IUNVA  |  Honouring Caring Remembering


Sixty years ago on 3rd October 1960,  the Defence Force suffered its first death on overseas service when Company Sergeant Felix Grant, B Company, 33rd Infantry Battalion died at the King Albert Hospital, Albertville in the Republic of the Congo on Monday 3rd October 1960 following an operation for appendicitis.  33rd Infantry Battalion lost a total of twelve men, including those killed in the Niemba Ambush six weeks later 8th November 1960.  

Felix Grant was 43 years of age when he died, and his home unit was the 12th Infantry Battalion.  He was buried at St Patrick’s cemetery Clonmel on 26th October 1960.  He was born in Ballynagross, near Downpatrick, County Down in 1917 and he enlisted in the Defence Forces in Limerick in 1940.  He served for a short time in Ballincollig and then moved to Clonmel.  He married Catherine Lillis in Clonmel in 1945 and they had three children, two boys (twins) and a girl.  The two boys, Tony and Billy later enlisted at the Army Apprentice School and served for some years in the Defence Forces.  Tony completed three tours of duty in Cyprus and one tour in the Sinai with UNEF 11.  He is a member of Post 24 in Clonmel.

80322 Company-Sergeant Felix Grant was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with  Merit and the citation reads as follows:                                                                                                For distinguished service with the United Nations Force in the Republic of the Congo, for devotion to duty and zeal of a high order. He continued to discharge his duties in an exemplary and devoted manner although suffering from an illness which eventually caused his death.

Press release - I.U.N.V.A Irish Red Cross Beirut Relief Fund
In the immediate aftermath of the tragic explosion in Beirut on Tuesday which has left many
Lebanese citizens dead, injured and now homeless and destitute, the Irish United Nations
Veterans Association have set up a GoFundMe page and is inviting everyone to donate.
The Irish Defence Force have served around the world on peacekeeping missions since 1958
and have served in Lebanon continuously since 1978. We have been recognised as Military
Ambassadors for Ireland and have assisted the Lebanese population in many ways, especially
with humanitarian help and aid from the Irish contingent in the UNIFIL Peace Mission. We
have supported the Lebanese people through every major disaster and incident since 1978.
Today, we have Defence Force Peacekeepers serving in Lebanon, they are continuing our
relationship with all the Lebanese communities. We have a close affiliation with them and
now, we would like to help the people of Beirut, Lebanon at this tragic time.
All proceeds will be donated to the Lebanese Red Cross/International Red Cross through our
own Irish Red Cross. It is imperative to get the funds to the people on the ground doing the
hands-on work and helping those who need it most.
This is the quickest and safest way to transfer the funds. This GoFundMe page will close at
1200 hrs on Monday 31 August and the funds in totality will be presented to Jocelino Jorge,
Head of Fund Raising, Irish Red Cross.
This is what we do, Irish Defence Forces, Veterans, families and friends of the Irish Military
Community, by donating any amount, we will be helping those caught up in this tragic
IUNVA, on behalf of all Irish members serving, veterans and families of the military
community would be grateful for your donation to provide comfort and support to the victims
of this disaster.
The Red Cross's immediate actions on the ground would be and not limited to:
-Providing emergency transportation to and from hospitals
-Providing temporary accommodation for the 300,000 people who are displaced
-Providing hygiene and sanitary services and products to the affected
-Food, water, shelter to those affected
This is only the immediate impact and actions. The Red Cross will also be running programs
on rebuilding livelihood once the immediate and secondary phase is 'over
Postal donations, made payable to IUNVA Beirut Relief Fund can be posted to;
Derek Judge, National Secretary, IUNVA, Arbour House, 6, Mount Temple Road, Arbour
Hill, Dublin 7.
IUNVA Beirut Relief Fund, Irish Red Cross Head Office, 16 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 D02

GoFundMe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



John Wade is Secretary of IUNVA Post 2 here in Kerry. Post 2 of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association were proud to have John, who hails from the Creggan Estate in Derry but is resident in Listowel, travel to attend the funeral of John Hume in his hometown.

John met with Pat Hume and the grieving family and offered them the sincere condolences of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association.

He told Pat - "The Irish United Nations Veterans Association offer you our sincerest condolences. We were Peacekeepers and John was a Peacemaker".

