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14/01/2009 - New weapon system

 62 Reserve Artillery Regiment will soon take delivery of its compliment of the new 120mm mortar. A number of personnel have already completed conversion courses with the Artillery School, with the next course to be run shortly.

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10/09/2008 - New CO of 62 Regiment

Comdt. Darragh McKevitt takes over as Commanding Officer 62 Reserve Artillery Regiment from Comdt. David Campion.

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02/09/2008 - 62 Regiment opens for recruitment
62 Reserve Artillery Regiment restarted training on Tuesday 2nd September, and opens its doors to potential recruits for the 2008 - 2009 recruitment year today. Those interested in joining can download part I of the application form here . Inductees already in process are reimnded that Induction training continues pending finalisation of their applications. Medical exams are currently being booked, so those awaiting medicals should ensure they are available. Potential recruits are reminded to bring 2 passport photographs and an original birth certificate with them, and are invited to visit us any Tuesday night between 8 and 10 pm. Make contact through our website for directions or if you have any questions.

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13/08/2008 Air Operation in Chad
MORE THAN 100 Irish troops serving in Chad have begun a major airborne operation on the border region with Sudan in a bid to shore up security in rural regions close to Darfur.  The Irish troops, around 125 of whom are involved in the latest operation, were airlifted from their camp at Goz Beida in eastern Chad at first light yesterday morning and deployed by helicopter to five locations.

After overnighting on the outskirts of local villages, the troops were due to be collected by helicopter again today and deployed to other locations along the Chad-Sudan border.  The airborne exercise will allow the Irish to visit a much larger area of Chad in the next week to 10 days than would have been possible by travelling overland. The troops will trek up to 10km per day in an effort to explore as large an area as possible.

They will meet local village chiefs and representatives of NGOs working in the area. They will also distribute literature in French and Arabic to locals, explaining the purpose of their EUfor peace enforcement mission in Chad.  The soldiers will be re-supplied by a fleet of French and Polish helicopters as well as some Russian-owned helicopters leased by the Irish serving with EUfor in Chad.  Sources have described the deployment as a "major impact" operation aimed at demonstrating EUfor's strength in the region.

It is designed to reassure locals that a major, well-equipped force is on hand to protect them while at the same time acting as a show of strength to any rebel groups in the Chad/Sudan border area.  The airborne deployment is taking place as a group of up to 5,000 heavily armed rebels are gathering just over the Sudanese border. The reason they are gathering is unclear, but much smaller rebel groups have been responsible for unrest in the Irish area of operation in recent months.

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25/07/2008 2 Eastern Reserve Brigade exercise
2 Eastern Brigade relocated to the wicklow mountains to conduct a major Brigade level exercise. Its mission was to advance to secure the towns of Aughavanagh, Rathdrum and Laragh. Combined with a live Brigade fire support plan involving 25 pdrs, 81mm mortars, 60 mm mortars, .5 Heavy Machine Guns and General Purpose Machine Guns in the sustained fire role, Cavalry and other support weapons, the Brigade also deployed a Forward Air Controller to co-ordinate Fighter Ground Attack aircraft and Helicopters simulating Hellfire missile strikes. The Army Air Corps deployed helicopters with the pilots directing artillery fire from 62 Reserve Artillery Regiment. All Brigade units were represented and Batallion and Brigade staff command posts deployed.

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09/06/2008 Defence Forces Commissioning
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O’Dea T.D., accompanied by the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley will attend the commissioning ceremony of 25 new officers being commissioned from the enlisted ranks at the Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare on Tuesday 10th June 2008 at 3.00 p.m. A wealth of experience comes from within the ranks of these new officers with an average of four overseas tours of duty and 17 years military service each. The new officers come from all corps in the Army and from the Air Corps and Naval Service. Among the one female and 24 male new officers, three are graduates and four have previous service with the Army Ranger Wing. In receiving this Presidential commission the new officers will take an oath of allegiance in which they will swear to be “faithful to Ireland and loyal to the Constitution”. These new officers will bring their vast military experience to bear immediately upon commissioning, following their 10 months intensive officer training at The Cadet School, Military College.

