UN peacekeeping continues to be one of the most flexible and effective tools available to the international community in responding to crises around the world. For 60 years now the men and women from the Irish Defence Forces have contributed to the cause of peace all around the world in places like Lebanon, the Congo, the Golan Heights, Chad, Liberia, East Timor and Syria (to name but a few) serving with honour and distinction. Today, Irish troops are deployed in UN, EU and NATO led missions in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Currently, there are almost 640 members of the Permanent Defence Force serving in 9 overseas missions, including UNIFIL, UNDOF and Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea. During my time as Minister with responsibility for Defence, I have seen at first hand on several occasions the contribution that Irish Defence Force personnel are making to peace and security in the regions where they deploy.