This was gratefully acknowledged by Mrs. Hume who was a great strength behind John Hume's determination to bring peace to the island despite the verbal snipers.

When the hearse and family cars turned out from St. Eugene's Cathedral to bring John on his final journey to the City Cemetery, John Wade stood on the roadside of Creggan Hill and saluted the passing hearse, and family cars, whilst all around people loudly applauded.

















 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon meeting members of IUNVA at McKee Barracks on 07 July 2009 during a visit to Ireland.  (Shaking hands with Michael Haslem.)












The IUNVA promotion video can be viewed by going to Galleries - click on Video Galleries it is the first video in the sequence.













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IUNVA Veterans Support


During this challenging time please remember that some veterans, their families and more vulnerable members of the community will become quite isolated over the coming weeks.

If you are aware of a veteran, a family member, a neighbour or know of someone in your community who may be vulnerable or uses our services, please keep an eye on them (in compliance with HSE guidelines).

Please ensure they have a phone they can use.

If you are worried about the welfare of a veteran, please contact HQ IUNVA - Tel: +353 (0)1 - 679 1262  - Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There is a lot of untrue stories being published as Fact.  Please ensure to get your Facts from credible sources, the HSE website for information on COVID 19 is:

















Due to current situation regarding Covid 19 Virus all meetings and ceremonies in IUNVA are deferred until further notice.  We will keep you informed, keep safe and healthy.









Code of Conduct Agreement Peer Counselling Group

Participants who present under the influence of substances / intoxicated will not be permitted to engage in the group.

Participants who do not agree to engage in any extra supports recommended by the group counsellor will not be permitted to attend the group – one to one engagement with alternative professional supports (physical attendance / telephone) enables participants and the group to maintain its primary focus as a Peer Counselling Group.

The counsellor works from an evidence based best practice approach in line with BACP Standards. Evidence identifies the benefit (Catharsis) of peer group counselling to enable a more effective group therapy by giving the participant the opportunity to discuss their adverse and positive experiences in a therapeutic focused setting. The role of the group is to support participants through discussion; understanding; validation of issues and to empower participants through a collective supportive group process and setting.

Counsellors are responsible for managing the group and are duty bound to maintain a safe effective functioning environment in line with IUNVA policies.  They receive supervision re their group facilitation and through this process are required to explore/discuss group dynamics; challenges; positive/negative areas to enable IUNVA to provide necessary supports to maintain a supportive functioning group.

IUNVA reserve the right to withdraw access to the group if an individual’s behaviour (internally/externally) undermines or impacts negatively on the group and/or any of its participants 






Funeral of Brendan Grace RIP

BrendanOn 13th July 2019 IUNVA received a personal request from the family of Brendan Grace through the undertaker for 30 members of IUNVA to provide a Guard of Honour and a Piper at the St. Nicholas of Myra Church,  Francis Street, Dublin'in the Liberties on Monday 15th July 2019.  This was a great honour for our Association and we gladly accepted the request with deepest sympathy and dignity.  On arrival at the church the remains were piped by Anto Byrne IUNVA Piper through a Guard of honour of 30 members of IUNVA, under Michael Dillon the Parade Commander.  IUNVA offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Grace Family on their loss and are honoured to have taken part in Brendan's Funeral.

