Friday 9 December 2016

Defence Forces veterans honour their 'fallen comrades, people we knew'

Jane O'Faherty

Published 11/07/2016 | 02:30

President Michael D Higgins lays a wreath at the National Day of Commemoration Ceremony
in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham yesterday. Photo: Fergal Phillips
President Michael D Higgins lays a wreath at the National Day of Commemoration Ceremony in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham yesterday. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Hundreds of former members of the Defence Forces donned their uniforms for the National Day of Commemoration Ceremony yesterday.

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The service, in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, commemorated all those who gave their lives in wars or on UN service.

Veterans John Larkin and Bernard Campbell. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Veterans John Larkin and Bernard Campbell. Photo: Fergal Phillips

President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath in memory of fallen members of the Defence Forces, as political figures from both sides of the Border paid their respects.

The ceremony concluded with a minute's silence and a fly-past of four PC-9 aircraft.

Retired private Bernard Campbell, from Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, said: "A lot of our ex-Defence Force members are no longer with us. It is important that we remember our fallen comrades, people we knew."

Meanwhile, Crumlin veteran Fran O'Toole (61) said he would sign up for military service again "in a heartbeat".

Former presidents Mary McAleese (left) and Mary Robinson. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Former presidents Mary McAleese (left) and Mary Robinson. Photo: Fergal Phillips

The Taoiseach was joined by members of his Cabinet, including Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris.

Other guests included former presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese and Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Ceremonies were also held in Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Waterford, Limerick and Sligo.

Irish Independent

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