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Irish peacekeepers in Lebanon Mohammad Zaatari
Peacekeeping

No immediate plans for Taoiseach to visit Lebanon following deadly attack on Irish peacekeepers

Leo Varadkar said that he hoped to fit in a visit “sometime next year”.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that there are no immediate plans for him to visit Defence Forces troops abroad in Lebanon.

Varadkar said that due to his busy schedule over the coming months, there are no plans in train to visit forces stationed abroad on UN peacekeeping missions, but that he hoped to fit in a visit “sometime next year”.

“I haven’t got any plans at the moment to travel to Mali, Lebanon or Syria, but I might be able to do that perhaps sometime next year.” Varadkar said.

“It is something I certainly hope to fit in if I can.”

He said that his upcoming travel schedule was “very busy” and that he had forgotten the amount of travelling back and forth to Brussels for EU meetings as well as meetings of the British-Irish Council.

It comes days after the funeral of Private Seán Rooney, who was killed in an attack while on a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.

During the funeral service, which took place in Dundalk, Rooney was remembered as a “national hero” and “kind and loving person”.

Varadkar said that he spoke with both Rooney’s family and the family of Trooper Shane Kearney, who was injured in the same attack.

“I did have a chance to meet with Private Rooney’s family and also with [Trooper] Kearney’s family and the Government is keen to support them into the future.”

Following the attack, Varadkar said that Ireland was united in grief at the loss of Pvt Rooney.

“We are united in grief at the loss of a brave Irish soldier, a young man serving Ireland and the United Nations in Lebanon. We mourn with his family and salute the bravery of everyone involved,” Varadkar told the Dáil.

India visit

When asked if he would like to make an official visit to India, Varadkar said that it was something he would “love” to do.

“It’s something I’d love to do. I have been there privately, in 2019, as part of a family visit,” Varadkar said, speaking during a roundtable media briefing.

“I haven’t visited [India] officially since 2011. But these things are actually quite complicated to organise. You know, a lot of work has to be done on the ground in advance.

“You have to know that the Prime Minister is available, and things like that. But it’s on the list of possibles, but by no means definite in 2023.”

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