Son of soldier killed bound for Lebanon
THE SON of a Sligo solider killed in South Lebanon 25 years ago is to take up UN peacekeeping duty in the Middle Eastern country.
Private Owen McLoughlin's father, Corporal Dermot McLoughlin, died in Brasnit, on January 10th, 1987.
He was killed by an Israeli tank. He was aged 33.
"I always wanted to join the Army to find out what he died for and what he was serving for," Pte. McLoughlin said.
"I suppose this mission here will give me the ideal opportunity to see. It will be emotional but I am looking forward to it."
Owen said he would see places where his late father was and see the people he saw.
"It's pretty much the same place – even though it has carried on for so long," Pte. McLoughlin said.
Owen is one of 18 personnel from Sligo among a total of 332 troops of the 107th UNIFIL Battalion who will shortly depart for a six-month tour of duty in the Lebanon.
It is his fourth time overseas having previously served in Kosovo, Chad and Liberia.
Owen says his mother, Holly, is very supportive.
"She knows the risks. It can flair up at any moment," he said.
Rosses Point resident, Commandant Gerald O'Grady will be Deputy Commanding Officer of the Battalion.
He served overseas on three separte UN missions, twice in the Lebanon and was also a Military Observer in Lebanon, Israel and Syria from 2008 to 2010 with the Un Truce Supervision Organisation.
He is married to Deirdre and they have three children, Ava, Ellen and Rebecca.
Captain Gerry Casey, who also lives in Rosses Point, is the Press Officer.
He has served on numerous Un Missions. Capt. Casey is marrried to Theresa. They have four children, Sean, Emma, Louise and Rachel.
The Irish troops will be joined by 176 Finnish soldiers to form the IRISHFINN Battalion on deployment.
Drawn primarily from the 4th Western Brigade (Connacht and North West) they will take over duties from the 106th Battalion, who have been in Lebanon since May.
The Irish area of operations measures some 140 square kilometers from Tibnin in the North to the Blue Line along the border with Israel.