Medal for troops' humanitarian missions
A new military medal is to be awarded to members of the Defence Forces who have been deployed on humanitarian missions.
It will be presented to personnel who have taken part in overseas missions with the prior approval of the Government.
Up to now, the military have been awarded medals by either the United Nations, the EU or Nato for most missions outside of the State.
But those deployed on humanitarian missions, such as the current Operation Pontus, where the Naval Service have been rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean since last year, have not been similarly recognised.
The decision to award the new medal was announced yesterday by Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, when he visited the captain and crew of LE James Joyce in Cagliari in Sardinia. The presentation of the medals will take place in Rosslare, Co Wexford, next month.
LE James Joyce is the fifth Naval vessel to have been deployed since the Irish joined the Mediterranean mission in May last year.
Sixteen bodies have been recovered so far by the 59-strong crew of LE James Joyce and a total of 1,882 migrants, including 56 children, have been rescued.