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Galway man leading his soldiers to Lebanon

Growing up on College Road in Galway in the 1970s and 1980s, Damien Murphy remembers looking across Lough Atalia at Renmore Barracks where rounds of ammunition were fired during training exercises.

His father was a reserve officer in the FCA for years, and that also piqued his interest in the Defence Forces.

Now the 49-year-old Army Lieutenant Colonel will lead a unit, IRISHPOLBATT, on a six-month tour of duty in Lebanon.

The unit deploys in two chalks. All 340 Irish personnel, including 90 from Renmore Barracks and 63 originally from Galway, plus nine Maltese colleagues, will be there by the end of November.

They’ll be joined by 240 personnel from Ireland’s strategic partners, Poland.

This is Lt Col Murphy’s seventh tour of duty overseas, fourth to Lebanon. He’s been a platoon commander, in charge of 30; he’s been a company commander, in charge of 110/120; and now he will lead a battalion, on the Defence Force’s largest overseas deployment.

“This is a natural progression for me. I’m honoured to have been selected.

“We only deploy four times a year (twice each in Syria and Lebanon), so it’s a rare privilege for me to do it. It doesn’t happen too often you get to do it from your home county,” he said.

Lt Col Murphy, who went to school in Coláiste Iognáid (Jes), lives in Oranmore with his wife Noreen, son Conor (11) and daughter Maeve (7), where he’s involved with Maree/Oranmore FC.

Get the full story – and more photos of departing soldiers – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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