Friday 18 April 2014

Joy unrestrained as troops arrive home from six-month mission

SCENES of joyful mayhem met Irish troops as they arrived home from a six month peace-keeping mission in the South Lebanon.

176 members of the 106th IrishFinn battalion drawn from the Second Eastern Brigade touched down in Dublin airport this afternoon.

For Commandant Bernard Markey, it was his first time to meet tiny daughter Diane (7 weeks) since her birth.

"We did a catch and deliver," he joked, as he snuggled the little wide-eyed baby and put his blue beret on her head, trying it on for size.

Chief of staff on this last mission, the trip was "an excellent one", he said - adding that it had been his 11th in total, having previously served in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East.

For newly engaged couple Julie O'Brien (25) and Danny Murphy (26) from Tallaght, the emotion was almost too much.

"Never again," said Julie as she wiped away tears.

The couple have four children and planning a wedding as well was a big burden to shoulder alone.

Trying on her new diamond wedding ring - purchased in Beirut - Julie's tears were soon dried by happy smiles.

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