CHRISTMAS IS traditionally a time for family and friends.
Not so this year for some of the Sligo soldiers on UN peacekeeping duties in South Lebanon.
They have just commenced a six-month tour of duty as part of the 107th IRISHFINN Battalion.
The 332 Irish troops have been joined by 176 Finnish soldiers on deployment.
As they spend the Festive season separated from loved ones, the Sligo soldiers have sent greetings home via The Sligo Champion.
Rosses Point resident, Commandant Gerald O'Grady, is Deputy Commanding Officer and Chief of Staff of the Battalion.
He has served overseas on three separate UN missions-twice in the Lebanon.
Commandant O'Grady has extended good wishes to his wife, Deirdre and children, Ava (11), Ellen (9) and Rebecca (6).
Corporal John Cleary has wished his wife, Aisling, children and mother, Brea, family and friends a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year.
He says he is looking forward to seeing them all soon.
Corporal Trevor Middleton joined in the festive wishes.
He said: "To my mum and dad, my nephew, Shandra and nice Katleland, have a Happy Christmas and see you all in 2013."