Midlands Based Soldiers Due To Depart For Syria In Coming Weeks

133 Irish troops from the 68th Infantry Group were reviewed earlier today.

Soldiers based in a midlands army barracks are due to depart for Syria in the coming weeks.

133 Irish troops from the 68th Infantry Group, based in Custume Barracks in Athlone, were reviewed by the Tánaiste and Defence Minister Micheál Martin earlier today.

The group, led by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Clear, will be the final large-scale rotation for service with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.

Soldiers from 28 counties around Ireland are represented among the 130 strong contingent deploying to UNDOF, with more than a quarter set to do their first overseas tour.

Tánaiste and Minsiter for Defence, Micheal Martin, addressed the 68th Infantry Group by saying:

"For 65 years now, Ireland has accepted the obligations that arise from being part of the world community and tens of thousands of Irish women and men have worn the blue helmet with pride on UN peacekeeping operations.

The challenges of peacekeeping demand that people like you - highly-trained, disciplined, and committed peacekeepers -continue to perform to the highest standards, notwithstanding often difficult circumstances.  On behalf of the Irish people, may I thank each and every one of you for the part you are playing in continuing the proud tradition of generations of Irish peacekeepers."

He also says:

"Any Ministerial Review of troops heading overseas is an important date in the military calendar, but this review has a particular, and somewhat poignant, significance, given that it is the final large-scale Irish troop rotation for service with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, at least for the moment."

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