Thursday 29 September 2016

Over 400 Irish soldiers will spend St Patrick's day overseas

Cathal McMahon

Published 16/03/2016 | 17:42

Spare a thought for the 415 Irish soldiers who will spend St Patrick’s Day overseas.

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On Thursday the troops will be deployed to 15 countries on 14 different peace support missions across the globe.

From Mali to Kosovo, Lebanon to The Democratic Republic of Congo, Irish Troops will celebrate our National Day with a mix of military and cultural traditions.

On Wednesday the 135 Irish Soldiers of the 50th Infantry Group, currently based in Camp Ziouani in the Golan Heights received their hard earned United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) Medal.

The awards were presented by the Defence Forces’ Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, The Irish Ambassador to Israel, Her Excellency Alison Kelly, UNDOF Force Commander, Major General Jai Shenkor Menon and Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Anthony Hanlon

Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM said: "It's a privilege to present medals to the men and women of the 50th Infantry Group UNDOF as we approach St Patrick's Day.

“Their work in the cause of peace reflects the best traditions of Óglaigh na hÉireann which is currently contributing to peace and security on some 14 missions around the world. In that regard I wish to acknowledge the service of our 415 personnel currently deployed abroad." 

Irish troops were first deployed to the Golan Heights on the border with Syria in September 2013.

As part of UNDOF the Irish defence forces maintain an area of separation which is over 75 kilometres long and varies in width between approximately 10 kilometres in the centre to 200 metres in the extreme south.

The terrain is mountainous and is dominated in the north by Mount Hermon, which is the location of the highest permanently manned United Nations position at an altitude of 2,814 metres.

The 50th Infantry Group are the fifth Irish contingent to constitute the Force Reserve Company of an overall UNDOF Mission strength of 789 troops.

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