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Friday 15 November 2019

Tragic death fall soldier just back from Lebanon

Tour of duty: Paddy Conlon
Tour of duty: Paddy Conlon

Caroline Crawford and Tom Brady

A soldier who died following an accident at a military barracks yesterday had recently returned from a peacekeeping tour in south Lebanon.

Private Paddy Conlon (32) died from his injuries after he fell from a second-floor window in an accommodation block at McKee barracks in Dublin early yesterday morning.

He had recently returned from a six-month tour of duty in Lebanon and was looking forward to a break at home in Coolaney, Co Sligo.

His parents Heather and Christopher travelled to Dublin to identify their son's remains. His partner Louise Finnan was being comforted by relatives and close friends at the couple's home in Coolaney yesterday.

The military contacted the emergency services immediately and he was rushed to the Mater Hospital but was pronounced dead at 2.10am.

A statement from the Defence Forces confirmed he had died "due to a tragic accident and a fall from a height".

Justice Minister Alan Shatter expressed his sympathy to Private Conlon's family, partner and colleagues yesterday.

Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lt Gen Sean McCann also extended his sympathies and a minute's silence was observed at military ceremonies yesterday.

Military police and the gardai are both compiling reports on the incident and examined the scene at McKee Barracks.

Locals in the picturesque village of Coolaney were shocked by news of the sudden death. They recalled the local man as "a fitness fanatic" who had loved football.

He had been capped for the Irish soccer team at junior level and in recent years had represented his country with the Defence Forces team at international level.

"He was a lovely, lovely guy. The army was his career and he loved it. But after his family his other love was football," said Noel Kennedy, secretary of the Sligo Leitrim and District soccer league.

Irish Independent

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