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27/05/2008 Recce Troops in Chad

Reconnaissance troops from the 97 Infantry Battalion have commenced patrols in their area of operations from Camp Ciara. These are being done in conjunction with soldiers from the Army Ranger Wing who have been deployed since February. This familiarisation will continue until the Rangers withdraw early next month. While troops have been well received by locals there is no complacency in their operations. In a climatically harsh environment troops are adjusting to life in Chad and conditions in Camp Ciara are improving daily as more equipment is put into operation.

Link to RTE World Report

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11/05/2008 62 Regiment Display
62 Reserve Artillery Regiment deploys today at the Curragh Racecourse as part of the Military Vehicle Club of Ireland annual show. On display will be 2 105 L119 Light Guns plus various other items of equipment  including the Laser Range Finder, Thermal Imaging and Night Vision Equipment. A small arms display will include 2 FN MAG Machine Guns, an 84mm Anti Tank Gun, Steyr Rifles, and the new HK Pistol. Start time is 10.00.

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30/04/2008 Western Brigade are Chad bound
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O’Dea T.D. accompanied by the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley will review the 97th Infantry Battalion bound for overseas service with the EU Force in Chad and the Central African Republic (EUFOR Chad/CAR) at a parade at Finner Camp, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal on Thursday 1st May 2008 at 2.00 pm. The 388 strong contingent, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Paddy McDaniel, is drawn mainly from the 4th Western Brigade for this four month tour of duty. The Defence Forces’ troop contribution commenced in Chad on 21 February 2008 with the deployment of elements from the Army Ranger Wing (ARW). The mission is designed to protect over 400,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP’s) in eastern Chad thereby alleviating an ongoing humanitarian crisis. The ultimate aim of UN Security Council Resolution 1778 is to create the conditions whereby these refugees and IDP’s can return to their homes. Lieutenant General Pat Nash is in overall command of this mission that will have an eventual strength of 3,700 troops from 18 EU nations. 229 Irish personnel including engineers, logisticians and members of the ARW are already deployed in Goz Beida in south eastern Chad. The troops have established a footprint for a main operating base where our soldiers will operate from, along with 60 Dutch Marines.

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29/02/2008 2 Eastern Reserve Brigade exercise

2 Eastern Reserve Brigade Headquarters relocated to Wicklow today as part of a 48 hour combined arms offensive exercise. All of the Brigade units were represented carrying out their various functions. Units of Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Communications and Information systems, Military Police, Field Medical, Combat Engineers and Air Corps took part. 'Enemy' was provided by 1 and HQ Batteries 62 Reserve Artillery Regiment from Dublin who dug in on 'The Hill' and refused to leave, while 2 and 3 Batteries from Kildare supplied Artillery elements including advisors at Brigade and Battallion level, Artillery Command Posts, a Fire Direction Centre and reconisssance teams who deployed overnight to feed information on the enemy back to Batallion Headquarters. A Batallion level Fire Support Plan was provided by 62 Regiment in support of a Company Group in attack.View an RTE News report on the exercise .

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21/02/2008 Rangers in Chad
Army Ranger Wing Arrive in Chad At 10.45 this morning 54 members of the Army Ranger Wing of the Defence Forces arrived in the Chad capital N'Djamena constituting the first main grouping of Irish troops deploying to the EUfor mission in the region. A logistical operation to transport vehicles and equipment by air into the mission area via Antinov heavy-lift aircraft will begin on Saturday and continue over the subsequent three to four days. On the arrival of their kit and equipment the Rangers will undertake a 900km journey east across Chad's arid interior to their operational base in Abeche. They will be working in tandem with other EUfor special forces and will focus immediately on identifying suitable base camp locations for the main body of Irish forces who are due to arrive over the next weeks and months. The Rangers will also assess the various threats that exist on the ground and their presence will begin the process of creating a safe and secure environment for the 400,000 refugees and internally displaced persons along the Darfur border who remain the absolute focus of this mission.

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19/01/2008 Army Bomb Disposal in Finglas
Army bomb disposal experts attended a residential house at Barry Park, Finglas, Dublin at 10.30pm last night and made safe two improvised explosive devices. NO controlled explosion was carried out. They were discovered during a planned Garda search. The devices were in storage in the house and not set to detonate. The team gave the all clear at 12.15am. The remains of the devices were handed over to Gardai for forensic examination.

