Death of UNIFIL Peackeeper – Lebanon 24/11/2023

On 24 Nov 2023, a ceremony was held at Rafik Hariri International Airport Beirut for Master Sgt Tomasz Fąfara of UNIFIL’s Polish contingent who died on 21 Nov at UNP 2-45 Camp Shamrock HQ of  the Irish – Polish Bn from natural causes. Tributes were led by UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Lieut Gen Aroldo Lázaro.

We extend our condolences to Master Sgt Fąfara’s family and to his comrades in the Polish contingent. 

May he Rest in Peace.

The annual Defence Forces Remembrance Ceremony took place on Wednesday 22 Nov 2023 at the National Memorial, Merrion Square, Dublin. The ceremony commemorates members of Óglaigh na hÉireann who died in service in the past year.

Wreaths were laid by An Tánaiste and Minister for Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin TD, Maj Gen Adrian Ó Murchú DCOS Sp, families of personnel who passed away during the year and on behalf of the three recognised national veterans associations, IUNVA, ARCO and ONE. 

Michel Colton, President Post 1, laid the wreath on behalf of IUNVA.

All photos credit DF PR Branch.

On Wednesday 22 Nov 2023, Charles Flanagan TD and Cathal Berry TD who are members of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence visited IUNVA HQ.  They received briefings at the Church of the Sacred Heart, the 1916 graves, the IUNVA Memorial Garden and a comprehensive briefing on IUNVA.  Deputy Flanagan laid a wreath at the memorial.

The photographs of the visit were taken by Michael Thompson, National Welfare Officer.

The 2023 Annual General Convention was held in Arbour Hill Church hosted by Post 1 IUNVA.



Highlights of Veterans Day 2023

We congratulate personnel from the Army Ranger Wing, the Air Corps and the Naval Service for the successful multi-agency operation in seizing the MV Matthew off the south coast.  Their courage, skills and professionalism in the service of the State brought great credit to Óglaigh na hÉireann.

Death of UNIFIL Peackeeper – Lebanon 04/08/2023

Funeral service at Beirut Airport on 4 Aug 2023 for Warrant Officer Abubakari Ibrahim from Ghana, who tragically lost his life following a road traffic accident on 27 Jul. 

We extend condolences to his family and comrades.

Post 5 IUNVA Mass, Killeagh, County Cork on 7th July 2023


Members of Post 5 IUNVA attend at Mass with Trooper Shane Kearney in his home town of Killeagh, County Cork, on 7th July 2023.
We wish Shane all the best for the future.
Sean Rooney was in everyone’s thoughts on the evening, May he Rest in Peace.


The National Day of Commemoration commemorates all Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. It is held on the Sunday nearest July 11, the anniversary of the date in 1921 that a truce was signed ending the Irish War of Independence.

The Department of An Taoiseach is arranging a complimentary shuttle bus service to transport participants in the ceremony from Kent Train Station Cork to and from Collins Bks Cork for the ceremony. All participants are being encouraged to use public transport as limited parking will be available at Collins Bks.

Anzac Day Sydney 2023

On ANZAC Day, 25 Apr 2023, the United Irish Ex-Services Association marched in Sydney, Australia.  Relatives of two of those who fought at Jadotville in the Congo in Sep 1961 were invited to parade with the Irish military veterans.  Martin O’Connor (Melbourne), who was a son of the late Sgt Thomas O’Connor, one of the seven cavalrymen from the Armd Car Gp 35 Inf Bn, and his daughter along with Geraldine Armstrong (New Zealand) a daughter of the late Pte Gerald Hennelly A Coy 35 Inf Bn were in the parade and they proudly wore their fathers’ medals. 

Thomas O’Connor was a native of Kilcash, Clonmel, Co Tipperary and Gerald Hennelly was from Seefin, Claremorris, Co. Mayo

‘Women of Honour Review’

Following the publication of this review, if you have been affected in any way by issues raised in the contents of this release, please see the following information.

Additional support Information for Defence Forces personnel, both serving and retired, who have been affected by unacceptable behaviour

For those members, both serving and former members, who have been affected by unacceptable behaviour, the following supports continue to be available:

The independent and external Confidential Contact Person (CCP) with Raiseaconcern can be contacted using the following:

Landline     01 6107929
Mobile:       086 0299929
Post:            Raiseaconcern, Station, House, The Waterways, Sallins, Co. Kildare W91 DN60

The 24/7 confidential counselling service, INSPIRE is available to all individuals who avail of the CCP facility. Callers should mention “Defence Forces” when they call and they will be routed to the appropriate person.

To access INSPIRE, please call 1800 409-673.

Personnel serving overseas can access the service using 00-353-1-685-681.

The Personal Support Service (PSS) for serving members. The PSSO and Occupational Social Worker network in each Brigade/Formation supports serving personnel and their families in times of crisis and general difficulty. Services include provision of a wide range of information and advice, stress management, counselling and referral to specialist assistance.

The Chaplaincy Service provides confidential, comprehensive pastoral support and spiritual care to serving personnel at home and overseas. You should contact your local chaplain in this regard.

