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Keeping the peace in the Congo

IRELAND’S first major overseas peacekeeping mission was to the Congo in 1960, a milestone in the State’s history and something that was marked with a commemorative ceremony late last month.There was a good sprinkling of Clare soldiers who travelled to the central African country, including Sixmilebridge man John O’Malley.In the 1950s there wasn’t a lot of opportunity in this country, so the chance of a steady job and of seeing something different led to him leaving the Banner county for the fierce heat of the Congo.He remembers the moment when he volunteered to serve abroad. “I was down in Ballybunion for exercises and stuff. The next thing we had a muster parade. That’s a thing where every man, woman and child comes in and is briefed on what’s going down. We were told there was a mission coming up to the Congo and they wanted volunteers. So I took a step forward. That was about it.”He had never been abroad …

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The long road to peace

ROY Garland grew up on the Shankhill Road in Belfast with parents who were Evangelical Christens. While he admits his upbringing was normal, it was a very strict one that revolved around religion. “Growing up, my life was centred on the church. We went up to five times on a Sunday, Monday night was a fellowship meeting, Tuesday night was a prayer meeting, Wednesday night was a boys’ auxiliary meeting, Thursday night was sometimes another meeting, Friday night was the boys’ brigade. Saturday night was the only night we had free and not always then, so my world was centred around that. I actually spent two years at a bible college in England studying the bible full-time. I was brought up in a different world. I can remember going to a Baptist Sunday School, a Brethern Sunday school, a Methodist Sunday School, a Presbyterian Sunday School and the church my father was involved in which was the Church of God, …

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