Monday 24 June 2019

Report into Lebanon killings finds litany of mistakes in military ops

Private Caomhán Seoighe was kidnapped and murdered
Private Caomhán Seoighe was kidnapped and murdered
Private Hugh Doherty was shot three times while on duty
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

A litany of mistakes in military operations are laid bare in an independent review into the murders of two Irish peacekeeping troops in south Lebanon more than 37 years ago.

The review focused on the death of Pte Hugh Doherty and the disappearance of Pte Caomhán Seoighe (Kevin Joyce) while on duty outside the village of Dyar Ntar on April 27, 1981.

Pte Doherty was shot three times, while Pte Seoighe was abducted and believed to have been murdered.

The two soldiers were alone in an unprotected post in an area known to be used by members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The review was carried out by retired judge Mr Roderick Murphy and submitted to Defence Minister Paul Kehoe. Mr Kehoe said the report identified a number of failings and shortcomings in the Defence Forces operation in south Lebanon at the time.

"This should never have happened," Mr Kehoe said, adding he wanted to assure the families, friends and colleagues of the two soldiers that important lessons had been learnt.

Mr Murphy reported that the tragic events of April 27, 1981, had taken place in an observation post which had been set up 13 days earlier.

He said there were no natural built defences or shelter. It was an exposed post and was manned during daylight hours only.

Blunders outlined by Mr Murphy included persistent and inadequate assessment of risk, given the exposed nature of the post. There was inadequate manning, failure to provide a landline and the absence of reports of incidents, in addition to a casual approach to the posting and supervision of the post and no system of checks or visits by the platoon commander.

Irish Independent

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