KillarneyUN Peacekeepers honoured at Killarney ceremony

IRISH UN VETERANS HONOURED IN KILLARNEY  JUNE 4th 2019 Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe pictured after accepting the Mons Hugh O'Flaherty Humanitarian Award 2019 on behalf of the Defence Forces in St. Mary's Church of Ireland, Killarney on Tuesday evening. Also in photo are Mayor of Killarney Niall Kelleher, Jim Casey, Chairman, IUNVA, Major General Kieran Brennan, Deputy Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Patrick Flynn and UN Veteran John O'Mahony, Hugh O'Flaherty, Pearl Dineen, Jerry O'Grady and invited guests. Photo: Don MacMonaglePress release: Before a large audience in the unique and beautiful St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Killarney, including foreign Ambassadors and Diplomats and UN Veterans, Killarney’s Deputy Mayor Niall Kelleher presented the Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award Scroll last evening to Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe and Irish UN Veterans Chairman Jim Casey. Representing the Hugh O’Flaherty Family and Memorial Society, Judge Hugh O’Flaherty and Pearl Dineen presented the International Humanitarian Medal to Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Kieran Brennan and Brigadier General Patrick Flynn. The Award Ceremony was preceded by a powerful performance by Donal Courtney of his acclaimed one-man play “God Has No Country”, receiving a standing ovation from all present. In his introduction, Memorial Society Chairman Jerry O’Grady said, “Heroes are often defined as those who give of themselves, often putting their own lives at risk for the greater good of others. By this measure, without seeking fame or fortune, the brave men and women of the Irish Defence Forces wearing the iconic blue beret, are truly heroes, deserving of our unbridled admiration and support” Addressing the gathering, Deputy Mayor Niall Kelleher said, “From Lebanon to Cyprus and from El Salvador to Kosovo, Irish UN peacekeepers have always served with diligence and distinction. Irish Defence Forces in particular have always been warmly welcomed wherever they have served. That honourable service has probably come to greater public attention in recent years through the telling of the story of the Siege of Jadotville, but for decades now, Irish men and women have proudly entered some of the world’s most dangerous and volatile regions. It is important to remember at time too those 86 members of our Defence Forces who have paid the ultimate sacrifice”. In his acceptance speech, Minister Paul Kehoe said, “Just like the incredible humanitarian work carried out by Monsignor O’Flaherty over 75 years ago, the Irish Defence Forces have also brought great honour to Ireland through their participation in peacekeeping operations over the last 60 years. One of the elements that I am often struck by as Minister is the deep respect and admiration for the Irish Defence Forces right around the world”. The Minister added, “Ireland’s unbroken and proud history of participation in UN missions is one of the things that helps makes us stand out as a nation. It strengthens our values; it deepens our international relations; it shows that one small country can make a huge difference on the global stage. As Minister, I am determined that we continue our great Peacekeeping tradition”. The minister paid a special tribute to one member of the audience, Scartaglin native Irish UN Veteran John O’Mahony. In 1980 while serving in the Lebanon, John was shot and seriously injured but happily he survived. Sadly, two of his colleagues, Pte Derek Smallhorne and Pte Thomas Barrett were killed. The final element of the Award Ceremony was the presentation of a generous bursary to the Veterans Association by Donal Hickey, Vice Chair of the Muckross House Trustees Board. Included in the audience were four members of the Raaijmakers family from the Netherlands. Their uncle Anton Musters (Fr Anselmus) was an Augustinian Priest in Rome and an active member of the Rome Escape Line. One month before the Liberation of Rome, he was captured by the Gestapo, interrogated and tortured, but he refused to reveal any information on the Rome organisation. He was being transported to a prison camp in Germany when he escaped during a stopover in Florence and returned to Rome on the day of Liberation. If Fr Anselmus had given up the Rome Organisation during torture, it is probable the Msgr Hugh and many others would not have survived the war. His bravery saved the lives of many of the Escape Line organisers. Earlier in the day, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Rome, two symbolic trees were planted in the Graveyard of the O’Connell Memorial Church in Cahersiveen, the burial place of Monsignor Hug O’Flaherty. Further Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2019-Humanitarian-Award-Framed-Scroll-1Humanitarian Award Ceremony 4th June 2019

Killarney Co. Kerry

The Hugh O'Flaherty Annual Commemorations Award  for 2019 will be awarded to Defence Forces and Irish United Nations Veterans Associations for their Service on UN Peacekeeping missions for the past 50 years.

Presenting Party:

  • Mayor of Killarney

O’Flaherty Family or Society Representative


Accepting Party:

  • Minister Paul Kehoe
  • COS Mark Mellett
  • Defence Forces Member (Selected by COS)
  • IUNVA Representative Chairman Jim Casey


  • MC – Jerry O’Grady (O’Flaherty Society)
  • Pre-Award – Mayor of Killarney
  • Jim Casey
  • Post-Award – Minister Paul Kehoe















 PresMedal Presentations to Sean Tiernan – Jadotville Veteran in London

On Thursday 28th February 2019, at a ceremony at the Irish Embassy in London, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, Chief of Staff Defence Forces presented the UN Peacekeepers Medal and the Jadotville Medal to Sean Tiernan, a London based Irish Veteran.  Sean served as a seventeen and a half year old Corporal in the Congo in 1961.

