Lt. Col. Stephen Howard OC 28 Inf Bn. Finner Camp inspecting his troops at Finner Camp. Photo Thomas Gallagher
A great turnout is anticipated to watch members of the Defence Forces, who have been training at Finner Camp, parade through Donegal Town this afternoon ahead of their deployment to Lebanon.
Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe, T.D. and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, will review the 336 men and women of the 109th Infantry Battalion before the unit at the Quay Car Park at 1.30pm. Then, the troops will march through Donegal Town, past the Diamond, and on to the St John Bosco Centre.
The 109th Infantry Battalion will be the largest Irish Defence Forces peacekeeping contingent to deploy to Lebanon since 2013. Drawn from different units across the Army, Naval Service, and Air Corps the majority of the battalion’s personnel are drawn from the 28th Infantry Battalion, Donegal.
A total of 59 members are from the county, including twins Jonathan and Darren Gethins from Ballyshannon, as well as young Oisin Redican from Letterkenny who, at just 20 years of age, is the youngest member of the unit.
In south Lebanon, the troops will serve as part of UNIFIL, assuming the lead role 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.
Military personnel have been arriving in Donegal Town all morning and a drill is due to take place at the Quay car park at around 10.30am.
The Quay car park is closed until 4pm today and there are further parking and traffic restrictions in place in Donegal Town.