Republic of Ireland news

Michael D Higgins and Leo Varadkar mark Ireland's role in UN peacekeeping

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina attended the ceremony yesterday at Dublin Castle

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins and taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended a special ceremony yesterday to commemorate 60 years of the Republic's involvement in United Nation peacekeeping missions.

A roll of honour remembering the 87 Defence Forces personnel and one garda who died on overseas service was read at the ceremony at Dublin Castle.

The south's role in UN peacekeeping began with a deployment to Lebanon in 1958 of a small army contingent.

Since then there have been more than 70,000 tours of duty by Irish Defence Forces personnel globally, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Africa.

A minute's silence was observed after the president laid a wreath.

The president also addressed those attending the ceremony and met veterans, including Colonel John Ryan, an army officer who served with the first group sent to Lebanon in 1958.

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