The Irish Army has ended its 23 year peace mission with the United Nations in Lebanon.

General Colm Mangan Chief of Staff described the withdrawal from Camp Shamrock in Lebanon as the end of a glorious chapter in the history of the defence forces.

Over 20,000 Irish soldiers have served in Lebanon since 1978. The decision to leave was taken as the area is now peaceful following the Israeli withdrawal in 2000. Camp Shamrock has now been handed over to troops from Ghana. 

The tricolour was lowered for the final time. The last post was sounded and soldiers had private memories of the 46 men who died on service here.

General Mangan also said there was a feeling of professional pride having completed a job to great satisfaction. Minister for Defence Michael Smith TD who oversaw the handover described his immense pride in the powerful contribution that the Irish have made on the world scene. 

While it is the end of an era in Lebanon, Irish troops continue to serve in Kosovo, Sarajevo and East Timor.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 13 November 2001. The reporter is Joe O'Brien.