Respects paid to 5 UNIFIL Irish peacekeepers fallen in the line of duty

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21 Apr 2021

Respects paid to 5 UNIFIL Irish peacekeepers fallen in the line of duty

UNIFIL Irish peacekeepers yesterday paid respects to five Irish Defence Forces personnel who lost their lives while serving for peace with the UN peacekeeping mission in south Lebanon, all in the month of April, in the 1980s.

The Commander of the Irish-Polish Battalion (IRISHPOLBATT), Lieutenant Colonel Fred O’Donovan, was joined by fellow peacekeepers in a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial in the town of Tibnin, south-western Lebanon.

The Ceremony was held to remember and commemorate the services of Private Stephen Griffin, who died at the age of 21 on 16 April 1980; Private Thomas Barrett, who died aged 30 on 18 April 1980; Private Derek Smallhorn, who died aged 31 on 18 April 1980; Private Hugh Doherty, who died aged 20 on 27 April 1981; and Private Caoimhán Seoighe, who died aged 20 on 27 April 1981.

While Private Griffin had succumbed to injuries sustained during the battle of At Tiri, Privates Barrett, Smallhorn and Seoighe were abducted and murdered in captivity. Private Doherty was killed in his observation post near Dayr Ntar in south Lebanon.

During yesterday’s ceremony, a minute of silence was also observed, followed by a piper’s lament. The last post was sounded, the Irish national colours were raised while the National Anthem was played.

On 22 December 2020, Lebanon’s Permanent Military Court convicted and sentenced a man to 15 years in prison for the kidnapping and killing of Privates Barrett and Smallhorn and causing serious injury to a third (in the same incident). UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the verdict.

(UN Photos/ Corporal Lee Coyle)