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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: -1°C
Irish Defence Forces via Flickr/Creative Commons Irish personnel in the Golan Heights
# Christmas Greetings
Defence Forces in Golan Heights send messages back home
Don’t forget about our troops abroad this Christmas.

THERE ARE CURRENTLY 119 Irish Defence Forces personnel serving in a United Nations mission in the Golan Heights in Syria.

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, the men and women will continue to supervise the area of separation that has been policed by the UNDOF mission since the 1970s.

Since deploying in September this year, the contingent has been particularly busy and has dealt with a number of potentially-dangerous scenarios.

It will be a white Christmas on the Golan and those that remain wanted to send their best wishes back to loved ones in Ireland.

Here is a selection of their messages:

Defence Forces in Golan Heights send messages back home
1 / 31
  • 43 Infantry Group UNDOF

    Sergeant Colm Moore (Carlow), BQMS Pat Maguire (Meath) and CQMS Tony Fitzgerald (Dublin) send good wishes to their families and friends at home and to colleagues serving on missions overseas.
  • Comdt TC O'Brien and Lt Lisa McMahon

    "Good wishes to family, colleagues and friends at home in Ireland and on other UN missions!"
  • Company Sergeant Fred Darling and Sergeant Gary Carroll

    CS Darling from County Kildare sends his good wishes to his wife Bunty, his daughter Wendy and sons Derek and Evan and two grandsons Fred the Fourth and James.
  • Cpl Alan O'Brien, Tpr Paul Mansfield, Tpr Brian Buckley

    Cpl O'Brien: "Merry Christmas to all my family and friends in Cork and specially to Emma and the bump! See you all in the New Year." Tpr Mansfield: " Happy Christmas to my wife Rosie and family and friends back home in Waterford." And Tpr Buckley "wishes a Happy Christmas to his partner Asa, daughters Amina and Sofia and all my family and friends at home. See you in 2014!
  • Cpl Brian Buckley

  • Cpl Brian Kelly

    "Happy Christmas to Sandra and Jessica Simpson and to my family and friends."
  • Cpl Darren Galvin

    "Merry Christmas to all my family and friends in Dublin. Looking forward to seeing you all soon."
  • Cpl Eddy van Barneveld and Pte Keith Arnold

  • Cpl Keith O'Donoghue

  • Cpl Pat Ryan, Cpl Donal Elliott and Sgmn Declan McGibney

  • Fr Robert McCabe

    "I'd like to send my Christmas good wishes to my parents Brian & Angela in Kinnegad and to my family and friends in different parts of the world especially in Australia, France, Italy, UK and the US. I'd also like to send my good wishes to the parishioners and school children in Stamullen, Julianstown and Gormanston. Many of the locals here ask for prayers for their communities in Syria and for families and friends who have moved to Lebanon and Jordan. Think of them please when you hear a mention of Caesar Augustus, Quririnius the governor of Syria and of Mary and Joseph over the Christmas. Thanks to my bishop Michael Smith, the priests and seminarians of the diocese of Meath and fellow military chaplains who carry peacekeepers in their daily prayers. I will remember you all in my prayers and masses during the Twelve Days of Christmas especially on 01 January 2014 - World Day of Prayer for Peace. Beannachtaí na Nollag ó Ardáin Golan!"
  • Lt Col Brendan Delaney

    "Officer Commanding 43 Infantry Group UNDOF Lieutenant Colonel Brendan Delaney has the following message for the troops and their families of 43 Inf Gp - I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and admiration for the support and encouragement that you have given to us every day since our deployment began. The professionalism, loyalty and dedication shown by your family members has been exemplary. Their performances are a source of great pride to me and to the Defence Forces and they have been excellent ambassadors for Ireland. On behalf of the Officers, NCOs and Soldiers of the 43rd Infantry Group, deployed with the United Nations Disengagement Force, I wish all our families, relatives and friends a Happy, Safe and Peaceful Christmas."
  • Private Philip Owens

  • Pte Conor McGahon

  • Pte David Ross

  • Pte Gary O'Toole

  • Pte Nicholas Roche

  • Pte Shane Williams

  • Pte Stephen Byrne

  • Pte Stephen McCabe

  • Sgt Dave Tiernan and Cpl Peter Maguire

    Sgt David Tiernan: "Regards to my mum Philomena, wife Majella and sons Eabhan and Barry. Lots of love to you all." And Cpl Maguire: "Love to my wife Órlagh and son Mícheál - hope you have a lovely Christmas and will see you in the New Year. Love from Peter!"
  • Sgt Gary Carroll

  • Sgt Mark Prendergast, Capt Martin Neary and Sgt Greg Laffan

  • Stephen Murphy

  • Trooper Eddie Heavey

  • Troopers Mark Daly and Mark O'Reilly

    Mark Daly says: "I would like to wish my girlfriend Orla and all my family and friends a happy Christmas. See you all in the new year!" And Mark O'Reilly adds, "Happy Christmas and New Year to my gorgeous girlfriend Aoife and my parents and brother and sister. See you soon!"
  • Undof Group One

  • UNDOF Group Two


  • Vehicle Maintenance Staff

    Private Brian Murphy, Private Sheamus McCaffrey, Private Eamon Quinn, Company Sergeant Fred Darling and Corporal Emmet Powell say: "Happy Christmas to everyone maintaining the vehicles back home, keep the wagons rolling."
  • Lt Gen IS Singha and Able Seaman Shane Kiely

Don’t forget about them: Defence Forces abroad send Xmas wishes

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