Archbishop praises 1916 generation
HISTORY was made and remembered at the annual 1916 commemoration ceremony in Dublin yesterday, with the first visit of a Belfast Lord Mayor to the wreath-laying gathering.
The ceremony also saw the first major public engagement of new Dublin archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, who was the chief celebrant.
Martin Morgan of the SDLP, whose grandfather was the soldier who buried Easter Rising leader Padraig Pearse, said he felt it important to attend to show that some politicians in the North were working towards inclusive politics on the island of Ireland.
Mr Morgan said the ceremony was also in remembrance of the men and women of Belfast involved in the Easter Rising.
Great pomp and ceremony marked the gathering of relatives and descendants of the 1916 leaders at Dublin's Arbour Hill Church, with members of the 2nd Eastern Brigade from McKee Barracks forming a guard of honour, which was inspected by President McAleese. The event was attended by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Defence Minister Michael Smith and Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lieutenant General James Sreenan.
Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and Ministers Mary Hanafin, Noel Dempsey, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Deputy Liz McManus of Labour, as well as Dublin Lord Mayor Royston Brady, were present.
Archbishop Martin told the congregation at the Mass in Arbour Hill Church that we owed the 1916 generation a debt of gratitude and of duty towards the Ireland of the future.
The first generation of Irish internationalists would have been proud to see, over the last weekend, Ireland acting as "midwife" for the birth of a new erain European relations, he said.
But he stressed that we now faced the new challenges with our growing multi-ethnicity and culturalism and must create a culture of generous welcome and mutual understanding, where the new Irish feel their contribution is being appreciated.