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Minister with Responsibility for Defence Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., Reviews Irish Troops heading to Lebanon

Today, the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., reviewed the members of the 110th Infantry Battalion who will travel shortly for service with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Speaking during the Review, the Minister said “Today is about taking pride in all the work that the Defence Forces have done, and continue to do, as peacekeepers throughout the world, often in very challenging environments. You the men and women of the 110th Infantry Battalion are the latest to continue this tradition.”

The Minister added “I had the opportunity of visiting our troops in UNIFIL on a number of occasions and most recently in March of this year. While I was there I was able to witness, at first hand, the dedication and professionalism of our military personnel and the tremendous work done overseas by the Irish Defence Forces. I conveyed to our troops our deep appreciation for the outstanding manner in which they continue to perform their duties on overseas service on behalf of the Government and the people of Ireland.”

Addressing the troops directly, Minister Kehoe said “I commend each and every one of you on your decision to take on this mission. It is important to acknowledge that Ireland could not make such a substantial contribution to international peace support operations without the ongoing commitment of Defence Forces personnel to serve overseas in often difficult and dangerous circumstances.”

Note for Editor

· Ireland has a long association with UNIFIL since its establishment in 1978. The main Defence Forces battalion was withdrawn in 2001, following 23 years of service with UNIFIL. Ireland again deployed a contingent to Lebanon in 2006, for a period of 12 months, with a Finnish Engineering company, following on from an escalation of hostilities, when the UNIFIL Force was significantly expanded under a UN mandate. An Irish Battalion returned to the Lebanon in the summer of 2011. The 110th Infantry Battalion replaces the 109th Infantry Battalion which deployed to Lebanon in November 2016 when Ireland took over command from Finland of the joint Finnish/Irish Battalion. This deployment had an additional Company of approximately 150 personnel and brought Ireland’s contribution to UNIFIL to some 370 personnel.

· The 110th Infantry Battalion comprises 336 personnel from 28 counties, 16 of whom are female and 95 who will be serving on their first overseas mission.