Father and son among troops set for Lebanon duty
It's a long way from the Middle East, but it is essential training all the same.
Irish soldiers yesterday undertook drills at the Glen of Imaal in Co Wicklow, ahead of their peace-keeping deployment to the Lebanon.
Members of the 112th Infantry Battalion were on manoeuvres as they entered the final phase of three months of intensive training for their forthcoming mission.
Among their number were father and son Company Sergeant Con O'Brien and Lieutenant Conor O'Brien from Ballybofey, Co Donegal.
Both will be deployed to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) in early May.
The mission-readiness exercise put commanders and soldiers through a series of demanding scenarios based on potential threats that may be encountered in the mission area.
In one scenario, troops were asked to secure, extract and evacuate personnel involved in a complex attack.
In total, the Defence Forces has 588 personnel serving overseas in 13 missions.
Last month, the 47 Irish soldiers who have died on the Lebanon mission were remembered in a ceremony.
Defence Minister Paul Kehoe laid a wreath at a UN monument in Tibnin, Lebanon, during a visit to the 380 Irish personnel serving with Unifil.