Ballinrobe family receives State apology twenty two years after soldier was killed

The State has issued an apology to the relatives of three victims who were killed by a landmine explosion in the Lebanon 22 years ago.

This week Minister for Justice and Law Reform Alan Shatter and Chief of Staff of the defence forces Lieutenant General Sean McCann apologised to the families of the three soldiers, who had been serving with the UN, following the publication of a review into the fatal tragedy.

Corporal Fintan Heneghan from Ballinrobe along with Private Mannix Armstrong from Sligo and Private Thomas Walsh from Tubbercurry were killed when the truck they were travelling in detonated a landmine.

The review was highly critical of the circumstances involved in the three soldiers’ deaths and found that the device “should have or could have been detected before it detonated”.

The report also accused the Irish Defence Forces and the UN of a systemic failure to undertake an adequate threat assessment.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Defence Dara Calleary has welcomed the publication of the report and added it was “deeply regrettable” that three Irish soldiers working for peace lost their lives in a situation that could have been prevented. He joined Minister Shatter in expressing his sorrow to the families of the deceased soldiers, and said: “This remains a tragic moment in Irish history. While we cannot change what happened in the past, painful lessons have been learnt to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.”

 

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