Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Seán Crowe TD, has welcomed that 100 Irish troops that were deployed in the Golan Heights on a UN peacekeeping mission have returned home safely

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome home the 100 Irish soldiers who have spent 7 months in the Golan Heights on a UN peacekeeping mission, in very dangerous and extremely challenging conditions.

“It is a relief to everyone that they have returned safely to their families and loved ones.

“The situation in the Golan Heights has become extremely dangerous as it is a key region in Syria’s brutal civil war, and because Israel has bombed Syria on many recent occasions.

“The situation for UN peacekeepers in the region has got particularly tense after a Spanish UN peacekeeper was killed by Israeli artillery fire in south Lebanon.

“Sinn Féin opposed the sending of Irish troops on this particular mission as we feel it is not fit for purpose due to the escalating civil war in Syria and that the neutrality of Irish troops might be questioned after the EU lifted its blockade on sending weapons to groups involved in the war.

“UN peacekeepers in the region have been kidnapped, targeted and injured recently.

“We also made plainly clear that once the deployment began that our main concern was the safety and welfare of these soldiers. Thankfully all these troops have returned safely, and we hope the remaining soldiers will also return home safely in the near future.”