Peacekeeping troops ready for Lebanon mission
AN advance party of Irish peacekeeping troops is expected to be deployed in south Lebanon next month, writes Tom Brady.
New Justice and Defence Minister Alan Shatter said yesterday he expected Dail approval for involvement in the United Nations mission there to be granted.
Deployment has already met with the backing of the UN and the Government but needs the approval of the Dail. Mr Shatter, who was at a commissioning ceremony for 31 cadets from the Defence Forces at the Curragh, Co Kildare, yesterday, said Ireland had an extraordinary role in peacekeeping operations and it was a tradition that should be continued.
Asked if his support of Israel over the years was at odds with the deployment of the troops in Lebanon, Mr Shatter said he had spoken in support of a peace process and resolution of the enormous difficulties that were ongoing between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Yesterday's cadet class also included three members of the Armed Forces of Malta.
The remainder of the Irish contingent is due to arrive in south Lebanon in early June.