Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, T.D., Reviews Irish Troops heading for service with UNDOF Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin
Today, the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., reviewed the members of the 58th Infantry Group who will leave shortly for service with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights.
The 58th Infantry Group will be the first Irish Defence Force contingent to deploy directly with United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to Camp Faouar on the Syrian side of the area of operation since 2014. The planned move was part of a phased return by the UNDOF mission from Camp Ziouani on the Israeli side (Alpha since) of the area of separation, to Camp Faouar on the Syrian side (Bravo side) of the area of separation.
The main Irish contingent from the 57th Infantry Group, comprising a Force Reserve Company of some 130 personnel, completed their relocation to Camp Faouar on 3 September 2018.
Speaking during the Review, Minister Kehoe said, “UN peacekeeping operations enjoy a special place in the hearts of the Irish people. Ireland has always accepted the obligations that arise from being part of the world community and over the past sixty years, tens of thousands of Irish women and men have worn the blue helmet on UN peacekeeping operations."
Addressing the 58th Infantry Group, the Minister said “Soldiers from 16 counties around Ireland are represented among the 130 strong contingent here today. In addition to 20 personnel who have served in UNDOF previously, members of the Infantry Group have completed tours of duty with missions in Lebanon, Kosovo, Eritrea, Chad, Afghanistan, Liberia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone.”
The Minister went on to say “You have family members and friends here today and we should thank them for their support and encouragement. They too, have an important role to play in Ireland’s contribution to peacekeeping missions abroad.”
Note to Editor
At the request of the United Nations, following Government and Dáil Éireann approval, a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force was deployed as the Force Mobile Reserve to UNDOF on the Golan Heights in Syria since 2013.
Following significant events in August 2014 in the area of separation, the UNDOF mission relocated temporarily from a number of positions. Pending the full return of UNDOF to the area of separation, the mission has continued to maintain a credible presence in the Golan in line with its mandate.
The initial phase of an incremental return of the mission to Camp Faouar on the Syrian of the area of separation was completed in September 2016. Further deployment took place during 2017 and in to 2018 under Phase II of the UN's plan for redeployment to Camp Faouar. This involved the deployment of a Nepalese Mechanised Infantry Company and elements of the Force headquarters staff including 8 Irish Defence Forces staff officers. Phase III involved a full return of military personnel to Camp Faouar on the Syrian side of the area of separation.
The Irish contingent, comprising some 130 personnel, will deploy to the Camp Faouar on the Syrian side of the area of separation and replace personnel of the 57th Infantry Group who will shortly complete their tour of duty.