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  • Irish soldier dies in Liberia

    From RTE.

    Irish soldier dies in Liberian accident

    November 28, 2003

    (08:23) A member of the army's elite ranger wing has died in a road accident while serving with the UN peace enforcement mission in Liberia.

    The Defence Forces have named the man as 33-year-old Sergeant a single man from Blackrock, Co Dublin.

    The Taoiseach and Defence Minister Michael Smith have expressed their sorrow at the news.

    Another soldier was injured in the crash and is being treated on a hospital ship offshore.

    The Sergeant had been in the Defence Forces for 16 years and had previously served overseas in Lebanon, East Timor and Honduras.

    The men had been on a routine familiarisation patrol at 4pm yesterday, when the jeep in which they were travelling as part of a convoy left the road about 40km south of the capital, Monrovia.

    The troops are part of an advance party sent to Liberia last week to set up a base for the main group of 430 soldiers, who will take up duty in the first few weeks of December.

  • #2
    Book of Condolence.



    • #3
      Peacekeeper's death 'caused by poor roads'

      POOR road conditions are believed to have been responsible for a traffic accident which claimed the life of an Irish peacekeeper in Liberia and left another Army Ranger seriously injured.

      Sgt Derek Mooney (33), of Brookfield Terrace, Blackrock, Co Dublin, was killed when his Landrover vehicle went off the road and plunged down an embankment, 40km south of the capital, Monrovia, on Thursday afternoon.

      The body of Sgt Mooney, who suffered massive internal injuries, will be flown into Dublin tomorrow and following an autopsy on Monday the funeral will take place early next week.

      Sgt Mooney had recently become engaged to be married and was only a week in Liberia. He was one of a 40-strong group of Rangers sent out with the advance party of the Irish battalion to provide security for the contingent during the initial phase of its deployment.

      A second Ranger, Sgt Sean Baldwin (36), single, of Newbridge, Co Kildare, was seriously injured in the accident and is being airlifted home early today and transferred to the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

      Defence Minister Michael Smith, Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieut General Colm Mangan and Secretary General of the Department of Defence, David O'Callaghan, yesterday visited Sgt Mooney's parents to offer their sympathy.

      Last night President Mary McAleese, who is commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces, said she learned of Sgt Mooney's death with great sadness and had conveyed her condolences to the Army and to the family.

      About 400 Irish troops will be sent out to Liberia next month and will act as trailblazers for other contingents moving out from Monrovia into jungle areas outside the capital.

      Sgt Mooney had already served three times in Lebanon, and also in East Timor and Honduras.

      Meanwhile, Sweden said yesterday it planned to send 200 peacekeepers to Liberia as part of a UN mission to help cement a deal to end 14 years of civil war in the West African country.

      The Swedish troops would travel to Liberia in early February and work with an Irish battalion, said an Armed Forces statement.

      In September, the United Nations Security Council approved up to 15,000 peacekeepers for Liberia. So far the peacekeeping mission consists of some 4,700 troops.

      Tom Brady
      Security Editor


      • #4
        Heartbreak as Ranger brought home

        HEART-BREAKING scenes were witnessed at Baldonnel yesterday evening as the body of slain Army Ranger hero Sgt Derek Mooney (33) was brought home for burial.

        Over 30 family and friends gathered at the Casement Aerodrome to see his coffin arrive from Liberia, where he met his death last Thursday.

        Among them were his parents Theresa and Austin of Blackrock, Co Dublin, his three brothers Adrian, John and Philip, and his girlfriend Denise Kelleher, who he proposed to just before he started his UN peace duties less than two weeks ago.

        Derek died when his Landrover plunged down an embankment south of the capital, Monrovia, on Thursday.

        Sobs of grief came from the crowd, who watched his tricolour-draped coffin being carried off the Air Corps Casa aircraft by his colleagues.

        Tribute was paid to Derek, who will receive full military honours, during a ceremony officiated by Fr PJ McEvoy, Chaplain of the Curragh. Defence Minister Michael Martin attended.

        A member of the elite Army Ranger Wing, Derek had joined the Army when just 17. His body was taken to St Bricin's Military Hospital and an autopsy will be carried out this morning. A probe is under way into the circumstances of the accident.

        Removal to St John's Church in Blackrock will take place at 7.30 this evening, with a funeral mass at 10.30am on Tuesday and burial at Shanganagh Cemetery, Co Dublin.

        Melanie Finn


        • #5
          Irish soldier killed in Liberia buried with full honours


          By Seán McCárthaigh
          THE body of the Irish solider killed while on UN peacekeeping duties in Liberia last month was buried with full military honours in Dublin yesterday.

          More than 1,000 mourners including a large number of members of the Defence Forces attended the funeral Mass for Sergeant Derek Mooney, 33, at St John the Baptist Church in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

          Sgt Mooney, a member of the elite Army Ranger wing, had only been in Liberia a week when he was killed in a road traffic accident while travelling in convoy about 40 miles south-east of the capital, Monrovia, last Thursday. An investigation is underway into the circumstances of how Sgt Mooney’s jeep left the road.

          The chief mourners at yesterday’s funeral mass were his parents Austin and Teresa, his brothers Adrian, John and Philip, and his fiancée Denise Kelleher.

          The ceremony was also attended by President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin, who knew Sgt Mooney from a visit they made to Honduras in 2001.

          Other dignitaries included Defence Minister Michael Smith, Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lt-Gen Colm Mangan and Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy. An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was represented by his aide-de-camp, Cmdt Michael Murray.

          In his homily, Monsignor John Crowley, the head chaplain of the Defence Forces, praised Sgt Mooney as “unflappable, a loyal friend with a great sense of humour and yet a man of few words”. He recalled how the deceased had decided he wanted to be a soldier from the age of three. “Derek loved soldiering; it was his life,” said Msgr Crowley.

          “Derek, you were a light that sparkled brightly but too short in this world.”

          Among the items included in the offertory gifts was a photo of the Army unit with which Sgt Mooney served while on UN peacekeeping duties in East Timor in the late 1990s.

          In a brief tribute, Sgt Mooney’s brother John said the family would keep his memory alive by showing his qualities of kindness, tenderness, happiness and loyalty to others.

          The procession, including large numbers of Army personnel as well as ex-servicemen, left the church for burial to Shanganagh Cemetery.

          Prayers were also offered for Sgt Mooney’s colleague, Sgt Sean Baldwin, who was seriously injured in the accident in Liberia as well as the 450 troops who are due to fly out to the west African state over the next fortnight.

          Sgt Baldwin was airlifted back to the Mater Hospital in Dublin where his condition was yesterday described as “critical but stable”.