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, reviewed 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).
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 ceremonial occasion consisted of a parade, a blessing of the 68th Infantry Group unit flag, Ministerial Inspection and address in Custume Barracks.
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.