The Irish soldier seriously injured in a gun attack in Lebanon that claimed the life of his colleague, Pte Seán Rooney, remains in hospital almost a month after the ambush but is now off the critical list.
The Defence Forces said Trooper Shane Kearney remained in Beaumont Hospital, north Dublin, but was now out of danger some three weeks after being brought back to the Republic on a special medical aircraft for further treatment.
“He is responding very well to treatment and is no longer critical with his condition now described as stable,” the Defence Forces said on Tuesday in a brief update on Trooper Kearney’s condition. “The medical staff are satisfied with his continued and steady progress. The Defence Forces and Tpr Shane Kearney’s family wish to thank everyone for all the support that they continue to receive.”
Trooper Kearney (22) was injured on active service when his convoy came under attack on the night of Wednesday, December 14th. His fellow peacekeeper, 24-year-old Pte Rooney, was killed during the incident. Two other colleagues were treated for minor injuries.
Trooper Kearney was transported home in a specially-equipped, contracted medical aircraft on December 21st last. The Defence Forces said at the time his condition was continuing to improve, which had made it possible for his transfer back to Ireland.
The soldiers were part of 121st Infantry Battalion, comprising 333 Irish troops, which was deployed in November to south Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
From Killeagh, east Cork, Trooper Kearney joined the Defence Forces in October 2018 after completing his Leaving Certificate at St Colman’s Community College in Midleton, and he was posted to the 1st Cavalry Squadron based in Collins Barracks in Cork.
He departed for Lebanon last November as part of the 121st Battalion on what was his second peacekeeping tour having previously been part of the 117th Battalion which completed a tour of duty from November 2020 to May 2021 in the Middle Eastern country.
It emerged last week a Lebanese military court has pressed charges against seven people allegedly involved in the attack on Irish peacekeepers last month. A local military source confirmed to The Irish Times that charges had been brought last Thursday against multiple individuals whose identities have not been released publicly. The charges ranged from murder and attempted murder to destroying vehicles, according to the source.