Belfast Telegraph

More than 2,500 Defence Forces personnel deployed for Trump and Pence visits

The end-of-year summary of defence and security operations in 2019 has been released.

US president Donald Trump arrived on Air Force Two for a visit to the Ireland in June (Liam McBurney/PA)
US president Donald Trump arrived on Air Force Two for a visit to the Ireland in June (Liam McBurney/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

More than 2,500 Defence Forces personnel were deployed during US president Donald Trump and vice president Mike Pence’s visits to Ireland this year.

The end-of-year summary of defence and security operations in 2019 from Irish Defence Forces details deployments including aid to civil authority operations and supporting An Garda Siochana, HSE, local authorities and other key agencies of the State.

The Army conducted more than 195 ‘aid to the civil power’ operations in support of An Garda Siochana, involving explosive ordnance disposal (bomb squad) callouts, prisoner escorts, explosive escorts, major cash escorts and search operations.

More than 336 personnel, including the engineer specialist search teams, were deployed to assist in 14 searches on request from An Garda Siochana this year.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar greeted Donald Trump and his wife Melania at Shannon Airport for his visit to Ireland earlier this year (Liam McBurney/PA)

In the summer, approximately 120 personnel were deployed to assist civil authorities during multiple operations, including combating gorse fires in Wicklow, Donegal and Mayo.

The Defence Forces deployed ambulances and crews on seven occasions throughout the year in Dublin, Cork and Kildare to assist the National Ambulance Service.

As the State’s principal seagoing agency, the Naval Service conducts maritime defence and security operations within a patrol area of 220 million acres of sea (12 times the landmass of Ireland), representing 15% of Europe’s fisheries.

The fleet conducted approximately 780 boarding operations and detained 12 vessels for alleged infringements of fishing regulations in support of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

The Naval Service Diving Section was deployed for 26 operations in 2019, including four separate search and recovery operations following requests from An Garda Siochana, and two requests from the Coast Guard.

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Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Ireland in September (Jacob King/PA)

The Air Corps completed more than 233 emergency aeromedical service missions, providing a medical service for seriously ill patients in isolated rural communities.

The Irish Defence Forces has the longest unbroken record of overseas service with the United Nations of any country in the world since first deploying to a United Nations mission in 1958.

In 2019, Defence Forces personnel served overseas on missions with the United Nations, Nato PfP (Partnership for Peace), EU and OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) peace support and security operations across 14 missions in 13 countries.

There are currently 595 Defence Forces personnel serving overseas.

The largest Defence Forces deployment is in South Lebanon with UNIFIL, where 338 Irish personnel are deployed to maintain a safe and secure environment.

Ireland currently has 138 personnel deployed with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, Syria.

Ireland currently has three personnel working in the operational headquarters of the EU Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR-MED) on Operation Sophia in Rome.

The mission’s strategic objective is to disrupt organised criminal networks involved in illicit activities, including smuggling of migrants, human trafficking and terrorism.

PA

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