The Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Mr Micheál Martin T.D., accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Seán Clancy, will review the men and women of the 68th Infantry Group prior to their departure for a six-month deployment to Syria as part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). There will be a media doorstep opportunity with the Minister for Defence, Mr Micheál Martin T.D at approx. 10.10am prior to parade.
The deployment of the 68th Infantry Group will see 133 Irish troops deploy to Syria in September 2023.
The Infantry Group will be carrying out peacekeeping duties under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter. The group acts as the Force Reserve Company, the main focus of which is constituting a Quick Response Force for UNDOF, as well as supporting the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation, (UNTSO). This group operates Observation Posts along the Alpha line in order to monitor the AOS. This will involve extensive patrolling throughout the AO in addition to monitoring the AOS. In accordance with Security Council Resolution 2530, duties will also include helping to ensure humanitarian access to the civilian population in the area. The Irish Infantry Group provides UNDOF's Force Reserve Company which acts as the mission's Quick Reaction Force (QRF).
The 68th Inf Gp will complete a six-month tour before returning to Ireland next April. The group is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Clear. The lead unit is the 6th Infantry Battalion from Custume Barracks in Athlone. Ireland has been committed to the UNDOF mission since 2013. Following a government decision, Ireland will end this commitment circa April 2024. The 68th Infantry Group will be the last troop rotation to UNDOF.
The review will take place in Custume Barracks, Athlone, Co. Westmeath at 1000hrs on Friday 15th September 2023.
Outline of the Ceremony
a. 68th Inf Group on parade - 1000hrs
b. MC outlines format of ceremony - 1013hrs
c. Blessing of Unit Identification Flag - 1017hrs
d. Arrival of local dignitaries - 1025hrs
e. Arrival of Tánaiste and Minister for Defence - 1030hrs
f. National and Regimental Colours on parade - 1032hrs
g. Review by Minister - 1033hrs
h. Address by Minister - 1040hrs
i. March Past - 1050hrs
There will be excellent photographic opportunities throughout the review. Interviews with personnel and their families will take place after the parade concludes.
Should you wish to attend, please confirm the name of the journalist / photographer that will be attending before 05.00pm Thursday 14th September to firstname.lastname@example.org
Date/Time: Friday 15th September 2023, 10.00am (media should arrive by 09.45am).
Location: Custume Barracks, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Please arrive to the Main Gate of Custume Barracks to meet the POC.
Point of Contact: Comdt Conor Hurley, Defence Forces Press Office; 087 248 2130.
Note to Editor: Attached briefing note on the 68th Infantry Group UNDOF.
This will be the last troop rotation to UNDOF as there is a planned withdrawal from this mission in 2024.
Briefing-Note-68-Infantry-Group-UNDOF-Copy.docx (size 94 KB)