The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., today presented the new Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal to some 70 serving and retired members of the Permanent Defence Force at a ceremony held in Dún Laoghaire Harbour.
The new Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal recognises the service of Defence Forces personnel who have been deployed on overseas missions by direction of the Government where no other mission medal has been awarded.
In presenting the medal the Minister said “we are acknowledging the outstanding contribution that the men and women of the Permanent Defence Force have made, and are currently making, to missions overseas.
“To date, Irish participation in the humanitarian mission has resulted in the recovery of over 14,800 migrants from unseaworthy crafts, clearly demonstrating the value of Ireland’s involvement in this important humanitarian response.
“Operation Pontus has made a positive and practical difference to the lives of many poor and vulnerable people.”
Present at today’s ceremony were personnel who took part in the humanitarian operation in the Mediterranean onboard L.É. Eithne, L.É. Niamh and L.É. Róisín. The L.É. James Joyce was docked alongside the pier.
Minister Kehoe remarked ‘L.É. James Joyce was the second Naval Service vessel deployed to the Mediterranean this year. I am delighted that we have her Captain, Lieutenant Commander Neil Manning and many of the crew here today to receive their International Operational Service Medal.”
In his concluding remarks the Minister thanked the members of the Naval Service, army and retired members present for their valuable contribution while serving on the mission in the Mediterranean.