The Defence Forces currently has 650 military personnel serving in 13 different countries around the world.
During the past 12 months over 1,690 soldiers, sailors and aircrew rotated through 13 counties and one sea on a range of peace support operations.
2018 also marked the 60th Anniversary of unbroken overseas service with the United Nations since first deploying in 1958. This record is unique to Ireland.
Currently, the largest Defence Forces deployment is to South Lebanon with UNIFIL where over 460 personnel are deployed.
They have over 130 personnel deployed as a Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, UNDOF, where in October 2018 they completed a relocation from the Golan Heights to Syria.
Defence Forces members also serve in smaller numbers in missions deployed to Mali, Kosovo, Bosnia, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Western Sahara.
Personnel can only do the important work of peace because of the support they receive from their families and friends at home when they deploy. Of course, this separation is most acutely felt over the Christmas period.
Below are some messages that Carlow personnel serving overseas wish to send to their families and friends at home this Christmas.
Lieutenant Pauric Ahern - Carlow
“My name is Lt Pauric Ahern. I’m the Javelin Platoon Commander in Recce Company. I’d just like to wish my family and my Girlfriend Leanne a very merry Christmas and I’ll see you all in the new year!”.
Corporal Breon Wogan from Carlow,
Deployed for the second time overseas.
‘Hi Mam, hi Dad, happy Christmas from Lebanon. All is well and I’m getting on fine. I’ll be home before you know it. Missing you and all, and looking forward to seeing you. Lots of love, Breon.
CQMS Colm Moore from Carlow
“I would like to wish my wife Suzane and daughters, Claudette and Blaithin, a very Happy Christmas.
Also my mother, brothers and Sisters. I can’t wait to see you all soon.”