Northern Ireland

Irish soldier is injured in Afghanistan blast

Irish Guards crest Image copyright Other
Image caption Ciaran O'Sullivan was serving with the Irish Guards

An Irish man serving with the British army has been injured in an bomb explosion in Afghanistan.

Ciaran O'Sullivan was on patrol with the Irish Guards on Tuesday when his face, chest and hip were injured by an improvised explosive device.

The 25-year-old from County Clare had been serving in Afghanistan for about five weeks.

His father, Lionel, said it was a miracle his son survived the blast.

He first heard about the incident on Wednesday, when a police officer he knew took him to see two plain-clothed female British Army officers who had travelled to County Clare.

"As soon as one of them opened her mouth I knew it was Ciaran, because it was an English accent and the blood drained.

"It took me a while to compose myself, but I knew I had to go and tell my wife," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"When we arrived at the house it was like something you see in a film, when a wife or a mother is told."

He said the Army officers and police officer stayed with the family for about three hours.

"They were saying it would be the next day before we heard anything," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"While we were there the phone rang... it was my son, he said 'I'm ok'. He said 'I've just had a little operation, everything's ok'."

Mr O'Sullivan said his son always wanted to be a soldier.

"Unfortunately he couldn't join the Irish army because they weren't recruiting.

"He was in the reserve force here when he was a young lad, so it's something he always wanted to do.

"Before he left to join up (with the British army) he said if I had any problem with it he wouldn't go and I told him 'I have absolutely no problem, I'm delighted that you're going'."

Earlier this week Guardsman Christopher Davies from 1st Battalion Irish Guards was killed in Afghanistan, a day after Ranger Aaron McCormick of the Royal Irish Regiment, was killed on Remembrance Sunday in a blast as he worked to clear roadside bombs.

Mr O'Sullivan passed on his condolences to the families of both men.

On Friday, he is travelling to Birmingham where his son has been moved and expects to see him on Saturday.

"We've been told that we won't see Ciaran the same as we did before and we understand that, because we don't know what sort of injuries are going to affect him.

"But knowing Ciaran he won't give up," Mr O'Sullivan said.

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