End of an era for Wexford students as they are conferred at IT Carlow
It was a momentous day for Pte Stephen Tyrell when he joined with fellow Members of the Irish Defence Forces for their conferring ceremony at IT Carlow.
The Enniscorthy native was one of many from around the country to be awarded with a Higher Certificate in Leadership, Management and Defence Studies. He met with Minister Paul Kehoe, who was there in his position as Minister for Defence in honour of the occasion.
In 2008, Stephen was one of a group of Irish Army soldiers, including those from Wexford, Enniscorthy, New Ross and Gorey, who spent Christmas on peacekeeping duty in Chad and North Africa. The Wexford contingent was part of a UN-mandated peace enforcement mission to protect refugees, aid workers, doctors and other UN personnel.
Pte Tyrell met with Minister Kehoe during his time in Chad when the Minister joined with 22 other European politicians who spent three days inspecting the work of the E.U.F.O.R. peacekeeping force.
Addressing all of the graduates at the conferring ceremony, Minister Kehoe said:
'For over a decade now, the Defence Forces have been developing a close relationship with IT Carlow. This relationship is a great example of partnership between the academic world and external partners. While education and training are very important in all walks of life, it is vital in the Defence Forces. The challenges faced today by military forces in peace support, crisis management and security operations require capacity across the full spectrum of conflict. The standard of work completed by the Defence Forces students has again been of an exceptionally high level, that success relies also on the learning and professional environment created by the staff and management in IT Carlow.'
Also in attendance was Major General Kieran Brennan, who made a speech to the guests after the ceremony.
'The greatest asset we have in the Defence Forces is our people. We as an organisation strive for self-improvement and development. The 142 personnel here today are a testament to that ethos. I commend the commitment of all the graduates to further education and congratulate them all on the successful completion of their studies. The Irish Defence Forces is a lifelong learning organisation, we train for the predictable and educate for the unpredictable. I am particularly grateful to IT Carlow for their significant contribution to our personal development and the many benefits their expertise brings to the Defence Forces and the State.'
The special ceremony at IT Carlow has what has become the largest annual military graduation from a higher education institute in the State. The collaborative partnership between Institute of Technology Carlow and the Irish Defence Forces has been operating for the past five years. It allows members of the Defence Forces achieve formal education qualifications through the training and learning acquired throughout their military careers.
Other students from across the board also celebrated their graduation day at the Carlow campus. These included Mark Kearney from Bunclody who received a Masters of Arts in Child, Youth and Family Studies and Colette Ring from Wexford who landed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Sports Rehabilitation and Athletic Therapy.