Tánaiste pays tribute to Private Seán Rooney in Lebanon

Private Séan Rooney.

The Tánaiste has paid tribute to the late Seán Rooney while in Lebanon and vowed that no stone will be left unturned in the investigation into his death.

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin, laid a wreath at a memorial that honours Irish peacekeepers who have died in Lebanon.


Speaking in Lebanon, he said “no stone will be left unturned” in inquiries into Private Rooney’s death.

“This tragic event has brought home to all of us the fragility of peace here in Lebanon and the tragedy that war and conflict can bring to so many innocent people.

“I’m sure you’re aware that, in addition to the ongoing lines of inquiry being pursued by the Defence Forces Multi-disciplinary Team, three separate parallel investigations are taking place into the facts and circumstances of the matter by the Lebanese authorities, by UNIFIL and by An Garda Siochána.

“The government is absolutely determined that all of the facts and circumstances of the incident are fully established and that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

He added later this evening, he will meet both the Lebanese Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence and will impress upon them the need to ensure that the Lebanese investigation is as ‘thorough and complete as possible.

Mr Martin said, “Having been appointed as Minister for Defence, I would have wanted to make an early return to Camp Shamrock, but the tragic events of 14 December and the death of your comrade, Private Seán Rooney, made that return even more important.

“Private Rooney’s death was a shocking reminder to all of Ireland of the risks taken by each and every one of you, in discharging your duty and maintaining our country’s proud record and reputation.


“I’m here today with your Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Sean Clancy and the Secretary General of the Department of Defence, Jacqui McCrum because I want you to know that the country, the government and the entire Defence Organisation stands with you in solidarity and unity.

“I’m conscious that all of you have lost a comrade and a friend. It is to your immense credit that, notwithstanding your personal loss, you have continued to perform with the professionalism we have come to expect from our Defence Forces,” said Mr Martin.

He also encouraged the soldiers to reach out and seek support if they need it, especially when they return home.

“You have come through a very difficult experience and you need to mind yourselves.

“I want also to acknowledge those who were injured in the incident at Al-Aqbiya, especially Trooper Shane Kearney, who was critically injured.

“We are all immensely grateful that Trooper Kearney is now back in Ireland and making good progress with his recovery. It goes without saying that we wish him continued progress in the coming weeks and months.

“The death of Seán Rooney will have brought home to each of your children, partners, parents, siblings and friends, as well as the thousands of other military families, the true nature of the risks that you encounter every day.

“Without their support, you couldn’t do what you do.

“Without their support, you couldn’t serve the cause of peace.

“Without their support, our country couldn’t perform the role it has in the world.

“Without their support, the world would be a poorer and more dangerous place.

“As a country, we are immensely grateful to them for the sacrifices that they make every day that you are away.

“Finally, it remains only for me to reiterate my sympathies and those of the government with all of you on the loss of your comrade and friend, Private Seán Rooney, to thank you again for your service in the cause of peace in a vulnerable part of the world and to wish you all the best for the remainder of your tour and a safe return to your families and loved ones in a few months,” said Mr Martin.

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