For those affected by sexual crimes, they should contact Garda National Protection Services Bureau
Number: 01 6663430/35:

The Rape Crisis Centre operates the National 24-hour Helpline 1800 778888 for those who need support in any part of the country


 Post 27 – Event

On Sunday 12 Mar 2023, members of Post 27 Portlaoise joined the congregation of Ballinakill  and Knock Parish, in Co Laois in the  Kildare and Leighlin diocese to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Fr Seán Conlon at the Irish College in Rome in 1963.  Bishop Denis Nulty officiated at the mass.

Fr Seán served as a chaplain in the Curragh for many years and he served in Lebanon with 46 Inf Bn (Nov 1979 – Apr 1980), 51 Inf Bn (May to Oct 1982) and 56 Inf Bn (Nov 1984 to Apr 1985).  We congratulate Fr Seán on his anniversary and we salute his service at home and overseas where he shared in the risks and rigours of peacekeeping in volatile and most challenging times.


Visit to DFTC

Two members of the Irish Guards Association (Ulster Branch) paid a visit to personnel on the Platoon Sergeants Battle Course DFTC Curragh Camp on 06 March 2023. Bryan Phillips (Irish Guards Association) was invited to give a talk to the course on the life changing injuries he sustained while on active service in Afghanistan.

Also on hand to give presentations were Michael Thompson National Welfare Officer IUNVA and John Murray Deputy President IUNVA

 Post 3 IUNVA

An open day was held recently by Post 3 IUNVA Gorey.

The Open Day received a huge amount of interest, both from those who had served overseas and their family and those who were curious to learn more about the veterans.

Photo:  Michael Thompson, Bill Ward, Charlie Mott, Edward Fisher, Patrick Brady, William Gilbert, Matt Kavanagh, Jim Gilbert, Charlie Mann, Michael Keegan, Bernard Manning.
Photo Credit: Jim Campbell.



Ceremony for the Placement of the ashes of Maj Gen Vincent Savino (Retd)

IUNVA attended the ceremony held on Saturday 18 Feb at Kilternan Cemetery Park, Ballycorus Road Kilternan Dublin 18.

Gen Savino was one of the founding fathers of the Association and he was the first National President.

Gen Savino as OC 44 Inf Bn in Lebanon 1978 – 79 with Lieut Gen Noel Bergin and the late Brig Gen Pat Grennan who were Comdt staff officers with the Bn

May he Rest in Peace

Press Release

From DOD
Published on 26/01/2023

Address by Micheál Martin TD – Tánaiste – Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence
UNP 2-45 UNIFIL Thursday, 26 January 2023

Click here for the full transcript. 

New Constitution - IUNVA

A new Constitution was adopted and ratified by an EGC on 10 December 2022.
To view the contents of the document please click this link

New Appointments

We would like to announce the National Delegates have elected Major General Kieran Brennan (Retd) as our new National President. Kieran replaces Major General Savino (Retd) RIP who sadly passed away in August 2022.

Supporting the President will be John Murray RSM (Retd) as the new Vice-President


The 2022 Annual General Forces Remembrance Ceremony

The ceremony took place on Wednesday 16 November 2022 at the National Memorial, Merrion Square, Dublin.  The ceremony commemorates members of Óglaigh na hÉireann who died in service in the past year.
This event complements the existing barrack level ceremonies that take place in installations across the country in the first week of November.  Michel Colton, President Post 1, laid the wreath on behalf of IUNVA.

The 2022 Annual General Convention was held in Clonmel hosted by Post 24 IUNVA.

National Day of Commemoration  2022

Taoiseach and Chief of Staff visit troops in Lebanon

On 28 May, An Taoiseach, the Minister for Defence and COS visited Irish personnel who are serving with UNIFIL to mark the International day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
During his visit, the visiting party met with Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNIFIL, Maj Gen Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz.

An Taoiseach laid a wreath at a memorial ceremony in Tibnine in memory of the 47 members of the Defence Forces who lost their lives serving in Lebanon (46 died while serving with UNIFIL and 1 UNTSO observer). The party were briefed at UN Position 2-45 and viewed the Blue Line.

Photos credit DF PR Branch

Ceremony Collins Bks, Cork Takeover of Victoria Barracks May 1922

On 18 May 1922, troops from the National Army under the command of Capt Hugo McNeill took over Victoria Bks and the Hutments Camp. On the same day, Ballincollig Bks, Belmont Hutments Camp, Cat Fort Cork, Elizabeth Fort Cork, Queenstown Military Hospital, Youghal Bks, Youghal Rifle Ranges and Government House Cork were also taken over.

To mark the centenary, the DF held a ceremony and open day at Collins Bks.


Photos credit DF PR Branch

Centenary Ceremony Takeover of Portobello Barracks 1922

On 17 May 2022, the DF marked the centenary of the takeover of Portobello Bks, Rathmines in Dublin from British forces in 1922. In 1952, the Bks was renamed as Cathal Brugha Bks on the 30th anniversary of the death of Cathal Brugha, the Minister for Defence in the first Dáil.
The Bks was the HQ of the National Army during the Civil War.
The Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, the COS, Lt Gen Sean Clancy and the Secretary General DOD attended the ceremony.

