Mowags on the Diamond in Donegal Town

Not long to go as Irish army put final touches to today's big parade

Michael Daly


Michael Daly

It's late October and the sun is shining brilliantly here in Donegal town this morning as the Irish army put the final touches to this afternoon's parade in the town. It's just a perfect day to do this and it promises to be quite a spectacle.

Soldiers bound for the Lebanon will be involved in a march past parade and inspection and unsuspecting visitors this morning to Donegal town would probably be wondering what's going on.

Right now on the famous Diamond there are soldiers offering displays of light armour. There are mortar crews, machine guns and the bomb disposal unit all on display and there are Mowags on each corner of the Diamond now as the town centre is closed off.

Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe, TD will review the troops on this, the first time that personnel from Finner Camp 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.

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.