UN “comforted” after the alleged arrest of an Irish soldier on a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon | world news

The UN said it was “reassured” by the support of Lebanese officials after the reported arrest for the death of an Irish soldier on a peacekeeping mission in the country.

Private Sean Rooney, 23, from Co Donegal, was killed when two armored vehicles carrying members of the 121st Infantry Battalion came under fire near Sidon, about 30 miles south of Beirut, on 14 December.

The UN declined to comment on reports that an arrest had been made, saying an “investigation is ongoing into this tragic incident, so we cannot anticipate its outcome and we must protect the outcome of the investigation.” .

He described the incident as a “deeply shocking” crime against “peacekeepers who have come from far and wide to work to preserve stability in a volatile environment and to work for the benefit of the local people”.

“We demanded to know what happened and that the perpetrators be brought to justice,” the UN said.

“And we ask people to refrain from sharing harmful information, because misinformation is the fuel on which the fire of violence can be ignited.

“We need quick and effective investigations to find those responsible and hold them accountable for their crimes.

“We are encouraged by the support of Lebanese authorities and leaders across the political spectrum, and we hope we can uncover the truth.”

The Irish Defense Force said they would not comment as three inquiries into the incident were ongoing.

Private Rooney was buried last week

Private Rooney’s body was repatriated last week and his funeral was held on Thursday.

Irish President Michael D Higgins, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris were among the mourners.

In his homily, Father Derek Ryan said Private Rooney’s death “truly pierced the hearts of his family” and the wider community.

“It breaks human hearts when a loved one dies serving their country in the important work of peacebuilding,” he told mourners.

“It breaks all of our hearts.”

Father Ryan also read a statement from the soldier’s fiancée, Holly, who said that as their relationship progressed “it became clear Sean is not just my other half, he is my better half”.

“I can say with certainty that he would have been a fantastic husband and an even better father,” she said.


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