Today, the Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., welcomed home the 51st Infantry Group from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The troops returned home following a six month deployment to Lebanon, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Brendan McGuinness.
Last November Minister of State Kehoe reviewed these troops prior to their departure on the mission so it was fitting that he was at Dublin Airport this morning to welcome them home. The returning personnel were also warmly welcomed by their families and friends. The troops are drawn primarily from the 2 Brigade, with personnel mainly from the Leinster Region.
The Minister expressed his appreciation and that of the Government for the valuable work done by the 51st Infantry Group while serving with UNIFIL.
The Minister commented “You, the personnel of the 51st Infantry Group have maintained the outstanding reputation of the Irish Defence Forces as committed, conscientious, professional and humane peacekeepers and I thank you for your dedicated service.”
The Minister went on to say “Rest assured I will endeavour to support the members of the Defence Forces to the fullest extent possible in my new role.”
The Minister concluded by saying “I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all of your families and friends, many of whom are here today, for the important role they play in Ireland’s contribution to peacekeeping missions abroad. ”