Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.36 19 Dec 2019


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Members of the Defence Forces serving abroad have sent Christmas messages home for 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 UN 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.

Defence Forces Serving in UNIFIL Pte Cillian Bonnar from Boatstrand, Dunhill in Co Waterford: "This is my first Christmas away from home serving in Lebanon with Defence Forces Ireland and the United Nations. Happy Christmas to everyone at home especially to Colm, Mairead, Saoirse and Aishling"

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.

In November Ireland partnered with Poland on this mission, enhancing and developing our interoperability.

Defence Forces Defence Forces personnel in Mali. One staff officer is posted to the mission HQ in Bamako - the remainder are part of the mission training team who are deployed to the Koulikoro Training Camp approximately 100km east of the capital

The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) also contribute nine personnel.

Ireland currently has over 130 personnel deployed with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, Syria (UNDOF).

Defence Forces Lieutenant Paul Murphy from Danesfort, Co Kilkenny serving in Lebanon: "Happy Christmas to my mother Marian, Katie, Nadun, my niece and nephew Ella and Hugo and my fiancé Eadaoin. Also, happy Christmas to everyone at Danesfort GAA. See you all in the New Year!"

Brigadier General Maureen O'Brien took up the appointment of deputy force commander of UNDOF in September.

The Defence Forces commenced its first deployment to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in September.

Defence Forces Corporal Michael Byrne from Celbridge, Co Kildare serving in the Golan Heights "I want to wish all my family and friends back home a happy Christmas. And to my kids Jacob and Sofia, daddy loves and misses you I will see you soon."

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 on Operation Sophia in Rome.

Defence Forces Cpl Leanne Butler serving in UNIFIL: "I just want to wish all my family, my friends, the gym crew, my running friends, the crew back in Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny and anyone else that I know in Kilkenny, Ireland & Abroad a very Happy and Festive Christmas & New Year."

This mission's 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.

And in August 10 personnel were deployed as part of the Force HQ Staff with the EU Battlegroup (EUBG) 2020 to Stadtallendorf, Germany.

See all the messages here


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Bosnia Christmas Christmas Messages Defence Forces Germany Golan Heights Kosovo Mali Mozambique Rome Soldiers South Lebanon Syria UNIFIL United Nations

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