Saturday 25 March 2017

Hugs and cheers as troops return from Golan Heights

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Some 130 Irish soldiers received a rock-star reception at Dublin Airport as they arrived home from the strife-torn Middle East.

The troops - who form part of the 46th infantry group - had been stationed in the Golan Heights on the Israel-Syria border for six months.

The peacekeeping contingent, who are mainly from counties Dublin, Galway and Louth, have been replaced by members of the 48th Infantry group as part of Ireland's UN mission.

In an emotional homecoming, loud cheers went up from flag-waving children, as well as proud family and friends.

Michelle Ganley was among the anxious faces waiting for her partner, Declan Keyes, to return home. Holding the couple's one-year-old son in her arms, she said the past six months had been "tough".

Declan Byrne from Co Wicklow beamed with pride as he embraced his children Sasha (2) and Sam (6).

Declan Keyes, from Athlone, welcomed home by wife Michelle Ganley and son Cody (21 months) at Dublin Airport last night.
Declan Keyes, from Athlone, welcomed home by wife Michelle Ganley and son Cody (21 months) at Dublin Airport last night.
Glenn Ahearne from Finglas welcomed home by girlfriend Amy Lee Kearney

"He has a one-year-old asleep at home so he's missed six months of its life," said his wife Cathrina.

The soldiers formed part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.

Ireland is among five nations contributing to the 1,250 strong force on the Golan Heights.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News