Members of the Defence Forces who are currently serving overseas have sent their Christmas wishes home to their friends and family.

There are currently 595 Defence Forces personnel serving overseas, with the largest deployment on a United Nations mission in South Lebanon.

As well as the 330 Irish personnel in South Lebanon, there are a further 130 Irish personnel with another UN mission in the Golan Heights in Syria.

Altogether there are Irish forces in 13 countries, including Mali, Bosnia and Kosovo, as part of UN, NATO, EU and OSCE deployments.

The Defence Forces has the longest unbroken record of overseas service with the United Nations of any country in the world since first deploying to a United Nations mission in 1958.

Below are some of the personnel serving overseas and their festive messages home:

Private Conor Bolger, from Ballyragget in Co Kilkenny, is serving in Lebanon. 

"I just want to say hello to Amy, Indie, Laura and all my family and to wish you all a very Happy Christmas."

Gunner Shane Dunning, from Bealnamulla in Athlone, is serving in Lebanon.

"I would like to say Merry Christmas to everyone back home including everyone at my football club Moore Utd. I can't wait to see you all when I am back!"

Airman Kevin Griffin, from Co Carlow, is serving in Lebanon.

"To Mam, Dad, Michael, Marion, Emily, David, Sean, Melanie and all my family and friends at home. Sorry I can't be there this Christmas, I hope you all have a great Christmas and I will see you all in the New Year!"

Private Garry Keane, from Kilmor in Co Galway, is serving in Lebanon.

"To all my family and friends, both home and abroad, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Especially to my girlfriend Marissa Burke. Looking forward to seeing you all in the New Year."

Corporal Leanne Butler, from Kilkenny, is serving in Lebanon.

"I just want to wish all my family, my friends, the gym crew, my running friends, the crew back in Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny and anyone else that I know in Kilkenny, Ireland & Abroad a very Happy and Festive Christmas & New Year."

Private Derbhala Begley, from Dundalk in Co Louth, is serving in the Golan Heights.

"Happy Christmas to all my family and friends."

Members of the Defence Forces serving in Mali this Christmas.


The full album of Defence Forces Christmas wishes can be seen here.