to June 2003
Operation typeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Troops)
Commitment630 cumulative missions

Operation Artemis

ARTEMIS - June 2003 - September 2003
When renewed fighting broke out in the Congo in May 2003 following the departure of Ugandan troops from Ituri province, a security vacuum was created that the MONUC mission was unable to fill.

As an immediate response United Nations Security Council Resolution 1484 was passed, authorising the establishment of an interim emergency multinational force (IEMF) to stabilise the situation pending the reinforcement of the MONUC mission.

The IEMF was sub-contracted to the EU, becoming the first autonomous EU military mission to operate outside Europe. The mission, codenamed Operation 'Artemis', was established in accordance with the EU 'Framework Nation' concept, with France taking on the role of lead nation.
Beginning to deploy in June the mission reached its full strength of 1,400 troops by July 6th. Operation 'Artemis' was confined to the town of Bunia, the capital of Ituri province and succeeded in stabilising the area. The mission completed its mandate on time and handed over to MONUC's Ituri Brigade on September 1st.

The Defence Forces provided two staff officers at HQ level to Operation 'Artemis'

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalARTEMIS Ribbon
DurationJune 2003 - September 2003
Operation Type     EU led crisis management Operation    
Committment2 Cumulative missions

United Nations Mission in Côte d'Ivoire

MINUCI - 2003 - 2004
In May 2003 the MINUCI mission to Côte d'Ivoire was set up by UNSCR 1479 after the UN determined that the situation in the country constituted a threat to international peace and security in the region. The mission, which included a military component, was tasked with assisting in the implementation of an agreement between the conflicting parties and complementing the operations of the peacekeeping force in the country provided by West African states and France.

In April 2004, the UN determined that the situation in Côte d'Ivoire still posed a threat to international peace and in Resolution 1528 the MINUCI mission was replaced by a UN peacekeeping operation, UNOCI. The new force's new mandate incorporated MINUCI's but was expanded to include disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration, resettlement and repatriation, as well as protecting UN personnel.

The force has a strength of 6,640 military personnel including 200 military observers. It is among this observer group that officers from the Defence Forces continue to serve.

Operation Details
Ribbon of the MedalMINUCI-Ribbon
Duration2003 - 2004
Operation Type     UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)

United Nations Military in Liberia

Irish Troops in Liberia

UNMIL - November 2003 - 31 May 2007
Civil war in the West African country of Liberia from 1989 to 1997 claimed the lives of almost 150,000 people, mainly civilians, and led to a complete breakdown of law and order in the country. It also threatened to destabilise neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire.  Despite efforts by the UN and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to broker a peace agreement in the country outbreaks of fighting continued sporadically.  Following elections in 1997 Charles Taylor of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) was elected president. However, continued human rights abuses, the exclusion and harassment of political opponents, the failure to reform the security services, and ongoing differences between opposing groups contributed to a resumption of conflict in the country. 
The main threat to Taylor’s government came from the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) based in the north-western Lofa region.

A major offensive by LURD forces began in 2001 and in 2002 a state of emergency was declared as LURD fighters advanced to within 50km of the capital, Monrovia. By early 2003 LURD had broken through to the coast and were within 20km of Monrovia. At the same time the Movement for Democracy and Elections in Liberia (MODEL) launched an offensive in the south of the country.  By July 2003 LURD had captured two of Monrovia’s three ports and MODEL had captured the remaining port.  In August, in response to the impending humanitarian crisis in Liberia the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1497, authorising the intervention of a multinational peacekeeping force from ECOWAS, pending the establishment of a UN stabilisation force.  The intervention force, called ECOMIL, deployed into Liberia and on August 27th a comprehensive peace agreement was signed in Accra, Ghana, by all parties to the Liberian conflict.

The following month UNSCR 1509 was passed establishing UNMIL with a mandate to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace process; to protect UN staff; to support humanitarian activities; and to assist in national security reforms, including the formation of a restructured military.  On October 1st UNMIL took over peacekeeping duties, incorporating 3,500 ECOMIL troops into the new force..  Irish involvement with the 15,000-strong mission commenced in November 2003. In addition to 90 Inf Bn, consisting of a Logs/Admin Company, APC Company, and Support Company, members of the Army Ranger Wing also deployed to the mission area. The ARW was designated the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and came under the direct command of the Force Commander UNMIL. The function of the SOTG was to provide the Force Commander with capabilities for special reconnaissance, human intelligence, liaison, and hostage rescue or extraction.

