'He’s been through a very traumatic time': Trooper Kearney to recover at home in Killeagh

PDForra said Mr Kearney’s family will be offered every support available.
'He’s been through a very traumatic time': Trooper Kearney to recover at home in Killeagh

Trooper Shane Kearney who was injured in the Lebanon. Picture: Óglaigh na hÉireann

RECOVERING Trooper Shane Kearney will be offered the full support of the wider military family as he undergoes his recuperation at home in East Cork after being discharged from hospital yesterday, a PDForra spokesperson has said.

Mr Kearney, from Killeagh, was seriously wounded when the armoured UN vehicle in which he was travelling was surrounded by a group of attackers in Lebanon in December.

Private Seán Rooney, 24, was killed and Mr Kearney, 22, was medically evacuated from Lebanon to Ireland, where he has been receiving care at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

PDForra is the representative body for more than 6,500 Irish Defence Forces personnel. Its spokesperson Mark Keane said Mr Kearney’s family will be offered every support available.

“We have been in close contact with the family, and we have reached out to the family,” he said. 

“We stood with the family and his friends in Killeagh. We were struck by the camaraderie and sense of community that existed in Killeagh.”

The Defence Forces said Mr Kearney will require further medical treatment later in the year “but the medical staff are satisfied with his continued and steady progress to allow him to continue his recuperation at home with his family”.

PDForra welcomed the visit by Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs and Defence Minister Micheál Martin to Irish troops in Lebanon in January.

Mr Martin welcomed the news that Trooper Kearney was going home.

“I visited Shane Kearney last Monday in Beaumont Hospital. We had a very good chat,” he said, adding that he brought news back from Camp Shamrock to him following Mr Martin’s recent visit to the Lebanon.

“It’s good news that he’s going home…. he’s been through a very traumatic time." 

PDForra has requested permission from the Department of Defence and military management for Mr Keane and PDForra’s general secretary to pay a visit to Lebanon.

“We’re hoping to go out there, sooner rather than later,” said Mr Keane. 

PDForra is not briefed by the army on operational details, and has not visited Lebanon in up to three years due to Covid. PDForra is now facing into difficult pay talks, with large numbers of personnel leaving the Defence Forces as they retire, he said. A visit would give PDForra an opportunity to meet troops. 

“If they have any concerns, they can bring them forward to us and we can engage with military management and the department back here,” said Mr Keane.

Last week, Mr Martin visited Ireland’s peacekeeping troops at Camp Shamrock and laid a wreath at a memorial to Private Rooney.

Mr Martin has said the Irish government is “absolutely determined” to see those responsible for Mr Rooney’s death to be brought to justice, and encouraged the Irish soldiers in Lebanon to use support services available to them.

He also met the Lebanese ministers for foreign affairs and defence, Dr Abdullah Bou Habib and Maurice Sleem, in Beirut.

“When I was in Lebanon, I met with the minister for foreign affairs and the minister for defence and pressed the need for a comprehensive investigation into the murder of Sean Rooney and the attack on our peacekeeping troops in Lebanon, and also met with the Secretary General of the United Nations.

“We expect the UN nations report in mid-February.

“I don’t have any further updates in respect to the investigations that are underway,” Mr Martin said.

Lebanon’s military tribunal has charged seven suspects over the attack that killed Mr Rooney and injured Mr Kearney, as part of one of the three investigations that were launched in the wake of the incident.

Two other probes are being carried out by the UN and Ireland’s Defence Forces.

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