Role of Irish peacekeepers

 

Sir, – I would like to congratulate Maj Gen Maureen O’Brien on her senior UN position in New York (“Senior Irish general says peacekeeping becoming more dangerous”, December 6th), and fully endorse her stance that Irish peacekeepers must be better supported with enhanced capacity to meet increasingly dangerous UN peacekeeping roles overseas.

Irish peacekeepers have a wonderful and much deserved service reputation world wide.

Clearly to sustain their service they must have, as Ms O’Brien suggests, access to helicopters, reconnaissance drones, aeromedical evacuation capacity and quick reaction capability to save lives of both peacekeepers and endangered civilians.

I believe our modest Irish military capacity should be expanded and focussed on peacekeeping thereby enabling us to respond to UN and EU requests. And this needs greater investment, greater numbers and enhanced training and equipment as recommended.

A typically Quaker suggestion reached President Michael D Higgins some time ago suggesting we should be recognised as an Island of Peace.

Expanding international Irish peacekeeping capacity would meet that goal and underline the invaluable input and much needed role our troubled world requires.

Suffering children and adult civilians deserve peacekeeping security and human rights protection just as much as Irish NGOs endeavour to provide in respect of health, food and life itself. – Yours, etc,

DENIS J HALLIDAY,

UN Assistant

Secretary-General

(1994-98)

Rathmines, Dublin 6.