Call to mark sinking of 'Lusitania' in 1915

Mon, Sep 17, 2012, 01:00

MINISTER FOR Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan has called for a major commemoration in Ireland involving British, American and German representatives in 2015 to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.

Mr Deenihan said the sinking by German submarine U20 off the Old Head of Kinsale in Co Cork on May 7th, 1915, was not only a major maritime tragedy with the loss of 1,198 lives, but a seminal moment in world history.

“The Lusitania is hugely important – there was huge death toll with almost 1,200 people dying but it was a determinant factor in the first World War in that it brought America into the war and if the Americans had not entered the war, the Germans would have won. I think it’s a very important event that should be marked with a ceremony here in Cork and one with representatives from all those involved – the UK, the United States and Germany.”

Mr Deenihan was speaking at the premiere in Cork of a documentary, Dark Secrets of the Lusitania, made by Irish company M3TV Productions and its US partners, Creative Productions, for National Geographic Channel.

Mr Deenihan, who is chairman of the Decade of Commemorations Committee, said he was confident the documentary would generate huge interest in the Lusitania. He said there was good progress in discussions to recover artefacts from the ship, which lies in 300ft of water some 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale.