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Independent review announced into Irish soldiers' 1989 deaths in Lebanon

Justice minister Alan Shatter says new information has come to light which could have influenced an earlier 2003 inquiry.

THE JUSTICE MINISTER Alan Shatter has announced a new review into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three Irish soldiers killed on duty in the Lebanon in 1989.

Corporal Fintan Heneghan, Private Mannix Armstrong and Private Thomas Walsh died while serving with the 64th Infantry Battalion of the United Nations Interim Force in the Lebanon (UNIFUL).

They were killed in a landmine explosion just outside their observation post in the village of Brashit in southern Lebanon on 21 March, 1989.

A review was carried out into the deaths by the then-Department of Defence in 2003, when it was concluded that no further enquiry into the three soldiers’ deaths was warranted.

In preparing the State’s defence against a separate legal case, however, Shatter said new information had come to light which may have changed the course of the 2003 decision had it been available at the time.

An independent person would be appointed to conduct a review into the relevant matters, Shatter said, with the families of the three deceased soldiers being the first to be informed of that reviewer’s identity.

Some senior officials from the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence had already met with the families of the deceased in relation to the new review.

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