A Dublin-born soldier killed while serving with the British army in Iraq was posthumously honoured tonight for his role in the war.
Lance Corporal Ian Malone, the only Irishman to die in the war, was shot dead while fighting with 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards in the battle of Basra last year.
His mother, Mrs May Malone, received the Iraq Medal 2004 from British Ambassador Stewart Eldon at a special ceremony in south Dublin.
Lance Corporal Malone, 28, from Ballyfermot, was killed by a sniper outside the southern Iraqi city on April 6, 2003, along with a Zimbabwean colleague, Piper Christopher Muzvuru, 20.
The NCO had already been awarded the Nato Kosovo 2000 Medal for services in the Balkans with the Irish Guards.
Mrs Malone, who at one time heavily criticised the war in Iraq, said tonight the family took comfort from the fact he died doing something he loved.
“I suppose he would be privileged to be here, but we’d sooner have him back,” Mrs Malone said.
“He was very proud of his work, he had a good time and he travelled a lot.
“I suppose he would be honoured. He always wanted to be famous but he’s famous in the wrong way.”
Lance Corporal Malone joined the Irish Guards in 1997 and had tours of duty in Britain, Poland, Canada, Oman, Germany and Kosovo. He was also a valued member of the regimental pipe band.
Ambassador Eldon said it was an honour to present the medals.
“How honoured I am to be able to present you with this medal. They are recognition of the contribution he made and what he stood for,” Mr Eldon said.
The Ambassador added that the honour was also in recognition of the steadfastness with which the family dealt with his death.
The Irish Guards are a regiment of the British Army formed in 1900 by Queen Victoria to commemorate the bravery of the Irish people who fought in the Boer War.
The regiment recruits from both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Members of the NCO’s immediate family and close friends also attended the ceremony.
Mrs Malone added that her son was well remembered by former colleagues in the Irish Guards.
“They keep in touch all the time we had one home last week but he had to go back.”
She also said that former Army friends make a point of visiting the cemetery.
British military attache Paul Cummings described Lance Corporal Malone as a remarkable man and one who would be fondly remembered.
“He was a remarkable young man, he touched the hearts of an enormous amount of people, myself included,” Mr Cummings said.
“I was surprised, pleased and delighted to have met him. He did a lot in a short time and since then you (Mrs Malone) and I have shared sorrow, pride, and great joy.”