Monday 16 July 2018

President leads tributes to Irish people who gave their lives in wars or as UN peacekeepers

President Higgins lays a wreath at Collins Barracks in honour of Ireland’s fallen. Photo: Tony Gavin
President Higgins lays a wreath at Collins Barracks in honour of Ireland’s fallen. Photo: Tony Gavin
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland at the National Day of Commemoration at Collins Barracks in Dublin to honour all the men and women who died in past wars or during UN peacekeeping missions.

President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland at the National Day of Commemoration at Collins Barracks in Dublin to honour all the men and women who died in past wars or during UN peacekeeping missions.

The colourful ceremony drew hundreds of people to the annual event.

A large crowd of current and retired Defence Forces personnel and their families, as well as the general public, turned out to pay their respects to those who gave their lives for the State.

Members of the diplomatic corps, the judiciary and representatives from Northern Ireland also attended the open-air ceremony, along with families of those whose relatives fought in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Among those attending was Capt Derek Farrell (31), from Tullamore, Co Offaly.

The Air Corps staged a flypast during the National Day of Commemoration in honour of those who died in past wars or on UN service. Photo: Tony Gavin
The Air Corps staged a flypast during the National Day of Commemoration in honour of those who died in past wars or on UN service. Photo: Tony Gavin

He was the officer in charge of the cadets honour guard at the ceremony.

"It was really nice to do it and it's such a great setting as well," he told the Irish Independent.

The cadets started training back in September and the commemoration ceremony was the largest event that they have attended to date, he said.

Capt Farrell added: "They have put a lot of time and preparation into it and it's really important for them.

"It's remembering all that's gone before us. It instils that bit of history that our cadets know about and study. It really puts it into real-life terms."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Health Minister Simon Harris and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, were among those paying their respects. Similar ceremonies were also held in Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford to honour the 87 Defence Forces personnel who have died in conflicts or during UN peacekeeping missions since the foundation of the State.

The ceremony began with an inter-denominational prayer and ended with a fly-past by four Air Corps Pilatus PC-9M jets over the historic barracks, which followed a minute's silence and a cannon-fire salute.

Irish Independent

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