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Father and son off on Lebanon tour

A FATHER and son are bound for Lebanon later this month to serve with the UN peacekeeping mission there.

Private Dean Kearney (20) is the fourth generation of his family to join the Defence Forces and will serve with his father, Sergeant Brian Kearney -- who is on his seventh tour.

Pte Kearney said: "When I was a kid I was watching for my dad coming back from overseas. I always said I'd like to do it too."

They will be among 440 Irish troops who will make up part of the mission with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The youngest soldier travelling on the mission, Pte Emma Furlong, spoke yesterday of her desire to follow in her father's footsteps and to do overseas service.

The 20-year-old, who grew up at the Curragh where her father Daniel is still based, said: "I'm so excited. I've always been interested in joining the military because I grew up with it. My mother is a bit upset because I'm so young and it's my first time away from home, but I just can't wait to get over there."

Defence Minister Alan Shatter reviewed the members of the 104th Infantry Battalion during a parade at Custume barracks, Athlone. They leave later this month.

He paid tribute to the 47 Irish troops who have paid the ultimate price and lost their lives in the cause of peace in the troubled state.

He said: "Occasions such as this remind us of the important part our Defence Forces play as peacekeepers throughout the world.".

Irish Independent