Those who have served under the blue flag of the United Nations, and subsequently retired from the Defence Forces, don’t all give up on enjoying the comradeship once shared in difficult and dangerous overseas missions.
Congo, Cyprus and Lebanon
Based in Kerry, Post 2 of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA) is made up of those who have served on UN missions in the Congo, Cyprus and Lebanon.
Ireland is justly proud of the global role played its troops since 1958, when the Defence Forces made its first contribution to peacekeeping.
U.N. Observer Group
Then, fifty officers were assigned to the United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL) as observers along the Armistice Demarcation Line (ADL) between Lebanon and Israel.
The first peacekeeping mission to which an armed Irish contingent was committed was to the Operation des Nations Unies au Congo (ONUC), from 1960 to 1964.
Old Comrades and Anniversaries
Members of IUNVA Post 2 are from all over Kerry, Clare and Limerick and meet regularly to ensure old comrades and anniversaries are not forgotten.
On this occasion, some of the Post 2 members received their IUNVA Service Medals. On the night, John O’Mahony firstly presented Post 2 President, Matt Murphy with his medal and Matt subsequently presented the Post Chairman, Con Roche and other members with their medals.
Traced to Camden
As an example of their work, it was recently discovered, through the Irish Centre, that one of the elderly veterans was living in Camden, London, and he had never received his UN medal.
Upon discovering this, arrangements were put in place whereby he was invited to the Irish Embassy in London where the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces personally presented him with his medal.
Thanks As Gaeilge
“The man, from the West of Ireland, was so overwhelmed by the occasion that his eyes filled with tears and he resorted to his native Irish tongue thanking IUNVA profusely, knowing he hadn’t been forgotten,” said Post 2 secretary, John Wade.
“Much of our work goes unseen, but when we know about veterans who need us, we do our best to help them through our Welfare Officer, Jerry O’Connor.
Welfare of Members
“As a charity, whose priority is the welfare of it’s IUNVA members, and Defence Force’s veterans, Post 2 gratefully acknowledges the great support it receives from the public when it comes to having our Flag Day Collections.
“IUNVA Post 2 welcomes UN veterans who wish to join us and equally importantly, we welcome any donation regardless of the amount,” said Mr. Wade.
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