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Minister Kehoe reviews Irish Troops heading for service with UNIFIL

Foilsithe: 25 October 2019
Ó: Department of Defence
Teanga: Níl leagan Gaeilge den mhír seo ar fáil.
  • 115th Infantry Battalion to continue Ireland’s peacekeeping tradition
  • Minister announces €3.5m project for Stephens Barracks

Today the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr Paul Kehoe, TD, reviewed the members of the 115th Infantry Battalion who, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hurley, will shortly travel overseas for service with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Speaking during the review the Minister said:

“Participation in UNIFIL is a continuation of our honourable tradition of supporting the United Nations in the cause of peace and security, a tradition spanning over 60 years. In particular, there is a long and proud tradition of Irish participation in the UNIFIL mission since its establishment in 1978. You the men and women of the 115th Infantry Battalion are the latest to continue this tradition.”

The UNIFIL mission continues to represent Ireland’s largest overseas deployment.

The Minister welcomed personnel from the Armed Forces of Malta who will also deploy as part of the Irish contingent and confirmed that a contingent of Polish Armed Forces together with a contribution of troops from Hungary will shortly join IRISHBATT in November 2019, stating:

“This is a very welcome development which we look forward to and marks a new chapter of our peacekeeping role in Lebanon. Partnership with other States is an important element of peacekeeping operations.”

Minister Kehoe referred to his recent accompaniment of President Higgins on his visit to Lebanon and said:

“It was a great pleasure for us both to meet the men and women of Óglaigh na hÉireann deployed overseas in the service of the State and to express our gratitude for the work undertaken in Lebanon and in locations across the world. We witnessed, at first hand, the dedication, professionalism and commitment of our military personnel to their role in the UNIFIL mission.”

The Minister thanked families and friends for the support they provide to those serving overseas and concluded by wishing the 115th Infantry Battalion a safe and successful mission.

Speaking at Stephens Barracks today, Minister Kehoe also announced a major contract had been signed for the construction of a Gymnasium and Multi Sports Facility. The main works contract will be carried out by Kevin Moore (Building Contractor) Ltd. who were successful in a highly competitive tender competition for the project.

Minister Kehoe stated:

“The construction of this gymnasium is being undertaken as part of the Defence Forces Built Infrastructure programme. The programme will modernise and enhance the training, operational and accommodation facilities available to members of the Defence Forces.”

The new building will contain a high ceilinged sports hall with a timber floor that will be used for fitness training, volleyball, basketball and other indoor sports. The hall can also be used for passing-out parades, inspections, addresses and similar events when adverse weather conditions require such gatherings to be accommodated under shelter. It is designed to achieve a high level of energy efficiency.

The Minister added:

“The construction of this new facility will provide a modern gymnasium and sports hall in which a range of sports and activities can be delivered to soldiers as part of their military training. The improvement in the living and working environment for military personnel will be a major factor influencing the morale, training and development of well-motivated, effective personnel in James Stephens' Barracks.”

The Minister concluded:

“In addition to construction of this new gymnasium, some €28m was made available for the maintenance of and the development of new building projects for the Defence Forces. This represents an increase of over €10m compared to 2018.”

The project is expected to cost €3.5m, including the construction and design charges, and its construction is scheduled to take 12 months.

A similar Sports Hall and Gymnasium for Sarsfield Barracks Limerick is currently out to tender and will be constructed before 2020.


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