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22 Mar 2021


Lieutenant Aifric Gallagher

On 17 MAR 21, the FRC celebrated Ireland’s national day, St. Patrick’s Day, in Camp Faouar, Syria. Along with invited guests, the Irish contingent held a parade on the main camp square, where OC FRC, Lt Col Kieran Carey, presented members of the Group with Ireland’s national plant, the shamrock. Following this, 35 personnel were presented with the UN Peacekeepers medal.

 The UN Peacekeepers Medal was introduced in 1989. Members, both current and former, of the Defence Forces or Chaplaincy Service who have served with a United Nations peacekeeping mission and have earned a United Nations Medal are eligible for award of this Irish Defence Force honour. The UN Peacekeepers Medal may only be awarded once to an individual. The obverse of the medal depicts Éire, a national personification of Ireland, standing along a shoreline while releasing a dove over the sea. The dove carries an olive branch in its beak. Farther out on the horizon is a flock of wild geese in flight. The reverse of the medal bears the legend UNITED NATIONS FOR PEACE, at the top in Irish and below in English.

 The shamrock is the national plant of Ireland, and is a symbol synonymous with the country, recognised the world over. Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity, when he brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th Century. The name shamrock comes from Irish seamróg, which is the diminutive of the Irish word seamair óg and simply means "young clover". It is traditional that all Irish soldiers serving overseas on St. Patrick’s Day are presented with the shamrock, in order to mark this special day.