Minister Simon Coveney, Reviews Irish Troops heading for service with UNDOF
The Minister for Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., today (15 September) reviewed the members of the 66th Infantry Group who will leave in the coming weeks for service with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights.
Speaking during the Review, Minister Coveney said, “For over a half a century now, our Defence Forces have played a vital role as peacekeepers throughout the world. We have an honourable tradition of supporting the United Nations in the cause of peace and security. You, the men and women of the 66th Infantry Group, are the latest to continue this long and proud tradition”.
Soldiers from 22 counties around Ireland are represented among the 130 strong contingent deploying to UNDOF. More than a third of the group are about to deploy on their first tour of duty overseas.
Addressing the 66th Infantry Group, the Minister said, “As peacekeepers, you play an important part in improving the lives of citizens on the ground and of vulnerable communities. In many instances, conflict can have devastating consequences, leading to increased numbers of migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons as we have seen with the conflict in Ukraine.”
The Minister went on to say “Ireland's continuing participation in UNDOF and other peacekeeping operations, promotes a positive image of Ireland and its Defence Forces. This is true also both within the international community at the United Nations, and with the local communities you are called on to serve. All of you leaving for Syria are keepers of a proud flame of service and loyalty.”
In his concluding remarks the Minister congratulated the members of the 66th Infantry Group led by Lieutenant Colonel David McNamara on their achievements to date and wished them a safe and successful mission.
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 since 2013.
The Irish contingent of the 66th Infantry Group comprising some 130 personnel will deploy to Camp Faouar on the Syrian side of the area of separation and replace personnel of the 65th Infantry Group.