Celebrations put on hold for troops on Afghanistan frontline

Soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been forced to put St Patrick’s Day on hold because of duties on the frontline.

But while they still plan to celebrate the day next week, there will be one obvious omission: a pint of Guinness. No alcohol is allowed for troops on tour.

Meanwhile, 524 members of the Defence Forces will be serving as part of peacekeeping missions in 14 countries from the Congo to Kosovo to Uganda.

More than 430 of them are serving as part of the UN interim force in Lebanon, where many will be on patrol along the border with Israel.

In Afghanistan, Captain Justin Kennedy-Lunde, 29, from Waterford said: “We will still celebrate as soon as possible with a shamrock presentation and a pot of Irish stew.”

Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Lieutenant Colonel Pat O’Leary has presented a traditional bowl of shamrock to the Commander of the EU Force, Major General Robert Brieger of Austria.

In Pristina, Kosovo, Colonel John Hamill will award mission service medals and shamrock to members of the Irish contingent with the Kosovo Force. This will be followed by an international poc fada contest, which the Irish are favourites to win.


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