The Defence Forces and its veterans have a long standing relationship with Lebanon. Its foundation lay with the deployment of observers to the United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL) and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in 1958. It continued with the deployment of the 43 Infantry Battalion to the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1978, together with staff and support elements to UNIFIL HQ, and the Defence Forces continues its significant deployment to UNIFIL some forty-two years later. Forty-eight members of the Defence Forces have lost their lives while serving in Lebanon, forty-seven serving with UNIFIL and one with UNTSO.
Reports from Lebanon have often used the terms volatile and tense to describe the situation. We get a flavor of what those terms mean in the RTE Archive clip below which features a report from a UN Position in Sribbin occupied by A Company 59 Infantry Battalion on 01 April 1985. Sergeant John Godfrey (parent unit in Ireland the 2nd Infantry Battalion Dublin) and Captain Larry MacEoin (parent unit in Ireland the 29th Infantry Battalion Monaghan) are interviewed by RTE’s Tom McCaughren who reported regularly from Lebanon.