Saturday 23 September 2017

President lays a wreath at 1916 ceremony as plea made over global conflicts

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina stand with members of the Defence Forces at the Arbour Hill Commemoration Ceremony in Dublin. Photo: Defence Forces
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina stand with members of the Defence Forces at the Arbour Hill Commemoration Ceremony in Dublin. Photo: Defence Forces

Gavin White

President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, and Housing Minister Simon Coveney were amongst the political figures at the 1916 Arbour Hill State Commemoration ceremony yesterday.

President Higgins and the Taoiseach laid wreaths at the memorial on behalf of the people of Ireland.

Bishop Dennis Nulty spoke passionately, urging "us little nations" to learn from the past and mediate in current global conflicts. He cited North Korean and US relations as an example of conflict.

The bishop said: "Pope Francis reminds us little nations can play a significant role in world peacekeeping in his call on Norway to mediate in the current dispute between North Korea and the United States.

"The personnel of Óglaigh na hÉireann are equally equipped to mediate and have done so with great success in the past," he said.

The bishop said we owe a debt to those who died in 1916 as we now "speak proudly of an Irish nation".

He said there was "too much blood spilled" during the 1916 Rising.

He was reminded of areas in conflict now which "merit much more than a fleeting headline on a news bulletin".

Imam Sheikh Hussein Halawa, representing the Islamic Community in Ireland, and Leonard Abrahamson, the President of the Jewish Community in Ireland, also attended the event. Reverend Andrew Dougherty of Coptic Orthodox Church was also present. Mr Halawa said: "On the occasion of the centenary celebration of the 1916 Easter Rising and national day of commemoration, we pray to our lords make our country Ireland safe, prosperous and a country of peace and to let no one despair."

Irish Independent

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