Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence Seán Ó Fearghaíl is urging the Government to make contact with the Lebanese authorities at an early stage following the decision in the US to deport Mahmoud Bazzi, the alleged perpetrator of the murder of two Irish soldiers in the Lebanon in 1980.
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl said: “The torture and murder of Private Derek Smallhorne and Private Thomas Barrett were heinous crimes that must be answered for. I welcome the developments in the US court proceedings and I would like to see the authorities in Lebanon moving swiftly to prosecute these murders on foot of Mr. Bazzi’s repatriation to his native country. The Government should engage proactively with Lebanese authorities to press the case on behalf of the families of Private Smallhorne and Private Barrett.
“34 years ago two innocent Irish peacekeepers serving with great distinction were tortured and murdered after a UN peacekeeping patrol was ambushed in south Lebanon. This was a barbaric attack during which a third Irishman, Private John O’Mahony, was also tortured and shot but survived.
“I welcome the comments by the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney that he is monitoring this case with officials at the Irish embassies in Cairo which liaises for Lebanon for the government, as well as with officials in the US. This is an extremely important case that must be brought to a conclusion in order to finally bring about justice for the murders of Derek Smallhorne and Thomas Barrett. I raised this matter with the Government just before the Dáil recess and intend to raise this with the Taoiseach and Minister Coveney again at the earliest opportunity.”