A Wexford soldier with a coveted career in the Defence Forces has been handed a special honour.
Post 9 of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association in Athlone, Co Westmeath has been named after the late Mick McCarth, a soldier from Drinagh in Wexford.
Mr McCarth’s family and senior military management were present for the opening.
The facilities in the house will be used for ex-soldiers to meet and socialise and to find out relevant information about pensions and social welfare entitlements.
Minister Kehoe paid tribute to Mr McCarth’s service and committed to the Defence Forces.
“Michael Mc Carth, known as “Mick” was the first President of Post 9,” Minister Kehoe said.
“Indeed, Mick passed away while holding the Office of President in 2010. Mick came from Drinagh, near Wexford Town so is from the same county as myself. He joined the army in 1946 and won several All-Army Individual gymnastic, Vicars Machine Gun and Gustaf Machine Gun awards during his service,” he added.
“Mick trained in the Curragh and served in Custume Barracks in the 6 Infantry Battalion and the Command Training Depot, Western Command,” Minister Kehoe said.
“Mick was with the first Irish Group to serve in the Congo and he also served three tours in Cyprus. Mick retired in the rank of Brigade Sergeant Major (BSM) and was one of the founder members of Post 9, IUNVA Athlone in 2009. Mick Mc Carth was clearly a man who gave outstanding service to the Defence Forces and it is fitting that we gather here today to officially open the house named in his memory.”
Minister Kehoe also paid tribute to the members of Post 9 and the wider veterans associations.
I am acutely conscious of the tremendous work done by this Post and the other 20 Posts in IUNVA in looking after Ex UN Veterans who have fallen on hard times. I’m also aware of your great work in visiting Veterans in local hospitals and Hospices. I know you also render honours at the funerals of Ex UN Veterans. Thank you for your service.”