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08/01/2008 Irish Soldiers injuired in Lebanon
At approximately 1250 p.m. (Irish Time) today, an incident occurred involving two Irish soldiers working as part of the UN Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Both received minor injuries at Ramiliya, an area approximately 35 km South of Beirut. At the time of the incident they were travelling in a UN vehicle from Beirut to the mission HQ in Naquora. The exact circumstances of the incident are being investigated by UNIFIL authorities. The soldiers were taken to the Hammoud Hospital with superficial injuries in Saida by Lebanese Armed Forces and their condition is not life threatening.  While the UNIFIL investigation has yet to be concluded, initial indications are that the explosion was caused by a remotely detonated roadside bomb on a route travelled frequently by UN vehicles.

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22/11/2007 Commissioning Ceremony
Mr. Seán Power T.D., Minister of State for Equality Issues, accompanied by the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley will attend the Commissioning Ceremony of 14 new Army Reserve Officers at the Curragh, Co. Kildare this Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 12.00 pm. The 3 female and 11 male part-time soldiers have an average of 10 years reserve service and are all professionals in their own right, with varying careers - among them - law, engineering, teaching and nutrition. The have undergone a modularised officer training course over two years and will help lead the Reserve in its ongoing modernisation. The commissioning scroll signed by the President of Ireland & Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces, Mary McAleese requires these new reserve officers, in the words of the Chief of Staff “to lead, manage, administer and train its members to a greater extent than in the past.” The Reserve Defence Forces has strong local connections in service to the State and these new officers reflect this proud volunteer link coming from counties Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Meath, Monaghan, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.

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26/10/2007 Irish Army leave Lebanon
The relationship between the Defence Forces and Lebanon reaches another milestone tomorrow when the last Irish unit is stood-down at a ceremony at Camp Ida tomorrow, 27 October 2007. Defence Forces troops returned to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in October 2006 following the re-emergence of conflict in southern Lebanon. Troops were deployed with Finnish troops in a joint Finnish-Irish Engineer Battalion, in which the Irish troops were conducting reconnaissance, security and protection duties as the Finnish element went about de-mining and reconstruction work. The unit was deployed by Government decision for 12 months. The 160 strong Irish contingent of the 36 Infantry Group UNIFIL, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Michael McCarthy, is drawn mainly from the 2nd Eastern Brigade, with the bulk of troops from Dublin and Dundalk. Following the stand-down parade the unit will commence preparations for return to Ireland of their equipment and themselves which will be completed by late November 2007.

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02/10/2007 Army 10K road race
Tomorrow sees the staging of the single biggest event in the Defence Forces annual sporting Calendar. The 10km road race, which starts and ends in McKee Barracks having wound its way around the Phoenix Park, will have close to 800 military participants. The Race starter will be the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley who will fire the starters pistol setting the participants on their way. According to General Earley, “Being fit is an essential facet of being a soldier and the renewed interest in running in Ireland is being reflected in the Defence Forces”. The event will also offer an opportunity to view running attire and visit nutrition stands in a tented village in McKee Barracks. A military block run will begin at 12.30, where participants run in formation as a team. The main body of runners will set off at 13.30.

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19/09/2007 Alouette retires
542 lives saved. 1,717 Search & Rescue Missions. 2,882 Air Ambulance Missions. 77,000 flying hours. 44 years service. Widely considered to be one of the best helicopters ever produced in its class, the Air Corps will “stand-down” the Alouette III following 44 years service on Friday 21st September 2007. Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Pat Nash accompanied by General Officer Commanding Air Corps, Brigadier General Ralph James will attend the ceremony at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel at 2.00 pm. Purchased in 1963 as an “Air and Sea Rescue” helicopter the French made machine had an immediate impact. 542 people owe their lives to the skill of the rescue crews and helicopter’s versatility, in over 1,700 missions. 14 members of the Air Corps’ were decorated for outstanding bravery during some of these rescues. In addition, over 2,882 Air Ambulance missions were completed. The helicopter fleet was also deployed with the army on operations, particularly in border areas. The Air Corps now operates a completely new fleet of Eurocopter EC135 and Agusta/Westland AW139 helicopters following this “stand-down” and the 2006 retirement of the Dauphin helicopter. Fittingly the pilot who flew the first Alouette to Casement Aerodrome in 1963, Brigadier General Brian McMahon (retired), will be in attendance with over 500 guests. Former technicians and aircrew and a representation from the rescue community will then be treated to a flying display by the aircraft. At 3.00 pm, engines roaring, rotors spinning, the Alouettes will lift into the blue one last time so ending a glorious chapter of Air Corps history!

