Taoiseach honours 47 Irish soldiers who died serving in Lebanon

Taoiseach honours 47 Irish soldiers who died serving in Lebanon

The Taoiseach attended the event in the southern Lebanon town of Tibnin, where Irish UN peacekeepers used to be based. Picture: Neil Michael

Micheál Martin has today laid a wreath at a memorial for 47 Irish Defence Forces soldiers who died serving in Lebanon.

The Taoiseach attended the event in the southern Lebanon town of Tibnin, where Irish UN peacekeepers used to be based.

He was flanked by the Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sean Clancy, and Nabil Fawaz, the Mayor of Tibnin.

Three wreaths were laid in memory of three soldiers who died in the month of May, Seargent Charles Forrester, who died in 1989, Seargent Edward Yeates, who died in 1980, and Private Billy Kedian, who died aged 21 in 1999.

The 21-year-old was the last Irish UNIFIL soldier to die in action.

Three wreaths were laid in memory of three soldiers who died in the month of May. Picture: Neil Michael
Three wreaths were laid in memory of three soldiers who died in the month of May. Picture: Neil Michael

A fourth soldier being honoured was Captain Ronald McCann, who served in Congo in 1962.

The ceremony, which lasted about 15 minutes was officiated by UN Priest Rev Father Vodek Bodek.

Those from Tibnin included Fr Marios Khairallah.

Simon Coveney, Minister for Defence, was also in attendance and he also laid a wreath.

After a minute's silence, a piper played the Piper's Lame t, and this was followed by The Last Post and the raising of the Tricolour.

After the ceremony, Mr Martin and his party were invited to the local community centre for light refreshments.

The event is part of a visit to members of the Defence Forces deployed with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

Simon Coveney, Minister for Defence, was also in attendance and he also laid a wreath. Picture: Neil Michael
Simon Coveney, Minister for Defence, was also in attendance and he also laid a wreath. Picture: Neil Michael

During his visit, the Taoiseach will meet with the Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNIFIL, Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz.

The Taoiseach and his delegation will visit the Defence Forces stationed at UN Position 2-45, where he will see, first-hand, the situation in Lebanon more widely, as well as the daily challenges and tasks undertaken at UNIFIL.

The Taoiseach will also have the opportunity to observe the work of UNIFIL to secure the Blue Line.

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