Ireland has every right to be proud and somewhat relieved at the safe return home of 100 troops after their hazardous tour of UN duty in the war zone of the Golan Heights in Syria.
Having put their lives on the line every day for the past six months, they fully deserve the joyous welcome of families and loved ones at Casement aerodrome, a moment perhaps best portrayed by Waterford girl Lena Murphy’s acceptance of a marriage proposal on the tarmac by her partner Private Kevin Phelan. What a special way indeed to celebrate a homecoming.
There can be no doubt the courage and negotiation skills of this rapid response unit saved the lives of Filipino soldiers who had been captured by a hardline faction. Credit is also due to Defence Minister Simon Coveney who waited until 2am to greet them. Proof, if it were needed, of the high status in which Irish troops are held, is seen as another Irish infantry group is already on duty in this dangerous war zone.
The country can rightly be proud of them.
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