Picture of Irish soldiers serving as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo in 1963
Today is a day when Donegal people can pay tribute to Irish Peacekeepers on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
Over the decades, many hundreds of Donegal based soldiers of the Irish Defence Forces have served with honour on peace keeping missions abroad, bearing the famous UN blue cap.
The UN General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in 2002 in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN’s first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began its operations.
The peacekeepers are honoured for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage. It is also an opportunity to remember those who have died for peace.
Since Ireland’s first deployment, 87 members of the Defence Forces and a member of An Garda Síochána have all lost their lives in the service of peace overseas.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney today welcomed the theme of this year's International Day of UN Peacekeepers “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security”.
The Minister said:
"Each year, the 29th of May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the contributions of uniformed and civilian personnel from around the world, who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping missions. We remember and honour also those brave peacekeepers, including 88 Irish peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the service of peace.
"This year we acknowledge in particular that young people can be a positive force for peace and development when provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. From climate action to peacebuilding, youth around the world have been demonstrating their commitment to a better future for all.”
“Our own experience in Ireland has shown us the benefits of inclusive peace processes. Without the involvement of civil society, women and young people, peace cannot be sustainable or lasting. This is why the Youth, Peace and Security agenda is so important to us.”
The Minister added:
"Currently we have 561 brave women and men of the Defence Forces serving overseas in peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world. Irish troops were first deployed on UN peacekeeping operations in 1958 and since then, not a single day has passed without Irish participation in UN peace support operations. This is a unique record and one of which we can all be proud. This commitment to international peacekeeping is a very practical expression of the values which we hold dear as a nation and of our commitment to the U.N and to multilateralism.”
"On this International Day of UN Peacekeepers, I would like to extend my thanks and the thanks of the Government and the Irish people to members of the Defence Forces and, indeed, to all UN Peacekeepers civil and military, who serve in missions across the globe in support of international peace and security."
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