Wednesday 20 June 2018

'These were the real heroes' - how the families of Irish soldiers killed on UN duty have paid the highest price for peace

The families of Irish soldiers killed on UN duty have paid the highest price for peace, writes Alan O'Keeffe

LOVED ONES LOST TO PEACE: Private William O’Brien (above) was killed in 1986. A commemoration today will honour Irish soldiers who died while on United Nations duty
LOVED ONES LOST TO PEACE: Private William O’Brien (above) was killed in 1986. A commemoration today will honour Irish soldiers who died while on United Nations duty
LOVED ONES LOST TO PEACE: Corporal Peter Ward (right), who was killed in a gun battle in 1992, standing with brother-in-law Noel O’Brien (left), who would accompany his body home. A commemoration today will honour Irish soldiers who died while on United Nations duty

Alan O'Keeffe

Irish families continue to mourn the loved ones they lost in Lebanon. As the 40th anniversary of the deployment of Irish troops beckons on June 24, a family spoke of losing two young men among the 47 Irish soldiers who died in the troubled Middle Eastern country.

Twenty-one Irish soldiers were killed in action in the early years between 1978 and 2000 serving with the United Nations' Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Pauline Ward lost her brother William O'Brien (25) when he was shot dead shortly before Christmas in 1986. Her husband Peter Ward (29) was shot dead in 1992.

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