Much of the ARW’s mission with the SOTG was carried out through long-range patrols, many in excess of nine days’ duration, in the more remote areas of Liberia that were either outside UNMIL control or where there were reports of activity by former combatants.  SOTG operations included insertions by land, sea and air, the latter being made by Ukrainian Mi26s, capable of transporting the unit’s specially adapted reconnaissance vehicles.

Although providing humanitarian assistance was not a direct tasking for the SOTG it became a regular feature mainly in the form of medical assistance to the local population by the unit’s MO and patrol medics.

Among many similar operations carried out during their deployment the ARW personnel received a high degree of media attention for their freeing of 37 civilians who were being held by armed elements in a 20ft container in Yekepa. This particular operation led to the arrest of 10 of the armed elements.  Meanwhile the 450-strong 90 Inf Bn, mainly drawn from 4 W Bde, took on the task of providing UNMIL’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF). At the heart of the QRF is the APC Coy, equipped with 22 Mowags. These are supported by the Logs/Admin Coy (comprising transport, CIS, Logs/Admin, and Medical platoons, MP and Ordnance sections, and a National Support Element) and Support Coy (comprising an Engineer platoon, an 81mm Mortar platoon, and a Cavalry troop, equipped with AML 20s and AML 90s).

The HQ of the Irish contingent was established in the grounds of an abandoned hotel 10km north of Monrovia and was named Camp Clara.

Shortly after the QRF was established it was augmented by a 230-strong Swedish mechanised company, equipped with CV90 infantry combat vehicles, BV309 AFVs, and Patria APCs.  The Irish/Swedish QRF provides the main mobility and firepower resources for UNMIL. They are also the only European contingents operating on the ground with the 15,000-strong mission — Ukraine provides UNMIL’s air lift capability, operating mainly Mi8 helis as troop transporters and Mi24 heli-gunships for force protection, and personnel from several other European countries serve in UNMIL HQ in Star Building in Monrovia.  The QRF’s mission mainly consists of long-range ‘recce in force’ patrols and providing rapid reaction to any emergency that may arise in any of UNMIL’s four military sectors.

The long-range patrols, usually of 3-day or 10-day duration, are generally of company size and are carried out both in vehicles and on foot. Patrolling covers the whole of the country but much of it takes place in Monrovia and along the borders with Sierra Leone and CÁ´te d’Ivoire. In remote areas patrols are often inserted by air and sometimes by sea.  In order to be able to carry out its rapid reaction task the QRF has a company on standby at all times and ready to go at 30 minutes notice.

When serious rioting erupted in Monrovia in November 2004 the QRF was deployed and played a significant role in quelling the violence.  In addition to their military tasks all of the Irish contingents serving with UNMIL have also become heavily involved in humanitarian and CIMIC (civil-military co-operation) projects. Through funding from the departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs and fund-raising efforts by personnel on the ground many projects have been undertaken. These include the construction of a major extension to a HIV/AIDS hospice in Monrovia run by the Sisters of Charity, and support for leprosy and polio centres and numerous schools.

Operation Details
Ribbon of the MedalUNMIL-Ribbon
Duration:November 2003 to May 2007 
Operation type:   UN led Peacekeeping Operation (Troops) 
Commitment: 2745 cumulative missions

United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, EUFOR Chad/CAR

Past Mission in Chad

MINURCAT - 15 March 2009 - 28 December 2010
On 21 February 2008, the Defence Forces troop contribution to the UN mandated, EU-led peacekeeping mission to Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) commenced. Initially the force was EU led (known as EUFOR Chad/CAR) the force has changed over to UN command on 15 March 2009 and is now known as MINURCAT. The Initial Entry EU Force consisted of Special Forces troops from Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland and Sweden.

Overall command of the EU mission rested with the Operational HQ in Paris, under Lieutenant General Pat Nash. He was appointed by EU Joint Action on 15 October, following Government approval on 02 October 2007. He exercised control of the eventual 3,700 strong mission on the ground through a Force HQ under French Brigadier General Jean Philippe Ganacia.

This EU mission was mandated under UN Security Council Resolution 1778 (25 September 2007), to operate in eastern Chad and work in conjunction with the civilian UN mission in the region (known as MINURCAT).

The military force is authorised to protect refugees, internally displaced persons (IDP's), humanitarian organisations and civilians in danger. This force will create a safe and secure environment whereby humanitarian aid can be delivered safely and the local population can go about their daily lives safely. MINURCAT's mission is very similar under UN Security Council Resolution 1861.

The Central African Republic and Chad rare some of the poorest countries in the world in terms of life expectancy, adult literacy, education, per capita income and overall human health.

The imposition of thousands of refugees fleeing persecution from neighbouring Darfur, ongoing internal strife and the effects of increasing desertification constitute a real crisis in the region. In addition, within Chad there have been multiple clashes in recent years between Government and rebel forces.

