Today, the first rotation of troops from the 115 Infantry Battalion returned from service with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, T.D., welcomed home the troops and expressed his appreciation and that of the Government for the valuable work done by the 115 Infantry Battalion while serving with UNIFIL.
The Minister commented "I know this homecoming will be an emotional occasion for both personnel and their families. Due to the impact of COVID 19, this deployment was extended beyond the scheduled 6 month term which has been particularly challenging for Defence Forces personnel and their loved ones waiting at home for their safe return."
As part of its response to the global Covid pandemic, on 5 April, 2020 the United Nations Secretary General directed the suspension of all rotations and leave for military personnel serving in UN missions until 30 June. The rotation of troops to and from UNIFIL, which was to take place mid-May, was delayed as a result of the UN suspension.
Minister Kehoe said "In line with ongoing rigorous quarantine measures currently being adopted by the UN, the second rotation of troops has been rescheduled to take place during 1st/2nd July. I look forward to their safe return."
The Minister went on to say “The personnel of the 115 Infantry Battalion 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.”