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13/09/2007 Army Recruitment
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O'Dea TD has asked the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces to conduct a review of recruitment into the Defence Forces, at all levels. The purpose of the review is to identify and implement the changes required to ensure greater recruitment from among cultural and ethnic minorities. The Minister believes that the Defence Forces should, over time, reflect changes in society generally. “The benefits of cultural and ethnic diversity will enhance the overall capabilities of the Defence Forces. It is important for the organisation to reflect the society from which it is drawn,” added Minister O’Dea. At the recent launch of the Annual Report of the Department of Defence and Defence Forces for 2006 Minister O'Dea stated that he believed the Defence Forces should reflect the significant broadening of cultural and ethnic diversity that has occurred in Ireland in recent years. Currently the Defence Forces receive substantial enquiries on a regular basis from members of ethnic groups regarding opportunities in the organisation. However the primary focus in recruitment is to attract people with the core competencies required by the Defence Forces. The Defence Forces Equality Policy underpins equality legislation and outlines their commitment to the principles of equal opportunities in all employment policies, procedures and regulations. It states that they will, in accordance with the Equality Acts, operate in an environment without discrimination. That they will ensure the principles of employment equality are employed in their recruitment, promotion, training and work experience. That all their Regulations and Administrative Instructions concerning service in the Defence Forces shall be set out in a manner consistent with their policy of equal opportunity. On an ongoing basis this policy will be reviewed to ensure compliance with best practice and to maintain a working environment that treats all members of the Defence Forces in a manner consistent with equal opportunities.

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13/08/2007 Success for Army Equitation School
Last weekend was very successful for sport in the Defence Forces. Commandant Gerry Flynn of the Army Equitation School on the mare ‘Mo Chroí’ won the 2007 International Grand Prix at the Dublin Horse Show yesterday. Comdt. Flynn along with his colleague Captain Shane Carey (riding ‘River Foyle’) were members of the Irish team that finished joint third in the Aga Khan Challenge Trophy last Friday. To mark his victory Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations), Major General Pat Nash will make a presentation to Comdt. Flynn in McKee Barracks Officers Mess at 11.00 am on Tuesday 13 August 2007. Gaelic games also saw soldiers lead from the front. Limerick man, Lieutenant Andrew O’Shaughnessy, 1st Cavalry Squadron, Collins Barracks, Cork won his second consecutive Man of the Match award in Limerick’s victory defeating his army colleague, Waterford’s Lieutenant Stephen Molumphy, 3 Infantry Battalion, Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny. Lt O’Shaughnessy goes forward on top form to meet another soldier on the Kilkenny Team, Private Eoin Larkin, 3 Infantry Battalion, Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final. These two accurate scoring forwards will have a pitch battle on 02 September 2007. Private Gemma O’Connor, 4 Infantry Battalion, Collins Barracks, Cork captained the Cork Senior Camogie team to victory over Tipperary to meet Wexford in the All Ireland Senior Camogie Final on 09 September 2007. These six members of the Defence Forces are at the top of their respective sports. Sport of all codes is actively encouraged in the Defence Forces as the attributes of discipline, physical fitness, leadership and the ability to make decisions under pressure are equally important in the sporting arena and as soldiers in the Defence Forces.

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08/07/2007 National Day of Commemoration
President Mary McAleese, An Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D., Minister For Defence, Mr. Willie O’Dea, T.D., and the Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley will attend the National Day of Commemoration this Sunday 08 July 2007 at 11.00 a.m. at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The ceremony commemorates all Irish who died on foreign wars or on service with the United Nations. Members of the Oireachtas, Judiciary and church leaders will all be in attendance. During the ceremony the President will lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland and a Special Cadet Guard of Honour from the 83 Cadet Class will mark the occasion. A Guard of Honour will be provided by the 27th Infantry Battalion from Aiken Barracks, Dundalk and a Presidential Escort of Honour drawn from the 2nd Cavalry Squadron from Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines, Dublin.

