The daughter of one of two Irish soldiers murdered in Lebanon in 1980 has said she hopes last night's detention of a Lebanese man in the US is the start of a process of justice for her father.

Karen Barrett said the family had to be realistic as Mahmoud Bazzi was detained for having the incorrect documentation.

Privates Thomas Barrett from Cork and Derek Smallhorne from Dublin were on UN peacekeeping duties when they were taken captive by members of the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army and shot dead.

Mr Bazzi, who is the chief suspect, was arrested at his home in Michigan for immigration violations and faces deportation to Lebanon.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Barrett said her family hoped that he would be deported to Lebanon, and not to another "safe haven" where he could not be tried for the murders.

A third Irish soldier, John O'Mahony from Killarney, Co Kerry said he was shot and wounded by Mr Bazzi before his two comrades were driven away.

Ms Barrett said her family had done all they could to get justice for her father, and said she felt they had been let down by the Government.

She said she was consistently told that nothing could be done as it was not possible to extradite Mr Bazzi from the US to Lebanon.

Mr Bazzi told Lebanese television in 1980 that he killed the two Irish soldiers in revenge for the killing of his own brother by UN forces.

However, he subsequently denied to RTÉ News that he had killed the men.

He moved to the US shortly after the soldiers' murders and has lived there since.

A recent application for US citizenship by Mr Bazzi was met with a vigorous campaign demanding that he be deported to face war crimes charges in Lebanon.

Mr O'Mahony has said he believes it is not too late to bring the perpetrator of the crime to justice.

He said he wants Mr Bazzi to stand trial for murder and attempted murder.

New Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said this afternoon that the Government would do everything possible to pursue justice in this case.