Wreath-laying marks end of Irish pardon campaign
Published 16/06/2013 | 05:00
ONE of the last surviving Irish soldiers granted a pardon after fighting against Nazi Germany laid a wreath yesterday at the Islandbridge war memorial to remember his comrades.
Phil Farrington joined a small group of relatives and supporters in Dublin to remember Irishmen who joined Allied forces and were blacklisted for their efforts. The Government announced a pardon for them in May.
Peter Mulvany, co-ordinator of the Irish Soldiers' Pardons Campaign, said the fight to clear the names of thousands of soldiers has ended.
"The event has to be held to mark the passing and signing of the amnesty into Irish law. It is an unprecedented piece of legislation which clears all concerned," he said.
"We wanted to hold it sometime around June, sometime around when the campaign for an amnesty started in earnest in 2011, on June 6.
"That's also the date that one of the Irish lads who left to fight with the Allies died in the D-Day landings, Private Joseph Mullaly."
Three poppy wreaths with Tricolours attached were laid at the memorial, one by Mr Farrington.
The 92-year-old, from Seville Place in Dublin's north inner city, was 19 when he enlisted in the British army.
He served in France and Germany and helped to liberate Bergen-Belsen.
Two wreaths will be taken to the UK and laid at war memorials during Remembrance services in November to mark the Irish men and women forced to emigrate after returning from the war.
They were dismissed from the Irish Army, blacklisted, branded deserters at home and denied public sector jobs and welfare. About 5,000 Irish soldiers who fought with the Allies had been found guilty of going awol by a military tribunal at the time.