Minister for Defence Mr Simon Coveney, T.D. welcomed past servicemen and women to the Curragh Camp to commemorate the Defence Forces commitment to our veterans last Tuesday, September 2.
On arrival at the Curragh the Minister was greeted by The Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General, Conor O’Boyle and the General Officer Commanding the Defence Forces Training Centre, Brigadier General Shay O’Giollain.
The event was also attended by former service members, of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA), the Organisation of Ex Servicemen and Women (ONE) along with the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (ARCO).
“There are many honours and responsibilities associated with service in the Defence Forces,” said the Minister. “I am happy to acknowledge the important service that former servicemen and women have contributed to Irish society in domestic operations and in hostile regions around the world. We are recognising the service of all former members of the Defence Forces across all three services, the Army, the Naval Service and the Air Corp, at home and abroad.”
Referring to the history of the Defence Forces on international deployments the Minister stated that “the 27th of July 1960 was a watershed moment when Ireland sent its first peacekeepers with the 32nd Infantry Battalion to the Congo, the first complete Irish unit sent overseas as part of a UN mandate.
For a further fifty four years the Irish Defence Forces contributed to the cause of peace in places like Lebanon, Chad, Liberia, East Timor and Syria. The Minister paid tribute to the 86 members who died on operations at home and abroad in service and “paid the ultimate price” for peace.