Minister Paul Kehoe said Operation Pontus 'has made a positive and practical difference to the lives of many people'
Around 70 serving and retired members of the Defence Forces have been awarded medals to recognise their service overseas.
The International Operational Service Medal was awarded today to Irish naval personnel who took part in the mission to rescue refugees & migrants in the Mediterranean.
They included crew members who served on board the LÉ James Joyce, the LÉ Eithne, the LÉ Niamh and the LÉ Róisín during the ongoing humanitarian mission known as 'Operation Pontus'.
The Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe presented the medals at a ceremony held in Dún Laoghaire Harbour this afternoon.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Kehoe said: "To date, Irish participation in the humanitarian mission has resulted in the recovery of over 14,800 migrants from unseaworthy crafts, clearly demonstrating the value of Ireland’s involvement in this important humanitarian response.
"Operation Pontus has made a positive and practical difference to the lives of many poor and vulnerable people," he added.