herald

Monday 20 November 2017

Veterans gather to honour their fallen comrades

WAR veterans gathered to remember their fallen comrades at the National Day of Commemoration.

President Michael D Higgins, former president Mary Robinson and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were among the dignitaries who attended.

It marked the centenary of the beginning of the Great War in July 1914, but those who died in conflicts over the past 1,000 years were also remembered.

Mrs Robinson even recalled the Battle of Clontarf at the event, which was held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

WREATH

Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina led the commemorations, which began with the president inspecting the guard of honour.

The Council of State and several members of the new Cabinet including Alex White, Frances Fitzgerald and Heather Humphreys were also there.

"This year in particular we remember all those who died in the Great War," Mr Kenny said, addressing the crowd.

The Taoiseach invited Mr Higgins to lay a wreath on behalf of the Irish people, after which a minute's silence was observed.

Desmond Branigan (96), of the British merchant navy, said the event brought back memories of his shipmates who were torpedoed in the Atlantic while ferrying supplies during the Second World War.

Ulsterman Jimmy Scott, who lives in England, saw 23 years of active service with the Royal Irish Rangers.

"The governments kept us apart," he said. "In the military we saw no distinction. It didn't matter who you were or where you came from. We all just got along."

He said he now always makes a point of travelling over to the annual ceremony.

Commemorations also took place in Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford.

lbyrne@herald.ie

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