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05/07/2007 LE Aoife Rescues 100 children
The Naval Vessel LE AOIFE has been assisting this afternoon in an emergency rescue operation of over 100 children off Dun Laoighre Harbour shortly before 3.00 pm. LE AOIFE was at anchor and about to depart on fisheries protection patrol. The children were involved in a dinghy sailing regatta. Following strong winds which blew their dinghies away from land and severe gusts that capsized over 9o dinghies, over 100 children were believed to be in the water. Immediately LE AOIFE launched her two rigid inflatable boats to rescue these children. They were assisted by lifeboats from Dun Laoighre and Howth and pleasure boats in the area.

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22/06/2007 Lt Gen Sreenan retires
A Stand Down Parade in honour of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lt Gen Jim Sreenan will be held in McKee Barracks, Blackhorse Avenue on Tuesday 26 June 2007 at 11.15am. The ceremony will consist of a parade made up of troops from throughout the Defence Forces, a march past that will include MOWAG Armoured Personnel Carriers and Artillery Guns and a fly-past by the Air Corps, marking the end of an illustrious military career that spanned forty-three years. Lt Gen Sreenan was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the Minister for Defence, Mr Willie O’Dea for “…outstanding qualities of leadership, resource and devotion to duty as Chief of Staff in bringing the Defence Forces successfully through a considerable period of change and for his distinguished service both at home and with the United Nations”. During his service Lt. General Sreenan held a wide variety of appointments at home and overseas. His service with the United Nations included tours of duty in Cyprus, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights and most notably with UNIFIL in Lebanon where he commanded the Irish Battalion in 1994/95 and returned as Deputy Force Commander in 1999 / 2000. This period coincided with the withdrawal of Israeli forces from South Lebanon and also saw the re-establishment of the “Blue Line” between Lebanon and Israel, a project overseen by Lt. General Sreenan for which he received the “Medal of the National Cedar” from the Lebanese President General Emile Lahoud. He was also awarded the Legion of Merit (Commander Grade) from the United States of America. Prior to his appointment as Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Sreenan was Deputy Chief of Staff (Support). He also served in the 5th Infantry Battalion in Dublin, the Military College and Defence Forces Headquarters. He is a graduate of UCD where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics. He has also completed a Course in the Law of Armed Conflict with the ICRC, and in 2006 was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by the Dublin Institute of Technology. His broad military education includes a degree from the Staff College in Camberley in the United Kingdom.

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10/05/2007 Change round in Liberia
The 96 Infantry Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kennedy hands over to the 20th Battalion of the Pakistani Frontier Force who will assume the role of Quick Reaction Force for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). The parade marks the handover of operational command of the 340-strong Irish battalion, drawn mainly from 4 Western Brigade. This begins the formal end of the Defence Forces three and a half year involvement with Liberia. The UNMIL Force Commander, Lieutenant General Isaac Obiakar (Nigeria) was present and paid tribute to the Irish contingent saying that: "the process of demilitarisation and restoration of democracy in Liberia would not have been possible without the presence of a robust and well equipped unit which assisted in establishing the UN presence in the country after years of civil war." The Defence Forces first deployed to Liberia in November 2003 following the ceasefire in its civil war at the vanguard of the burgeoning UN mission to stabilise the country. Over 3,000 tours of duty by Irish soldiers, in seven separate battalions, have been completed. One soldier, Sergeant Derek Mooney of the Army Ranger Wing, gave his life in the service of peace in Liberia. He died following a road traffic accident on the outskirts of Monrovia on 27 November 2003 within a week of the first Irish troops arriving in Liberia. The Irish troops will commence the logistical operation of packing their extensive kit and equipment for return to Ireland. All Irish troops, with the exception of two Irish staff officers, will have withdrawn by 31 May 2007. Their vehicles and equipment will be transported by sea at the end the month also.

