The Echo view: Brave Irish soldiers – our tears and pride

One of our soldiers has made the ultimate sacrifice and laid down his life for his fellow human beings, while his comrades have suffered injury and trauma.
The Echo view: Brave Irish soldiers – our tears and pride

Private Seán Rooney (RIP) and Private Shane Kearney. Pictures: Óglaigh na hÉireann

WE are all immensely proud of our United Nations peacekeepers of the Irish Defence Forces. They have brought honour to this country as they have put their lives on the line for people in the most troubled parts of the world.

Today, our pride in them is greater than ever, even as our hearts are broken over the tragic death of one of our soldiers and the serious injury to his colleague.

All of our military personnel make enormous sacrifices in their work on behalf of the state and of people who need their protection in Lebannon and in other areas where Ireland has responded to the call of the United Nations to help protect vulnerable people.

Seán Rooney, who was killed in action in the Lebanon. 
Seán Rooney, who was killed in action in the Lebanon. 

Unfortunately now, once again, one of our soldiers, 23-year-old Private Seán Rooney from County Donegal, has made the ultimate sacrifice and laid down his life for his fellow human beings, while his comrades have suffered injury and trauma.

We commiserate with the families of these young Irish heroes. The condolences of every one of us go out to the bereaved family and our best wishes to the seriously injured soldier and the others who were impacted by this terrible attack. We join in the prayers for the speedy recovery of Private Shane Kearney from Killeagh, Co. Cork, who was injured.

Trooper Shane Kearney who was injured in the Lebanon. 
Trooper Shane Kearney who was injured in the Lebanon. 

Similarly we express our solidarity and support for all the members of our army, Naval Service and Air Corps who have suffered the loss of a courageous comrade.

As the Chief of Staff said today, their reaction will be to carry on with their duties in serving the people of Ireland and the people under their protection with the dedication they bring to every mission, every day.

For this we admire them and treasure them. Every one of them who has stepped forward to wear the uniform does so in the service of, and for the protection of, the people of their community and their country, and indeed of the people around the world who need our help. It is a noble and honourable thing that they do.

We know that for the families directly affected, this is a most terrible day and we can only wish them every good grace as they seek to come to terms with this awful news. The people of Ireland are with them in their grief. We know it is a long road ahead but they will face it in the embrace of the brotherhood and sisterhood of our wonderful armed forces and of the entire nation.

As Taoiseach Micheál Martin said, this tragedy is a reminder to us of the extraordinary sacrifices that our peacekeepers make on a daily basis.

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