Defence Forces to parade in Donegal town on Monday

Defence Forces to parade in Donegal town on Monday
Sue Doherty sue.doherty@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

The 109th Infantry Battalion, which has been training at Finner Camp, takes to the streets of Donegal Town on Monday ahead of their six month deployment to Lebanon next month.

Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe, TD will review the troops on this, the first time that personnel from Finner have marked their departure to Lebanon by such a march in Donegal Town.

Among the 336 personnel are 59 members of the 28th Infantry Battalion, which is based at Finner, the largest unit in the battalion.

Some locals who are being deployed on this mission are:

-Ballyshannon twins, Private Jonathon and Darren Gethins, whose father Jimmy was also a member of the 28th Inf.;

- Corporals Ronan and Glen Matthews, two brothers from Ballyshannon;

- Company Quartermaster Sgt Garry Friel from Castlefin, whose nephew Ciarán is a sergeant in Dublin; and

- Oisin Redican from Letterkenny, who is just 20. Oisin is the youngest member of the unit going on this tour of duty. His father Aidan was also in the Army.

The 109th was formed last month, with its headquarters based at Finner Camp, and the unit has undertaken extensive training here in Donegal as well as at Gormanstown Camp in Co. Meath and the Glen of Imaal in Co. Wicklow.

Members of the Infantry, Military Police, Cavalry, CIS, Engineers, Ordnance, Artillery, Transport & Medical Corps, Air Corps and the Naval Service are all represented in the battalion, which also includes 21 female personnel.

In south Lebanon, the troops will serve as part of UNIFIL (United Nation Interim Force In Lebanon), assuming the lead of IRISHFINBATT, which also includes a company of Finnish soldiers, and a platoon of Estonian troops.

Together, they will man observation posts along the Blue Line near the Zone of Separation. The Blue Line, or line of withdrawal, to call it by its proper name, was established in 2000 to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon and UNIFIL have been on the ground there for the last ten years.

The 109th Infantry Battalion will assemble and parade at The Quay car park at 1.30pm, where the Minister for Defence will review and address the troops. They will then parade through the town and to the St John Bosco Centre.