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Christmas Wishes from Overseas

19th December 2019, 1.00pm

Members Of The Defence Forces Send Christmas Wishes Home To Their Families

The Defence Forces has the longest unbroken record of overseas service with the United Nations of any country in the world since first deploying to a United Nations mission in 1958.

In 2019, Defence Forces personnel served overseas on missions with the United Nations, NATO PfP (Partnership for Peace), EU and OSCE Peace Support and Security Operations across 14 missions in 13 countries. There are currently 595 Defence Forces personnel serving overseas.

The largest Defence Forces deployment is in South Lebanon with UNIFIL, where over 330 Irish personnel are deployed to maintain a safe and secure environment. In November 2019, Ireland partnered with Poland on this mission, enhancing and developing our interoperability with Partner Nations. The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) also contribute nine personnel to IRISHPOLBATT.

Ireland currently has over 130 personnel deployed with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, Syria (UNDOF). Our ongoing Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) upgrade programme saw nine new APCs deployed to UNDOF in November 2019, enhancing force protection and mobility for our troops in theatre.

Brigadier General Maureen O’Brien took up the appointment of Deputy Force Commander, UNDOF in September 2019.

The Defence Forces commenced its first deployment to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in September 2019. The DF contribution to this mission includes staff officers in Force HQ in Bamako and Army Ranger Wing (ARW) personnel with the German Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force. This deployment will continue for a two year period. Smaller numbers of Irish soldiers also serve with European Union Training Mission (EUTM) Mali, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Ireland currently has Naval Service and Air Corps personnel working in the Operational HQ of the EU Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR-MED) on Operation Sophia in Rome. The mission’s strategic objective is to disrupt organised criminal networks involved in illicit activities, including smuggling of migrants, human trafficking and terrorism.

During 2019, the Defence Forces deployed one ordnance officer, on three occasions, as a member of the Joint Technical Group on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (JTGDDR) to Mozambique.

In August 2019, ten personnel deployed as part of the Force HQ Staff with the EU Battlegroup (EUBG) 2020 to Stadtallendorf, Germany.

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Press Release Date: 19th December 2019

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. James O'Hara

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile: 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer