Thursday 8 December 2016

'This is unbelievable' - Emotional scenes as proud soldier meets daughter Sophia Grace for the first time

Published 18/05/2016 | 11:12

There were emotional scenes in Dublin Airport this morning as an Irish soldier met his baby daughter for the first time.

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Private Thomas Grant stepped off the plane from the Irish Defence Forces' Lebanon mission to meet the latest addition to his family.

Proud mum Sinead Brennan was waiting in arrivals with 10-week-old Baby Sophia Grace, who was dressed in a patriotic white dress with green trimmings to meet her daddy for the first time.

"This is unbelievable," Pte Thomas Grant told Independent.ie, holding Sophia Grace in his arms.

Pte Thomas Grant meets his 10 Week old Daughter Sophia Grace for the first time with his partner Sinead Brennan in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Pte Thomas Grant meets his 10 Week old Daughter Sophia Grace for the first time with his partner Sinead Brennan in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Pte Thomas Grant meets his 10-week-old daughter Sophia Grace for the first time with his partner Sinead Brennan in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Pte Thomas Grant meets his 10-week-old daughter Sophia Grace for the first time with his partner Sinead Brennan in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Pte Thomas Grant meets his 10 week old daughter Sophia Grace for the first time with his partner Sinead Brennan in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Pte Thomas Grant meets his 10-week-old daughter Sophia Grace for the first time with his partner Sinead Brennan in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Pte Thomas Grant meets his 10-week-old daughter Sophia Grace for the first time with his partner Sinead Brennan in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien

"She's fairly big now, 10 weeks old, she'll be signing up now soon," he joked.

Speaking about the 51th Infantry Group's six-month trip, he said: "It was quiet enough now, no trouble at all.

Private Michelle Tarpey with her daughter Grace in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon.
Pic Kyran O’Brien
Private Michelle Tarpey with her daughter Grace in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Cpl John Mc Guigan pictured with his daughter Blathnaid (3) and partner Christina in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Private Michelle Tarpey with her daughter Grace in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien

"It was hard enough, going back now will be hard," he added.

Mum Sinead joked that Thomas's new mission is to get used to 'daddy duties'.

Minister Paul Kehoe Junior Minister for Defence pictured with 51th Infantry Group Commanding Officer Lt Col Brendan Mc Guinness and his wife Dymhna and daughters Alex and Jean and Deputy Chief of Staff Maj Gen Kieran Brennan (right) in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Minister Paul Kehoe Junior Minister for Defence pictured with 51th Infantry Group Commanding Officer Lt Col Brendan Mc Guinness and his wife Dymhna and daughters Alex and Jean and Deputy Chief of Staff Maj Gen Kieran Brennan (right) in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Lft Richard Deegan with his son Logan and partner Louise Devereaux in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien
Lft Richard Deegan with his son Logan and partner Louise Devereaux in Dublin Airport after the 51th Infantry Group returned after spending 6 Months on a UNIFIL Tour in the Lebanon. Pic Kyran O’Brien

"We're absolutely delighted. We just need to get settled back into reality now, back to real life," she told Independent.ie.

"Little madam here hasn't a clue what is going on, she's only interested in her bottle.

"I'd say she'll sleep for the day, and no doubt her daddy will too!"

The crowd cheered as the first few arrivals stepped in through the doors at 6.30am this morning.

Many described it as a "fantastic feeling" to come home.

Lieutenant Richard Deegan was welcomed by his son Logan and partner Louise Devereaux.

Posing for a snap with family, Lt Deehan said it the support from home is appreciated.

"It's an absolutely fantastic feeling to come home," he said.

"It's emotional to see everyone. The troops are out there doing the job and doing it well.

"So it's great to come back and see the support."

Corporal John McGuigan was welcomed by his daughter Blathnaid (3) and his partner Christina, while Pte Michelle Tarpey was saving her big hug for her daughter Grace and fiancé Cpl Jeremiah Loughran.

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