Irish ambassador lays Cenotaph wreath

An Irish diplomat has laid a laurel wreath at the London Cenotaph for the first time in almost 70 years.

Irish ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall accepted the invitation to pay tribute to the fallen.

The wreath laying was the latest in a line of symbolic gestures by both the UK and Ireland aimed at putting their troubled history behind them.

During the Queen’s historic visit to the Ireland in 2011 she attended commemorations for both the war dead and those Irish who died fighting against Britain for independence.

Some 200,000 Irish-born soldiers from north and south of the island served in the First World War, with around 50,000 losing their lives.

But those that returned from the war found a country riven by its own conflict with Britain. The War of Independence would follow and by 1921 the island was partitioned with the southern 26 counties becoming independent.

For decades the newly formed state struggled with its people’s role fighting for Britain in the war.

Returning soldiers were effectively ostracised and became scared to admit they had participated in the conflict.

The climate of reconciliation that has emerged since the end of theTroubles has seen attitudes in the Republic change markedly, with a much greater emphasis on acknowledging those Irish soldiers who fought and died in the war.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny accepted an invite, for the third year in a row, to attend this morning’s Remembrance Sunday event in Enniskillen, the scene of the IRA’s infamous 1987 poppy day bombing, while the minister for foreign affairs Charlie Flanagan was present at the event in Belfast.

Mr Mulhall’s attendance in London was not the first occasion an Irish ambassador has been present for the annual commemoration in recent years, but it is the first time the state has been invited to lay a wreath in honour of Irish soldiers.

The last time a representative of state made such a gesture was in 1946, when Ireland was still a member of the Commonwealth.

More on this topic

Minister honoured to attend Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Belfast Minister honoured to attend Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Belfast

Queen leads UK remembrance ceremonies

Kenny and Flanagan lay wreaths in NorthKenny and Flanagan lay wreaths in North

Irish Great War dead to be rememberedIrish Great War dead to be remembered


More in this Section

Fatal assault of homeless man in Cork: ‘More will die on our streets’, charity worker saysFatal assault of homeless man in Cork: ‘More will die on our streets’, charity worker says

Man due in court in relation to a loaded gun found in Dublin parkMan due in court in relation to a loaded gun found in Dublin park

Homeless man, 53, murdered in Cork city was a 'talented chef' who served Elton JohnHomeless man, 53, murdered in Cork city was a 'talented chef' who served Elton John

Katherine Zappone aware of distress at Tusla refusalsKatherine Zappone aware of distress at Tusla refusals


Lifestyle

Fiann Ó Nualláin follows in the footsteps of the Fianna as he explores a province’s hills and vales.Munster marvels: Plants that are unique to a province

Cupid must be something of a motoring enthusiast, as he had most definitely steered his way in the neighbourhood when Amie Gould and Shane O’Neill met at the Rally of the Lakes 12 years ago.Wedding of the Week: Cupid steers couple to right track

When it comes to podcasting, all it takes is one idea — and who knows where it can take you.Podcast Corner: Crimes and creatures rule at Cork’s first podcast fest

Claymation meets science fiction in this enchanting film, writes Esther McCarthy.Latest Shaun adventure is out of this world

More From The Irish Examiner