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'You should be proud': Taoiseach visits Irish troops serving in Lebanon this Christmas

This Christmas some 580 troops will be serving overseas.

Leo Varadkar says the highlight of his trip to Lebanon was spending time with the Irish UNIFIL peacekeeping troops, and meeting local families.
Leo Varadkar says the highlight of his trip to Lebanon was spending time with the Irish UNIFIL peacekeeping troops, and meeting local families.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR spent the day meeting Irish troops serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

This Christmas some 580 troops will be serving overseas in locations such as Lebanon, Mali, various locations in the Middle East, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Western Sahara and the Congo.

Ireland has participated in the UNIFIL mission since its start in 1978 and it is the country’s largest overseas deployment.

Ireland’s contribution to UNIFIL currently stands at some 377 troops.

Curiously, while in Lebanon, the Taoiseach managed to come across a Dublin Bus stop on the side of the road.

The Taoiseach said he had travelled to the country to acknowledge the soldiers and thank them on behalf of the Irish people.

He also took part in a wreath laying ceremony in remembrance of those who have lost their lives serving.

1 Leo_90532760 Leo Varadkar in South Lebanon where he met with Irish troops and lay a wreath at Cenotaph. Source: @campaignforleo

Speaking at the battalion headquarter, the Taoiseach said he was honoured to address the troops and pay his respects to the soldiers who have given their life for peace.

“At Christmas time we feel the distance of loved ones overseas more than ever. I know it is a difficult time of year for parents separated from their sons and daughters, partners who are apart,” said the Taoiseach.

By acting with impartiality and integrity, and providing the necessary leadership in difficult and challenging environments, our Defence Forces act as ambassadors. You enhance Ireland’s international standing and influence through your daily work…
Hundreds, potentially thousands, of lives have been saved by your efforts.
This is a proud record and you should be proud.

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