Kilkenny troops head to war zone

Kilkenny soldiers are heading to one of the most dangerous places on earth as part of a United Nations peace-keeping mission.

Kilkenny soldiers are heading to one of the most dangerous places on earth as part of a United Nations peace-keeping mission.

Members of the 12th Battalion based in the city’s James Stephens Military Barracks are to be sent to Syria as unrest in the Middle East escalates.

They will be based in the notorious Golan Heights under the command of Lt Colonel Philip Brennan from Paulstown and will replace an existing corps that has had a rough time, even over Christmas.

Over 60 personnel from the barracks will be deployed and they are currently in training for the dangerous mission which has not yet been made public.

Minister’s visit

In the coming weeks, army top brass and Minister for Justice and Defence, Alan Shatter will visit the barracks for an official send-off before they fly out in early March.

In November an Irish convoy in the disputed territory on the border with Syria and Israel, came under fire from anti-government armed forces, with a number of their vehicles damaged in a morning ambush.

It marked the first time Irish troops had been fired on in Syria and the first time an Irish vehicle with troops inside has been hit on any UN mission in recent memory.