Soldiers return from Lebanon is delayed
Local troops who were due home this week and next week from Lebanon may not now get home until late June or early July.
The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe this week confirmed that the current indication is that Defence Forces members on UNIFIL Mission in Lebanon will have their rotations extended.
The mission includes some Athlone troops and other midlands Defence Force members based in Custume Barracks.
He said that the first rotation or ‘chalk’ of the troops will take place in the latter part of June and the second in early July.
He said: “However, contacts with the UN in New York are continuing about the scope to possibly bring these dates forward.”
The issue arose after the United Nations Secretary General, on April 5, directed the suspension of all rotations and leave for military personnel serving in UN missions until June 30, effective immediately.
Minister Kehoe said the UN had agreed to a partial exemption of the suspension for Ireland.
“This flexibility from the UN resulted from the immediate and coordinated case advanced at mission level, by the Chief of Staff and at UN Headquarters by the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”