Tommy hangs up machine gun after 41 years

AFTER 41 years of active service and six tours of duty overseas, a Graignamanagh soldier with an outstanding record is hanging up his machine gun and bayonet. Patsy Griffin received a huge farewell from his army colleagues when he attended a dinner in his honour at James Stephens Military Barracks on Thursday of last week.

AFTER 41 years of active service and six tours of duty overseas, a Graignamanagh soldier with an outstanding record is hanging up his machine gun and bayonet. Patsy Griffin received a huge farewell from his army colleagues when he attended a dinner in his honour at James Stephens Military Barracks on Thursday of last week.

He described his four decades in the Defence Forces as a roller coaster ride with highs and lows but which he always enjoyed.

With a Kerry mother from Gneeveguilla, the Griffin family have lived in Graignamanagh for many generations.

He has seen duty overseas with UNIFIL and other peacekeeping missions in the Lebanon (four times) Bosnia (once) and Kosovo (once). He described Bosnian trip as quiet, with no trouble. Kosovo was volatile. We were there with a NATO force and our role was to patrol the area. You had the Serbs against Bosnian Muslims and while he never shot anyone, he was fired at several times. It was similar experience in the Lebanon and while his life was in danger on a number of occasions he would not change a minute of it.