Photos of the ceremony and historic photos – credit DF PR Branch.




Centenary Takeover of Baldonnell Aerodrome 3 May 1922

Today the Air Corps marked the centenary of the takeover of Baldonnell Aerodrome from the Royal Air Force on 3 May 1922.
The airbase was used by the RAF from 1917.

In 1965, it was renamed as Casement Aerodrome (Aeradróm Mhic Easmainn) in honour of Roger Casement who was executed in 1916.

Photos credit DF PR Branch.

Commemoration of Centenary of the Takeover of Dundalk Barracks


On Wednesday 13 Apr 2022, 27 Inf Bn marked the centenary of the takeover of the Military Barracks in Dundalk from the departing British Forces.

At 1400 hours on 13 Apr 1922, Frank Aiken, commander of 4 Northern Div, took over the Barracks, his son Frank Aiken, made a speech to commemorate the centenary. The Bks was renamed in 1986 in honour of Frank Aiken.

Photos credit DF PR Branch

CPR – Defibrillator Course Post 9 Drop In Centre Athlone 18/2/22
Course held in Post 9 Drop in Centre, Athlone given by Gerry O’Malley from Heart Safety Solutions.   Also gave out the new defibrillator purchased by IUNVA for the following Posts Post 11, Post 21, Post 24 and Post 25.  A total of 12 Veterans on the course and very positive feedback from the members attending course.  They received very detailed demonstrations and carried out CPR and the operation of the defibrillator.

Many thanks to Peter Philips of Post 9 for hosting this event, to Michael Thompson for organising yet another great training course. Also, thanks to Gerry O’Malley for his expert knowledge, and for his patience and answering all questions, and listening to some of the experiences of the participants.

Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz, Spain - Head of Mission and Force Commander UNIFIL

05 February 2022.

The United Nations announced the appointment of Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz of Spain as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Major General Lázaro Sáenz succeeds Major General Stefano Del Col of Italy.

Major General Lázaro Sáenz has had a long and distinguished career in the Spanish Army, currently serving as Adviser to the Ministry of Defence for Defence and Security cross-cutting affairs. He has since 2000 served in EUROFORCE Headquarters (Florence), NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Spain (Valencia), Spanish Brigade “Guzmán el Bueno” (Cordoba) in three assignments, Brigade Commander, Regiment Commander and Chief of Staff.

Major General Lázaro Sáenz has a vast international experience and has been deployed to Peacekeeping Operations: three tours in Bosnia & Herzegovina under the command of the United Nations (UNPROFOR), NATO (SFOR) and the European Union (EUFOR) respectively; and three additional tours in UNIFIL as a Liaison Officer in Naqoura, Chief of Staff and Sector East Commander.

Major General Lázaro Sáenz is a graduate of the General Military Academy and Spanish Army General Staff College in Spain and has academic training in the field of diplomacy, peace and security.

In addition to Spanish, Major General Lázaro Sáenz speaks English, French and Italian.

Kilkenny commemorates James Stephens Barracks Handover


06 February 2022 – 3 Infantry Battalion, commemorated the handover 100 years ago of the handover from the British forces.  The OC 3 Inf Bn, Lieut Col Declan Crummey, lead a parade of troops from Kilkenny Castle, through the city centre, to the barracks. They were accompanied by Band of No 1 Brigade. Personnel from IUNVA were present at the parade.

The barracks was originally built in 1802 and handed over by British Forces to members of the Kilkenny IRA under Brigadier George O’Dwyer on 7 February 1922.

Now home to the 3 Infantry Battalion, it was renamed as James Stephens Barracks in the 1960s in memory of the Kilkenny born Fenian leader and founder of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.




The National Executive Committee announce that Maj. Gen. Kieran Brennan (retd) has been appointed to the post of Vice President of IUNVA.

He has agreed to represent us at meetings with the Department of Defence and to assist us in any way that he can. He brings a wealth of experience which will be a great benefit to the association.

Retirement and Appointment – CEO - ONE

Ollie O’Connor retired from his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of the Organisation of National Ex Service Personnel, an appointment that he has held since 2006, before that, he was the Communications Officer for PDFORRA from 1997.  IUNVA thanks Ollie for his dedicated work in support of all military veterans in their time of need and for his comradeship and assistance to the membership of IUNVA in advancing the interests of veterans. 

We welcome his replacement as ONE CEO, Lieut Col Cormac Kirwan (Retd). Cormac joined the Army as a Cadet in 1988 and he served in the Cav Corps in DFTC and DFHQ.  He served overseas with UNIFIL, KFOR, EUTM Somalia and MONUSCO.   We wish Cormac every success in his new appointment.

Comdt Joe Fallon DSM (Retd) - 'Book Green Cap and Blue Beret'

Joe Fallon  has recently published a book titled “Green Cap and Blue Beret” [ISBN:9781999616250].  His book provides an account of his family background and his service in the Defence Forces, covering both military and non-military events at home and overseas. He is donating the entire receipts from sales of his book to welfare homes for retired soldiers.  Copies of the book at €20 plus postage are available from Hayesprint Publishing.

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