Taoiseach to attend Battle of Waterloo commemoration

Presence at London event will highlight role played by Irish at battle 200 years ago

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has accepted an invitation to attend a commemorative banquet to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has accepted an invitation to attend a commemorative banquet to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has accepted an invitation to attend a commemorative banquet to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Mr Kenny’s presence at the bicentenary banquet at the City of London’s Guildhall on Wednesday evening will serve to highlight the role played by Irishmen at the major battle.

Its outcome helped shape Europe’s destiny for generations afterwards.

Recent studies have suggested about one-third of the Duke of Wellington’s army was composed of Irishmen who were members of various regiments of the British Army.

Although a staunch conservative and defender of the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland, Wellington was instrumental in the granting of Catholic Emancipation in 1829. He was British prime minister at the time and became convinced that emancipation could not be prevented without unleashing waves of sectarian violence.

He played a vital role in steering the measure through the Houses of Parliament and convincing a deeply reluctant King George IV to give his consent.