Republic remembers fallen of past conflicts

Mon, Jul 11, 2011, 01:00

THE STATE commemoration for Irish people who died in past wars and on service with the United Nations was led yesterday by President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mrs McAleese laid a wreath at a commemorative plaque on behalf of the people of Ireland, at the Taoiseach’s request, at the annual National Day of Commemoration in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, in Dublin.

The attendance of about 1,000 people included retired military personnel from the Irish and British armies, as well as relatives of those who died in past wars and the 1916 Rising.

The ceremony was a mix of military displays, religious readings, hymns and a rendering of Thomas Moore’s Oft In The Stilly Night by Regina Nathan. Music was provided by the bands of the first Southern and fourth Western Brigades and the Defence Forces School of Music, conducted by Lieut Col Mark Armstrong.

The Taoiseach invited representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths to lead an act of commemoration, each according to their own tradition. “It is fitting that we remember here today all those Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations,” Mr Kenny said.

Msgr Lorcan O’Brien, representing Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, said: “We pray for them, that they may . . . find comfort in Christ’s promise that he has conquered death and brought eternal life to those who follow him. We pray also for peace in our world, for a future where enmity, injustice and division are healed and needless suffering is ended.”

Readings were also given by Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson, president of the Methodist Church in Ireland the Rev Ian Henderson, representative of the Jewish community in Ireland Rabbi Zalman Lent, moderator of the Derry and Donegal Presbytery, Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Dr Robert Buick, rector of St Peter-St Paul Patriarchal Metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church the Rev Fr Mikhail Nasonov and Islamic Cultural Centre representative, Imam Sheikh Hussein Halawa.

The ceremony concluded with the national flag raised to full mast, the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann and an Air Corps flyover.

The attendance also included Chief Justice Mr Justice John Murray and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieut Gen Seán McCann.

Also there were: Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore; Minister for Justice and Defence Alan Shatter; Minister for Children’s Affairs Frances Fitzgerald; Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar; Minister for Social Affairs Joan Burton; Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton; Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin; Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn; Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy Deenihan; Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe and Minister of State for the Environment, Fergus O’Dowd.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett, Leas Cheann Comhairle Michael Kitt, who also represented Fianna Fáil, and Seanad Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke also attended.

TDs present included Fine Gael’s Catherine Byrne, Bernard Durkan and Terence Flanagan and Sinn Féin’s Seán Crowe.

Senator David Norris also attended the ceremony.

Members of the Council of State present included Dr Martin Mansergh of Fianna Fáil.