Saturday 24 June 2017

Hero's welcome at Dublin Airport as Irish peacekeepers return home

Jane O’Faherty

One hundred and thirty Irish peacekeepers have been welcomed home with open arms.

The troops from the 52nd Infantry Group arrived in Dublin Airport after serving in the Golan Heights as part of the ongoing UNDOF peace mission there. Despite a delay in the arrival time, families waiting at the gate were far from disappointed.

Teri Menton, from Bally­fermot was waiting for her partner, Pte Alan Kerins, who was arriving back from his first-ever tour of duty.

It was a series of firsts for Alan (29), who was reunited with his first-born child, who is now three months old.

Sgt Glenn Phelan from Clonsilla,hugs his Dad Noel Phelan [ who served in the Irish Army], after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a 6 month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath
Sgt Glenn Phelan from Clonsilla,hugs his Dad Noel Phelan [ who served in the Irish Army], after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a 6 month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath

Speaking to the Herald, Teri (26) said: “It’s great to have him back.”

“He left when Ellis was three weeks old, and now he’s 12 weeks old,” said a delighted Teri.

Pte Padraig Kelly from Athlone pictured with his girlfriend Ciava Dunning, after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a six month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath
Pte Padraig Kelly from Athlone pictured with his girlfriend Ciava Dunning, after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a six month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath

“It was difficult when he was away. It was very hard on me, but I was lucky that I’ve got great friends and family all around,” she added.

“We used FaceTime and WhatsApp every day as well, and the baby got to see him on the screen.”

Sgt Ciaran Smithers pictured with his daughter Emily [6 mths], after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a six month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath
Sgt Ciaran Smithers pictured with his daughter Emily [6 mths], after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a six month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath

It’s been a busy time for the new family, with Alan receiv­ing confirmation of his trip to Golan Heights within weeks of hearing Teri was expecting.

“It all came at once,” Teri recalled.

Cpl Daniel McEntee from Castleblaney pictured with his wife Roseanna and their son Benjamin [6], after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a six month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath
Cpl Daniel McEntee from Castleblaney pictured with his wife Roseanna and their son Benjamin [6], after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a six month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath

Now the couple are hoping for some rest and recupera­tion.

“Alan is at home for the foreseeable now,” Teri said.

Sgt Ciaran Smithers pictured with his wife Michelle and daughter Emily [6 mths], after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a six month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath
Sgt Ciaran Smithers pictured with his wife Michelle and daughter Emily [6 mths], after the 52 Infantry Batt returned to Dublin Airport after a six month deployment to the Golan Heights. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath

“We’ll have our first Christ­mas together as a family, which will be lovely.

“We are going on holiday next week, so that’ll be our first family trip.”

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