Body of Irish Soldier Private Séan Rooney killed in Lebanon arrives Dublin

Private Seán Rooney
A UN ceremony was held to honour the soldier at Beirut Airport

The body of an Irish solider who was killed when his convoy came under attack in Lebanon last week has arrived in Dublin.

Private Séan Rooney, 24, from Newtowncunningham in County Donegal, was serving as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

A UN ceremony was held to honour the soldier at Beirut Airport.

Pte Rooney's body will arrive at Casement Aerodome, Baldonnel, before being reunited with his family.

His colleague Pte Shane Kearney, from Killeagh in County Cork, was seriously injured in the attack and remains in hospital. Two other peacekeepers were treated for minor injuries.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar reiterated his condolences to Pte Rooney's family, friends and colleagues in the Defence Forces.

Speaking at an Irish Red Cross event for Ukrainian families in Dublin, Mr Varadkar described the Irish UN peacekeeping mission's work in Lebanon as "immensely valuable".

He said arrangements were being made for an appropriate service.

"I don't want to go into details of that now until it's confirmed, but obviously, he'll be offered military honours which I think is appropriate given the circumstances."

He said it was important that to understand the circumstances of the attack.

Three investigations are under way: one led by the UN, another by the Defence Forces and a third by the Lebanese government.

"I would have confidence in those investigations to find out exactly what happened, why an Irish soldier lost his life and another another was severely injured," Mr Varadkar said.

"The main thing I think this week really is to stand with and express our condolences to Private Rooney's family, his friends and colleagues because it's been a long time since we lost a soldier in combat in Lebanon. But it does remind us how important that mission is."

Mr Varadkar said the Irish peacekeeping soldiers efforts has allowed people "in that part of Lebanon for the last few decades to lead a relatively normal life which wouldn't be the case otherwise".

"It's an immensely valuable mission, over 40,000 Irish people have served there, which is extraordinary if you think about it, and one that we're very committed to," the Taoiseach added.

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