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24/04/2007 Emergency Planning Task Force
Earlier this afternoon the Chairman of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, Mr. Willie O’Dea T. D., Minister for Defence, chaired a meeting of the Task Force in the newly opened National Emergency Co-ordination Centre at Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin. The Minister also launched the new National Emergency Planning website: www.emergencyplanning.ie The new National Emergency Co-ordination Centre is equipped with the very latest in state of the art, robust communications and conference facilities. The primary purpose of the Centre is to provide a facility in which Ministers and/or senior officials can convene to co-ordinate the response to a major or national emergency. The Centre, which cost €2.5m to establish and equip, has full facilities including microwave links to key Departments/Agencies, a central incident room, meeting rooms, desk-top working areas, etc. The National Emergency Co-ordination Centre will host the regular meetings of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning and will also be used by various Government Departments and Emergency Services as a co-ordination centre for a number of the many structured Emergency Planning exercises that take place throughout the year.

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07/04/2007 Easter Parade
This years Easter Parade Ceremony will be held at the General Post Office, O’Connell Street, Dublin on Easter Sunday at 11 am on 8th April 2007, to commemorate the 91st Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. 350 personnel from all Formations of the Defence Forces will be involved. It will involve a 107 strong presidential Guard of Honour drawn from the Reserve Defence Forces and a second Guard of Honour from the Cadet School of the Military College. The National Colours will be on Parade and the Proclamation will also be read by a female Officer of the Defence Forces. A wreath will be laid by the President Mary McAleese and the Air Corps will perform a Fly past. Musical accompaniment will be provided by the Defence Forces Brass and Pipe Bands.

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03/04/2007 Chief of Staff appointment
Major General Dermot Earley (59) has today been nominated as the Chief of Staff (designate) of the Defence Forces. His appointment in June 2007 will see him assume command of 10,500 permanent and 13,000 reserve members of the Defence Forces including over 800 personnel serving overseas. A native of Roscommon he has served extensively at home and abroad including as Military Advisor to the UN Secretary-General from 1987 – 1991 and as Battalion Commander in Lebanon in 1997. At home he was instrumental in establishing the Army Ranger Wing and the United Nations Training School. General Earley also commanded the 27 Infantry Battalion in Dundalk. He currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff (Support). A former Roscommon football All Star he is heavily involved in Sarsfields GAA Club in Newbridge, Co Kildare. He has six children and lives in Newbridge with his wife Mary.

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03/04/2007 Deputy Chief of Staff - Support appointment

Brigadier General Patrick O’Sullivan (59) has today been nominated to replace General Earley as Deputy Chief of Staff (Support).  His appointment sees him take overall responsibility for finance, logistics and human resource matters within the Defence Forces.  A native of Cork he served as Military Advisor during Ireland’s membership of the UN Security Council in 2001/2.  In common with General Earley he served as Battalion Commander in Lebanon in 1996.  His overseas service also includes periods in Kuwait and East Timor.  At home he has served extensively in operations and planning appointments.  He currently serves as General Officer Commanding, Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh, Co Kildare.  General O’Sullivan is married to Vera; they have one daughter and three sons.

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29/03/2007 Infantry Group for Kosovo
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O’Dea T.D. and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Jim Sreenan will review the 35th Infantry Group bound for overseas service with Kosovo Force (KFOR) at a parade in Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa, Renmore, Galway, on Wednesday 29th March 2007 at 10.30 a.m. The 214 strong contingent, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Eamon Colclough, is drawn mainly from the 4th Western Brigade. The Defence Forces’ participation in KFOR commenced in August 1999 and to date over 2750 tours of duty have been completed by members of the Defence Forces in the mission area. The Infantry Group’s mission is to provide a safe and secure environment for the population of the 81 villages within the Irish area of operations. The operational element of the Group, the Armoured Personnel Carrier Company, will deploy to a Multi-National Task Force also comprising of Finnish, Swedish, Czech, Slovak and Latvian troops.

