Tánaiste Micheál Martin has vowed that the Irish government will pursue and bring to justice those behind the killing of Private Seán Rooney in Lebanon.
Private Rooney, 23, from Newtowncunningham in County Donegal, died on active service on December 14 last year when the convoy he was traveling in came under attack. Private Shane Kearney, 22, suffered a serious head injury in the attack.
Mr. Martin met with members of the 121st Infantry Battalion UNIFIL during a visit to Lebanon.
“It will be an opportunity for me to convey my sympathies and those of the government to the colleagues of Private Seán Rooney on their loss and to express our heartfelt appreciation as they continue to fulfil their duties with the professionalism and dedication that one associates with the Defence Forces,” he said before flying to the Middle Eastern country.
Mr. Martin, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, added that the Irish government is determined that “all the facts and circumstances of the incident in which Private Rooney was killed are fully established and that those responsible are brought to justice”.
During his visit Mr. Martin met with the Lebanese Minister for Defence Mr. Maurice Sleem, as well as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.
Mr. Martin said it is always a privilege to visit Irish troops serving overseas.
“The outpouring of sympathy and support for Private Rooney and his injured colleagues in Óglaigh na hÉireann is a true expression of the regard in which the Defence Forces are held and a reflection of the pride of the Irish people in what they do.”
During his visit Mr. Martin laid a wreath for Irish Defence Forces personnel who have died serving in Lebanon.
Private Rooney’s camp commander, Lieutenant Colonel Damien Murphy said: “We are very proud of Seán and his sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Not long after the shooting in which Private Rooney died, Hezbollah described the incident as “an unintentional accident between the local people and members of the Irish battalion."