Sixty medals presented to members of the Defence Forces at ceremony in Rosslare

By Amy Lewis

Published 22/10/2016 | 00:00

In Rosslare Harbour, Minister of State with special responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, presents the new international operational service medals to troops who were deployed to counter the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and naval personnel who helped rescue refugees in the Mediterranean.
In Rosslare Harbour, Minister of State with special responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, presents the new international operational service medals to troops who were deployed to counter the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and naval personnel who helped rescue refugees in the Mediterranean.

Minister Paul Kehoe presented medals to 60 members of the Defence Forces to honour them for their service on vital missions at a special ceremony in Rosslare Europort at the weekend.

They became the first recipients of a new medal designed to recognise those who served overseas in humanitarian missions.

Medals were awarded to members of the Permanent Defence Forces, the Army Nursing and the Chaplaincy Services serving on board LE Eithne who have taken part in Operation Pontus rescuing thousands of desperate people trying to get to Europe. Six medals were also presented to those who were deployed in Sierra Leone as part of an international initiative to tackle the Ebola virus.

More than 300 family members and other guests joined Minister Kehoe in Rosslare for the ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

The announcement of the new medal was made in recent months by Minister Paul Kehoe during a recent visit to Cagliari, Sardinia to meet the crew of the offshore patrol vessel LE James Joyce. The medal, which will be known as the 'Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal', is the first of its kind.

During the visit to Sardinia, Minister Kehoe said members of the Irish Naval Service had rescued more than 11,500 migrants in the Mediterranean, clearly demonstrating the value of Ireland's participation in this important humanitarian mission.

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