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26/03/2006 Irish Troops in Liberia escort Charles Taylor
Today members of the Defence Forces 94th Infantry Battalion Quick Reaction Force (QRF) serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) escorted the former Liberian President Charles Taylor from the capital Monrovia to the UN Special Court in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Taylor vanished on Monday night from the Nigerian villa where he had been living since 2003, prompting an international outcry. He was taken into custody by border guards in southeast Nigeria as he tried to cross into Chad. He was handed over to members of the Irish led QRF at 1600hrs local time at Roberts International Airport, outside Monrovia. Over 100 Irish troops provided a robust security presence throughout the operation. Taylor was transferred to one of two MI8 helicopters provided for the flight to Sierra Leone. He was escorted by a specially selected team of Irish troops during the flight and was handed over by them to Mongolian troops who provide security to the Special Court. Taylor was Liberia's president from 1997 until he was forced from office in 2003. A court in neighbouring Sierra Leone indicted him on 17 counts of alleged war crimes after accusing him of supporting rebels in that country who were committing atrocities against civilians. As many as 200,000 people were killed in a civil war that lasted from 1991 until peace was officially declared in January 2002.

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16/03/2006 Award for former Chief of Staff
The Minister for Defence Mr Willie O’Dea T.D. and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lieut General Jim Sreenan will attend a ceremony to mark the presentation of The Grand Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Cyprus to former Chief of Staff, Lieut General Gerald O’Sullivan (retired), in Mckee Barracks, Dublin on Tuesday next , 21st March. The Order of Merit will be presented on behalf of the President of Cyprus by Foreign Minister , Mr George Iacovou. His Excellency Mr Andrea Kakouris the Ambassador of Cyprus will also be in attendance. During his career with the Defence Forces Lieut Gen O’Sullivan served overseas with United Nations Forces on four occasions. His first overseas experience was in 1961 as Staff Officer Military Personnel and Joint Liaison Officer in ONUC HQ (Congo). The three other overseas tours of duty were with UNFICYP (Cyprus), firstly as the Intelligence Officer 4 Infantry Group for six months in 1965, secondly, in the Mission HQ as Operations Staff Officer for one year in 1970/71 and finally, in the rank of Lieut Col as Chief Economics Officer for two years between 1974 and 1976. It was as a result of this final mission that the Irish Government awarded Lieut Gen O’ Sullivan the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM), with distinction, for his exceptional contribution in pursuing solutions to the humanitarian and economic problems in Cyprus. The Grand Commander of the Order of Merit is being presented on behalf of the President of Cyprus to Lieut General O’Sullivan in recognition of his meritorious United Nations service in the Republic of Cyprus.

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24/11/2006 Agusta Westland arrives
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O’Dea T.D. accompanied by the General Secretary of The Department of Defence, Mr. Michael Howard and the General Officer Commanding the Air Corps, Brigadier General Ralph James, will view the arrival of two recently purchased Agusta Westland AW139 Helicopters at Air Corps Headquarters in Baldonnel Aerodrome, at 1pm on Tuesday 21 November. The Agusta AW139, is a medium twin-engine Aircraft with a troop lifting capacity of up to 15 personnel as well as a night flying capability. In the cockpit the aircrew have a fully integrated digital avionics and cockpit display system, which includes autopilot, a flight management system with GPS and a radio navigation system. It is envisaged that the Helicopter will be primarily deployed in support to Defence Forces operations and exercises, but can also be utilised in aid to the civil power, as an air ambulance and in disaster relief situations. Another two Agusta AW139 Helicopters are due for delivery in early 2007 with an option being retained by the Department of Defence for the purchase of a further two helicopters in the medium term.

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04/05/2006 95 Bn bound for Liberia
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O’Dea T.D. and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Jim Sreenan, will review the 95th Infantry Battalion bound for service with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) at a parade in Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny on Thursday 4th May 2006 at 2.30 p.m. The 330 strong contingent, is drawn primarily from the 1st Southern Brigade will be fully deployed to Liberia by the end of May. The 95th Battalion will continue to act as the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for the15,000 strong UNMIL Force. As with previous deployments, the Battalion will continue to provide backup and assistance to other contingents when the operational situation demands it. They will prepare to provide additional security to the Special Court based in Freetown , Sierra Leone (where former Liberian President, Charles Taylor is currently incarcerated), should the situation there deteriorate. They will also carry out long range patrols deep into the Liberian interior, bringing humanitarian relief to the population and flying the UN flag. In addition to the Review the Minister will present the Distinguished Service Medal with merit to Comdt Ian Byrne and Company Quartermaster Dave Murphy. Both were serving with the 91st Battalion UNMIL in October 2004 when, without regard for their own safety they rescued a colleague from the sea off Monrovia.

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