The Irish Defence Forces have been deployed on peace-keeping duties in Kosovo since 1999. On 1 August, 2007, Ireland took on the role of Framework Nation for the Multinational Task Force Centre (MNTF (C)) in KFOR for a period of 12 months under the command of Brigadier General Gerry Hegarty, who leads a multinational task force of 1,500 troops from 6 nations. In conjunction with their role as peacekeepers, Irish troops in Kosovo have been involved with a number of humanitarian projects such as the building and renovation of community facilities in their free time. In recent years, an innovative partnership between Irish Aid and the Irish Defence Forces has resulted in the construction of much needed schools and amenities in a manner that is efficient and cost effective in terms of development assistance.
Minister Kitt said,
"I am very proud of the work being done by Irish troops who generously volunteer their free time to benefit the local communities in which they work. They remind us of the value of working closely with local people and are great ambassadors for Ireland and the international peacekeeping operation in Kosovo."
Note to Editors
Two schools will benefit from this project, Emin Duraka School in Stimlje with 2084 pupils and Hasan Prishtine School in Donja Godance with 700 students. Both schools are attended by local children between the ages of 5 and 15 years.
Irish Aid has allocated in excess of €200,000 to the Irish Defence Forces for community projects in Kosovo since 2002.