A MEMORIAL dedicated to those who died while serving with the United Nations peacekeeping operations over the last 50 years, will be unveiled at Millview Memorial Park, Portlaoise on Sunday, November 16 at 2pm.
Tragically, 86 Irish personnel have died while serving as U.N. peacekeepers. Post 27 was established in October 2004 and draws its membership from Portlaoise, Portarlington, Mountmellick, Mountrath, Walsh Island, Birr and Monasterevin.
With the agreement of Laois County Council and the support of Portlaoise Town Council, Post 27 IUNVA will unveil the memorial dedicated to those who died while serving with the UN.
Ireland has had a continuous presence in UN peacekeeping operations since 1958, serving as observers in the Middle East. Two years later in July 1960, the first Irish troops served in the Congo and, at the present time, there is a Battalion once again in central Africa in Chad.
In the intervening years Irish personnel, Defence Forces and Garda Siochana have served over 50,000 individual missions on various UN operations throughout the world.
In the 1970's and 80's it became apparent that some personnel had difficulty converting to civilian life. In 1989 a group of thirteen U.N. veterans initiated the establishment of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association. Their prime objective was to provide advice, counselling and support for members and their families who had been affected by their service with the United Nations.
Meeting regularly, the members actively promote and implement the objectives of the organization and, with the support of the people of Laois and surrounding areas, these are being realised.