Listen: Service and Sacrifice: Irish forces in Golan well trained to deal with challenging situations
"Rish military personnel. Serving under the UN flag in the Golan Heights. If been well trained to deal with challenging situations, according to the head of the contingent there there are one hundred thirty I rish nationals, including seven women currently deployed to the Wendy's engagement observer force that you went peacekeeping mission which was established in one thousand nine seventy four to monitor ceasefire between Israel and Syria. Many have served previously in other UN missions, including in Liberia, Lebanon, Kosovo, and Western Sahara, recently, the Irish contingent has been clearing mines. So that you enforce it can take positions again in areas, which had to be evacuated as a result of the civil war, which was taking place in Syria. Daniel Dickinson has been talking to the commander of the Irish forces Lieutenant Colin Lewis Flynn. I'm the contingent commander for the contingent which makes the fifty ninth if regroup on the we provide the Responsibility Act as the force observe. Company under the direct command of the enough force commander in order to achieve this task. And we maintain a credible in robust presence in the Golan to uphold the mandates and the Irish continued operates out of come forward. Which is where the force headquarters is located we maintain a quick Russia force and also reserve force within the amfar times, the quick reaction force is a small highly mobile unflexible force dot com. Respond to requests made by the force commander within fifteen minutes. Twenty four seven the requests can range from the evacuation of personnel from you in positions for various emergency reasons to routine patrols of the Bravo line on the east side of the areas of rain. The unisom also is self sufficient in that we have our engineering medical ordinance transport on the disk personnel who provides the capability for us to. To operate as in a self-sufficient manner. Are within our Mondays what role does the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force to give it it's it's official title. What role? Does it play? It's Mondays to maintain a credible presence in the Golan onto us best efforts to maintain the ceasefire between Israel on the Syrian Arab Republic. And to see the observed and what are the operating conditions like in in the region. I would put the operation conditions as challenging the area of perations is primarily focused on recall, the area separation between the alpha and Bravo lines. Both lines stretch for a distance of about seventy five kilometers from hermit in the north to the Jordanian border in the south area. Both lines in between. Both lines is known as the area's separation at the whitest point the area's operation stretches to nine kilometers, and is two hundred meters wide at the narrows point is that a particularly active area are the things. On every day, which peacekeepers need to react to on has over the last number of months has been reestablishing its its footprints in the area separation ju to the civil war which was on going in the area, the security situation deteriorated to such an extent that on withdrew most of its its presence from the area separation from the series from the Syrian side. Correct. They moved onto the side of the area separation until the last number months. We've moved back onto the onto the problem side and the Irish contingent is providing a level of engineer specialist search which we can go in and clear. Previously occupied a UN posts to ensure that all residents of war and Debbie are a safely cleared removed. So that can be occupied by UN forces. So that creates a challenging environment as technically difficult, but we have exceptionally well trained unqualified personnel to do those tasks wise it. Important for Ireland to contribute to on of I suppose since Arden's independence. We've been committed to a number of international bodies in the league nations between the world wars the UN after World War Two more recently the European Union on its predecessors at so it's a pragmatic assigned of our farm policy at a small state. So she's can commission on involve itself in the international order and provide a immeasurable presence in international peacekeeping on the world stage at wall sort of challenges do your troops face, especially those ones who who were on a UN peacekeeping mission for the first time. The first challenge is the the preparation on training is conducted at home before we deploy overseas normally takes approximately three months preparation period, where we'll go through the full remix of professional military training in the various specialities that we will bring with us. From dismounted infantry to the engineer specialist. Search teams to our ordinance disposal team our medical teams communications, so we can integrate fully as a robust mobile and competent enforce reserve and also getting understanding cultural or Stein of where we're going what we're going to do. And how we go about doing that an important in that is that we haven't ability to operate with our international partners owned the UN flying the other contingents within the on off mission. So that we can become more interoperable as we conduct operations. And but then there's also the personal Ed challenges even have obviously were leaving our friends and family behind in our in for for six six months tour, Judy. So there's an emotional price that personnel play. What do your men and women tell you about their experience serving as a as a blue helmet overall? I would say it's hugely positive 'em. They rise to the challenges by an allows of members of the arts festival will join the ability to to travel abroad to provide a real improvement in the conduct of the mandate admissions and to add a positive legacy to their service in the defence forces. So the professional satisfaction that they were saved and also the opportunity to operate with a multinational force, whom they wouldn't necessarily get the opportunity to operate with an also the exposure to a much wider civilian an NGO non-governmental organizations that operate in the area, we fully understand that the broadest level of peacekeeping and your mandate missions that military provide one elements of the solution and as far wider area covering call the comprehensive approach where all of the other. Non-governmental actors and aid agencies and provides support to the to to the to the wider conflict, and you're always benefit from not during experience seeing how people engage in tackle problems in a different way using a different lens of experience. So that's a huge using positive."