Wexford defence forces veterans are honoured
Veterans of the defence forces, from Wexford, were honoured recently at a special ceremony in the town.
The event took place in the Faythe following mass in Rowe Street Church.
Memorial wreaths were laid by Minister Paul Kehoe, Cathaoirleach of Wexford Borough Council, Cllr Jim Moore, and Parades Officer with the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel(ONE), Larry Shannon. There were also other members of the organisation in attendance at the event.
Minister Kehoe said the ceremony was particularly noteworthy as this year marks the 60th anniversary of Ireland's first participation on UN peacekeeping missions and because of that the overall role played by Ireland's veterans is the subject of much attention.
'For 60 years now, the men and women of the Irish Defence Forces have contributed to the cause of peace all around the world in places like Lebanon, the Congo, the Golan Heights, Chad, Liberia, East Timor and Syria,' said Minister Kehoe.
'On each of our overseas missions, members of our Defence Forces have served - and continue to serve - with both honour and distinction,' he added.
Wexford man and founder of the American navy, Commodore John Barry, was also remembered during the ceremony and Minister Kehoe reminded everyone in attendance that the Wexford branch of ONE is named after the iconic navy officer.
He also spoke of an upcoming memorial event aimed specifically at celebrating Commodore Barry: 'It is only fitting that Commodore Barry will be remembered as part of a memorial due to be held in Crescent Quay on the evening of June 24.'
Minister Kehoe said the ceremony was fitting as Ireland's navy had been involved in some dramatic rescue missions in recent years.
'Given Commodore Barry's service to the navy I should mention the great work of our Naval Service over the past few years in rescuing migrants and taking part in security tasks in the Mediterranean Sea,' he said.
The Irish navy was involved in Operation Pontus and more recently, Operation Sophia, as part of its role in the Mediterranean.
'Our continued participation in peacekeeping operations has made friends for Ireland around the world while also promoting a positive image of the country,' said Minister Kehoe.
With regard to the forthcoming commemoration he said it will provide an opportunity to remember the Irish defence forces members who died in the course of their duty: 'June 24 will allow us to reflect and remember the 86 men and women of the Defence Forces who went overseas to promote peace, but sadly never came home.'