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Peacekeeping - A Proud Irish Tradition

Ireland's contribution to international peacekeeping operations began in 1958 and has continued unbroken to the present day. This represents the longest unbroken record of peacekeeping service of any country in the world.

In this time, approximately 70,000 individual peacekeeping tours of duty have been completed by Defence Forces personnel and 87 members have given their lives in the cause of Peace. Every St Patrick's Day overseas, as at home, Defence Forces personnel hold traditional Shamrock Parades, where shamrock is handed out to personnel to be displayed on their head-dress. Personnel serving overseas often also receive their overseas service medals on St Patrick's Day.

For personnel serving overseas in the cause of peace and security, in some of the world's most volatile environments, St Patrick's Day is an opportunity to reflect on home, and to celebrate and share our national heritage, both within overseas units, and with other international militaries that personnel are serving with. Ireland currently has 569 troops serving overseas across 13 missions. 

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COMKFOR Major General D’ADDARIO presenting shamrock and the NATO non-article 5 medal to 18 IRCON KFOR at the 2019 Shamrock and Medal Parade.

A More Equal, Peaceful and Sustainable World

Ireland’s development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, known as Irish Aid, reaches more than 130 countries worldwide and has helped alleviate poverty and reduce vulnerability across the world. It responds to crises, helps resolve conflicts and supports countries in recovering once peace has been restored.

Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget for 2021 has been set at almost €868 million. This represents an increase of almost €30 million on the 2020 allocation, and the seventh consecutive year allocations to ODA have increased. Ireland’s ODA programme is regularly appraised and found to be among the best in the world. The OECD DAC (Development Assistance Committee) peer review, published in May 2020, found that Irish development cooperation is strong, with many areas of excellence, and with a clear focus that enables Ireland to exercise leadership and make a visible difference.

Ireland’s policy for international development, A Better World, builds on our strengths and sets out Ireland’s response to global development challenges. It provides the framework for expanding our development cooperation programme, in line with our commitment to reach the UN target of allocating 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2030. We will deepen and intensify our efforts to achieve a world that is more equal, peaceful and sustainable for all, utilising our diplomacy alongside our development cooperation for greatest impact.

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