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Sinn Féin seek assurances on Irish troops in Golan Heights

18 September, 2014 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Speaking during Questions to the Minister for Defence, Sinn Féin Defence Spokesperson, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD, asked if the UNDOF mission in the Golan Heights is still viable and if Irish troops will be withdrawn from serving on this mission given that the Golan Heights is now a conflict zone in Syria's civil war.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said;

“The purpose of setting up the UNDOF in 1974 was to patrol and monitor the strip between Syria and Israel but it has been increasingly caught up in Syria’s civil war, with rebel groups attacking UN bases and kidnapping peacekeepers.

“It is clear the Golan Heights has become a full conflict zone in this civil war. This is especially worrying for Irish troops as the EU has allowed its members to become active in this civil war.

“Sinn Féin was against this deployment from the beginning because we felt the lifting of the EU arms embargo on Syria robbed Irish troops of their neutrality in the Syrian conflict, which had already seen foreign peacekeepers come under fire. For Sinn Féin the safety of Irish Defence Force troops is the most important thing in this context and we strongly feel they should be withdrawn.

"Sinn Féin continues to call for the withdrawal of Irish troops and at the very least a full review of the UN Mission and its mandate".

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