Ireland's new Minister for Foreign Affairs has expressed his “deepest sympathies” to the family of Private Seán Rooney who was killed in Lebanon last week while carrying out his services as a United Nations peace keeper.
Micheál Martin was speaking as he resigned as taoiseach after the government reshuffle at the weekend.
Private Rooney, from Newtowncunningham in County Donegal, was travelling in one of two vehicles that came under fire while travelling to Beirut on Wednesday evening. He is the first Irish soldier to die on peace keeping duties in more than 20 years.
Private Rooney, 24, was due to marry next year. His body was returned to Ireland on Monday morning and his funeral took place today at Holy Family Church in Dundalk, County Louth. It was attended by Mr. Martin and President Michael D. Higgins. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was also in attendance. Private Rooney was buried with full military honors.
Trooper Shane Kearney was critically injured in the attack.
Mr. Martin said: “In my conversation with President Higgins concerning the events of Wednesday, we talked about the remarkable service which Óglaigh na hÉireann have always provided.In his capacity as Commander in Chief, the President has always spoken of his deep appreciation for the men and women from all parts of our society who serve in our armed forces.
“They have protected our democracy at home and brought honour to our country by representing our values abroad.
“The loss of Private Rooney is truly shocking. He was a very committed young man who had many plans for the full life he had ahead of him. His family has, over many years, built a deep tradition of service in our armed forces Private Seán Rooney served his country proudly and with honour.”