Friday 24 November 2017

Editorial: For too long now our war heroes have lacked due recognition

BOTH leaders stopped at the grave of Major Willie Redmond who had, in protest against the execution of the Easter 1916 Rising leaders, made it his express wish to be buried outside the official British war cemetery in a stand-alone grave.

'Major Willie's' attitude encapsulates the story of the tens of thousands of Irishmen who died in the mud of Flanders in World War I. For too long we in the Republic had airbrushed them from our history, making no effort to understand sacrifice, or take on board the complex, swiftly changing politics of their times.

The joint visit yesterday by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and UK Prime Minister David Cameron to so many Great War sites in Belgium, was another very important symbolic step in cementing a great relationship between Ireland and Britain. It was also another major step towards giving due recognition to the self-sacrifice and heroism of Irishmen from both traditions who died in British uniforms in the 1914-18 period.

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