Ceann Comhairle, Mr. Seán Ó Fearghaíl, T.D. spends St. Patricks Day with Irish troops in UNIFIL
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Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl will spend today visiting Irish troops deployed to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), as part of the St. Patrick’s Day travel programme for Ministers and Officeholders.
The Ceann Comhairle spent time with Defence Forces members in Lebanon and laid a wreath in Peace Keeping Square in memory of the 48 Irish Defence Forces personnel who have lost their lives in the service of peace in the country.
In his address to Irish troops the Ceann Comhairle also acknowledged the great sacrifice made by Defence Force personnel by being away from families and friends for prolonged periods.
On behalf of Government and the Members of the Oireachtas he thanked Defence Force personnel for their contribution and invaluable work to peacekeeping in the region, a vital part of Ireland’s commitment to global peace and security.
While speaking to the troops in Southern Lebanon, Ceann Comhairle Ó Fearghaíl said:
“As we gather here this afternoon, we do so less in celebration than would normally be the case around St Patrick’s Day, and with more of a heavy heart. You, the members of the 121st Battalion have come through a very difficult experience. The tragic death last December of your comrade and friend Private Seán Rooney and the serious injuries suffered by Private Shane Kearney, were a shocking reminder to all of the risks taken by each and every one of you, in discharging your duty and maintaining our country’s proud record and reputation”.
Ceann Comhairle Ó Fearghaíl concluded: “St Patrick’s Day is our national day and the day on which we reflect what it means to be Irish. We do what comes naturally to us – we reach out and connect with communities around the globe. Today is a day when there are only two kinds of people in the world – those who are Irish and those who wish they were! Ireland’s biggest asset is our people – our primary and most valuable natural resource. This year, St Patrick's Day marks '100 Years of Ireland in the World'. A century of our country's engagement as an active member of the international community in the promotion of democracy, peace and security. Nowhere is this engagement more evident, than in the work you do here in South Lebanon”.