The 130 Irish troops who were due to return from the Golan Heights today will now return on Sunday.

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe confirmed to RTÉ News that the UN has chartered a flight that will leave Lebanon early Sunday morning.

The troops will be back on Irish soil later the same day.

The 130 members of the Defence Forces were unable to return home to their families today as scheduled after a tour of duty in the Golan Heights.

The troops are part of the UNDOF mission in the region.

They were scheduled to fly from Syria to Beirut and then to Dublin, with a planned landing at 9.40am this morning.

Earlier, Mr Kehoe said "a difficult and complex part of the world" where there is a civil war and border issues contributed to the problems, adding that things are organised on a flight-by-flight basis.

The minister said he would be asking the UN if there was an easier way to organise the return of troops from peacekeeping missions in the future.

He said that he had asked the question when the same issue arose six months ago.

Mr Kehoe apologised to the families affected and said even though it was not an issue of the Government’s making he regretted the impact on the troops and their families.

Earlier, the president of PDFORRA, the main association representing members of the Defence Forces, called for the Department of Defence to explain why the troops were delayed from coming home.

PDFORRA president Mark Keane said it was the second time in six months that troops have been delayed coming home and it was time for those troops, who have concluded their tour of duty in the Middle East, to return to their families and loved ones.

He said that they have been away for six months in a hostile environment serving the State and doing "the UN proud".

"They've been out there six months in a hostile environment," Mr Keane said. "They've done the State some service and they've also done the UN proud.

"Now it's time to get them home. We'd like an explanation from the department as soon as as to why it's occurred in quick succession. We need to look at all the checks and balances in place and see if all these checks and balances work."