Saturday 21 October 2017

Peacekeepers return home to a hero's welcome

Peter O’Connor from Co Roscommon is welcomed by his daughters, Katie (5) and Eva (4), at Dublin Airport. Photo: Collins Dublin
Peter O’Connor from Co Roscommon is welcomed by his daughters, Katie (5) and Eva (4), at Dublin Airport. Photo: Collins Dublin

Kathy Armstrong

There was a hero's welcome waiting for 130 peacekeepers at Dublin Airport as they returned home from a six-month tour of duty in Syria.

Children, partners, parents, siblings and other loved ones waited excitedly for the 54th Infantry Group to arrive after their mission in the Golan Heights.

Captain Tom Brannigan, from Stillorgan, Co Dublin, was greeted with open arms by his girlfriend Jennifer Williams and their four-month-old son Terry.

He said: "Terry was born on November 28 and I got to come home for a few weeks just before Christmas to meet him, but I haven't seen him for about three months.

"It's wonderful to get to be here, I've just been seeing the pictures and watching him grow every day so it's great to be back with him and Jennifer."

It was a particularly special return for Lieutenant Colonel Mary Carroll, who has the honour of being the first woman to command an Irish contingent overseas.

The Roscommon woman said: "We've had a challenging time on the UN Disengagement Observer Force mission. I don't know if being the first female commander was any different to anyone else doing it, but I would like to think I've done a really good job."

Irish Independent

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