21 December 2022

Soldier injured in Lebanon attack to be brought back to Ireland

21 December 2022

A peacekeeping soldier injured in Lebanon is to be brought back to Ireland to receive further medical treatment.

Irish Army Private Shane Kearney, 22, from Killeagh, Co Cork, suffered a serious head injury in the attack that led to the death of Private Sean Rooney.

The soldiers were part of 121st Infantry Battalion, comprising 333 Irish troops, which was deployed in November to south Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil).

Two other peacekeepers were treated for minor injuries.

The Irish Defence Forces said Trooper Kearney will be flown from Beirut Airport to Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, on Wednesday.

He will be flown to Ireland in a specially equipped, contracted medical aircraft which is expected to land at Casement Aerodrome in the afternoon.

He will then be taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin to continue receiving medical treatment.

An Irish Defences Forces statement said: “Trooper Shane Kearney is continuing to improve and he remains stable at present.”

Three investigations are under way into the attack in which Pte Kearney was injured and Pte Rooney killed.

One will be led by the UN, another by the Defence Forces and a third by the Lebanese government.

The body of Pte Rooney was repatriated from Lebanon on Monday.

He was awarded a number of honours posthumously, including a peacekeeping medal from the UN and an appreciation medal from the Lebanese armed forces.

He was accompanied on the flight by a number of colleagues from 121 Infantry Battalion, including his company commander, who are understood to have never left his side.

He will be buried with full military honours on Thursday.

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