Connect Dec 2015

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visit us at O n my behalf and that of all my Government col- leagues, I am pleased to wish all the members of the Defence Forces and their families a Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year. In 2015, the Defence Forces continued its long and dis- tinguished history of engagement in overseas operations, with members of the Medical Corps deploying to Sierra Leone to help with the international response to the Ebola crisis there and the Naval Service deploying to the Mediter- ranean Sea to assist in the humanitarian rescue of thou- sands of migrants fleeing war and terror in the Middle East and elsewhere. This was in addition to the on going over- seas peace support deployments around the world, which sees some 494 Defence Forces personnel deployed to 12 different missions throughout the world. This is a record of which the Defence Forces can be justifiably proud. At home, all three services of the Defence Forces con- tinue to fulfil the many roles assigned to them including: defence of the State, provision of aid to the civil power, assistance to the civil authorities in response to natural or other disasters, fishery protection, the air ambulance ser- vice, explosive ordnance disposal and many other day-to- day activities. In carrying out all of these roles, the Defence Forces do so in a professional and committed manner with a 'can-do' attitude that is the envy of many. The Defence Forces are a vital asset to the State and I was delighted to be able to publish the White Paper on Defence earlier this year, which sets out a defence policy framework and practical vision for the next decade. As stated in the White Paper, the Government values the service and contribution that members of the Defence Forces make to the State and to the wider international community. The Defence Forces is a 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week and 365 days-a-year organisation. This imposes significant demands on both individuals and their families. At this time, I want to acknowledge the vital role that the families of Defence Forces personnel fulfil in enabling their loved ones to serve at home and abroad both during this holiday period and, indeed, at all other times of the year. The sup- port provided by family members is very important and is one of the intangible assets of the Defence Forces. This year also saw the appointment of a new Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett. This is the first time in the history of the State that the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces is a naval officer. I look forward to working with Vice Admiral Mellett and the Secretary General of the Depart- ment together with the senior civil and military manage- ment team as we put in place a new vision for the Defence Forces as set out in the White Paper. Christmas is also a time of remembrance when our thoughts naturally turn to those who have passed away during the past year and those members of the Defence Forces who died in the service of the State. Go ndéana Dia trócaire orthú. In conclusion, I want to wish each and every member of the Defence Forces and their families a peaceful and happy Christmas, with every success for 2016. Guím sonas agus sábháil- teacht do chomhaltaí na bhFórsaí Cosanta agus da muintir an Nollaig seo agus san Áthbhlian. Simon Coveney, T.D. Minister for Defence Christmas Message to Members of the Defence Forces from Minister Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Defence Christmas Message from Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM T he Christmas period marks the end of the year and, as such, gives us the opportunity to evaluate our individual and collective contributions to the Defence Forces, and to the State. Such an appraisal affords us the chance to set new objectives that will help us improve our personal performance in the coming year, while enhancing that of the Defence Forces. Reflecting on the year gone by, I am im- pressed with the performance level of all our personnel both at home and overseas. Óglaigh na hÉireann has carried out all assigned tasks with professionalism and commitment, and I am certain that we will build on this level of achieve- ment in the coming year. Our commitment to continuous improvement and our receptiveness to change ensures that we will continue to deliver on and justify the trust that our country places in us. This year's publication of the White Paper on Defence was an important milestone for our organisation. This document was completed and published after a long collaborative process, and it offers a framework for future planning and

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