The ceremony was attended by Sean’s wife Margaret, His Excellence Adrian O’Neill, the Irish Ambassador to the U.K.  Ruaidhri Dowling First Secretary at the Embassy.  Sally Mulready and Margaret Geiger from the Irish Elderly Advice Network.  Three representatives from Irish United Nations Veterans Association, Sean’s neighbours and friends from the Irish Centre in Camden London.

Sean was from Killrooskey Co. Roscommon, he cycled to Renmore Barracks Galway to enlist in 1st Infantry Battalion.  He deployed to the Congo in 1961 with A Company 36 Infantry Battalion.   His Company Commander was the Late Commandant Pat Quinlan and his Platoon Commander was Lieutenant Tom Quinlan.  A Company with two armoured cars from the armoured car group distinguished themselves in fighting off attacks from a much larger, heavily armed force from 13th to 18th December 1961 at the siege of Jadotville.  The attacking Katangese forces were supported from the air by a Fouga Magister jet fighter.  Only five Irish soldiers were wounded during the fighting.  A Company was 120 kilometres away from the rest of their Battalion stationed in Elizabethville and 200 kilometres from the other Irish unit 1 Infantry Group at Kamina air base.  As they were completely surrounded in a very isolated vulnerable position and the route to Elizabethville was in Katangese hands at Lufria Bridge, attempts to reinforce or extract the Company were unsuccessful, eventually a ceasefire was agreed.  The Jadotville garrison were then held prisoner until 24th October 1961, when they were released in a prisoner exchange.

The Chief of Staff stated that Sean was a man or courage, a soldier who was dedicated to the service of his country and he was delighted to present the medals on behalf of Paul Keogh TD Minister of State with responsibility for Defence.  He paid tribute to the heroism and fortitude of those who fought at Jadotville under the most hazardous conditions.

Sean made a heartfelt address and he started by dedicating the medals to his Company Commander the late Colonel Pat Quinlan “I owe my life him, he saved all our lives at Jadotville”.  He visited Colonel Quinlan in Athlone 2 years before he passed away in 1997.  Sean spoke with immense pride about his comrades in Jadotville, the outstanding leadership of the officers and non commissioned officers and how so many have now passed away.  He concluded by thanking the Chief of Staff , the Ambassador  and his staff, the Personal support Services, Irish United Nations Veterans Association and all involved in arranging the ceremony.

Over a cup of tea Sean recalled the great sadness of all personnel in the Battalion at the death of their comrades Trooper Eddie Gaffney, Trooper Pat Mullins and Corporal Michael Nolan who were killed in two separate ambushes in Elizabethville.  He said he still thinks of the anguish of the Mullins family as the remains of the young soldier were never found.  He said he will cherish the medals and he will hold the memories of his comrades in his heart forever.

In September 2017 United Nations Veterans Association organised a ceremony in Claremorris Co. Mayo when personalised commemorative plaques were presented to the survivors and next of kin for their heroism and action at Jadotville.   Sean travelled from UK to receive his.  He has been in contact with us through the Irish Elderly Advice Network in the UK.


I would be very interested in recording the memories of current and former soldiers of the Irish Defence Forces for the oral history project, it involves a dictaphone and a simple chat format that would take aprox one hour or so and is purely for educational and historical purposes. The recording is deposited into Military Archives of Ireland for the MAOHP and is protected there with strict usage and copyright policies etc. The majority of the recordings I do take place in the Air Corps Museum at Baldonnel but on I can travel to other locations/homes etc depending on who the interview is and where. You can also contact Military Archives at 01 804 6547.
 This is the first oral history programme to be carried out by the Defence Forces (Please see links below to the programme). If you would like to take part in the programme then please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone/text 0874103764
Please see the MAOHP page for further info, the introductory clip and some samples interviews =
You can contact me at this email address, or by phoning me at 0874103764 or the museum at 01 4037694
Thank you
Corporal Michael J. Whelan - Irish Air Corps Museum/ Collector for the Military Archives of Ireland Oral History Programme


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