The Defence Forces have been authorised by Government to deploy for a 12 month period from 15 March 2009. Our EU commitment initially started with HQ staff and Initial Entry Force. On 24 April 2008, the 147 strong Advance party deployed to Chad to commence building the basic infrastructure for Camp Ciara that the Irish battalion operate from in Goz Beida in south eastern Chad.

The 97th Infantry Battalion deployed to the mission on May/June 2008 and was the first Irish Battalion to become operational in Camp Ciara and commenced patrolling within its large area of operations along the Chad/Sudan border in south eastern Chad. There was a large logistical operation to deploy the 3,700 tonnes of equipment (including over 100 vehicles) in order to allow the unit to establish and be self sufficient in its camp.

The UN mission MINURCAT assumed command on 15 March 2009 with some nations, including Ireland, remaining in Chad and donning the UN beret. They took over the mantle and challenges associated with our deployment with EUFOR Chad/CAR. In addition to the Irish in Camp Ciara there were also Finnish Reconnaissance troops working with the Irish Battalion.

The 400 Irish troops of the 99th Infantry Battalion were under direct control of the MINURCAT Force Commander and his Irish deputy Brig Gen Gerald Aherne.
The EU mission was always intended to be a bridging mission whilst the force generation took place for the UN. Following a decision by the Chadian President to withdraw support for the MINURCAT military mission, the Irish Battalion withdrew in April 2010. Irish staff officers remained in FHQ until subsequent withdrawal when the military mission was closed on 28 December 2010.

Operation Details
Ribbon of the MedalMINURCAT-Ribbon
Duration:February 2008 — Dec 2010
Operation type:UN Peace Enforcement Operation
Past Commitment:2,800 Cumulative missions

European Union Training Mission Somalia

Irish Troops with EUTM Somalia

EUTM (Somalia) - April 2010 to April 2014
On 25 January 2010, the Council agreed to set up a military mission to contribute to training of Somali security forces.

The training of Somali security forces has started in the beginning of May 2010. This mission is conducted in Uganda, which also facilitate close coordination with EU partners, including the TFG of Somalia, Uganda, the African Union, the United Nations and the United States of America.

The Defence Forces have deployed ten personnel to EUTM Somalia. Three Staff Officers are posted to the Mission HQ in Kampala, one Officer and two NCOs are CIS Support, one Officer in the Mission Support Cell in Brussels, and an Officer and two NCOs are deployed to the Bihanga Training Camp, where they work as part of a team with three members of the Maltese Armed Forces.

Since the EUTM mission was launched in April 2010, part of the mission was to improve the training facilities at the Bihanga Training Camp. The new facilities include dormitories for the trainees, a firing range, a fighting in built up area training facility, a parade ground and an airstrip.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalEUTM-Somalia-Ribbon
DurationApril 2010 to April 2014
Operation typeEuropean Union led Training Mission
Commitment10 Personnel

United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire

UNOCI - 2004 to 2016

Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Security Council, by its resolution 1528 (2004) PDF Document of 27 February 2004, established the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) as from 4 April 2004 with a mandate to facilitate the implementation by the Ivorian parties of the peace agreement signed by them in January 2003.

Following the 2010 Presidential election and the ensuing political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, UNOCI has remained on the ground to protect civilians, provide good offices, support the Ivorian Government in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants as well as on security sector reform, and monitor and promote human rights.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalONUCI-Ribbon
Duration2004 to date
Operation typeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 

United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara

MINURSO - 20 September 1991 — 27 July 2021 


The deployment of MINURSO stems from a dispute over the former Spanish Sahara, situated on the north-west African coast, between Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Atlantic Ocean.

When the Spanish left in the mid-1970s, Polisario, a popular nationalist movement, proclaimed an independent state, the Saharwi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Polisario was backed by Algeria but Mauritania and Morocco both claimed the territory on the basis of historic rights. Moroccan troops moved in and occupied the north of the territory.

The Mauritanians invaded from the south but suffered major defeats at the hands of lightning-fast Polisario columns. In 1977, the Mauritanian government was ousted in a coup, and the new administration renounced claims to any part of the disputed territory. Morocco immediately annexed the former Mauritanian zone.

By 1985, Morocco, with 100,000 troops in the region, had constructed a 1,400km long, five-metre high wall from sand, rock and rubble to protect the territory's inhabited area. Polisario columns were unable to breach the wall, and the level of Moroccan casualties fell dramatically.

