The Minister for Defence, Michael Smith, has praised the actions of the Irish troops serving with KFOR in Kosovo for their recent display of professionalism in dealing with a very tense situation in the province.

Between Wednesday and Friday of last week, Irish soldiers serving in the region were confronted with serious public disorder that arose following violent confrontations between ethnic Albanians and Serbs.

Mr Smith said that the Irish soldiers were involved in a variety of tasks from anti-riot duties and crowd control to rescuing stricken families and providing ambulance services where necessary.

Mr Smith said the bravery of Irish troops is a tribute to the professionalism and training of the Defence Forces.

The Minister said they managed to keep the situation under control despite a very tense atmosphere, and it was a perfect example of Irish peacekeeping at its courageous best.