UN Peacekeeping rotations have resumed following an initial suspension announced in April by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in response to the COVID19 pandemic.
Yesterday, the Minister for Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., met with a number of members of the Defence Forces who are part of the 62nd Infantry Group who will leave in the coming weeks for service with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights.
The Review was conducted in an outdoor setting at Aiken Barracks in Dundalk, Co. Louth, and in strict compliance with social distancing guidelines and regulations due to COVID-19.
Photo courtesy: Irish Defence Forces Press Office
Minister Simon Coveney T.D. welcomed the resumption of UN rotations despite ongoing challenges such as border closures and quarantine arrangements in host countries.
In acknowledging the UN’s priority at this time to safeguard local populations and peacekeepers, Minister Coveney stressed the continued need for vigilance and strict adherence to quarantine. assured personnel that he “recognised and appreciated, the impact quarantine restrictions is having on members of the Defence Forces and their families “and that “the Government and the public deeply appreciate the additional personal sacrifices that have to be made by deploying troops at this time.”
Speaking during the Review, Minister Coveney said, “In these challenging times, it is more essential than ever that we continue to work with the United Nations and the European Union to make peacekeeping operations as efficient and effective as possible. The presence of the UNDOF mission remains an important element in ensuring the continuing ceasefire between Israel and Syria and is supported and wecomed by both countries.”
Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D. observing members of 62nd Infantry Group at Aiken Barracks, Dundalk. Photo: Courtesy Irish Defence Forces Press Office
The Minister asked that his congratulation be passed on to the entire 130 personnel of the 62nd Infantry Group on their training and achievements to date and wished them a safe and successful mission.
The Irish contingent of the 62nd Infantry Group comprising some 130 personnel, will deploy to Camp Faouar on the Syrian side of the area of separation and replace personnel of the 61st Infantry Group.
To safeguard local populations and peacekeepers, the 62 Infantry Group will undergo isolation/quarantine in Lynch Camp, Kilworth for the 14 days prior to departure for their flight in the early hours of 07 Oct 2020. The troops will also quarantine on arrival at the UNDOF mission.