By the beginning of the 1990s a ceasefire was in place. The territory's name had changed to Western Sahara, and in September 1991 MINURSO was deployed on both sides of the wall to monitor the ceasefire. MINURSO carries out its mandate through regular patrols and air reconnaissance.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalMINURSO-Ribbon
Duration20 September 1991 — 27 July 2021
Operation typeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)
Commitment180 cumulative missions

United Nations Observer Mission in Congo

MONUSCO - June 2001 to August 2022

The Democratic Republic of Congo and five regional states signed the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999. In response the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1279, which included the establishment of MONUC, to assist in the peace process.

Its mandate included monitoring the ceasefire agreement; liaising with the opposing military forces; obtaining the release of prisoners of war; and the supervision and verification of the disengagement of the warring parties.

The mission originally had 500 military observers but in early 2000 the UN Security Council authorised an expansion to 5,537 military personnel, including the 500 observers.

In two further expansions as the peace process evolved MONUC grew in strength to 16,700 troops. The mission's mandate also expanded to include protection of civilians 'under immediate threat of violence' and the collection and disposal of illegal arms.

Due to a change in the political and security situation the Defence Forces withdrew all its personnel from MONUSCO in August 2022.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalMONUSCO-Ribbon
DurationJune 2001 to August 2022
Operation typeUN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)

United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali

MINUSMA- September 2019 — September 2022

MINUSMA was established by United Nations Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political processes in that country and carry out a number of security-related tasks. The mission was asked to support the transitional authorities of Mali in the stabilisation of the country and implementation of the transitional roadmap.

In 2014 the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2164 of 25 June 2014, deciding that the mission should focus on duties such as ensuring security, stabilisation and protection of civilians; supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation; and assisting the reestablishment of state authority, the rebuilding of the security sector, and the promotion and protection of human rights in that country.

The Defence Forces have participated in this mission since September 2019 in partnership with the Bundeswehr (German Defence Forces). 14 Defence Forces personnel are deployed as part of an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance unit.

Following Government decision, the Irish Defence Forces contribution of a Field HUMINT team with the German Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force with MINUSMA, Mali concluded on 16 September 2022 with the withdrawal of 14 Irish personnel and associated equipment.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalMINUSMA-Ribbon
Duration:September 2019 — to date
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Troops)

Asian Missions

United Nations Temporary Executive Authority

UNTEA - 21 August 1962 — 4 October 1962
In 1962, Indonesian forces invaded West Irian (the western half of New Guinea) as a result of a dispute with the Netherlands over the administration of the region.

By August, Dutch and Indonesian troops faced each other throughout the area. An agreement was brokered to transfer responsibility for West Irian to Indonesia. In the meantime UNTEA was installed.

In August, two Officers from 37 Infantry Battalion, who were serving in the Congo, were sent as observers to the mission. They served with Swedish, Indian, Brazilian, Nigerian and Singhalese observers, arranging local agreements between conflicting parties and overseeing the repatriation of Indonesian troops. The area is now the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNTEA-Ribbon
Duration: 21 August 1962 — 4 October 1962
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:2 cumulative missions 

United Nations India Pakistan Observation Mission

UNIPOM - 1965 - 1966
This mission was established as an administrative adjunct to UNMOGIP when conflict occurred between India and Pakistan along the border between the two countries, but outside the area of operations of UNMOGIP.

Most observers were deployed along the 1,000-mile ceasefire line with others based in New Delhi.

The mission ended in March 1966 with the signing of a formal peace treaty.

Operation Detail
Ribbon for the MedalUNIPOM-Ribbon
Duration:23 September 1965 — 22 March 1966
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:14 cumulative missions 

United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan

UNGOMAP - 25 April 1988 — 15 March 1990
In 1979, the Soviet Union sent over 100,000 soldiers into Afghanistan to support the pro-Soviet government that had seized power two years earlier. The regime was unpopular and armed revolt gripped the country. Despite their numeric and technological might, the Soviets and the Afghan Army failed to subdue the mujahideen resistance.

The United States, many Arab countries and China gave massive support to the mujahideen. Peace talks commenced in 1982, between the US, the Soviets, Afghanistan and Pakistan (where millions of refugees had fled, and which had become the distribution centre for arms and equipment to the mujahideen).

