Private Seán Rooney’s family has been reunited with his remains.
The 24-year-old was shot dead while on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon last Wednesday.
An Aer Corps carrying his body home from Beirut landed at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel just after 8:30am this morning.
He was accompanied on the flight by several of his colleagues from the 121st infantry battalion.
His company commander has also flown home to hand his remains over to his family.
Private Rooney’s mother, grandfather and fiancée were all in Casement to receive the body, alongside his three uncles who also serve in the Defence Forces.
His family have spent some private time with his body and a short prayer service was also held.
The State Pathologist will now carry out a post-mortem as part of the Irish Defence Forces’ investigation into his killing.
Separate inquiries are also being carried out by the UN and Lebanese authorities.
Speaking yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it is time now for people to support the soldier’s family.
“The main thing, I think, this week really is to stand with and express our condolences to Private Rooney’s family, his friends and colleagues,” he said.
“It is a long time since we’ve lost a soldier in Lebanon but it does remind us how important that mission is.
“I’ve been there; I had an opportunity to meet with the soldiers and the local community and it has allowed people in that part of Lebanon for the last few decades to lead a relatively normal life.”
A UN ceremony was held to honour Pte Rooney at Beirut Airport yesterday before his remains were flown home.
On Saturday, Pte Rooney’s best friends told Newstalk he was “the most kind-hearted, caring person in the world”.
Christopher O’Neill said Seán was like a brother to him and said he had spoken to him about Christmas plans in Ireland just hours before his death.
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Credit to : Newstalk