Cross of Sacrifice for Irish war dead unveiled in Dublin

Republican groups interrupted ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery with catcalls

President Higgins and the Duke of Kent were heckled by dissident republicans during the unveiling of the Cross of Sacrifice in Glasnevin cemetary. Peter Murtagh reports.

Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 16:59

A Cross of Sacrifice dedicated to the memory of Irish men and women who fought and died in two world wars was unveiled today at a ceremony in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

The ceremony was performed by President Michael D Higgins and Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, who is president of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and included participation by members of the Defence Forces and the Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army.

Dignitaries in attendance included Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys; Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers; representatives of the office of First and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland; Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke: and his Belfast counterpart, Nichola Mallon.

In speeches, both President Higgins and the Duke of Kent stressed the importance of remembering the sacrifice made by Irishmen in the first World War, irrespective of their background, and of the need to respect their memory, despite the divergent paths taken by Britain and Ireland after the war.

As they spoke and as a joint Irish and British military band played, catcalls and abuse was hurled by members of “Republican Sinn Fein” and the “32 County Sovereignty Movement”. They stood outside the graveyard, about 100 meters from the proceedings and made their presence felt throughout, including during a minute’s silence in remembrance of the dead

“Shame, shame, shame,” they shouted, along with “Brits Out” and “Higgins, you traitor”.

The garda press office declined afterwards to comment on security at the event but said that two people had been arrested for alleged public order offences.