Irish Military Police in Ilidza
by 2Lt. Lionel Hannoun
First published in SFOR Informer #14, July 9, 1997
Ilidza - Ireland recently joined SFOR with a contingent of Military Police
"We arrived in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) on July 1st," said Sgt. Patricia Kelly McCrossan. "Actually we feel a little bit disorientated but I think its normal in such a situation," she continued. The 51-person Irish contingent are here to maintain the law. "We belong to the Irish Military Police. We have 32 policemen and women," says Cpl. Ciaran Wright. The numbers include medics, cooks, mechanics and technicians.
"We left Ireland in a hurry. On May18 our Government approved our departure. People were selected and trained in five weeks," says Cdt. Jerry Cleary, Commander of the Irish MP contingent. "But we arrived here ready for work."
The first few days have been quite pleasant. "We arrived at Zetra (Ice Stadium) via Split. The scenery along the countryside is really fantastic. Last weekend we visited the former Olympic bobsled competition area," said McCrossan, adding, "you can see all of Sarajevo from there. It was splendid."
"Another thing which is really great is working in such an international cocktail. At the moment, MPs in Sarajevo include German, Italian, Turkish, British, American and Spanish personnel. Its fantastic," she continued.
Irish military police have experience in UN and multinational operations. "We served in the Iran-Iraq UN mission, as well as in Somalia and Rwanda. Some of the Contingent have been in Lebanon," said Cleary
"Our mission is to ensure application and compliance with force protection rules, to regulate traffic, and to control and escort vehicles inside the Sarajevo area," says Cleary.
"Today our flag was raised for the first time. Its the largest one on the central plaza of Ilidza. Actually, we simply didnt have a smaller one to take with us when we left," said a smiling McCrossan. The Irish will remain in Theatre until the end of SFORs mandate in June 1998.