Defence Force peacekeepers to be honoured next month

President to address event in Dublin Castle as part of 60th anniversary of peacekeeping

Minister Paul Kehoe said: “Our continued participation in peacekeeping operations has made friends for Ireland around the world while also promoting a positive image of Ireland.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister Paul Kehoe said: “Our continued participation in peacekeeping operations has made friends for Ireland around the world while also promoting a positive image of Ireland.” Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A special commemorative event is to be held next month to honour members of the Defence Forces who have served as peacekeepers.

President Michael D Higgins will speak at the event in Dublin Castle as part of a wider set of events to mark the 60th anniversary of the Defence Forces taking part in global peacekeeping operations.

Mr Higgins will make the keynote address at the event on June 24th, and the day will also mark the 40th anniversary of the Defence Forces’ involvement in peacekeeping exercises in Lebanon.

The Irish presence there is part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe said the Dublin Castle event will also provide the opportunity to honour members of the Defence Forces who have died overseas.

Different missions

Currently, Ireland is contributing 637 personnel to 10 different missions throughout the world. Some 86 men and women from the Defence Forces and one member of An Garda Síochána have died overseas.

“Our continued participation in peacekeeping operations has made friends for Ireland around the world while also promoting a positive image of Ireland,” Mr Kehoe said. “It is fitting that we express our gratitude and mark this year’s important milestones in Ireland’s UN peacekeeping participation by the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána and civilian personnel.”

“When deployed overseas, the Defence Forces represent the very best of this country, they serve with pride and distinction, continuing to enhance an impressive reputation that has been earned over 60 years of continual contributions to international peacekeeping.

“I want to thank those individuals and recognise their families for it is not just those who serve overseas that make sacrifices, their deployment also impacts on their partners, children, families and friends.”