Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces, President Michael D Higgins, this week welcomed a small group to Aras an Uachtarán where he presented serving members with Defence Forces Values Awards.
The Defence Forces, Óglaigh na hÉireann, has faithfully maintained a strong volunteer ethos and a set of core values since the foundation of the State.
This unique ethos and set of values have, in turn, ensured a continuous and exemplary level of professionalism at home and abroad.
Their six values of respect, loyalty, selflessness, physical courage, moral courage and integrity, contribute directly to preserving this position and delivering operational effectiveness. They are fundamental to sustaining Óglaigh na hÉireann as a steadfast pillar of the Irish State and are what Ireland reasonably expects from its Defence Forces.
In order to properly recognise Óglaigh na hÉireann’ personnel's demonstration of ‘living’ their values, a Defence Forces Values Award ceremony was inaugurated in 2017. The establishment of the awards, in addition to recognising individual acts of living the values, acts as an example to all personnel and in so doing, enables greater invigoration of Defence Forces personnel.
Company Quarter Master Sergeant Pat Jordan, based in An Chead Cathlain Coisite, won the award for Integrity. Pat is originally from Aghamore, Co Mayo and now resides in Galway.
The testimonial for Pat read: "Pat epitomises the value of integrity in his frank, honest and practical approach to all aspects of military life in Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa.
"In his professional capacity as barrack Accountant, he mentors those around him who need some guidance. His discreet and subtle approach to individuals who are experiencing challenges in their professional and personal life and as a result at times attract negative attention, he provides them with purposeful employment, assisting in his stores job. In his direct approach he gives guidance, counsel without judgement.
"He has helped a number of serving soldiers address a variety of issues but also, outside of uniform, he volunteers in his community, giving talks on mental health, self-harm and suicide. Despite suffering tragedy in his own life, his attitude is to persevere and attempt to alleviate the suffering of others."
Speaking at the awards ceremony, President Higgins said: "It goes, perhaps, without saying that Óglaigh na hÉireann make a profoundly important and positive contribution to the lives of people across the globe, constantly displaying the bravery and professionalism which makes us so deeply proud of our Defence Forces.
"It therefore takes a remarkable person to stand out as an exceptional member of an Organisation so deeply rooted in a spirit of active participation and human solidarity. I am delighted that one of our first gatherings, following Covid restrictions, here in Áras an Uachtaráin is one in which we pay tribute to seven such people, whose actions have exemplified the qualities of moral courage, respect, integrity, physical courage, selflessness and loyalty, which guide and define the work of the Irish Defence Forces. "