The four parties signed the Geneva Accord, which effectively established UNGOMAP, whose mission was to monitor and confirm the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan within an agreed time-frame. Personnel were drawn from UNTSO, UNDOF and UNIFIL, and the mission was under the control of the special representative of the Secretary General. Following the Soviet withdrawal, the OSGA(P) mission took over in March 1990.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNGOMAP-Ribbon
Duration:25 April 1988 — 15 March 1990
Operation type:   UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)
Commitment:8 cumulative missions

United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia/United Nations Transtional Authority in Cambodia

UNAMIC/UNTAC - 16 November 1991 - 15 November 1993
By the 1990s Cambodia, once considered 'the jewel of South East Asia', had been ravaged by two decades of war, civil strife, regimes of terror and intense periods of famine. In October 1991, with the co-operation of the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, plus members of the Association of South East Asia Nations, the conflicting parties in the country signed the Paris Peace Agreement. Included in the agreement was the establishment of the UNTAC force for deployment in March 1992. However, when Cambodia's transitional government requested UN assistance to fill the interim four months, the Security Council passed UNSCR 791, establishing UNAMIC to assist in the process until UNTAC could be deployed.

UNTAC's role was to assist in what amounted to a total rehabilitation of the crippled state. The all-encompassing mandate included aspects relating to human rights, the organisation and conduct of free and fair elections, military arrangements, civil administration, maintenance of law and order, repatriation and resettlement of Cambodian refugees and displaced people, and the rehabilitation of essential Cambodian infrastructures. UNAMIC, with a total strength of 379 drawn from 22 countries spanning the continents, prepared the way.

The mandate of UNAMIC's military component was to facilitate communications between the military headquarters of the Cambodian parties in matters relating to the observance of the ceasefire; to establish a mine awareness group; and to establish and conduct a Mixed Military Working Group, comprising an officer of the rank of Brigadier General from each of the conflicting parties.

On March 15th Lieutenant General John Sanderson of Australia (Force Commander UNTAC) arrived in Phnom Pen, marking UNAMIC's absorption into UNTAC. The UNTAC mandate component relating to military arrangements was made difficult by the non-cooperation of the Khmer Rouge. Gradually, however, the situation began to normalise and Irish involvement ended in 1993.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNTAC-Ribbon
Duration:16 November 1991 - 15 November 1993
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer)
Commitment:38 cumulative missions

UN Mission in East Timor, Intervention Force in East Timor/UN Transitional Administration in East Timor and UN Mission of Support in East Timor

Irish Troops in East Timor

UNAMET/UNTAET - July 1999 — May 2004
Following a coup in Portugal, which put a socialist regime into place, the new government began to withdraw from remaining Portuguese colonies. One of these was East Timor, which occupied half of a 265km long island off the Indonesian archipelago, 450km northwest of Australia. However, instead of independence Indonesia, who were in control of West Timor, laid claim to East Timor.

The UN would not recognise Indonesia's claims and years of talks led to an Indonesian proposal in 1998 for limited autonomy for East Timor within Indonesia. The UN was asked to organise and conduct a referendum of the East Timorese. The UNAMET mission was established in June to monitor and implement the people's decision.

In the referendum, held in August, the East Timorese overwhelmingly rejected autonomy within Indonesia, sparking mass killing and destruction by pro-Indonesian militias.

In September 1999 the UN Security Council established INTERFET and in October a platoon of ARW personnel and support elements joined the mission.

INTERFET was soon replaced by UNTAET (which itself was later replaced by UNMISET), with the ARW still supplying the main Irish commitment of an infantry platoon operating with the New Zealand battalion. In June 2000 the ARW platoon was replaced by a platoon from 2 Infantry Battalion and this policy of providing a complete platoon from one of the Defence Forces battalions continued until the end of Ireland's contribution to the mission which ended in May 2004.

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalUNAMET-Ribbon
Duration: July 1999 — May 2004
Operation type:UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer & troops)
Commitment:318 cumulative missions

International Security Assistance Force/Resolute Support Mission

Between 2001 and 2012, the Irish Defence Forces helped lead the mission’s work to counter improvised explosive devices in Afghanisatan. Photograph: Irish Defence Forces

ISAF - December 2001 — December 2014

RSM - January 2015 — March 2016

The initial deployment was 5,300 troops from 30 countries, mainly concentrated on Kabul. Ireland's contribution was seven (7) personnel who operated in ISAF HQ, four (4) being employed in the Liaison and Negotiations Branch. ISAF transitioned into RSM in Dec 2014. In total, the Irish Defence Forces deployed (196) personnel to ISAF from December 2001 - December 2014 and (14) personnel to RSM from January 2015 - March 2016. The Irish Defence Forces withdrew from Afghanistan (RSM) in March 2016. There are currently no Irish Defence Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan. 

Operation Details
Ribbon for the MedalISAF-Ribbon

December 2001 — December 2014 (ISAF)

January 2015 - March 2016 (RSM)

Operation type:NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan, established by the United Nations in 2001
Commitment:210 cumulative missions