Irish general announced as head of UN mission in Lebanon

Major General Michael Beary will take over in mid-July

UNIFIL, Irish general, Major General Michael Beary, UN, Ban Ki-moon, Lebanon

Major General Michael Beary | Image: Defence Forces

An Irish general has been announced as the new head of mission and force commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Major General Michael Beary today.

Major General Beary succeeds Major General Luciano Portolano of Italy, who will complete his assignment in mid-July.

The Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, has welcomed the appointment.

"I have had the pleasure of working closely with Major General Beary over the past five years benefiting from the wealth of experience which he brought to his previous roles", he said.

"Major General Beary will bring extensive command and peacekeeping experience to the post and I have no doubt but that he will serve with distinction in this important position. It has been thirty years since an Irish person has held this post and I want to warmly congratulate him and his family on this great occasion", he added.

Born in 1956, Major Beary has a wide range of previous overseas experience - including three deployments in South Lebanon with UNIFIL.

He also served as Mission Commander in EUTM Somalia from 2011 to 2013, where he commanded a multinational force from 12 EU Member States who were tasked with training military forces for the Somali government.

He is currently serving as the General Officer Commanding 2 Brigade.

Ireland has participated in UNIFIL since its establishment in 1978. A Defence Forces battalion served for 23 years with the mission until it was withdrawn in 2001.

Ireland again deployed 158 personnel to Lebanon in 2006, for a period of 12 months.

Following a request from the UN in 2010, a contingent of Defence Forces has been deployed to UNIFIL since mid-2011, and it continues to represent Ireland's largest overseas deployment.