herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Mass remembers the child victims of 1916 Rising

CENTENARY

MORE than 200 people including President Michael D Higgins attended a special service to remember 40 children killed during the 1916 Rising.

Among the congregation were relatives of the children - who were aged between two and 16 - when they were killed amidst the battles that Easter.

Forty shimmering candles, each emblazoned with the name of a child who died, formed the centrepiece of the ceremony.

YOUTH

Among those who were killed were toddler John Francis Foster, who was shot in the head as he slept in his pram during a fire-fight between rebels and British soldiers at North King Street.

President Higgins said these "forgotten victims of 1916" shared more than youth.

"Many of them shared a working-class background. Most of them lived in inner city tenement buildings, in some of the worst housing conditions in Europe," he told the packed congregation.

"It is perhaps for this reason that they, and their parents, and their class have remained obscure in stories of the Easter Rising," he said.

"The tragedy of the loss of a child is twofold: it is the gravest of all possible hurts to those who love the child, and it is also the quenching of possibilities, before they have the chance to blossom," he said.

The attendance also included Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke, Communications Minister Alex White, Minister for Children James Reilly, and RTE broadcaster Joe Duffy.

The ecumenical service will be broadcast this Sunday on RTE1 television.

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