I was delighted to attend the Commissioning Ceremony of the 91st Cadet Class at the Defence Forces Training Centre in the Curragh Camp today with Minister for Defence Simon Coveney.  The Minister was welcomed to the Camp by the Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett.

Twenty Cadets were commissioned as officers of the Permanent Defence Force at today’s ceremony.  In addition, six Maltese cadets passed out from the Defence Forces Cadet School having successfully completed their training.

Addressing the newly commissioned officers, the Minister said You, the members of the 91st Cadet Class, are the future and will be important contributors to the ongoing modernisation and further development of the Defence Forces.  I wish to offer my warmest congratulations to all of you for the commitment you are making to the State. All of you, together with your families and friends can be justifiably proud of your achievement.”

While commenting on larger overseas missions such as the deployment to UNIFIL in Lebanon and to UNDOF in the Golan Height, the Minister also paid tribute to all the Defence Forces and Garda personnel who serve as observers, advisers and monitors in small missions across the world.  “These often unheralded activities of the Defence Forces and An Garda Siochána are key enablers in supporting critical missions in often difficult and personally challenging operations” he said.

Looking to the future and the challenge and the opportunity of the new White Paper on Defence, the Minister said, “You will create a welcome place for diversity. You will ensure that we respect and recognise the new Irish; understand and communicate corporate social responsibility, be economic and efficient in the use of taxpayers resources and ultimately make today’s and the future Defence Forces relevant to all the citizens of Ireland.  That is your calling as Officers of the modern Irish Defence Forces.

The Minister also paid tribute to the dedication and commitment of the members of the Defence Forces Cadet School “who have moulded these young men and women into fine young officers over some fifteen months of training.”