In Apr 1981, 48 Inf Bn was directed by UNIFIL HQ to establish a new Observation Post 6-22D west of Dyar Ntar village in South Lebanon, 6-22D was opened on 10 Apr. The OP was about 1.5 Km from Post 6-22 by road and from there it was accessible only on foot by a 15 minute walk over rough terrain, it was not visible from 6-22. The OP was close to the boundary with the Senegalese Bn to the north and to the boundary with the Dutch Bn to the west of the IrishBatt AO. It provided observation over the “Iron Triangle and it was manned only during daylight hours by Wpns Pl, C Coy, 48 Inf Bn.
On Monday 27 Apr 1981, armed elements from one of the many Palestinian factions of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) who were operating in South Lebanon, attacked Post 6-22D, this happened during the changeover between 48 Inf Bn and 49 Inf Bn.
Pte Hugh Doherty (20), C Coy 49 Inf Bn, from Balltmacool Terrace, Letterkenny, Co Donegal was shot dead with three gunshot wounds to his back and his body was found at the OP. It was later concluded that he was bending down to use the 77 radio set when he was shot, three AK47 cartridge cases 7.62 X 39 mm were found at the scene.
SS Caomhán Seoige (Pte Kevin Joyce [20]), C Coy 48 Inf Bn, from Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, the other member of the OP team was listed as “missing”. Since the attack forty years ago, extensive searches and inquiries were made to locate the body of SS Seoige but these efforts have yielded no information as to his resting place.
Pte Doherty had three years service with B Coy, 28 Inf Bn at Rockhill House, Letterkenny. He left for his first tour of overseas service on Tuesday 21 Apr and he was less than one week in Lebanon when he was killed. He was buried in Conwal Cemetery, Letterkenny on Sunday, 26 Apr, following Requiem Mass at St Eunan’s cathedral. The principal celebrant was Fr William McMenamin, Administrator, and he concelebrated mass with Fr Alan Ward CF, Fr Ted Dunne CF, Fr Patrick Kerr CC and Fr Joseph Ruth. The Bishop of Raphoe Dr A MacFeely presided at the mass. In his homily, Fr Alan Ward CF said: “Hugh Doherty went to the Lebanon in the service of peace and in that cause he lost his life. Hugh Doherty’s family should look back with pride in his memory because he was aware of the dangers involved in his mission in the Lebanon but he did not hesitate because of this. He showed the courage of a good soldier. Hugh did not take life; he gave his life in the service of peace. Today his fellow soldiers pay their respects to a fallen comrade in arms.”

Attendance at the funeral included Minister for Defence Sylvester Barrett, COS Lt Gen Carl O’Sullivan, AG Maj Gen Liam Prendergast, GOC W Comd Brig Gen Thomas Hartigan, President Hillery was represented by Col Donal Sweeney OC 4 Bde and An Taoiseach was represented by Comdt Christopher Leaney. The firing party was commanded by Sgt Martin Doherty.
Hugh Doherty was survived by his mother, Mrs Elizabeth (Lily) Doherty, his brother Eunan, his sisters Mrs May Lynch, Mrs Vanessa Nee and Mrs Phyllis Touhy.

SS Seoige joined the DF in 1979 and he served in An Céad Cathlán Coisithe at Dún Uí Mhaolíosa, Galway. He was days away from ending his tour of duty.
On 29 May 2015, a commemorative ceremony was held and monument was erected to the memory of An Saighdiúr Singil Caomhán Seoighe at Teampall Chaomhán cemetery on Inis Oírr. The ceremony was attended by the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney, COS Lt Gen Conor O’Boyle, GOC 1 Bde Brig Gen Kieran Brennan and comrades from An Céad Cathlán Coisithe and 48 Inf Bn.
Mass was celebrated by Fr Gearóid Ó Griofa, Fr Paul Murpy CF, Fr Robert McCabe CF, Fr Máirtín Ó Conaire PP and the homily was given by Fr John Keane.

Caomhán was born in 1960, he was educated at Scoil Naisiúnta Chaomháin Inis Oirthir and Coláiste Naomh Éinne, Cill Rónain Inis Mór, Oileáin Árann. He was the youngest of six children. He was survived by his parents Micheál and Mary, his brothers Seán, Cóilí, Mikie and Pádraig and his sister Máire.

Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas sioraí do Caomhán agus do Aodh. Is beannaithe iad lucht na síochána, óir is leo Ríocht na bhFlaitheas.

Photo Credits: DF PR Branch & Military Archives

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