herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

We should be very proud of our peacekeepers

I was shocked hearing a PDFORRA representative recently speaking of the hardships that he claimed are endured by enlisted men and women.

He spoke of soldiers sleeping in their cars, unable to afford the petrol to drive to their homes and back after work. A lack of serviceable and suitable uniforms was also mentioned.

I have no reason to doubt this - though the army top brass appear to refute it. It's truly a sorry state of affairs.

However, what's happening on the home front certainly did not affect the morale or professionalism of the Irish Army contingent which served with the UNDOF on the Golan Heights in Syria.

They returned to Ireland last night, having displayed huge courage in their actions there, acquitting themselves with bravery and resolve against Islamic militant forces in a fire fight during a rescue of their Fijian UN colleagues.

commitment

What our troops endured in Golan Heights was stressful and pressurised but they did their uniform - and the blue beret - proud.

A new contingent of Irish troops went out yesterday, taking the place of the original group.

The courage and commitment of our peacekeepers are admired right around the world. Way back in 1983 I myself had the privilege and the honour of seeing the work of the Irish UN battalion in Lebanon. The professionalism of that era is being continued now.

I wish the new Golan Heights' contingent a successful and safe deployment.

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