President and Taoiseach commemorate Irish war dead
Published 14/07/2013 | 11:59
PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny are attending a national ceremony to commemorate Irish soldiers who died in past wars.
The National Day of Commemoration has been held since 1986 to remember not just those who died on UN peace-keeping missions abroad with the Irish Defence Forces, but also Irishmen who fought in the World War One and Two with the British Army.
Mr Kenny opened the prayer service in the courtyard of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin by referring to the broad based nature of the ceremony.
"It is fitting that we remember here today all those Irish men and Irish women who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations," he said.
The multi-faith ceremony includes prayers from representatives from the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Jewish community and the Islamic community.
The ceremony is being attended by former Defence Force veterans in memory of their fallen comrades, as well as Gardai, ambassadors, judges and members of the public. There was a strong political presence with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and six other members of the cabinet - Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, Justice Minister Alan Shatter, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan. Junior Ministers Brian Hayes, Tom Hayes, Joe Costello, Fergus O'Dowd and Government chief whip Paul Kehoe were also in attendance.