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Tanaiste Micheal Martin with Lt Col Stephen Mac Eoin as he meets members of the 124th Infantry Battalion at Camp Shamrock. Alamy Stock Photo
South of the Litani

Tánaiste visits Irish troops in Lebanon today and will meet Lebanese Government officials

Martin has visited Camp Shamrock, United Nations Post 2-45, and spoke to the 124th Infantry Battalion in UNIFIL.

LAST UPDATE | 19 May

THE TÁNAISTE MICHEÁL Martin has visited Irish peacekeeping troops based in the battle scarred South Lebanon and is due to meet Lebanese Government officials.

Martin will call to Camp Shamrock, United Nations Post 2-45, to speak to the 124th Infantry Battalion in UNIFIL – located two hours south of Beirut.

UNIFIL is Ireland’s largest overseas deployment with 379 troops and the Tánaiste recently approved deployment of an additional platoon of 33 Irish troops to serve with the Irish Battalion. They are currently engaged in a handover as new deployment of soldiers has just arrived. 

The area where the Tánaiste visited has been scene to largescale bombings by Israel in response to Hezbollah activities such as rocket launches in the area. Sources have said that there were some attacks as recent as Friday across the UNIFIL area. 

 The job of the troops is to monitor the Blue Line which is a deconfliction line established to keep Israel and Lebanese forces apart. 

It is understood he will not be visiting soldiers based on the border as it has been scene to heavy bombardment.  

Lt Col Stephen MacEoin who is leading the troops in South lebanon said they are dealing with very regular fighting in the area. 

“It has been a really busy and really interesting operational deployment.

“For the full duration of our deployment we’ve had a highly kinetic operational situation here on the blue line between north and south.

“Soldiers have responded really well, thanks to their training,” he said. 

He added: “We have had quite an amount of activity in terms of shelling, air strikes, machine gun fire, mortars, the use of various munitions.

“All around the area behind me here, which is in the south of Lebanon at the blue line frontier between Lebanon and Israel, there has been exchanges of fire on a daily basis and this fire has obviously caused a lot of damage and death in the local and surrounding area.

“Also we have had quite a number of incidents of firing close to our own positions here.”

 Upon arrival at Camp Shamrock, the Tánaiste received an Honour Guard from Defence Forces personnel, met UN and Irish Military leaders, and addressed the Irish soldiers.

soldiers-listening-to-tanaiste-micheal-martin-as-he-speaks-to-members-of-the-124th-infantry-battalion-at-camp-shamrock-in-debel-during-a-visit-to-lebanon-to-meet-irish-troops-serving-with-the-united-n Irish peacekeeping troops listening to an address by Tánaiste Micheál Martin. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

In an address to troops the Tánaiste spoke of his gratitude for their work on the ground. 

“We stand with you in solidarity and unity, at this time when your work here in UNIFIL has never been more pivotal in terms of contributing to the overall security and stability in this region.

“I remain deeply concerned at the continued hostilities along the Lebanon-Israel border. Any further escalation would have devastating effects on both Israel and Lebanon.

“The instability in this entire region since the Hamas attacks of October 7th last, is a reminder of the importance of your work.

“You have all continued to perform this work with the professionalism we have come to expect from our Defence Forces.

“By way of underlining our continuing support to the UNIFIL mission and the important de-escalatory role that it plays in the south of Lebanon, as well as increasing the force protection element to the battalion, the Government has agreed to increase the number of troops deployed here with UNIFIL,” he said.   

The Tánaiste’s itinerary also includes meetings with the Lebanese Minister for Defence Maurice Sleem, and Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdallah BouHabib.

It is his second visit to Beirut in the aftermath of the death of Private Sean Rooney.

Earlier this week the Tánaiste said he will also raise the slow pace of prosecutions in the murder of Private Rooney.

“A central focus of my visit will be meeting with Lebanese Ministers to communicate the absolute determination of the Irish Government to ensure those responsible for Private Rooney’s death are brought to justice,” he added. 

The Tánaiste is accompanied by the Secretary General of the Department of Defence, Jacqui McCrum, and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Seán Clancy.

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