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Golan Heights

Corporal: 'We joined the army, it's part of the job description'

The first Irish troops deploy to the Golan Heights today to join the UNDOF mission.

(YouTube: Thejournalvideo)

MOST REPORTERS AT the Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines yesterday for the parade of the 43rd Infantry Group ahead of their deployment to the Golan Heights wondered if the troops were concerned because of the ongoing conflict in Syria.

The overwhelming response was, ‘No, not really’.

Corporal Claire Powell summed it up in the above interview, stating, “We joined the army, it is part of the job description.”

She explained that the members of the Defence Forces are volunteers and trained since recruitment for a number of scenarios, including ones that involve chemical weapons.

“There is an element of danger in all the places we deploy to,” she admitted, listing off the missions she has been on, which include Liberia, Kosovo and the Lebanon.

However, she also relishes in the job. Each one has a different mandate and a different culture, making it an interesting way to see the world, she adds.

Ireland is sending 12 officers and 103 soliders to participate in the UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) in the Golan Heights.

The mission, situated in an ‘area of separation’ has been in place for almost 40 years in order to keep the peace between Syria and Israel. The troops do not have any mandate to get involved in the internal struggle in Syria.

The role of the Irish soldiers will be to provide a mobile company as Force Headquarters Reserve in UNDOF to cater for reinforcement, escort and other operations in the ‘Area of Responsibility’. Those functions are similar to those provided in Liberia and Lebanon.

Additional reporting and camera by Daragh Brophy

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