Irish troops who died on UN mission in Lebanon honoured
Irish peacekeeping troops stood in silence in south Lebanon yesterday at a special ceremony honouring 47 of their comrades who lost their lives while serving with the United Nations mission there.
Junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe laid a wreath at an UN monument in Tibnin during a visit to the 380 Irish personnel currently serving with Unifil.
Among those at the ceremony were the Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) of the Defence Forces, Major General Kieran Brennan, and the officer commanding the 111th infantry battalion, Lieut Col Neil Nolan.
The ceremony also marked the 40th anniversary of Ireland's deployment to the Lebanon mission.
Mr Kehoe said that in serving so selflessly, Irish peacekeepers had "helped save the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world.
"Tragically, in saving those lives, too many of our finest people - like those remembered here today - have lost their own."
Mr Kehoe added: "The spirit of many Irish soldiers will remain in south Lebanon and the memorial will be a focal point, lest anyone forget the contribution they made."
After a reception with local leaders in Tibnin town hall, Mr Kehoe then visited a community project, funded with help from Irish Aid, at Bint Jbeil.
Earlier, he attended a medal parade at the Irish battalion headquarters and told the troops: "Your work and your actions fill every Irish person with pride and are the difference between life and death for so many people living here."