History was made at Aiken Barracks in Dundalk on Friday morning as the new recruits of the 57th Recruit Platoon passed out in the 27th Infantry Battalion.
Among the 30 recruits to celebrate the achievement among family and friends who watched on, was Private Sarah Fitzsimons. A native of Kildare, she had someone special watching. Someone who had done it all before. Her proud mother, Sergeant Sandra Murphy, blushed with pride as she watched her daughter receive her rank as a 3-star Private and begin her career in uniform.
Sergeant Murphy and Private Fitzsimons created history today, becoming the very first mother and daughter to serve together in the Irish Defence Forces.
Sarah and her 29 comrades enjoyed their passing out parade after 27 weeks of intense military training, which began way back on July 15 last year at Aiken Barracks just off the Point Road in Dundalk. For Sarah, her journey was particularly poignant.
For many years, Sarah witnessed her mother forge a rewarding yet challenging career in the Defence Forces with much time spent away from her mother as Sandra was deployed overseas to locations such as Lebanon, Kosovo, Uganda and Syria through her 25 years’service.
Sandra, described as a highly skilled communications and information technician, played a key role in her daughter making the decision to follow her footsteps to the military and indeed into the Communications and Information Services (CIS) Corps.
Before deciding to follow her mother’s footsteps, Sarah completed her Leaving Cert and went to further her studies by doing a PLC course in Criminology, Security & Legal studies.
During the ceremony, Platoon Commander Lt Conor O’Brien congratulated the young privates on their achievement and wished them well as they move forward with their career in the Defence Forces.