Hundreds expected for medal parade at Rosslare Europort
MORE than 300 people are expected to attended a special medal parade at Rosslare Europort on October 15 recognising members of the Defence Forces who have taken part in the humanitarian mission rescuing thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean.
Confirmation of the date of the ceremony, the first of its kind for those involved in humanitarian missions, follows an announcement of a new medal by Minister Paul Kehoe during a recent visit to Cagliari, Sardinia to meet the crew of the offshore patrol vessel LE James Joyce, which has been involved in search and rescue operations north east of Tripoli, Libya.
The ceremony will see the awarding of the new medal to members of the Permanent Defence Forces, the Army Nursing and the Chaplaincy Services who have taken part in Operation Pontus rescuing thousands of desparate people trying to get to Europe. The medal will be known as the 'Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal'.
More than 300 family members and other guests are expected to join Minister Kehoe at Rosslare for the ceremony honouring around 50 members of the defence forces.
The offshore patrol vessel Le Roisin is expected to be alongside during the ceremony which will take place on Berth Three at Rosslare Europort.
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. It had previously been the case that personnel deployed on humanitarian missions were not awarded a mission medal. 'I recently signed Defence Forces Regulations meaning that this will no longer be the case. It will ensure that those who serve the State in these important humanitarian missions will receive a recognition which is deserving of the contribution which they have made,' said the Minister. Among Wexford crew members of the LE James Joyce which returned to Ireland last week following its deployment to the Mediterranean are Petty Officer Sea Philip Hogan (Kilmore Quay), Able Seaman Kevin Dunphy (Newross Ballinaboola), Petty Officer Cook Killian Newport (Kilmore Quay), Able Seaman Patrick Fortune (Papí) (Courtown ), Able Mechanic Gary O Connor (Oilgate) and Able Supply Mark Evans (Kilmore).