Irish Republican News · January 6, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Irish troops may be deployed for Asian disaster

The Dublin government is sending a team of experts to the Asian tsunami regions with a view to sending in Irish troops for humanitarian purposes.

The team going to Phuket, Thailand, will include foreign affairs department officials, an army logistics expert and medical personnel.

It comes as the first Irish victim was positively identified in Thailand.

Eilis Finnegan, a 27-year-old former flight attendant from Ballyfermot, Dublin was on holiday with her boyfriend on Phi Phi island.

She had been missing since the tsunami hit the holiday resort, just after the pair had arrived on holiday.

The number of Irish people in the “medium risk” category dropped from 17 to 13 this afternoon but officials are still “very concerned” about three other missing people.

The Dublin government also said the option of upgrading its 10 million euro (#5m) aid allocation would be kept “totally open”, despite personal public donations already close to that level.

Mr Ahern said: “I don’t want to say that we will match existing (privately-donated) funds. We’re more than willing to examine the situation as time moves on.”

The Taoiseach paid tribute to the generosity of the Irish people in supporting aid appeals.

* Millions of people across Ireland and Europe observed three minutes of silence on Wednesday in memory of the estimated 150,000 people killed by the Indian Ocean tsunamis.

The silence was observed in most countries in Europe at 11am apart from Britain where it was held at midday.

The expressions of sympathy were broadcast and observed on radio and television channels throughout the European Union.

The Taoiseach said he had asked that the national flag be flown at half-mast on all public buildings. He also called on all citizens to observe the day of reflection and solidarity on Friday.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News