Santa comes early for troops and families in Aras
THE relatives of Irish Defence Force troops serving in Lebanon received a Christmas gift to remember at Aras an Uachtarain yesterday when they came face to face with their overseas heroes.
President Michael D Higgins threw a festive celebration at his new stately abode for more than 300 partners, husbands, wives and children of the 105th Infantry Battalion who will spend this Christmas over two-and-a-half thousand miles away from their loved ones.
Speaking directly to 460 soldiers huddled in front of a webcam, Mr Higgins said: "I am very proud of you".
Clare Reilly from Co Longford was one of the many heartbroken parents who attended yesterday's event with her 22-year-old daughter Ruth.
She says that she is pining to hear her son's voice once again. Private Paul Reilly departed only three weeks ago.
And while she says she is far from computer savvy, Skype has become her new best friend and helps put her mind at ease.