Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, T.D., Praises Irish Troops heading for service with UNIFIL
Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., today paid tribute to the members of the 111th Infantry Battalion who will leave in the coming weeks for service with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The members of the 111th Infantry Battalion were reviewed in Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick.
He stated “Ireland is a country for whom peacekeeping is part of our DNA. Ireland’s peacekeeping story began in the Lebanon in 1958 when 50 members of the Permanent Defence Force were deployed as military observers with the UN Observer Group in Lebanon. Ireland has participated in the UNIFIL mission, since its establishment in 1978, and today, UNIFIL is recognised as a force for the stability of the entire region. ”
Minister Kehoe went on to say “Members of the Battalion possess a wide variety of overseas experience. In addition to Lebanon, personnel from the unit have previously served in a number of locations including Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, East Timor, Eritrea, Kosovo and Syria. No doubt this level of experience will be an invaluable asset for the battalion, and particularly for the 103 personnel deploying for the first time.”
The Minister also said “I congratulate all the members of the 111th Infantry Battalion on their achievements to date and I know they will serve with honour and distinction on this mission. I wish each and every member of the Battalion a safe and successful mission.”
Note to 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 The main Defence Forces battalion was withdrawn in 2001, following 23 years of service with UNIFIL.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 111th Infantry Battalion replaces the 110th Infantry Battalion which deployed to Lebanon in May 2017. Ireland’s contribution to UNIFIL is approximately 375 personnel.