Ireland: Safely home: Joyful scenes as soldiers are reunited with their families - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland Safely home: Joyful scenes as soldiers are reunited with their families

12:30  19 november  2019
12:30  19 november  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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Soldiers on a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon were given a heroes' welcome as they arrived home yesterday.

Wives, husbands, partners and children of the 232 troops from the 114th Infantry Battalion wept tears of joy as they were reunited with their loved ones at Dublin Airport following their six-month tour of duty as part of the United Nations Interim Force (Unifil).

Dressed in camouflage fatigues and their distinctive blue berets, the soldiers streamed out of the arrivals hall like rock stars, waving, cheering and taking bows to the throngs of family and friends welcoming them home with banners and tricolours.

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Soldiers returning from Afghanistan were greeted with hugs and kisses from eager family members during an emotional reunion at Mather Field.

Some of the well-wishers, like little Lucas Doyle (6), from Ballyfermot, Dublin, couldn't wait any longer and made a beeline into the restricted arrivals area as soon as he caught a glimpse of his father, Private Shane Doyle. Swooping his ecstatic son into his arms, Pte Doyle said he was delighted to be home after completing his third peacekeeping mission.

a man reading a book: Shane Forde, from Offaly, is greeted by daughter Arabella (4). Photos: Gareth Chaney/Collins © Copyright Collins Photo Agency Shane Forde, from Offaly, is greeted by daughter Arabella (4). Photos: Gareth Chaney/Collins

But no one was chastising the little boy for breaking security protocol.

"He was just excited to be seeing his daddy," he said, adding: "It's fantastic to be back home."

For Karen Burke (28), from Tallaght in Dublin, it was a joyful reunion when her husband, Corporal Paul Burke, finally emerged.

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Even though the couple's two sons, Sean (10) and Liam (14), were unrecognisable, dressed in an all-body 'Morph' costume covering their faces, it took just a split second for him to home in on his adoring family waiting with tears and hugs to welcome him.

"It's great to be home for Christmas. I missed them all, it was a long time to be away from home," he told the Irish Independent.

Like many of his comrades, Corp Burke was looking forward to celebrating his homecoming by watching last night's crucial football qualifier match between Ireland and Denmark and enjoying a celebratory meal with his family.

The troops were engaged in patrolling support for the Lebanese Armed Forces and protecting the local residents.

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