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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019
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Pride and sacrifice: Marking 60 years of Irish participation in peacekeeping missions

Ireland holds the record for the longest unbroken peacekeeping service of any nation in the world.

Source: Óglaigh na hÉireann/Irish Defence Forces/YouTube

A CEREMONY TO mark the 60th anniversary of Irish participation in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations is due to take place in Dublin today.

Members of the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochana and civilian personnel have participated in such operations around the world since 1958.

Over the last six decades Ireland has maintained the longest unbroken service on the frontline of peacekeeping missions. More than 70,000 individual tours of duty have been completed by members of the Defence Forces.

unPersonnel on a peacekeeping mission.Source: Defence Forces/Twitter

Speaking about the anniversary, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the government is “strongly committed to contributing to international peace and security”.

Thousands of Irish men and women have served in the blue helmets over six decades, and that’s one of the reasons Ireland is making bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

“Ireland’s outstanding record on the international stage in the service of peace strengthens the values we represent as a nation, inspiring the pride of our people at home and abroad.”

Defence Forces’ Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM told TheJournal.ie: “The men and women of the Defence Forces have contributed close to 67,000 individual tours of duty to UN Peacekeeping since our first deployment in 1958.

The 645 men and women of the Defence Forces currently deployed in 13 missions in 13 countries and one sea around the world are continuing Ireland’s proud record of the longest unbroken peacekeeping service of any nation in the world.

“That record has not come without cost, 87 members have lost their lives in the cause of peace. On Sunday we will remember their sacrifice, as well as celebrate their contribution to world peace.”

The ceremony will take place in the upper courtyard of Dublin Castle at midday. A wreath will be laid in honour of all Irish personnel who died while on UN service.

Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins will attend the ceremony, which will be hosted by Defence Minister Paul Kehoe.

Members of the public are welcome to attend but have been advised to arrive by 11.30am as space is limited. The ceremony is expected to conclude at 12.45pm.

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Órla Ryan

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