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New probe into soldiers' deaths

An independent review into the deaths of three soldiers in the Lebanon 22 years ago will be complete within four months.

Barrister Frank Callanan has been appointed to examine the circumstances of the deaths of Corporal Fintan Heneghan, Private Mannix Armstrong and Private Thomas Walsh.

The three were killed by a landmine while on United Nations duty in Brashit, south Lebanon, in March 1989.

New information uncovered during the State's preparation to defend a legal case sparked the inquiry.

Defence Minister Alan Shatter said it will encompass both a review of all relevant documents and interviews with such persons as considered appropriate by the appointed person.

Mr Callanan SC - who had been tipped for the position of Attorney General in the Fine Gael led Government - will report back to the minister with his findings on or before August 19.

The families of the three men, who served with 'C' Coy, 64 Infantry Battalion, have raised concerns over how they were killed when their lorry struck a landmine.

It is understood the families later found the road had not been swept for mines.

They called for an independent inquiry into the deaths in 2003, but an internal Army inquiry reportedly found no negligence.

Mr Shatter previously revealed the new information was not available in 2003.

Pte Armstrong's widow, Marian, is also taking High Court action for compensation.

Mr Callanan, 54, was educated at Gonzaga College in south Dublin and studied at University College Dublin. He later attended the College of Europe, Bruges and the Kings Inns before he was called to the Bar in 1979. He became a senior counsel in 1998.