Private Seán Rooney, peacekeeper killed in Lebanon, honoured by UN

Private Seán Rooney

Aoife Breslin

Private Seán Rooney, the Irish peacekeeper who was killed in Lebanon last December, was honoured at the 75th anniversary of the United Nations at its headquarters in New York.

The Irish ambassador to the UN, Fergal Mythen, received the Dag Hammarskjold medal on behalf of Pte Rooney’s family yesterday.

The medal ceremony formed part of a series of events that marked the 75th anniversary of UN peacekeeping.

Pte Rooney (24) was killed when a bullet entered the rear of a vehicle and struck him last December 14. He was on his second overseas mission in Lebanon.

He had been serving with the 121st Infantry Battalion with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon when the convoy he was travelling with came under attack outside Beirut.

The Louth native, who was engaged to be married, was based in Dundalk’s Aiken barracks, close to where he grew up, and his family are rooted in the military tradition of the town.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres laid a wreath at the Peacekeeper’s Memorial in the grounds of the UN compound to commemorate the 4,200 peacekeepers, including 91 Irish personnel, who have been killed.

“We mourn their loss and share our deepest sympathies with their families, friends and colleagues. We will never forget their contributions,” Mr Guterres said.

​Pte Rooney was originally from Muirhevnamor, Dundalk. He attended Gaelscoil Dhún Dealgan and St Mary’s College, Dundalk, before moving to Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal.

On leaving school, he joined the Irish Defence Forces in March 2019 and was based with the 27th Infantry Battalion at Aiken Barracks.