Tuesday 12 December 2017

Duff soldiers on after Euros with trip to meet Lebanon troops

Tom Brady Security Editor

VETERAN soccer star Damien Duff will take a break from pondering his international future today with a trip to south Lebanon to meet Irish troops.

There are currently concerns the violence in neighbouring Syria could spill across the border -- meaning recreational opportunities for the peacekeeping troops are limited .

But over the next few days they hope to grab a couple of hours rest to listen to Mr Duff talk about his glittering career.

It is understood that the player's older brother, Gerry, will travel with the star. Gerry Duff is part of the fifth Battalion -- although he is not currently serving in the Lebanon. The trip is being billed as a "morale booster".

Described as the greatest Irish player of his generation, the 33-year-old will put aside any personal disappointment from Euro 2012 to meet the soldiers. He travels to Beirut today and will arrive at the Irish battalion headquarters in Tibnin in the early hours of tomorrow morning for a three-day visit.

His itinerary includes a trip to a local orphanage.

The Defence Forces have 331 personnel in Lebanon and they are working alongside a contingent of 177 Finnish soldiers under the overall command of Dubliner, Lieut Col Brian Monahan. The Irish area covers 140 sq metres and, apart from Tibnin, they are responsible for the more heavily populated town of Bint Jubayl.

Their most sensitive posts are along the Blue Line, the negotiated dividing line between Lebanon and Israel.

Irish Independent

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