Ireland: Supporting International Peace
After Ireland became a member of the United Nations in 1955, our Defence Forces soon became involved in UN peace support operations. They have done so continuously since 1958, mainly based in the Middle East.
In recent years, members of the Irish Defence Forces have also found themselves working in support of peace in many other parts of the globe, including Central America, Russia, former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Namibia, Western Sahara, Liberia and East Timor.
Preparation for deployment includes training at Kilworth in County Cork and in the Glen of Imaal in the Wicklow Mountains. It involves preparing for a range of scenarios and field exercises, and includes mock patrols, dealing with explosive devices, as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training.
Under Irish law, our Defence Forces may only participate in overseas peace support operations that have been authorised by the UN Security Council, approved by the government and, for larger operations, Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament).
The proud tradition of the Irish Defence Forces’ in global peacekeeping remains strong today and as of February 2017, almost 550 Irish Defence Force personnel were serving overseas in UN peacekeeping missions. Unfortunately this service has not been without cost. To date, 85 members of our Defence Forces have given their lives in the cause of world peace.