Tánaiste Micheal Martin visits Shamrock Camp
Peacekeeper Private Sean Rooney’s death in Lebanon last December has left an ‘indelible’ mark on the Irish camp as his “sacrifice will never be forgotten”.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin attended a wreath laying ceremony in the honour of all Irish troops who have been killed on duty today.
Lt Col Damien Murphy, Commanding Officer of the 121 Infantry Battalion at the Shamrock Camp in Lebanon paid a tribute to the soldier ahead of the Tánaiste’s visit to the camp.
Pte Sean Rooney was killed while on board an armed UN vehicle which came under attack on December 14.
“Sean’s death has left an indelible mark on this unit and Sean’s sacrifice will never be forgotten as he continues to inspire us to carry out our duties to be best of our ability,” Lt Col Murphy said.
“In order for us to conduct our operations here we rely completely on the support of our families and our loved ones at home.
“They make a huge emotional and physical sacrifice when we’re away and it is only through that that we are able to carry out our duties here.”
He said Pte Rooney is a “fine example” of the “best traditions and values” of the Defence Forces.
Lt Col Murphy said the UN peacekeeper carried out his duties “to an excellent standard”.
“A fine soldier on his second tour of duty here in the Lebanon. And during the incident as well, he carried out his duties to the best of his ability so we’re very proud of Sean.”
Trooper Shane Kearney was also injured in the attack and he has a “long road ahead”.
“Shane is making great progress in his recovery, he still has a long road ahead of him. But I am informed his progress is going very well,” he said.
Irish peacekeepers are back to their “full operations” and are carrying out operations independently and with the Lebanese armed forces.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin attended a wreath laying ceremony in the honour of all Irish troops who have been killed on duty.
He vowed “no stone will be left unturned” in inquiries into Private Rooney’s death.
“The Government is absolutely determined that all of the facts and circumstances of the incident are fully established and that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice,” he told Irish peacekeepers at Lebanon.
He will meet his Lebanese counterparts this evening and he said he will push for them to “ensure” the Lebanese investigation is “as thorough and complete as possible”.
The Defence Minister told troops they should “reach out and seek support” if they need it, especially when they return to Ireland.
“You have come through a very difficult experience and you need to mind yourselves,” he said.
Minister Martin also paid tribute families of troops.
“Without their support, the world would be a poorer and more dangerous place.”