650 Defence Forces personnel spending Christmas week serving abroad on peacekeeping missions

650 Defence Forces personnel spending Christmas week serving abroad on peacekeeping missions

650 Irish Defence Forces personnel are spending this Christmas week away from their families.

They are serving abroad on peacekeeping missions in the likes of Syria, South Lebanon and Mali.

This year marked 60 years of unbroken overseas service for Irish defence forces with the United Nations.

The Defence Forces have military personnel serving in 13 countries across the world.

Currently, the largest deployment is to South Lebanon, where over 460 soldiers, sailors and aircrew are serving.

For many, it is a first Christmas overseas. Private Paul Duffy from Dublin is one of 41 personnel from his group on their first tour of duty overseas.

"Being around all the lads that have been away at Christmas overseas, it makes it easier. They explain to ya how it goes," he said.

"Everyone is in the same boots, all the lads on their first trips. There are lads missing Christmas at home doing their own duties.

He added: "With all the lads around you, it makes it easier than it should be."

The personnel are kept busy, with a full Christmas program of activities across the week.

Sergeant Trevor McGahern is with the 58th Infantry Group in Syria and it is his fourth Christmas period away from his family.

He said: "I will understand where the lads are coming from. Especially young lads out here on their first trips and they might have young kids as well at home.

"They want to be home for Christmas. It will be hard on their families at home."

More on this topic

‘Mediterranean migrant crisis like the Famine’‘Mediterranean migrant crisis like the Famine’

Recruits ditch navy because  they can’t use phones at seaRecruits ditch navy because they can’t use phones at sea

Members of Ireland's special forces deployed to German based EU Battlegroup for first timeMembers of Ireland's special forces deployed to German based EU Battlegroup for first time

Better care needed for those who give 'unquestionable loyalty to the State'Better care needed for those who give 'unquestionable loyalty to the State'


More in this Section

Tusla whistleblower distressed after his complaintTusla whistleblower distressed after his complaint

'More deaths' unless Cold Weather Initiative for homeless activated, charity warns'More deaths' unless Cold Weather Initiative for homeless activated, charity warns

Motorcyclist, 30s, killed after collision with parked car in Co TipperaryMotorcyclist, 30s, killed after collision with parked car in Co Tipperary

HSE has spent almost €7m on private ambulances in eight monthsHSE has spent almost €7m on private ambulances in eight months


Lifestyle

Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

Even if you only have room for one pot in the smallest space, plant some tulips in it to make your garden spring to life, says Hannah Stephenson.7 design tips to make your tulips in garden pots stand out in a crowd

Does the early bird catch the gym gains, or are you better off running through your reps after the sun sets? We ask two personal trainers.Ask the experts: Is it better to work out in the morning or the evening?

John’s chairs will last a lifetime, but he is also passing on his knowledge to a new generation, writes Ellie O’Byrne.Made in Munster: The ancient art of súgán-making is woven into Irish family history

More From The Irish Examiner