Tánaiste: 'No stone will be left unturned' in finding Pte Sean Rooney's killers

Tánaiste: 'No Stone Will Be Left Unturned' In Finding Pte Sean Rooney's Killers
Micheál Martin was speaking at a Ministerial Review of the 67th Infantry Group United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) at Finner Camp in Donegal ahead of their deployment to Syria in April. Photo: NW Newspix
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Stephen Maguire

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin has said no stone will be left unturned into the investigation into the death of soldier Seán Rooney.

Mr Martin was speaking at a Ministerial Review of the 67th Infantry Group United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) at Finner Camp in Donegal on Monday ahead of their deployment to Syria in April.


It is the first deployment of Irish forces since the death of Pte Seán Rooney in December.

The 24-year-old, who was on his first overseas tour, was shot when the armoured vehicle in which he was travelling came under fire near Sidon, around 30 miles south of Beirut on December 14th.

Pte Rooney was killed and another soldier, Shane Kearney (22), was critically injured during the attack but has since recovered.

Two other members also serving in the 121st Infantry Battalion also received minor injuries.


Pte Rooney was born and raised in Dundalk, Co Louth, but spend much of his later life in Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal, where he was later buried with full military honours.

Mr Martin, accompanied by the chief of staff of the Defence Forces, lieutenant general Seán Clancy, said the death of Pte Rooney was a "shocking reminder" of the dangers faced by soldiers on peacekeeping missions.

He said: "Peacekeeping is the most important action for good a nation can undertake. You personify the nation’s commitment to that noble work.

"Peacekeeping is not without its dangers."


Service of peace

"That was most painfully felt when Private Seán Rooney was killed in Lebanon. His death broke the hearts of his family, his friends and his military comrades.

"It was a shocking reminder of the risks taken by each and everyone of our troops in maintaining the country’s proud record in the service of peace.

"It showed the tragedy and suffering that war and conflict can bring."

However, Mr Martin reassured Pte Martin's family the Government will do all in their powers to bring his killers to justice.


He added: "I want to assure Private Rooney’s family that the Government is determined that all facts and circumstances of the incident will be fully established.

"I have been with Private Rooney’s colleagues in Lebanon and I have assured them, as I assure you, that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that those responsible will be brought to justice."

He added that of the 130 personnel travelling, a total of six are women and he vowed to continue a campaign of greater recruitment of women in the Defence Forces.

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The Minister also paid tribute to the families of the 130 personnel heading to Syria commending their "dedication, courage and resilience".


He added that overseas operation will remain a priority for the Government. "We are conscious of the importance of this tradition as an essential component of our foreign policy."

A total of 130 personnel of all ranks from the 67th Infantry Group will travel to Syria in April under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Morgan. The group contains of all ranks, consisting of 14 Officers, 115 Enlisted Personnel and one Chaplain.

A total of 23 counties are represented from across the country as well as three other countries including Poland, Moldova and Czechia. For 38 of these personnel, it will be their first tour of duty overseas.

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